Everyone I know or talk to, on any lengthy air trip, comes out looking and feeling like a zombie. Of course that's so because we are not meant to be in the air. The only person I know who soars smoothly in the air is Vishnu Himself, riding on the back of Garuda. So for me, being a mere mortal, a ten-hour flight in a mechanical bird, leaves me feeling like all others—drained.
The one saving grace of tedious travel is the beads in my hand, and how they compel me to remember the Supreme through a soft murmured mantra. I derive some additional pleasure from the little bit of socializing. The chatter that I had with others at the new Istanbul Airport was also a break from the humdrum experience.
I once caught a glimpse of Russell Peters' comedic talk about Arabic interactions with air officials. It's hilarious. A Montreal couple and I were amused at the style in which things are done, which is a slightly confused to aloof demeanour. A German woman, also in transit, came up to me and said, "I'm standing near you in the Zen zone, just to feel like I know where I'm going." I knew what she was talking about. At the Turkish Airlines desk, where you look for some direction on how to get to your stop-over hotel, the official nonchalantly said, "Take a seat. We'll call you." However, there are no seats to rest your laurels on.
To my relief, an Estonian woman and I had that really sober talk on the hotel bus. We chatted about South Africa, my destination, and she shared with me what she was reading in the best-selling book, The Candidate. The nation struggles like all other places and all other people.