Friday, June 19, 2009

The Flight, the Plight and the Might

Today is a super Sunday. I participated in Bangalore Sunfeast World 10K Run in the morning. In the afternoon, I have a flight to Ahmedabad – yes, I am going home for a vacation. But the special thing about this flight is that my best friend Alpesh is going to cruise the plane in the air. So after a wonderful run, I am eagerly waiting for the afternoon to meet him on the board.

I start very early for the airport, thinking that I may encounter heavy traffic on the way to the airport, which was not the case this time. I reached much before the scheduled time, but the moment I enter the airport, I get a message from the airline that my flight will take off thirty minutes late as it gets delayed in Kolkata from where the aircraft is supposed to come. No problem, I can wait that much. But the weather gods have different plans. Suddenly Bangalore weather turns windy and rainy, with clouds covering the sky all over. In a moment heavy rainfall starts, with sky-splitting lightening and deafening roar. The mad flurry goes on for hours and the flight-delay jumps from thirty minutes to two hour. But what can I possibly do in this situation? I try to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book, but lack of sleep and tiredness of the day full of activities don’t allow me to read – the words just fly in front of my eyes! I stop reading and sleep for some time. When I wake up after a little sleep, I come to know that the flight has delayed by another two hours – yes, you heard it correctly; total four hours delay for a two hours flight! The wait grows longer and longer, it seems like it will go on till the eternity. I turn to my iPod for some relief, but poor little music player is in no mood to help – it plays Buck Owens’s How Long Is Forever. Finally after toying around with the book, the iPod and sleep for unsuccessfully, my wait is over as the plane arrives.

I see him, dressed in impeccable white of aviators, waiting for me when I board the flight. It feels very good to see him. After a long time, we have met. I remember the days when we used to chat endlessly – contemplating about life was our favorite pastime, which continues to be the case even these days, but we don’t see each other much now because of our professional commitments. The advantage of having a pilot friend is that you get to see inside the cockpit. I sneak a look inside the cockpit – it’s full of small and large displays, buttons, knobs and what not. There is not an inch of empty space.

As my plane takes off, after a long delay, I watch out of the window – I see roads, huge buildings, houses etc. As we go up, these things get smaller and smaller. After a while, they are reduced to a tiny dot on the surface of the earth. From above, I can only see occasional lake, a river or a mountain, or just green patches of forests – the things with which the Creator made the world. And it is how it was supposed to be, until the powerful processor of human machinery, the brain, started to think otherwise. He divided the land, the rivers, the mountains, and even the God! In his quest for quality life (not sure of what quality), he replaced what was naturally provided by his own creations of machines and buildings. There is no problem in having strived for quality life but the problem with we humans is that we have consumed a lot of natural resources to produce this life we so dearly desire. And in return, we have not contributed positively to the nature. As George Orwell noted in his book, Animal Farm, “Man is the only creature who consumes without producing.” Unwittingly we are working towards our own destruction. We happily think that we are creating something unique – be it a baby or a robot. But more we create, more resources are wasted. That triggers a self-destruction, albeit a slower one. How well can we dupe ourselves! Or is it the case of the Creator disguising us? Don’t believe me? See how well our planet rotates around its axis and around the Sun, but we always feel that we are standing on the earth that always stands still. This may be the Creator’s ultimate purpose of putting brain in our heads; so that we can prepare the blueprint of our own destruction.[1] In Nature, all the things have to end; there is no special treatment for anyone! This is going to be a slow end (a billion years, may be) Remember T. S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men? :

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.

The plane is flying between the clouds and they create a dark, demonic print on the mind. The scene outside the window darkens the thought of the end of the universe. Now I can be wrong about this whole thing. Ask my friends, they will cheer to the fact that I am wrong in almost 90% of the cases. The case of remaining 10% is even more curious – I am plain lucky in those! Before I paint grimmer picture of the world, my thought is halted by an air-hostess. The other advantage of having a pilot friend is that all these crew members treat you royally. You can actually feel that their smile is not sugar-coated and fake.

The scene outside the window is better now. The clouds are dispersed. The evening sun is setting down in the west. Some of the clouds have worn orange linings. It’s beautiful the way different colors have painted the sky – white, black, grey, gold, orange are all filling the canvas. We are above the clouds now. From the top the clouds give the impression as if the waves of the oceans have frozen in air. I don’t exactly remember when sleep gets hold of me. When I wake up after the landing, my iPod plays the sobering thought:

Jaisi bachi hai waisi ki waisi bacha lo ye duniya,

apna samaj ke apno ke jaisi utha lo ye duniya.

[1] I am glad that the Creator didn’t choose George Orwell’s totalitarian recipe to destroy the world though. To be stripped of the ability to think and to revolt is worse than being shot down. You can only die once with a bullet!

1 comment:

  1. Seemed more a flight of thoughts than an actual one..
    Picture amazed me in the first note, though ;)

    Keep up, BD !!