By Sapna Agarwal
I haven’t travelled much recently but I remember when I was in the middle of a ‘hi-flying’ job (literally here) and had to travel internationally twice a month, the only good sleep I had was in-flight. This was unusual because most people I know cannot sleep well — especially in economy class.
The reasons I could sleep so well were many – the ordinary ones were that I was generally fatigued after my fourteen-hour job; I was not interested in the alcohol on board; I am 5ft nothing and could be comfortable in the economy class seat ( much to the envy of the Germans in Lufthansa flights ); the microwaved food didn’t excite me so I didn’t need food breaks and hence loo breaks.
But the real reasons (and that is why I am linking it to the lockdown) was that I was mentally at peace since once on board there was nothing under my control.
I was blissfully devoid of FOMO – fear of missing out on the chance of utilising my time better. There was nothing I could do high up there – no clearing long pending tasks like visiting the bank, replacing my torn handbag, arranging for a birthday party, getting my car serviced — in general all the tasks that I postponed with guilt while on land. In air, I was at peace that for the next 22 hours everything could wait. Once I had mental peace, I could just roll up and go to sleep. It was magic. There were times when the air hostess ( Quantas and Thai in particular) would wake me up and insist I eat something instead of sleeping for 15 hours straight.
The other thing that made in-flight sleep so peaceful was that there was little my accident-phobic self could do to save myself in case of a disaster. I do not have the same peace of mind while travelling by taxi, bus or train. In a taxi or bus, I always keep an eye on the driver willing him to avert any head-on crash. In a train where I cannot see the driver, I am normally evaluating my chances of escape in case of a collision. But in a flight, it is binary – in the unlikely event of a crash there is nothing a hapless passenger can do. So, I could sleep in peace.
Now after many years the lockdown is giving me the same feeling — a calm, soothing feeling that there is not much I can do except wash my hands.
One — There is no urgent task I can complete because everything is closed and legitimately so.
Two — In case of a disaster, that is the deadly virus takes over the entire world, there is very little I can do.
So I’d rather say my little prayer, roll up and catch up on my sleep – peacefully.
Sapna Agarwal is a management professional and has worked in the corporate and education sectors for long years. She writes short poems and articles mostly on current issues. She is a keen observer of human nature and how they react in good times and bad. She lives in Bangalore with her eleven-year-old daughter.