The lower the status of the politician, the more obnoxious his/her behaviour – at least this was what came to the mind of the Man from Madras Musings when he recently happened to travel out of the city by flight and then return after a couple of days by the same mode of travel. On the outward journey there were a few cabinet ministers from the State on the same flight.
Their behaviour was exemplary. One of these, once a corporate head honcho, was the life and soul of the flight, mingling with fellow passengers, happily wheeling in his luggage and gamely posing for selfies on landing. The others were more reserved but were models of decorum – they kept to themselves, did not throw their weight about and read newspapers during much of the journey. In short, everything was as it should be.
Contrast this with what happened on the way back. On walking down the tarmac MMM noticed a small group standing near the tail of the aircraft. It appeared as though the crew had gone into a huddle and MMM would have scarcely given a second thought had he not heard raised voices. “Why should I have my boarding pass with me,” yelled a stentorian voice. “It is the job of my secretary to carry it.” Realising that this was where he got around 400 words for this column MMM decided to look in briefly.
In the centre of the huddled crew was a man in the obligatory political attire – white shirt and dhoti with the standard border. He was swaying somewhat thereby indicating his spiritually elevated state. He had apparently been caught taking photographs of the aircraft and also some selfies in the process. The ground staff had objected to which he had responded with some colourful expletives. Someone made bold to ask for his boarding pass and found he had none. It then transpired that the precious document was with the secretary who was no doubt the flabby gent who had just arrived on the scene huffing and puffing and brandishing the missing pass. The staff probably decided that discretion was better especially as the flight was shortly to leave. The man was ushered in and he proceeded to loudly express his anger at what he called the rudeness of the ground staff. The secretary tried pacifying him which strangely worked – MMM thought this would result in yet another explosion.
All went well during the actual flight apart from a demand for ‘hord drinks’ which of course was courteously refused. The next part of the drama unfolded shortly after landing was announced. The secretary having shut his eyes for forty winks, our man decided it was time to get up and wait near the door so that he would be the first to leave. Fortunately for all, the sleeping secretary woke up in time and dragged the master back. Act III was when the flight actually landed but was still taxiing on the runway. The man got up, collected his bag and bounded to the door. It was all that the airhostesses could do to get him to go back to his seat. He was not happy. Did they not know who he was he thundered. MMM too wondered. It transpired he was some kind of officeholder at the district level.