Saturday, February 05, 2005

Arrival Lounge



Yesterday,and what extended into what is commonly known as today, I went to Indira Gandhi International's arrival lounge, for the umpteenth time in my life, to pick up my NRI Cousin returning from foren.

See, I visit the airport quite a lot. My father is a frequent business traveler, and of late, my Bua has become quite jet-bound too. Added to this is the fact that our house is the ubiquitous "family house", and thus still serves as a semi focal point for a now far and disbanded joint family, when it decides to return from the four corners of India and the globe. The arrival lounge, thus, is quite a familiar place for me, and I've seen in not change (because the IGI is a disastrously badly managed airport) for the past god knows how many years. The only change I saw this time was a new Cafe Coffee Day counter, which was actually seeing business, unlike all the other shoddy, terrible quality kiosks.

The Arrival Lounge has by necessity, had to provide many options for entertainment, as my father holds records for spending time in baggage check and customs, records which he consistently breaks every so often. Thus, I've usually had a lot of waiting around to do, and in the absence of any real entertainment, you have to make your own. So I stroll about the lounge, and watch things. Arrival lounges are strangely enough, remarkably interesting places for people with a keen eye for interest, and unless you're stuck in one place, you'll miss a lot.

The first thing that you can do, if you are male that is, is check out females. Airports are quite a high density zone for babes, both desi and vilayati. Somehow, though, I only ever see them for the first half hour of waiting, and then all I get is fat ones, but you can't have everything, can you. Now, this may sound like an incredibly perverse, "female objectifying" thing to do, and well, it is, but quite frankly, I don't give a stuff. It's fun entertainment for anyone with as many y chormosomes as me. Anyhow, at last visit, I was not disappointed, no not at all. Most noted was PYT attempting to explain to lost dad how to operate cellphone. Now, this is not to say age of dad has anything to do with him being lost, I would have been just as lost as the poor man, but a far more receptive student, I would say.

Anyhow, we move on. Next come the Tibetan Buddhists. Now, if you frequent the airport, you will see a remarkable amount of Tibetan Buddhists arriving from all over the world, pretty much all the time. They're even more jet set than Sardars, and that is saying a lot. They come in droves, traveling in groups of ten and over, and you always see them with their nice jolly smiles, and shaven heads.

Next, we move to the people you think you know, but can't say for sure, so you eye them every once in a while, till they think you're a little bit nuts. You of course, don't really know them, otherwise they themselves would have said hi, but such is the nature of things in arrival lounge dynamics.

Then, every so often, there are people you actually do know(Or pretend you know, at any rate) and run into in an Arrival Lounge, and this actually happened yesterday. You know the incredibly stupid way of starting conversations with someone you bump into at the movies "So what are you doing here?", well that was topped by conversation starter at arrival lounge.
Sample this. I run into, or rather 11thie-broad-who's-name-I-forgot-but-by-description-V-assures me-is-Anandita runs into me at the Airport.

11thie Broad: "Hi! So are you waiting for someone"
How is one supposed to respond to this? Sarcasm inevitably takes over.
Me: "No, I'm here for the enjoyable night time experience"
I then proceed on in my walk, expecting her to walk alongside, because well, I do expect these kind of things, when she come up with another gem.
11thie Broad: "Slow down, I can't keep up with you, my butt is hurting, man."

Yeah, that was about it for me. Conversation was just bound to go downhill from there.
But anyhow, it just objectifies the point of how Arrival Lounges are fun an interesting places, where one can in fact while away time while waiting for baggage to arrive. And if absolutely nothing else strikes your fancy, you can always watch the many happy reunions of families reunited with long gone relatives, or cute kids sitting on their luggage trolleys, or other wonderful sights and sounds of the Indira Gandhi International, possibly the only thing with her name that can bring joy to anyone.

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