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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chp 257. The stranger in the plane.


The icy wind blew across John’s hair sharply as he stepped out of the taxi. He sighed heavily, knowing it would be a long time before he gets to feel such a sensation again.


He paid the taxi driver 500 bucks, grabbed his tiny luggage and then walked inside the airport terminal.

There were already quite a number of people inside the monolithic Lengpui Airport, situated on the outskirts of Aizawl. People were sitting in groups, discussing about politics, policies and anything they fancied, while chewing paan and laughing out loudly every two minutes.

John found himself a seat and waited.

30 minutes later, four airport staffs lethargically walked to their posts behind the X-Ray machine and the burly CISF guard with an MP-3 sten gun hanging loosely behind signaled to the people that they can now proceed inside to get their boarding passes.

John stood in line along with the others and noticed that the person in front of him was traveling lightly too.

When he was next in line to reach the ticket counter, he overheard the person in front of him telling the staff, “Direct flight to Delhi, please make it a direct booking.”

John exclaimed in surprise, “Hey, even I’m flying directly to Delhi!”

The other person smiled, “I’m Hminga.”

“John. Call me John.”

“Cool. So, John, do you want to get your boarding passes along with me?”

“Sure, I don’t mind! Would be nice to have a Mizo companion all the way to Delhi.”

Hminga smiled, “I know. Same here.”

“Hey, do you know you can get your Kolkata-Delhi boarding ticket from here too?”

“Really?”

“Yup. That way, once we reach Cal, we can move directly to the security check-in without necessarily standing in line there for a new boarding pass again.”

“Wow. That’s really neat. And I thought the only thing we can directly book from Mizoram to Delhi was our luggage. This is so cool.”

And so saying, John and Hminga took four boarding passes from the counter, making sure they were seated together in both the flights from Aizawl to Kolkata and Kolkata to Delhi.

They exchanged formalities once they were inside the security check-in area. Turned out, they had a few common friends, which was not so surprising when any two Mizos meet.

Their flight landed a few minutes later and they walked from the security check-in room towards the plane, talking about their professions and where they stayed in Delhi.

As they sat inside the plane, they went through the usual formality of following the safety procedure enacted by the obviously unenthusiastic airhostess who moved her hands inanimately and halfheartedly.

“Ever noticed how cold and unreceptive these airhostesses become when they’re in the North Eastern sector, but suddenly full of brim and cheerfulness when they’re in other sectors?” John casually remarked.

Hminga wanted to tell him it wasn't like that, but decided it’s better to keep quiet, especially since they had just met.

As the plane drew momentum and eventually lifted off above the sprawling Mizoram hills, John looked at the place he loved for one last time. The moment the plane reached the required altitude and the seat-belt sign turned green, he joked, “Weeeee… that was fun. It felt like I was cruising through MG Road at 3 in the morning after a couple of drinks!”

John laughed. Hminga looked at him in shock.

“Hey, what’s the matter?”

“Nothing…” Hminga replied, “It’s just that… I don’t think people should drink and drive. Haven’t you seen all the deaths caused by drunken driving? You should be more responsible.”

John was completely taken aback. He knew drinking and driving is a wrong concoction, but he had never been in a state where he was too sloshed to drive. He was as alert as ever even after a couple of drinks. And the fact that somebody he had just met and who didn’t know how responsible he was while driving under the influence, lectured him like this… he felt a little blood rise deep within.

But he changed the topic, not wanting to get into a long debate regarding this, especially with a stranger.

“I know…” he merely uttered.

After a few minutes of silence, Hminga spoke, “I’m sorry about earlier… I feel that if people treat drinking and driving lightly, then it will soon be accepted by society. Pretty much like these homosexuals. Now that the High Court has…”

“Huh???” Now it was John’s turn to sit up and face Hminga.

“Yeah… with their section 477 High Court ruling and all the love fest going on in public…”

“It's 377, and what is wrong with that?”

“What do you mean what is wrong with that? The Bible clearly said…”

“Do you even know what this Act signifies???”

Heads were beginning to turn towards them, so they lowered their voices for a while, but only for a while. Soon, their argument was back in full swing, and an airhostess had to come over and warn them both to keep it down.

As the airhostess walked away, Hminga muttered, “I’m sure you’re one of those people who think its ok to have a tattoo and pre-marital sex too.”

“I don’t think its okhayyyyy,” John retorted, the anger obvious in his tone. “But if a man or woman wants to do it, who are we to judge them?”

“Leviticus chapter 19:28 clearly said you cannot tattoo yourself!”

“Oh yeah? Leviticus chapter 19:27 clearly said you cannot cut your beard or sideburns. Why are you clean shaven?”

Within minutes, two airhostesses approached them again, requesting them to be quiet. A tall Sardaji sitting in front of them suddenly got up, turned around, and sternly reprimanded them. “I don’t care what you two are arguing about, but for God’s sake, please DO NOT DISTURB us!”

One person applauded from behind, but quickly stopped when he realized nobody joined him.

Awkward silence filled the plane amidst the throttling sound of turbine engine as the angry Sardaji got back to his seat and the two airhostesses prepared themselves for the landing.

It was a few more minutes before John muttered under his breath, “At least my sister didn’t marry a Bengali.”

In Hminga’s mind, he could picture himself landing one hard upper-cut on John’s face. His hands trembled and he clenched his fist. He tried his best to suppress his anger. He should have never told him that his sister was married to a non-Mizo. In his head, he was trying to pacify himself… “Comon… breathe Hminga… breathe… don’t let this asshole spoil your mood… Remember if you punch him and a fight ensues, Mizos are going to get a very bad publicity.”

Finally, Hminga found his composure and replied as calm as possible, “So you are open to homosexuality and tattoos, but support DUI and against inter-racial relationships? If I had known you’re such a racist bigot, I would have never sat with you in the first place.”

“Neither would I,” John gnarled back.

That was the last time they spoke to each other, as the plane landed in Kolkata and came to a squeaking halt.

They both stood in the queue and walked out of the plane, still completely raging deep inside. Neither looked at each other, nor stood next to each other on the bus that transported them from the plane to the airport terminal.

The moment they reached the terminal, Hminga walked into the rest room, hoping a splash of water on his face might cool him down, while John made straight for the ticket counter.

“Good afternoon sir,” the cute Indian Airlines staff sitting in the counter wished him.

“Good afternoon,” John replied, “Ma’am, I’ve just arrived from Aizawl, and I have a connecting flight to Delhi from here. I already have my boarding pass issued in Aizawl itself, but can you please change the seat number? I want a place somewhere at the back instead. Please?”

“Oh.. ok… any reason why?”

“No such reason. I just want to sit at a new location, if there is vacancy…”

The lady looked at her screen for a few seconds and then finally looked up.

“Sir, shall I shift you to 29-A? That’s quite far from the current seat.”

“That would be great!” John smiled for the first time.

He took the ticket and looked at it again. No way in bloody hell was he going to sit with that jerk again. NEVER.

Meanwhile, at another place far away, Hminga stood there waiting and thinking about how much he detested John.

A voice interrupted him.

“Sir, here you go.”

Hminga smiled and genuinely said thank you. He grabbed the ticket and looked at his new seat number.

29-B.


42 comments:

Carey said...

You totally nailed it again! He did it again guys!

Seriously, Kima, you are at your best with fiction, IMO.

Me thinks you should consider writing books and getting published. Seriously one can compile your posts here and turn them into books!

I won't mind paying you for this kind of fiction!

Rita Zoye said...

I could help but grin while reading the entire story... great story btw.. I wish it didnt end there.. so as to leave the mind at peace..lol

VaiVa said...

“Yeah… with their section 477 and all the love fest going on in public…”

Ha ha ha.... why so obsessed about this section 377 (oh.. 477). :P

feddabonn said...

hey nice one! and the pointy bits are a good reminder, lol.

aduhi said...

Very nice story. How about a second chapter, about the flight to Delhi?
"Turned out, they had a few common friends, which was not so surprising when any two Mizos meet". It's a small small world, esp when it comes to Mizos, everyone really knows everyone else.

violette said...

good post as usual :).interesting n catchy....no wonder u r doing so well in advertisment world

apple88 said...

Interesting story/fiction.

I am more interested with the point of "judging somebody". Bible says we should not judge another person. Bible also gives some criterias/standards and ask us to check/judge ourselves or other person, such as written in Paul's letters. Is there confilct over here? Shall we judge or not judge?

As my understanding, we can and should judge the acts of ourselves and other persons' according to the words of the Bible, in the Spirit. However, we can not judge another person as a whole, especially his fate, since this is the authority of the God, not ours.

As a result, I would not choose to be a gay. I will tell my kids don't be a gay, since that is something against God's rule/will. But, I respect anther person's right to choose to be a gay. After all, he will be judged by the God, not me. What I should do is preaching Gospel to him so that he can be led by the God, not to forbid him to act as a gay.

Jason Cheng

apple88 said...

Of course, I will be judged by the God too. But not on the issue of homosexuality, I hope.

Blind Dayze said...

Wow another short "moral" :-) story and a good read too -- if you ever decide to publish your collection of short stories..i'd recommend sending it to Gutenberg or WikiBooks or OpenSource Books..

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Submitting_Your_Own_Work_How-To

I align with Jason's comment above...

illusionaire said...

@ Jason my buddy, now can we please just relax :-) This is just a story, and if you try to be serious all the time, then you are missing the finer moments of life.

Of course one can always bring out so many other points from this story too, as all the arguments I have used in the plot are some of the most discussed and controversial topics in our Mizo online community, from inter-racial relationships to homosexuality to prohibition of alcohol to tattoos etc etc...

So cheer up my brother. Just enjoy this story. This is not one of those serious social issues or Bible related posts. Its just fiction. :-)

chhangte_ll said...

From Bobby to Hminga..ha ha ha...Eitur an va sem har e ka lo ti maia..Lolzzz...Nia, N-E Sector a thlawk reng rengi hi thlawhna kum 15 aia naupang a awmlo reng asin. Sawrkar thlawhna a an Air-Hostess te phei hichu..Huissss...Thau si, Induh si, Fel lo si, Mawl si, leh inchhuang ve khanglang anni e...Insual law law se ka tih tehlul nena :D

illusionaire said...

@ Carey: Thanx. lolz. Like I said before, I still have a long to go, before I can even think of doing such a thing. Its all a learning process my brother, and thats exactly what I am doing - Learning with each and every post.

@ Rita: lolz... its up to you guys to imagine how that next flight would be like, and the uncomfortableness and awkwardness etc. hehehe...

@ VaiVa: Read that part again now.. noticed anything different? :-P

@ feddabonn: hehehe... yeah thanx bro.

@ Aduhi: Yup it sure is a common thing to know common people. And imagine you are either John or Hminga, how would you feel on that second flight? lolz.

@ violette: Thank you my dear. Glad you enjoyed it. And this kind of writing is not exactly related to my line of work (people just assume I do a lot of "writing" because I am a "copywriter") I guess I should come up with a post soon on what copywriters actually do in an Ad agency :-) Believe me, this is not it.

@ Blind Dayze: hehehe... like I mentioned to Carey, I still have a long way to go before I can do something like this. Plus, with work, I dont have the time... :-(

illusionaire said...

@ chhangte_II: oooo boss chu, comment ho ka reply inkarah i lo comment hman a ni maw? :-) nula leh tlangval inngaizawng inkarah i va inrawlh thut hrat hmel... lolz...

Eitur kha chu... an in hnial nasa lutuk, airhostess ten an mahni an pe ve duh lauu :D

Keipawh ka insual tir a ngem aw ka tia... mahse ka ngaihtuah a, a dangdai khawp mai, thlawhna chhunga mahni bul chiaha thu nen a insual hi, lolzz... seat-belt an vuah mai bakah a hmun kha a chep ropui dawn sia. khawiahmah lah a in bawh thluk theih der awm si lova... hihihi...

VaiVa said...

OMG! Creative mind, creative patch up... :P

dr_feelgood said...

Something's not right in this story. Two Mizo guys, sober and stranger to each other would never fight. Even if we don't agree, we hardly ever disagree!But, give them a couple of drinks and even best friends wont part till they've had a good scrap!!!

Varte said...

“Sir, here you go.”

Hminga smiled and genuinely said thank you. He grabbed the ticket and looked at his new seat number.

29-B.

lolzzz... khawngaihthlakin!!!!

Delhi kawngah chuan an insual tawh ngei ang.

illusionaire said...

@ VaiVa: :-P

@ dr_feelgood: Well, its just a fiction :D

@ varte: hehehe... nia... thats up to your imagination :D

Joseph L said...

hehehe. These guys may end up best friends, who knows??

Mos-a said...

aizawl to lengpui taxi fare hi Cheng 600 a ni tawh :D.

this one reminds me of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles directed by the late great John Hughes. this one's also about two travelers who can't seem to get rid of each other.

Mos-a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blackestred said...

Nice read.. you should probably direct a short-movie/documentary or sumthin with a really strong "Public Service" kinda Message...
About the mention of Leviticus n The Bible, I think majority of the restrictions/rules present in our Society today is loosely based on the Old Testament and its laws, yet we still choose to dwell on that.. GOK why!!

violette said...

ok..am waiting for the post on what copywriters do...hehe(i fans te helam ah 3/4 vel kan om e....i old post kan miss te kan chhiar a,50 vel chhiar loh kan la nei....)

David M. Thangliana said...

Congrats Kima, you are a really talented writer. However, you are on dangerous ground because the subjects you have brought out (homosexuality and racism) are truly controversial not only in Mizo society, but in Indian society. However, I could become an avid follower if could continue your story because I would really love to know how it ends. You could expand it into at least five chapters so that it can at least be called a 'short story'.

Whether you continue this particular story or not, keep on writing because I feel you have the potential to become a successful writer. Keep it up!

Mimihrahsel said...

huh! why did it end there?? i want more, i want more! :-D

Sekibuhchhuak said...

A thui ka ti deuh nangin, ka chhiar zo thak mai. Ngaihnawm khawp mai. thawnthu chhiar a chhiar erawh chuan a thui chuang lo boss.

illusionaire said...

@ father_sphinx: hehe... Prolly :-)

@ Mosa: 600 bucks? Thats a lot. Even 500 was a rip off, in my opinion.

@ Blackestred: Yup, Leviticus opens up a whole floor for debate. And I have seen such discussion again and again in many of our Zo online forums.

@ violette: lolz... min rawn bawl suh. I'll write that post soon. And hehehe... thanx for reading my old posts :-)

@ Pu DMT: hehe... I dunno. I thought it would be best to end it like that and leave what happens next to the reader's mind :-) And thanx for the compliment, pu DMT. Coming from you, that means a lot.

@ Mimi Hrahsel: :-P All good things must come to an end :D

@ Sekibuhchhuak: i van ti lawmawm, big boss, i chhiar chhuak veka. Ngaihnawm te i tia, min ti hlim e.

Pixie said...

LOL!!

Brilliant piece of work!

What a set of contradictions both are!!

very well written! :)

mesjay said...

Good, interesting. I really enjoy the ironic turn at the end.

Peer Gynt said...

Real neat take on stereotypes! intentional or not, this is a nice, gentle way of offering a window into the Mizo 'plane'...that we aren't all peas in the same pod :D

illusionaire said...

@ Pixie: hehehe you're back!! wooohoooo!! :) Hope that was a refreshing hiatus... :)

@ mesjay: Thanx pi Mesjay. :-)

@ Peer Gynt: We are indeed different, but sometimes it is our differences that unites us. I've been in a lot of discussions regarding various topics, and till now I've never come across anybody who have agreed in every single opinion of mine. I may agree with X about A,B,C but not D, and I may agree with Y regarding B, C, D but not A. I guess that's what makes each of us unique. :-)

vana said...

ka nau i dam maw? Ngaihnawm khawp mai. Mi hnialpui chiam hi i hrat hmel ka lo ti luttuk a. hehe just kiddin. Lo ziak zel teh.

Zaia said...

A ngaihnawm leh e. Tin, thawnthu tha tak niin ka hria, High Court ruling leh Bible-te i keu phah em aw? Nge, mi thusawi i hriat i sawi chhawng?
hehe.. (phiamthu).

A tawpdan hi a changkang khawp mai!

badzzy said...

hey kima i seriously love wat u write seriously u shud write a book i bet its gonna be a best seller!!!

faka said...

Surely you know how to write hotupa! I really enjoyed your story. Keep it up and start writing a book...

gkhiangte said...

hahahha...i love the ending!!! great story mirroring the current controversial issues of Mizoram.
as far as section 377 is concerned, i believe people shud be able to have consensual sex if they want..nevr by force though.

btw, have you tried writing a love story with you in it? hehe im sure you have a lot to write about from experience.

Kym said...

I was trying to scrol down to continue my reading...but it actually end there....keeping me in suspense...when is Part II coming up?..^_<...

Eveline said...

GASP! Makes me wonder why i waited this long to read this post of yours.. maybe it's the medication.
K... i just had a blackout when you ended that. It was brilliant. I really like your kind of a cliffhanger. :)

claytonia vices said...

Nice story! Hehehehe!

A nice Illusionarian ending! :D
(Heard the term Hitchcockian twist?)

Aussielad said...

'Stranger in the mirror' ang a chhiar ka tum chu le....

Good job,kept writing dnt give up!!!

illusionaire said...

@ vana: lolzzz. hehe mi hnialpui chu ka hrat lo, ka hmelhriat te an nihloh chuan :D thank you bro.

@ zaia: Thanxxx :-) Nia, thenkhat chu mi sawi ka hriat, discussion forum manage hi chuan mi opinion hran hran hi kan hrelo theilo a lawm :-)

@ badzzy: hehehe... am back after 3 days of complete rest and vacation away from the online world. How you feeling now? :-)

@ faka: Thanx hotupa. Your encouragements and criticisms alike keep me going in this life that we call blogosphere.

illusionaire said...

@ gkhiangte: Now why would I write a love story with me in it? It always ends in a tragedy... :-P

@ Kym: lolz. Thanx for reading. No part II. That is the whole point of this story. Its up to you to imagine what that next flight would be like :)

@ Eveline: Thank you :-) I'm glad I could deliver the punch at the end. That was my intention. And whats with the medication? :-)

@ claytonia: Thanx :D Well, my friends who follow my "short stories" regularly do say that I am getting quite predictable because this is how I always end all my stories. So apparently, people are now expecting a "Sixth Sense" kinda ending to all my stories, so that takes away plot. I must change my style!

@ Aussielad: Thanx man... and hope you keep visiting :-)

The Pissimist said...

Nice story. Reminds me alot about the phrase "Peace through Superior Fire Power". We should consider all POVs. Everyone's right but then again everyone's wrong. We'll never know. It's not up to us, it's something way beyond human intellect and there's no reason for it, just the way life is. Peeps should just philosophise, instead of ceasing their brain function (which unfortunately leads to inconclusive conclusions). And any which way, the majority will always win, be they imbeciles, or wrong or just plain assholes. Sad.