Air India, please change your name so you don't represent this country. I don't care for your surly, middle-aged stewardesses or your inefficient touch-screen TV. Your bathrooms made me sick to my stomach -- a vicious cycle, I might add -- and every connection was delayed and announced only through mumbling. Not to mention, your scrawny check-in guy hit on me.
I wish I could say that the body odor made me nostalgic, or the pee-drizzled bathrooms reminded me to be tolerant. Maybe the greater purpose of a turbulent, gritty flight was to end any sugar-coated ideas I had of my journey. Whatever the message, flying for twenty hours on Air India was an experience I could've skipped. I even stepped on my glasses, broke them in half, and almost skipped immigration as a result of my blindness. And I lost my copy of "The Last Song", but I don't regret that.
While "Incredible India" posters start to peel off of your walls, and the Hindi announcements drag on at least two times longer than the English, I have to remind myself of the impeccable hospitality that pervades Indian homes, stories and people -- the glasses of coke as you gaze at sari silks, the overfeeding of sweets glistening with ghee.