In everyday life, how often do you see people in wheelchairs?
Not that much, right?
And thank goodness for that, since it means people aren’t injured or handicapped, right?
Ah well…I have news for you AND, most importantly, I have the latest question for you, in my things-about-India-that-have-puzzled-me-for-years series.
Namely, why are there so many wheelchair travellers at Indian airports?
In January this year, when I landed in Mumbai for the marathon, on an international flight, there were 18 wheelchairs lined up.
In their own separate queue at immigration.
Every single wheelchair was occupied by people who looked, visually, to be Indian, but I must confess I was too busy counting the wheelchairs, to check out their nationalities.
18 wheelchairs, each one with at least 2 accompanying family members, who all went into a separate fast track, while able bodied senior citizens such as yours truly shuffled slowly along in snaking lines.
I was so fascinated by the 18 wheelchairs, my biggest mass sighting in 36 years of Indian travel, (& I was, remember, killing time as I shuffled slowly along in the above-mentioned queues ) that I tweeted my sighting.
Thought it would amuse.
Got promptly shot down on Twitter by someone with an Indian name (but, like the wheelchair occupants, I have no way of checking her nationality) who accused me of racial superiority or some such stupid nonsense.
Then a few other people followed suit with virtually identikit tweets.
“Don’t you have handicapped people in your country?”
And the usual offensive rejoinder to any criticism of India – “if you don’t like India, go back.”
Blah blah blah.
Anyway, back to my original question.
At the risk of being accused of racial slurs all over again, I’d like to ask you all, how come there are always SO many wheelchair travellers at Indian airports?
Particularly for international flights?
A few months ago, at Delhi airport, when the lines for security stretched from here to eternity, there was nearly a riot, as wheelchair after wheelchair after wheelchair was wheeled to the head of the queue.
People were shouting and yelling, but all to no avail, as the wheelchair travellers got priority, along with their accompanying family members.
Er hello, not only do you get pushed around the airport, you get to cut the lines, too?
So, come on, all you knowledgable readers out there.
Please answer this question that has bugged me for years…
What’s with all the wheelchairs at Indian airports?
I pass no judgement on the illness/frailty/ sickness or otherwise of wheelchair travellers.
Truly I don’t.
But to thank you for what I hope will be the answer to my query, I will refer you, free gratis and for nothing, to an excellent article written by the stylish and eloquent Tunku Varadarajan a couple of years ago.