‘Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tips’. These are the words that jump out of the cover of Aisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya. On reading these words , if you think you’re in for a rollicking read, you are absolutely on the right track ! This is a delightful and humorous foray into the world of air travel based on the author’s experiences and observations while on his numerous voyages as an “over-worked and over-traveled corporate executive”. The author has an excellent command over the language and coupled with his amazing sense of humour this book is a laugh riot.
Rishi summarises his book as ‘A hilarious take on just about everything associated with air travel’. There couldn’t have been a better way to put it. The first page, i.e. even before the introduction, has an essential packing list which contains a number of strange and unusual stuff like a masala dabba(spice box), machine oil and even smelly blue cheese. This really piqued my interest and I dived into the book without further ado. The names of the chapters too are equally interesting and my favourite in terms of content was, What The Heck ! Captain.
Each chapter is full of incidents relating to a particular category. In ‘It all begins at the airport’ Rishi has so many incidents to recount about every tiny aspect of an airport, be it the baggage trolley or the walkways. The categorisation of walkway users is hilarious. The section on baggage trolleys contains descriptions which all of us have experienced. He says, ” One of the wheels, of one of the trolleys, in one of the trolley stands, in one of the terminals of the airport, wobbles with one of the most excruciating sounds at the upper end of man’s auditory threshold.” And we’ve all experienced the trials of using this kind of a trolley. Then he reveals the use of machine oil which apparently should be used on the wheels to silence them 🙂
The book is replete with gems like this and I was laughing through out. Rishi deals with everything from the optimal boarding strategy to the best opening lines to use if you happen to fly with celebrities. His only lament was that the only time he sat next to an actress he was so tongue tied that one sentence was all that he could utter ! Yet another utterly rip-roaring description is about the oxygen masks. ” If this (i.e. a situation requiring the masks) were to actually happen while in mid-air, stop screaming four-letter words, pull the mask over your face and breathe like there’s no tomorrow…… If you are travelling with your wife, be courteous and first offer her mask to your neighbour.”
There was a constant smile on my face while I was reading Aisle Be Damned. Rishi Piparaiya has taken a mundane topic and created a fabulous book out of that. His humour is very tongue-in-cheek and entertaining. This is the perfect holiday book cos it’s an easy read and you can read from all over the book randomly and still enjoy it. My only warning is to be careful while reading it in a public place cos there’s a very high chance that you’ll shock the wits off a fellow traveller by bursting into laughter abruptly !
Thank you Marina Fernandes from Jaico books for sending me a copy of this book for an unbiased review. You have the patience of a saint !