Trapped in Air

IndiGo is climbing aviation social ladders right now. Right from the check-in concierge’s relentless and rhythmic movements vetting the daily crowd to the bus driver who carries the multifaceted crowd to their waiting flight, all are following the processed tune with clockwork precision. Is the weather hot? Is there a disturbed or worried passenger waiting to board? Is there a heat wave? All is fine! Go Indigo!

I carry high regard for all things airborne, right from dust to clouds to people – mind-strong, freedom loving and determined mavericks. However troubled, they always settle down. But what if, for some people, freedom is just a state of mind, that when troubled, needs a push to get back to neutral. That was her aura!

She was found (or so did the world think) but lost!

I didn’t notice her till the time the cabin crew stood their usual stand for the flight safety instructions. There was an old man taking a bit too many selfies. She slapped the oxygen mask and the Hello 6E, (I cracked up laughing when the crew lead announces its name) on his tray table so hard that he recoiled back in his seat. But her smile made up for the loss of a bad selfie and the anger left him as soon as it came. As for her, I bet she didn’t even notice it. It was as if she never noticed anyone. She did move around with the perfect walk and talk of a trained cabin crew member. But it was as if the mechanical responses and the routine had somehow taken the meaning out of them. For her, they were just words that needed to be said, and not because she wanted to say them. It’s like every response was as hollow as an empty cistern. You can hear nothing but fading drops of water when you try to shake it down. It looked as if she was hollow from inside. Just a lot of words that needed to be said.

Everyday, every flight!

I had the emergency seats. The leg space was wonderful. But there were safety instructions that needed to be given to the ones sitting near it since the emergency door was right next to it. She came and stood right in front of me. And in the 15-second narrative, I understood two words – ‘Thank You’.

Call me an over observant, but my interest was piqued. Is she not interested in what she is doing? – was the big question that was looming in my head. And, at the moment, I so desperately wanted to know the answer. The hangover kicked in again and I brushed aside my thoughts. There was a casual 15-second nap that I fell into almost every 10 minutes. I didn’t realize it but the journey was almost over when the captain announced that we’ll be landing.

I strained myself up. In those lingering moments waiting for the wheels to strike the floor, my eyes glanced over the emergency seats and they read – 

Should be seated while takeoff, taxi and landing

I braced myself. She did right in front of me during takeoff. I didn’t notice much. But the knowledge of her sitting in front of me during landing made me optimistic. About what? 

About me getting the answer to my question.

When she did, I tried to initiate a conversation but didn’t. What do they say? Delhi is a mean city and India has too many people for women to be safe anywhere. I was caught with the same bug. Should I or should I not?

But then something happened. There was a college kid who felt nauseous and wanted a bag to breathe in. The energy that was missing, flickered back into her pupils like a rush of cocaine.

Empathy, as hard as it is to come by, if you’ve it, you’re seldom the poorest in the world.


She gave her a bag. And her eyes didn’t leave her till the time she was Ok. Well, for a moment, I caught her eye. She looked back. So did I. 5 mins later, there was mild humming of a song. She looked out the window into the vast sky with such longing that I almost felt weak in my knees. And that’s when I told her to read this blog two days after from that day.

If she is reading, well, all I can say is –

When routine gets to you, find something that doesn’t. Even if you need to look for it every day. Go for it. For, little things, they matter the most to keep you happy.

And if you feel trapped in the air, the only thing that can give you freedom is YOU woman. Go get yourself! 🙂

Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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