It was not even a minute since I got off at the Dhanbad railway station and the whiff of Coal in the air was overbearing. No wonder it is called the Coal Capital of India with almost 110 official coal mines in the region. Incidentally Dhanbad-Jharia region is said to be one of the most polluted areas of the world.
So after long trip to Asansol and back to base-Dhanbad, I requested my cab driver to take me around to get a glimpse of one the these coal mines.
I am no expert on Coal mining and its social, political, environmental or economical effects. But i managed to do some primary reading and got some revealing insights. And I can tell you there is more to Dhanbad than the movie ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and the slang.
Flying can be fun, if you enjoy observing people. Every-time I fly, I somehow pigeon-hole fellow passengers in one of my prejudiced slots. I get amused by the way each of these kinds behave. Here is my express list of air travelers these days.
The Pyjama Party Hoppers
Well this cool dude will be comfortable surfing in his pyjamas or shorts and slip ons all over the place. For him, the Goan beach or an airport lounge, life is always a party. Well and you know this saves him lot of time while he dashes from one city to another. With ruffled hair and droopy eyes, a lot of time I get a feeling that these people are innocent sleep walkers who have lost their way to the airport lounge. May be next time I will be the good Samaritan to help him back to his shack.
Miss Louis Vuitton
Madam LVMH is all set to capture the eyeballs on this mega event called Flying. Ever before you spot her in the crowd, her, strong if not always mesmerizing perfume makes her presence felt. And even before you could see her, a lot many times you get nudged by her entourage of vanity bags and boxes. Maintaining a minimal eye contact with most menial people around (thanks to those Big Versace sunglasses) , she ensures that her business comes first. A lot of time she is the most dreadful passenger for the ground staff and the in-flight crew to handle, for her business always come first !
Mr. Gadget Freak
Mr. Apps is so fully loaded with his gizmos, that all the security checkpoints he gets alarms buzzing. Minute after minute he keeps juggling between his gizmo inventory. The ‘ipod’ is his constant adaptation, may be the one he uses is even water proof, so that he is never without one. Suddenly you will see him bobbing his head to some trance music may be paying homage to Mr.Jobs. By the time he settles down in the waiting lounge, up comes the ‘ipad’. In the mid-air just when all the cabin lights are dimmed, pop goes his overhead light and out comes his ‘Kindle’. Mr.Gadget freak always reminds me of the ‘Salesmen’ we spot on local trains in Mumbai. Have your ever noticed how easily they keep fishing out their wares in the crowded trains for eager buyers. Mesmerizing ! Finally Mr Gizmo switches to his “PSP”. Once I almost got knocked off when one Gadget guru was racing on his ‘PSP’. Well life is a ‘Game’ isn’t it ?
This kind gets his inspiration from Mr.Gadget freak; the only difference being, for him life is “all work and no play”. He is normally the last one to board the flight. A business suit in one hand, an open laptop flap in another and in between dangles part of his luggage. By the time the safety announcement requests’ passengers to switch off all electronic devices, Mr.Workaholic is still on his blackberry closing the mother of all mortgage deals in some part of the world. After repeated requests he will finally pretends to shut down his devices. He incidentally believe that safety comes first. The moment the seat belt sign is put off, he frantically dangles and leaps over the overhead compartment to grab his laptop. From now on till the aircraft prepares to land, he is the only visibly awake passenger on the flight. The pilots these days I understand feel it safer to be on auto-pilot!
The Big Momma
Well I pity this woman for being in charge to manage a mischievous and handful pre-schooler and a whining infant junior part II. She is all geared for this dreadful flight. One back pack, one sling bag and multiple trolley bags, which seem to have missed the ‘laws of motion’ she is one of the last people to enter the aircraft. I can’t blame her. Her back pack has all the ration to keep the two kids in good spirits. Starting with some Choco snack bars, gums, juice tetra packs, sandwiches, biscuits, milk foods for the infant, diapers, toys just all. Phew may be much more. Airport assistance or no assistance, she is a woman on mission.
The First Time Flyer (FTF)
We all have been through this stage. Been through those awkward moments when you do not know what to do. For this gentleman it’s not as much the joy of flying but the list of don’ts that he keeps memorizing. He is a butt of all the suspicion for the security personnel. His nervousness about flying gives him a hue of a shady criminal unsure of his business. His luggage accessories have yet not been upgraded for the air travel. A trunk or a large suitcase always add to his awkwardness. But well one can’t blame him for that. That’s the first time he is flying. From getting into wrong boarding queues to getting on the wrong aircraft, this kind is always at its wits to brace up. Once airborne, they keep jutting out of their seats to look outside the window. And yes some do not refrain from calling the pretty air hostess “Madam”.
Mr.Snooz, is always snoozing. From later arrival to the airport to catching a wink at the waiting lounge, he is always at peace with his surroundings. Nothing can stop him from catching wink in busy places. He also at times is the last passenger on board. Some of them snore loud enough to make propellers shudder. I strongly feel this set of passengers can cause interruptions with radio waves and all possible communication of the pilot with the Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Well this may not have been proved in the popular series of “Aircraft Crash Investigations”, but there could be a case for my theory ! Anyone wants to second me on this one ?
Note : This post has gender specific references. You could liberally change the usage if you consider it appropriate 🙂 No offence to any gender intended.