By Bikram Vohra
So some bright spark woke up in the corridors of power and had a sparkling idea. He decided in his bureaucratic wisdom to make New Delhi a silent airport. When you enter the terminal there all these signs saying ssshh, this is a silent airport. You would think you are at a funeral.
For NRIs this is a new Indian experience. True it exists in London, Dubai, Oslo and other airports are making the move to a more ‘peaceful environment’
Everyone is speaking in whispers and you wonder idly what the wisdom of tis exercise is seeing how the silence is punctured more than punctuated by loud voices from staff having a chit chat.
Anyway, there are now no announcements, not even ones for security cautions or anything. Just a blanket of electronic silence.
There must be boundless logic in it but is escapes me. Indians are not good travellers by air. This is a fact. We do not follow rules and invariably there will be gagle of passengers who will come late to the plane. Even at the best of times they have to be shepherded to their seats. Now they are lost like Mary’s little lamb (have I got that right, well someone’s lamb) and the airport is turned into a search and find multi-mission centre.
If you are not accustomed to a silent airport the departure from India could be reasonably confusing. You get these loud calls (non electronic) by smartly dressed airport staff shouting, “MuscatMuscatMuscat, Jetjetjet, Emiratesemirates, Britishairwaysbritishairways” and inevitably the ‘silence’ is set aside because passengers R.Raghu, T Sheikh Ziauddin and Sukhwinder Singh travelling to Jeddah please go to Gate 14, where 200 passengers are cooped up waiting for you.
Ergo the point of all that silence is kind of lost and flights are getting delayed as passengers trot around aimlessly and as unsure as a newborn colt, listening to the bus station chirrupps from harassed staff.
You kind of miss the blaring announcements, it doesn’t feel like an airport without that electronic cacophony.
Imagine if you will, the happy chaos that exists when a gate is changed and all the signage is in English. Half the people do not realise they are not leaving from Gate 7 but who’ll tell them that their flight is now taking off from Gate 19. More milling about.
Imagine if a family is separated, a passport is placed and found, sorry, cannot announce it.
Can someone tell me the good part, there has to be a good part… ssshhhh, I am off plane hunting.