Some Thoughts on Airports.

 

Let’s talk about airports today.

Airports. Grounded gateways to aerial escapes to a different world. A new city, a new country, a new continent. Ah, how I love them.

In my lifetime, I have taken a decent number of flights. In the last year though, I have racked up some crazy flying miles, what with my vacation across Europe and flying to and fro between home and university. All this flying has meant I have spent a rather significant amount of time at airports too. Hence, this post dedicated to airports, paying a homage to the unsung holder of all things duty-free.

The thing about airports is, they’re essentially a test of a person’s patience. A lot of the time spent there is in wait. Waiting for check-in, waiting for security, waiting for your mom to buy the entire batch of duty-free candy or waiting for boarding. The human mind does not bode well for waiting and when in wait, it wanders. All this wandering has led to a lot of thinking and a lot of thoughts many of which I wrote in the notes app on my phone and I’ll try to consolidate in this post.

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Airports hold so many people. People from different walks of life with different goals, ambitions, dreams. It amazes me to no end when I stand to wait and look around to see all the people who have a different story yet at this epoch they all intersect, right here at this airport. Perhaps, someone is going home or going away from home. Maybe, there’s a new baby in the family. Maybe, god forbid, there’s a loss. Maybe, they’re going to their dream job, maybe they just missed out on it. The possibilities are endless and I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the extent of these.

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One thing I have also always noticed about airports is that time is seemingly not a construct in there. Any notion of day and night is only expressed through a peak outside. Inside, its always moving, never stopping. Airports are the land where time stops or rather, becomes irrelevant because there are people taking a flight to somewhere or from somewhere at just about all times and airports are always full. This led me to the very serious realization that an empty airport with no movement and no hint of day or night makes a fabulous setup for a dystopia or post-apocalyptic novel. Huh, maybe, I’ll write that, someday.

In all the airports I’ve been to, I’ve always seen a tiny glimpse into the culture of the city or country. All airports show little pieces of the personality of the place they are in. Be it the futuristic installations at Changi Aiport, Singapore or the grandeur of the airport at Dubai or even the wonderful food at the airport in Rome, it’s a little slice of what the country or city has to offer. Taking the phrase, “First Impressions are the last impressions” to heart, more often than not, most places put their best foot forward in the airport and thus, exploring an airport will almost always show you the best of what the place holds.

 

Airports are thus, apart from housing great candy and the best books, a building full of many many human emotions. There’s hope, there’s nostalgia, there’s joy, there’s sadness, there’s dread, there’s anticipation, there’s wonder, there’s  marvel. And for me, right there, wedged in with all the billion emotions, it’s almost like, there’s home.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What are some of your airport thoughts? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Head In The Clouds.

Let’s talk about aeroplanes today.

I’ve always loved aeroplanes. I always look up when one passes by, no matter what I’m doing (I was writing my high school graduation exams this year near an airport and it was ridiculous how many times I’d stop, it’s a wonder I finished my papers at all!)

How this little epiphany or stroke of inspiration came, you ask? Well today, when I was crossing to the dormitories (Yes, I live in a dorm now, post on how I’m dealing with that hopefully soon!) after dinner ,a plane whizzed by. Among the good horde of people that was there, skateboarding, chatting away with pals, texting on phones, leading singalongs and whatnot, I was the only one who looked up. That’s when it hit me ,how odd is it that we are so acclimatised, so used to aeroplanes now and how far we really have come. A century ago, everyone would have stopped whatever they’re doing and stared at the sky in amazement and would have waved to the passing plane with smiles on their faces and wonderment in their eyes. This little thought triggered another train which made me think of my own special relationship with the sky.

I love sky-watching. I am the kind of person who can make a day out of it. I never grew out of the finding shapes in clouds phase. Hell, my first dream job was to be a pilot. And the best part? I had never ever sat in a plane at that age. When I was 5,the idea of flying off to someplace and going anywhere I wanted, up above the clouds was as fascinating as things got.(To be honest, it’s still fascinating. I think I missed the growing up call.)If you talked to me then about what I wanted to be when I grew up, you’d get a resolute, proud, “Pilot” and a promise to be flown to a place of your choice when I became one.(How I wish I was this clear now, as an adult.)

How the job vacated the dream slot, is another rather sad tale. I saw a movie late at night with my family and way past my bedtime, in which a plane crash killed a whole lot of people, including a beloved character.(Who by the way, was the pilot.)Then that night, I had a series of not-so-good dreams about airplanes and by morning being a pilot was a distant thing of the past.

I went on my first aeroplane at the age of 10. It was a domestic flight but it was a good 3 and a half hours long and the best thing that had happened to me then. The view from above the clouds, the knitted square piece carpet that earth looked like from up above ,the green green forests where I was landing and the helluva ear aches landing and take off gave me are ingrained in my memory forever. I’ve seen an okay amount of things in life for someone my age but I value these memories as precious moments from my childhood.

Since then, I have been on many many planes and seen quite a few airports (Also one of my favourite places, more on them later in his post!) I’ve had good plane rides, okay planes rides, great plane ides, bad plane rides, the entire spectrum.(And over the course of these rides, I’ve also grown out of my ear aches.)I’ve sat in really comfortable seats and uncomfortable, kind of stuffy planes. I’ve watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, heard a lot of music and had a lot of food on aeroplanes.

I’ve also seen amaaaazing sights from the windows.(Window seat hoggers unite!) I’ve seen so many different colours, shapes and kinds of clouds. I’ve seen a bunch of sunrises, multiple cities, rivers, lakes, countries and even the snow-capped Himalayas. (While going to Leh, Ladakh, India, one of my most beloved trips ever.) I’ve seen the teeny tiny Eifel Tower, wee Twin Towers(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia),tiny Rome, beaches, oceans, seas and so much more!

(I have not taken these beautiful pictures, these have been uploaded to the internet by amazing photographers around the world, some who had watermarks, some who didn’t. I used these because I felt that these capture views akin to what I’ve seen in a way I could never even aspire to.)

Now, let’s get back to one of my favourite places again; airports. There are so many people, so many hopes, so many struggles, so many stories in that one place. Everyone has a different destination, a different purpose, different likes and so many different goals. Also as a big plus, so many chocolate and book stores!(Just the things you should sell everywhere,if you ask me!)

I find myself fortunate enough to have seen and done so much all because of aeroplanes. It makes travel, seeing the world, fulfilling my dreams much easier for me and unites and joins all of us. So, I’d like to conclude this plane (ha!) of thought that started with a plane with gratitude and awe for this metal tube ,its inventors, the Wright brothers and humanity in general for being who they are with ideas and curiosity and creativity and passion driving us as a species forward.

Bon Voyage for wherever you’re off to (In life or on a plane!) from a plane-aholic!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What is your favourite memory associated with aeroplanes? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to heard from you!

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