January 4, 2017 by Preeks
Amongst the many mysteries of the human mind, the one that will go on to enthrall curious psychologists and social behavior scientists for long, will be the innate hurry the human being is in, while deboarding a flight.
There is almost no logic on earth that can explain that impatience. For the longest time, I thought this was a very Indian thing. But on a flight to Rome, I had that same familiar nudge from my co-passenger – “Go, or let me go.” and I realized, it’s not an Indian thing, it’s a human thing.
On one of my numerous Mumbai-Bangalore trips, I decided to design an experiment. I genuinely wanted to know what hurrying up in those few minutes leads to – Do you progress in life faster, do you get promoted, is your work-life balance better, are you happier and the other not-so philosophical questions.
So this time when my excited co-passenger nudged me to give way, when the flight tires had barely even experienced the friction on the runway that causes them to stop, I looked outside the window, ensured that the Stairs were quite a distance away. Then, I smiled at my co-passenger and gave way for him to stand and promptly took my seat before he realized we were a good 10 minutes away from freedom. He stood there, bent under the cabin baggage rack and looked at me pleadingly. I smiled politely and looked away.
Me – 1, Excited Co-passenger – 0
After 10 minutes of this neck-cramp inducing pain, he galloped away with his bag to freedom – only to land at the bus. I took my time and got in, to see him standing next to the driver, urging him to close the doors fast. Which the driver did, as soon as I got in.
Me – 2, Excited Co-passenger – 0
After navigating the equivalent of a treasure map, we arrived at the terminal. Excited co-passenger wasted no time in basic social courtesies, pushed everyone, took his bag and bounded off. Three minutes later, he was at the baggage claim belt. Waiting. I didn’t have any baggage. So.
Me – 3, Excited Co-passenger – 0
While he walked around nervously, I booked my Uber and sat on a chair, waiting to see how long life was going to test his patience thus. His baggage arrived. Amongst the last 3 bags that arrived. After the whole flight had collected bags, gone home, changed and presumed their normal life, made plans for the next trip. His bags arrived then.
Me – 4, Excited Co-passenger – 0
Technology is quite the equalizer in many ways. At the Uber pick up point, both of us had to wait, while our drivers crossed the hurdles of Airport parking authorities. Mine came a little before his. So while he spent his precious time arguing with the Uber driver on the phone, I decided to leave him to it.
Me – 5, Excited Co-passenger – 0
And then, when I settled down in the cab, it occurred to me that the biggest damn equalizer was actually Bangalore. When the airport is as far away from the city, as Agra is from Delhi, from the moment you step into the cab, you are at the mercy of Bangalore. A long journey awaits everyone – whether you traveled Business Class in Emirates or cattle class in a no-frills airways, whether you are in a Merc, or in a Nano.
And the same is true for the traffic that awaits you once you enter the city. So, I smiled and sat back with a book in my hands. Two hours to go.
Me – 5, Excited Co-passenger – 0, Bangalore – 100, Life – 1000.
Many behavioral scientists say that technology has messed with our generation’s expectation management. Click and we get results. We want everything. And we want it now. Things which we didn’t know existed 10 minutes back. We want them. And we want instant gratifications for them. If that is the case, and it increasingly looks like it is, if I were an airline, I would not break my head trying to gratify this customer too much. The least I could do is provide ejector seats which will throw off the excited passengers off the flight as soon as we near city outskirts.
Problem = Solved.