2005 was for me The Year of the Airports. What with all the stopovers (nothing ever flies direct, either from Rochester or from Chennai) I think I saw the insides of at least 15 different airports, including Colombo, Bangkok, Phuket, Hong Kong, Dubai, Delhi, Varanasi, Kuala Lumpur, Hi Chi Minh City, Mumbai, Male, JFK, Rochester, and of course, Chennai.
So it's not surprising that some of my most memorable moments are from airports. Like the one of the lullaby.
On my way back to Chennai from Hong Kong, I have a long, middle-of-the night stopover at the Colombo (Sri Lanka) airport. I get off the plane groggy, longing to get some sleep. I find some floor space in an out-of-the way spot at the airport, stretch out, and try to sleep. Not so easy, what with a very hard floor, boarding announcements, and noisy transit passengers all around me. To make matters worse, just a few minutes after I lie down, a mom with her toddler plops down right next to me. The toddler is bouncing off the walls, and mom is trying to get her to settle down. I groan. With all the empty space in this huge airport, they had to sit right next to ME?? There goes my chance at some sleep...
I listen as mom tries everything in her bag of tricks to get the little girl to settle down. Finally, she pulls her onto her lap, puts her arms around her, and softly begins to sing to her. I don't recognize the language--sounds vaguely Italian, perhaps?--but the soft, soothing tone makes me think it's a lullaby. Within minutes, I'm sound asleep.
When I wake up an hour later, the toddler is still bouncing off the walls. Me, I've had a nice nap, with the help of a stranger's lullaby.