Oh, I think I deleted the original one I had penned down while waiting for my flight at the Delhi airport a few weeks back. But…never mind; given my memory is not worth relying on, a half-forgotten story will let me let loose the noose of imagination! Hopefully, that will lead me to exaggerating a few facts and turn them into no-longer-facts. But, if you are reading this, you obviously have nothing better to do and I can afford to deceive you to the extent that doesn’t affect you greatly. And I promise, it won’t!
What worried me was the difference that lay on either side of the walls of this huge airport building. Wait, I’ve evidences favoring it! I’ve seen a family that half-followed the same route to the airport as I did. They got down from a bus at a place I was waiting for an auto-rickshaw. (I had, in fact, the luxury of travelling to that point in a cab in which one of my colleagues generously offered a place). And as I embarked on a breezy auto-rickshaw ride, they decided to board a taxi. Well, the ground rules seem to be- if you plan to travel in an airplane (I had written ‘aeroplane’ and MS-Word drew that squiggle underneath- ha! these Americans!), you are supposed to reach the airport in a taxicab (in fact, at least four wheels should drive you there instead of three, as in my case), whether you can afford it or not, more importantly whether you at all need it or not (especially when it’s not summer and the sun hasn’t set). Call me a miser; I didn’t feel the need to use a taxi that day.
That was more or less all until I got past the main entrance security. And as I did so, the only question I asked myself was- Do people save the best piece of clothing from their wardrobe for an air-travel? Women, in general, were in their gaudiest of outfits. Surprisingly, men followed trends- they tended to display the rich brands of tees and jeans they sported, as well.
As I uncomfortably loitered around, I found a spot where I could sit- two empty chairs next to a man who had his laptop on his lap- I chose the one away from him. He was using the Internet. My bad! I overlook the device connected on the other side; I asked, “Amm…do we have Wi-Fi here?” He looked at me and politely replied back, “I don’t know, I have Tata Photon+” (And yes, he emphasized on “+” probably because he had a faint idea I would be able to appreciate the fact that the one with a “+” was better than the one without). So, I had to take out my laptop. Now I realize- anyone who like me, never ceases a chance to criticize people would say- “See, after all his sermons, he is flaunting his notebook”. Had he known it was a corporate one, he would have added-“... not even a personal one!” I have my own excuses- I had mails to check and more importantly time to pass (waste?). The airport unsecured Wi-fi system was working fine (and would be valid for an hour- enough to keep me busy for some time), thanks to people like the one next to me who were using their own means of connecting to the cyberspace.
With the boarding-pass in my hand, the security-check stamp in place and the digital clock in the lounge telling me I still had an hour to go, I kept myself busy watching people, updating Facebook friends that I was doing so and typing down notes on my observations. What amused me was- people tend to speak softly inside an airport; the same gentleman who would shout at his wife and children outside the general store tries to be gentle and gracious in order not to attract undue attention from fellow onlookers- every man thinks in this way and recursively, silence is maintained! The same guy who spits chewing-gum on the road now searches for a dustbin. Call it his trepid nature or the strict enforcement of law at an airport; things are in place- more or less the same way we want India to be (some optimists say, in 2020!).
I wish life was same on either side of the wall. For an individual. Of course, if you want it to be good, don’t forget to subtract the ostentatious nature from those well-mannered ladies and gentlemen!