I’m leaving on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again.
Oh babe, I hate to go.
These very lines by A.J. Frost kept playing in my mind while I was at the Domestic Airport this Thursday. The airport, I must say, is one place in Delhi which I would any day prefer over any of the scores of malls spread in every nook and cranny of the city. Its majesty, its overpowering elegance and its great organization make me marvel all the time. It may not have the same effect on most of the people who fly in and out of the airport every day without even sparing a glance around, but it surely caught my eye and how!
A strange kinda feeling engulfed me the moment I entered the arrival area. Sitting in the waiting lounge, looking at the hordes of people of all states and nationalities, creeds and colors, faiths and beliefs, it was - not humbling, as anybody might have expected me to say – it was rather quite entertaining. The screen in front of me showed the names and timings of all the expected international flights, and the places from where they were arriving – omg, they were a spectrum in themselves! Bahrain, Jeddah, Kabul, Beijing, London, Taipei, Singapore, Addis Ababa – you name a city and there was a flight from there! Then there was this particular flight which caught my attention. Simply because a large – and by that I mean a very large – group of Muslims alighted from it. All but one of them were wearing typical pathani suits. It must’ve been the flight from Kabul, I presume. The one guy I excluded above, was dressed quite modernly, more like a photographer or a trekker, and was strangely enough - given his companions’ hulia - quite handsome..lol.. And thus flights kept coming in, people kept pouring in and out of the arrival area, and there I sat, from 8.20 right until 9.30 am, when finally the one we were waiting for, landed. Our guest was, given the eminent personality that he is, taken straightaway to the reserved VIP lounge. How we got there, employing all sorts of jugaad that we Indians are known worldwide for, is another long story. Anyway, we got there, met the guest and I really felt ecstatic just standing in his vicinity. It was a divine joy. Why? That’s simple - because he is my spiritual guru. :)
But this wasn't the first time I've been at the airport. My tryst with the Airport dates back to many years ago. The first time I was at the Domestic Airport was on my trip to Srinagar. And unfortunately, that was the last time J & K was ever known to be calm and quiet. Since then, it has been ripped and burnt off by all those inhuman terrorist attacks, raids, fights, curfews, in short, lots of violence. I doubt if after us any other tourist would ever have got a calm, peaceful and near-to-God experience on a Kashmir trip like we got. At that time I was around 13-14 years of age. And all I think I noticed about the airport at the time of departure was the fish tank in the lounge area (fish and fish tanks never cease to fascinate me!:-D), and the coffee we had while waiting to board the plane. It was terrible. :-| Well, my next unpleasant encounter with coffee was on the flight to Srinagar the same morning. I was very enthusiastically gorging on my breakfast – spreading butter on the toast with care, slurping up that yummy mango yoghurt and making the coffee while smiling to myself (why, it was my first time aboard a plan, for God’s sake!)– and marveling at the lofty snow-white Himalayas beneath us. And suddenly the plane began to rock, first gently, then violently. No, nothing to worry folks, we weren’t on our way to a crash. Presumably, it was a routine happening in those areas. But the rocking of the plane – it spilled my coffee all over my white top.
My next airport adventure was on the morning we returned from Srinagar. But I’ll save it for another day..hehe. For now, I’m waiting for the renovation of the International Airport to attain completion. After all I’ve been invited on a guided tour of the entire International Airport by a very sweet and chivalrous old Customs officer right there at the airport. Unbelievable? Okay then, does it help if I say that this officer is my uncle? Well I guess it makes no difference whatsoever. Who wouldn’t offer that to a pretty lady anyway?!
Okay folks, I really think it’s time I let you navigate away from this page, that is, if you’ve even bothered to read right until this line. Hearty thanks for that
See you soon! Take care! :)