I have been noticing that my children have an odd fascination for airplanes. To be honest, so do I, but theirs go beyond. Whenever we hear the sound of an aircraft cruising up high in the sky, we have to stop the class so we all go outside and gaze upon the flying wonder until our eyes cannot see it no matter how hard we squint. I got myself thinking about this fact the other day and thought that maybe one of the reasons for this big appeal would be that our community is based right by a small abandoned airport. Maybe that would explain why. Then something else caught my attention. As I was going through some of their first drawing diagnosis activities from when we had first met, I could observe, hidden here or there, that an enormous quantity of different airplanes figured in so many of my kids’ pictures. They came in all sizes and designs. After a lot of thought and consideration, this finding made me quite intrigued to discover the relation borne between the aircrafts and my kids’ imagination and, perhaps, welfare.
Something I would never consider a coincidence happened two days after the finding. We were in school, having our customary conversation in our daily circle formation when we suddenly hear a remarkably strong noise. Engines. Too strong for a car, even overly strong for a truck. Wait. Could it be true? Were we listening to an airplane? It could not be… if so, we would have to immediately duck our heads as it would have to be landing right on our scalps. It was too close to us, the noise was blasting in our eardrums. We could not hear one another but the agreement was in our eyes. We ran out of the school to see what was going on. Nothing unusual in the streets. One of us shot out “the airport!” Of course! We all ran and joined hands to cross the streets to make our way to the airport. Wonder filled our eyes. It overflowed. It dripped and flooded us all in a shower of joy and laughter when we see an actual airplane in our long forgotten airport. We hugged. We laughed. We pointed. We gazed. Tirelessly. Until it was time for the big bird to align on the runway again and prepare for its next voyage. We all got close together, side by side, and as the engines start to power up, our hands go up in the sky, waving in farewell. It takes minutes, or was it hours, for our eyes to look down from the sky. Everything looked a bit too ordinary except for one thing. Kunal, one of my boys, in the age of 11, was crying copiously. My heart stung badly and I ran to his aid. We joined hands, locked eyes and I asked him what was wrong. What was it that had made him so upset? In his limited English and struggling to speak through sobs and tears he said: “I want to go airplane…” surprised I instigated him further and asked: -“what about your life here in the community where you live?” to that he answered: “ I want fly far here. I want better life”. I could not swallow. A water drop couldn’t make it through my throat. All I could do was stare at the depths of my boy’s eyes. Maybe in the infinity of that gaze I could still see the airborne plane we had just seen take off. The representation of our dreams. Moved by an impetuous impulse I take his hands in mine and pull his arms apart, which makes us both look like rather aerodynamic prototypes of an aircraft yet to be invented. We now stand side by side. The wind plays with our hair and shakes our clothes unstoppably. The sound of joy timidly refills the air. There was nothing holding us back. We consisted of freedom and freedom alone. We kick off our engines. We are clear for takeoff. Our fuel? We need none. We are powered by dreams.
This thought has always resided in the back of my mind but after this episode, it has exploded in an outburst of realization and certainty. I have come to understand that an airplane taking flight makes up for the perfect metaphor for our lives, its trials and the completion of our dreams. Allow me to guide you through my analogy: you may want to start by thinking of an airplane itself. Let us think of the wide-body aircrafts, the colossal ones that operate the long haul intercontinental flights. I would like you to ponder on this: not taking into consideration all of the expertise in physics, aerospace calculus, and further engineering matters, which I would humbly not be able to speak a word about, is it easy to agree how unlikely it seems for that inhumane steal beast to actually run for a few miles and, what seems like, miraculously, take flight high into the sky until it disappears into the clouds?
Now think with me, how many times have you felt insanely burdensome, overwhelmed, incapable and unable to start a new project, perform a random task or take up a new challenge? Nowadays, second-guessing oneself has become most of a routine I would dare to say. However, here comes the most distressing point of the analogy: how many times have you given up on the pursuit of a dream of yours for thinking you were, simply, “not good enough?” For not believing in your genuine and inherent POTENTIAL. Here is when you should have never forgotten that airplanes never lose their wings and that the bold winds of hope shall never cease to blow. Moreover, just like my brave Kunal, in that unforgettable episode in the abandoned airport, if you ever lack in fuel, bear in mind, our engines are powered by dreams.
For now, nevertheless, let us do an exercise together, shall we? I want you to believe you have proved them all wrong. WE have proved them all wrong. We have chosen to feel our hearts burn in hope, confidence and pride. This time around, we decide to have faith in ourselves. We inhale bravery and dignity as we take the proud stroll to the runway. The wait. Heart pounding until we hear the command from the tower. We are clear for takeoff. We see the bright lights guiding our path to infinity. Engines run to their full capacity. Our whole lives have led to right here, right now. This is our moment. The magnificent chance we had been waiting for. The whole world in the transition of a second. The mighty roar of the engines numb our brains but exhilarate our every senses. The ground no longer has a claim on us; we belong to the skies now: the clouds and cool winds are our silky garments. No need for a compass, I tell you, our widespread wings know exactly where to take us. The realization of our dreams awaits us in the arrival gate of our destined land. We have climbed high, exponentially high. So high that air is too thin for us to breathe, oxygen has become too rare to find. Center yourself… we have come so far, we have flown so high, all we have hoped for lies just within our reach… we are airborne, we have become lighter than air. Ours are the controls and commands, precisely aware of where we are headed. Ours is the Promised Land. Now, in case it ever gets too rough, don’t you worry, but do remember: we are powered by dreams.
BRUNO RABELO GUMERATO, India, 2018