July 22, 2010

One day in a row of seats

At an airport a few days ago, waiting for a flight, I looked along the row of seats I was in. Occupying most of the row, from right to left, were:

* a mother, grey jacket and green tee, wearing earphones and peering at her phone.

* her husband, red jacket and yellow tee, wearing earphones and tapping at his phone.

* Their son, playing with a handheld game, its case black.

* His sister, playing with a handheld game, its case red.

* A man, light blue shirt, peering at his phone and stabbing at it periodically with a grey stylus.

* A man, green tee, pressing the buttons on his phone.

* A man working on a laptop and wearing headphones that feed into the laptop, wearing running shorts and gleaming black leather dress shoes.

* A man, beige tee and tennis shoes, scribbling all of the above into a little orange pad. Me.


Aditya said...

Was this at Bangalore? Come on, you've got to give it to the geeks!

Dilip D'Souza said...

Aditya, not Bangalore. Any other guesses?

Jo said...

It could be anywhere. When people did not have gadgets, they used to speak to each other. Not to get to know the other, but just to kill time and perhaps there would be a bonus: the stranger you talk to may have a connection you - sharing the same place where you were born, or worked, or know a common friend of a common friend etc. Now people don't need it.

I have seen this with individuals in railway stations. Families spoke between themselves, at least a couple of them (mostly the children) did. And here, in railway stations, it is mostly either an mp3 player or mobile phone (must be listening to the new FM channels or talking to someone or tap keys - SMS probably).

I think none of these give us anything to ponder. But there is one group of people who must be feeling totally alienated in this. I have seen the look in the faces of old people, looking at everyone around them, either sleeping or immersed in their gadgets who avoid any chance for an interaction with a stranger.

We live in a world where we fear the strangers (anybody outside the family or friends circle).

Aditya said...

Dilip, my second guess would have been Bombay but I get a feeling that's not it too.

I think people are still open to talk, its just that they don't look like they want to. This has been one positive here in the US - that I have been able to strike interesting, short conversations with random people. I guess, in the end, we are social animals and no amount of gadgetry can take that away from us.

Though, I'd still like to know the place. :-)

Dilip D'Souza said...


Jo: I hear your anguish about what older people feel. I've seen it too.