But what about airports? Are you among those who hate it? Because it is almost always far removed from the main city, it has an air of – oh-you-can’t-escape-work-for-a-trip about it, and it is too organized for its own good? Or are you among those who see it as a crisp, clean place, organised to make your life smoother, and lay-over’s more comfortable? Where you can shop without paying extra dollars and where a three hour wait can also be overcome because of the airport bookshop and cafes.
I am neither. I have always shared a love-hate relationship with airports and stations. I like them only when I am the one travelling. And even during those times I have shook my head in dismay and disappointment when flights have been delayed, when a particularly unpleasant stewardess had smirked at a group of not-so-great-to-do family.
But the last few times I have realized what I love most about airports – joy! And that is experienced only while you wait outside the arrival gate. And you follow one old lady pushing her trolley towards the exit. Then her son – well above 40 himself – arrives to wrap her in a tight hug. It is when you notice a young teenage girl screaming suddenly and sprinting to greet her elder brother who has been away studying in some college in the US (whose sweatshirt he deems it proper to wear on a humid day in Mumbai). The same siblings who have probably fought tooth and nail while growing up, suddenly become friends and companions in that moment at the airport. It is when young boys are introduced by their respective parents before a common trip is to ensue and in their shy smiles you can see that they are going to do quite okay, together. It is when people around you smile, they kiss, they hug and they promise to always be there – if not present physically.