There must be good reasons why some flights leave in the middle of the night. I don't know what they are, though. They probably have to do with capitalism and the broad benefit of humanity.
It's past midnight and I've been up all day, the World Cup is on a big screen in this terminal with not enough chairs. Brazil can't score, injury time ends, the Belgians tackle one another on the TV. I wonder where I can get a good waffle. A man with a British accent stands in his ill-fitting suit and discusses money with a disembodied tinny voice leaking from his earbuds. Outside the airport the world is asleep, inside we listen to awful Indian elevator music beneath sterile lights and stay awake.
They tell us the flight is thirteen and a half hours long, but that's just a ruse. Because really the flight is endless. The in-flight entertainment is down, so there's no way to pass the time, so time simply doesn't pass. You hear the big jet beneath you slicing through the stratosphere, it sounds like one impossibly long mechanical sigh. You stare at a book without reading it, your eyes ache. Time gets frazzled this high up in the sky, you wonder if it's still Friday. The guy behind you kicks the back of your seat, your neck pillow gives you neck cramps, the cabin smells like recycled air, which should smell clean but instead coats your skin with clingy, aseptic little atoms. The cabin is the perfect shade of dark to prevent you from sleeping. Somebody's baby cries and you struggle with the tiny airline-provided blanket, trying to get warm.
We land in America on a Saturday. It's all sky blue, exploding green, straight lines and definition. It tastes like oxygen. I find myself breathing hungrily, ripping the air from the sky and shoving it down into my lungs. And I can't stop staring at the smooth sapphire sheet stretched overhead and saying asinine things like, "Gosh, it's so blue," and, "Gee, I mean, blue, right?"
The Uber picks us up, carries us a ways, then drops us off and charges us ten times more than a ride all the way across Delhi would've cost. I give the guy a 6-star rating, with a comment that says something like, "Wow! Super duper clean car!" Then, later, we take another Uber, and that one is really clean too, then we take another clean Uber, and another, and then I realize that Ubers in America are just all really clean. I guess I had forgotten that.