Friday, April 08, 2022

There are a few places that inspire as many ideas as the interiors of an aircraft do. I'm not here to list those. 

Instead, I am here to brood over how being 35000 feet high up in the sky inspires me to think and write but the ideas seem to evaporate much as soon as I land back and make my way from the aircraft to the luggage belt. Whatever peace and calm being stationery on a seat for over 2 hours bring, all of it suddenly vanishes when one has to walk a few hundred meters to collect the baggage. Between walking out of the aircraft and collecting the bags, all my best ideas vanish without as much a warning. It almost, always makes me feel like my rent for the air travel covered those ideas, and just as soon as the air travel ends, the ideas make their way out. 

It's also that making my way out and getting in the car to home (yours or anyone else's), fills me with another kind of thought process. Will I find the same billboards I saw on my way out? The house I've been seeing for over 25 years, will it have any changes? What will the roads be like? Even the worst jam on the way out feels like a large welcoming hug, when you're back home. If not, you're headed to someone's home and that's okay too. 

I wish I could be more of an airport self than I am regular, every day in my bedroom self. That person is flying high in the air, with total strangers; mostly recuperating from everything that's happened and preparing herself for everything else that is expected and awaited in the next leg of the journey. More friends to lose along the way? Check. More people to meet and fall in love with? Check. More bottles of water to ask of the hostess who will ignore you? Check. 

Somehow, being inside the flight after over two years felt like nothing had changed. Ladies aboard were passive-aggressive as per usual, kids were ill-mannered and the cabin crew was much too snooty. I streamed a film I'd seen a dozen times, the same one I saw during a medical procedure in the hospital, last year around the same time. 

The film is about family, opulence, love and loss; when I streamed it last I was alone during it; my last sojourn in the hospital, much like I was on the flight this time around. Nothing had changed. I was being fed, served, treated at a cost borne for hosting me and tied to one place. Only this time, I had less space than the flight and the same discomfort, of being away from my loved ones. 35000 feet high up in the sky makes films less dreamy, and more practical. Last year, being afforded with a hospital bed was a bigger luxury than a lifetime of business class seating in the aircraft and here I was, tied to my chair in Economy, eating insipid bread and thinking of all the times I spent alone wondering if they are my last. Flights make me mellow and greedy all at once, the film was fun, regardless of the man next to me laughing loudly at the latest he was streaming (I wanted to give him spoilers but we only talked towards the end of the flight and he remarked, I wish I had spoken to you sooner). I thought more about the hospital, the oxygen pipe, the PTSD I have been living with and little about the film. It's a good film, you should watch it. 

I also bond with airports, when I travel alone. I have travelled a considerable amount alone; atleast for someone who's worked in the kind of industries I have and made the pittance I did, I have travelled a lot for that and I love chilling at the airport. They're cold, soothing, informal and uncomfortable, all at once. The only place I can think of in comparison are flights you undertake, somehow they make airports look better. For a city I had visited as an adult, I had no recollection of Bangalore airport and thus, this time around, I made it a point to walk around with a piece of overweight cabin luggage. At some point, when I felt like I'd die, I still walked around. Never leave an airport unsatisfied, for you never know whether you'll visit again. 

Until next time, Bangalore. 

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