Thursday, January 08, 2015

For whom the rainbows dance across the skies

As I neared my seat, I noticed that a kid, about a nine-year old boy, was in the window seat--mine--and his father was digging through his bag while standing at the middle seat, leaving the aisle seat open.  Good for me, I thought.  I love the aisle seat--eases up the little bit of claustrophobia that I have.

Across the aisle were two young girls with their mother in between them.  My hypothesis was that it was a family of mom and dad and their three kids traveling together.  After all, it is very, very rare for a father and a nine-year old to travel.  A mother with the kids is not unusual, and a father traveling alone is quite the norm.  Right?

"If the kid wants the window seat that's fine by me" I said as I stood by the aisle seat.

The father looked up. He then asked his son, "you want the window seat?"

The kid didn't look up from his iPad, but shook his head to mean a no. And then, for a good measure, said "no."

The father made way for me to ease in, and the kid scooted to the middle seat.

As the plane took off on a clear and crisp day, and glided over the Rockies, the window seat afforded me wonderful views of the peaks, many with snow.

I glanced over at the kid.  He was engrossed with an animated movie that he was watching on the iPad.  One seat over, the father was watching a baseball documentary on his iPad.  He removed his headphone and asked his wife something.  Across the aisle, the mother and daughters were watching something on their respective iPads.  Five in the family and five iPads.  Nobody cared about the Rockies, the snow, the clouds.

Life has changed.  Even a few years ago, kids fought with each other for the window seat, and parents requested strangers whether they would swap their window seats so that the kid could enjoy it.  Now, kids don't care?  An iPad for each!

Into the flight, the sky filled up with clouds. It had its own beauty.  Fluffy cotton pieces that seemingly were in wait for somebody to play with.  And then, there it was--a faint but a full rainbow over the clouds.  I took out my iPhone and clicked fully knowing that it will never, ever, capture the beauty that I enjoyed:

I so wanted to grab the kid's hand and show him the rainbow.  I looked over.  He was now playing a video game.  As if that was not enough of a disappointment for this aging old-fashioned guy, the game that the kid was playing was the slot machine.  Yes, a nine-year old playing a game that is all about gambling.

Will the kid ever grow up to appreciate the rainbow?  Are rainbows now too passe for kids who are apparently more impressed with the artificial?  Snow-capped peaks?  Literature and reading?

Sure enough, the kid got bored with the slot machine.  I clicked another photo of the rainbow that traveled along with us.

I felt the kid hitting me, as if to grab my attention. I hurriedly turned towards him.

He was so engrossed in the golf video game, and so excited by it, that he had no idea that he was sharing that excitement with a stranger who happened to be in the adjacent seat.

I suppose rainbows are for us oldies anymore.


Ramesh said...

Since I don't want to sound like an echo, for I am also a fellow "oldie", let me argue with you on PC !

It is not OK to assume that a CEO is a "he", but it is perfectly OK to assume that the parent taking a child along is a "she". Write a full post on this :):)

Narayanaswamy S. said...

too bloody sad

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, "too bloody sad" is what we three oldies would think ...

I am sure that post will happen sometime, Ramesh ;)

Raghothama Rao said...

Simple and succinct narration without much shrills and frills of exaggeration.


Sriram Khé said...

Thanks ;)

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