Noisy flights and sleepless nights
They are talking about the randomest shit possible the moment you spot them. They are already engrossed into their deep conversation about the fragrance in the air and how its Chinese version available in the streets of Borivali for so cheap.
I'm speaking of - a small section of the Indian community - Gujaratis.
I've taken numerous flights and encountered plenty of them, and never ever do they fail to meet my expectations of a sleepless flight. Because when God blesses us with a mouth and high shrilled voice, we ought to speak our lungs out, right?
Believe me, Gujaratis can go on chit chatting non stop for hours. About nothing significant. Their pitched voice runs like a chant in your head. You don't want to listen it, but you are. In fact, now you know everything super personal about them. And if you happen to have your seat besides a Gujarati family, you are doomed. By the end of it, you'll know what the mother cooked for breakfast, how many theplas the kid ate, how many she packed for the flight owing to her insecurities about the flight food, how she was perfectly right about it and numerous other things you could have lived well without knowing at all.
But I'll give one thing to them - their fathers are perhaps the best fathers in the world. Allow me to give you some background -
as a kid, I was so curious. About so many things. I was constantly nagging my mom and dad with questions. If it was a public place, mum either whispered the answer in my ear or she simply asked me to wAit for her explanation until we got home. But my dad, he always ignored my silly questions. He'd mostly sit with me on Sundays to talk about science stuff and teach me a thing or two. No surprises, my past questions always popped up amongst them. But at the moment, he'd ignore me. He'd pretend to have unheard anything and just continue reading the newspaper or some tax-related book.
But, but, our Gujarati fathers. They will always entertain any question asked by their kid. Any. They are ready with 50 lines of explanation, which starts at the very basic presumptions a kid 4 years younger than their kid would have. They'll take 10 lines to reach the question, 20 to answer the question, 10 to conclude and by the next 10 lines they are talking about something else altogether. Wow. Tremendous patience and will to educate their child with their own knowledge.
Reminds of how jobless the men in Hindi TV serials are..
You just cannot sleep even if the lights in the airplane have dimmed down. Because you're busy listening to the explanation of what the lady serving food in the air craft is called followed by how the dad once saw a horse in the middle of the street in Ahmedabad.
The Gujarati family is determined to not let you or anyone near you sleep.
And you know what gets worse? Put a bunch of Gujaratis with another bunch of Chinese in one bus.
This happened to me on my flight from Shanghai to Delhi. We had to take a shuttle to board the flight. And unlike those short trips, this was reaaaally long. The entire shuttle, as you can imagine was full of Indians and Chinese. Since I cannot comprehend the language, all the Chinese jibber jabber went on like a "chi chi chi chu cha chau" in my head. Constant noise in the back of my mind. Like a background score for all my thoughts. But, I had no thoughts. What remained of my brain's concentration memory block was completely occupied by 6 Gujarati men discussing about the politics in Gujarat. Since I understand Gujarati, their conversation was my mainstream thought. Shit. 20 mins in pure mess.
The nonstop banter of these six gentlemen gave me a serious headache as unfortunately my seat was next to them in the adjacent aisle. They bought alcohol and Gujarati food with them and talked as they ate. After the entire plane finished dinner and the lights were turned off, they opened 3 dakes of cards. To play. They did not play in silence. I closed my eyes, tried hard to sleep. But I just couldn't. At every step I knew which uncle was betting how much and what the outcome was at the end of the hand.
While I was wondering, is it only me? My young tomodachi (Japanese for friend) next to me asked why Indians were so talkative. I just shrugged. We both tried to sleep for the next 45 mins until I remember we were no longer checking up on each other.
We even tried, to politely ask them to play a little more quietly. It worked, for a minute or two. And just when we thought we succeeded, Bhavesh uncle had already declared his winning hand, ready for some loud fun.
I realise as I say this, no doubt the Gujaratis are the ones who have the maximum fun in their definition. They care about nothing, no one and will do what they are doing with super confidence as if it's the right thing to do. But it doesn't hurt to shut up for a while or whisper for a little talk in order to be considerate to fellow passengers.
I made a horrendous mistake of forgetting my earphones In the recent trip, but now I'm all equipped And ready for my flight from Delhi to Shanghai. I will sleep.