Saturday, November 17, 2007

First flight

Its late in the evening, nearly an hour past the scheduled time when the plane shudders as it rolls its way on the slightly bumpy surface right in front of the Calcutta Airport terminal. It is a rather awkward being that seems so unwieldy and bulky as it taxis onto the tarmac. Turning its nose to align it with the runway, the long stretch of the runway beckons.

A high-pitched whine of the engines dominates my senses now as it does of all other passengers on board. The unease that this giant machine was feeling with its mass is rapidly disappearing. Outside through the little glass windows I see the runway lights flash past at a rate unlike anything I have experienced before. Two of my friends who are with me on this journey and also on their first flight have faces that tell the story of internal commotion all too clearly. The whine becomes even more intense and a rush caused by the spectacular acceleration kicks in. The runway outside is a blur now and then the sudden feeling of weightlessness, of tons of metal and human cargo turning into nothing, overcoming the force of gravity that I had taken for a certainty all my life. As the steel bird ascends into the sky and banks right towards Delhi hundreds of kilometres away, the lights of Calcutta lie spread below, twinkling and shifting like a glass cupboard filled with fireflies.

No comments: