Flying With Wings

A pilot's life couldn't get easier, it is felt. No traffic jams, no drunken driving to mitigate, no question of road rage, and the babes - oh the butterflies fluttering around 'em all the bloody time! Besides, landing those Boeings isn't some rocket science now, is it? 'It's all on auto-pilot - they land themselves,' one has heard several times. Then, you meet a commercial pilot. Sans the pretensions of defending the country or boredom of drills. A pin up image for the service industry. The men who've got it all! Every girl's dream. Everyman's envy. One who spread his wings and took off when most of us were were still contemplating our collective tomorrow, comfortably barricaded behind an ongoing post-grad degree.

The general perception about these 'high-flyers' is that they're just overpaid drivers in the disillusioning lure of a uniform. They are always put up in star hotels and forever look mega groomed for the job. Then you see the mask fall.

A vulnerable, tired face comes to the fore. A face that plainly reflects the relief of touching base, walking without the responsibility of 200 lives on its brow, happy to hear songs from his favourites list and holding doors for a lady instead of worrying about ensuring her child doesn't wake up from the irregularities of the sky in turbulent weather.

"You get used to it," he dismissively shrugs, and takes another deep drag of his B&H cigarette - checking his phone now, his wrist watch now, making a couple of calls (identifying himself with his official designation prefixed to his full name), yet surprisingly mostly attentive to what you may have to say. He doesn't have a vicious social media footprint. His Facebook pictures are mostly with friends at parties or poses straight out of a Bollywood romance.

I wonder what piques his curiosity. Just then, as if telepathic, he expresses an afterthought, "It's awesome to see Bombay at landing... the shanties give you a strange feeling." He pauses. Then he asks, "What's the best place for pancakes in Bandra?"


Parth said...

That's a rather stringent defense of the airline pilot :)

Priyanca Vaishnav said...

oh well! :)