Throughout a man’s journey across the seven stages of life, there would have been at least one occasion where he would have fought for the beloved window seat. Be it an airplane, a ship, a train or even a car, it isn’t rare to find children letting their fists decide on who gets to grace the seat closest to that flat transparent slice of soda lime. Many of these warriors are as clueless about their quest as are engineering students of today.
Just because I use the word ‘children’ doesn’t imply that I don’t think adults chase the same goal. The only difference here is that we don’t fight about it. And yes, I say ‘we’, because I still crave for that blessed position, even 22 long years after my “Hello World!” moment. When going on a long journey, the necessary condition to retain your sanity would be to either carry a portable music player, or to have interesting co-passengers who you can strike a good conversation with. I’ve never owned an MP3 device until recently, and regarding the second condition, I’m very unlucky, as the previous posts on my travels would suggest. It’s either annoying brats and their annoying parents, or old people, neither of which rank high on my ‘interesting-humans’ list. I find it difficult to understand why it is so that whenever I book a ticket for some form of travel, the probability of a hot chick reserving a ticket for the same train/plane at the same time from some other corner of the planet is zero.
Anyhow, all these years, I used to let my imagination keep me busy through my travels. Most of what I write are culminations of thoughts that go through my head during a journey. This article itself has it’s roots on my recent trip to Bangalore, which I will be describing shortly. My head works best when I’m staring into nothingness, when I’m staring through solid matter, like Superman using his X-ray vision. On a train, this is quite difficult if you’re looking ahead, and you have another passenger in front of you. If you’re a young man in his early twenties like me, and there’s an attractive woman in front of you, this is surely not going to work well for you (I haven’t tried it yet, and I won’t). So I’ve always considered it important that I get the window seat while on a train, only to kill my own boredom with my thoughts, and not because of the sights that await me outside.
On a plane, one might argue that the person-in-front-of-you issue doesn’t apply. That is correct. However, it is still a lot more easier to stare into blankness while you’re onboard an aircraft. An endless field of clouds isn’t going to keep you in awe for more than 10 seconds, and beyond that, your mind gets to take charge, no distractions whatsoever.
My animal instinct for survival got the best of me during this last train journey of mine. The weather refused to let me sleep away the 8 hours I had with me, and Murphy ended up giving me the seat farthest from the window. A very talkative and elderly person occupied what I felt was my right. He was able to strike a conversation with everyone around him. I couldn’t. It was only fair that I be where he is. Holding on to my belief, I thought I’d manipulate my nemesis’ mind to save myself.
Armed with my more than obvious body language, I decided to fight for what was mine.
Luckily for me, the person between me and the old gentleman (we’ll call him Gramps from here on), had his eyes get the better of him, and managed to take a nap on the upper berth. So the only battle for me to fight was with Gramps. Like a panther in the shadows, I silently waited for my target to make a move. And soon, he did. Nature’s call FTW. I seized the opportunity to slide casually towards the now unoccupied window seat. The plan was simple, when Gramps returns, I move aside, all the while hoping that he says, “No, it’s ok, you can sit there.” But I wasn’t to rejoice soon; I never heard those words when Gramps got back. I wasn’t going to give up yet. Achilles didn’t give up after his first unsuccessful siege against the Gates of Troy. Battles of this importance are meant to be long. I got another opportunity a little later, when Gramps left his seat to stretch his legs, but the outcome of my attempt was the same. Gramps merely occupied his seat which I had temporarily conquered. But persistence is the key, and after the third attempt, those words finally came, and I high fived myself inside my head. I also pulled off a very polite “Uncle, do you want to sit here?” later on, knowing fully well that his answer would be “No, it’s alright”.
The several hours that followed were blissful. I took a moment of that time to ask myself why I did what I did, which is when I decided to write this post. So there you go! 🙂
I wonder how many others feel the same? Cheers anyway!