The product is amazing but, quirkily enough, the longer I sat there the more I felt inclined to stick to economy class, or not fly at all.
Next time I will just walk to Europe! Here are a few reasons why:
1. It doesn’t feel like you are flying. The scattered and seemingly-chaotic-at-first seating order confuses you even as you board but the wooden facade just makes the whole place feel like a living room.
It lacks the steely coldness of most business class, instead opting for this rather retro-nouveau look. Like the living room of your parents, except as if they were extremely hip and with it.
European carriers had this old school charm where they segregate and distinguish people and serve you according to your origin. We the browns were always lesser people than the Caucasians and were treated so. I think in lesser educated circles it was blatantly termed racism. The intelligentsia knew better, calling it “European Standards”.
Swiss has done away with this, allowing other nationalities to fly as air crew thereby making the experience warm and friendly, speaking many languages, actually caring as if they were an Asian airline.
Whatever happened to that little S&M that we as Indians had come to expect of European carriers? If all we wanted was good service we could have easily flown to Singapore, or Dubai.
Business is expensive and that is no genius insight but, I realised, if you book them early and are date flexible, you can get some pretty competitive rates; even enough to match Emirates
. Air France
and British Airways
are comparably mostly much higher. So I can now fly better and also save money. However my accountant seems to disagree.
To him, this could be a major setback to my travel budgets as, according to him, I will be spending more than before on my economy travel. Maybe I should fire him.
Business class gives you meal options, something that is never good. The only option with food that my mom gave me was, take it or leave it, and if you took it and then left it, you always got scolded. With food choices I can never decide what I want yet I always end up munching. And when you have meals from Hiltl
, that famous Swiss vegetarian paradise, (think of it as a really upmarket Udipi
, or Shiv Sagar, or Rajdhani
, but really seriously upmarket) few people can say no, or leave anything on the plate. This is when it dawned on me why business class seats are wider and bigger – because only fat people fly in them! The kind who order and finish their food every time. The more I fly then, the more I could risk my fitness and supple catlike nimble agilities.
Now this last one can ruin travel for many others, even on other business classes. Swiss has tied up with Lantal
(that major company making transport interior fabrics) and developed this funky new seat design that (a)
adjusts the firmness of the cushion and (b)
can convert into a fully flat two meter long bed.
Now that is more luxury than any man flinging his body at a speed close to that of sound should be allowed or should expect.
I spent a good part of my flight playing with the firmness-softness buttons. Some other time I spent fiddling with the massage option even though, in the end, I didn’t feel any more relaxed.
Economy, cramped as it is, is boring. Given the lack of general such options, you get driven to sleep out of sheer boredom, even if you have to contort into a special shape to fit the space.
The most ridiculous inherent contradiction that was ever uttered by any sane (or at least under influence) human being was along the lines of this: In my humble opinion…
An opinion can’t be humble…just like an elephant can’t fit in the backseat of a Tata Nano, not even if he folds his legs. An opinion is your take on the world or the things in it, how then can it be humble. Sure it can be presented with humility but that too has the paradoxical putridity of how humble can a 100-carat diamond present be…
In short, opinions are sharp, big and defined…they may need refinement and could even lack precision but a good one should be as friendly as a nuclear missile. That’s how you tell a good opinion.
Sure you invite the tag opinionated but that’s not all a bad thing – you get used to living alone eventually.
My show has always been about an opinion. If you notice, the camera never goes off between the time the dish is brought and I take my first bite and comment. It is perhaps the only thing that manages to intrigue on the show.
Else, I have been accused of killing food twice – once when it is being prepared and once when I dead-pan comment on it. I could use more emotion I am told but, in my defence, I am not allowed to drink on the job. Waitaminute…aargh!!!
Back to the point, the intrigue of the show hangs on what comes out of my mouth once I bite into something – the intrigue of the immediate. Not what I will blurt post three bites, two takes and five make-up jobs later (although there are none, can’t you tell!?).
The idea was always to play on spontaneity and speedy suspense. Now I am opinionated. I am as opinionated as any Indian who likes his political drama interspersed with a few innings of cricket. I have a take on everything – from movies to the people who go to watch them, from food to drink to lack of them – I am so opinionated that I find myself judging my own self and I find it hard to be living with me all the time.
Trouble is, in spite of my opinions I hardly seem to improve…Thing is, like all of us, I have a vision of life, the world and everything in-between and when things appear different, it sparks an opinion. The chicken-egg here is how did I come to have that opinion in the first place?
Well, I sure wasn’t born with it, it evolved. Through my experiences and exposures, it came to be. And it is never complete, it is always evolving. And it is so for all of us, opinion grows and matures even when we refuse to.
So, if you ever have an opinion, splash it. The caveat is, bring it when you are asked for it: Free anything is worth what you pay for it, a free lunch costs even more. Through my blogs, I invite and solicit opinion.
I like to be told how I am faring, how I can improve. It is my way of bouncing a hundred tiny graphite balls off my blank canvas and hoping a meaningful sketch evolves from it. Usually, it does.
Recently someone left a comment on my previous blog, “Of Crime and…” and it made me think. I like my meat au bleu and unknowingly I seem to have pushed it upon others.
The idea wasn’t as much to thrust as to let people know what I feel and it could be the popular accepted opinion in certain parts of the world. But, I guess, in my zeal to outlaw over-cooked meats, I think I have irked a few.
In my defence, first, the science – the more you cook meat, the more the proteins coagulate, the juices escape and the meat becomes chewier, tougher. It is incorrect to think that raw meat is chewier.