Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Public Displays of Affection

When we flew down to Madras from Calcutta three weeks ago, the trip from our flat out was a troubled one. First the prepaid cab didn't turn up, then the car we were offered blew a flat twenty minutes from the airport -- and we needed to go early because we were flying Air Deccan, who have free seating, and obviously, with The Bhaeblet in tow, we wanted first row seats, if possible. Also, we had nearly double the amount of the luggage we were allowed on three tickets. (You can't travel light with my mother, no matter how hard you -- or she -- try.)

We eventually made it to Dum Dum, checked in, paid the excess, and went through Security. There was another 45 minute wait before we boarded, when WB decided he had been without food long enough. So I hopped into the restroom, which was luckily dry and looked clean, and the security lady in there offered me her chair and I settled down to feed. Plenty of women looked, all of them cooed at The Bhaeblet, all of them expressed shock at such a young baby traveller, and all of them expressed concern that he might catch a cold in the AC. Nobody found it offensive, though, unlike a certain Delta flight attendant.

Later, as our flight was taxing down the runway preparatory to taking off, one of the hostesses came up to me and said I might wish to give WB something to suck, since that would help him cope with the pressure change. I gave him some water, which I was carrying in anticipation, but my son wasn't having any of it. After some vehement complaining on his part I gave up the battle, sat by the window, pulled a light blanket over us and settled to feed.

The cool thing was, as I got over my embarrassment, I noticed that not only was nobody paying me any attention, but that I was actually ok with the whole thing. I was surround by men and women, but yeah, they weren't any of them young, so they probably were more comfortable with the sight of a baby being nursed than my generation is.

It did have a funny side-effect -- the blanket was made of a synthetic material, which, because of falling off and being pulled back on, generated a fair amount of static electricity. Therefore, when The Bhaeblet landed in Madras, all his hair, and he does have a lot, was standing straight up!

In case you're wondering, yes, there was potty too, and I finally got to use the plane diaper changing table. Was quite handy, actually.

Rather an eventful journey, all told.


Rohini said...

I wonder how our parents did this travelling things with babies before the time of affordable travel. My mom delivered in Madras and came back to Delhi by train when I was just over a month old!!!

For future reference, powdered sugar works well to keep them sucking and their ears unblocked too. On most airlines, they will give it to you but on Deccan and Spice, it is best to carry it along...

Anonymous said...

I think the way you handled your mess was cool :-)
Bhaeblet's got a long way to go still!


Beq said...

My mother used to change trains in the middle of the night in Bihar. Apparently, while she did so, cursing, I would goggle at the moon and giggle loudly.

Sue said...

Rohini - I feel overwhelmed by one little baby, I wonder how my grandmothers handled 5,6! Travelled with them too.

Gayatri - Thanks!

Beq - I can picture it, thank you.