P4 at Toastmasters – Fasten your seat belt

Flight of fantasyDelivered my P4 on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at BTM. Objectives of P4 are

  • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
  • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
  • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
  • Time: Five to seven minutes

Here is the transcript of my speech. Cruising at 35000 feet, I was reminded of my first flight some 40 years ago. I was all excited but was nervously clinging to my Dad’s finger. To me it was like Neil Armstrong’s mission to the moon.

Toastmaster of the Day, Fellow Toastmasters and guests, welcome aboard my flight full of experiences.

I snapped out of my day dreaming sequence with the pilot rattling off something and I recollected how air travel has changed over the last 40 years from being experiential and exceptional then to becoming a chore now.

To start with the check in – My incline and recline are always towards emergency … the emergency exit seat to accommodate my long legs and jelly belly. But these days, while the staff has become prettier, they ignore my endearing smile and expect me to pay through the nose for that necessity. The thoroughbred Gujju that I am, it goes against the grain to pay for what is rightfully mine. I therefore quietly take an aisle seat nearest to the emergency exit. I park myself into the vacant seat as soon as the doors are shut. Someday let these airlines be more considerate towards challenged people like me.

“Fasten your seat belts please.” reads the sign even before you get into the seat. As our eyes size up the crew, they are confirming all seat belts are fastened along with the head count. The routine drill of demonstrations start after that. And the first thing they teach us is fastening the seat belt! Wondering if they checked everyone was properly fastened or was it some imagination? After take-off the announcement starts – the captain has switched off the seat belt sign. Even before this can get half way, two dozen hands go up on the call bell button. Why? Water! That announcement always beckons people to drink like thirsty camels from the desert! Someday we’ll have automatic seat belts so that all are snugly set into the seats. And just like the tubes and oxygen masks, water would flow like a free and flowing river!

Sniff sniff ….  Tempting aromas waft from the end of the aircraft – It is now time for me to flex my muscles. The tray table can only rest on my little stomach at an incline. I puff my chest like Salman Khan pumping his 6 packs, suck the stomach in hard and hope that I can have the tray table at 180 degrees. Beads of sweat roll down my neck before I can achieve my goal. I now have earned myself a meal. I polish off the entire serving complete with the bread crumbs. With every passing day, the spread has become thinner and my appetite? Well less said the better. Oh these low cost airlines. Someday we will have a free all you can eat buffet mid-air.

Just as I start fidgeting, fretting, fuming I hear the captain’s voice “Crew to your stations for landing” and around that time I also hear phones receiving messages. Didn’t they ask you to switch off those noise making devices? VP Membership, they are perfect for BTM and we meet at a walking distance from Mumbai airport. Let’s go grab them.

The landing is smooth as silk but as the plane is taxi-ing on the runway (MIND YOU the runway and not the parking bay), the sounds of seat belts being unfastened and cell phones ringing are audible. Everyone makes a beeline for the bus and each one wants to stand closest to the door. Getting into the bus doesn’t guarantee you will get out first at the terminal or does it? Finally we arrive at the terminal. Like a child praying to Santa, every time I pray “Please let my luggage be the first to come out”. My prayers have so far been unanswered I know but ….. someday “We shall overcome …. someday”

Air Travel these days leaves a lot to be desired. Airlines have to be more considerate and passengers have to be lighter too. Passengers should be willing to pay more and airlines should be willing to serve more (food as in my case what else). And we must all adhere to rules like we do at Toastmasters.

Cabin Crew – Disarm all doors.

Over to you Toastmaster.

Published by Manish Kamdar

Proud Father of Kavya, challenged at the girth, foodie, cyclist, blogger, RD Burman and Kishore Kumar fanatic, entrepreneur, Toastmaster, beginner at BKS Iyengar Yoga for over a decade....

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