Friday, May 16, 2008

Greetings from: BAGDOGRA airport

While traveling, it’s easy to think that you’re both a part of and apart from the world. But some realities can’t be ignored. The bombings in Jaipur two days ago serves as a grim reminder that not all of India of politically stable, that not all of the tensions have yet been eased. Even though I had no plans to go to Jaipur, Gujarat, my next major destination, has its own history of riots and violence. This, of course, comes on the heels of tragedies worldwide: the earthquake in China, the cyclone in Burma. The world has never been a safe place. It threatens friend and foe alike.

The televisions in the terminal of Bagdogra Airport were tuned to a Hindi news channel, covering the latest revelations and discoveries about the bombing. An email sent just before the blasts that included footage of the bicycles believed to have been involved. The global 24-hour news cycle demands that no piece of information is too fresh to go unreported. For instance: two famous Bollywood stars plan to marry, and the news shows their pictures in clip art hearts, bouncing around to the theme from Chariots of Fire. Strangely enough, the TV in the waiting area was tuned to the cable information channel -- here’s how to get the most out of your Tata Sky.

When we pulled into Indira Gandhi airport -- this time on the domestic side -- I noticed that the airport buildings (flight control towers, hangars, refueling stations) were painted in a red and white checkerboard pattern.

It goes without saying that my plane was late.

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