Poles apart

Poles apart

Travel by air used to be a comfortable and mildly exciting experience. But now though air travel is still a luxury, convenient and pleasurable, the ‘tail ends’ of it have become something I dread.

This is because of the trips by bus from the airport building to the plane and the bus to the airport building on the homeward leg. Let me hasten to say that these trips are dreaded mostly by some elderly passengers who, afflicted by ailments find it difficult to board the high buses.

My favourite cartoon character, Dennis the Menace, called him Mr. Arthur Itis. And it is indeed Mr. Arthur Itis, an unwanted guest for many years, who is the cause of all my trouble. One can somehow manage to get into the plane, even though that is bad enough, but to lever yourself into these high buses is hell. One can of course demand a wheel chair and all that it entails, but one feels bad when the distances can be walked quite competently. It is only the ban that forbids walking on the tarmac that causes the trouble.

So, as usual, I managed to get onto the bus with difficulty and eventually got into the plane without much trouble and seated myself and looked around. The usual potpourri of travellers, except there was a group of very cheerful young men, laughing and joking.

From what I could hear it did not sound as if they were speaking in English, French, German or Italian. So I surmised they were from one of the other European countries of which we are not that familiar. They were big built and hefty and their upper arms were bulging with biceps. Though one could not understand their language, their jollity was infectious and one could not but smile at their youthful exuberance.

Ours was a short flight and soon enough it was time to get off the plane and go for the dreaded bus journey. We walked up to the bus and I was steeling myself to board it when suddenly two young men who had been on the plane came and stood on either side of me and before I knew it, they took my arms and effortlessly hoisted me into the bus! It was such a surprise...both my husband and I were speechless!

We had not got over the shock when, at the end of the short drive, my gallant youths appeared again and arms extended they landed me on terra firma with a flourish! They waved away our thanks with smiles and on my question from which country they came, they said something from which I recognised the word Poland. Afterwards we surmised they might have been part of the football team which was touring India. Lucky Poland which has bred and sent out to the world young men who have such instinctive consideration for others.

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