Tuesday

Stories in motion, at Airports



So what do you do, when you have time on your hands after reaching the airport, as defined by the travel agent or the airline, many hours in advance? Or if you are an anxious passenger and like to be well on time, then how do you use your idle time, effectively at airports? Ever wonder what happens to those couplea hours you have, before boarding an international flight? Everybody says we’ll keep busy; there is enough to do around duty free’s! But how much can you really do around duty frees? :)

After walking the entire length of the airport and peering into suped up shop windows, maybe even buying a few things you don’t need, with feet finally saying enough is enough, how do you still keep yourself entertained given you are much time away from boarding yet?:)

This pre flight time has always been a time, of much work for me. I wander around. I enjoy a good cappuccino amongst a world of strangers. I observe the hustle bustle and chaos and orderliness around me. And make mental notes of cultures and people and behaviors and law. Most importantly I allow the trip highlights to rotate in my mind and etch the good memories forever with a flourish while seemingly, aimlessly walking about the terminal.

This once, time flew by once again, and I actually chided myself for not figuring my boarding gate, before wandering around the airport. I saw a young toddler taking her first few baby steps on the walking elevator. The near fall and then the fine delicate balance to stay standing – was a joy reflected in the child’s eyes and mirrored in her mum’s eyes. The child was zapped, felt weird, there was confusion on the child's face, and then finally it exploded into a 300amp gurgle and a 200watt dimpled smile. Then there was this young 19-20yr old back packer sitting on the airport floor despite many empty seats all around, painting her nails and drying them at an arms length with a small motorized fan which looked most incongruous with her grunge look. This young girl sat in her cargo's and gators cross legged n the floor, most unaware of the ripple she was causing amongst curious fliers coming closer to their boarding gate. A litle distance ahead, as I wandered further, a young couple were walking on the walking elevator facing each other. They were so absorbed into each other, not worried about the scowls given to them by harried co- passengers who had come to a grinding halt behind them. They stood across the elevator with their hands on each other effectively blocking the path for the others. Many people started queuing up on the right side of the elevator which should have been open to them to hurry past. But this couple was so intent on each other none of the queuing up world behind, disturbed their reverie, and then once they were off the walking elevator, the rest of the queued up public hurried past from either sides of this couple. It is rightly said that the world waits and looks on, when love is in the air:)

Watching people say goodbye is most difficult for me. I saw a military family bidding adieu to their young handsome son. They all looked smiling, strong and confident. But as the Marine moved into the deeper recess of the airport I saw the family from the coffee shop where I was perched, they were white, nervous and worried for him. I could see their thoughts- they knew he was off to a tough job full of dangers. My heart reached out to them and I sent a silent prayer to God to keep this young soldier safe and happy for his family.

Emotions are on full display at airports. Happy scenes have to be balanced with sad goodbyes. Life evens out. And you walk matter of factly into your craft, looking to arrive at your next destination, the perfect disguise falls in place again.
Such an exciting world we live in. With as many interesting people partaking in our lives without them or us realizing this. People want to talk, especially when they are traveling alone. That’s how I pick up human behaviour. Watching silently. Making mental notes. Tucking it away for future reference. Everyone has a story and it is all being unfolded right in front of us.

13 comments:

Raghu said...

hey meenakshi, i particularly like this one coz i could relate to it... i love to be at the airports and watch the world go by. i love to see this huge electronic display boards showing all those cities and towns where some flights are headed to. it makes me wonder...so many places to see, so little time. ..... keep blogging...raghu-yahoo!

Neelu said...

yeah, it is a great time to watch people. i wonder where they come from, where they are going next, who awaits them at home or who are they leaving behind.

Albert said...

I enjoy observing cultures and people too. Unfortunately most of my observations at airports are forced through the 'Smirnoff' glass. Fun, wacky and insightful.

ashish said...

I have one sided conversations with me, with imaginary people in mind, while I wait for boarding to begin. I try to tackle and unclutter my emotions, I try to make sense of all the things I gotta do when I arrive at the next destination.

gita said...

The over reaching thread in my idle time be it waiting at airports, or driving back home in my car from office or to office, is -am I happy doing what I am doing, do I feel like I’m making a difference somehow. This isn’t new, as you already know, but it’s getting magnified a lot which will either work out or, well, not. This applies to work and life - we don’t get any do overs here, we get one shot and need to make the most of it, and need to be able to look back at what we did and feel like it was worth it. At least I do. And that's what keeps me occupied of late, I hardly even see whats around me because I am lost within myself.

sheila said...

Working in a service industry like the hotel world, I could very well relate to the ground crew in all the airports, the pressures they work under, the problems they face and above all, the way they have to be super polite to the uncouth passengers no matter how insolent a look the pot bellied asshole passenger’s gaze maybe, not rising higher than the stewardess's chest level!! Yea much to ponder, much to observe.

melinda said...

OMG Mee, I know what you mean..there are a thousand stories being told while waiting at airports, looking around can be a great past time, absorbing and soaking it all is so hugely absorbing. I tend to figure peoples nationalities, their relationships, their conversations and I promise you am not eavesdropping on them!:)

Jim said...

They say for the world traveler an airport is their oyster- thehehe, definitely sounds like it is yours Mee!

Anon said...

Hey Mee, you didn't stock up on your jewelry collection with hand-made decorations sold by local vendors and artisans? When was there I found unique scarves, wooden crafts, and many other trinkets when I was wandering through the rows of tent shops. In fact this place I thought from a European perspective was a sight for all cultures and religions just to experience and enjoy the harmonious spirit around. Armanda

Anon said...

O yea and on my return I bumped into two people known to me traveling by the same flight - so for me the journey was full of talk talk talk time! No time to ponder or gaze:(- Arm

vineeta said...

Well observed and beautifully written. Travel is a great time to look at the world and at yourself.

ALLEX said...

a very beautiful piece indeed... loved reading this..... its really g8 watching people and noticing their emotions and activities..... at times i too take a corner seat at crowded places and watch the people... get to understand a lot about human behavior....

sabith khan said...

hmmmm,

This ones a tough one indeed...all my sentiments come pouring while travelling and seeing someone off or while travelling myself...excitement, anger, happiness, sadness and much else.

I always feel there are several selves in each one of us; and the Airport does bring out each one in a different 'avtar' depending on the situation and the person involved.