… 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 lights 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. 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.