I heard the cultured voice in the background, over and above the droning of the aircraft's engine and something alerted me to that fact that he was talking to me. That realisation made me look up , surprised , for I did not know him. He looked very distinguished, iron grey hair , close cropped and slicked back , impeccably styled and dressed in a sedate suit.
The plane had just landed and as was my custom I had not made any attempt to get up . I see no point in standing in the already crowded aisle cooling my heels but generally wait till the doors are opened and the crowd starts moving ahead. It's so much easier with more elbow room to reach up and grab the backpack, cabin bag and then get out.
So I was sitting on my aisle seat, checking email on my iPad , my paperback on my lap . I have been reading the latest John Grisham , perfect for flights as many will agree and it dawned on me that this person was actually saying , " so how's the book ? I too like Grisham a lot and tell me , is this as good as his others and so on and on and on....like he and I were some book club buddies.
Now I am a frequent traveller and have no issues with occasional exchanges with the guy sitting next to me(and even made nice 9 hour or 3 hour friends ) or a hullo, thanks and excuse me when needed but this somehow seemed a bit intrusive . I turned back to my emails giving a little polite nod of acknowledgment which should have deterred a less persistent fellow. I did not see any reason why I should discuss the merits of John Grisham with someone who had not even been sitting next to me for the duration of the flight and who I found no inclination to chat to. No rude angle here, just did not want to. Had messages to attend to moreover.
But no, the guy went on and even went as far as to introduce himself , " oh excuse me , I am Commander so and so , i should have introduced myself or some such inane , totally unnecessary comment .
Now I had to be completely and obviously rude and ignore the guy. This was difficult for he was right beside me and I was this captive prey, hemmed in from all sides. One more remark on Grisham slithered from the smooth tongue of the Commander and I felt I had enough. I honestly felt this was invasion of my privacy.
I leaned and peered over to the adjacent aisle seat across from mine and ascertained that my husband who was traveling with me had not yet moved and was around. Then I made, in loud dulcet tones and in Tamil some random wifely request about minding my stuff on the rack above to him making it very clear to Commander Curious that I was not alone and he should buzz off and leave me alone too.
I am not sure why his attention bothered me so much but it did. And a great deal. Was I the aggrieved party? Yes I was for this was unwelcome and uncalled for invasion of my privacy. I travel all over the world, on work, and alone. Husband being with me is a rare occurrence and it bothered me I had to resort to this to keep this over enthu guy at a safe distance. For I suddenly did feel unsafe and in a plane full of people mind you.
Uninvited, and with no encouragement, this person was invading my private space, commenting on a personal choice that was no business of his and putting me in the uncomfortable position of not being able to evade his unwelcome attention. I did not like it . In fact it bothered me one helluva lot and I felt irritated, angry and violated. I did not want to be rude or read something that was not there but my gut feeling was telling me there was something there which was not pleasant and was uncalled for.
The exchange with hubby put stop to his increasingly eager monologue. I am not even sure if my husband realised what was going on but knowing him I am sure he caught on . Commander Curious shut up and I could hear the silence .
The doors of the plane opened finally and the passengers began to disembark.
I was lucky to be able to walk away from the unpleasant situation.
Not everyone is .