After taking the Delhi metro to the airport, I walked with my husband to the entrance of the airport where we parted with a bittersweet hug. “I’ll be back.” I said, as if I were just going into another room. When I passed through the guarded entrance, I waved goodbye and set off to find my airline and get my e-ticket printed.
The man at the counter, wearing a Navy blue dastar, handed me my ticket. “I gave you a window seat.” He chirped, proudly.
“Thanks!” I said, grabbing the ticket and rushing off.
After passing through several security measures, I made my way to my gate. While my flight should have been boarding, everyone was still waiting. I had just enough time to chug a bottle of expensive water from Cafe Coffee Day and visit the restroom. I sat down afterwards, texting my husband on Whatsapp, and waiting to board.
Suddenly two airport officials guided an old couple in wheelchairs, to the seats next to me. The old woman got up and sat next to me, and the old man got up and walked slowly towards the restroom. I sat quietly.
“Beautiful bindi.” She said, smiling. I looked over at her, as she was also wearing a small red bindi. “Thank you.” I said, blushing.
“Are you married with an Indian man?” She asked me, still smiling a heart-warming smile.
“Haan” I replied in Hindi, out of habit.
“Oh, you speak Hindi?” She asked, looking delighted and curious.
“Oh, only a little bit.” I blushed. She giggled.
“This is my first time back to India in 45 years.” She said, seriously. “I live in Germany with my husband. He hasn’t been back to India in 55 years. So much has changed. Everything has changed.”
“Wow!” I said, impressed with her story.
“We are originally from India, but so much has changed. It’s so lively now. This airport is much more impressive than the Frankfurt airport.”
I smiled, intrigued.
“Where do you live?” She asked me.
“I live in New Delhi with my husband.”
She giggled. “But where are you properly from?”
“I’m from the U.S.” I said, smiling.
“Oh, I have three sisters in the U.S. One of which is married to the head of a hospital in New York.”
“Wow!” I said, again impressed. “So, is it strange being in India after so long?”
“Well,” She said, taking a deep breath, “It’s different. After spending so much time in Germany, my mentality is different. It makes it hard in social situations. I’m also used to speaking German. It’s different for us. But we came to see my husband’s family.”
I nodded, listening.
“Not long ago, my husband had some problems with his health. I was scared. I prayed every day. He has a stent for his heart.” She put her hand over her chest. “But he’s still very much alive. God has kept him alive. I’m just following God’s will.” She began to nod quietly.
“That’s a really beautiful story.” I said, smiling.
I looked back, and noticed the end of the line was leaving for the airplane.
“I’m so sorry, but I have to go now.” I said, truly wishing I could stay and talk to her. “Your story is so beautiful. Thank you so much for telling me your story. Have a safe flight, and God bless you.”
She smiled, “God bless you dear. Thank you, and goodbye!”