There I was, at Heathrow's Terminal 4 to meet a friend coming in from Sri Lanka. I shan't bore you with tales of my love of airports and all the details about why I enjoy them, you've read all that before.
But I was standing in at the arrivals section, doing some people watching, happy with life in general and just feeling mellow yet excited.
One of the little games I play with myself is to look at other people and wonder who they're waiting for. Are they waiting for a lover, a friend, a brother or a child? Are they going to run up to their target and embrace them with a lingering kiss or will they shake hands politely and be business like? I saw a father with his two teenage daughters and, when they greeted their Mother, I watched the body language and interaction and just knew that it wasn't a marriage filled with love and warmth.
I spotted a young Sri Lankan couple that attracted my gaze. They looked as if they hadn't been in the UK for that long but they definitely looked as if they live here. I really can't figure out why I thought that, maybe the fact that they were meeting someone at Heathrow was a small clue.
The had a very cute and very newish looking baby with them, it must have been only a few months old and I cleverly assumed they were the parents of said child.
After some time an oldish looking Sri Lankan couple strolled out of the airside section. They had that look about them, the look of slight bewilderment at landing at Heathrow for what I assumed (perhaps wrongly) to be the first time combined with the scanning and searching the crowd for a recognisable face. After a bit of walking in the wrong direction, a bit of looking at the faces of strangers and not getting any acknowledgement, they headed towards the young couple. It was apparent that the older Uncle and Aunty were the parents of the guy and the parents in law of the woman.
The young chap held the baby up in the direction of what I now realised was its grandparents. The old couple had a spring in their step and it dawned on me that I was witnessing a special moment; it was the first time ever that the grandparents had seen their grandchild. As most people would expect, but I don't know why, it was the grandmother who got to the baby first.
There were tears in her eyes as her son held the child up to her and, in a manner that any Sri Lankan would fully understand and appreciate, she held the little child's tiny feet and kissed them. Then the Uncle strolled over and did the casual "I'm a Sri Lankan older male and won't display emotion" thing, but he was wholly unconvincing.
I watched as they all then ambled off in the direction of the exit. I assume there was lots of catching up to do and plenty of granparenty duties to be performed.
It was one of those very lovely and special moments that I was honoured to witness. I'll probably never see the people again, I probably wouldn't recognise them if I did, but it was a special moment that I'm glad I saw.
It really was one of those warm and tender moments.
In Conversation: SURESH DE SILVA
4 days ago