Sunday, October 21, 2007

En Route to Bangalore

It’s 10:30 PM EST and I’m somewhere over the Atlantic on a plane, but it’s no ordinary plane. I’m on a brand new Jet Air flying machine. This company, perhaps the Virgin Airways or Jet Blue of India is kicking it’s predecessor’s butt all the way into pre-outsourcing times and at the rate of growth in this economy, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask if that was when giant long necked lizardy things roamed the earth. Jet Air has enough polish and panache to rouse the most closeted of nationalist sentiments within someone of Indian origin - where or where shall I begin?

A bathroom on Air India. You’re better off waiting out the 24 hr. flight.
A bathroom on Jet Air. A bottle of basil and bergamot eau de toilette, hand lotion with essential oils, air freshening spray.

A meal on Air India. A passable Indian TV dinner at best.
A meal on Jet Air: Oh man, it was so good! The meal was served on a pink, orange and yellow striped tablemat with a red and orange brocade cloth napkin tied in a shiny orange ribbon. There was a warm paratha (Indian flat bread), a side of yogurt sauce and tomato salad, mango pickle, mushrooms, and corn in a light curry with ground cashew nuts. The rice was delicious and served with sautéed onions. The dessert was a classic Indian rice pudding in rose flavored sauce with two succulent strawberries. Hot towels were passed both before and after the meals. The crew is super young and gorgeous. They are dressed to impress. Hair, makeup, incessant smiles, the works – it’s enough to make one nostalgic for the days when flying was sexy and stewardesses were glamorous.

Then there’s the in-flight entertainment system. Touch screen, with a remote control hand piece and keyboard, a great selection of features, short films, television, news. There is a ton of legroom and an outlet for my laptop in my armrest. I grabbed copies of the NY Times and the Times of India from right behind me in a convenient magazine rack and settled into my journey back to the city I was born in.

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