After The California Trip

I’m still trying to catch up with myself. I used to be regular with my articles, and I have promised myself that I will bring them up to speed. Until then, I am writing a few articles about the recent past, this being one of them.

After the California trip, life became slow, and low. I spent most of my time lazing at home, or at a friend’s place, watching TV and downloading movies, or playing games, and with all that, how far could I have been from food? I was hardly ever going to school, and barely studying at home. And if I could, I would blame it all on the depressing, gloomy and short days of winter. With the amount of studying I was putting in, and with the weather going the way it was, I was already extending my completion date into March. With the little effort that I did put into studying, I passed the last remaining theory exam (Instrument Rating) in mid-December.

The very happy hours of the day were the 2 or 4 hours I spent watching movies. And hindi movies, as most of us know it, can range from gut tearing comedies to drama to action to tear jerkers, with some of them even bringing the entire spectrum into a single movie. Being the way I am, I enjoyed all the movies. Of all those I watched, only one movie was a sheer waste of time. The one that was totally worth its while was “Taare Zameen Par”. After watching it, I wrote to a friend: “I downloaded the movie and watched it sitting on my bed all alone last night. I don't remember having cried so much for any one movie. There are movies that have a few sentimental scenes, and I would shed a tear or two. But this one ... It was like the rain showers wouldn't refuse to stop. And all the while, I was acutely aware of my crying. Holy cow!”

Right through winter, every facet of life seemed to be shrinking into oblivion. There was a time when falling snow would bring a smile on my face. This winter however, there were only sly grins, chattering teeth, even cursing. Besides being hopelessly homesick, the level of interest and excitement in training had nosedived, self confidence was dwindling, and the loneliness was overpowering. I tried to spend as much time as possible with friends. The situation couldn’t be more ironic, as most people here are not in a very different state of mind. Yes, we all try to keep these dark aspects hidden away, paste a smile on our faces and pretend that we are happy as can be. There are the lucky few, those who are either so focused on the training that they don’t feel anything other than the excitement of flying, or those who drown themselves in alcohol and smoke, or those who are just too naïve and ignorant. Reminds me of that saying - ignorance is bliss!

Mayur Poddar

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