The seat mate

After fifteen minutes I was blessed by a hostile force. A little girl about seven or eight years old came and sat between the Australian lady and me.

Then the girl said to me, “My little sister Sona is sitting over there. Could you let my sister sit here?”

Her sister was not sitting in an aisle seat. For me to go and sit between two people for eight to ten hours was too much. O God! I said, “No, I am very sorry, but I need to be on the aisle. I am an old man.”

She said, “She is my sister, my little sister.”

Again I pretended I was going to sleep. Then she started leaning on me to talk to her sister across the aisle. And that was not enough. Every ten or fifteen minutes she would say to me, “Please let me go out.”

From Delhi to Bangkok, at least twenty times she had to go out - not only to go to the bathroom but also to speak to Sona. She would come out of her seat and stand talking to her sister. She said she was not able to hear from her seat.

Throughout the flight, how she disturbed me! She kept standing in front of me, talking and talking to her sister. At one time she was telling her sister to eat with her hands. She said, “Nobody is watching you, so you don’t have to be embarrassed.” Sometimes, the two of them were arguing and screaming.

First I had the problem with the Australian lady, and then I had a problem with the two sisters. In this way my whole trip was ruined.

— 29 September 1984