26th April 1998
Paradise for some; hell for others.
We related a few weeks ago during the Holy Week how a good Christian and his family travelled on the airline of which he is chairman all the way from Colombo to Paris return to be at Lourdes for Easter Sunday.
He returned last Sunday aboard his airline. Naturally they got the front row seats. Even in 1st class those have extra leg room even if you are not that tall.
In the back were lesser important VVIPs of the Government like the Finance Ministry Secretary returning from some gruelling hard talk with the IMF in Washington - and an important Cabinet Minister. And of course other paying passengers like the phoenix man.The 14 hour flight back to Colombo can be a long and tedious one, 1st class notwithstanding. Up at 39,000 feet it can get a little cold as well.
Lo and behold the 1st class didn't have sufficient blankets to go around. After the Boss and his entourage had been looked after some of the Ministerial entourage were left in the cold. After repeated requests for some warmth, other first class passengers were given blankets.
"Is this from the laundry?" asked one irate first classer. "Please give me a fresh blanket" she demanded. "One from a cellophane cover."
The harried stewardess hurried through the partition separating the famous from the Yakkos and came presto back with a blanket - in a cellophane cover.
Others were guzzling Remy Martin Cognacs to keep warm. No wonder they say. Paradise for some; hell for others.
So the leader of those who oppose for the sake of opposing shifted to Jumbodvipa on his way back from China and where he successfully negotiated the Planetary shift when Saturn transited to the Zodiac sign last April 17.
There he met with the new Bapu of the mighty sub continent. But it was a one-to-one meeting with only our man in Jumbodvipa and his First secretary in attendance. The two who had accompanied their leader to China land were not allowed to see the Hon. Prime Minister of India.
The two did get an audience with the BJP President Advani. But everyone gets to see him. The PM? No, now this is where protocol comes in. No riff-raff here please, say these proud Indian mandarins.
Gujral no see them; Vajpayee no see them. Governments may change but protocol remains the same. What a waste of a trip. What a shame.
Call from space
The trade union boss turned politico was thrilled when his supporters carried him bodily and thrust him into the air.
There were cheers and shouts of 'jayawewa' as the tall man was held aloft.
Then came the humorous episode. Amidst the shouts, the ring of a cellular telephone came loud and clear. That was the phone in the politico's pocket.
He had no trouble reaching out for the phone in his pocket. He flicked open the cover and went on to speak to the caller. This was whilst the cheering continued and he was tossed into air every now and then. A case of virtually answering a telephone call from space.
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