Silver wings dazzling under the golden sun. Hundreds watch, enraptured by the flying machine’s allure. A hundred more wait inside, first timers chanting with prayer beads, the experienced fast asleep. It moves. Its lethargic start beguiles open-eyed onlookers. Black rubber pushes back ash tarmac at an ever-increasing pace. Buildings begin to blur into each other, each pebble sending considerable shock waves. You feel a sudden plunge in your stomach; the engine groans against the strain.
As the desert land slips away beneath you, you see your altitude on the screen; your heart rate syncs with the ascent. You see the horizon sloping down, dwarfing the dominating cityscape you know and love, giving way to untamed rocky terrain. Flying low, brown peaks are seen amidst the raging sandstorm, the land easing into miles upon miles of hot sand. In a blink of an eye, this rippling stretch of sand blends seamlessly into deep rippling water. The vast golden land meets the wide blue sea.
No longer flying low, you see white wisps just above you. A moment later, you are above them; towering over the clouds you once dreamed of reaching. Bright blue as far as the eye can see. Hills of bulbous cumulonimbus tower over plateaus of dark stratus clouds. As you ascend, you see vast plains of white and the islands of blue rising and falling in this albescent expanse.
The sun sets; the sky is filled with a profusion of dark hues. Another timezone, gradients of blue separated by a line of orange. Tenebrous clouds rumble as they merge into each other; the captain informs of mild turbulence. The Royce cuts through the clouds nonchalantly, humming a sustained tune to itself, ignorant of the swirling storm outside. You look down to see multitudes of green cutting into swaths of sea.
Over the next hour; the altitude steadily but slowly decreasing, all you see are the lights and lamps of India from inside. Soon you glimpse a lighthouse and the iconic long stretch of the Marina. You realise ecstatically that you’ve reached your destination. Seeking clearance to land, you circle the great waters of the Marina, spotting boats and ships floating placidly on the Bay of Bengal. Within minutes, you rapidly descend; your heart-rate rises once again when you recollect that most accidents happen while landing. You hold your breath when the tires screech on impact, massive brakes working to slow your rapid pace. The Royce groans one last time before it says goodbye. The captain confirms the successful landing. Seconds later, you’re parked and everyone gets up frenetically to get their luggage. Air hostesses smile and everyone departs single file.
Life goes on.