The Man from Madras Musings has recently been sojourning in faraway lands and as all good things have to eventually come to an end, he made his way back, in time for meeting the next deadline set by the Chief. At the airport of embarkation, as we travellers say, MMM threaded his way past the passengers to the lounge so that he could put his feet up for a while before boarding the flight. He was surprised to find that as though in keeping with his threading, several of his fellow citizens of Madras that is Chennai were weaving in and out of the rows of seats provided. Their sinusoidal movements had MMM quite puzzled. He decided to follow the man who had last sashayed by.

The journey took a while for MMM’s quarry kept tarrying at various places apropos of nothing. He steadied himself against passing passengers, chairs and once even against a potted plant. All the while MMM followed rather in the manner of a big game hunter. The chase ended at the refreshments counter where apart from several victuals of the solid variety, liquids of the amber variety were also present. It was then that MMM realised that he was mistaken all along in assuming that breakfast in Chennai or for Chennai-ites in general was of the idli-dosa variety and that cocktails if any were usually in the evening hour. The time was 9.00 am or so and every passenger from our city (home to firsts in several things, if the Chief is to be believed), was hitting the bottle, or bottles for some enthusiasts were blending their own cocktails. Of solid breakfast they had none. The rest of the guests in the lounge were watching in open-mouthed wonder. It made MMM ponder over whether topers of the Chennai kind ought to be classified under the genus Porifera (sponge) as opposed to homo-sapiens.

They were still not done when boarding was announced. Many then had to go to the toilet and by the time they made it to the flight they were highly ‘spiritual’. And in the flight, according to a harried airhostess, they kept asking for more and more. In fact just as the landing announcement was made, one of them made it to the pantry and asked the airhostess if there was time for one more, probably for the road. It was moments like this, said the lady to MMM, that she wished she had opted for the career of a bus conductor. Any such behaviour she said, and the offender could have been bundled out. The presence of a bouncer or two on Chennai-bound flights may not be such a bad idea after all.