I stared at the clock, a yawn seconds away from forming on my lips. It was a quarter to 12, but I lay wide awake. One might normally be affected by grief to be up at such a time when they could be snoozing away, but I wasn’t- for each day was like the previous one amidst the infamous lockdown of mid-2020, which had brought the entire world to a halt. My life had taken a monotonous tune, albeit the dishes and their varied tastes kept changing day by day- Dalgona coffee and all screaming happily in our stomachs.
In the lockdown, we often used to sleep in the study upstairs- our house has a little library on the terrace facing a glasshouse which to me gives a stunning view of the plants that adore the garden right beyond it. After all, one would not give up an opportunity to wake up to a view like that. Sleeping, on the other hand, could be a bit hard. Normally, since my sister and I had our separate rooms, the lamp would be singing on happily well past midnight, and mumma-papa slept whenever they wanted to too, so syncing the time was naturally a bit of a task, leading to an incident that has become quite an inside joke among us.
Once, we had all been staring into the dark in the study, all wrapped up in our blankets, talking amongst ourselves. Actually, no- amongst ourselves isn’t quite right. I was lying highly sleepy, and very irritable because their conversations weren’t allowing me to be sleepy. So what do I do?
Like an idiot, I say good night over and over again, hoping it will shut them up. It didn’t. Papa just answered me with equal fervour featuring the tune of this scene from Sholay in “good night”, continuing with the dialogue which the farmer said after Dharmendra shouted suicide. And now, I’m sure as heck that the fact that I wrote this in my blog will become a joke, too. So will this statement from my blog. Ok, let me stop.
But, I digress. This is a post about books. So naturally, during the lockdown, I read a lot. And one of the amazing books I read was an incredibly well written, humorous book by Rishi Piparaiya that to date makes me laugh like a maniac.
To those who have been to an airport or are even vaguely familiar with the idea of it, this book is not only a golden and gleeful companion on long flights but also a joy to read all wrapped up in blankets when the entire world is shut down because of a microorganism- and I can give you first hand insurance that this is fact, not fiction, although the book may seem to be.
Before I continue, I would like to say: If in any case you do plan to read this book, please don’t read or take it seriously. I’m not one to normally suggest doing things in a certain fashion, but I personally feel taking this as literal travel advice might just ruin it, no offence meant when I say it this way. I obviously don’t know if it will suit everyone’s humour- but if it does suit someone’s, they will find it witty, observational, stupid and worthy-of-falling-for all at once. Now that I’ve said that, let me gush about it all over again!
Ranging from subtle humour about shuttle buses to slightly dark but absolutely hilarious statements about food, this book is a brilliant read. Plus, how could I forget the excruciatingly accurate statements about boarding? Quoting him,
“If you think nobody in this world cares about you, delay boarding your flight. Your name will be announced all over the airport, your mug shot splashed across screens and you will have men and women with Wanted posters running around looking for you.
I love it! This is the closest to fame I will ever get!”
I will not lie- the book does also provide some useful insights- including whether to window, aisle or middle when it comes to airplane seats. As he puts it, “If it’s a daytime flight, you need to remember the law of luminaries: the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. And unless you are a sunflower or Vitamin D deprived, I assume you would like to avoid sunlight streaming on your face at 38,000 feet.” Yes, indeed, Rishi, indeed. (I also like the fact that the author is a namesake of another one of my favourite authors, @rishisridhar 🙃).
The observation that he’s done throughout the flow chart of boarding and landing and before that and after that and amidst that- is just stunning. He cites the examples of pilots peeing far too often (I mean, our parents get annoyed at us if we don’t pee before we leave, but they’re steering a damn flight. Not meaning to sound insensitive at all. I’m just kidding.) And some unconscious thoughts that seem to lie in the back of my head every time I fly have been stated ever so clearly in the book, some of them being:
“I would like to please review some statistics on what passengers who ever slid down the emergency chute, removed their shoes before doing so.
‘The plane is on fire honey! The plane is going to blow up!’
‘Stop shrieking woman, and take off your stilettos first.”
“How is that pilots travel with such tiny suitcases and yet their clothes are always freshly ironed, crisply starched and as white as a pilot’s clothes? What’s their secret? Does a dhobi tag along on the jump seats?” (Reference image below:)
Also, there are absolutely hilarious endnotes in spite of the whole flight thing ending- it’s like he still wants to make you laugh, and heck, does he succeed!
“Speaking of Pakistan, is it just our borders that are disputed or does the disagreement extend to the airspace as well? I understand the whole ‘barbed wire fencing on the ground’ concept, but how do countries mark their airspace? Are there ropes strung across the sky?” (Reference image below:)
(Text translation for those who aren’t able to read the text below the image: “Cross this side and I will peck each of your freaking feathers off, you goddamn son of a swallow.”)
So, basically, what do I have to say about this book? Nothing- he’s just conveyed it all so well, that I have literally nothing left to say. I wish I could lengthen the blog a lot more, because I have so many more great things to quote, but well, I don’t want to bore you, because it may very well be possible that you do not like the book as much as I do! I’ve read this entire masterpiece at least 5 times, but each time, I laugh just as much- perhaps it is my childish humour, but the perfect references and observations- I adore it.
If someone loves to laugh, travels or has traveled and doesn’t take things far too seriously (Definitely not airports!), this is totally the book for you. I’m sorry if this article seemed like a very long version of me gushing about Aisle Be Damned and not a book review at all- I just can’t stop myself. I like it far too much!
Thank you so much for reading this article. I would like to add again, both the book and this post are solely humorous and I’m incredibly sorry if someone’s feelings do get hurt by this. I genuinely did not mean to do so. I value your thoughts and feelings!
I gotta say though, I adore your will power for walking through such a long post just to hear what I have to say- I appreciate having you in my life! Thank you once again, take care! Jai Sri Hari!
A/N: I would also like to extend my absolute, heartfelt gratitude to the entire osdotme team, readers and actually, my entire family, for walking through the WriteChoice challenge with me, constantly providing sweet and kind things to say, keeping my motivation high and making me smile from molar to molar. Much, much love and a ton of gratitude and thankfulness to you. ❤️ I cannot state in words how much I value your time and comments, so perhaps the hug that I send your way will!
P.S: Will write the Part-2 to the study tips post very soon, just after the challenge. Thank you once again for bearing with me. Jai Sri Hari!