Generally the type to declare a verbal duel at the first sign of not getting my way, it came as a complete surprise to me, and it will too, to anybody who’s been on the receiving end of that duel, that this time I burst into tears. Not even the low, discreet, hiccup-ing kind of tears but a ‘complete plumbing failure’ type of waterworks. Accompanied with various throaty choking sounds and serious streaking on the cheeks and …well, you get the picture. Naturally, the whole airport was soon converging on me and the extremely baffled check-in staff and very confused manager were alternating between expressions of serious guilt and meek we-did’nt-do-anything sort of looks. Nothing earth shattering had really happened. I was booked on a flight that was overbooked and now I was being told that in spite of having a confirmed seat, I could not actually board. Yes, there’s no typing error. Emirates Airlines over books all their flights by 20% to guard against their policy of no charge for no shows. This means even if you have a confirmed seat but did not check in early enough, it is possible you will not board the plane. Of course I had checked in three hours prior, but not 24 hours prior when their online check in opens. So when I reached the airport three hours prior to flight time I was made to wait until the last 60 mins when I was finally informed that there were no seats available. There were others with me who had been allotted seats at regular intervals during the wait based on their age, travelling with children and such criteria. I had naturally assumed I would eventually get on. But when I was finally told it was not going to happen I just burst into tears. Uncontrollable sobs racked my body while my mind tried to understand why I was doing that. I was asked some questions to which I gave some incoherent answers and was still trying to decide whether it would be less embarrassing if I faked a heart attack, when my suitcases were grabbed out of my hands. I was still thinking whether I should tell them how I never cry, never even at weddings, not even my own, when I found myself on a plane. Seated next to an old lady who wouldn’t move her bag from my leg space but did say ‘Dont cry, everything will be alright.’
Go on laugh. My husband certainly does every time I challenge him to a duel now.
Until I remind him of a spider in a movie called Charlotte’s Web and how a certain full-grown, 5 ft 11″ adult male felt a sudden urge to step out of the theatre for a smoke when the spider was dying.
The old hindi movies were full of women who cried when they were happy. Tears of joy. An entire industry of TV serials has been built by Star Plus on women shedding tears when they are sad, miserable, misunderstood and mistreated.
And yet, it is not unheard of people crying so deeply, that their eyes remain dry.
There are even those tears that wash away dark clouds leaving the eyes bright and shining, shoulders straight, head high.
Some can cry on-demand and some use tears as words . Some try hopelessly to push back tears and if they should appear anyway, brusquely brush them aside.
Tears seem to flow at the strangest of times, for the strangest of reasons. And while volumes have been written about smiles, tears are relegated to being pearls, protected by hard shells, the core too deep inside, forever, an ornament on the outside.