The most life-changing thing that has ever happened at an airport with me was not related to an airport crush, some scandalous beef with a co-passenger, or any other conventional thing that pops up in your mind when you go to the airport.
I had been at a very strange place in my life at that point in time, forget a job, I was unhappy with the career that I got into, and my love life was as fleeting and flickering, to sum it up, I was just unhappy. As a coping mechanism, when things start to go array, I usually book the first flight home that I can. Not because I need the comfort or the warmth, but because I need an escape, even if it is just temporary. Most things in my life are temporary. That is one topic I want to avoid. Anyway, this time the crisis was being unhappy with literally every aspect of my life here in Bangalore. I needed some of that vanilla cake that my mom baked and the late-night drives with my brothers. These were the only things I had been looking forward to for the past week.
The cab ride to the airport that day was, very surprisingly, pleasant. Maybe it was the weather, the sunset, or the fact that I was going home, whatever the reason was, it started to feel like things would turn out to be just fine. However, the airport was unusually crowded for a reason I could not fathom. I mean, it was not a long weekend, or even a weekend, no holiday or festival was upcoming, whatever it was, I did not appreciate the long check-in lines and not finding a place to sit for almost 10 minutes. When I finally found one, I was approached by this middle-aged guy with spectacles, who looked like someone I might know. Moments later, when he was close enough for me to see him clearly, he indeed was someone I used to know.
He recognized me too. “Anvita!” he said, “Where are you headed to?”
“Home, sir, been a long time since I last visited, I think the homesickness is messing a little with my head,” I replied to my college professor, who was one of the few professors I actually respected.
“Aah, understandable. How is the corporate world treating you? You know, Anvita, I never took you to be the corporate kind. Do not get me wrong, as much as I appreciate the stable source of a 10-digit income, I always thought you had a calling for art, literature, and all things poetic.”
It baffled me how he casually just put some salt on my wounds, without having an idea that I could burst into tears when I think about it for too long. I became what I despised the most. I became what I feared the most. I don’t remember the last time I read a book, and that sent a chill down my spine, because how could one lose sight of what they always were, how could one lose themselves? The thoughts that had been deliberately locked away in my mind found their way out. For the past few months, I had been questioning my career, and my choices, but this one-minute interaction with Shamik sir had me questioning myself. He always did that during debate club meetings when he would bring in points of view that would have me questioning all my beliefs. This time it felt like he was a godsend to me. Why else would I reach the airport 2 hours early despite the traffic, why else would the boarding of his flight be delayed, why else would I find a seat at a completely different boarding gate? I was never a believer in signs from the universe or manifestations, but desperate people find faith, so now I took it as one.
“I still have a calling for that, sir. I think the network is a bit problematic at the moment, but I believe I will find a way to make it work.” I said as casually as I could to not portray the storm that just raged on in my mind. The storm that eventually a year later made me start writing my first book, made me take poetry seriously, and made me read all the books I had been planning to but never found the time to. That day I realized that there is no point in waiting for a miracle, in hoping a story would come to me, or in complaining about everything that has been going wrong. That day, I was sent in the direction of finding myself, and I will forever be grateful for that.