The Magic of Flying

Usually I just take the aisle seat while flying on night flights - what all can you see outside the window - right ? Flying has become so common-place that we just dont give much thought to it. Its another boring 2 hr flight is what we think.

But, I chanced upon this video a few weeks back.

So, this time I decided to keep my mind open. At checkin for the Delhi-Bangalore flight I asked for a window seat ... and experienced the magic of flying... again.

The Magic of Flying

As the flight took off, the lights on the runway start rushing by and with a final heave the plane takes up to the air. Isn't that amazing ? We are there - in a small tube - up in the sky ! Peering down, looking at delhi lighted up I wondered about the amazing amount of electricity needed to run the city. Houses, streets all lighted up. And yet, the most intense light was from the columns of cars lighting up the roads, making even the street lights look dull.

The plane took off in a direction where we were headed towards central Delhi, and had to take a U turn to correct the direction. The world from above looks so different , and as I was peering around for where we might be, I got my bearings by a beautiful sight - the Lotus Temple lighted up ! In the distance I could see the tall buildings around CP.

As the plane started approaching the Delhi suburbs/ Gurgaon, the topography of the houses changes to single or double story houses. Suddenly a flash caught my attention and looking in that direction I saw another unforgettable sight - fire crackers bursting. From ground level, we look up at the glitters these cause, but from the plane they are way below - just above the house levels. Different ways of seeing the same thing !

Pollution Line

Suddenly I got a feeling that there was some kind of shade above me. It felt wierd... a blackness and I was wondering ... untill ... all of a sudden I realized that it was actually an atmospheric effect. The blackness was actually the air at this level, free from the pollutants, while below it was the brownish glowing air with all the trapped pollution of Delhi. God ! It suddenly struck me how much of an unhealthy place we live in.

Just above the line demarcating the pollution line was the moon. A thin crecent moon, and since the air was so clean up here, I could make out the dark side of the moon - where the earths shadow was falling. So, I could see the entire sphere of the moon - the lighted part and the showded part. Mesmerizing.

I see shapes

As the flight progressed, and the pollution from Delhi became lesser, the entire country side started to become darker as the dispersion effect of the pollutants became lesser. The small towns and villages were dotted across the landscape. A beautiful sight. The villages in India are not really well planned, so they have these amorphous shapes - which take the shape that your imagination gives them - something like how you give shapes to clouds. The most interesting one I think was the JellyFish. The main town was the body of the creature, and since it was a big enough town, there was a bit of dispersion effect from the smog - giving the body a bloated kind of image. The tentacles were the roads leading to the town. Some Imagination eh ?!


Near the end of the flight, I saw the moon set. The moon by this time was at the horizon, and as it was slipping below it, all sorts of light refraction effects were happening. First the crecent changed from being circular to more angular with two vertical ends attached to a flattening horizontal line, till only the stright horizontal line was left, which itself winked out of view. Unforgettable. A MoonSet , seen for the first time.

I did not have any books with me this time. But the flight was anything but boring, and flying is such a wonderous magical experience which we seem to have forgotten.


  1. haven't flown much, but I always prefer the window seat :) and hopeful i get to fly the front seat of a fighter someday - the best kind of window seat :)