Tag Archive | bahrain international airport

Travel Tales-I

Airports, railways stations, bus stops are stations of life’s teachings. So many things can be learnt just by siting in a corner and watching people. Trust faith, adjustments all can be learnt on travels but yes, you do need to have an open mind.

 

‘Malayalee aano?’, a  man asked me while I was waiting for boarding call. I could see that he needed to file a form. I got irritated. ‘No’, I said and moved away. I get very irritated by this question. In the Gulf every other person belongs to Kerala and Bahrain is often joked to be an extension of Kerala albeit separated by a sea. Many locals who have dealt with Keralites since decades now speak Malayalam, signboards are in Malayalam, caution notices on the road are in Malyalam and whenever I step into a shop because of my looks, I am asked, ‘Malayalee anno?’. I get irritated. Why can’t they learn to speak English or Hindi, I ask myself.

There is another cause of my anger. They flock with their own, if there are vacancies in the place they work, they fill them with their own. shopkeepers have special prices for their own, etc etc etc.

So I moved away. After some time I returned to find a boy of about 9 years, helping the man with the form, speaking Malayalam. He didn’t look Malayalee. After they finished, the boy took a stroll and I met him and asked, ‘You are not from Kerala, so how do you speak Malayalam?’

‘Who doesn’t know Malayalam in the Gulf’, he said with a smile,’ I am a Gujju by the way. He needed some help, I helped him, that’s all’, he said and walked away.

A fact put forth simply. And I stood there my head bowed down in shame.

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A brief encounter

She was sobbing, a shiver here, a tear there. It was continuous and in exasperation I asked, ‘What happened?’

She shook her head

‘What?’, I asked.

‘Naaku English raadu,’ she said in Telugu ( I don’t know English)

My frustration melted down, I sobered up.

It was the year 2004, lot many things, not all good were happening with me. My confidence was at an all time low, the job I had; was not satisfying me, I was 96 kgs and did not know why I was so and to add up all that there was a blank spot in my right eye. And to solve my medical problems I was on the way to India and was sitting at the Bahrain International Airport.

I like flying, I really do but I get irritated waiting three hours before a flight, especially when you are flying to meet your family. And then there was this girl sitting beside me.

I looked at her carefully, she looked about 19, slim, pretty in her own way, she was carrying a polythene bag and wearing a nightie.

Now that made me suspicious. Traveling in a nightie?

‘What happened,’ I asked and this time in Telugu.

Hearing the language she spoke, she looked up and cried, holding my hand.

She had been accused of theft, she said. She had come to Bahrain, as she had to support her family. She had been employed as a maid in a well to do family a year back. But yesterday she was accused of thieving and then today she was left in the airport with her passport and a ticket.

She kept on crying and I tried to console her.

She said that she did not want to go back home. How would she face her parents? She had promised them that she would support them financially. Then she held my hand and asked me to get her a job at least in Mumbai. We were flying by Kuwait Air To Mumbai via Kuwait and then by domestic flight to our respective places.

I excused myself to go to the washroom. I don’t know why but I tagged my hand luggage along with me

I was facing a myriad of thoughts. I have heard of abusive employers and good employers. I have heard of good employees and bad employees too. Where did this girl and her employer figure.

The employer could have beat her back and blue, he could have complained to her agent, the embassy or even put her in jail. He could have done any of these if she had indeed stolen something. But instead of that, he had just left her in the airport with a ticket. Why?

There appeared no marks of physical abuse on her body, on the contrary she looked well-kept. What had happened really; how would I know? Should I help her out?

I resolved to speak to her, try to dig out facts. But when I returned she was not to be seen. A man sitting close by, gave me a smile and signalled to someone.

I turned to see a Madam with a group of girls/women. Well, this Madam was truly a Madam.  All the girls in here ‘team’ had garish makeup, flashy clothes etc which made it clear to anyone what their business was. All our the Gulf there are such women who come in visit visas for three months earn enough moolah and return.

And sitting amidst them was THE girl. My knees went weak and I sat down. The man gave me a sympathetic smile.

My thoughts were in a tumult. At one point I wanted to rush at the group and tell the girl that she was being trapped, on the other hand maybe the girl too wanted to be a part of the group. The flight from Bahrain to Kuwait was spent in thoughts. Which was good actually, at least I was out of self-pity.

I was having a look around at the  Duty free at Kuwait Airport  Transit Zone when I noticed the group coming towards me, I waved at the girl, she gave me a smile, waved back, winked at me and left.

I searched for a seat to sit, my knees had gone weak again.

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A post originally composed for Indiblogger and Expedia’s contest; a contest which I do not qualify for, since I am not residing in India presently