Sunday, September 18, 2016

Introspection triggered - by food trays!

(Image from

I have had some interesting experiences with food trays on flights! I am not referring to the quality of the food, but instead some life lessons. Well, if you wondering what life lessons can you draw from food trays on flights – read on!

On flights which serve food – snacks & beverages, a fair portion of the time and effort of the flight attendants is spent on doing that. The trolley moves along slowly – checking on meal preferences, assembling the tray, and serving it. There is also the odd discrepancy in preferences on record, or possibly passengers changing their mind, which requires more time and effort. 

The interesting part of the process to me has been what happens after the food is served. The meals are generally meant to be light and more often than not I complete (as do most others I think) them in around 10 minutes or so. This point on – the food tray remains stranded and unattended till it is cleared. Quite logically, the flight attendants wait to allow for all passengers to have completed their meals. This means the tray is in front of you for invariably for a fair amount of time (often around 15 minutes after eating). I personally have found this restrictive – I generally read on flights, unless I am too tired. Neither can you stretch – also the optimized seating cramps you considerably. Often, I have felt a sense of restlessness, and impatience -when will the trays be cleared?! After all, this period is a sheer waste! I am generally against drawing attention to myself and seeking something out of the way, but the temptation to ask the flight attendants to clear the trays faster has always existed.

Over time, especially after practising Mindfulness, I have been able to curb this sense of restlessness. Well, it was pointless, there is nothing lost by waiting a few extra minutes. In fact that time can be used for reflection or to seek calm. While, I still think that food trays can be cleared faster than they are typically, they don't make me restless as they did before!

The addiction to activity has consequences for all of us – we simply cannot sit quietly! We seem to derive our sense of self-esteem from activity frenzy. The toll this takes on mental peace and balance is often not understood. This is a time where activity is overrated, idleness (and consequently sleep) is looked down upon. This is not to imply that one should idle most of the time, of course.

Do you get restless? Have you sought to understand the triggers?


  1. I too used to feel inconvenienced while flying, with a tray in front of me, once I had finished having my meal. Anyway, in the course of time I have learnt to accept the reality and to turn the mind inwards. Sometimes I am reminded of the days when I used to stand in queue for booking train ticket in Central / Egmore Station for 3 hours or more. There were instances when my turn came the counter just closed for lunch (1 hour). Those days we took it for granted that there would be delay for unpredictable duration. Thanks to internet booking we are in a far better situation now.

    1. True..took a long time to accept as well..

    2. True..took a long time to accept as well..

  2. Yes used to happen with me in so many situations like slow moving traffic, delayed train or bus, a video buffering etc..i could go on and on :)
    but now i find myself being conscious of the futility of all this restlessness and getting flustered. Me getting worked up is not going to speed up things. It only affected my next work in hand. So now i consciously avoid getting worked up where things are beyond my control