Anish Malpani

These giant human-made birds,
These titanium toys that that still light up my eyes,
These carbon-creating creatures conjure irrational fear every time they flail their wings.
Dangerous in our minds yet safer than our cars,
These swooning noisemakers,
Corrupted by blatant class-ism,
Are more notorious for their tight economy seats.
But there,
Right beside the unfortunate chronic snorer,
For a moment in time,
You don't belong to any country or faith,
Just to a space in the sky,
Border-less and afloat,
Scorching through the atmosphere,
While somehow remaining fixed in your seat,
Leaning sideways staring patiently at the food carts rolling in aisles that are way too narrow,
Testing, helplessly, the power of the muscles that line your poor, poor bladder.

To me, Airplanes signify change.
An end and a beginning,
A journey towards and away from the people and places I love, will love or have loved,
They are a reminder that even though I am surrounded by a mountain of people,
I'm alone.
An immigrant who doesn't belong,
A nomad who is all mad that he is far away from everyone that matters,
It is a sad concoction of the greatest tragic truth - impermanence.
Impermanence that makes me move myself away from the brink of comfort,
Into the realm of the uncomfortable.

Because comfortable is easy,
Comfortable is boring,
Comfortable is stagnation.
It is in the flames of discomfort where the mightiest swords of growth are casted,
Lasted by hunger and curiosity,
Tested in the battlefield that is our polarized society,
Sharpened with every slash,
In clashes scattered not with landmines,
But instead with mind-bombs,
I am training myself to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

I miss comfort.
I miss home.
I miss having a home.
I want to buy a rug, a mug, a painting - any painting,
I am not even into art, but I want a wall I can hang it on, not just a suitcase of stuff.
I want to surround myself with the comfort of the people I love.
I want to spend weekends with Mum and Dad, not 8,857 miles away.
I want to sway my baby niece to swimming classes and not just buy her toys from a far,
I want to light a joint with the boys,
And cry, laugh, rage with them through the entire Netflix roster,
I want to nix away this Devil-God that is ambition.

But, I won't.
I can't.
I am healthy, wealthy and capable of stealth.
More fortunate than most,
I am an airplane of sorts,
With the ability to coast from one place to another,
Hosting an array of ambitions and emotions,
Roasting them on the fire of hope,
As I scope out my path towards purpose.
I will never go hungry so why should anyone else?
So I will combust away my distractions,
Clear out the aisles,
Hijack myself from commitment to anything but the cause.
I want to be incorruptible.
Because even though I am not a titanium toy,
I am a human-made, carbon-creating creature who can fly.
So, I will soar.


This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's August 2020 Issue.

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