She walked down the aisle with that super strut, a bag in her hands. People from both sides dumped stuff into that bag obligingly. When she came up to me, I was hesitant. I put up a pleading look and a fake accent and begged, “Can i hold on to my headset for a while please?” She looked perturbed at this seeming sign of defiance and walked on after returning me a fake smile. I knew something was wrong, for I had clearly crossed the line. She knew what would work. She started announcing in all languages known to mankind including Java and C++ disrupting my attempt to catch over the “Avataar” without having to pay at the 3D theatre. The brick sized screen was good enough for me to pass time watching this long anime. But the onslaught of her pointless announcements went through my mind like Abu Ghraib electric shocks disrupting the anime. She came back to me asking for the headset now that my destination, Singapore, was just three hours away. I faked a Darfur look and an even stronger accent, pleading for some more time with the headset. She walked away disappointed and I knew something bad would happen soon. Soon appeared her boss, a well dressed gentleman, with some convincing white hair, who asked me to return the headset for safety reasons, a sure winner. It was now a matter of prestige for me; a test for my male ego whose evolutionary instincts had been well stirred. I set about arguing with him, man to man, that the headset was hardly an Atlantis antique, and had no practical use for me back home with its stupid two jack design. All I wanted was to be left in peace for the next ten minutes so that I can finish this greatest anime ever. Disgusted at my cheapness, he said he would let me hold on to it, “a shove it in” look in his face. He went and turned off the entertainment system and started showing the temperature at destination in all metrics of measurement known to man, as if we were all giant pandas, sensitive to even one Fahrenheit change. They all walked past me in their victory march, a proud smile on their face.
So when I touched down and cleared the purgatory gates of immigration, I started a grassroots campaign called “Headsets for longer”. So if you believe that airlines have no reason to treat headsets like their most prized possessions, join me. If you believe airlines should adopt a conventional jack for headsets, so that we can carry our own, join me. If you believe that there is no point announcing the closure of useless duty free shopping over and over during flights, join me. You have heard of your myth-frothed national heroes fighting for freedom speech, now it’s time to fight for freedom to listen.