An Hour at JFK

I reached JFK at 6:30 to find out that a flight which was already 2.5 hours late was further delayed by another 25 minutes. Terminal 4, for those not familiar with JFK is the international terminal where all and sundry airlines who dont have their own terminals arrive. Hence I am waiting. Along with the flight I am waiting for, are others arriving from Pakistan, Dubai, Bangladesh, Kuwait, another Dubai. Are you getting where I am going ?? Well when flights all converge on one terminal at around the same time, it is for sure that there are thousands of desis around. All the flights had passengers from India (except PIA) and of course each one of these passengers had a dozen people to receive them, except in my case I was the so-called “army of one”.

Waiting for the arriving passengers is a very unnerving experience. You cant take your eyes off the door lest you miss the person. And that means that u literally land up with a stiff neck by the time you are done and on the way to the car park.

Two desi events made the hour enjoyable as it can only be waiting at JFK.

Before I proceed let me put out a big disclaimer. I do not like to or look out to overhear conversations that others have on cellphones !!

A gujju-bhai first made a telephone call to his mamaji. Why i know this is because he was shouting on the phone. Or to be fair, he had a loud voice. After the customary hello, hi, eaten food ? how is aunty? is bunty studying?….he got to the crux of his matter. Seems our gujju bhai is trying to put together a group of 4 people to go for the Cricket World Cup. There are three India matches in Barbados and he has some connections in the Jamaican board and can get tix, acco, and flights all in for $2600 dollars. He was doing a hard-sell and mamaji was not buying it. In the end he diplomatically ends the call. Next candidate is Kakaji and the exact same conversation repeats. Kakaji ends the call with a “joishu” maybe kinda deal. And our gujju bhai is dejected from what I can make out. I had half a mind to get more info out of him and see if the missus would be interested….I of course wouldnt mind. However I let it drop and just at that time, Gujju Bhai’s sister came out the door with two suitcases, and he was on his way to the car park.

A little after the Gujju Bhai leaves I see a big group of people waiting together. A small girl of about 6 is holding a hand painted placard welcoming Great Grand Ma. Very cute. And then great grandma comes out the door on a wheelchair and the whole group make a dash for grandma’s feet so that they can get the blessings they need to get a non-stop to heaven. A quick count of the group and there were 21 people there to receive one person. Mera Bharat Mahaan 🙂

And then the whole “mandali” moves out also towards the car park. Just as I am wondering what next to observe, the missus walks out with the most amazing smile on her face. Life which was on intermission now starts back. And we make our way to the carpark, me beaming from ear to ear. Welcome back missus !! You were missed like hell !



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