flying to india

so swiss air is pretty awesome. they had lots of oscar-nominated movies available, and i determined that i would watch several of them in order to stay awake as much as possible. that way, sixteen hours of travel across two days and ten time zones would leave me so exhausted that my nighttime arrival in india would see me sleeping along with everyone else (and thusly not having to overcome a jetlag issue).

on the flight to zurich, i sat between kristen and matt, who turned out to both be environmental scientists. she is doing her ph.d. at berkeley (forestry something or another), and he is a 6’5″ french scientist living in north carolina and working at syngenta(?). they had so much in common—and neither was wearing a ring—so i hoped to add on to my small collection of intros that led to lasting marriage by getting each one’s name and introducing them. after that, they talked over me at length about science-y stuff like GMOs; i tuned out, only chiming back in to suggest that they exchange cards before parting ways. they agreed to, but i didn’t see it happen. ah, well. “dallas buyers club” and “gravity” were excellent movies.

the flight out of zurich saw a changeover from, say, four black people on the plane to one. yours truly. sole negro. there was a cherubic little indian girl in the row next to me, maybe two years old. sometimes her parents would let her move around in the aisle a bit, and sometimes we would make eye contact. she would spend several unflinching seconds regarding me—five seconds, ten seconds—with no expression, and then her face would open into the most heartwarming, delighted smile. then she would tuck it back in and repeat the process. other than that, the only thing of note was when i looked over and noticed that her father had selected “12 years a slave” as his in-flight movie. i’m sure it had nothing to do with me (well, maybe not), but i was touched either way. as the lone african american on the plane, i thought it was nice that he would take an interest in the plight of my people.

swiss air fed us several times, including a dinner of indian food. i slept a couple of hours, watched “frozen,” read an entire book (the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian), and then…I WAS IN INDIA.


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