Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Seeing Bangkok had almost been a personal mission. After all, I'd spent a good 10 years in South-East Asia and apart from an entirely forgettable Bangladesh Biman bump off, I hadn't gone beyond the bustling airport. Things sounded a lot worse, since almost all my pals from India had officially done the Bangkok darshan. "What shopping yaar, great massages". Shame on me - for not having been a part of it for 10 long years.

So after, months and years of planning to see this part of Thailand, we are well and truly off.

That's discounting the airport confusion before take-off. Somehow, Bala felt it was Seletar that houses Air Asia. We called a couple of folks, in the process I confused my colleagues at work but there was the cabbie to save the day. We eventually made it to the fair skies via Changi Airport.

Air Asia, was our first official budget flight. Boarding it, brought back memories of that race to the finish to get on to the dreaded Punjab Roadways bus from Chandigarh to Dehra Dun.

If you are a newbie, you will soon realise, on some budget airlines there are no allocated seat numbers. A perfect start to bring out the ugliness in some air borne lads and ladies. It was funny to see that queue, folks absolutely refusing to give way, despite repeated calls for 'parents with small children' to board first. That was just the beginning. Soon as the young ones trooped in, you could hear an army of determined travellers running in hot pursuit for seats that were most certainly theirs.

Now, come on, could the plane really take off without these runners who should really be on a different bridge. In fact, we even bore witness to one truly well endowed Aunty who if she had her way could have almost bit off the poor Air Asia gals ears for trying to "split her family - how can you do that?" she shrieked. If only, it took airline staff to split families!

If a script-writer is well and truly running out of ideas, then a budget flight could turn out to be the perfect idea factory. There is like inspiration - here, there and everywhere. You don't even have to look.

We thought we had found the perfect seat next to those emergency doors. For those of you, who will making the next run to the seat, grab this one, ok.

Then the stewardess walks in "Mam, no children."

We give nice seats with reasonable leg room to a merry looking bunch of Japanese travellers.

Steward strides up "Sir, do you speak English?"
Traveller One: "Little"
Traveller Two: "Little"
Traveller Three: Smiles and Nods

Steward to Traveller Three : "Sir do you speak English?"
More Smiles - no words.

Steward: "Sir this is an emergency exit, we need someone who can speak English."

The nice traveller has to move and Bala, the English speaker is now in total control of the emergency door.

After that fine start, which gave us more than just something to smile about, we reached Bangkok - YEAH and made that determined stride for the immigration counter and the stamp of visa on arrival.

For those of you who have children, have travelled with them, you've seen it all happen before, you know what it means to fill up four forms quick time (they don't give the visa on arrival forms on board the aircraft). Things happen. On the one hand you are juggling that milk bottle, on the other you are try to control those itchy feet from running away.

"This is not your house, Aneesha, you can get lost....
And Dhruv must you bring out that GRRRR in me....
(crying ensues)
Ok, ok, please don't be a baby! PLEASE let me finish this form! Ok no CRYING PLEASE! (More Grrrr!)"

So it went, so we filled the form, so we thought, till we finally stumbled on the immigration counter, that is.

Stern looking immigration officer opens Bala's Passport which is soon going to give Shantaram a run for its money:
First booklet features Bala with lots of hair: "Is this you?"
Bala: "Yes"
Second booklet shows Bala with no hair: "Is this you?"
Bala: "Yes"
Third booklet has Bala with a bit of hair: "Is this you?"
Bala: (sighing) "Yes"
Then officer picks up the form that make or mar our entry into Thailand and goes: "Is this you?"
Bala: (hasn't seen the picture yet and goes) "Yes"...

Oops, what have we? Dhruv's picture on Bala's form.
I am tickled, officer is not, form comes flying back, with a dire look that says get the damn pictures right or else....

I look at the two forms in my hand to ensure Aneesha and my mugs aren't mixed up.

Tell Bala to take a seat so I can work my lady charm. But braces don't get you too far these days.

So we sit and pray, we haven't messed anything else up.

The passports come back, visas all stamped, we are well truly on our way to discovering Bangkok. Yes, the updates and more pictures are on the way. I know you have heard that line before. As always, I truly mean it.