Airport observers

The airport is a place of endless new ways of noticing how the human brain works.
If someone is carrying a machine gun, our job as the public is to make sure they never look at the trigger.
If someone is carrying a machine gun, our job as the public is to make sure they never look at the trigger.

HYDERABAD: I missed a very important flight once, and ever since, every time I take a flight, I reach the airport not an hour before take-off but an hour after the ticket has been booked. Now that my boarding gate hours exceed my flying hours, I would like to go through my observations and point out the most peculiar behaviors at the airport.

I have noticed that when they give you an air ticket, they do mention everything. Of course, if we still have doubts, we can ask the airline staff, check the notice board, or ask someone who is camping there like me. But the courage it takes to walk up to a CISF personnel (who has been trained to handle hijackers and bomb threats) and ask them where gate number four is, is truly an award-worthy behaviour. If someone is carrying a machine gun, our job as the public is to make sure they never look at the trigger. Questions like, “Has the plane landed yet?”, “Where is the washroom?”, or “Are the idlis at the airport round or square?” might trigger a human reaction, is all I’m saying.

Logic would say if you can afford an air ticket, you can afford headphones for sure. If you have a smartphone, you would know that headphones do exist. Let’s just say you forgot your headphones. The bookstore at the airport sells headphones, the general store at the airport sells headphones, and the mobile store displays headphones like chickens outside a meat shop. Even the airport pharmacy sells headphones. Yet, an uncle (if you are young and doing this, you deserve to be called an uncle) will choose to play Arnab’s ear-bleeding debates like it’s A.R. Rahman’s soul-soothing melody at 7 am in the morning, reminding everyone about India’s rank on the World Press Freedom Index.

Last time, I noticed a guy; he was in a hurry, so he jumped the line at the entrance, stole my tray, pushed his luggage to be scanned before others, and ran quickly to the body scanning area. I put all the empathy inside me to work until the point I found him inside the smoking room, releasing all the tension from a stressless boarding process. My pocket knife was thrown away by security that day, so that guy was quite lucky to have a safe flight.

I get on stage daily, and I know within a second when someone is not interested. If there was one job I can say for sure is done with the least interest inside the airport, it’s the guys offering credit cards. They have been rejected outside malls, people abuse them if they call on mobile, and even their tone has already given up the idea that someone will even talk to them. Yet, their boss thinks if they wear a suit and stand inside the airport, someone will pay attention to the sales pitch and add liability to their life. Well, let me tell you, that’s the kind of confidence it takes to try your luck as an actor in Mumbai; you should be chasing bigger dreams.

This is not the end. The airport is a place of endless new ways of noticing how the human brain works. So if you also have a habit of reaching early, and in case you don’t have company and have forgotten your headphones, check and let me know if my observations are true.

Sandesh Johnny

(This comedian is here to tell funny stories about Hyderabad)

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