Book Review: Aisle Be Damned: Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tips

Book: Aisle Be Damned: Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tips
Author: Rishi Piparaiya
Number of pages: 214
Price: Rs. 250

Aisle Be Damned: Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tipsAisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya is a hilarious take on just about everything associated with air travel, with tips for the following:

  • Getting seamlessly upgraded to Business Class
  • Micromanaging pilots
  • Winning the affections of flight attendants
  • Countering the airline’s ‘Technical Snag’ routine
  • Starting conversations with attractive co-passengers
  • Dealing with the ‘Walk of Shame’ to the economy section
  • Improving flight safety by observing a water bottle
  • Breezing through immigration and customs, always making your flight connections, etc.

It is light, tongue-in-cheek humor, bound to leave you with a slow smile on your face. You’ll never look at the flying the same way again. The book is conversational, personal and sometimes plain hilarious. He makes writing look effortless.

For Piparaiya, an overworked and over-traveled corporate executive, Aisle Be Damned is the accumulated knowledge of the tens of thousands of hours logged in flights, airports, immigration counters, baggage carousels and the like. “Nuggets of wisdom that I hope will maximize your flying experience and help you soar through safer, friendlier and more enjoyable skies.”

Aisle Be Damned begins where most air journeys do, with the hunt for a trolley to load your luggage on, and ends at the Departures all the way up to your taxi at Arrivals. And Piparaiya recounts all the harrowing aspects of air travel and provides handy tips to counter them all. Each chapter begins with a quote, setting the tone of things to come in the next few pages. And the use of images, with clever captions, every couple of pages further adds to your smile.

And because it is a book of journeys, there is also some packing to be done. So Piparaiya lists out “The Essential Packing List,” which includes some usual suspects: a water bottle and a jacket. But note that it also lists a masala dabba (spice box), a sack of birdseed and a parachute, uses for which he explains in subsequent pages.

On page 67, Piparaiya writes, with the utmost sincerity, “If you are seated at the window, it is your moral duty to help avoid a mid-air collision. So keep your nose glued to the window, eyes scanning the horizon and watch for any approaching the aircraft. If you see a plane dangerously close, yell, ‘Watch Out!’” I was in the train when I read this and couldn’t help laughing out loud.

On page 90, Piparaiya recommends carrying some Tabasco (in 2 and 5 ounce miniatures bottles that pass through security without a hitch) to break the monotony of bland airline food. My favorite tip.

I felt that the bonus chapter, Commerce, Literature and Zen was a bit self-indulgent and, pointless and could have been done away with. But it still made me smile. That’s the effect his writing has on you.

Aisle Be Damned is a very enjoyable read. I also think that it makes for a perfect gift for folks who like reading on flights.

Thank you, Jaico Books for the autographed copy.

Learn more about Aisle Be Damned: Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tips.


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