Sunday, May 29, 2011

A flight to remember!

My wife and I recently went on a trip to Las Vegas. It was a last minute plan and when I booked through an online travel agency, I thought I got a good deal. We got to the airport and at the curbside check in, I shelled out $17 to check in a bag. I really didn't have problem with that.
"Could you please seat us together?" I requested.
"Well....," the young lady at the counter said and handed me the tickets. As I walked away, I saw the seat numbers -- 1A and 6A. I was back at the counter in a second.
"I requested to be seated together." I was a little annoyed.
"The computer assigns random seats, the only option I can put in is to put people in the same row."
"The same row? You have us in row 1 and row 6!"
"Sir, you both are in row A."
"Row A?! Row A extends from 1 to 26---"
"There is another option. You could buy choice seats."
"Choice seats? What are choice seats?"
"For a nominal charge, we can give you seats together."
"Oh, alright. Let's do that."
"That will be $15---"
"That's not too bad---" I started.
"---for each seat, one-way," she continued.
I was peeved, but I paid up anyway. I would rather pay altogether in the beginning rather than paying small amounts in ten different steps. We made it to our "choice seats" and before take-off, the stewardess started with her safety monologue. It was very early in the morning, and my eyes were getting heavier.......

........"We also have a beverage service for your convenience and pleasure. Wine is $5 per serving, sodas and water for $2.... there's a surcharge of 50 cents on each of these if you want the flight attendant to smile while she or he serves you--"
I turned to my wife, who was snoozing. "Did you hear what she said! There's a 50 cent charge if you want the flight attendant to smile---"
"We live in tough economic times. A 50 cent smile is a real cheap smile though......" she said, as she dozed off again.
"Hey miss, at this rate you'll soon be charging us to use the restroom," I joked to the flight attendant as she walked by.
"Sir, the first 150 seconds of the restroom usage are free," she said. And she was not smiling.
"What? I was just kidding!"
"Well, I am not," she said frostily. "After the first 150 seconds, you put a quarter in the slot by the toilet seat, every 30 seconds."
"And what happens if I don't have a quarter?" I asked, almost afraid of the answer.
"In that case, sir, you will get a five second restroom grace time. After the 5 seconds expire, the locks will release and the door will automatically swing open."
"God! You are kidding, right?"
"Never been more serious in my life. For your comfort & convenience, this aircraft is equipped with change machines right outside the restrooms." And she walked off, still without a smile.
Wow! Was this wild or what?.........
And then my wife woke me up. "Hey, we are in Vegas. Let's go and win that million dollars!"

I don't know how much of the above occurred in dreamland. The next time you take a flight, please take some quarters with you, just in case.......


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Being 'ONE' as a family......

This past weekend, my wife and I were fortunate to be a part of a celebration of a young lady's graduation from medical school. It was just family and a few close friends. It was one of the most memorable evenings for me. And the reason for it being so special was the "informality"  of the evening. It was a cozy basement. The atmosphere was all about love and affection for the young lady, and wishing her the best for the rest of her life. One could feel the warmth of the cocoon her family had provided, and they were 'ONE' that evening.

There were no highly strung divas strutting around, flashing their diamonds or the Type A gentlemen talking about their big condos or even bigger bank balances! And thank God for that. This gathering was far from that. It was all about heart, respect and pulling together as a family.

We go through a lot in life, with its numerous ups and downs, but we always start and end with family. It is a well known fact that children belonging to stable and close knit families will always do well in life. This kind of nurturing produces a strong character.

Anybody who tells you that they never have disagreements  or arguments within their family, is probably not being entirely truthful. Friction is an integral part of the definition of family. But deep down in our hearts, we know that we can never turn away from those with whom we spent our childhood and with whom we shared those special memories & secrets growing up. Always remember that "Families are like fudge---mostly sweet, with a few nuts!"

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."