At the send off

A friend of mine was leaving town recently. So I went to send him off. He wasn’t leaving till 11:30 in the night, yet we reached the place early for various reasons. So we were chatting up, I wishing him well, and a safe journey. He asking me to take care and the usual friend’s chat.

But what surprised me was even at that hour, the place was full of people. People who had come to send their friends and loved ones off, people who had come to receive other people. People milling about, people having a cup of coffee and talking to officials with a worried look on their face. Crowds, like the ones in T Nagar. At 11:00 PM. A bunch of people had spread blankets on the floor, made a makeshift bed with their bags and were blissfully sleeping. Perhaps their departure wasn’t anytime soon.

So, what’s the big deal? You see this everyday in the Train Stations of India. Crowds are a feature of the Chennai Central station. A very important feature. Except…

Except, the scene I described above isn’t in the Chennai Central. This crowd of people at 11 in the night is (was) at the Anna International airport.

Yup. That’s right. Our Airport has become the Chennai Central. You will have to see both the Central and the Airport to know what I am talking off. But you can imagine.
One thing I can draw from this is, flying is now more affordable. And more viable. The skies opened up, travel became cheaper, only because the government quit messing things up and let competition dictate the dynamics of the market. And the results are there to be seen. More people flying, and more people who wouldn’t have considered flying before, who wouldn’t have thought it possible to fly, are doing so.

All this, my friends, is happening at the Arignar Anna International airport, right here in Chennai

8 Comments so far

  1. Desigirl (unregistered) on June 22nd, 2006 @ 9:05 pm

    Trouble with that is the detrimental effect it has on the planet. Air Travel leaves the biggest carbon footprint of all the activities and cheaper flights might not be such a great thing after all. As always, just when the West is realising something negative about a concept will we Indians discover it and it will be ages before someone decides to do something about the carbon issue – by then, the situation might be a gazillion times worse!

  2. suppamani (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 7:30 am

    But in the modern days either in Central or in International Anna Airport we could not hear the old affectionate words” VARA VARAM LETTER PODU – THAVARAAMA ENNEI THEICHU KULI “- from the inner hearts with real worry – now a days every things has become commercial – we could not see any afection – by simply offering a boque of a rose bought for an unimignable price of Rs.50/- or Rs.60/- according to the crowd and say “BYE” only from lips and nor from the hearts is of the present scene.

  3. Keerthivasan (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 11:19 am

    You could see this in the Domestic airport itself.

    The fall in prices mainly have attracted the Domestic travel, than the international.

    Check this –

    See the percentage increase in domestic.

  4. WA (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

    Doubtu. CCG indha post ellam ezhudhuradhu nee dhaanaa ille has someone stolen your id?

  5. Insidemind (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

    I for one,have never felt happy going to the Chennai Airport – More so when you are going to wait for someone at the Arrival .Overcrowded & with no proper seating facilities,you’d only feel like standing in central station.No better.

  6. Nandhu (unregistered) on June 24th, 2006 @ 6:40 pm

    I was at the airport recently too CC. I had gone to get my uncle’s kids who were returning from the US. They charged me 60 bucks to enter the area where u had to get in the building to see them. Isnt that a bit too costly? the platform ticket at Central is five bucks? isnt it. it’s the same thing. ok charge me another 10 for the ac. it still doesnt add up if u want ordinary people to fly. none of the phones outside building worked when i tried to call my uncle. there were about 7 yellow local phones in all. the one pvt operator was not on his desk. there was no announcement to show if the customs check was happening. the board just showed that the plane had arrived a full hour after it had. and two flights had at the same time – one from Dubai and one from the US. people were coming out and for a while nobody knew which flight they were coming out from. i havent been to many airports, but i doubt we are on a par with international flying standards.

  7. Ravi (unregistered) on June 24th, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

    Re: crowds, ever heard of the phenomenon called ‘kuruvis’???

  8. R.S.Mani (unregistered) on June 26th, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

    It seems Nandu forgotten about the parking charge of Rs.60/- The parking is also any how not nearby and about one Kms away. What is the logic in chaging a huge amount even without any announcement for calling the vehicle on arrival of the passanger or withut any overshed or water or air. Further if you engage a paid Taxi, more than 90% of the drivers are under influence of liquor or on drugs. I asked my son to come by a paid taxi recently forlate hour Delhi flight. The driver who drove the car missed a crash with one Police Surgent. Then he follows the vehicle and stapped and throw him out and lapped him and asked whethehr he is under drugs. The driver simply answered “sir, I am a little bit sleepy” and continued the same rash driving and missed an accident with a Maruti 800.Whethr the AAI knows all about this and on what basis they are allowing these paid taxis.

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