Mid-flight bailout?

One can only be relieved that the debt-ridden Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallya only cancelled his flights — he didn’t try to hijack his passengers mid-flight

Did you hear the incredible story about Comtel Air where passengers aboard the Boeing 757 between Amritsar and Birmingham were forced to pay extra en route to complete the journey? Is there an impression going around that Indians are easy to mug? One can only be relieved that the debt-ridden Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallya only cancelled his flights — he didn’t try to hijack his passengers mid-flight!

According to reports, the plane was stalled in Vienna — until the passengers coughed up 20,000 pounds. It sounds like something out of a comedy film. Except that it obviously wasn’t very funny for those who were forced to withdraw cash from ATMs and sign MoUs. And this after they had already paid 500 pounds each for their tickets. This may just be the future of flying: our lives and destinations entrusted in the hands of companies which are going bust all over the world — Comtel had started this route just last month. I still don’t understand, though, why the passengers agreed to pay! Surely there are international laws that govern these flights of piracy? And the odd thing is that the passengers were worried about other four flights from Amritsar where others could also suffer similar fates. What’s going on? Someone needs to check the route as well as the naïveté of the passengers!

However, if the bottom has genuinely fallen out of your life — there is a very good reason to rush to the UK. Apparently women have been suffering from bum-envy — and now the solution is here.
The miraculous “Pippa Pants”, named after the well-reared Pippa Middleton, have been unveiled by a canny store, Debenhams. Thus if you had salivated at the sight of the Pippa “behind” (which almost upstaged the Royal Wedding) — a similar one can belong to you, not through vigorous tennis lessons, but just for a few paltry pounds. And then you too can sashay out with a well-padded curvy derriere.
Delicately called “Invisible Shaping Bum Boosters” — these moulded enhancers are taking away the pain of plastic surgery and leaving behind some very happy women with equally happy behinds. Seriously. Beauty is no longer in a woman’s face (goodbye, Elizabeth Taylor) or her well-endowed bust (move over, Pamela Anderson) it is in her bum! The knickers are actually made of shaping material, polyamide elastane, which add two inches when worn. It reminds me of children waddling around with their nappies. But it’s been a hit with those who have experienced “the Jennifer Lopez bum-rush”—which reached its full bloom when Pippa turned around.
Those who are befuddled by the hullaballoo over Pippa’s curves can now feel even more marginalised as the bum-booster rapidly flies off the shelves. Even though Pippa herself, according to the grapevine, is struggling with personal heartache as she has broken off with her boyfriend, Alex Loudon — she will undoubtedly be cheered by the fact that there continue to be many admirers of her… er, bum.

Meanwhile, as the Middleton sisters rise in the charts, I am always surprised at how the very intrusive British media manages to lay their hands on intricate (and often quite bewildering) house plans of extremely wealthy Indians. This time it is the turn of the Hindujas who are at number nine in the Times Rich List.
Their new home is actually close to Buckingham Palace, and they have spent, according to reports, over one hundred million pounds buying and refurbishing four apartments all joined together. The new abode of the four Hinduja brothers and their clan has only around 50 rooms, a swimming pool and a cinema.
Each of the brothers has been assigned one floor to live in — but they will also have a communal kitchen and prayer room. While describing this Hinduja habitat, there have been only passing references to the “cash for passports” scam in which the brothers were once involved. It led to the resignation of the then minister, Peter Mandelson, accused of having fast-tracked their British passports in return for donations. But all this seems to have little relevance now as the Hindujas settle down in their impressive domain. Thus do scams come and go.

And it’s the economy, stupid! As unemployment rises in the UK to a record high, tabloids are again going berserk over immigration. Fresh figures are pouring out of how the “foreigners” are taking away the jobs from the British-born and bred workers. While the recession means that migrants are grabbing up to 495 jobs a day, British workers are being laid off in much higher numbers. However, at least we know that many of the Asian migrants coming into the UK are well-qualified and not “beggars” — unlike the job-seekers in India fleeing from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra (according to the Congress general secretary, Rahul Gandhi). And yet, politicians all over the world use the same ghisa-pita argument — pro- or anti- migration. Perhaps they would like people simply to remain where they are. But sometimes living in the same space can be stultifying — and there is adventure and excitement in exploring fresh employment vistas.
If the first generation of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Punjab had not made that extremely difficult journey to the UK , many of the later success stories of the diaspora would have remained distant dreams. Indeed, the next time a politician or the media, is critical about immigrants — I would, instead, change it to a paean to their grit, determination and innovation. They made it despite the odds! But for the next few years as long as this recession lasts we will have to bear up with increasing fears about “immigrants” taking away jobs from the British locals.

The writer can be contacted at kishwardesai@yahoo.com

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