Saturday, June 7, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

After a really long time, i travelled by air. Some work came up in Delhi - a good 1000 miles away from home. There was a time, when i first started working, that flying by air for me was the best perk my job offered! And the whole magic was being at the same level as the clouds and also getting a closer aerial view of the two cities - point of origin and destination. It used to be the most exciting exploration to guess the places - from apartment complexes to historic monuments as land drew closer.

Ah! one of those warm memories from childhood - my siblings and me all under 10, eagerly awaiting dad's return from the US - maybe it was his first trip abroad and so the excitement. and more that the goodies that would be in store for us - i remember the three of us discussing how our building would appear from the skies and if dad would spot it. We even waved out at every airplane that flew past our little 3-storeyed structure that day - you know, just in case! Those days most apartment complexes around our neighbourhood were not higher that 4 floors, except for this one building which had maybe around 15 floors. And we were sure that dad would spot that apartment complex from his window and then like a modern day Charles Lindbergh, locate where his children were! So FINALLY, when he walked thru the door, we all bombarded him with questions about how our building looked from the skies and when he said there was no way he could have seen it -we go 'yeah, but you surely must have seen that tall one there'. and when dad replied in the negative, we all rather smugly concluded that he might have dozed off and is unwillingly to admit it! I mean how can ANYONE not see a 15-storeyed building from the sky!

That was a long time ago and now i know. But i still try to trace desperately where my home is, where friends live based on significant landmarks when I fly. But that is where the magic of flying ends for me. Now, I am unable to handle the quickness of the transition from one place to another - be it while leaving home or even while leaving the other place. Its like you are this tree on land, making your own personal connections with a place, the people there, the sights, the sounds - and then poof! you are abruptly uprooted from there and then have to strike your roots in another place. In between safety procedures and rather efficiently packed snack trays, i feel i hardly get any time to delink myself from source A and also re-enter the life in Source B. i experience jetlags even in 1 hour domestic flights - more for the effort it takes to readjust to a very different world than the body clock bit of it!

Train travel is what i would rate the best among options i have. The gentle rocking, the soft sounds, the closeness to earth and the beautiful landscapes she has to offer. The transition is a lot gentler – I slowly say my goodbye to the source city and as slowly get to say hello to my destination. Fast but not too fast; long but not too long. The transition is supported by not just the changing landscapes, but also the gradually changing yummy eats that station vendors have to offer. and i never get to chill in life as much as i get to while on a train journey! hmmm!

In our discussions with friends, we often talk about how gadgets that we saw in sci-fi movies and our all time-favourite Star Trek, have now become part of life. Like the cellphone for instance. And then the thought that soon travel would get revolutionised as much - pretty soon we would get to the "Beam me up, Scotie!" days. Now how will i ever survive that?!


Anonymous said...

Very nice writing! I had forgotten about the tall building - sminu right? Wish I had the luxury of train travel! To make it easier for you I'll wave from the space needle next week!

praneeta said...

I thought Nia had already reached the "beam me up..." stage...