Fly T-class and enjoy your freedom

Sometimes you don't need a ticket to travel on a commercial airline. You just need a maintAirplane_toiletenance job at the airport. You can sneak onto a plane just before takeoff and fly T-class. That's toilet class.

An Indian man who returned to his home country from Saudi Arabia on an Air India flight without a ticket or a passport has been granted bail.

Stowaway Habib Hussain hid in the plane's toilet to escape what he said was a life of "bonded slavery". [Link]

If I was being held as a slave, I'd be willing to fly T-class too. The best part of flying T-class is that you don't have to stand in line to do your business. Another advantage, of course, is that you won't be served any airline food. A third plus is that you'll have plenty of legroom — as long as you don't mind the hard seat.

Habib Hussain, who is from a village in Moradabad (UP), had gone to Saudi Arabia six months back and was employed as a loader by an agency providing services at Medina Airport. Habib boarded the aircraft for maintenance work in the Airbus A-330's toilet and locked himself in. He was spotted mid-air in the plane carrying 273 Haj pilgrims and arrested at Sanganer Airport in Jaipur late on the night of December 25. [Link]

What was he doing carrying all those pilgrims? I'm not sure. It would have been better for him to stay put in the toilet, instead of showing off his manhood.

Later, in an exclusive interview to TOI (published on January 4), Habib said that Indian workers were treated like cattle in Saudi Arabia and because of this harassment, he chose to travel without passport and ticket. He also claimed that he paid Rs 1 lakh to an agent for the job in Saudi Arabia, for which he had to sell his ancestral properties in Moradabad. [Link]

He gave an exclusive interview to Times of India (TOI), but only after receiving a text message from his lawyer: "Let TOI write about TOIlet."

Indian workers being treated like cattle in Saudi Arabia is nothing new — it's been happening for years. Saudi employers know they can lure many Indians with lofty promises such as, "We will treat you as well as we treat our cows!"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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