It had got a bit claustrophobic inside the aircraft. I was trying my best to keep the tempo of my crew of fifteen odd members up.
Not that we were closely bonded, but we did share a spirit and an enthusiasm to embark upon this audacious expedition. Being the captain of the spacecraft, I introduced everyone to each other & gave them few instructions. All of us had taken the decision to let go off our mundane daily lives, to jump out of those dusty old office cabins and to see the place that is probably the most beautiful in the universe.
The place where we’re heading to was not my discovery. But it certainly was my decision to take the crew there. To show how astonishingly beautiful a place can be. As spacecraft moved almost 10.000km up and left the exosphere, I asked them to give a glance at the place we had just left – our own planet earth. The sky outside looked like an Egyptian queen wearing a full length gown adorned with thousands of sparkling stars. Looking outside the thick glass of spacecraft they all shared an expression of awe as to how pretty their own planet seemed from the sky. Suddenly the lines of Neil Armstrong rose from the corners of childhood memories in the mind – that very planet of ours looked like a pretty blue sphere from above. Few of them smiled & probably waved towards it in their minds. Needless to say, there were lot of hands that waved back at us from the ground we had said goodbye to.
Spacecraft slowly tilted rightwards and plunged into the ocean of seemingly limitless sky. Walls inside were shaken and we held onto the arms of seats. I could hear few deep breaths and few holy chants as well.
‘Congratulations we have successfully entered the zone – One O three’ was announced on the speaker and was simultaneously greeted with cheers and claps. Now the spacecraft moved valiantly through the open black space and gathered speed as if it was a F1 track. My crew had put faith in my judgment & there was no way I could let them down. I showed them the range of tiny to gigantic rocks floating freely in the space. We greeted our neighboring planets with respect. Looking at Mars, Mercury and Venus; suddenly everyone started sharing the stories about these planets and how with great naivety we link them to our future and fate. We talked about how hot the temperatures would be out there and the possibility of life on them. Crew members had childlike happiness when I showed them how vibrant colours of the galaxy along with the flying rocks form shapes of a snow angel, a mountain, a forest and even a giant jelly fish.
It was a third day of our journey when I finally let them know the situation.
‘It is imperative that you hear this message carefully. The spacecraft has experienced critical problems in its engine and can only guarantee a day more of voyage’. Cheerful faces were transformed into gloomy scared ones in a matter of few seconds. I took a deep breath and said “Hey everyone, no need to worry. I know it’s a cliché and probably said a few times in Spiderman movies. But yes you always have a choice. We do. There is a far more beautiful place ahead that I wanted you all to witness. But then I cannot guarantee a safe return in that case. It’s fine with me. I’m sure we all read the terms and conditions before jumping into these suits, didn’t we?”
I let the minute of silence be the reply to my question. And then further I said, “Tell me honestly. What is it that is holding you guys back? What is it that is so desperately waiting for you back there…something so precious that it is asking you to let go off seeing the most beautiful place in the universe.”
I turned my eyes around and could see few raised hands.
“I have my mom and dad waiting for me out there. And I cannot let them down” spoke one voice.
“I am in love with the most beautiful woman in the Universe. For me it is justified to let go off the most beautiful place in the universe for her” said the one in late twenties.
“I have kept my dog in the pet care house. And I don’t trust them with it for more than three days” said the girl in a deep tone.
Few other voices joined them in support to divert the spacecraft to earth.
And so I did.
That day we shared our stories of childhood, our colleges, first ever crush that we had, that girl, that boy, those mischief days, first job, the promises we made, things that made us laugh, made us cry. And we all realized it was all back there. Waiting for us on our own planet. Those waiting eyes out there looking outside the window at the sky hoping for our safe return.
Announcement on the Radio interfered our conversations out of sudden.
‘Kindly pay attention everyone. The journey to the most beautiful place has just begun.’
Everyone turned to look at me in disbelief. I returned it with a smile and let the radio continue the announcement –
‘We are now entering the most beautiful place to be ever discovered in this Universe. Some call it a dark blue sphere. Some call it a land of hope, friendship and love. And commonly we call it ‘Earth’.