by Ben Huberman
Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?
My husband R, and I were going back home, after seeing my son after a gap of five long years. We stayed with him for a month (in Cary, North Carolina). Our daughter had bought a home in Baltimore, so our flight back home was from Washington Airport. We faced a whole day wait at New York.
My sister, and her husband F wanted us to go with them to Long Island, but we declined. They spent the day with us at the airport. We had lunch, and tea together. They left at five. We had another three hours wait before we finally boarded the plane to Dubai.
There was a long stop over at Dubai. The flight was running late. From three hours it stretched to ten. The airport was congested. We couldn’t find any place to sit even. It was horrible. After this experience I avoid the flights through Dubai.
Finally the miserable wait was over, and we made it to the departure lounge. We were able to get seats. A few steps away from us sat an elegant lady dressed in white. Her face looked very familiar. I couldn’t recall her name. Suddenly I realized who she was. She was Kokab Khwaja, a famous TV personality.
I had followed her recipes in an Urdu magazine. My first baking attempt was making chocolate pin wheel biscuits from a recipe of hers. Later on I watched her on TV teaching Ikebana, the Japanese way of flower arrangement.
Meanwhile R had noticed an acquaintance of his. I gathered my courage (before it deserted me), and went to introduce myself to Kokab. It turned out her husband, and his family were childhood friends of R.
Her reserved manner visibly melted, as she told me, she had wondered who I was, when she had seen me sitting. She gave me her telephone number inviting us to her home.
For me it was totally unreal, meeting a favorite celebrity, I never thought to meet face to face.