We all have some fears in the deepest corners of our minds. Some we are okay to show some we are embarrassed of. Sometimes you just don’t like talking about your fear, you are relived that people around don’t know about this fear of yours. But is it really permanent? I don’t think so.
It was way back in childhood when I started travelling by a flight and the stories of it aren’t too pleasant. My mom tells me when we were flying to Delhi, I was some 6-7 months old, I had created quite a ruckus in the flight with people coming over and complaining to my parents to make me stop crying! I don’t blame them. This one I don’t remember because of my age of course. But there has been several instances, when I was little grown up – may be 5- 6 year old, when I used to feel shit scared just as soon the flight used to take off. I always had a feeling this aircraft is going to go down and we’ll die. I really don’t know what it was. I remember coming home and complaining it to my grandmother that I don’t like my parents, they make me travel in a flight! Poor lady she used to bribe me with loads of chocolates just before any travel and told me “whenever you feel scared have a chocolate and think about me, think about the good times you have playing, think about your friends” Such a sweet lady she was.
But believe me, it was easier said than done. I have tried all of these things of having chocolate, reading book – anything to divert my mind – nothing worked back then. I figured out only way I could be okay with the take off phase was if I slept. So the first thing I did every time I boarded a flight was fasten my seat belt and just go off to sleep, without changing any position of the seat. Those days Air India and Indian airlines were kind enough to give blankets and pillows unlike today’s cattle class travel. And this started working. I used to sit in between my parents (so that they could catch hold of me if the aircraft broke!) I had clear instructions for them, “I’m going off to sleep, wake me up only after take-off, not before!”
But I never understood if I was scared of flying, or was scared of heights or scared of dying? It confused me as I was growing up. I have traveled to so many hill stations and never had such a feeling looking down from top of a hill. This bothered me throughout my childhood. This is also the time when I was learning swimming and was pretty good at it. I loved being in waters. In my teens I used to keep this fear muffled inside because I was too embarrassed about it.
One such time we had visited Thailand and were in Pattaya for a few days. I saw people going up in these colorful balloons over the bright blue sea and was quite attracted to it. I went up to dad and said that I wanted to do it. He was taken aback thinking me, who is so scared of flying, is thinking about parasailing!!! But I was quite clear I wanted to do it. He said ok, only if I was going in that thing with a trainer. I agreed to whatever he wanted. And there I was all strapped up for my first ever parasailing. I was exceptionally calm and quiet before this moment. I somehow felt this was going to be okay. This parasail was being pulled by a speed boat and I had flown quite high. I was still calm and was enjoying the beautiful turquoise blue sea from top, the wind through my hair. Not for a moment did I think I’ll fall and die. As I descended I felt very excited that I did fly! How could I? Where were my fears? As I watched the next group of people in queue going up I realized – I am probably not scared of flying at all. All the time I was up in the air I felt if I fall, I’ll fall on water, I know swimming nothing will happen. May be I had a fear of falling down on land or something. After that moment I went up few more times, alone, and each time enjoyed the view and enjoyed the sport.
|Image Source: Banana Watersports|
Interestingly after that I have not felt scared of the take-offs! I only got scared when we were flying back from London and our flight was in an air pocket and it dropped a considerable height within a few seconds. Other than that I don’t remember any incident of flight fear in near recent times and I’m a frequent flier now!
Fear is in the mind and there is no harm in confronting it. And just as Hrithik says, “Darr Ke Aagey Jeet Hai”