Friday, November 30, 2007

The Airport

I was at Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai yesterday seeing off H&S. The heart was heavy as I knew I would not be meeting them for a few months. After they disappeared inside the terminal, I waited outside waiting for a call from them saying all was well.

This gave me a unique opportunity to watch life in the airport as a spectator. I have mostly been sent-off, this was one of those rare opportunities when I got to bid someone farewell and shed those silent tears after they were out of sight.

A large (and I mean LARGE) Gujarati family was bidding 4 members of their entourage farewell. 4 individuals were set to travel and about 40 had showed up to see them off. Whoops of joy, greetings in Gujarati (presumably meaning 'farewell' or 'bon voyage') rent the air as the 4 walked smilingly celebrity-like on the red carpet towards the departure door and into the vast-nothingness (for folks seeing folks off at CSIA) beyond.

A mother stood tearfully advising her son (presumably not to smoke, drink or date foreign girls) while the lad stood with his face turned away, half embarrassed, half in pain at having to bid farewell to his dear mom in a few minutes.

Several men-in-badges were escorting folks (mostly women with heavy baggage and a cranky toddler-in-tow and foreigners who didn't realize this was a ruse to relive them of their remaining pocket change and not the traditional Indian traditional send-off for guests) to the departure gate and beyond.

A frantic woman was trying to convince the security guard that she was late for her flight and hadn't brought her e-ticket along and that he should let her pass.

A familiar TV actor was waiting for his flight departure to be announced, drably dressed - presumably to avoid being recognized . That didn't work too well as we figured him out as did a couple of teens who wouldn't stop leering and pointing at him until he got uncomfortable enough to walk away.

A couple walks up and asks to be photographed. I oblige . The guy wants intimate (stop thinking evil !) pictures and the tries to get close to the girl who blushingly fends him off.

The call finally came - H&S had successfully checked in their bags and were at the departure gate . After a tearful phone farewell, I took the elevator down to the parking, passing arrivals on the way.

A huge crowd waited for the arriving passengers. Every now and then, a whoop rent the humid Bombay end-November air as a a loved one met with another loved one. Hugs, chocolates, flowers are exchanged -in no particular order as the loved ones walk away to a waiting car or auto-rickshaw.

Anticipating faces await further news about a delayed flight about to bring a loved one home.

The numerous literally fly-by-night drivers of rental cars await their passengers.

As I make way to the car park, I am thinking - How is this so different from life anywhere else ? An airport terminal is simply a microcosm of the busy urban life anywhere else in India. Here you get to see it all up-close and personal - if you are willing to observe .

My car leaves the parking lot and the mind thinks - everything I just saw is probably playing itself out again and again right now. The loud family, the couple, the frantic passenger, the TV actor ....everything, just that I am not the current witness.

Life happens. And we are just spectators who come and go. Life happens...

Jai Gurudev,


  1. jgd

    wat a pleasure it is to read ur blog. ur style of writg is so racy n almost visual.
    lately i was just readg guruji's knowledge copied and pasted from one group to another.
    do tell us smthing abt urself.....
    i was in pune in may and met awsm pune aolites.



  2. Hi Nita,
    Thanks for your comments ! All I can say about myself is that I am like you - a satsangee and devotee of Guruji :)

    Its certainly a privilege to be in a big AOL center like Pune...many blessings here. Where are you from ?

    Jai Guru Dev,