With domestic flights scheduled to start on Monday, what airline officials, and their Call Centre employees are learning is, most people have forgotten how to fly, “What do I carry with me?” asked a former frequent flyer.

“Your baggage sir!” said the call center employee pleasantly.

“That’s a plane load of baggage I’ve accumulated these past two months!” said the frequent flyer. “There’s this feeling of inadequacy because I wasn’t much of a help indoors! Insecurity, as my wife and daughters had huge whispering sessions, without including me! Vulnerability, as I found that suddenly I was thought of as the next victim because of my age! Which of this baggage can I bring along?”

“What I meant sir, is essential baggage for traveling!”

“Ah essential! That leaves me even more confused! The government mentioned essential goods only are available in my area, and I found that essential did not mean non-veg, but only my neighbour’s vegetables. It did not mean my wine with my weekend meal, but included sweet mangoes, that my maid loved eating! What essential luggage do you now mean? And how much am I allowed?”

“Sir, you can carry 15 kg checked in baggage and 7 kilos of hand…”

“Hey wait, don’t you think that’s a bit too much? I saw Ramu, my plumber walking back to his village, with just ten kilos of luggage, which was his whole life’s belongings! Shankar my carpenter carrying his mother as luggage on the road?”

“Sir, I think you have got it wrong, but never mind! Sir, please remember this is a contact free airport! Nobody will make human contact with you!”

“Contact free? But that is hard to believe. We had to make bribe contact with the coroner, to get our neighbor’s Covid free body out! My vegetable vendor, had to make commodity contact with the policeman and give them his best brinjals, onions and tomatoes to keep his pavement stall open! How, then will your airport be contact free, when contact has become a desi Covid culture now, to get what you want?”

“Sir, please bring your ID along!”

“ID? You want me to carry my ID when I myself don’t know who I am? I don’t know whether I am a free man in a free country anymore, or living in China, with anyone in uniform, having the right to beat me at any time for some rule made overnight! Or whether I have the right to say what I feel anymore before being marched off to jail? I do not know my identity anymore! What ID?”

“Sir, we are rejecting your application. We don’t think you are a fit passenger to fly!”

“What? Rejecting me? Then how do you expect me to travel to my hometown?”

“Most of the nation’s rejected are walking home sir. You can join them, goodbye..!”

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