I arrived to India at 1 am in the Mumbai airport. As I walked off the plane, a warm gust of wind enveloped me. In a daze, I walked through the airport. Or, rather, walked around the lines, and lines, and lines, trying to figure out how to maneuver to catch my flight to Delhi. I wasn’t worried; I had three hours before my connecting flight took off.

A young turbaned man began talking to me in one of the lines. He was coming back from the UK, where he studied, to visit his family. He was an engineer, and would start a job in Panama soon. We stood in the security line together, talking awkwardly. I had to ask him to repeat several sentences; he had to do the same. Suddenly all women were pulled from the line to go through a special security line, attended to by female security guards.

I passed through this checkpoint, then another, then another, before entering the boarding area, mere minutes before my flight was to depart.

In the Delhi airport, while waiting for my checked luggage, my turbaned friend approached me. We chatted more. He was surprised to learn this was my first visit to India. His one piece of advice: “Don’t let the lines get you down.”

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