Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1 - Learning to fly.

I have some four hours to spend at the Bangalore airport. The chairs in the lounge arch backwards, but stop short of reclining. There is the uncertain discomfort of whether you should attempt to sit or lie down. I quit reading and do an easy saunter around the lounge.

A posse of Kingfisher air hostesses arrives with their flaming-red baggage. They wait for their luggage to get stowed away - their duty hours are yet to begin. They confer in hushed whispers, sometimes letting occasional smiles and jokes break through their trained mannerisms. The occasional anxiety and frown peeps out from behind the pink make-up and powder. One of them twiddles the blue ribbon of an Indigo check in queue that reads - 'no red tape'. The counter at the end of the ribbons is closed.

**

The coffee day bar has deep red for backdrop, with an occasional glow of mild lighting. The three tables inside arent enough for the crowd, so people step outside under a yellow stained-glass like glass ceiling. People in the queue try and balance their baggage as they dig into their pockets.

A woman with sunglasses balanced above her forehead extracts the change she needs. She spots two suit-boot clad men and greets them with a shout - "Hello! You're going to Bombay too? Which flight? We should have come from office together!". It's yet another Friday evening.

**

You realize airports do not afford you as much space or variety of views as railway stations. All I had was a fairly big hall some 100 metres across. Most stations give me the choice of the length of a multitude of platforms, as well as space outside the station. Security threats and all that ensured that I couldnt exit this hall. If only for a change of scene, I check in my baggage and move inwards into another lounge.

The inner pre-boarding lounge has commerce aplenty too. Amid the self improvement books and fiction and HBR compendia, I cant help notice one book that claims to help overcome the influence of cults, written by 'America's best known intervention specialist'.

Coffee, sandwiches, biscuits abound - but no meals, nothing that can fill a stomach. No restaurants or tables - so you've to eat amid the rows of chairs sprawled across the lounge. There are shirts and ties and designer jewelry - you sometimes wonder who precisely is it that buys these. Prices leap up as you go from the outer to the inner lounge. Airports seem to be a trifle more demanding, perhaps because they deem these boarding areas their sanctum sanctorum.

**
There's the vague feeling of boredom in the air. People know there's a late night commute-after-flight that stands between them and the weekend. Sleep is still a couple of hours distant. People chomp on sandwiches and biscuits and stare into nothingness. My flight is still one hour away. This isn’t quite a comfort zone.

6 comments:

Gee said...

Welcome to the club of I-hate-flying-ers.
:)

Harish Kumar said...

You realize airports do not afford you as much space or variety of views as railway stations. - I agree. I end up missing the scenes on a train/at a station whenever I'm at an airport. And then I start wondering if I have a 'condition' like in The Following?

QKumar said...

[Gee] - Not a very fun club, that. :-(.

[H.] - True. Even uber-clean-ness of airports doesnt seem to make them nicer. I hated Mumbai like crazy.

Irony said...

Your post reminded me of Tom Hanks (Terminal)...It's truly a trap :)

Irony
irony-blog.blogspot.com

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