18 May 2013

The S.S Sky Blue

اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَا تُهُ

Late afternoons? Never the best time for studying. But it may just be the best hour to write and let those creative juices flow. So, here you are:

If you ever asked a younger me what I'd like to be when I grow up, I'll almost immediately say "A pilot! I want to be a pilot!" with a wide grin.

As a child I saw freedom in the skies. I saw greatness in being sky-high, being on par with birds. That unreachable stretch of blue on a background of white and orange intrigued me. What wonders lay hidden in the world up-above? I thought one day I can be the first to unravel it. And I still do.

I've always loved the smell of planes. The general buzz of workers flitting around here and there - some loading luggages and pre-cooked food, others re-fuelling the aircraft while the engineers prowl around doing last minute checks. I've almost always woke up early on the day of the flight, bursting out of bed from pure excitement as if my early arrival can alter or prolong the awaited flight. That was me, as a kid.

I remember the food too. How good it tasted to me. My appetite seemingly increasing with altitude. How pretty much every stranger I feast my eyes upon pass their meals in exchange for sleep or a healthier stomach. Well, I figured not everyone has bowels of steel to match the twist and turns of the plane. And I remembered (somewhat vaguely) how I hoped I can have seconds. And I recalled (this one clearly) how I hated myself if I slept too soundly when the food trays went pass to the point that mealtime's over and done with.

And then there was the evolution of a plane and its passengers, especially on long taxing routes across multiple time-zones. The vehicle becomes a portal for nicely dressed, sharp men and women to a land of messy people, with jutting hairs and crumpled shirts. Perfumes lose their scent, all those aboard smell and look like sleep. Except for the kids. They talk more, they ask more, some even start to jump about.

Of course, I also know that dreadful feeling accompanying the final goodbyes, how I wished I can find a place to hide - behind a seat or inside a compartment or maybe even slip past the pilots and into the cockpit. But when fear gripped me - the fear of being alone (cause I know my family won't want to stay on-board) and fear of being shipped by the next flight to an unknown destination doomed to never set foot on Malaysia again - I too walk off the platform into the terminal.

But the sadness don't stay for long because I treasure the short and fun times I had on aeroplanes. And maybe somewhere, somehow I hoped that when I next come aboard, it would be me announcing on the PA "Welcome aboard everyone. This is Captain Afiz speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the flight"

Present day

I still love all those things I used to like about flying. But nowadays I look forward to meeting new people on-board just as  I look forward to the food. I take pleasure from seeing families travel as much as I like travelling alone. I still love the same things with some new things added to the list.

For example, most of my ideas in writing come from travelling. The experiences, the difficulties, the company I have, the amazing sights we get to see all add up to one large pile of lesson that money cannot buy (well, maybe I'm wrong here).

And, oh, have you ever seen cities in the skies? With pillars and minarets made of fluffy white clouds. The sunlight piercing it here and there. I imagine them as forgotten temples of civilisations long gone. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of a boy peeping through those cracks in the structure. He, too, knew that our eyes met for a fraction of second. But it did not matter because we both agree on the awesomeness of his homeland. Not to mention the trees, the dragons, the fists, the ships and sails - all made up of clouds - surfing on seas of even more clouds...


Though I know my chances of piloting my own crew up in the air are slim, I anticipate there will come a day when I can still say "Welcome aboard! This is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts and get ready for the ride of your lives!"

Then I'll learn how to navigate a ship. She'll be named the S.S Sky Blue. Maybe I'll even find out how to drive a tank.

Here's to that day when I become the first to be up in the skies, insyaAllah :)

I swear sometimes I have the wildest imaginations...

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