Title: Aisle Be Damned
Author: Rishi Piparaiya
Publisher: Jaico Books
Price: Rs 250
Price: Rs 250
Genre: Non Fiction / Humour
The moment I saw this book, I was immediately taken in by its unusual cover page and the title. Both do justice to the theme of this book. ‘Aisle Be Damned’ is a work of non-fiction that finds humour in every aspect of air travel. The humour is not forced. What really works in this book is that the author has pulled out some common observations which anyone with air travel experience can relate to. I finished this book in one sitting and laughed a lot till the end. Every person who has done a bit of air travel will get the humour in this book.
By virtue of being a frequent traveler, the author offers loads of wisdom and suggestions on how to make the most of your air travel, peppered with plenty of humour. He has thought of everything, right from the baggage trolleys to airport, the boarding strategies to seats one must opt for, trivia and funny anecdotes related to air travel from around the world, and several such pieces that will tickle your funny bone. He tells you stuff like when are the business tycoons likely to travel, how can you get your economy class ticket upgraded to business class, how to choose your seat well, how to handle immigration officer, etc.
The author confesses at one point that several publishers found this book niche, but air travel has become so common that I am certain there is a huge target audience for this book.
It was a fun book to read, except perhaps the last chapter [Commerce, Literature and Zen] which looks a little forced. The book is perfect without that extra chapter. You must pick it up if you are feeling a little down or feeling stressed, this book will instantly perk you up. This can also make a nice gift. The only prerequisite for enjoying this book is a little experience of air travel. It is one of those books which you can pick any time [even after you have read it], read random lines again; and it will still give you a few laughs.
Here are few funny lines from the book:
[During Immigration] He will languidly open your passport, look at the photograph, look at you, then look back at the photograph. You can see the nuts and bolts in his brain rasping, straining to draw some correlation to the grotesque face in the photograph and the pasted smile standing in front of him, but there is none…….He lets it go though – it’s not the right time or place to empathize with you on the shortcomings of your gene pool.”
“I am always on a first name basis with anyone from Sri Lanka, neither of us being able to pronounce the other’s last name.”
“There is a sign above the basin that says the water is not for drinking. Okay, thanks for letting me know. Because I usually love to drink water from bathrooms.”
“An experienced pilot earns well over $100,000 and flies about 800 hours a year. That’s $125 an hour for essentially playing Flight Stimulator. He has no monthly goals, no boss and all his colleagues are hot. The job calls for some travel yes, but stay is at luxury hotels, meals are included and life is one long MTV Grind party.”
[I am still laughing while writing this]
Note: The text in italics have been quoted from the book.