"Doon Sa Atin..." - Airport Tales

We arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 2am. Must have been the time but as we went down the stairs to head for immigration, I thought I was dreaming when I saw masses and masses of people. Line after line after line - it was just a sea of humanity in the real sense of the word.

"Goodness gracious," -- was the first thing I said as I saw where we were heading. "Mama mia!" -- a foreigner behind me exclaimed. "It doesn't look too good, huh?" -- was another thing I heard. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, we had to squeeze ourselves through whatever space was available and inch through to the back where the end of the lines were. It's a pity my hubby says that I wasn't able to take a snapshot of the scene...

We were finally in line, still in a state of unbelief, when the Indian woman in front of us and wearing a sari, turns to us and says: "Haba ng pila, no?" (Translation: "The line's long, right?")

It took us about an hour to get out of the airport. The lines moved faster than we expected. While waiting, we learned that the woman in front of us had lived in the Philippines for several years now (19 to be exact) and was raising her family in Metro Manila. She was on her way to Punjab for a vacation with her relations - and the trip would take about 8 hours by bus. We asked her about how she learned our language since she was not married to a Filipino. She says she learned from her househelp. As we conversed, she would say "Doon sa atin..." ("Where we come from") once in awhile. It dawned on me that she may not be Filipino by blood but she has come to look at Manila too as her home and has embraced its culture, way of life, including its language.

Would that we see the entire world as our home? People from other nations not as total strangers far removed from us? A rather unrealistic view, right -- and so, a war rages...

Coming Soon: Finding a Catholic Church in New Delhi

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, March 27, 2003]


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