An aircraft looks at you the same way as like a bird when it is about to take its flight. Head bent forwards with wings spread out sideways, you can’t help noticing the good imitation of a bird in there. Only more majestic and elegant with its monstrous size moulded into such a figure of beauty through sheer human intelligence and will.
How much a pilot experiences the birdly feeling by riding such a birdly figure? Is the experience as beautiful from the inside as it looks from the outside? Is the control over such a beast of a machine overwhelming? These questions circulated in my head since my childhood.
Sitting in the cockpit with my instructor for the first time now, I was going to find out very soon. This was my first day of flying. A culminating point in my life for which I had waited for so long. An obsession I had succumbed to since childhood to experience this inner, flying life of a cockpit.
Infact, my life itself would look like a living embodiment of flying and exploration. The number of schools I attended spanned not just provinces but countries even, with Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad and Canada on the list. I had studied at the different schools of Khaplu, Hunza, Skardu, Islamabad and Canada with no degree of permanency at any of them. Only the passion for flying had stayed with me during all those years.
This passion had driven me to opt Mathematics instead of Biology, incurring the temporary displeasure of my mother but paving way for the life-time dedication to a flying career. My mother had relented a while later then, but it was my father who had taken up the idea very soon, supporting and encouraging me to follow what I believed in.
And so I did follow what I believed in, oblivious to the fact that I was a girl and that no Balti girl had ever walked this way. All the subsequent challenges, disappointments and struggles I had borne with this conviction that my parents had total faith in me now.
The plane had started accelerating by then, gaining momentum with every moment. After the required speed, it left the ground and started ascending until a certain altitude was gained.
I was feeling a mix of emotions then, each one more powerful than the other. I was feeling a liberating sensation, after sensing that every problem of life looked so far away as to be harmless here. I was feeling powerful by the sense of control over this huge machine. I was feeling exhilaration and thrill with just the awareness of flying itself. I was feeling joy after witnessing such a breathtaking view of the world. I was feeling changed by getting a new perspective on life after observing it from such a remove. I was feeling a blinding sense of happiness, by knowing that I had stuck out till the end to experience this moment.
At this moment, I knew that I wanted to fly for the rest of my life.