Friday, 28 October 2016

When the Clouds were Under You



The Aeroplane taxied towards the runway. The crew had already shown how to buckle and unbuckle the seat belts. And also scared the hell out of you by showing how to wear the oxygen mask in case of emergency. The mask which cannot be seen, is supposed to fall from the ceiling of the plane. To add on to the fear, orange life jacket was shown and its nitty gritty of operations was explained.

'So there is chances of cabin pressure being disturbed and there is also chances of the plane falling in the water bodies, be it river, ocean or lakes.' The thought made me feel nauseated. I clutched on to the shared arm rest tightly when the plane sped on the runway trying to get the required lift. The rumbling of the wheels spinning on the tarmac could be felt. It was raining and had it been at Paro International Airport, the take off would have been cancelled. I suddenly felt heavy and I was pushed back towards the backrest. There were no more rumbling, except for the additional G force, that made me feel uncomfortable, the flight was smooth as it ascended and gained altitude. The further it climbed with a nose up position, the more I missed the solid ground. Watching out of the window and seeing the wings of the plane shaking, added more fear – 'What if the wings broke?'

The weather changed within minutes. There were no rain. It was shining brightly and the clouds... the clouds were below us!. We are flying above the clouds. It was exhilarating but the thought of any mechanical, electronic, chemical, physical, psychological any damn failure would mean certain death. I have jumped from 10 meter board in the swimming pool and I know how much it hurts, if you land inappropriately. The smiling faces of the air hostesses were reassuring but the thought of them surrendering to the fate, should something happened was not comforting. Perhaps they took it as a professional hazard. I had the choice of traveling by other mode of transport.

Resigning to the fate and surrendering to the destiny helped – remembering Murphy's Law was even better, 'Anything that is ought to happen, would happen, not matter what'. The fear and the courage part of the mind was having an argument. The logical self resigned to the destiny and started enjoying the scene of open emptiness from the level of the eye and above; down below the shaking-fragile-and-almost-breaking wings of the airplane, I can see rivers and roads as lines and houses and buildings as white spots, just as you may see it on the satellite imageries. 'If you fall from here....' again the same thoughts, I brush it aside. Air travel is supposed to be one of the safest mode of transport – I read it somewhere. How many air crashes cases you get to hear vis a vis vehicular accidents? Unless, you watch 'air crash investigations' in Nat Geo channel. I am not going to watch that program anymore.

The smooth ride was frequently punctuated by the turbulence, bringing my heart to the mouth. The white carpet of clouds below us would do little to help stop the falling plane. The soft confident voice of the pilot about the turbulence being normal was indeed reassuring.

'Ladies and gentleman, this is your pilot speaking. We are experiencing turbulence, therefore, passengers are requested to be seated and fasten the seatbelt. Crews station please'. My foot! should something happen, should the plane fall in the ocean, I do not want to get myself anchored on the seat of the plane and sink with it.

'Thud, thud!', a loud noise. I look out of the window to check whether the wings are broken. It was intact. It was the noise of the landing gears coming out. The solid ground is nearing. The plane was not destined to crash. 'If you are not afraid of death – You are either lying or you are Gorkha', said FM Sam Maneksha. I am neither.