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BW Businessworld

Parked At The Terminal

Photo Credit :

 Alain De Botton’s A Week At  The Airport (Profile Books) reflects upon an interesting premise. Self-explanatory, of course; but there is plenty that delves beyond the obvious. As this book observes wisely, “If you were asked to take a Martian to visit a single place that captures all the themes running through the modern world — from our faith in technology to our destruction of nature, from our interconnectedness to our romanticising of travel — then you would almost certainly have to head to an airport.” 

De Botton does just that, taking us on post-dinner circuits around hotel corridors as a substitute for a “walk in one of the few fields that remained of the farmland on which the airport had been built” as it seemed “at once perilous and impossible to leave the building”. De Botton is a good writer, and this book benefits a lot from his droll wit and pithy observations. 
Between startling nuggets of information on Heathrow airport’s history and evolution, and its architecture — all of it articulated with wisdom and charm — De Botton touches upon all those latent feelings that travellers, clutching their passports and hurrying to find departure gates, will identify with. As we “embark for a country…where we understood nothing of the language and where no one knew our identities”, this slim volume with quiet, telling photographs, will surely keep us great company.
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 15-02-2010)