June 18, 2009

I Love Bombay Airport

I love Bombay Airport to be precise Domestic airport, and yes – I would love to call it Bombay Airport. If you see, there is nothing special at it, but the perception makes the difference. I've seen almost all airports in India, including the biggest airport in Bangalore, the most modern airport in Hyderabad and the demanding airport in Delhi. Even, I enjoyed the beautiful landscapes at Mangalore airport. In Mangalore, there is runway on a top of a hillock, surrounded by sea at 3 sides and greenery on one side. This makes it most beautiful airport. But somehow Bombay Airport makes the difference and stood apart from others. And this is the reason; I love 'Aamchi Mumbai' To feel the aura of Bombay Airport, someone needs to get there in the mid-night. You'll enjoy the gigantic Arabian Sea on one side, while on the other side, Bombay city will be dancing on the lights. Bombay city, at night is amazingly beautiful. I'll call it - Dulhan ki tarah sajayi hui nagari. The view itself speaks enormously. Even during bright sunny day, while landing, the view simply takes my breath away. You'll feel that the plane is going to land on the sea itself and suddenly you're saved. This can also be experienced with Vizag and Mangalore Airport but nothing can be compared with Bombay Airport and its aura.

During daytime, this is the busiest airport. You'll see people, lots of people, coming and going, talking and listening, awake and sleepy and doing lot more activities. Observing these people is a fun activity too. On the other hand, in the mid-night, very few people will be there, waiting for someone to arrive or to catch an early morning flight.

By sheer coincidence, I always came to Bombay Airport at mid-night. Even after a long tiring journey, as soon as you enter into the Arrivals, you feel comfortable and homely – assuming Bombay is your hometownJ. Sometimes, because of the journey, ears may be filled up with the humming sound of aircraft engine. But, the soft music (and no more announcements) playing on speakers at Arrivals refreshes those ears and somehow rejuvenates. You'll not get irritated if it takes time to claim your luggage, rather you'll enjoy the music whilst sitting on the trolley.

There are very few places in India, where you can get a real taste of tea or coffee. I'm sorry, I never liked coffee/tea at CCD or Barista, but sometimes ambience worked out very well. For tea, you can enjoy it at any regular tapari OR thela whereas, Georgia coffee is superb. I still remember the taste of my first Georgia coffee at Microsoft IDC Campus. One more place, where you can get a superb tea is, just outside the airport i.e. Balaji Snacks – a regular snacks center at airport. One hot cup of Chai and one B&H Lights give you the amazing revitalizing kick. Just take the tea in a glass, come outside, sit on the road and have a puff. Enough and you'll enjoy the whole atmosphere.

Few months before, there was a stall, where someone could get original Lipton Tea with cardamom. But now, you can get only Chai at Balaji. Even Fried Idly and Wada Sambhar were superb. Thanks to my friend Aviraj, who came by to meet me at the airport at 12AM and we had it. In my case, this is a specialty with Bombay Airport too. Even though, I'm a puneri puneit, I never came to Pune directly. I came to Bombay and took a cab from airport to direct home. And because of this, my friends Aviraj and Siddharth always used to come at the airport and give me the company for Chai. There are some special friends with whom I went to Bombay Airport, just to have a Chai and Sutta.

But for sure, even if you're alone at Bombay Airport, you'll never feel like that.

Nowadays, Airport Authority of India is changing shape of every airport. Like, I've seen old Bangalore airport and new Bangalore airport, which is far away from city. But still, the charisma of Bombay Airport remains the same. I hope they will never kill this airport like they did with old Bangalore Airport.

Old Bangalore Airport has also the same story, which I always shared with my friend Siddharth, but fir kabhi…