I had to choose Air India for a trip to Benaras recently as that was my only option at my preferred travel time. I picked it after much trepidation as the Maharaja has been pillaged for decades thanks to neglect and mismanagement by the Indian government. While the esteemed TATA group has taken over, it is logical to expect there will be some time before the airline can renew itself thoroughly.
Benaras is only about an hour’s flight from New Delhi, so I didn’t think twice before going ahead with Air India after almost seven years.
What could go wrong?
Just around the landing time, our pilot informed us that due to poor visibility, we would be hovering over for a bit, and landing may be delayed.
That’s alright, I thought to myself. I will get through one more episode of Only Murders In The Building (Recommended by the Smiling Panda).
The following announcement was a little disconcerting, though.
The pilot said we are now redirecting to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport, Kolkata. One more episode was okay; I didn’t expect to be watching the entire season 1 of the show.
Now I have never before this incident experienced ‘this kind of redirection’. Even though I have experienced (as we all do) delays in arrivals and departures and so on. The common theme across all being is me being a solo but fortunately prepared traveler. I always carry some movies and shows downloaded on my iPad, and of course, the Kindle is like carrying your library.
Another thing that got people jittery was a couple of security officers coming to the aircraft to establish the identification of everyone’s belongings. In the utter confusion and chaos of the situation, they were actually about to confiscate a bag belonging to a crew member!
Internally I wondered why on earth we are in the situation and what lesson Bhagavan Vishwanath (Shiva) has for me. Such pranks are more suited to my deity Shri Krishna, dear Shiva. You, Bholenath, are the sweeter, simpler kind. Externally I tried to portray calmness, rant a bit on my social media feed, and smile at the jokes and complaints of uncles and aunties around who had little control over the urges of the tongue and the stomach. Their biggest concern did not seem to be when the take-off would happen, or the status of visibility in Benaras but rather, WHY ARE WE NOT GETTING FOOD?
However, call it a writer’s instincts or just me trying to create a piece of content from my ordinary life and events, I could recollect a story I heard about AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and that also led to the ideation of this blog.
How Far Is The Temple From The Airport
Once Srila Prabhupada and his disciple traveled from one place to another in America. Swamiji, being a devotee and sincere practitioner/acharya of Krishna bhakti was softly chanting the mahamantra on his beads:
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE, HARE RAM HARE RAM RAM RAM HARE HARE.
Suddenly the plane started wobbling, and people started shouting and crying. Even the luggage from the overhead cabins began falling. Swamiji, however, was of grave disposition and continued with His chanting. After a few minutes, the wobbling stopped, and the pilot announced they were safe, and now people clapped and cheered. Once again, the disciple noted that Swamiji continued chanting unfazed. The disciple was in a quandary. How can Swamiji not even make a single comment? It did seem like a matter of life and death!
Later on, when they got off the aircraft, Prabhupada’s only question was, “So, how far is our temple from the airport?”
Reaction Or Response
For a saint like Prabhupada, whose mission in life and faith in the divine is so clearly established, even matters of life and death cannot sway them.
However, for the more ordinary like me, and assuming you, dear reader fall in the same category, even simple redirection of flight can cause jitters.
What can we best do?
A situation like the one I faced with the Air India flight is out of anyone’s control. I can bitch about Air India or the weather or blame my selection, which again was forced due to lack of choice anyway, but neither brings any solution nor relief.
The best when faced with life’s inevitable redirection is:
☐ to say a silent prayer
☐ ask for guidance and patience
☐ be prepared for such times in the lesser turbulent times
☐ be grateful even amidst the reversals
Let me elaborate a bit more on every point a bit more.
Saying a silent prayer is often a display of surrender. Hey, I cannot do much in the situation or predicament I am in. Dear God, help me. Seeking guidance and patience is also an addendum to a prayer.
When I say we should be prepared for such events in the less turbulent times, it is like me carrying movies and shows downloaded on a device, having my kindle & books (even for an hour long flight), and also trusting my intuition to keep a couple of food items in my backpack before I left home. This is obviously applicable only for travel, but we use our imagination to prepare for any challenging situation that may or may not come to pass but stay prepared. It is like, we get a life insurance done assuming still that we will live a long life. A car insurance is also mandatory and we hope to never make use of it. In the easier times it is always advisable to work more on our mindset and soak it with wisdom to make it stronger.
And lastly, the राम बाण (Sureshot) solution to almost every issue in life- Gratitude. While I sat there lamenting that a one-hour flight had turned into a five-six hour one, I failed to notice something more important: this was just a redirection and not the end of the journey! While we only landed at a destination we did not want to go and that too for a brief span, there could have been several things that could have gone wrong—like the flight not landing at all!
Thank you so much for reading until the end of the piece. I hope you enjoyed your investment of time. If you did, please share with others you feel may enjoy such reads.
Preparing myself for life’s subsequent redirection,
One thought on “Dealing With The Inevitable ‘Redirections’ Of Life”
They key for overcoming turbulence or redirection in life is Gratitude
There is nothing to be lamented, when matter is beyond our control