Sorry, sir, we cannot board you

Bikram Vohra
Filed on September 10, 2020 | Last updated on September 10, 2020 at 12.36 pm

My friend Jyoti Venkatesh decided to take a flight from Delhi to Mumbai and so, armed with gloves and mask and a semi PPE overall, he fetched up at the airport well in time to check in and sit six feet away from everyone else.

When it was his turn to check in, the attendant hesitated, then hesitated some more, then got up from his chair and went over to another person in uniform and they did that medical huddle in whispers like doctors do before they tell you that if you were a horse, they would have shot you out of compassion, and then the first guy comes back and says he is sorry, but they cannot check you in.

Why ever not?

There is a discrepancy.

It is a global rule that people behind counters use the word "discrepancy" with glee, as if they had caught you with a paw in the cookie jar.

What discrepancy, asks Jyoti with asperity.

It says Miss Jyoti and you are not a Miss. Those in earshot give ingratiating giggles which encourage the counter officer to plunge into his Russel Peters act, so he says, Jyoti is a girl's name. People around nod in agreement.

No, it is not, it is also a man's name, it is my name.

Mada. sorry, sir, I can't board you if the gender is wrong.

The gender is not wrong, it is your computer, your glitch, I have a perfectly good name, now call your supervisor.

The supervisor comes over and asks what the problem is and he is told Jyoti says he is a guy but the manifest says girl and his name is Jyoti and the supervisor goes hmmmm, sir, impersonation is a serious offence.

What on earth is wrong with you, you think I dressed up in this clown suit and wore a mask and gloves to impersonate someone, this is my name, Jyoti, Jyoti, Jyoti, my friends call me Joe.

The supervisor looked dubious, as only people behind counters can look. A third person joins them and says, my cousin is called Jyoti, she's doing her MBA, smart girl.

See, says the supervisor, girllll.

As the support pendulum swings away, Jyoti says, I'm very happy for your cousin but can you check me in?

You know my cousin?

I didn't say that.

The supervisor says, if you know her, then you know Jyoti is a girl's name.

It is also a boy's name, it is a common gender name, blame my parents, it is their decision, not mine.

You do not have to shout, sir, and there are rules, see here, to change to Mr, you will have to buy a new ticket.

I don't believe this.

One more question, sir, you sure you do not know my cousin, you have the same name. At which point, the counter closes. And Jyoti stays grounded.

bikram@khaleejtimes.com


 
 
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