The World Through The Window of An Airplane
I was ten or eleven I think. I was itching to fly, in a way I can’t explain even today.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been interested in space and airplanes. I loved kites. At night I would lose myself among the stars. I drew pictures of rockets in my notebook. Posters of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong were plastered all over the walls of my room.
But I was the son of a civil servant’s family on a limited income. And air travel in those days was still a ‘luxury’ for the people of Anatolia.
Then one evening that lovable, wise man whom I’ve taken as a model all my life came home with two Turkish Airlines tickets. “Look,” he said, patting me on the head, “we’re going to take our first airplane trip together! The Ministry has invited me to a meeting, and you and I are flying to Ankara tomorrow!” I was surprised and overjoyed all at once. “I’ve decided not to buy a new overcoat this year. They’ve also started giving discounts for students and families. And anyhow, nothing is more important to me than you are.”
So this was what it meant to weep tears of joy! My child’s heart with its passion for the sky and flying was about to take flight before I did. I hardly slept at all that night. As departure time loomed closer, I could hardly contain myself. Finally all I could do was to imagine that awesome moment when the wheels would leave the ground and I would soar through the sky like a bird...
At last the long-awaited moment arrived. We were on one of Turkish Airlines’ Fokker F-27 propeller planes. Dutch-made aircraft that could carry about 45 passengers, they flew under Turkish Airlines then slogan, ‘Speed and Comfort’.
My father had me sit by the window so I could take in the pleasure of seeing the earth from thousands of meters up. He had already taught me how to fasten the seatbelt. And later how to use the tray table and put my seat back.
The door closed, our plane gathered speed and finally we were airborne. For the first time I was looking at the earth and the city where I’d been born from this far up. As the red-roofed houses grew smaller and smaller, I watched—with eyes like saucers—the vehicles creeping along the highway like ants. It was perhaps one of the most significant experiences in my life.
The speed I witnessed that day cast a spell over me. From then on I wanted to be a pilot too. I longed to fly through the vast blue skies and above the cottony white clouds to discover new places and meet new people and cultures.
When you look out the window of an airplane, you don’t see the boundaries of provinces and countries. It is we who invented the maps for which we have bathed the world in blood. Yet it was so obvious that all men are brothers...
We could have been friends of friendship, enemies of enmity. Our common denominators were in fact our common interests. We could have shared life, without prejudice, without conflict. And the more we shared, the more we could have spread the immortal song of love.
For nobody was asking the birds to show a passport...