No bullshit, this really happened.
It was a dark and stormy night in July as I disembarked off Air India Express AKA probably the lousiest airline ever. A couple of lazy fat old aunties (evidently no physicals for air hostesses) on whose waistlines recession hasn't made the slightest dent what-so-ever and whose attitudes could freeze lava. And us, the passengers, mostly Malayali, male and above drinking age having unlimited access to free booze (the Malayali dream). Throw all of these in a medieval flying boat in the worst possible monsoon weather and you have the Air India Express experience.
In the midst of all the drama at the time was the threat of swine flu. Needless to say it was least priority for everyone on board as all passengers seemed keen on finishing off all inflight and duty-free booze as though Kerala had suddenly been declared a dry state (Never happening, but will they listen?)
Touch down at Trivandrum airport.
Some ground staff are wearing flu masks. Everyone is shocked by the meticulous flu measures. Some curious if not sloshed passengers attempt innocent conversation-starters like "Swine flu?" or more outrageous ones like "Oh.. It's contagious?" with ground staff. Everyone is genuinely surprised and impressed that an Indian airport has actually taken some measures for anything.
More build-up as we pass posters saying "Stop Swine Flu" or something similar and equally non-informative and vague. We finally reach a signboard saying "Swine Flu Screening Facility".
While the rest of world uses full body-temperature scanners correct to fractions of a degree with high-color displays on fancy LCDs for screening swine flu, India instead deploys the latest high-tech resources from its arsenal at Trivandrum airport - a paper form. Which goes like :
1. Name, Flight No., other personal details
2. Do you have Swine Flu?
3. If yes, are you in need of immediate medical attention?
The form is dutifully filled out and handed over to immigration. So ends the exhaustive Swine Flu screening process.
Sorry folks. The real intention behind this post was to bitch about Air India Express, drunk Mallus and Swine Flu in general. Ok, maybe not Mallus, you rock. But no kidding, this really happened.