Recently I happened to visit the new Bangalore International Airport thrice in a span of 10 days. That is no news but for the fact that it is more than 40 kilometers away from my home. Unlike frequent fliers mileage travelers accumulate and corresponding rewards, there are no road mileages earned on the visits to the airport. So I decided to record my experiences of those visits. I am putting them in reverse order. Surprising, you say? Not for a man who loves Urdu, starts reading the newspaper from last page, reads all the bulleted mails from bottom and for whom his friends say that his is the case similar to that of Benjamin Button. After all chronology is for our own convenience and we should not be dictated by the clock and the calendar. Here I go:
Three: It’s early morning, rather very early. I leave home at 4:30 to reach to a main road from where my friend is to pick me up. We are going to the airport to drop his mother-in-law. It’s very dark, cold and scary. None is to be found on the road. When I spot someone on the road passing by, it gives me mixed feelings of fear and safety. Paradox! A dog is a few steps away from me. I am much relieved spotting him there. Though he has a lame leg, I am more comfortable in his presence. A sound of metal striking on the road alerts me. A man is walking down the road with a stick in his one hand, but there is nothing to be worried about. He is in a yellow tunic, barefooted and having some flowers in his other hand. He is going to a temple for morning prayer. My eyes follow his path. Slowly he walks out of the scene, and the sound of the stick also dies down. There I see my friend’s car. I get inside happily. He makes me listen to crazy and funny songs on the way. Songs like Aaja meri gaadi me beth jaa. But I suppose they are a undesirable necessity to get rid of sleep. No traffic in the morning ensures we reach to the airport in 45 minutes. Once the auntie leaves, we sit outside on a bench. It’s chilly out there. Slowly sky is lit with dim light. I feel secure now, in the presence of light of dawn and a friend. We head back for home after a nice little chat.
Two: The clock strikes twelve in the afternoon. After working for a few years in Bangalore, a friend is going back to her hometown. We are almost running late for the airport. Somehow we manage to reach to the airport in time. She rushes to get the ticket from ticket counter, and then to withdraw some money from ATM. The time flies, literally, and it’s time to go. We bid her farewell and watch her disappear in the crowd. The feeling sinks in now. I am quiet than my normal self. I remember the times we had together, and think of the times we cannot have now. Farewell! Adieu!
One: It’s twilight. A friend has a connecting flight to Singapore from Bangalore. He has about three hours of spare time in between, so we decide to meet at the airport. When we meet, we have a little friendly banter. As usual he is full of energy even after traveling. We bust into laughter for almost everything on the earth. Laugh it out, laugh it loud. As it is the case with friends, we go back to past, relive the moments we shared together, remembering all that was good. We don’t forget bad things anyway. Blame it on our psychological tendency to attach greater weight to the negative outcomes. Losses always loom larger than gains. Finally here is that moment, the time to leave. Why time is asymmetrical? Why good time ends so soon and why the bad time never seems to end? Wrong questions, he would say. These ‘why’ questions are useless and futile. I still want to ask why. I wish him good luck, and in the process wish myself also for a longer time together the next time.
On my way back, I try to see the trees and houses along sides the road. They are but the ghosts, like the ghosts of the memory, like the ghosts of the past. The only clear and visible thing is the road. The road is the reality. As if it wants to say, life moves on. I smile involuntarily at sudden remembrance of Nida Fazli’s words:
ग़म हो कि ख़ुशी दोनो कुछ देर के साथी हैं,
फिर रस्ता ही रस्ता है हँसना है ना रोना है ।