I’m not a petrified flyer, but a seat in a plane isn’t the most comfortable place in the world. Sure, they do all they can to comfort you. Like the very first speech about what to do in the event of a crash. Sure, reassuring, that one!
I’ve been told for as long as I can remember that I began flying quite early. Dad’s naval background and constant trips back home meant great revenue for the then supreme Indian airlines. I miss the charm of those planes though… not knowing weather the plane would break into two halves or four mid air. You could only guess. And if a mid air tragedy didn’t kill you, the airhostesses might just! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with 800 year old women working as cabin crew…but do they really have to yell at you for everything! It reminded me awfully of school. And I wasn’t’ particularly fond of school either.
As I fly now, I look around. Part nervously, part out of curiosity, part, to just make sure no one’s looking while I say a silent prayer to my trusted lord Ganesha reminding him constantly of our signed and sealed deal which compels him to guard me unfailingly at all times. And in the midst of this slight muttering, and holding a small plastic Ganesha I carry in my wallet..I always sense the entire airplane just staring at me. Is it me imagining or do the hostesses pause in the midst of their service, old men put their paper aside, lift their glasses to look in my direction. And the guy in the loo, his stream freezing midway….well, you get the picture.
Although, in doing my own looking around to spot possible witnesses to my mid air prayer, I’d also spot some people doing similar things. Most people, I’ve noticed, put their magazine down, close their eyes…. Pause when the flight takes off. I’d like to believe they’re all praying as well. Either that…or they’re just using the extra noise from the engine as the perfect cover up for some much needed flagellation. The noise of their good deed for the day may die out under the sound of the roaring engine… unfortunately, the nose always manages to detect what the ears may have been deprived of. And in that moment, your hand, in sudden movement, moves from your heart to your nostrils. And god, becomes an after thought!
I enjoy travel. I’m more comfortable, knowing that other people are just as uncertain about being thousands of feet above the ground. Hoping, like me, that the guys in the cockpit know their job well. REALLY WELL! Hoping, the wing doesn’t fall off…or some other instrumental failure that’ll be called “unknown causes” if and when the news does get out. I’m looking, into my book…but that’s just a cover up for everything else my mind is engaged in. and I’m keeping an eye out for prospective hijackers. Now, is it just me…or do I always end up sitting next to some guy who really looks like he was trained in armed combat, flying planes into buildings, and doing most of these neck slicing kinda tricks! Aah well