O’hare International Airport – Terminal 5

My brother left for India. Boohoo. And if that wasn’t enough, we went to terminal 5 of O’hare international airport to send him off. I don’t know about all the desi folks who live here, but for me, O’Hare terminal 5 feels like almost India.

As you watch fellow desi women, wearing their bright colored salwars (because m-i-l in India does not appreciate western clothes in India), clutching their big sized handbags, pushing along strollers, and followed by harried husbands who are pushing along oversized check-in baggage visibly worried about the weight, and trying to make their carry on baggage seem lighter than it is. Some of them have their bright colored laminated covers from India on their passports. You also see maamas and maamis, sometimes travelling single, looking very anxious about the long journey ahead, and being constantly advised by their sons not to worry about Heathrow airport or Frankfurt airport and to wait for the wheel chair. Grandparents bid tearful farewells as they try to get one more last glimpse of their children and grandchildren and wave to them every time they turn a corner of the serpentine security queue. An African boyfriend plants long kisses on the lips of his chinese girl friend, before he departs to the security queue, and helplessly watches her sob.

Terminal 5 is that last point before you leave for home. Once you’ve crossed that security check, you know you’re probably going to make it home. After a month of incessant India shopping, packing, unpacking and re-packing and weighing, at the few hours we get at the gate of the airport is when we can finally breathe a heavy sigh of relief. It’s our gateway to home in a foreign land. To reach that gateway and not go past it is very disappointing.

15 thoughts on “O’hare International Airport – Terminal 5

  1. Pradeep

    lol! good one. 🙂
    I haven’t even made it to terminal 5 so far. Now, that means I am really far away from home 😦

    Rekha: Hm.. Really far away and really close is all a matter of heart.

  2. I can relate to Pradeep. I have no idea when I am going to make that trip back home. Neenga ipdi saavu adika kudadhu engla 😛

    Rekha: Haha.. Sorry.. intention was not to saavu adichify. Naanum koncham polambanum illaya. Adha yaaru blog lae seyyardhu?

  3. prem


    somebody really seems to be homesick! so everytime you feel like going to india…you can just make a trip to ohare! we can all see the trend…one blog about people visiting you from america when you were in india. niagara reminding you of a india trip. now ohare reminding you of an india trip! heeeheeee!

    stop day dreaming about the day you will go beyond the security gate. will come someday soon. and you never know…maybe that will be the last time you cross the security gates at ohare!

    and careful what you wish for…you might just get it! unfortunately…the grass is always greener on the other side!

    Rekha: Aaah.. More saabams.. more saabams. Hmm.. and you’re right.. there is a trend isn’t it.

  4. ok heres more oppu on your wounds, I’m goin thru terminal 5 @ ORD this month!

    la la la….

    but yea that air india and AA (ORD-DEL , ORD-HYD) are always friggin full, like a pongal cattle show…..

    Rekha: Uppu instantly reminds me of Dasavatharam. Do not wake up the sleeping demon within me or I shall send you a saabam of doing ponnu paarthals and sojji bajji while you are home.

  5. clever maami, caught my arrows mid air!

    I was tempted to say NaCl, but tried to hide behind ‘uppu’…

    enna ponnu parkals? I’m way under the radar ok, acc to tambram law the official age for chamathu payyans is 27-28…

    I’ve got a good 4 yrs…..

    Rekha: Ohoo.. Age back – calculation gone wrong 😦 Now I have to think about a different saabam. Too much work pa.. Pozhachi po!

  6. Sigh, I did not think the smiley thingy would come out looking so evil. It was a very agreeing, nodding head, and remembering India smile.

    Rekha: No worry. I always do that.

  7. padmajav

    I can understand how you feel..
    Enjoy the ‘ here & now’… We always seem to romanticise the past. I can give you a never-ending list of what you’re not missing! Anyway, you’re just a phone-call or a IM away from your loved ones. Not to mention the webcam..
    Also now, you guys get to see the latest movies first day first show! 🙂

    Rekha: What you say is so true. It does make me feel better.

  8. 🙂 I had a smile reading this.. esp all the pictures you painted of the different travellers.. lovely!!!

    Rekha: Thank you. What kind of traveller are you?

  9. I have seen the same scene play out in Newark 🙂 And the waving for every corner they turn part – I have done that too!

    Rekha: Wish India was also round one such corner 😀

  10. Departure terminals are great hunting grounds for stories. Reminds me of that scene in the Hugh Grant starrer, “Love Actually”. All those maamas and maamis in fresh sneakers, carpet bags, sober faces and fat jumpers and defiant colourful saris. Some to help daughters with their pregnancies, some to visit sons-happiness at the offpsring’s prosperity, sadness at lack of homespun comforts, young adults faced with the prospect of entertaining aged parents.
    Stroies are waiting to be written, lady.
    And please Max if you are 24, call me a fossil.
    I’m dying Rekha, dying, with such YTs around us.

    Rekha: Yes, airports are interesting places. Try flying out of Chicago during a snow storm and you might just finish writing a book before you’re on the plane. And Maami.. you’re not even 40, why worry?

  11. liked your naration, brings my thoughts when i lived in newyork and as that was my first trip abroad, it made me feel more homesick… now thats become a routine

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