I have been on and off so many flights in the past few months that I can now identified familiar faces. I, this time, had a lady on my flight to and from Bangalore. I knew her, not only from her face, but from all the frill on her – her shirts, purse, footwear. You probably need to go to a special dealer/designer for that kind of stuff. She is also, officially, ‘wears most number of diamonds ever’ and saves someone’s phone number of phone as ‘Jaanu’.I had multiple realizations also myself on this trip to Bangalore. That I have travelled enough to have cultivated preferences in flights. Air Asia over Spice Jet over Indigo, inspite of ‘Hello 6E’. I discovered, realized, what my heart language is. Side note: I should mention that I do not ascribe and/or use heart and mind to equal love and logic. But for ease of explaining and laze in general, let’s. So I realized that even though I think in English, my heart melts at good Marathi.
As for how I realized this, I sat at the airport after 2 days of being treated like an alien, elitist alien, for not knowing Kannada (which/this includes being offered mineral water, assuming I won’t eat at food stalls, have never seen farms in life and am un-empathetic in general). I heard 2 aajobas (such a sweet word) talking in Marathi. One Aajoba was telling the other one about his “funda” in life which happens to be taken from a film he really likes, ‘Jane Bhi Do Yaaron’. He was telling him and unknowingly me, to let it go and do what your heart wants. This was followed by stories of how he has travelled a lot, in and outside India but that, there is something about India that makes it simply the best. On hearing this, the aajoba next to me smiled, proving to me he could understand and was eavesdropping too. I was, in the capacity of Bangalore airport gate no. 6 sitting capacity, back to the familiar world of unapologetically eavesdropping. Not that this does not happen in Karnataka. It is just that I cannot participate in it and as you might know ‘अहम् ब्रह्मासि’. Even if all the shops in Karnataka are called Santosh, I wouldn’t know.
#Gyaan | How eavesdropping does not work: secretly listen to someone’s conversation (thesaurus.com). How eavesdropping does work: Listening, reading (if provided with suitable situation) things, understanding, worrying later about them and from prior experience even interjecting with insights or doubts if need is felt.
I could only eavesdrop on the English bits of a conversation between women in Indian Coffee House, who had put obvious effort in their apparel and their makeup and were not about to let it go to waste. Hence a good natured waiter was chosen and appointed to click dissatisfactory photos which were finally mended by clicking selfies. One lady talked of someone who spends too much time with friends, stays out late and does these general sort of sins. The identity of sinner, relation with lady at ICH will never be known as it was spoken or not, in Kannada.
I love that part of the flight when the lovely pilot tells me which place in the world I am flying over. Lovely, because it is nice of him to tell and I like to know I am flying over Goa rightnow, that I am flying over Arabian sea to the left and that temperature in Pune is expected to be 28 degrees when I get there.
I have come to buy books at almost all the places I visit and use my boarding pass as a book mark. My ‘The history of love’ has Pune -> Bangalore, Bangalore -> Pune and one more Bangalore -> Pune as bookmarks. I have worried myself with this behavior because I do not want more attachment with material items than I already feel. I hate that ink fades away from boarding passes. When I think of my plane crashing, I worry for all the books in my bag and all the pretty pouches that hold the books, medicines, stationary, electronics and my compulsion for compartmentalization.
I love to have messages written in books, which I do not mind writing for myself given the gifter does not do so. These messages are mostly about why, in what context the book was bought/given. ‘Property of Prachi, given to her as a gift for the first prose she wrote FROM someone’, ‘was bought from Blossoms from borrowed money because I had forgotten my wallet at Arj’s home.’ It is mostly for the girl who 60-160 years from now will find this in a second hand book shop.
Apart from that I write this from an Air Asia flight, on bigger, that can be pulled closer to body and hence are more comfortable to write on, trays. From besides a man who joins/joined hands when the flight took off. And on the other hand a man who reads the Air India magazine while taking off, almost in the same manner as I imagine him to read news at home. I also write from an eavesdropping distance of a woman reading the ‘contacting your higher self’ chapter of some book. I write from in between faith, some of which I hope rubs off on me, and utter casualty, some of which I am working on cultivating in myself. I want to be casual enough to be able to function normally at airports, train stations. To stop assuming trains, flights missed until I actually get on them. To not forget phones/wallets in hotels. To not forget laptops at security checks in haste. I also want to rise in Maslow’s hierarchy enough to aspire to reach my higher self, whoever that is.