To Dubai on a Short Break


My seat had not been cleaned well enough. In a crevice by my left armrest, a combo toothpick-dental floss device had lodged. The floss, which was strung across a bow-like curve on one end, was flagging from having been used. Over the tip on the other end, stuff that had it had picked had dried.

I went up to the galley and asked for help. A very tall and very broad purser in a dark suit heard me with much detachment and gestured to a female attendant to go and look. She brought a hand towel and began cleaning. The purser in the meantime brought a hot towel himself, and stood by. When the female attendant was done she held out the dental device for him to see, on a platter the towel made in the cusp of her hand.

"My goodness," the purser murmured. That’s what he said, I think, I could barely hear him. Then he walked away, meeting my eyes with only the corner of his. To me, he said nothing. The lady turned at me. "Sorry," she said, seeming really so on her ethnic Chinese face.

I took my seat. Emirates run a decent flight from Bangalore to Dubai. I was traveling on an ultra-short break, resolved not to slip into annoyances and disappointments. I had brought over myself a certain disorientation that I love, and in that state I landed and cleared immigration in a jiffy and arrived at a cheerless hotel in Bur Dubai.