"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan




There was a soft explosion outside. The plane experienced more turbulence than usual. Seat belt signs turned on and it seemed like the plane had started its descent several hours before arrival. There was no announcement from the pilot and the airhostesses were asleep too. He knew something was wrong.
 
Shortly thereafter the head stewardess went up to the phone and came back with an alarming look. There was still no announcement. He looked around. Passengers were beginning to wake up. The plane seemed to descend faster now.

Cabin lights began to flicker. There was no turbulence now, just a mild free-fall. He could sense the his hip pressing against the seat-belt, trying to unhook and float. As all the passengers woke up, a commotion was fomented. He could sense that the pilot was attempting a crash landing into the sea. It was probably a good idea - their best chance to survive. He bent over to prepare for the emergency.

Yet he knew that rarely anyone survived airplane crashes. His heart palpitated as he thought about his impending death and its implications: the career that he was embarking upon - of the promising future they told he was due for. He thought of the people he loved - his aged parents, his fiancé, even his pet dog - how irreplaceable he was in their lives. 

He knew the death would be quick, yet he shuddered at the thought of his motionless body floating in the sea. The same body that he admired in the mirror every morning would, in a few moments, be drifting aimlessly upon the waves, probably facing down with eyes wide open, searching for a reflection in the depths.

The plane had plummeted to nearly half its cruising altitude by now. The pilot still seemed in control, yet their fate seemed sealed... at the bottom of the ocean.

Watching the commotion and wailing of other passengers, he imagined if his folks would react the same way at the news of the crash. They mostly would. He was such an integral part of their lives, a platform to their dreams, and a glint to their happy smiles. Yet, in that moment, a strange question rang in his mind: would the amount of loss brought about by his death be in par with the value perception that his life held?

Would the amount of grieving by his folks be the same as the amount of appreciation they had for him while he was around? Was his presence in their lives as valuable as his death would be painful to them?

He thought of his father's anguish whose dreams he had crashed with his unconventional career choices, of his mother's woe when he divorced the girl that his mother had so carefully selected for him. He thought of his dog whose impatience he would mock by staying out late at nights and on weekends. He thought of the fiancé whom he kept waiting for years on the pretext that his career was not stable. He just could not settle down in life, and he felt it was not his fault. Yet there were all those loved ones whom he pained by the sheer force of his existential dilemmas.

By not knowing how to settle down, he had ended up unsettling so many lives.

He vividly remembered many a nights that he spent awake on the bed, not knowing how to escape this quicksand of human emotional attachments. Family, he had felt, was a necessary evil. Neither could one settle down in it nor find a sanctuary outside of it. In family, the same love was a cause to celebrate as well as a cause to suffer.

There was a great turbulence now - not in the plane, but in his heart. It was the sum total of all the minor turbulences that every human bond had dealt upon him through the course of life's banalities.

The plane was plummeting faster now. There was shrieks and screams all over the plane, and he could see the sea-face clearly outside the window. The calm waves ready to engulf them all, and calm them all with one splash - like a slap on the face of human ignorance.

As the plane made the final plunge, there was a stillness in him. The moment where the shrieks inside reverberated with the shrieks outside. This was it, the moment of symphony, the moment of bliss, the moment of passing. It seemed like this was the descent he was waiting for - a plunge from the heights of pretension into the depths of Truth; from an air of self-deceit into the calm, cold waters of self-realization.
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