A flight at six in the morning wasn’t my idea of the perfect start, especially when I hadn’t got a wink of sleep. Cranky and in no mood to talk to anyone, I found my seat. Flights always had a way of making me cantankerous. The window seat I had been assigned was the only solace to my crabbiness. . I settled in, buckled up, and tried to untangle my earphones, but in vain.
As I struggled with the last knot I saw a young mother struggling with numerous small carry-ons pull up to the seat next to me. “Excuse me, is it possible for you to take the aisle seat? My daughter doesn’t like flying, the only saving grace is the window,” she said as she tried to arrange her hand baggage. At first I was appalled, no one talks at this ungodly hour. Then my eyes darted to the young girl clasping on to her mother’s hand as if her life depended on it. An odd memory squeezed itself into the foreground of my mind…
“If you sleep now, you won’t feel the plane taking off, sweetie pie,” my mother said.
I was six, my family and I had a red-eye flight from Heathrow to Mumbai. I could taste the anxiety and excitement; moving meant a new school, a new home and a new life. At six, that seemed more exhilarating than terrifying. I don’t remember the take off so I must have slept through it. Mission Accomplished. What I do remember though, is waking up to magic.
I woke up in the hopes of curing my parched throat. Disoriented, I looked around, and that’s when I saw it. In the pitch darkness, outside the window, I saw some of the most fascinating stars. These weren’t just regular old stars, they were huge and they were the colours of a thousand rainbows. It was like these stars were meant for me. I gasped and counted them, forgetting completely that I was on a flight. Just as I reached six, I was sure I saw a green blur. It was Peter Pan, finally here to take me to Neverland! I was antsy and fidgeted the whole journey back, but to my dismay, Peter Pan only flew by to say hi.
I snapped out of one of the most exciting memories of my childhood to the face of an earnest mother. I smiled, picked up my purse and said, “Of course”. The memory was gone as quick as it had come, with only nostalgia as an aftertaste. I didn’t want to give that seat up, but every little girl deserves a magical window. The more I thought of it, the more I was convinced that it was a dream or a figment of my imagination, even though it seemed so real in memory. But just how remarkable would it be if it wasn’t?