For a person who suffers from acute acrophobia AND claustrophobia (to the point of having to be medicated at times), I find myself in an aluminum tube way up some thirty five thousand feet in the air with disturbing frequency.
And yet those eight million frequent flyer miles got me to meet so many human beings from every walk of life. Interactions that have enriched me and often humbled me as a human being.
Nikita, Sharmila and I had just finished our TSA stuff at Washington National airport after a college visit for Nikita. We strolled thru the airport leisurely dodging all the passengers running in and out of the planes and then took the elevator to the Delta Skyclub.
After we were checked in, I told the girls – “You folks go ahead. I am going to talk to that lady”. And I pointed out to the second lady who was checking in another passenger.
I waited patiently as she helped the passenger. And then when he was done, he walked up to her. And she welcomed me to the Club.
“Welcome to the Club. Can I check you in?”
“Well, I am already checked in. I am here to talk to you.”
“About what?”, she asked, justifiably confused.
“Well, I used to fly into this airport every week for two years spanning 2010-2012. You used to usher me in then. In spite of the mask you are wearing, I am very sure you are the same person.”
“Well, of course! I used to be here then too! You remember me?”
“I do indeed”
“What is your last name?”
“I see you have two young ladies with you today”, she said as she quickly located me in the system.
“Yes, my wife and daughter. They are sitting inside.”
“Bangla boltey paren?” (Can you speak in Bengali?)
“Oboshhoi” (But, of course)
“Kemon Aachen?” (How are you?)
“How do you know Bengali?”
Well, Jatindar (her name) came into the lounge and spent some time with Sharmila and Nikita. And that is when I got my answer. While she is from Delhi, she used to live in Kolkata when she was in school. In fact, she went to Brabourne College! Like Sharmila, she moved to the US after getting married.
We went around the Club and I told her all the details from a decade back that have changed now (for the better).
Before she took leave, we let her know that DC is the city Nikita is headed for college this year. She is going to see more of Sharmila and me the next few years.
“I can’t wait”… she said as she waved walking away.
My thoughts kept floating in and out… Neither can I !! It is people like you that make life in an aluminum tube – nay, life in general – so much more exciting and interesting!!!
If any of you happen to be in the Delta Skyclub in Washington National airport, do stop by to say Hi to this fine young lady!!