First Step in India

“Mommy, why are these women sleeping on the bathroom floor?” There are no less than 6 women sleeping in the vestibule and under the sinks of the women’s bathroom in the transit passenger waiting area of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Some are sleeping on pieces of cardboard, some on fiber mats, all with the ends of their saris covering their heads, oblivious to the comings and goings of their co-workers and passengers trooping in and out of the bathroom. Welcome to India.

Actually, the bathroom experience on the flight from Seoul to Bombay was my first welcome to India. The difference in the cleanliness of the toilets on the flight from San Francisco to Seoul and the flight from Seoul to Bombay was remarkable. Mark and I had been pleasantly surprised with our Korean Airlines experience – our first. We had heard nothing but bad things about Korean Airlines; that of all the options for flights to India, it was the worst. We found the seats relatively comfortable (slept through most of both flights), the air hosts and hostesses (in their new uniforms) friendly and helpful, the food and movies good (I recommend The Big Scene), and the bathrooms spotless (and well stocked with toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash) on the first leg of our trip. The second leg was equally comfortable except for the state of the bathrooms – they had come to resemble the public toilets in India. What happened? Are some of these passengers equally slovenly in their homes? Or only in public places? Or are they already making the transition from their lives in other countries to living in India, where private cleanliness and public littering are not contradictions?


1 Response to “First Step in India”

  1. 1 insomnya05 October 30, 2006 at 9:05 am

    This flight experience was unfortunate and I believe it is one-off case. I havent had such experiences (I have never flow Korean though) in flights to India. But the bathroom experience is a reality! We are moving slowely out of it. It will take time.

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