Travel. Aah! The very word conjures such exotic imageries of majestic forts and palaces, impressive museums, serene resorts, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage, unique experiences and the much needed escape from the routine… But before you get to such dreamy locations one has to travel for miles and miles together… together with your inner self, family, friends and fellow co-passengers.
During my years of travel both for work and pleasure, before I reach my destination – exotic or otherwise, my trip usually turns out to be a long, very long trip. No, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a penchant for taking the longest possible routes, but it’s just that I have a penchant for attracting bad travel companions.
I have come across some really weird, annoying, pesky, cheeky, pain in the you-know-where, fellow travellers who make me wish /urge/implore/pray/crave for the journey to come to an end, soon, real soon. Wanna take a ride with me? Fasten your seatbelts as I take you on a ride that never ends…
- The Chatterbots : Travel alone may translate into quality Me-Time for some of us. It’s the time when you want to sit back and read or just watch the world pass by literally and figuratively or simply doze off. But can you do that in peace? Nope. Thanks to the chatterbots who have to tell you their opinions on the state of affairs of the country or how Dhoni should lead or why Salman should never be jailed or simply dig information about you. Subtle and not so subtle cues that you are not interested does not reach them, at all. Last month, an elderly man cribbed for 3 hours non-stop, how his daughter-in-law, an oncologist in a leading hospital, is not a good mother! Sigh!
- The Audio Numbs : These are the people who can not just keep it down… the volume, I mean. They have to talk loudly and incessantly on their phones or listen to music without the earphones or play games on their devices with the gaming sounds at full blast. Once there was this guy who called almost all the contacts in his phone book during the 5 hour journey from Jaipur to Delhi. During these 5 hours, everybody in the bus got to know about his wily boss, loving and not so loving family members, his travel plans and recent parties and meetings with friends, cute antics of his children, gossip from his office… Aarghhh!
- The Negligent : Some people believe that travel time is the time to let one’s hair down and no rules/regulations/word of caution or piece of mind should be ever exercised. This is especially true for their children. They should be allowed to behave uninhibitedly. So, the children are allowed to run up and down the aisles throughout the journey in flights and trains, often yelling and screaming in glee – even during the time when it’s time for people to sleep. Grrrrr…
- The Seat Switchers : Yes, joy multiplies when you are traveling with family and friends. Sadly, some didn’t had the time to plan their trip well or in advance, so they have seats in different rows or coaches. No worries, they can always exchange seats with you. Now, as long as they are requesting and as long as they are ready to accept a firm no, it’s cool. But it gets a bit ugly when the seat switchers believe that they are entitled to a seat exchange. It does not matter to them that a side lower seat near the door of the train coach would not be considered as a good bargain by anybody who wants a peaceful journey. Humph!
- The Armrest Hoggers : These people live life king-size, quite literally. They believe that they are sitting on the sofa of their living room when actually they are on the seat in a public transport. It does not enter their thick skin that they are encroaching your personal space and that you have shrunk yourself to the far end of the seat just to avoid an unpleasant conversation. Last time, I had to give an earful to somebody just because he could not contain his arms in his designated seat. Gah!
- The Mannerless : Kicking seats from behind, putting their legs up on the top of your seat or the side window, throwing the empty chips packs or soda cans below the seats or keeping their slippers and shoes in the basket which is meant to keep water bottles or newspapers etc speaks of their mannerisms and upbringing. Journey to the hills cause travel sickness in quite a few people. So, during one of my visit to Shimla, the conductor of the RSRTC Volvo bus distributed vomit bags to people who believed that they’d feel queasy. Despite the instructions of the conductor that each person will have to dispose off their bags personally, my co-passengers coolly left their liquidy bags in the basket of the seat ahead of them. How overly gross, insensitive, annoying that could be! EWWWWW!
- The Super Active : As soon as the seatbelt sign is off, these people have to get up from their seats and roam around. They have to step on your feet every time they make their way past you and they are nonchalant about it. Aaah!
- The Lovey Doveys : Public displays of affection can seem innocent to couples in love. But other co-passengers may see them very differently… Gawd!!
- The No-Control-Over-Body-Processes: Snoring, drooling, sleep talking, flatulence… less said , the better! Gosh!
- The Fighters : No, they dont fight for any cause, but love picking up fights, arguments with anybody and everybody. And if they are under the influence of alcohol and/or if their kith and kin are who’s who, God only can save you. Once, two guys in my train compartment, got into a verbal duel over a petty matter which turned ugly with both slapping and fist-fighting! Oops!
Have you travelled with some annoying co-travellers? What’s the worst behavior you’ve ever put up with co-travellers?