After frantic activity in preparation for the flight to the east, am here at the gate, a good ninety minutes before departure.
Suddenly there is emptiness and silence. Not the silence of sound – there is enough sound here to drive someone mad. An clanging alarm in a loop that nobody is willing to shut, the constant sweet-voiced threats that warn of flights that will take off without the passengers, the multi-lingual cacophony of never ending announcements, the averaged-out full and constant hum of the conversations of people below the human sea-level, the clackity-clack of trolleys over pattened floors – not allowed beyond a certain point, the street-hawker-like litany of the security assistant asking everyone to remove jackets and metal and the sound of a voice from the television that talks of news that the few thousand people in the airport don’t care about.
I keep getting thrown in and out of the recent past and I wonder if I did indeed lock all doors and shut all that was to be shut. Micro-paranoia is etched in the inside of the DNA ribbon.
Amidst this circus of sounds and time-travel, there is a big void. Suddenly I have nothing to do. The bag is checked-in, I have been ‘checked-out’, the shopping is done, the eating is done. (What I would like to do, is something that they won’t allow me to.)
And I continue to feel amazed at my concepts of home. This time it is starker: in my face. A couple of friends who would have otherwise been at the airport aren’t in the city. Unlike always I will arrive in Mumbai in the day instead of the night.
All the rituals that you do, when you would be away for a while, I did them here. Yet, I am not going ‘away’ – I am going home. The sentence holds in itself a sweet paradox. The reverse of this will occur when I have to come back here.
In one way, it is a blessing, that I have two places that I identify as home – even if one is the base. Then again…
It will be a good month, this. It will be good to be home.
This was supposed to be a live post – the one question to which I answered in the negative when I was undergoing addiction tests. Somehow there is a limit on the number of characters that can be moblogged in WordPress, which made me unhappy. As you are now aware, this was due on the 15th at eight PM, UK time.
Also, apologies for the quick posts, did you miss this one, by any chance?