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11 Feb 2012

Chapter 3: Of Clouds and An Architect

It is imperative that I forget at least one thing when I pack. That is why I make a list. The trouble with a list is that if it is not on the list, it will not go into the bag and consequently, what was forgotten at the time of making the list are items that missed the bag.

Once I, Miss Villager, got on the plane, I reached the point in time where, not only could I not retrieve what I had forgotten to pack but I could not buy them at the airport stores either. Obviously, that is the moment when the things forgotten are finally remembered. I strapped myself into my seat and it hit me all at once. No ear-plugs, no belt for my jeans or my dress and no dongle. All of which were on my mind while making the list but slipped off before they could hit the paper. Fortunately, none of them were so important as to hamper the weekend.

Soon enough, the crew made the usual announcements, asking passengers to turn off their mobile devices, strap on their seatbelts and explained the emergency procedure. I half-listened to what was being said, as I am sure most of us who fly often do, until the speaker said something about it being minutes before the "blast off". That made me sit upright! It was the first time I had heard that term being used for take-off. When I fly international, I see warnings on walls that terms like bomb, blast, etc, are to be avoided in conversations, at an airport. So, hearing the air-hostess (do they still call them that?) say blast-off set off warning bells in my head. Nobody around me appeared to be reacting to it and, of course, it was nothing to get worked up about. I spent the next few seconds running it in my head and wondering if that was a term they used internally, to describe the jet fuel being blasted off and what other terminology was used in their training that was different from what the rest of the world gets to hear. I made a mental note to watch more episodes of Air Crash Investigation in the future, to familiarize myself with the aircraft terminology and inside stories.

As the plane blasted off, I looked out the window. My favourite part of a flight is take-off and landing. I love looking out of the window and watching the changing scenery. The bird's eye view of the earth below is always so lovely. Brissie looked quite good from up above too. The picture of the vast expanse of light and dark shades of green, the dark grey roads, little brown hills, winding river at the bottom and cumulus clouds hovering above them, was marvellous!

As we kept ascending, more and more clouds came into view, blocking the view of the earth below. There seemed to be more clouds in the sky than I had noticed when I was on the ground. The clouds below me were pristine white and appeared to be stationary, while the grey ones above me were moving really fast. It felt strange. Obviously we were moving at the speed of the white clouds and the grey ones were moving at a different speed, so the eye sensed them different. If I put the science asshole aside, the scene that played outside the window was fascinating. As we moved through the clouds, I felt like I was in Wonderland. There were so many fluffy things around me. Every now and then, when we flew right through one, it was like walking through walls, in the Harry Potter stories. The initial excitement over, I decided that I needed to fly more often. Clearly, it had been too long if I felt like this during the first few minutes of a flight that I had taken at least twice in the past.

The view inside the plane was less scenic than outside but definitely not less enjoyable. The best part of my seat was not just being at a window seat but having no one next to me. It was a 3-seater and there was a thin girl, dressed in tight jeans, tee-shirt and a loose jacket sitting in the aisle seat. Between us, there was one empty seat. It left me enough room to watch her, without being too obvious about it. I could see her scribbling away in a little notebook. After a short while, she opened the bigger book on her lap and skimmed through the contents before writing in her little book again. While at first, I has assumed she must be writing some sort of literature, off the top of her head, I now knew that she was making notes. So, she was a student. Well, she could have been a teacher too but somehow, she did not strike me as being a teacher. Her body language was more of someone learning something or creating something. If she was not a student, she could be a worker. It was a book on Architecture, so she could have been an architect. She was definitely preparing for something. Maybe an exam, or a class next day or a project. Maybe she was just being studious.

I could not see much else. There may have been a couple of people sitting together in the 3-seater to our left but I do not recall much about them. There were a few people walking around but I did not notice them much at the time, either. For a reason I cannot explain, I was more excited by the girl in the aisle seat (let us call her Ellie), than the view I had just witnessed outside the window. Everything else around me was background. She inspired me to put pencil to paper myself. I took out a couple of sheets from my handbag and started writing.

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