It’s been about 7 years since I started working in ITeS industry which is synonym to shifts, overtime and more shifts and overtime during weekends and public holidays. But what inspires me to move forward are the people who manages to spend quality time with their family; people who don’t let work pressure break their personal relationships; people who find time (and a small amount of money) to pursue their hobbies. The Government of India have set up plenty of guidelines for the welfare of the employees in private industries. Guidelines have been given for leave policy too. Every employee is entitled for a specific amount of leaves in a calendar year, the number of which varies based on the companies. Illness leave is generally taken when you are ill (obviously) and in situations when you need a leave at the last minute, maybe couple of hours before the start of shift.
My solo trips during the last 5 years were planned based on the tiny number of precious vacations, which was applied at least a couple of months before, which are then clubbed with my weekend offs. Since the travel timetable is tight, fastest mode of travelling is preferred though a slow journey would have been more fulfilling. I had to choose flights over rail during my travels across India. Indian railways have one of the largest rail networks in the world and I’ve always felt that the essence of this country can be felt during train and bus journeys rather than flights. Low cost carries like Indigo and SpiceJet have made air travel affordable for people like me who are travelling on a tight budget of both time and money. It has become the inevitable duty of my friends to drop me at the airport. (Budget travel tip: encourage friends for airport drop/pick up rather than using Uber. Lol)
By the time seat belts are fastened, cabin lights dimmed, and windows shield opened my body would have been taken over by the fatigue of workload accumulated since my last trip (which was about 3 more before). I start feeling sleepy when the cabin crew does the safety guidelines demonstration and moments before take-off I slip into deep sleep. Though carriers in India have a fantastic safety record and the odds of being killed on a single air flight is 1 in 29.4 million AND only 16% of crashes occur during take-off, the voices inside my head affected by the fatigue and equal amount of excitement of the trip convince me that the flight has crashed and I am leaving the mortal world. I consider myself lucky for dying in sleep is so calm and stress-free. The fall of bring sunshine on my eyelids from the window is mistook as the light of supreme force. The climb of flight is mistook as my soul’s journey to the heaven. I am leaving behind everything I love and hate. A quick realization that I liked some of the things which I hated, like the nights shifts come to my mind. But now I can’t go back. I am leaving my family, friends and all my loved ones. The light is feeling brighter on my eyelids. I am getting nearer.
A harmless turbulence shakes me up from slumber. Hmm… the final journey is bumpy. I open my eyes, still half asleep and I see clouds above and below me with blinding light in between. This must be heaven!!! A ding dong sound followed by announcement that the seat belt sign have been turned off makes me realize that the plane has not crashed and in fact it is cruising at a healthy altitude and will reach the destination as per schedule. I feel alive. I must say I feel reborn. I have a big grin on my face and look around to find the passenger in the adjacent seat staring at me wondering why the seat belt announcement made me so happy . I smile back apologetically. The stress and fatigue have left me; they bothered me during my past life, now I am reborn. I can go back to my friends and family and I can begin liking things which I never really hated.
This cyclic death and rebirth has become a habit during the numerous flight journeys I have had during the past 5 years though I have managed to remain awake during some take-offs. It took so much time to overcome the embarrassment and fear of writing about my own death. The picture was taken during my first flight as an adult in 2012; I managed to stay awake during the take-off