Friday, January 21, 2011

Iyer Check!!

I was always afraid that MBA would make me a stuffy old bore, who took life too seriously. If not the course, then at least corporate life after that. A quick trip to campus has convinced me that far from being afraid of that, I should wonder whether I've gone quite firmly in the other direction!

IIMK's annual cultural fest cum alumni meet beckoned, and 5 of us from Mumbai decided to go together. And so we met at the airport, all excited about making a trip back to the alma mater and miss the good ol' days when we rotted around on a campus which beats the bleeding hell out of most resorts I've seen. So far, things were normal. But then the old K spirit started coming up and we all started getting into a jolly swell mood, ragging each other to no end and generally being rather boisterous. After some mucking around in the airport CCD, we proceeded to the check-in counter, and requested 5 seats in a row, so that the fun could continue. The girl at the counter shook her head sadly, as if disappointed that she'd have to be the party pooper and break us up. The only combination possible was a 4+1, unless we wanted to further fragment ourselves. Luck (or so thought the bugger who eventually got it) would decide who had to sit separately, we all said. And so, it turned out that Tinka would be the fall guy, with a seat 2 rows behind the rest of us. Tinka, however, had other plans. So did I. I wanted a window seat, come what may. After discretely checking each others seats to know what exactly we'd been allotted, we proceeded ahead.

Things stayed normal till we hit the queue at the boarding gate, when I announced that it was a free for all, and if anybody wanted a window seat, then they'd jolly well have to get there first. Bhale, Tinka and Gaay took to this idea rather gamely, while Dinesh Iyer passed it off as a joke. Now good ol' Iyer is a very propah fellah, who wouldn't dream of anybody sneaking up and taking what was rightfully his (or what he thought was, atleast). After a fair bit of pushing and shoving and elbowing (between ourselves), we managed to settle down in the bus taking us to the plane, each of us watching the others.

As soon as the doors open, the 4 of us jumped out, and started a sprint towards the aircraft ladder. Unfortunately, Dinesh hadn't really expected this, and before he could really understand what the hell we were up to, we had a good, solid start on him. Being the propah fell that he is, I doubt he would have condescended to join us even if he knew what we had in mind, so all was well.

I handed out my boarding pass to a rather amused ticket checker, who couldn't quick figure out what was happening, stormed up the ladder, startled the dickens out of an airhostess, who dropped a huge pile of tissues on the floor, and went and caught the window seat. Bhale, Tinka and Gaay soon followed, as we filled up the 4 adjacent seats we had. Behind them, minutes later, arrived a rather not-so-amused looking Dinesh, who proceeded to sit in half a dozen places before being rudely informed each time by a new chappie that that seat was his, and could he please buzz off? Finally, he found his bearings and his seat and apparently his temper, for he a flashed a weak smile at the 4 inanely grinning faces 2 rows ahead of him. Things were just heating up, unfortunately for him.

The take-off queue at the Mumbai airport is awfully long, and we soon got rather bored of the proceedings, especially in the mood we were in, and decided to have to fun. And thus came in 'Iyer Check!'

Every 5 minutes or so, all through the flight, we'd all look at each other, the 4 of us, count till 3, ask in an animated way 'Iyer Check?', bob up like meerkats above our seats, turn around, look at Dinesh, give him a wide, toothy grin and a jolly ol' wave, look back at each other, and confirm that things were, indeed, and thankfully, fine, say 'Iyer OK!!' in a loud voice with a thumbs up and a nod of the head, and bob back down, to burst into a fit of giggles.

This routine perplexed passengers around us to no end, especially since Gaay and I were wearing our IIM K tees, and embarrassed Dinesh to no end. He could do little about it though, and continued to give us a weak smile each time.

After take-off, it was donut time. We'd got a dozen of those incredible thingies from M.O.D at the airport, ostensibly for one of our junnies who was having a sudden craving. Staying far away from civilization does do that, I remember me having a 3 month long Subway craving in second year :| So we tucked into the box, gobbling it down, showing the open box to Dinesh and refusing to pass it, and so on. Eventually we decided that was too cruel a deed to do, and decided to pass the box to him. Then suddenly, the food cart came in between as the hostesses did their routine, and we had to pass in over the cart to Gaay.

And so on we proceeded. It was one of the most fun flights I have ever had, one in which I didn't sleep a wink, and one I didn't want to get over. It was like the good old days of campus back again, a bunch of us who didn't care how silly or crazy whatever we were doing was, what people around us felt or thought of us. At the end of it all, I couldn't help but wonder - do we just take life waaaaaay too seriously? Shouldn't we be having fun, as much of it as possible, when the times are good, when we're surrounded by people we like, and when there is nothing, nothing except a strange kind of ego and self-consciousness which holds us back?

The moment of the evening, though, was when the airhostess announced at the beginning (and the end) of the flight 'Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls, welcome to Indigo.....'

And thus started what I hope becomes an annual pilgrimage :)