Monday, October 20, 2008

A Lot of Hot Air

Or, How Not To Spend A Saturday.

Having skipped the Inauguration (we had someone else's passes; were instructed NOT to say how we came by them; it was in the morning on a school day; I had to be at the University just a couple of hours later; there were politicians going to make speeches) I had to promise to buy tickets and take my son to the last day of the Aviation Show.

Bought tickets. Armed with sunscreen, bottles of water and caps, we left early. Not sure of entrances and Gate numbers, we asked a cop standing undera brightly decorated arch. After some fluttering of hands and some typical 'but you don't have this pass, you need to go so many kilometres away to buy it and return here', they let us into the parking lot. It was empty. Not people dispensing tickets, no people at all, actually. So we parked under a tree and having decided to ignore written instructions, walked into Gate 5 (meant for VIPs) with a Gate 1,3 and 4 ticket.

They let us in. No, really. After just a couple of minutes of hand waving etc., they let us in through this gate and I can tell you now that we got to walk over one dusty red carpet, up a few steps and to the pavilion where the business end of the aviation show was being conducted.

Not knowing any better, we walked into this first. It was standard-issue trade fair stuff. In two minutes, we were out. My son was, at this point, still skipping along next to me in excitement. Turning the corner, we found the planes.

Now, we knew that the Airbus A 380 was there only for one day and this day was not that one day. Still and all, it was with extreme disappointment that we viewed the six or seven planes assembled for our viewing pleasure (no photographs. I stook the instructions on the ticket seriously and went without camera, handbag etc. I should ahve known better. Everyone there was brandishing something that could take photographs. Bah.).

One little plane was something that folks assembled like a model plane. I'm not sure it could fly, and they weren't going to prove it to us. It just sat there looking frail. Just as well it was hot and still. Just as well there were no Big Bad Wolves around.

So: small plane. Boeing 777, three choppers in different colours, one mid-sized plane.

"Amma, I must say I'm a little disappointed, arent you?"

"Really? How unahppy are you? Aren't you the one who wanted to stay from 10am to 5pm?"

"Ya, but there's nothing to see. I think we should leave. This is boring."

To distract him, we walked around the enclosure to where some more standard issue planes were resting. We asked if any of these planes were expected to actually fly or if they were just going to sit there. Apparently one just had and others would. We waited.

In the next 45 minutes, this si what we saw:

1. One plane taking off never to return.
2. One propeller plane that flew low, made another pass over the runway and settled down to soem seirous looping-the-loop before ti landed.
3. One flight simulator video played for a group of 20 people at a time, while the real flight simulator stood next to us looking strong and silent.
4. A History of Civil Aviation in India museum where there were uninspiring photos of JRD and various planes; a wall of the Maharaja's ads; some models of planes. Someone came and gave the kid a booklet about planes in India.
5. Two guys in rainbow coloured parathutes doing a jump.
6. One helicopter taking off.

11 am and already it felt as if we'd been there too long. We decided to leave. This is where the nightmare began.

Someone directed us to a wrong exit. Once we were out, we realised that (1) getting to our parking meant walking and walking and walking (2) given the crowds thronging and pleading and offering bribes to the cops, getting back in was not an option. So we walked. And walked and tripped and walked. The entrance was jammed with people and vehicles. The main road was worse, with two wheelers on every inch of what passed for the pavement.

It took us half an hour to walk tot he parking and another hour to get out from there to just pas the airport (a distance of 200 metres at most). We were the lucky ones. The traffic jam that was just beginning wouldn;t unsnarl until late in the evening. Apparently they were expecting 30,000 visitors, but 50,000 or more turned up, Finally the cops ahd ot request the organisers to stop selling tickets. There was a mild lathi charge to disperse annoyed people who'd already waited in line for hours.

It was a mess. We got back at 4, having spent a sum total of one hour at the show and three in the traffic.

Never again. Really.


In other news, we had lunch at Paradise and since the kid could not finish an entire biryani on his own, I helped him. This makes it the first time in nine years that I was having meat of any description. Is that a 'yay!' I hear? I was suprised to not feel any ickiness - I kind of thought I'd feel this great revulsion and all, but nothing happened. Huh.


Fëanor said...

Goodness, you fell off the veggie wagon. Nina will be so upset. Are you sure you didn't neatly stack the meat pieces to a side?

Banno said...

Sad! But these events usually are, aren't they? Badly organized and boring.

As for the veggie wagon, Teja fell after many years when we went for the Iftar food at Mohammedali Road. But he ate only the gravy! He didn't complain, but I know he was feeling bad about it, because he ate a plate of Veg Manchurian dry with tandoori roti afterwards.

Space Bar said...

(See? Iknew this veggie thing would get more responses than the other stuff.)

Feanor: I intend to climb back onto the veggie wagon, my head bloody but unbowed. Ask Nina not to panic.

Banno: I briefly considered having just the rice bits with salan but figured that would be a total waste. Also, I now figure I won't starve when I'm in places where they think fish is a kind of vegetable.

??! said...

places where they think fish is a kind of vegetable
Or chicken. In Africa, that is. It's not 'meat', you see.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I've only been to one airshow -- in Bangalore many years ago -- and it was nothing like you describe. There was a very impressive display of a Sukhoi SU-30, who seemed to fly only a few metres above the ground at times, and an IAF aerobatics display.

I've eaten meat about 4-5 times in my life and I felt a revulsion, but more cerebral than visceral, if you see what I mean. It's the other way around with mussels and other invertebrates -- I haven't tried eating them, my gut won't let me, though my mind tells me they aren't more sophisticated than mosquitoes and I happily squish those when I can.

Banno said...

Yes, Japan for one. Where even the chip packets have a fishy smell, some fish sauce, I think.

dipali said...

Yes, Thailand too. Most of the veg food also has its share of nam pla (fish sauce). By the by, we actually went up in a hot air balloon.Will blog sooner or later:)

km said...

Your son's probably going to read Antoine de Saint Exupery one day and thank his Amma for taking him to this boring air-show :)

You went NINE years without eating meat?!

SUR NOTES said...

i had lots to say about you eating meat- but shall refrain( though i admit i shouted yippee when i read your post)

hot air and having to walk a long long way to your car- and traffic jams....sounds like a primer on how not to spend your staurday. is your wrist okay? is that why you had so many typos in this post in the morning?

Falstaff said...

Did you at least go up to the manufacturers and ask what would happen if one of their planes just happened to slam into a skyscraper? Like, say, the Empire State Building?

Oh, and Delicious Muscle Tissue! Yum! Yum!

Lekhni said...

It's sad. Given the amount of interest this event generated, it would have been great if they had managed to run a half-decent air show :(

P.S. See, I have said not a word about the other part of your post ;)

Space Bar said...

??!: I know!

rahul: Actually, I'd heard the Bangalore one was worse, Hyd came pretty close on Saturday.

And I know what you mean about cerebral revulsion - I get it when I think of eating liver and kidneys and such.

banno: it's practically impossible to cook SE Asian food without fish sauce, I'd think.

dipali: I want ballooning story NOW!

km: Now see - I knew there was something missing. Will have to get Little Prince immediately (This is probably sacrilege - Cat you're not reading this - but I didn't understand what the fuss was all about.) And yes...9 years. :D

sur: say it all, no? ya, my wrist is still a little iffy but typos are all mea culpa. i didn't check the post - i just put it up any old how.

falsie: what manufacturers? there were innumerable 'delegates', there was a woman with a husky voice making unnecessary announcements every three minutes and the place was crawling with clueless cops.

and Ew! just EWWW! (QC'sdrawing's really changed so much, no?)

lekhni: the worst part is, even if those poor suckers waiting in the sun outside had made it in after four hours or so, there was nothing in there that would have kept them in for more than fifteen minutes. We were all made suckers of, basically.

km said...

ROFL@ Falstaff's comment.

space bar: Just curious - do nine year olds still read those WWII stories we used to call "Commando comics"?

Rahul Siddharthan said...

km - or better, Biggles?

Cheshire Cat said...

"I kind of thought I'd feel this great revulsion and all, but nothing happened."

Tut, tut. In today's youth the moral sense is sadly lacking.

Reading Michel Faber's "Under the Skin" might just bring a new flavor to your next biryani meal, though. Delicious stuff.

km said...

Rahul: Biggles FTW. Totally.

Lekhni said...

Biggles! I remember "Biggles goes to war"!! Never heard of commando comics.