HOW TO PASS TIME AT AN AIRPORT

Thursday, here I come!

So, you have a few hours to kill at an airport. What do you do? Read a book, listen to music, play mobile games, sleep . . . enough with the obvious. Let’s see if there are any unconventional yet engaging ways in which we can while away the time.

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1. Observe.

A traveller without observation is a bird without wings. It’s a beautiful and meaningful quote by a famous poet named, Saadi. I don’t know what he had in mind when he said this but what I mean is to watch what people are wearing. So that you would be up-to-date on travel fashion trends. I gained immense knowledge from these observations. I didn’t know that romper suits were so in until I saw women strutting around in the airport, casually throwing glances at people to check whether they’re watching and admiring their attires.

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But, if you want to do something useful with your surveying skills, then you could scour for stories. People are an amazing source for stories.

An excited family of a husband, wife and a toddler taking numerous pictures and selfies in the airport indicates their debut air travel. The bright beams on their faces remind me of my first time—how rich and affluent it made me feel despite the commonness.

An old man, possibly a rishi, with a four-foot long plaited beard and five-foot long tresses matted in place, wearing a TAG Heuer watch.

A woman dropping onto the floor in order to feed her hungry baby. I guess motherhood makes one forget all inhibitions and inconveniences.

A burly man proudly twirling his moustache as if his whole life’s dignity lay in those tiny bristles of hair.

So much to see. So much to gather. And so many experiences.

2. Feed your tummy

My least favourite but most common pursuit of bored people at an airport is to eat. Humans are gluttons. Thankfully, I’m not much. I love food but not to the extent of filling myself up in order to occupy myself. But that’s one way of passing time.

You could try one food item in each stall at the food court and round it off with a cup of coffee before either time runs out or your stomach gives in, sending you sprinting towards the washroom. That should keep you engaged for a while.

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My personal advice is to eat healthy. Your travelling experience would be less uncomfortable, more nutritious and you’ll get on the plane with a happy digestive tract.

3. Window shop

This is my favourite. I love giving the shopkeepers at the super expensive duty-free stores a false hope that I’m going to buy their stuff. Like I’d burn that big a hole in my pocket. Sorry, I have better things to invest on.

Occasionally, I also stop to wonder how they manage to run a business with no customers. Even air shivers to enter the shops considering the price tags. Of course, just because I don’t see anyone when I enter a shop doesn’t mean no one buys their items. Just because I’m poor doesn’t mean everyone is. So, feel free to splurge. Or not. But the stuff’s cool so check them out.

4. Dwell in dreams

Okay, strike the above one. THIS is my favourite. I absolutely love to daydream, especially at an airport where there are chances, however slim, given my rotten luck, of spotting a filmstar and falling in love with him. Or rather making him fall in love with me, which is so easy-peasy in dreams.

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From the entrance walks in the man with the alluring eyes that have the same hypnotic effect off-screen. He eyes the only empty seat beside me and flops over it hesitantly. I feign ignorance over his celebrity status while the magazine I’m reading has him on the cover page. He takes it as a joke instead of viewing me as a foolish, fake creature because in dreams, even idiotic acts seem cute. In a quirk of fate, we end up sitting beside each other on the plane. And before I arrive to the part where he proposes to me, I hear the boarding call. See, hours gone by! I leave the rest of the story for another time and heave my hand luggage.

There’s something I never tried though. That is—visualise my goals and plan what my next step in my career or life is. Meh, I’m too immature for that. Next!

5. Help clueless passengers

Sometimes I receive a telepathic call from Mother Teresa. It’s no joke. She’s an inspiration for all and when stimulated, I try to emulate her in any tiny way I can. But don’t do it at the risk of missing your flight. Keep track of the clock and balance your benevolence accordingly.

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I woke up from a doze and realized that I was running late. I raced towards the immigration with the speed of an Olympiad and snatched an immigration form. I scratched illegibly and was about to hurry in the direction of the counter when a hapless woman, who couldn’t read or write, requested me to fill out her form. I obliged, albeit half-heartedly. Then before I even handed the paper back to the woman, another wretched old man, who looked like a midget came up for help. The boarding closed just as I finished filling out the form of the thirteenth person, who was a lady wrestling with a baby in her arms.

6. When all else fails, twiddle your thumbs

Bud, this is the only option left because there’s literally nothing else in this world that could engage you if everything mentioned above and the obvious ones stated in the beginning fail to do the job. Twiddling your thumbs isn’t boring, really. It keeps you occupied for about five minutes before you yawn and feel the urge to nap. Don’t forget to set the alarm, though.

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