Claustrophobic Shankai

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

Claustrophobia is the first word that came to the mind of Shankai as he saw the seat number 16E on his boarding pass. He was more of a traveller by bus going around countryside on his official tours and always carefully chose his window seat. Everytime his visit to Head Office included the travel by Air. Somehow he never enjoyed flying because in the Airport and inflight he found people acting differently. To him the action of people seemed fake, as if people tried to show themslves as high class when flying while the same person in train or a bus ride would be much more easy going.

To add on it sitting in middle seat seemed so claustrophobic to him. While growing up he and his two cousins, they had a joint family, had one room and big bed which they had to share.Joint families had this rule in which all of them though cousins were treated as siblings from same parent. The head of the family had all the powers who controlled everyone. His or her decision was binding on everybody. This was a kind of commune in which every member, whatever his or her earning and contribution was equal. A system that ensured that older generation was not at mercy or in old age home but at the helm of running the family which also ensured that they had their pride intact.

In that room of theirs Shankai being youngest was always ruled by his two elder cousins Babua and Badal, so he had to sleep in the centre as they being elder had to guard the flanks. While sleepning Babua and Badal would move towards centre of the bed leading to both the elder brothers almost stiffling him. He became claustrophobic in a sense. The middle seat  brought back the memories from childhood and a kind of fear.

The easiest part of travelling by bus or train was that the people more easy mingle with and far more easy going then those travelling by Air. While travelling by Air people seemed to be more conscious about their position in society so kind of reserved or afraid of seeming more easy going, downgraded. Everybody was either busy reading novels while even flying for 2 hours or busy on the laptop as if they had no time to loose. While in bus or train people had more time and perhaps therefore easygoing.

Putting all his fears to rest Shankai got up in the plane and found one youth, old eneough to be his son and a grave looking gentlemen on two seats in his two sides. The youth had a earphones plugged in and was shaking his head time and again perhaps as per the beats of music while the grave man took up a pink spreadsheet and put up his specs and seemed lost in fiinancial results of some unknown or known company. Shankai put on his salesman’s smile and tried greeting both of them. Responses were quite interesting, the youth smiled and said something about great flight while the flying financial guru shook his head and said something about the economic nightmare.

Shankai decided it was best to sleep through the flight of two hours, he had a presentation next day and prove that he was the most important person the company had as he had his own economy to save. Most importantly he had to get his most desired weeks leave to go back home and meet his family after almost two years……….. we will continue again tommorrow…. hope you will love it


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