Airports are a great place to watch people. And having recently taken a bunch of flights (a few too many for the span of 3 days, if you ask me) I have this need to vent my observations.
Goa airport is freak central. Its almost like visiting Goa gives people the license to do, be, dress and behave in as freaky a way as possible. Why? Because its Goa, where everything goes. Or at least that’s what people seem to believe. One glance across the airport and you’ll see what I mean. Filled with tourists either just coming in or going back after a frolicking time in the land of sun sand sea and sussegad, the airport is where you’ll get to see everything from teenyboppers wearing oversize Ed Hardy t-shirts and shades with those funny pointed sneakers and gelled spiked hair; to the middle aged North Indian couple who seem so liberated to have travelled down South a little bit, the wife can freely wear her 3/4th leggings with the lace edges and hold her husbands hand in public. And you’re sure to see an all-male Punjabi group (or an equivalent from another part of the country) all wearing the same t-shirt which was made especially for their boys trip. In this occasion, it read “OCP – Out of Control Punjabis”. And then people wonder why we have stereotypes and cliches and associated prejudices. Then you’ll also find your fair share of honeymooning couples. All kinds. Mod kinds, conservative kinds, hip and happening kinds, the I’ll-wear-skimpy-clothes-with-chooda-and-mehndi-intact kinds (I’m guilty of honeymooning in the Maldives donning my 2-piece bikini with ankle length mehndi on my feet and half dying mehndi all the way up my forearms too), but I digress..Yes, so where were we? The honeymooning kinds, ah yes you’ll also find the I-dont-care-how-big-I-am-I’m-on-my-honeymoon-and-have-the-right-to-wear-anything kinds. Not to forget the even-if-I’m-falling-out-of-my-clothes-kinds. You’ll also find some freaks who believe the hot and humid sticky sweaty weather in Goa warrants ankle length leather boots to perfectly match with the wannabe street-bought cowboy hat. That’s another Goan syndrome. The hat! Yes, its hot, and yes a hat is great protection from the sun, but really pick a hat that you can pull off! All you South Indian uncles in the berets? Not cool.
I could go into a whole other tangent describing the goras. But that would make for a post in itself. And its really more interesting to observe your own kind because you share the same quirks as them. But that’s Goa for you. It liberates the deep seated chiller in each of us, no matter where you come from. Whether you wear that ill-fitting swim wear or don a funny hat, Goa lets you be who you are. Sometimes at the cost of causing fellow travelers eye-sore-syndrome.
The Bangalore airport is wannabe central. Its a perfect place to study the fact that Indians are still not comfortable with the normalcy of flying. Back in the day, flying was a big deal. It was expensive, affordable only to some and in that sense a very elitist experience. It was an event, a special occasion. And most people felt the need to dress, accessorize and go to great lengths to fit the bill of someone who can afford the expensive experience of jet-setting over long distances in short spans of time. But things have changed. Sure flying still isn’t as cheap, but it is definitely more accessible to a wider spectrum of people. It does not call for people to wear fancy clothes to show status. It does not call for dressing especially to fly. If anything, given the long queues, delays, cheaper airlines and smaller seats, it calls for comfortable sensible dressing. And the Bangalore airport this time I visited, seemed to only display a wide array of wannabes who still feel the need to pull status, through attire. Gah.
Airports are a funny place, and my recent experience was a sure sign that I need to fly out of Goa more often and acquaint myself with the ever-changing norms in the real world.