Tuesday, June 17, 2014



When someone complains about a service, product or anything for that matter usually there is some element of truth behind it because it takes two hands to clap! Usually we Pakistani’s exaggerate (including me) and when emotions are high because our izzat has been compromised in some manner we ALL become that paan chewing Desi Aunty in an apartment complex with a Jharoo who is violently more abusive than the most vulgar pehlwan in a kabaddi match that has lost to that one opponent who has more butter on his posterior than matti!

I wrote this blogpost after thinking about it and have tried to be as nice as possible! 

I have a fantastic Travel Agent “Super Travels” who has always advised me and my organization very well and each and every time we have travelled it has been economical and a fantastic experience!  This one time however, being desperate to reach home for my six month anniversary from Islamabad I chose to ignore them and insisted on the first available flight that was PIA.  

The ticket arrived and armed with my print out I arrived at Benazir Bhutto International Airport.  I was well in time but there was a long line outside the gates.  After 34 minutes I got to the drop off area picked up my bags and headed in.  (the ASF in their paranoia did not allow me to take pictures) As I crossed the entrance doors I realized screaming shouting and total chaos at the ticket counters.  Clearing security I saw a hoard of people, angry, upset frustrated and verbally violent!  Due to this mad rush and overcrowding with the added Punjab heat the Air Conditioning conked out as it could not keep up and it was like a toaster oven smelling of ripe aunties sweat with too much ittar and body odour!

Somehow I managed to clear the counters within seconds as I had a serving General with me and no luggage that had to be checked in!  As we crossed the security check before the waiting lounge the mob at the ticket counters was  arguing why the flights had been closed!   Apparently three PIA routine flights had been cancelled and the ticket staff had closed the counters. Babies were dehydrated, seven elderly people fainted and there was complete chaos that was being avoided until some “preferred” passengers were given a boarding pass who were escorted by somw chaps with walky talkies.

As we started up the stairs to the departure area mothers took the lead and lunged at the counter staff followed by their accompanying males in the group.  There must have been over 200 people in totality with luggage and when the ASF could not control this mob that had gone irate they told the PIA ground staff to re open the flights or they would not protect them! 

Ten minutes after we were seated upstairs where the AC was working families started pouring in one by one.  Now there were already about a hundred odd people there as the other flights were working.  PIA decided to close the refreshments counter and wanted to do right by these people so it offered them sandwiches and tea.  Guess what!  There were 250+ passengers who had been hungry from 8am and the time was 330pm. (7+hours) with kids.  The 30 odd sandwiches that the refreshments people stocked vanished faster than you could say presto and the tea was also consumed! 

The fools manning the refreshments counter were selling cigarettes and lighters and pushing them onto people who could not do anything with them because it was a NO SMOKING lounge!  To me it seemed like these idiots had set up a cabaret bar in the middle of a Masjid during Ramadan and that too on Jumat Ul Wida!  Seriously??? 
Those who did not get anything started fighting and the people behind the counter were selling each Pringles (tiny box) and seven up can for Rs. 500/- to those who could afford it!  It was total mayhem and chaos inside the departure lounge as babies were crying loudly, mothers were screaming and the father were trying to be heard over them!   Finally 53 minutes later we were told to board the plane!
As we made our way down we climbed into buses and realized that the Air Conditioning was switched off.  The bus driver was revving the engine and the minute the doors shut this idiot hit the gas and drove like he was running trial runs for the Cholistan rally!  I actually was impressed at how NOT smooth the tarmac was as I saw spectacles fly up and aunties get bumped around until PIA’s over efficient speedy gonsalves slammed on the brakes and proved that the passengers and all their carry on luggage could further be compressed to add another 30 odd sardines (people) in this mobile sauna!
Now that we were out and passengers kept coming I was really happy that we were close to the Jumbo Jet until the Serving Brigadier who was accompanying myself and the serving General started scratching his bald head muttering all forms of obscenities which made us look beyond the line to see that it was a never ending sea of misery.  

Ok so as we stood there and slowly marched down it took us 48 minutes and I got a few pictures off with my iPhone until the ASF snatched it!   This is one time my disability worked because the General said I was his retarded son and got it back for me!

As we clambered up the plane we realized that we were seated in the middle and that the flight was not only full but the air conditioning was off so again we were stuck in a situation where other than screaming babies, wailing mother and frustrated businessmen we also got a first look at how the PIA airhostesses really could not care less!  I was assigned a seat 48D and when I got there there were two PIA beauties (air hostesses) asleep in the same row!  One was in my seat and the other next to it!  So I being a gentleman sat down in the first available seat (two rows ahead of them) that I could find!  
30 seconds later a senior or Purser popped up and made a ruckus that I was retarded as per the Generals saying so I had to sit in my seat!  As I got there (the seat I was assigned) the two beauties were more senior than her who were very irate at being woken up refused to move!  So now super frustrated I kicked up a ruckus and said “I’m Amyn & I’m NOT a terrorist only retarded!” at the top of my lungs not wanting any more unwanted attention this purser informed the two beauties that I was mentally unstable and to my disappointed both of them vacated the seats and I was stuck sitting with a chap from Sialkot with an obsession for making it to Dubai and becoming the best Taxi driver ever. 

Before we knew it the doors had shut and we were on the runway!  As we took off a wannabe LUMS graduate sitting next to the Sialkoti asked me if we had seen the safety video where the Airhostess tells you that at 30,000 feet where the doors are located in case you want to jump out without a parachute in case of trouble!  Everyone in our row said NO!  Then this guy from Sialkot started saying his Qalma loudly as we ascended.

I dozed off and somewhere between Lahore and wherever I felt a sharp pain in my elbow.  As I saw stars in my dream and felt shooting pain in my arm my eyes popped open only to see a styro foam box touching my nose and a voice shouting “khain gay? Miss aap please apple juice ka dabba dain!”  Ok so after the lunch boxes were passed out I realized that our Sialkoti was already two ahead of me and as I made eye contact he innocently asked “bhai agar aur mangoong ga to kitna dena paray ga?”  I handed over my lunch box / tiffin and dozed off again!

It seemed like an eternity in mid slumber / irritating sleep where one has back flashes mixed with emotions of small dreams I heard a voice saying something that sounded like it was out of a dirty B grade flick to the extent of “Ladies strap your selves in daddys about to make an entry into Karachi!”   My eyes opened once again to see these PIA dominatrix’s waddling off towards their seats and belt up like they were about to ride a mechanical bull in a girls gone wild video.  Oddly enough with all the frustration of the day I could have sworn I saw evil grins on the faces of the two who I had my eyes on which looked to the extent of that satisfied smile the evil step mother has in Cinderella.

Pretty soon or moments later the entire body of the plane shuddered as the wheels touched down and our Sialkoti and hysterically enough the LUMS graduate wannabe were reciting the Qalma so loud that the reverse flow sound of the engines seemed like a murmur.  In my mind this was Pulp Fiction these two were my bitches and I had an AK Forty Seven and had just done a Travolta on these two and was lighting up my Marlboro. 

Now the really funny thing is that you get these old coots who love to clamber onto a plane with their walking sticks, you respect them because of their age and give them special treatment because  your mother raised you right.  However on each and every domestic flight as soon as the plane slows down on the runway these feeble geriatrics armed with four pronged walking sticks become more agile than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because they get an adrenalin rush and hop out of their seats in a moving plane and start opening the over head compartments. 

Yes sadly like me if you are in a aisle seat they give you the pleasure of  making sure you know exactly how much deodorant they have not sprayed on their arm pits and if you are lucky you might even be treated to a belly rub if it’s a man or a boob flop in the case of a daadi jan who feels she can make it out the door first and trust me she would clamber over all the little kiddies to see Karachi before anyone else.  At this point in time you are like who gives a f*ck and ready to give every granny a good old bashing as you push back to get your nose out of  whatever folds of their body that envelope you just so that you can breathe any oxygen you lungs are starving for if not fresh air!

Now the plane comes to a halt and by this time the Sialkoti is back in Dubai mode and all his hopes are revitalized that his connecting flight 10 hours away will not be missed and he will become a great muslim cabbie in the UA EEEEK!  I realized that my LUMS graduate wannabe was telling Jaanu that he would not be gone long (he really must be on a short leash) and then calling a facebook Frand that he had just met that he wanted her to sit on his face for the rest of the weekend that he had his freedom. 

By this time its like a circus as the politicians are telling their drivers to keep the AC on and the engines running as they will be out as soon as possible (they must feel like they are in adiala jail), the paindu’s are calling everyone in their village close to Mangla “Damn” that they have arrived in Karachi and one gets the feeling that everyone around him is acting like that yuppie fifteen year old who lost his virginity and wants to tweet text and whataspp about it!

Back to reality because by this time the geriatric ninjas become nice again and try to play the old age / disability card as they have realized that it was a bad idea to make a dash ot of the plane when it was still 25 minutes away from the gates and moving so their horns go back inside their heads and put on the the loving Grinch who stole Christmas smiles saying “beta help kar do!” hoping that the corridors now packed with everyone would empty out miraculously and someone or anyone would give them sympathy!

If you truly want to see Pakistani Survival instinct then this is your moment of glory because as the doors open you realize that the air hostesses have been trained to give false smiles and stand back and let everyone leave because they have been told that this is Karachi and the most dangerous weapon is a cellphone because even the gutka chewing sweeper in the toilet is on a first name basis with some SHO looking for a patsy to add to their list of victims in a thana under false allegations!

As you step onto the gangway you are lucky not to be gang banged by the onslaught of idiots blocking the way to kiss the feet of that nitwit who has travelled at the taxpayers expense and is more special than me who has been declared a retard to get his mobile phone back! 

Now as I walked down the walkway people (and I mean everybody) is running for the exit to get the hell out of the airport!  I start making it out towards the entrance and as I cross the baggage claim this over efficient PIA numbskull with TWO gold stripes on his shoulders (either side) asks me “is ka tag kahan hai” to which I replied “ye carry on hai”.  He looks at me blankly and said “kiya?” Then he motions over two really bored other PIA chappies.

After five minutes of trying to reason with him my serving general and his aide surrounded by four or five MP’s and ASF protocol in uniform come to my rescue.  General Sahab asked him what I was upto and this PIA chap between bites of his paan said “is kay paas koi luggage ka tag nahin hai aur mashkook aadmi lagta hai sir” with a blank look on his face the Aide Brig Sahib literally said and I quote verbatim“saand kay bachay, General Sahib ka chota bhai hai! Jao b*nd marwao aur kisi aur ko tang karo!”

I wish I had a stopwatch because that was the quickest I ever saw 3 fifty plus inch waists drop down to a slim 38 I think!  (I myself could use a lesson as I am a forty and would look good as a 28!)  I have a feeling that Mr. TWO stripes on his pips also swallowed his double patti.   Some how the other two PIA lackies who were looking for a bit of fun realized that they would become a YouTube, ARY or GEO Dost moment so they also scurried away as the MP’s moved towards them!   As for me, I stayed within centimeters of my Armored Corps Friend along with his aide and said endless prayers for the 12th Cavalry & the 13th Lancers!

He sat in the Land Cruiser waiting for him and offered me a ride home which I declined and then made an MP stand with me till I sat in the car!  As my car arrived I noticed that my 2007 corolla never looked so beautiful to me before!  As we started moving I touched the dash board to make sure it was real and I was not dreaming again inside that plane.  My heart was beating and racing as I drove past the parking gate and then as we turned onto Sharah e Faisal (not kidding) I glanced in the side view mirror to make sure that no one was following me in a PIA uniform and then took a sigh of relief!

EPLIOGUE - "I will walk across a continent over a bed of hot coals and shattered glass if this is the only air line choice I have to make in the future to go from any destination to another BUT I will NEVER EVER hop on a steel bird with the logo of PIA on its tail as they are truly “Horrible people to fly, cry or deal with in any way!’  Now I realize why the Managing Directors keep running away!"

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Disclaimer! - The opinions I post are my own and I do not intend to hurt or offend you!  If you cannot allow me my freedom of thought then you have the right to voice an opinion and navigate away on the web.  If you follow my blog I thank you as it’s quite ridiculously entertaining...that is if you like what & how I write! 

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious and saddening at the same time! One of your best, Amyn! :)