It would be my second flight. The first one was to Chennai for a VISA interview that did not culminate in success. I had been too tensed during that flight to feel much excitement. Moreover I did not get a window seat. This time, accompanied by my husband and nineteen months old daughter, I could not wait to get inside the plane. It would be my daughter’s first flight and we had got a window seat! I settled down, clasped the belt and made her face the window. The first thing that caught her fancy as she peered through the window was the wing. She kept on pointing towards it. I am sure that all she wanted to do was jump on it and she grew restless as such an opportunity never came her way. The seats filled up. An air hostess came up to instruct me on how I should handle my baby at the time of the plane’s descent. My daughter grew impatient as the seconds ticked, probably thinking that we would remain confined in this corner of the strange bird shaped room forever. Soon, the dreaded (I won’t say unexpected) thing happened. She started bawling at the top of her lungs. I could not have been more relieved when the announcements began for the departure. I made her look out of the window as the plane took off and noticed a startled expression on her face as the buildings, trees and ponds diminished in size like the clothes she would outgrow. However my hopes of enjoying the scenery with her were crushed as she was far more interested in my head than all the mountains, plateaus and lakes of the world put together. I was continuously kept busy: she stood up on my lap, exploring my eyes, nose and ears as if nineteen months were not enough to unravel the secrets of my facial features. Finally I gathered the courage to do what I had been planning to do for the last thirty minutes. I nudged my husband to bring down the bag from the upper shelf and unzip it. There it was - the fluorescent pink container embodying my intended bravado. My husband removed the lid. I wiped the steel spoon with my free hand, dipped it into the unfinished meal (she had only a few spoonfuls at the airport) and inched it towards her lips. They opened, but alas not to facilitate the momentary entry of the spoon in my hand but to let out a most blood-curdling scream. At home, I am used to salvaging such situations by jumping like a frog with a spoonful of food in my hand (I had learnt not be spill while doing this activity). Inside the plane, I craned my neck to survey the expression of a steward who passed by our row. No, I did not wish for a painful death caused by descent from a great height. She continued to yell and I realized that I could not risk a plane crash either. So the pink container had to humbly retreat inside the bag and wait there patiently till we would reach our destination.
Since most airlines do not serve free food during their domestic flights, I was pleasantly surprised on seeing food trays being handed to the passengers. My husband and I were famished since we had managed to push only a little bit of boiled potato down our throats before leaving home for the airport. Eating out of the several Thermocol bowls arranged on the tray while my daughter tried to kick them away required the same skills as were necessary to dodge a crocodile while dangling over a river from a thin creaking branch. Sipping the coffee was another game altogether since my daughter knew several ways to attack it. She could seize the cup or spill its contents or dip her fingers into it or simply pour it over herself. My husband and myself finally appeared victorious after a long struggle as we succeeded in eating and drinking everything we were served. My daughter was showing signs of drowsiness. I sighed. A much needed break before the next set of adventures.