Frequent flier

… I am not.

The first time in my life I flew, was as an airhostess- and we all know how that ended! Of course I quit within a day of the job but that isn’t what I’m talking about today.

Flying fascinates me. Everytime I’m up in the sky, hurtling through the clouds in that metal tube, there is this sense of .. ‘F************k!!!!! This is amazing.’

Which is very childish I know. But that is how I am (feel free to make fun of me and call me a villager!). I thank my lucky stars that I don’t travel weekly like the OA or it might lose its charm. As it stands, I fly a couple of times in the year and we take trains for other trips or driving holidays.

The magic starts the moment the flight takes off. As we begin to taxi, I still say a little prayer (I do it when a train starts too – grew up praying before we travelled!) and rush to open my eyes before we take off. I don’t know whether to attribute the butterflies in my stomach to the take off or sheer excitement. Ive never felt that way about swimming or diving. Because man has been able to swim for ages, with no external help. But flying! It makes me want to burst into song and I look out of the window like the villager I am, as the city and the houses and streets grow smaller, refusing to look up. What if some frequent or even not-so-frequent-flyer catches the look of wonder in my eyes and makes fun of me?!

I make up stories if we’re taking off or landing after dark. The street lights twinkle down below, lighting up paths and the lights come on in the houses as darkness falls. I remember my first glimpse of Hyderabad when we moved there. It was during the Afro Asian Games and the lights snaked across the city and cast a spell on me. We’d just taken off from grey rainy Bombay, seeing only blue plastic covered chawls and smog. And I was very low at the thought of moving to a strange new city with no job and no friends. And the descent and lightsΒ just lifted me out of my slump and as the flight gently taxied in… I was smiling.

I love observing. And I love making up stories in my head (No, I don’t want a book deal – I make up crap stories which is why they stay in my head!). I look out of the window and zoom in on the lit up window of a house and wonder who lives there. Maybe a young couple who have just got back from work. Are laughing, chatting, putting dinner together (without two little brats swinging off the back of their pants demanding a story right now!) and then taking a plate out on to the balcony with a glass of wine or beer. Jazz on the radio. A soft breeze blows, the sound of traffic in the distance.Β Nice.

Move on to the next. A house bustling with life. People of all ages and generations. Saas bahu serials blare out of the TV, the kids are chasing each other around the furniture. Someone reads the newspaper out, commenting at each headline to no one in particular. Dinner is being laid out on the dining table. The next day being discussed. School uniforms being examined and hung on hangers. One of the kids trips and falls. Pretty much everyone ignores her. Someone actually steps over her. Just another day!

A bare-ish flat with a bunch of young men. Boxes of pizzas lie open and half eaten. Beer bottles and other sundry bottles scattered over the rug. Someone is rolling a joint while others examine a tiny plastic packet holding psilocybin mushrooms, magic fungus.. whatever the hell you want to call them. A cell phone rings. One of them answers it “Yeah baby.. I’m leaving. On my way home… really. I’ll be home in ten.’ The others rib him goodnaturedly about being henpecked. He grins sheepishly, knocks back his drink, takes a quick drag and scoots. The others loudly thank the Lord that they’re single and don’t need to rush home to a ‘domineering wife’ even though all of them know and like the wife in question. You can’t help but notice something wistful about the way they dismiss her. It wouldn’t be all that bad a thing to have a wife and a home to go back to either.

And so I go on, making up stories. Until we’re too far into the clouds for the lights to shine through. I zoom back until I am back in my seat, shut my eyes and try to nap until we get to wherever we’re getting to.

And as we reach and the flight begins to descend.. the game begins again.


28 thoughts on “Frequent flier

  1. Warm thoughts! I am not a frequent Flier myself and thought that only I make up these snug warm stories in my head….glad that I’ve company….

  2. MM,

    What fascinates me most about flying is the pilot.. not in a “oh , it must be so cool to be a pilot” or the fact that most of them look so dashing in their uniforms and smug expressions (have u notticed how many of the look smug while walking through the airports).. but the fact that so many lives depend on this one person is such a complete way for the duration of the flight.
    That is some responsibility.. no.
    Same goes for train , bus and taxi drivers , I guess ..but somehow they dont all look smug so maybe it is not as fascinating :-).

    Me: yeah i guess you’re right. there is a lot of training and effort that goes into flying. whereas you have illiterate guys driving buses taxis and trains…

  3. I am pretty starry-eyed about flying myself!! And yes, the rarity of my flying trips makes it that much more special! I remember on a recent vacation, our kids and me were the only ones goggle-eyed enjoying every bit of it and ohhing-aahing loudly while everyone else looked bored to death. Felt bad for them!

    If someone makes fun of you because you have a genuine sense of wonder about such a miraculous thing as flying…then sucks to them!

  4. love the new header.
    the bean coloring away….
    the famous turtle in the background
    the red slide.

    a picture is worth a thousand words, no πŸ™‚

  5. Hey MM, those kind of stories unravel in my head when i am on the window seat of a train. But yours is an imaginative one!

  6. damn and all i used to wonder watching planes fly overhead was “I hope they dont take a dump on me
    –Unimaginative Aneela (Going Back to the Blackboard…I will Think Creative times 100)

  7. I was thinking I was the only one being childish, hmm…it is no?

    For me though, its just not while flying…all daily bus journey to office, trains..everything.

    I imagine the way life would be to live in one of those one-room houses that line the railway track, try to see which one looks the cleaner one of the lot, imagine living there and all that. Do you get to that level?

    I so want a second class train journey now πŸ™‚

  8. Duuuude!!! I do that all the time when I am travelling, when I am in a long journey train, I look at the lights of the houses zooming by and think the same things..and times when i see the little windows of the plane flying above, I think who must be sitting there, whats’ she/he like? with family or alone and make up a whole bunch of things!

    This post made me sigh with relief also jump with joy, because my friends have called me crazy, when i tell them this, now I know someone who is crazy as well!! πŸ˜€

  9. awesome header. Love the mat. and the turtle (??) planter. U make flying sound so romantic! I abhor flying. And with turbulance, i’d rather be eating roaches on Fear Factor that be on the flight!! I used to be a FF while in India. Thankfully those days are over :)). The ONLY thing i liked about flights esp jet was watching episodes of friends and enjoying their brekky.

    Me: LOL! eat roaches. that is drastic

  10. Amazing! I have the complete opposite reaction to flying,and heights for that matter! It all started in a cable car ride as a kid in geneva…but thats an old story! Hate flying,and my stories in the head are all abt headlines and crashes , you get what I mean? the hubby on the other hand aspired to be a pilot,loves flying and now we live right by the airport and at a height of 32floors above sea level! I swear I must be a sinner! πŸ™‚

  11. and u say these are crap stories that should stay in your head?? girl, whats up with you? :-)your imaginations are beautiful. i imagine too but wont be able to pen them down the way you do.

    i used to love flying, i flew quite regularly…but now i hate it…i guess its lost its charm…and what gets me the most is the airport experience..the long lines, security etc. i rather be on a train or in a car leisurely listening to a book on tape or music, hear the kids cackle in the back and soak in the greenery/landscape that surrounds us.

  12. I love flying! Not a frequent flier, though I get at least three to four trips in a year. Recently I’ve taken up flight photography (?). I love taking pictures while taking off, being in the air and while landing. I get weird looks from other passengers but majority of times it’s a great icebreaker. And I make up stories about fellow passengers! I try to get the story from the person sitting next to me πŸ™‚

  13. I do this airports:-) I love watching reunions. The enormously different ways in which people react to seeing someone they love again..And then watching people in lounges and making up a story in my head.. never gets old.

    The best reunion I’ve ever seen I think was my otherwise very restrained cousin reuniting with her husband in Melbourne. The way she actually tried willing herself NOT to run, but everything else in her just took over and she sort of hurtled into his arms and buried her face in his neck for the next ten minutes. Top of the pops, that!

    Loved this post, babe.

  14. For me flying has always been about going back home, whether it was to US or whether it was back home to Singapore. I couldnt wait to see my family. Thats what flying is to me.

    And I love airports and make up stories about the people there.

  15. Lovely header!

    Do you move the plants indoors during winter?

    Me: no yaar. too many of them. besides in winter they need every bit of sun available.

  16. My.. you make me sound very unimaginative. In the airports I usually work on my laptop occasionally lifting my heavy head to look at a passer-by but in reality actually thinking of some work related stuff and then in the flight, I just close it long enough for the take off and the pilot to announce that it’s ok to operate electronic devices again. As you can see, I travel on work a bit although the recent travel restrictions around the company and the fact that I’m a rather new mom (although my son is now 5 whole months old!) limits the number of flights I’ve taken in the last year. I guess all the creativity in you not only helps you write beautiful blogs, think up lovely stories and raise wonderful children, it also helps with keepig a beautiful and full home. I am sooo jealous of you right now (in a nice way – REALLY!) – I wish I was half as creative as you.

  17. My only form of transportation across distant cities and countries has been via air the past 16 years and the fascination hasn’t diminished one bit. I can still fight with my kids for the window seat πŸ™‚ As for making stories those come to me as I travel by train in India!!

  18. Flying always is scary for me. Or to be precise, flying over an ocean is scary. If I see land I am fine. Maybe because I do not know swimming and the fear of deep ocean scares me.

    But the stories do come to my mind be it in a plane, train or bus. But as a kid/teenager my imagination was so good that I used to spin stories. There was this time when we were going back to join my Dad in Kerala. We had just shifted from Gujrat to Kerala and my Dad went first to find a house etc, so on the way I used to wonder looking at all those lovely cottage type houses and wonder is it our new home? How will I decorate our room etc..of course I was crafty then. Thanks to SUPW in school.

    Now the stories in my head are about mundane life.

    But you do have a great imagination and words to describe them. Love it.

  19. So sweet! πŸ™‚ loved the third story for some reason. i make up a lot of stories too, more when i am on trains or buses – its upclose and the snippets of conversations you sometimes catch makes it for much interesting stories! nice memories you brought back!

  20. AAAAh stories….don’t we all love ’em…like archana, snippets of conversation starts me off….I love one liners that I hear, in markets, bus stops and malls!

  21. I like flights and flying too, despite taking my share of flights every year (err month). I also love falling asleep during take-off (and only waking up at landing). But that is a luxury that I don’t have much anymore!
    (nice stories your head has ya!)

  22. OMG!! babe… if u feel such things while flying in a plane.. u gotto… u GOTTO…absolutely HAVE to parasail… its out of the world experience… i REALLY sang πŸ™‚

    Me: done that πŸ™‚ LOVED it. Wish I could take off again for a holiday and do some more!

  23. Wow! I am myself a day dreamer. I imagine in my head about everything. And this one just widened my horizon. But I’m a non-flier, till now. But someday when I fly, I would definitely be reminded of your story making habit.

  24. This is so similar to what i do. also.. I wonder how someone actually made this huge thing with sooooooo many people.. so many chairs.. soooooo heavy.. actually fly so highhhhhhhhhhh in the air.. and how it is amazing to be “above” the weather.. i imagine the clouds are snow peaked mountains.. or that the sky is the sea and i see glaciers and that this is how antartica will be..

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