The plane circled over Delhi for close to 2 hours. The heavy fog kept us from landing. At one point the pilot informed us she might have to divert us to Ahmedabad. I made hazy plans about how I would get back to Delhi even as I nodded off again. I had stayed up the night before and registered the goings on in that twilight zone between sleep and awareness.
Then we got a window of opportunity and the plane swooped through the sky, tearing through the clouds and the fog. The runway lights glowed in a haze. As the wheels touched down the passengers broke into applause. Not just becase they were glad to be finally down but because the landing was perfect, smooth and masterful. The man sitting next to me said to his friend sitting on the aisle seat, "kya solid landing...bilkul sold. Kya baat hai."
And I thought how far India has come and how divergent are the lives of its women...still. Yes, there is dowry and deaths and rapes and tears at the birth of daughter. And then, there is a woman, who flies through the air, effortlessly handling a plane, landing it gracefully as she holds the lives of over 150 people in her hands. And a man, with paan in his mouth, who if I saw on the street would assume to be a typical desi male. And yet, he said in a voice full of wonder and admiration, "kya solid landing hai."
2007 is shaping up nicely already, I think.