The Crying Baby on Board (The Plane)!
The Crying Baby on Board (The Plane)!
I was seating comfortably on my window seat looking outside when I felt this light tap on my shoulder! These kind of things always make me frightened with all these stories of hijacking, terror and mixed up identities. I do not know why – but travelling makes me very much confused and not at ease. It is only when the plane has taken off and flown for some time then I become cool, collected and at ease. Everything – and I mean everything – can go wrong before departure time – or landing and clearance time at the airports! As it usually does!
I turned round and saw this prettiest woman that I ever saw in my life. The plane was going to Tanzania – and I guess she must be from that same country! Who said that only blondes and brunettes were the only pretty species – this woman could cat walk any beauty pageant – and win immediate great applause and cheers! Hold on to start to go off in your far stretching dirty thoughts now – saying more to myself!
Smiling beautifully, she said to me – In English – she said to me – Sir, can we change seats? I really wanted a window seat – but checked in late! I looked at her and was contemplating to give a stern negative – when I noticed the baby with her! As if reading my thoughts, she went on – I am having the baby with me – seating on my lap – and showing her outside before we take off would really help me a lot! Is it okay?
Okay I replied back in Swahili! This made her more comfortable now! So you speak Swahili too? That is good! Going for holidays? Or are you from there? No – going for holidays – I replied back!
Reluctantly, I got up from my seat and changed seat with her – all the time consoling myself that I am doing it more for the baby! Men are really naive – when it comes to giving up to the prettier human species creatures!
The Air Hostesses thanked me graciously – and she too was quite a thing to look at too! In my mind – and in deep soul searching – I asked myself why suddenly these noticing these things – even before the plane had taken off? And not once you have arrived at your holiday destination?
Anyway I consoled myself – I needed the rest now – and away from this country! I had given the country all I had with me – and including my job and career prospects fighting the more foreign management – and the local peers so inclined – to push for more Omanisation (Localisation) and job opportunities for the Youth!
These were so many years ago – before the demonstrations for jobs took place years and years later! I had sacrificed everything in my young life and career – to fight for the National cause – and here I was in great dire stress and so many legal problems and issues! I certainly needed to be away from the place – and take a break and a rest!
I had lost all my hopes and dreams to have my own Management Consultancy after it went bust two years later! And all my pension payments – and lost heavily in a tender that even my gut feelings was against taking – but the local national company persuaded us to take it – because we will review the tender price as we go along – and promise you more in the future!
Nothing of the sort happened – only that we had the lower end of staff to look at from intermediate levels! The International Foreign Consultants looking at the top end – where there were lesser problems – were actually paid 3 times more than us! But then maybe our mistake was we did not know how to tip? Or send back some to the payers! Anyway that is life for you! You make one wrong decision and choice – and you pay for the rest of your life!
Everything went quite and smooth for quite awhile! The baby was sleeping peacefully – and even the Mother was starting to go to sleep! They served some snacks and coffee or tea? Always it is coffee or tea? Meat or chicken? What if I wanted both? The airlines sure know to put you in your place – if you fly Tourist or Economy! In Business and First Class – you can have both – or even more too!
I am one of those type that cannot sleep on board these planes! Even if the film has been run down and lights deemed – I will use the headlight to read something! It was then the baby woke up with a start and scream! Maybe had a night mare? Or perhaps just the confined space had set it off?
The poor mother struggled to keep the baby quiet! Even the two hostesses came in trying to help? Does she need milk? Does she need pampers? Have you noticed this? The day someone can read a baby’s mind and what it wants – that person will end as a billionaire! All the companies manufacturing baby foods and products will surely want to hire this person!
And then another thing! A baby giraffe or gazelle is born – and half an hour later it starts to walk! Even less than half an hour! But the most strong and powerful species on earth? Our babies cry – and we do not know what they want and or what we are missing – or what the baby wants! Needs changing? Needs food? Needs to burp? Needs you to walk up and down the plane – but still demonstrating and protesting!
The mother apologised profusely to everyone on board – especially waking up those already sleeping! Was it true that in First Class they do not allow babies for fear they will cry and disturb the other passengers? I would not know! Have not travelled in one – still yet! Even if large built and sometimes embarrassingly they have to bring in an extension seat belt link! It is still economy for me!
Everyone of the hostesses tried to help – but to no avail! Baby was still crying loudly for all to hear! Now the more louder – with all the special attention it was getting from everyone! So good me got up – let me try! The mother said – thanks – but it is no use! She does not want anyone. So one of the airhostesses asked if she needed a private place to breast feed?
No she now takes milk from the bottle! It must be the confined compressed air – volunteered one nice Asian Lady. She too tried and failed – protesting -this is the first time this has happened to me! Grandchildren not wanting me? The poor woman looked hurt and disoriented! She had come to visit her relatives here in Oman – and now she was travelling back home to Tanzania!
So I volunteered again! Let me have the baby – let me try! She gave me the baby reluctantly! Imagine giving your baby to a perfect stranger! And a man too! So I took the baby – put her on my shoulders – caressing her back! She went quiet – believe me! Quite quiet! I guess she burped too – but I could not hear – with all the clappings on board! The baby went quiet – and even going to baby talk now!
Embarrassed me being the centre of attraction! Few seconds later – went red and blushing when the pretty lady hostess said – in flirt, joke and tease – even me will go quiet if pressed to those large built Vono shoulders!
Dumb naive me – here was a throw line and flirt message – but my mind was so far away to notice – or to pay attention to!
By Majid Al Suleimany
March 23rd 2014