Saturday, June 30, 2012

To All The Travellers I’ve Loathed Before

(And shall loathe ever more)

Dear Indian Traveller,

I am going to just come right out and say it. You have exhausted my patience. I am tired of cringing in embarrassment at your obnoxious behaviour while on holiday, on domestic and foreign soil. Allow me to elaborate on a few of your more popular misdemeanours.

My shoulder is not a headrest. Or if you insist on making use of my shoulder to rest your oily mop, at least do me the kindness of not hogging the arm rest. How about a little give and take? I do not take kindly to being your beast of burden, especially on a flight that is longer than, oh, three minutes. On the same note, I will not accommodate the filthy shoes, diapers and face wipes of your mewling and puking infant. I do not appreciate your spawn kids wiping their grubby hands on my jeans or sticking boogers under the seat. How about some respect for personal space?

My lap is not your feeding trough. You may not need to ask for that extra serving of scrambled egg if you didn’t splatter a generous helping of your breakfast on my lap. Please refrain from blowing your nose into the white cold towel handed to you. The seat pocket in front of you is certainly not a place to stuff your soiled snot-laden towel.

I’m all for interesting conversation with a co-passenger. Make that mutually interesting conversation. Hitting on me is interesting only to you. So are topics such as the precarious condition of your digestive system, your erratic bowel movements, your bunions, your daughter’s chastity until marriage, your thousand pilgrimages with your Sharmy Aunty and so on. And forgive me for not sharing every detail of my life with you, a stranger. That does not make me a cold person. It makes you a nosy person.

Why must you leap up and stand at the ready as soon as the plane touches down? It makes it worse when you’re in the middle seat. I have no burning desire to be staring at your mostly repulsive derriere until passengers can actually disembark. And why must you plonk your hand baggage on my head while you wait?

Moving on from airplane etiquette now.

I understand that the concept of queuing up and politely waiting one's turn is largely alien to our culture. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to learn it now, you know. It is not okay to asphyxiate a solo traveler trying to find information at a kiosk. It is not okay to pull his chair out from under him. And it certainly isn’t all right to give each other high fives after having successfully ousted him from the kiosk.

This might come as something of a surprise to you. But nobody really wants to know who you are and where you’re going. Must you compete with the decibel levels of a public announcement system?

Scowling at and being rude to a confused salesgirl is not going to help matters. Especially when you are the moron who walks into a swimwear shop that is covered with bikinis and asks for “long trouser”.

Finally, you and I just happen to be from the same country of origin. That does not necessarily mean we have a whole lot in common, we should be travel buddies or that we must even pretend to like each other. When you go down in a blaze of unglory, try not to take me down with you. That’s all.