Wednesday, January 17, 2007

At Heathrow en route to Bombay

This journey to Bombay seems never-ending. I deplaned from the first leg of this trip close to four hours ago; been making my way around Terminal 4 of Heathrow International Airport since. As I sit on this couch and type, every muscle in my upper body seems either strained or taut. I thought I was flying light – how wrong was I? Three more hours of this misery to go.

The more I travel through Europe, the more I realize that the Western world is plain cold and unwelcoming compared to the East. Finding a baggage cart is well nigh impossible, the facilities are sub-par and the fare is blatantly over-priced. The London (and Heathrow) of 2007 is very different from the place I had my layover way back in 2000 on my first trip to the US. The security procedures are unnecessarily excessive and seemingly ineffective – I had multiple questionable items in my bag that the screens didn’t detect – my way of giving it to The Man. Jokes apart, I have come to the conclusion that these checks are devised to make the lives of us honest folk miserable. The terrorists are almost never caught doing their thing. I don’t think the citizens of this country have awoken to the harsh reality that they are living in a police state, their freedoms and rights being severely restricted in the name of National Security. Brings back memories of “V for Vendetta”.

Cigarette smoke billowing over me, I have found safe haven in the Wetherspoon Bar. Seems to be the quietest and most chilled out place to be around here; I reckon the second hand smoke is a small price to pay for peace, rest and quiet. A couple of Grungy girls just occupied the table right next to mine. As they reach into their pockets to reveal packets of cigarettes, I take a deep breath of quasi-fresh air and return to emptying my Outlook inbox. Only 125 unread messages to plough through…

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