Arrivals & Departures

Shruthi Subramanian
2 min readJul 6, 2020


A year ago, I left what had been home for more than a decade to move to Berlin.

A snapshot of the road leading to Alexanderplatz (Berlin) with the famous TV Tower standing tall in the background.
Bis später, alligator.

I remember the sprint from the international terminal to the domestic one. I was so, so terrified of missing my connecting flight. The sun had been out, but the fear had kept me cold. It wasn’t until I had boarded the flight to Berlin had I been able to breathe. The simple fact that my entire row was empty had made me feel in control of the situation. I remember (quite vividly) how I had closed my eyes to dream in Deutsche and shelf my dread for another day.

I had blacked out. I was hoping to open my eyes to see the green pastures in my periphery.

I woke up after what felt like an hour and a half. But, wait. The runway looked…the same.

DIN standards! Germans are known for their precision.

But, what I didn’t know then was that the vessel hadn’t left Frankfurt. The airplane had taken to the runway, but someone noticed that something had been off about the wings. Ominous.

What a waste of a nap.

So, no. I did not catch a wink of sleep. I remember feeling an immense wave of bitterness. The luggage trolley system had shocked me. The long queue for taxis had drained me. I remember refusing to feel any optimism whatsoever. But, the cab ride from the airport changed that.

I remember that feeling in my cheeks. I remember looking through the window and thinking —

Give up already; you’re going to fracture your cheek bones if you continue to resist this smile.

A little over a year since that smile, and I’m thinking about leaving, but I know it’ll be at least another six months before such plans can even materialise. This city is alive and as much as I’d like to think that it’s after my head, I know that I am but a speck of dust — wandering, only to get blown in the direction of the wind, only to find myself departing, only to arrive again. What I can hope for is a nap.