Evil by design, a shower of calamities - The Hindu

2022-05-14 22:56:35 By : Mr. BingHuang Chen

When things don’t fall into hand. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I was taking one of those budget airline flights where everything other than your seat had to be bought at a price. Even seats with more legroom and elbow space and those with a view cost extra and needless to say, one has to pre-book sandwiches even.

I was on such a flight and, as ordered, my sandwiches arrived. Nowadays, condiments comes in small packets and these have a tiny mark, seen only by a microscope, to show where to tear. The ketchup packet was so stubborn and I summoned all my strength to subdue the ruffian and the result was catastrophic. There was red sauce all over my plate and in the process of tearing it, my elbows came into contact with the lady seated next. An icy “Beg your pardon, what are you up to?” made me mumble an apology and a quick prayer.

I gave up all thought of food and folded my arms in front and sat like a statue. Once I tried to look over my shoulder, but a cold stare petrified me till I landed.

Soon I was in the hotel lobby waiting for the check-in procedure to complete. I thought I would quench my thirst and reached out for a bottle of mineral water placed nearby.

These bottles are of the “twist and open” type, and no one ever thought of the poor customer because it was filled to the brim and, as soon as I managed to get a stranglehold and twisted, water spilled and landed on my trousers and a big wet spot appeared on my beige trousers just where a gentleman would prefer not to have a wet patch showing!

“Sir, please sign here,” the receptionist crooned, but I was too embarrassed to get up with my condition. Being quick-witted, I pulled my shirt out and covered my “wet spot” and she sported a rather curious look at the senior citizen.

Long gone are the ornate keys with the name of the hotel embossed on it and instead you are given a smart card to swipe to enter. I found it hard to synchronise my swiping and turning the knob because of slow reflex and stood there. Ffinally, a boy with a laundry cart helped.

Now that I was alone, I decided to make coffee and again there was an array of packets to deal with. The automatic kettle was not working till I realised that one has to plug it in and press the button. The coffee powder was delivered rather efficiently, but there was no milk — only tubular whiteners and these posed a big challenge. The first one burst open when pulled and the table was dotted like deer skin so I decided to use my engineering brain and fished out my nail cutter with built-in tiny scissors to open the last one surgically. I felt good at my own ingenuity but there were still problems to face.

I was always wary of bathrooms and new contraptions such as shower mixer and sensors. The shampoo bottles invariably topple over while reaching out when showering. Bottle caps work in mysterious ways and I am left with too much shampoo for a head with no hair.

There was TV and set box and no amount of pressing and playing resulted in anything productive. Called the reception to unravel the mystery and then could not find the right switch to turn off the lights. Either the room was in total darkness or when the card was inserted the night became day.

But I managed to survive the trip and now take more precautions before venturing out.

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Printable version | May 8, 2022 12:05:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/evil-by-design-a-shower-of-calamities/article65375367.ece