Warning: Gonna be a long post because of the incident during the flight
Every once in a while during my flight journey I end up having someone sitting next to me who would be so weird that I end up having some story to tell someone about it. The flight was already delayed by an hour because of a technical issue with the door. Thankfully it was properly fixed and not ‘patched’ by any intermediate fixes like we do in our software 😉 While waiting at the gate, I keep looking around for people and what they are doing, how they are reacting, who wants to be the first in the queue for boarding etc etc. There are always people who would go with their Economy tickets when the call was Business Class/ First Class and get turned back. There is not a single time I haven’t met at least ‘one’ of them. I wonder why they would do that! OK, let me get back to this weird guy. So this French guy was sitting 4 seats to my left and was trying to chat with an Indian (of course). Why was their conversation weird and why did I actually pay attention to it? Because the French guy spoke french and the Indian guy spoke English and neither of them were able to understand the other. The French guy was trying to strike a conversation and the Indian guy didn’t know how to respond, so he was mostly smiling and shaking his head. Well, now you know why that caught my attention.
I think you know where this is heading, right? Well, as fate would have it, once I placed my bags in the cabin, I went to freshen up and when I was back I saw this French guy in my seat. Whoa!!! OK!!! I tell him that the aisle seat was mine (I endured the middle seat on the way to London, and made sure that I did not repeat my mistake) and he was looking at me like I was crazy. Then I had to show him my ticket and then he was like ‘oui oui’ and moved to the next one taking my headset with him. Some more of the hand gestures to get it back from him. And after that I opened my Kindle, as usual, and started with my book, wondering what is in store for me. The Indian guy on the other side tried to strike a conversation with the French guy and well, you know what happened. It was a repeat of the earlier performance. What I didn’t expect was that this French guy turned to me and started to speak in French and wasn’t even slow. Now, it was my turn to look at him like ‘he’ was crazy and told him ‘I don’t speak French’. For that he said ‘I speak French’ (the only English line he knew, I guess) I almost rolled my eyes and told him ‘OK! but I dont’ and added some hand gestures. He didn’t seem to be bothered and kept talking to me. How am I even supposed to respond to that? I smiled and asked him ‘You speak English?’ and he was like ‘English?’ and shook his head no. I said OK and went back to my book and didn’t respond to his lines after that. Why bother. The Indian guy on the other side tried to help him but again to no avail and finally found a representative of the BA who spoke French. After that, all was well and calm.
But not for too long. After the 5th hour or so, once I had my book finished I decided to take a nap and was doing well with it for almost an hour when I heard someone very close to my left ear talking (the French guy was to my right) I woke up only to find the senior official of the BA air hosting team asking the French guy if he was smoking in the toilet. The senior guy was flanked by the French speaking guy and another assistant. Little did the guy know that the French guy spoke only French. He told him that he could smell cigarettes on him and that another passenger recognized him coming out of the toilet followed by some smoke and that he would be warned this time but if he continued he would be arrested in India. He was so angry and he spoke without a pause even though he had a good control of his tone. The French guy, well, he listened to all of it, obviously not understanding a word of it. Then the French speaking assistant came to help and translated it word by word (I am just assuming it) and this guy was vehemently denying it even though he had cigarettes in his pocket. I was caught up in between and was watching them like a tennis match.
After that excitement and all, I couldn’t go back to sleep. But that guy didn’t have any such issues. After mumbling himself to sleep and drinking some of whatever he had in his cabin baggage, went back to sleep. I started on another book and before I could put it down after an hour, he got very comfortable and I almost thought he was going to keep his leg up on me, the way he moved around and laid on the guy on the other side. Now I was fully awake to make sure that he didn’t turn to my side. And in a few minutes, he removed his shirt too. Good Lord! I almost called the assistants but then he put it back on after a few minutes. Thank Goodness. And before we got down, he was talking to the other Indian guy in French telling him something about how he was scolded about smoking and was mimicking the old senior assistant who scolded him in English.
How is he even going to survive in India, without any English knowledge? Not many people know French here, let alone English (languages, I mean). When the other Indian guy was asking him if he had any friends here, he was wondering ‘friends? why?’ It looked like he got the first ticket he could get and just got on. Will he be able to survive here? He might be able to. But it is going to be some painful start and I hope that he is not ripped of whatever money he has. Since I can’t smell well, I couldn’t say anything about the smoking but if everyone else could smell the smoke on him, then he definitely did put everyone else on danger by doing a prohibited thing, in a flight nonetheless, which doesn’t earn him any points. And two guys on the left seat were having a huge discussion about this guy for almost half an hour after the smoking incident. Seriously, why do I end up being part of these kind of events.