I stepped out to deboard to be almost swept off the stairs. The wind whipped my hair with gay abandon and a wave of happiness washed over me. It was beautiful and wildly windy as we walked across the tarmac. It kind of washed away the feeling of frustration that I was feeling just a few minutes back.
I was with a few other journalists and we were part of an in flight training for air hostesses and flight stewards. The morning started precisely at 7 am when I woke up with a start to realise that the air hostess academy guys might just leave me behind. So there I was rushing and trying to do everything at one go. Till I was seated in a cab by 8.15am.
In some time, I found myself in the bylanes of Gautam Nagar. Something that irked me considering the fact that my destination was the airport. The driver finally deigned to inform me that we were picking up another journalist. And he wanted me to call her up. While we were talking, I realised we were positioned in front of a gurudwara. "Is this where she is supposed to meet us?" I asked him. "Madam, they told me that the gurudwara was the landmark," the driver told me.
Now a place like Delhi has many gurudwaras. So I did something for which I patted myself 2 minutes later. I asked him to read out the address. He mumbled, "Xyz". It was the name of the lady we were about to pick up. "No, the address, the ADDRESS," I repeated. I peered over his shoulders.We were supposed to head for Green Park. "We are in Green Park, are we?" I asked him sarcastically. All sarcasm was lost on the man. "No, we are in Gautam Nagar. Because I often pick up someone from here and there's a gurudwara here," he said and insisted we wait there. Till I bit out in a no-nonsense voice: "Take me to Green Park immediately." At Green Park, he stopped in front of the gurudwara and refused to budge. It was a task getting him to move. It's a wonder we reached the airport on time. It was 9.30 am and I realised that we were way too early for the entire exercise that involved the training of a melee of girls in red and guys in white.
As we checked in, it was worth watching the security guard's reaction to our Jet boarding passes. It said, From Delhi, To Delhi. It would be a first anyway, I thought to myself. It took some time for the co-ordinator from the air hostess academy to explain it to the guard, who for the life of him, couldn't believe his eyes.
Once in the waiting lounge, we were informed that the boarding was delayed from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. I got chatting with a former Lufthansa air hostess, a part of the faculty at the academy. R was not dramatically good looking but she was a warm and pleasing personality. With her was K, a former flight steward and another faculty member. K was very metrosexual indeed -- with lipstick, foundation, coloured hair and the works.
Anyway, while talking with R, I exclaimed that I wish I had thought of being an air hostess earlier. R looked at me and said, "Why, how old are you?" My reply was a woeful, "25". She said: "You look so young. There will be no problem for you to get through the international airlines. You must try it out. I loved flying though it was hard work. I kept stopping at Frankfurt and Munich and travelled to London very often," she said a bit wistfully. I realised, she meant it, when she searched me out as we were departing and told me that she had found out that there's a vacancy at the Emirates. .
Then began a long wait...doodling, doodling, solving crosswords, yapping, yapping, munching on sandwiches, watching the students and wondering how any of them could undo 20 years in a year of training and gain all the sophistication in the world (the guys and girls were so naive that I really hope they can make it where they want to).
In the loo, I came across a little girl who I thought was in need of the hand drier. I don't know why on earth I thought so. But I did. So I tapped her on the shoulders and pointed out the drier to her. She kept looking at me in askance. So I explained it to her. And then I happened to look down and I realised that all the time she was trying to squirt some liquid soap onto her palms. Yet another gaffe to my evergrowing list.
It was 1.30 pm when we boarded the air bus. It was a doomed take-off. All we did was sit and munch further on sandwiches and cakes. And wait. It was six hours of waiting that ultimately was a let-down. The redeeming part was meeting new people and liking most of them. Another interesting highlight of the day was getting inside the cockpit. It was kind of fascinating to have it all explained by the captain -- the controls, the panel... Oh we were also given a tiny model of the Jet airbus we were on. "They are very special. We usually give them to kids," smiled a Jet Airways hostess. It's quite a cute number. It reminds me of a childhood of growing up with my brother's toy cars, pick-up trucks and aeroplanes. All those bright blue and yellow Mercs, Nissans and Gulf Airs.
But the day has got me thinking. About whether this is a calling. To be up there in the skies.