Sunday, March 22, 2015

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars

I have been wishing to go star gazing for a while now. Somewhere I can see the black sky dotted with glittering stars...not unlike those shiny dupattas you get, only much finer, much grander.
And I finally got a perfect location for it, 34000 ft. up into the sky. 

Aboard a flight en route to Zurich from Singapore and four hours into it, having finished watching the 'Gone Girl' which by the way is one of the most mind messing movies I have ever seen, I happened to look out of the window.

And what I saw took my breath away; the massive A380 wing stretching impossibly far into the void against the background of the sky of my dreams.

I craned my neck in all possible directions to take in as much of this sky as was possible from the tiny window (literally) of opportunity. The closer stars boldly declared their existence while the ones away just registered their presence before they seemed to disappear. The sheer number of twinkles, the concentration of the starry pinpoints against jet black was overwhelming!

Laws of nature never cease to amaze me. What I was witnessing then was a snapshot of what was. And that it will be millions of years before someone sees what is. 

As I tore my eyes away from the panorama above to look below, there was another sight to behold. I could see a layer of sparse clouds far, far below me, and a lighted up city sprawling erratically till as far as I could see. I switched to ‘Flight Path’ on the screen to identify our location; and what a moment I had chosen to look out of window. Since just then we had entered the Indian air space (above land that is), travelling west from the Bay of Bengal entering the state of Orissa.


I felt a surge affection and longing as only your country can trigger. Distance makes hearts grow fonder took a whole new dimension for me at that altitude. 

I was also less scared, and for sure it wasn't because I was in my motherland, in a way. No, India doesn't evoke a sense of security at any distance and in any direction. It was because I could now visualize our plane flying between the boundary of the sky above which in my imagination was a like a sheet stretched across above us and the golden twinkling landscape below. I am always more scared when I cannot see anything outside the plane window, or worse, when I can see water below.

The fear of unknown manifests itself in strangest ways. 

Am I the only one to feel relieved when I perceive that there are limits around me? Maybe limits isn't the right word. How do I express it? Boundaries? Walls? Cage? Sanctuary?

How primitive is my sense of safety! Lock the gates; lock the car doors on a deserted road. I remember the time I was petrified to step out of the car in a deserted parking lot at midnight. We had driven there to have a glimpse of a star laden sky. But I couldn't get out of the car. It was dark, it was quiet. I couldn't see where the boundaries were and what was within.

Even at 34000 feet, the boundaries of a plane aren't enough.

Did I digress?

Sigh, it is a beautiful night.