Airports »Conversations» Who or How?
Date: 5th Oct 2011
I have been spending my past three nights on various airports. The first night was well spent at Luxor airport with Paritosh (a playboy type friend of mine) sleeping to glory, the second night was partially spent at Cairo airport trying to look for a cheaper food option and figuring out why do we find so many hot girls at the airports? What is the connection? Anyways, currently I am at Singapore airport after spending an awesome day at Bangkok airport.
There is something about Airports that makes me stay more and spend more time at these busy places. I think I have spent hours just sitting at an airport talking to friends online, chatting with random people, just looking outside the window while the planes take off and land. There is something special about these places.
I think its ‘the connection’ , ‘the networking’ they offer that attracts me to spend as much time here as possible. I have memories of meeting up with random people at different airports and spending hours with them.
Some of those that I can recall, I think it was March 2010, I met two Indians at Hong Kong Airport. Three of us took transit visa and joined a tour bus which took us around Hong Kong in 7 hours and trust me, we had a time of our life. We chilled together, drank, had Indian food, gossiped around about Chinese girls and much more. Another instance which was funny and interesting when I met this Mersk Employee (again an Indian) at Istanbul Airport who was boasting about the girls he has screwed in past 3 years of his career with Mersk. Another encounter which was indeed hilarious, met this Australian women over a breakfast in Beijing in early may this year. She was taking case of this Russian dude who was trying to hit on the Chinese waitress. Imagine, when the Australian lady spoke in her accent the Russian dude could not even understand what she said. She almost slapped him.
Another one which was more like a dream come true when I spent a night with two hot swedish chicks on a couch at Stockholm airport. I got lucky with a head massage that night and I can keep writing about such memories but I had a similar but a special encounter today, I met a Retired Captain of Air India at Bangkok Airport. He had serviced the Indian air services as Fighter pilot and the commercial pilot for 44 years. Imagine, 44 years of flying. He had been to 60 countries and over 100 airports. In his flying career he has seen Engine failures, pregnant ladies delivering babies on the plane, heart attacks, on plane riots, tyre bursts, sexual controversies between ministers and air hostesses and above all, he had also seen a plane Hijack.
Somewhere in 80’s his plane ( Air Indian) was hijacked and was taken to South Africa (name changed). At that time the diplomatic relations between the two countries were screwed up. They were in Custody of 24+ Militants for 2days. There were no casualties amongst the flight crew and passengers. Later the militants surrendered. He still flew for another 32 years after the incident.
After all these patriotic conversations, I told him that I was interested in Indian Foreign services and that I wanted to give UPSC exams next year, he had a very proud feeling on his face. All he said was, “at today’s age if India still has young people like you then I am sure, India’s future is in safe hands”. All I could say was, “Thank you”.
He is a family man, has a son, a pilot who is an Instructor in Manila, Philippines. He also has a daughter who is a consultant in a hospital in Powai, Mumbai. He goes to Gym, Plays golf, attends parties infact his favorite alcohol is Black label.
we talked a lot, about our lives, our families, our work, our future aspirations. The funny part or rather weird part was how a 22 year old boy and 69 year old uncle could connect so much. Right from the taste of Indian food to the brand of alcohol to the things we hate about random cities around the world, to sports, to politics and even our views towards marriage or as we described it a state of life beyond definition – it all happened in the span of 2 hours.
I think we connected because we had similar stories more importantly we had similar dreams. The only difference was he had achieved those dreams and I was still an aspiring applicant. I think such conversations motivate me, drive me to create a story of my own and to be who I want to be. To achieve my dreams, goals and aspirations.
During the entire conversation, I only had one small thought running parallel in my mind. What is that I want to be? What is that I want to achieve from this life? What is my end goal?
But after a while when the Captain left for his flight and I was waiting for mine to start boarding I realized, I was asking myself the wrong questions. The questions should be:
What’s more important? What we become, or how we become who we are?
I am still wondering about the answer, I hope I shall find it soon, time is running out, I am 22 already!