For an Indian man any woman above thirty is a ‘bahanji’ (sister) and any woman above 50 a ‘mataji’ (mother). Here I was belonging to the second group traveling in the county’s national carrier. I desisted from wearing tights, a loose shirt and knee-length boots. After all I did not want to short-circuit the immigration officer. He would waste ten minutes scanning me and then my age in the passport…a ‘mataji’ gone mod.
A flight is known by the food it serves and services offered. Asked for non vegetarian and it was a mistake. The chicken was anything but curried, the bun too solid, pulled and pulled and tore it apart, thankfully saved my teeth. Satisfied my hunger with rice, fat-free yoghurt and yellow lentil to last me for 4 (four) hours.
The plane is half full…tour groups and company largesse crowd from small towns, getting high on free glasses of whisky, calling out to each other across the aisle.
The new airport is humongous. I felt I had never stopped walking from Hong Kong to New Delhi, except for the few hours plane ride. Kept glancing upwards, towards the ceiling, waiting for some mishap. With so much happening, falling bridges and ceilings, one expected the worse. But then as a friend pointed out, it is the national airport.
Visited Connaught Place or Rajiv Chowk. It did look refurbished, new coat of paint and new tiles. Some left over patches are visible and one wonders whether we will have to wait for the next big event or wait for the tiles to disappear to people’s homes. Anything is possible.
The one constant, India Gate, a mute witness to the shenanigans of the inhabitants, still manages to stand tall.