Sky High

The International Adda in the sky

In the days of old, the Serai on the major highways of the World like the Silk Route and our grand trunk road where locations for the meeting of Minds of an exotic variety of races, cultures and communities aided by the spirits of distant lands.  Place names ending in Serai or Inn like Sheikh Serai, bear witness to this.

Now a days, this international meeting of minds and feasting of souls aided by exotic spirits has moved upwards to the skies to the bars on the business class of international flights.

sky hi 2

Flights to the business hubs of the world from India are all long hall and usually overnight.  Flights also induce insomnia, especially when you are changing time zones.  Moreover, it is deeply ingrained in our psyche to get the money’s worth for our tickets by guzzling as much of the free booze as possible.

Thus we find an international collection of insomniacs, drunkards, freeloaders, and globe trotters congregating in the bar in the sky. They are usually regaling the captive audience of the stewardesses manning the bar with stale jokes in various accents or boring stories of business triumphs and wealth acquired,much like Othello tried to woo the fair damsel with stories of Valor and Glory.

sky hi 3

However, it gives us a chance to meet people from countries you cannot find in the map and learn about cultures we have little or wrong knowledge about.

People from our western neighbor whom we love to hate turnout to be quite lovable especially after you shared a few large ones, which you thought was haram for them.  As it turns out such dictates are followed only on paper.  They speak the same Punjabi that we do, crack the same jokes, are as irreverent about their political and religious leaders and drool over the same Bollywood starlets that we do. We only differ in the cricket teams we support.     Mr. Khan from Lahore ends up inviting me for an all paid holiday in his country and I extend the same welcome to him, knowing full well that we will soon lose the cards exchanged and never really stay in touch or take up the  offers, but perhaps someday, inshallah ……..

Then there was this lady from the tiniest country in the world tucked into a corner of Switzerland which we could not find in the map nor could we spell or even pronounce after having imbibed freely of the spirit that cheers.  All I remember is that the country began with an L, and the lady told the most improper jokes about the various nationalities of Europe she had encountered.

shy hi 4.jpg

There was another lady from Cyprus and I learned that they too have a story very similar to our Kashmir, and she was bitter about her parents having to flee their homes when Cyprus was divided in two.  She remembered the exact date.  They call the other portion occupied Cyprus and insist that it is part of their country.  But Turkey calls that portion of Cyprus a district of Turkey.  The split was on religious grounds when the Christians had to flee the occupied portions which were resettled by Turkish immigrants thus, changing the cultural character and even language of that part.  She was strongly Islamophobic and anti-immigrant.  There was a Cypriot film in the Airlines collection which talked about the border and bonhomie between the Cypriots of both sides centered on a dog which crossed the border. She disregarded the film as liberal nonsense and said that she hated the occupiers with all her heart.


Arabs from the Middle East did not look anything like Lawrence of Arabia and wore normal Jeans and T-shirts, where jolly cosmopolitan people who can drink us under the table and are well informed about global issues.  Nor do they flout diamond watches or gold toothpiks.  Another stereo type shattered.   The only disconcerting habit was that they tend to hug you when parting after an hours companionable drinking when a simple hand shake would have done.


I received invitations to Cyprus, Estonia, Lesotho and the unpronounceable country with L, and in turn invited them all to India fully confident that we will never meet again but one co-barfly in the sky broke this stereotype.

Singh pra ji from sadda Canada, originally from sadda Punjab, after thirty two years in Canada, had not lost an inch of his Punjabiyat. He spoke a rustic dialect of Punjabi I had difficulty deciphering. And he actually lived up to his sozzled promise which I had completely forgotten, turning up at my hotel, taking me home, and giving me a guided tour of the area and generally playing host. We continue to be in touch through whatsapp.


Some bar in air friendships do last




  1. Marvelous presentation 💐💐💐♥️🍀💥.

    Beautiful memories of travel in the sky Bar with State of Art of amenities ♥️💘🎯💐💐💐💥.

    Very true that some bar in air friendships do last !.

    Best wishes,

    CA K Ravi Shankar

    Liked by 1 person

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