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September 7, 2007

Thoughts while waiting at lounges

Friday, September 07, 2007
Had a thought that may not be earth shattering in its nature nor worth a nobel, but change as we see it, as Indians see it is unique in its own way. How has the nation- state changed over the past few years and how much more it can change in the coming years? First and without precedent is that fact that I am sitting in Chennai international airport waiting to take a flight out to Melbourne. Melbourne is more than 4000 km away from my house in Kanerimukku but today and by tomorrow it will be under my feet and ho… why change that arises out of working to bring about change. I am a change maker and I work to bring about revolutions in the minds of me and others. Now, suddenly, I have been swamped by change myself. The excitement to go to Melbourne is low but that fact that I am making a trip such as this shocks me. The change maker that I am, many people like me could not have attempted such a trip in their lives because of simple financial compulsions and because of their inability to leverage their good work with well meaning institutions that could fund a trip like this. Change makers have come of age and are being recognized for their worth and seeing many of them in Melbourne will not surprise in the bit. How many of us in Indian and other communities had to prove themselves to others but could not avail many changes. Well, time changes and though making a trip is costing somebody’s exchequer, I need to be wise not to extract more. Extract less as that is a virtue, for many persevere to extract more… always.

The second and aspect to strike me this evening is that fact that Chennai airport tells a story. The fa├žade is one of architectural rigidity that was followed in the early decades of India’s independence, in as much there being the continuity of pillar design and the general overall burecrated approach to high fashion. Well, it did seem very suitable for those and for when India was a nation that needed to look everywhere before laying its anchors, infact this russianistic design speaks of our dependence upon that particular country for things real and imaginary. I, myself would have been looking around in awe if I had come here 15 years earlier… would have been too young to register one tube from another then.. but that is another matter.

The entrance to the airport is marked by a slightly strange but effective modern application that gives that appearance of entering a car wash. As we enter, the similarity of design and the ostentation of material use give rise to an image of a rich monolith. But, not bad, never bad, it was the way of the world during those days. And, this seems to change now…. Even Chennai will follow the footsteps of newly developing airports like Delhi and Mumbai. What is striking though, is the presence of so many first time travelers, not within India but internationally, many of whom are carrying their little packets of home cooked food… Change is constant