Hes a real-life Elvis impersonator on his off-nights,
the buxom flight attendant told Mr. Maharaja.
Zia Zaman - tells
the truth about flying in India
an East-West flight from Delhi to some really, really small town
in India, our intrepid and fearless traveler finally met his match.
At an ungodly early morning hour, the bespoken suited and bespectacled
hero stumbled through the various security procedures to finally
get outside, into the already searing heat. Walking along he saw
a plane headed to Nepal with a pack of adventurous airport staff
trying to load a canoe into the hold. A canoe. On a plane that has
had one too many canoes shoved inside. Thank God hes not on
that flight, he thought.
When he walked off
the spongy staircase through the five-foot high doorway, he caught a
glimpse of some hair through the ajar cockpit door. Thinking nothing,
he installed himself in Seat 1C and waited for his sweet lime to which
he was entitled for being a Maharaja, umm, in Maharaja Class. He waited
for some time. The stewardess came on board and as usual, she had a
classic Indian beauty spiced up with a perky Southwest Airlines temperament,
if not attire. This might not be so bad, he thought to himself,
a little subdued after having heard about the difficulty of the landing
at his destinations airport. At that moment, the airline pilot
came on over the p.a. system.
Hello, everyone. Our hero had a strange breath of relief
after hearing these words, spoken with the unmistakable accent of someone
from the Southern United States.
Ok, a Yank. Great, he said to himself.
Im the captain of this flight. My name is Danny Desai,
he said cheerfully, dramatically elongating the alliteration. Thank
you, thank you very much for flying East-West Airlines, he said
as the cockpit door swung wide open revealing a man with a thick, droopy
mane over which no pilots cap could be fit, a sequined outfit
complete with captains stripes, and, God no, red cowboy boots.
Like, I said my name is Danny Desai, and I just want to say that
if you need ANYTHING at all, feel free to ask any one of these lovely
ladies wholl be serving you today. Theyll PERK you right
Our hero started to perspire. He was flying on a low-budget Indian airline,
through some of the most treacherous mountain passes in the Western
Himalaya, with Elvis at the yoke. He tried to meditate but was interrupted
by a brief rendition of Hound Dog and a charming comment about the particular
assets of one of the stewardesses. Hes a real-life Elvis
impersonator on his off-nights, the buxom flight attendant told
She was blushing, in awe at having been part of the pre-flight message.
In Delhi? he asked.
Thats right, she says, putting on a terrible imitation
of a Southern accent. Through the next spat of announcements, the overabundant
panache of this Danny Desai started to melt away at our hero. The captains
ability to carry a tune, roll his Rs, and poke fun at the missus,
were perfectly in character. He even threw in a safety announcement,
asking anyone who had brought a bomb on board to please notify one of
the flight attendants, sung to the tune of Suspicious Minds.
Our hero smiled, leaned back, crossed his legs and asked for some Smirnoff
to go along with his sweet lime.
(C) Zia Zaman 2001
Splitting his time between travel-fiction writing and a day-job
helping Sun Microsystems dominate the world, Zia Zaman now calls Singapore
home. Born in Karachi, he has lived in Montreal, Boston, London, and
San Francisco. His work has appeared in local press, Chance, MCI,
Novelists Abroad, Hackwriters, and other litzines.
Read "Bhutan Is and Other Shorts from Remote Asia" on An Unusual Day.
CITY OF MYSORE
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