Things you pass by at times, you don’t take note of. You don’t stop to smell the roses, so to say. Cheesy start, I know. Just can’t come up with anything… I’ll get to the point.
Planes suck. They just do. Falling out of the sky. Prime targets for nature and terrorists too, all of a sudden. People often cite studies stating that statistically, planes are safer than cars on a per trip basis. I read a brilliant counter-argument for the same somewhere, in a simple question – “How often do you drive and how often do you fly?” Granted though, that they are quicker. And they are pretty nifty too, come to think of it; and as of now, I have another reason against my earlier solemnly declared airline-critiquing statement.
I have travelled enough (I like to think I have) to be inured to the usual hullabaloo people fresh on the tube might be busy experiencing. Something caught my eye on my 4th trip to my sister’s place in Hong Kong though. Rather, on the trip back. I did something I believe I hadn’t properly “done” in my adult life. I looked out the window. Of the pressurized metal tube I was riding in, at that horrifying time of the night when everything below you is black bleak ocean, the sole purpose of whose existence, in your self-centred universe, is to swallow you whole if the man you trust your life with commits the slightest mistake because of some weird issues he might be having at home… (I really should not be watching anymore of Air Crash Investigations…) Bottomline – I looked out the window.
And it struck me. Like the bolt that hit Micheal Corleone when he saw that pretty Italian girl on his sabbatical from the mob. And it struck me like little had, in recent times. It just hit the spot.
There it was. The glorious night outside. The moon; no matter how high up you think you are, it’s right there, above you, far away; always beyond your reach. All a humble human can do is (switch off your in-flight TV screen first!) look out, look up, stare into the sole object illuminating the sky, take in its reflections on the wing of your aircraft; and quietly admire it. Soak in a sight, the purity of which is rivaled only by its magnificence. The great moon, humbled by the sun during the day; now in the night, it’s its chance to shine and awe.
It’s not too selfish though. It gives way to the stars from farther beyond once you have given it its due. And the stars; oh, the stars! Sigh.. Looking at the beauty in their chaos, one might wonder whether it’s really us, that the universe goes around? Is this beauty constructed for us so that we might be able to look out of our world, somewhere far far off and for a moment, just a moment, feel a simple joy revelling in our complete, worriless and fortunate ignorance about something utterly out of our control? But, let’s not get into semantics. Let’s let the beauty of beauty stay unblemished by the inherent coldness of reason…
For now, just look outside. It doesn’t matter if you are a few thousand feet above the earth, or under a pile of stress. Look out and see what you can, up there in the sky. See the celestials, observe them, and realize the relief and joy in knowing absolutely nothing about them.