JournalismPakistan.com May 23, 2014
My flight into Delhi did not disappear. It whispered onto the runway and did a three point touchdown. As the aircraft slowed and trundled to its gate there was a sudden shouting that seemed to increase in intensity and became confrontational. The Inflight Flight Officer was telling a slightly older passenger to sit down and keep his seatbelt on. The man was begging to go to the loo because he yelled he was old and had a bladder that was not continent and the fluid he had imbibed was not tolerant of time or place.
The IFE would not listen and now the man is in misery. To add to it, the crew, who have been remarkably pleasant en route now decide to report the shouting match (it is still going on, to the captain who calls ground control who call the security police and the aircraft is directed to a lonely spot away from the main terminal as a normal precaution).
By now the man has locked himself in the toilet and won’t come out even though his relief must be tangible.
Anyway, the cops come and he is detained at the back of the plane and we file off into buses instead of a jetway and as I pass the IFE I say to him, son one day you too will grow old, when you figured out what his problem was you could have let him go. The IFE said, we never know, these are our instructions.
Difficult call but much empathy from the older generation and one from the younger as we walk to Immigration and the baggage carousel. The latter would never understand that the bladder and its plumbing accessories gain a mind of their own as you grow older and do not respect occasion. It is an old people’s thing, from stones to slowness, a medical dictionary of stops and starts that can be intimidating and compel many not so old people to cut down their going out. Some are even afraid to travel.
In fact, one research shows that men especially will check out the toilets in malls, hotels and public places first and mentally plan their saga...just in case.
It isn’t funny and I just hope that one of the security police has a parent or a relative who is in that age group. Then they won’t punish this passenger any further. They’ll understand.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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