Love letter to a flight stewardess

Nishant Jain makes comics, running The Testimonial Comics and drawing for Indian magazine 90 Minutes and online sports network Sportskeeda. He also has an unusual fondness for the movies of Woody Allen, guavas and The Doors. He tells us what happened on his last flight.

AKA Is Vimaan Mein Aapka Swagat Hai.

I don’t know how to start this. But that’s not my fault.

I was cluttered with too much information from a ridiculously early age, back from when I was given my first 999 in 1 Sega video game cartridge, with 5 types of Tetris showing me pieces I didn’t even know existed, a dozen versions of Super Mario which all seemed the same and none of which I liked. This came with all kinds of self-indulgent princess-rescuing, boulder-jumping, stair-climbing, hill-crossing madness while being regularly attacked by strange floating creatures inside mazes, by turtles while I was chasing magic mushrooms and going into green pipes on the side of the road, and even a damn gorilla who threw freaking big rocks at me.

I didn’t NEED to rescue Olive Oyl from Bluto to grow up a normal, morally upright person. It wasn’t essential. It was tough. That’s all I’m saying. I didn’t like her and I didn’t like being Pop-eye. I didn’t even like spinach until much later in life when palak paneer happened to me.

I want to tell you everything I learned about life from Contra and Road-fighter, but I’m afraid I’d really digress then. That stuff was full of these beautiful, subtle life lessons. Especially Contra Force, where you could choose between 4 characters, one of whom had a grenade launcher. That tells you something.

But I grew up fine myself and here I am now on this flight and here you are and this is us and I’m in love with you as your demonstrate things I can do with a life jacket around my neck in case of an unforeseen emergency evacuation.

The doors are to the back, to the front and to the sides.

Listen to me now, I want to tell you that if anything happens on this flight, I’ll save you. Don’t you worry! Over and above my hand baggage, I will save you. And that even has my passport in it.


I said it.

I love you more than my passport.

You might think that’s no big deal, but try roaming the government offices of Kolkata to get a fresh copy of your passport and see how many weeks that takes you. Efficiency has not hit our part of the world yet, and that’s how strong my love is. I can just see us now, walking hand in hand from office to office, submitting applications and making under-the-table payments, your airline-uniform scarf floating in the sweat-laden, dusty, lethargic breeze of the jerky, old Orient PSPO fan of the Passport Office.

Yes, your scarf and beret are an important part of our future. You’re a looker yourself, don’t think you’re not. But when we make love, don’t be surprised if I ask you to keep them on. It would be simply improper for you to take them off while we’re in the air. Frantic on-flight restroom sex is just no excuse for that stuff while you’re still on duty, that’s all I’m saying.

Yes, you heard me right, I can’t wait for this flight to land. No, I can’t even wait until we’re on land to ask you out straight into a hotel room nearby. Love is mysterious, you know it too. Who are we to question Cupid’s commands? I did not specifically intend to join the Mile High Club, it’s just how things have panned out for us. And who are we to swim against the mighty tides of destiny, I ask you? Krishna said something about that stuff to Arjuna and here I am saying it to you – the universal, ethereal lessons of our scriptures. I’m sure he said it, I’m sure this in there somewhere. The last time I saw a copy, it was really thick, large enough to cover most circumstances in life.

Einstein also said similar things about travelling in space and time and attracting objects with your gravity to bend their paths towards you. Pretty obvious stuff, gotta say, as we travel in space and time regularly, you and I. You over more space than me on a given day, perhaps, but we’re both logging in the same at a more Earth-Sun macroscopic level of things, as I presently do my best to bend you towards me, bend both our paths towards the back of this Airbus A320 aircraft, where I can tell you all about my hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations and you can tell me what your favourite bands and movies are while we carnivorously take apart each other’s clothing in the severely restricted space-time continuum of the restroom to commence the doing it.

Except for your scarf and beret, of course.

Yes, I love Annie Hall too.

Don’t you see what I’m trying to say here? No, I don’t want to choose from a selection of your on-flight beverage options. I want YOU. I love YOU. I wasn’t staring at your chest back when you asked me to please fasten my seat belt, I was just trying to read your name tag. Whether I formed a quick opinion about your … err … measurements at the same time, is frankly irrelevant. I couldn’t help it. Refer to aforementioned bit about too-much-information-from-a-young-age. Like Donkey Kong, remember that? I hated it, even while I played it. Who was that damned princess? What did she do for me? Did she marry just another prince at the end, who patted me on the back and asked me to go outside for a bit while they multiplied and convoluted the night away in wild, imaginary domains?

That’s how cruel life can be, unless we make it right, here and now.

What do you say? Do we take it one step at a time? I remember you pointed out the fluorescent strips on the floor, which are gleaming now as the cabin lights go dim. Let’s follow those strips, you and I. Let’s get lost. Let’s move that refreshment trolley out of our way and never look back. Passengers will continue to flick buttons for assistance and fat men will unbuckle seatbelts to get more food from overhead lockers. Little children have littler bladders and that woman over there wants more orange juice. But that’s life, and that’s how it is. Let’s leave it all behind. Let’s occupy that restroom with a flick of the lock in bright red lettering.

What do you say?

Yes, yes, I’ll put the tray table up. Look, no hands!

Learn more about Nishant Jain.


About Shruti Bharath

Social entrepreneur and developmental writer, passionate about creating workable solutions in the areas of improving employability of youth and women through skill enhancement/training and generation of productive and sustainable employment opportunities.

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