I believe I can touch the sky

Google doodles Amelia Earhart on her 115th Birthday, that's today.  Now did I hear this name quite recently somewhere?  I tried to recollect and Oh! Yeah! the Maruti Suzuki sequel "kitna deti hai".  Quickly checked wiki and realised that it was Amelia Johnson, yet another aviatrix.

Leaned back on my chair,  with my morning cup of coffee slowly thoughts drifted to the day when I flew for the first time.  It was from Mumbai to Chennai and I was 38 years old then.  My brother booked the flight tickets and I was thrilled as well as slightly afraid.  Along with my mom, husband, and son entered the airport.  It was flying for first time for all of us except for my husband.

I checked in at the airport and waited for the security check. My wish to fly was so intense, I would have dreamt about flying at least 10 or 15 times.  For a person who had never seen the insides of an airplane, in my dreams I saw it as a bus.  There were times when I stood, holding the iron rails on the roof of the plane, probably to balance when the flight turned right or left.  There were times when, I stood on a long queue to buy tickets for my flight to the US, and my mom would precisely aim that moment to wake from me my dreams.  And once in my dream, when I was about to enter the airplane, I heard two men talking in whispers about their plans to hijack the plane and I call the watchman/police aside and tell them what I overheard and they stop the flight.  But, never once the flight took off and I travelled on air.

It was a low fare flight and with so many what-ifs running in mind, climbed the air plane, to be greeted by the air hostess and a dashing steward.  I gave my usual broad smile, wondering why others just nodded off those greetings.  I got into the flight but forgot to bring the cotton to plug in to my ears.  Anyways, I remembered my brother showing me a pouch with earphones, toffees etc and was waiting for them to deliver my kit.  After a while, I realized they don't provide such kits in low fare flights.  Those flights were meant for everyone to fly and the flight charges affordable to everyone.  I saw an old man carrying an old polythene bag and thrust the bag inside the cupboard on top of his seat.  He carried on with the flight rituals as if he travelled everyday from Mumbai to Chennai. I kicked myself for visiting the prominent shop which sells high class leather bags and paid a fortune to buy one, just because I was flying the next week. 

A pretty girl who sat on the row before me, pressed the switch and called for the flight attendant.  The handsome guy who greeted me walked through the aisle and asked her how he could help her.  She asked for some cotton and he provided her some.

I coughed and asked him little hesitant if he can provide me some cotton too.  He apologized and told me that they don't have the cotton and if he could help with anything else.  Felt embarassed and decided not to ask him anything until of course he comes back to me with an apology.

I was thrilled when the plane slowly crept to the run way and like a thunder zoomed past the runway and lifted its wing.  Finally my dream came true and I started to hum, "I believe I can fly; I believe I can touch the sky", though on a different context, I did fly and tried touching the sky and with due thanks to my brother.

All the jubilation, remained only for 3 or 4 minutes, all of a sudden the air plane slowly tilted to its left and then to right and went down few feet low, my stomach lurched and I knew for sure something was wrong and waited for the crew to announce we are living the final few minutes of our life. No announcement came and after few minutes the airplane righted itself. I was aware of every move of the plane.  Most of the time the plane was tilted and I decided to reduce some weight before I flew the next time.

There was a small commotion, when the air-hostesses dragged a small pantry on wheels and took the orders, collected the money and delivered the goodies .  I didn’t bat an eyelid when my son wanted a cold drink and heard the price was thrice the original cost, but bought it with a flourish.  

My hands held tight and lips chanting "Ram", the 1 hour and 45 minutes stretched like one day for me and held my breath tight till the final announcement came that we are landing the Meenambakkam airport, Chennai.  I was still holding my breath, till the third wheel was lowered with a thud on the ground.  I had heard that accidents happen, when the third small wheel attached to the nozzle of the flight refuse to lower. It was only when the air plane stopped at the runway and I stood to get down, I realized that I had been a fool not to enjoy the trip but spent it worrying hard.  Not that I wanted to smile, but wouldn’t it be considered rude if I didn’t return the smile of the handsome steward as I was leaving.

Did I tell you that I am now 41 and travelled 7 times after my first experience and still get little queasy when the wings slightly lower and balances after the take off and I had gained 8 kgs since then. And, did I tell you that I am scared of heights?


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard. Google

2 Candles:

Anonymous said...

Good one Viji!

Viji said...

Thanks Dhivya :)

wisdom comes with experience

At one, I learnt crawling was fun. At forty one, I still feel crawling is fun #blamemykneesnotme