Welcome On Board the Plane. Your Co-passenger is Rahul Gandhi

Ahmedabad: What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the name Rahul Gandhi? A dynast, or a man who ended up becoming subject of jokes! But political leaders, they say, are created by the circumstances and opportunities.

And this election season, Rahul Gandhi seems to be on the top of his game.

On Monday, I was in Ahmedabad to interview Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, and the man who is keen to turn tables on him, Alpesh Thakor.

On my return flight, I was in for a surprise. My co-passenger was Congress vice-president who is slated to take charge of the Grand Old Party anytime now.

While I didn’t get to ask Rahul Gandhi if his social media team was using bots to boost interactivity, I did get a close view of the man who has converted reclusiveness into popular appeal.

Just when he enters the flight, he immediately takes the window seat. His security guard by his side, keeping a close eye on passengers who jump to take selfies with Gandhi scion.

“No cameras until the flight lands,” everyone was told. Even I couldn’t break that protocol.

So first things first, Raga, like most of us, loves his mobile. A joke on his mobile throws him into splits with his photographer companion for almost two minutes.

As the flight takes off, he pulls out a book ‘Vedanta: Voice of Freedom’ by Swami Vivekananda. Throughout the flight, amid many distractions, Rahul doesn’t let go of the book. He points to page 43 and an animated conversation on the idea of freedom follows.

In between, a woman passenger comes and seeks Rahul’s help in some matter. He patiently listens to her.

Now, snacks are being served and Rahul loves his food and cold drink. May be this is the only short break he is getting after a day-long campaign in Gujarat.

Another passenger approaches him for help. Rahul is all ears.

But Rahul reserves his best for a Gujarati businessman sitting right in front of him.

Raga asks Mahendra Bhai if his business had suffered due to GST. Pat comes the reply. “Indeed, it has.”

I once again tried to ask him a few questions on the Gujarat election, But Rahul chose to stay with his book.

Now, the flight is about to land. And passengers are ready with their mobile cameras to take home the memory of a journey with soon-to-be Congress chief. While Rahul obliges a few people, the pilot announces that passengers can now deplane.

I can’t help but think, what if Rahul engaged with all passengers on the flight? What if everyone was greeted with a handshake? Yes, it would have led to some commotion, but who would have complained? Hell, even the air hostess wanted to come and have a word with RG.

Till next time, happy flying Rahul.

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