Am traveling again, this time I pass through the hallowed gates of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport. If you want to showcase how Incredible India is, this is the classic one. And it makes me wonder whether the ownership really transferred into private hands. Anyway, the experience kicks off nice and early as I drive up the incline. A long traffic jam has developed. My driver alternately jams the accelerator and brakes to stay in one place. And its raining heavily.
The airport is packed with people, even more than Mumbai and Hyderabad airports, whose vast collections of crowds usually amaze me. Like all other airports in India, roughly 95% of the folks who visit the airport ain’t going anywhere. They are here to see off the other 5%, or is it 2% in New Delhi. Most of them travel very long distances.
Passengers like me are a hopeless minority. In every way possible. For a moment I thought I would give up and return, so challenging did the task of entering the terminal appear. Then I decided to fight my way through. After a careful study of my relative position to enemy flanks, I began to heave-ho. Angry stares accompanied me all the way. Several extremely able-bodied (I shall not say from where) gentlemen focussed on a lone and distant waving figure inside the terminal looked mightily inconvenienced.
Line & Length
There is just one long line to enter the immigration area. And it takes a long time. Guess why ? Not because the immigration guys are dragging their feet. Not quite. Because for every four guys from the line that walk over, there is one who will jump it or attempt to barge through. Two familes of four with howling children were `whisked’ through as I watched. Then followed a pot-bellied guy with a `pan' stained mouth - smiling sheepishly at no one in particular.
An American (not Indian origin) businessman - smart suit n boots - too tried to gatecrash as I watched. He went a step further. He begged the lady from United to please help him through. For what reason I could not fathom. She heard him, nodded her head, he pleaded again and then after much thought, she stepped forward and requested the immigration officer managing the line to let him through. I wonder what the excuse was. Maybe First Class. But there is no separate line.
Of course, despite my best efforts I didn’t see any ministerial entourage (with or without a minister) sail through immigration, security et al. After all, these fine gentlemen and gentlewomen (whose passport pictures may or may not tally) do not need to stand in any line. Or even bother to jump one.