Airports –Elegance and Artistry


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

7 May 2019 – Most big airports are amazing. They display the variety and diversity of human beings apart from the different size, decors and designs of the buildings of the airports themselves. Probably the biggest airport in terms of its spread is Osaka in Japan which connects some of its different areas by a Metro train.

The busiest used to be Chicago in USA some years ago. Now the Atlanta, Beijing and Dubai airports have bigger footprints.

Apart from the size, decor, distance from the city centers or the number of passengers using the airport, the variety of passengers, the languages they speak, their physical characteristics, their racial appearances, their dresses, are interesting and intriguingly different in appearance. To say the least it shows that the world is divided linguistically, racially, in terms of religions and cultures and yet it is one. Vasudev kutumbakam, as it is said in Sanskrit language.

We all know that women dress elegantly, and differently, but to see the men in such different clothes and dresses is amazing. Many men dress in what may be considered western clothes–trousers, half pants, tea shirts. This apart, you see some men in kurta and pajama, some in salwar kameez (as some Afghans and Punjabis do). The headgear is again amazingly different– men with caps, topies, turbans, or not having anything of the above. Then turbans and caps are as varied as the individuals themselves–some from Asia, Africa, some from Europe or the Americas or elsewhere.

These men may be wearing pants or pajamas or shorts or dhotis or jeans, or robes that suggest that the individuals are probably Buddhists or belong to some other faiths. The jeans may be solid or tattered, they may have cuts or holes suggesting they are torn from overuse.  But actually, this is fashionable in today’s times. What colours, what shapes!

Many men are clean shaven but Sikhs and Muslims usually have beards of various shapes and sizes. Some men have mustaches, again of different patterns. One can only look at awe at the variance in the looks of these men.

Women of course could not be left behind in terms of the colours, shapes of their dresses as well as the covering on their heads that may consist of caps or hijabs or scarfs on their heads and shoulders, which identify their religions.

One also sees many female crews generally called air hostesses of different airlines which ensure that the female crew is nattily dressed — it makes good business sense.

The other variation one observes among the passengers is in the eyewear — glasses or goggles of various shapes and designs they have put on. Sometimes one sees small kids two or three year olds wearing glasses. What a pity.

In France, it was decided by law that people could not display the symbols of their faiths in public. Thus even a small cross could not be worn outside their dress, (it could be worn beneath their dress). Similar restrictions were placed on other religious groups. But I am not sure if this restriction applies to individuals in the different airports.

The parents ensure that their children are as elegantly and as funnily dressed as themselves–after all their prestige is at stake.

The sights, the diversities one observes at busy international airports are interesting, colourful, appealing. This is harmony, artistry and elegance at its best.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 13 May 2019.

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