Dear Mr Branson
REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008
I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.
Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.
I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?
You donít get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, itís next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. Thatís got to be the clue hasnít it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in?
I know it looks like a baaji but itís in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well youíll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. Its only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.
Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So letís peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see whatís on offer.
Iíll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine itís Christmas morning and youíre sat their with your final present to open.
Itís a big one, and you know what it is. Itís that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.
Only you open the present and itís not in there. Itís your hamster Richard. Itís your hamster in the box and itís not breathing. Thatís how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw it.
Now I know what youíre thinking. Youíre thinking itís more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. Itís mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.
Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.
By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to itís baffling presentation.
It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldnít want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.
So that was that Richard. I didnít eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I canít imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.
As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. Itís just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to itís knees and begging for sustenance.