19 June, 2021

Grounded Diary

CSDS Director's diary on flying with The Maharaja from Delhi to Bangkok.

Grounded Diary
The Shortest Hop

They were not speaking of God in the hangar/But of a ratio/Between what they had built and natural forces,/That everlasting cast by man/Between the unknown and known resources. 

—The Ratio by John Pudney

Had we the foggiest foreboding of our chewed-up, bedraggled fate as we boarded that Air India flight (AI331) in New Delhi in the afternoon of November 11? Ah, no. Why would we? ‘Twas a mundane hop (a drop) to the south to neon-lit, tinny, domesticated Bangkok. The flight took off at its scheduled time of 1.45. It had scarcely been airborne for 20 minutes, before the pilot announced that he had to return to Delhi due to ‘technical reasons’. We were back at Delhi airport at 2.30, the pilot announcing that the aircraft was being refuelled, an operation that might take 35-40 minutes, before it takes off again. He also announced that we were to be served lunch. Passengers finished eating by 3.30 and...

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