With the end of another excessive meal, we retired to the hotel’s quiet lobby bar to relax with a nightcap before ending the day. This having been our evening ritual for the several evenings of our visit, the amiable server knew well our preferred libation and even our names. But on this, our last night in town, we asked the young man to tell us a bit about himself. Surprised by our genuine interest, he responded in earnest, “I miss my family.” It seems that this kid was reared in the northern-most part of India while his interest in finding decent work brought him here, to the tip of the subcontinent.
He wasn’t complaining, really. He worked long hours, but the job was pleasant enough and the firm, an international hospitality group, compensated him far above the local level for his academic achievement. As the more cheerful countenance we’d come to know returned to his face, he shared that his employer is still hoping to expand in a way that would take him back north. While they’d been discussing it since his start more than five years earlier, he believed that this would be the year. Home was five hours by airplane, but such transport is financially out-of-reach. A train, in coach, is 40 hours and affordable – if all goes well – but he hasn’t been able to get the time from work to make the roundtrip.
A few days later, while sitting in an airport lounge awaiting our own connection home, we lamented the inconvenience of it all. Why couldn’t we get a direct flight? Why is airplane food so terrible? Why couldn’t we just be home already? With wealth (and power), we come to believe that the world should treat us differently. Don’t we forget too quickly that it already does?