Rub Raakha te Jee Aayan Nun.
knicq posted in Knicqisms on February 3rd, 2009
People are interesting. Often people are endearing. Very rarely, people are hurtful. Because of all that people are, and can be at different times, people watching is an interesting pastime. It is primarily this interesting pastime that keeps the blogosphere/blogistan/blogworld going. What is it after all that entices us to go read another person’s blog? (apart from leaving our own URL there of course!) Blog-hopping is a new way of people-watching. We land at a new blog, and find out what another person thinks, does, or does not think or do in his/her life. Virtual people, contrary to what the term suggests, are real people.
Thankfully (and hopefully), the world has not yet got to a point where obscure computer programs have blogs they masquerade as people on. Thankfully again, all we have is still people masquerading as programs, and that too a select minority; what is, after all, a virus/worm/Trojan but a malicious person inflicting himself on people he/she can victimize. While it is easy to assume that people have a virtual persona which they allow to reflect in their blogs, it is worthwhile remembering that such virtual persona is still a part of who they are. Quite often, it is more honest a representation of a person than one he portrays in his everyday real life. Often enough too, a virtual persona is a caricature, or a self-portrait gone horribly wrong. Rarely, a blog persona is a totally different person, far-removed intentionally from the real life person. When we see these virtual people, we might find them interesting, endearing, hurtful or even abhorrent, but our findings are always tainted by doubt, because of the virtuality factor.
People are more interesting in real-life. It struck me when I was at the airport recently waiting for someone. The flight was delayed, and for once I was early. I have always found the arrivals area a far better and more delightful place as compared to the departures area. There is a merry atmosphere about the arrivals lounge which is in stark contrast to the melancholy that pervades the departures area. The UAE’s demographics, much like those of the other GCC states are peculiar in the sense that approximately 70-80% of the total population (if not more) is comprised of expatriates; I do not know what the term expatriate means according to Merriam-Websters, but over here the term defines people who live and work here for years, and if they can afford it, visit home come yearly vacations – for most people taking a vacation and visiting home are synonymous, as ironic as it may seem to some – and this is why one sees less of the melancholy about the departures lounge here in the UAE than does one back home in the sub-continent.
Back home, one of the most common sights in the departures area is the elderly mother crying her eyes out when bidding her saat-samandar-paar bound son farewell, and one of the most constant features of an airport departures area is the sadness and the melancholy as a dear one leaves the country with explicit promises to write and implicit promises to send back the much needed dirhams, riyals, dinars, yens, dollars, pounds or whatever else it is they get paid in.
In the GCC countries, being in the departures lounge often means one is headed home, pockets bulging with money saved over the previous months, or borrowed hastily over the previous couple of weeks, and bags full of gifts for all and sundry – including the siblings, cousins, friends, their in-laws, and the nephews and nieces of the brother-in-law’s sister-in-law. More than that, it means being happy at finally going back home after months and often years of toiling in the petro-economies. Contrary to the general rule, the departures area is less melancholy and more merry.
Perhaps the only sentiment common to the departures areas in the gulf and those back home is envy. The difference of course lies in the factors that drive that envy. Back home the departing son, and by extension his family are viewed with envy because of the ‘opportunity’ they have been blessed with. Over here, friends come to airport to see off a friend send him with love and perhaps a little envy at him for getting a chance to get away from the slave life and get to his nears and dears.
Wasn’t I supposed to tell you about how I indulged in a spot of people watching?
I will. Promise.