Poetry at the airport

I can never find poetry in airports. Something about the severe cleanliness of the place, the brightly lit shops selling merchandise for double the price you get them outside, the processed food outlets and the dull eyed people in an airport prematurely aborts any romantic emotion that was beginning to well in my gut. My eyes blink under the strain of the bright lights, and as I drink a cup of coffee which my consumerist mind bought, ignoring the silent contentment of my stomach, I feel the dullness of the airport set in inside me too. Somehow, this place has succeeded in squeezing dry any emotion, any sort of music from its vicinity. People walk around, purposeless until their flight is due, their hearts completely unattached to their surroundings. I find a place to sit, a small jigsaw piece in this great crowd; and yet, feeling that I somehow wasn’t made for this puzzle.

The lady next to me looks at me and quickly looks away before meeting my eyes. If this was a railway station, we would have at least graced each other with a half smile. I sit down; make phone calls informing people of the progress of my journey. When the last call is done, a dull sense of loneliness slowly seeps into my head. I miss the rush of the railway station, of people hurrying to different platforms, the way the crowd pushes you around or dashes past you. I miss the distant chugging sound of a train approaching, the smoke visible from far away, and the excited chaos in the station which commences once the train arrives at the platform. People hop out, carrying unbelievable numbers of suitcases and bags. Children desperately cling on to the tip of their parents’ clothes, sure that they’d be lost if they let go. The bustling surrounding the arrival of a train, excited relatives shouting to be heard, friends laughing with each other, those waiting for a train eyeing the drama unfolding with a hope that soon, they’d become actors too. Something about the accumulated smell of the station, the absence of silence, the huge mass of humanity meeting at that one point chokes a person with an exhilarating amount of emotions.

All this seem absent in the airport. Maybe it’s just that I’m not listening enough to the poetry whispered in the air all around me, maybe I’m not skilled enough to find a poem in every place I go to. Or maybe, the lights are too bright and the cleanliness too impeccable that poetry could find no dark corner to sing from.


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