ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Colombo Diary

January 3-10, 1987 A Colombo Diary IT is only an hour's flight, or perhaps five or ten minutes less, from Madras to Colombo. It took a full eight hours from the time of checking-in. The international departure lounge at the Madras airport looks comprehensively primitive compared to the one for domestic departure, newly built and posh all over, right next door. And it is as if the emergency across the Strait of Palk is a heavier burden on India than on Sri Lanka herself; each passenger is treated as a hijacker and bomb exploder till as long as satisfactory evidence does not turn up to prove the contrary. The charades in the so- called security area were almost interminable. You finally manage to get into the plane, but, after a half hour's seat-belt- fastened wait, you are made to get off again, and re-identify your baggage: there is apparently one extra piece of baggage, or one extra passenger, or perhaps both. So the waiting is further elongated. But you have company. The high commissioners of the two respective countries, who keep commuting between New Delhi and Colombo, are equally helplessly stranded along with you.

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