Lying on tables not allowed

It had been predicted in a lot of jokes, but I don’t think anyone ever expected it would happen. But it did the other day in Mumbai, when a flight was so full up that one of the passengers was left standing.

It seems that the private airline had one of its employees on standby, and let him on after a reserved passenger was late. But actually, that passenger had made it and boarded late. No one is sure how there was an extra passenger boarded, but there it was. A stewardess spotted the airline employee hanging around the back. The captain then refused to take off until the extra passenger was taken off.

I really don’t know the employee’s game plan. The flight was for Varanasi, well over two hours away. Did he plan to go standing up all the way? Or did he plan to take any seat that was vacated on the way? That’s the next thing we’ve heard, but not had any examples of yet: jumping off the plane on the way. It’d only work if you hadn’t checked in any baggage.. And knew how to parachute.

Iran suffered an air disaster too, but one that has happened often enough before, one that saw Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi killed in a helicopter crash. One might remember how the Indian Chief of Defence Staff was killed in a chopper crash. It seems that chopper pilots are a gung-ho bunch everywhere, ready to fly in any weather no matter what.

What it did mean was that Iran has got a presidential election on June 30, even though none was due until June 2025. And just to follow up, British PM Rishi Sunak called a fresh election for July 4, even though they’re not due till next year, and were not expected until later this year, probably after November.

Of course, one of the 57 countries due to hold elections this year, Ukraine, has oiled out. Not because President Volodymyr Zelenskyy likes the job so much, as because there’s war on, with Russia, which had its own election earlier in the year.

Bangladesh had its polls late last year, but one of its MPs didn’t get to enjoy the full term, because he was murdered in Kolkata, which he was visiting for a medical check-up. It seems there was a gold-smuggling dispute, and the rest followed.

In India, elections are being held in a large number of phases, with Electronic Voting Machines playing a crucial role. An Andhra Pradesh legislator tried to destroy the EVM in a both, and was caught on camera being slapped by a voter. And slapping him back.

I suppose he tried to destroy the EVM on the same principle one tried to snatch a polling station’s ballot box: to cause repolling to be ordered. But the election also seems to have caused a number of other scandals to arise. The outgoing MP in Tamil Nadu, Prejwal Ravanna, was in all sorts of trouble after videos did the rounds showing him raping one woman. He promptly fled to Germany, and now they’re going to cancel his diplomatic passport. He is the grandson of H.D. Deve Gowda, a former PM.

The Aam Aadmi Party is having a hard time. One of its women Rajya Sabha members, Swati Maliwal, has claimed she was assaulted by the Delhi CM’s personal assistant on May 13, and no one, especially not party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, helped her. One of its Delhi Ministers, Sandeep Kumar, has had a criminal assault case registered against him for forcing his attentions on a woman, a mother of four, who wanted a ration card. Then it has been accused by a Punjab MLA, where it is in power, of distributing tickets to women who pleased the high command.

That’s all a conspiracy against the PTI. Even though the IHC decision on Tyrian White came through, in which candidates for office have been allowed to conceal their illegitimate children. I wouldn’t like to know who is availing this facility.

I also don’t know who was supposed to be against Ali Amin Gandapur attending the SIFC meeting. I don’t know whether the PTI considers him a traitor or not, for not biting anyone there on the ear. Or maybe he could have taken a leaf out of Hannibal Lecter’s book, and bitten off their nose. Or maybe he could have just done something V.S. Naipaul’s Mystic Masseur did, and lie on the table. As it happened, he was as perfect a gentleman as his voice will allow him to be.


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