The stories one meets. The impressions of childhood remain subdued in one’s consciousness, buried under the rational mind’s day to day clutter. Then suddenly a place or an event acts as a trigger & takes one back into the time. I have realized life looks & feels much the same, almost in any part of the world.
As I landed in Kenyan airport, I felt I had landed in some small bus station or rather a lane where typically sarees, hair pins, blouses, etc. are sold. The typical bazaar lane of India. The small airport passage was filled with Indian goods that Kenyans found amazing probably.
The African young man next to me sat in the best suit available to him. Where to? He struck the conversation. Chicago, I said, & You? Sydney!! I have a PR; he spoke in, unlike African accent. He had to announce it somehow. He was from Uganda; he searched in me if I knew how lucky he was. Much like the young men who left villages & traveled to Mumbai in search of jobs and came back with altered accents to announce their new worth.
The plane that was to take us to next stop was cooling itself on the tarmac, waiting for the clearance to load us in. The slightly built captain uneasily walked through the passengers twice his size. The faces were turned into question marks soon. The passengers circled the Pilot like the travelers around bus driver of a failed bus back home. The Pilot perspired & then announced that the plane is delayed.
A small beautiful African bird had come to reside in the Aircraft’s wing on the right side. Hands were thrown in the air. The kinder souls tried to shoo away the bird while the machine was made to roar to slice him in as a last resort.
Then suddenly the tiny bird that had held onto the darkness within and around flew away, as quietly into the gray African sky, as the bird in a green suite next to me prepped to leap into the Australian sky. Facing fear was the choice they both had made.
As we sprung out of the chair, he smiled nervously at me. All the best, I said you would be just fine. Sure!!