First scenario- Smiling KF air hostess distributing Times of India and Indian Express
“Sir, paper for you?”
“Which one would you prefer? Times of India or the Indian Express?”
“No Bengali paper?” accompanied by arched eyebrows.
“No Sir. We have Times of India and Indian Express.”
“But flight is from Calcutta. No Telegraph also?”. Arched eyebrows prevailing large.
“Sorry Sir, but we have only these two.”
“You must at least keep The Telegraph.” Arched eyebrows replaced by a teacher-student tone.
“Yes, Sir. In the meanwhile would you like Times…”
Followed by a “Tssst” and a rather deep sigh.
Second scenario- Same smiling airhostess offering breakfast
“Sir, some vegetable upma for you?”
“No. Non veg”
“Sorry Sir. We are offering only vegetarian today.”
“Why?” (Look of utter surprise) “I have given non-veg option while booking the flight.”
“Sorry Sir. There is only vegetarian food for breakfast today.”
At this point the wife tugs at the gentleman’s sleeves. “Shunchho niye nao. Eta chhara aar kicchu debey na. (Listen please take it. They will not give us anything else.)”
Scenario three- Above mentioned wife opens the fruit cup
“E ma! Aam dey ni! Iiissh! Baaje flight ekta. Porer baar ticket ta dekhey keto. “(Oh no! They haven’t given any mangoes! Terrible flight this is. Next time, be careful before you book tickets.)”
This co-passenger, in the meanwhile, had to bite her hand to keep herself from laughing.
But, ahem, here is the deal.
You have a flight full of Bongs. From Calcutta. You have Calcutta Bongs on board. This is one species that thrives on fish. And chicken. And kochi pnatha (tender lamb). On very bad days the Bongs make egg curry to compensate the lack of proper non-veg in their diet. Langda** appears during dinner every night throughout summer. And every other family in Calcutta reads The Telegraph. In fact, I am quite sure that had my dad been on this flight, he would have grabbed both TOI and Indian Express and then asked for The Telegraph.
And by the way, I did cast that “No non-veg?” look when they offered the upma. I personally would have preferred The Telegraph for its crossword. And I would have definitely been happier with mangoes in my fruit cup. The pineapple was gooey anyways.
So, if you will excuse me now, I will go and get my dinner of fish curry and rice. And then R is going to slice the lovely langda we got from Calcutta. Which shall be followed by the gur-*** er sandesh****.
Sigh! Talk about living to eat.
**A type of mango.