Monday, September 1, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - CAPTAIN ARUSHI

You know what an armchair traveler I am, kids, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that one of our poets, Arushi Ahuja, of There and Back Again, the Tale of a Globetrotter, is an airline captain. Arushi flies over the Himalayas, which absolutely takes my breath away to imagine. Let's catch this young poet between stops and hop aboard with Captain Arushi!






Sherry: Arushi, I am intrigued by your love of travel. Tell us about your exciting profession, and what you feel like, at work in the skies. Does being a Captain mean you actually fly the plane?



Captain Arushi

Arushi: Hi Sherry! I’m quite amazed at your first question!! Really!! Actually I do fly, and yes I am a captain! I am currently working with Air India and I fly the Boeing 737-800 series… They are quite a modern aircraft and beautifully aerodynamic! And as you know with all modern things the workload is really less… most of the time there is autopilot at work, Sherry! 




Training times!

But here’s where it gets exciting- The Landing-I swear that’s the thrill in my life…. It’s the best thing that I have ever done, am doing and will be doing!! They’re always different, there is always some exciting, nerve racking feeling about landing on a runway lit like a Christmas tree!! 

Anyways I could go on talking about it!! Actually when I was training and flying the smaller piston engine type aircrafts, flying was far more exciting, being mostly manual, but till date I haven’t found myself EVER saying that I am bored of flying… I don’t think I'll ever be!!


Cockpit of a Boeing 737

Sherry: It does amaze me. You are a slim tiny girl, and those planes are so.....BIG!! Did you long to fly, and travel, even as a child?


Arushi: Yes Sherry! I love flying… it's become part and parcel of life. Although my job does keep me away from my family too often and that’s the reason I sometimes consider that maybe finally I’ll leave it and settle down in a small balmy town, snug and comfortable, write some poetry and do some social work AND fly for pleasure… I don’t think I can completely quit flying ever. I just maybe want to do it for pleasure one day and not as a profession! But for now my pleasure and profession are quite the same.

I remember this one time that I was flying, maybe when I was 6 or 7-ish and the air hostess came up to me and asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up… I am not quite sure why she asked. Maybe because I was being a complete nuisance… Anyways I quite proudly said “Pilot”. Didn’t know much then but I guess I always wanted to fly and travel!

Sherry: I love it - you dreamed big and made it happen. Tell us some of the most amazing places you’ve seen. What took your breath away?  Most beautiful sight of all?

I am mostly flying from India to Gulf sectors… the routes are quite fixed depending on the aircraft type you fly. In September I am changing my fleet and will start flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and then I get to see more places than ever!


Dubai skyline through my windshield

For now my favourite destination, besides the ones in India, are Singapore and Dubai. I am a shopaholic of sorts and both these places are quite a treat! But what took my breath away LITERALLY was a small town called Leh in north most part of India in the middle of daunting Himalayas! 


Air India Aircraft taking off from Leh Airport


I went there for the first time this year with Mr. Husband and plan to make many more trips… the beauty of the place is astounding… to start with the place is some 10,700 ft high. It’s the one of the highest airports of the world! The airport itself is cosily encompassed amidst mountains. 


Panongso Lake, Leh

You can see everything here- it’s a cold desert with streams, ice pinnacles, colour changing lakes, valleys, poplar forests and plums growing wild! The highest motor able road of the world (Khardungla Pass), which is 18,500 ft, double humped camels, the Chinese border and so much more… the place is literally heaven on earth… when you reach there you have to actually rest for one whole day to get acclimatized or else you’d be breathless due lack of oxygen at that height! So really that’s the place that left me speechless, breathless, awestruck and yet so happy and refreshed!  So I am not making it up when I say it LITERALLY “took my breath away”!


flying over the Himalayas

Sherry: The photos alone take my breath away, kiddo! I cant imagine seeing the Himalayas from above for real. Wow.

Arushi: I would describe my most beautiful sight of all as not one of my travel stories though. I had only just started working and was away from home for almost a month and more. I still remember the twinkle in my mother’s eyes, the lump in my throat, and the warmth of her welcoming embrace when I went back for the first time. Of course it's still there but we have all gotten used to my lifestyle. But that is the MOST beautiful sight ever. The one I CANNOT forget!

Me and Mommy

Mommy  and Papa

Sherry: That is really beautiful, Arushi. And your parents are very beautiful too. What glorious photos you are sharing with us! Now will you give us a little glimpse of the poet at home? 

Arushi: I am currently settled in the capital city of India, New Delhi along with Angad, my husband. We got married just last year in October!


Me and Angad, Mr Husband


Sherry: Congratulations! You look like a very happy couple. Hello to Mr. Husband!

Arushi: At home I like to spend my time organising my otherwise haphazard and excessively unsettled life. Usually when away from home I maintain a routine to keep me in good shape… back at home the whole routine has to be changed and it takes a while to settle down in it... Mostly after that it's time to start travelling again! But I kind of enjoy the randomness and unexpected.

I love spending time with Mr. Husband and my own parents… We go out to nearby places over the weekend and catch up on the latest movies if anything is worth. We both love eating out and even though I barely get to eat at home, I spend my weekends again dating my husband in a new-found restaurant in the city! In a way Delhi has a lot to offer up in a plate. Be it street food, posh restaurants, hidden cafés… it’s all there! I am a pure vegetarian and so is Mr. Husband so we do restrict ourselves a bit, but we still enjoy the usual experimenting in different places!


Home! Taken from my balcony in Dehradun
on a wet monsoon afternoon

Sherry: In all of your travels, what is the one place that says “Home” to you? 

Arushi: Home- It’s Dehradun. It’s a small valley at the very foothills of Himalayas in a state called Uttrakhand, which is in the north east of India bordering Nepal! The city at one time used to be peaceful and really small town-ish where time seemed to slow down at a leisurely pace! It has grown ever since it was declared the capital of Uttrakhand. The development and infrastructure has taken toll on some of the natural resources of the city. 

Even so I have a house on the outskirts of the main city, which is not very far from the city itself considering how small the place is. It’s located on a hilltop overlooking a lush green hillock of Deodar forests. A small seasonal brook separates this hillock and the road on which my home is located! It’s an enchanting place. 


The view from my rooftop in Dehradun


Invariably it’s the birds in the forest that announce the morning so loud you have to wake up. Every now and then you can hear a wild large cat growling in the distance. Deer and monkeys are common sight indeed! And the monkeys are a real nuisance too. When I talked of the snug little town to settle in, here is where I want to be.  

Dehradun is known as the city of Gods. It has rich history, popular tourist destination (the queen of hills- Mussoorie being one of them), amazing schools that taught some of our Prime Ministers and their children, popular places of worship in Hindu religion and it's surrounded by mountains and has the most beautiful monsoons one can ever witness!! I LOVE the city and go back there as often as I can. It’s about 6 hrs drive from Delhi or an overnight train journey!

My family is really small- me and my parents and now my husband and his parents. Neither of the two of us have siblings, so small and happy family!

Sherry: Your life sounds absolutely wonderful. And Dehradun is beautiful! Who would you say is the person who has been your single biggest influence?

My mother, in a cornfield near New Delhi
"My Sunshine"

Arushi: Without doubt – my mother! She has been throughout  my Best-est friend, my favourite person, my biggest influence, and the apple of my eye, my favourite teacher, my first word and my most honest and cute companion! I cannot imagine being anything without her around. She is strong, very brave and very hardworking, honest woman. She spells for me what a woman should be. 

Her life is simple involving a lot of spiritual reading, meditation and yoga. She spends most of her time doing that or just sitting in the balcony enjoying nature. At other times she is involved in social work mostly in helping young children in education and such. She used to be a teacher at one time but later quit to be able to spend more time with me. I was small at that time and really attached, although she still claims she never regretted leaving her job! My father was very supportive and loving in all matters.

Sherry: You have a beautiful family, Arushi. I am so enjoying this interview! When did you write your first poem?

Arushi: I don’t remember when but I do remember what made me. We use to get cards from all our friends and relatives on all the festivals. Each card had a cheesy rhyming line inside that really intrigued me. My mother use to encourage me to make my own greeting cards because I enjoyed painting, but what I enjoyed more was making those two liners that use to make my relatives go bonkers laughing at my invention.  I still remember one of them was:

“Shoppers, Shoppers,
Lolly poppers,
Winter is here,
Diwali crackers everywhere!

Cheesy huh! But my uncle called all the way from US to tell me he loved it! I was glowing!

Flying over Kuwait

Sherry: That's pretty cute! You write both poetry and prose – which do you love most, and why?

Arushi: I love writing poetry more I think but when I am inspired and unable to bring it in a form, I use prose to express myself.  Why I enjoy writing poetry more is probably because I enjoy reading poetry more. I find it challenging to bring words in a form and make them rhyme and yet make sense out of it! I must say that it does not come naturally to me to write a poem. I struggle and compose and savor the result and love to read my poems again and again! Prose I am more comfortable with and hence don’t find it so enthralling as poetry!

Sherry: Do you have a poem or two you might like to include here?

I’d like to share a poem that vibrates of something in my bucket list- I want to see the northern lights or Aurora as we call them.


Coloured sky en route to Dubai

Northern Lights-

The silky waves on the dark sky,
The colors of the rainbow in the dead night,
I haven’t seen them yet I hear,
The beauty of the Northern Lights...

Do you know how they come to be?
It’s a secret, a real fantasy...
The magic rises from the earth
And lights the sky in its mirth...

The magic of the ancient times,
Rises in roaring colors to the sky!
The magic of irresistible Love,
And the joy of dreams comes true...

The magic of a lightened heart,
Of sweet gentle sound of a laugh,
And that of a twinkling eye,
Of the beautiful loving new bride...

It rises all to the sky,
In vibrant colors called the Northern Lights...

Also I love “Humanity” poem, which I have already shared on the Poets United once! It speaks of a message spiritual and humanitarian that I think could change the world!

Apology-

And here is an apology for what may have been,
For what rests unknown, dark and unseen,
It was a mistake I assure you of my honest intentions,
I did not mean to hurt your feelings, or damage your emotions!
My heart did weep along with you,
But you could not look in my tear filled eyes, No!
Too filled with sorrow and engrossed in yourself,
You failed to notice how I loathed myself,
To bring to you what never should have been,
If only I was ignored by your kind being!
Please find in your dear heart to once again forgive,
How undoubtedly foolish and insensitive I behave,
For if it were not for your love and care,
I’d truly be lost in this world so unfair!

Sherry: Very lovely. And I love Humanity, too, very much. How did you discover the world of online poetry? Are you enjoying it?

Arushi: I had my own diary and used to write a lot till I was 16. Lots of poems and cute pictures attached cut and pasted from newspaper articles and cards and what not. Then I discovered blogging. And by and by my writing diminished for lack of inspiration, time and readers. I got more involved in first studying, then working, then falling in love, getting married etc till I discovered the world of online inspiration and poetry. And I was back! 

I am so happy to be among such wonderful poets with such amazing ideas, poetry, blogs, writings, inspirations, thoughts and creations… I love reading them all in a gulp! I am really enjoying this and  hopefully I will find time to do it all through my life!

Sherry: Do keep writing. When you are my age, you will then have a record of your journey to look back on. And your photos are spectacular! What other things do you enjoy, besides traveling and writing?


origami flower


Arushi: I love listening to Taylor Swift, Agni band, Hindi and Punjabi songs a lot.  Besides that, I love skating, running, trekking, origami and organising my room. I’m a bit of a cleanliness freak. ;) 

I used to read a lot of fictions but lately I have been attracted to more of spiritual reading, mostly in Hindi. I also sing and play the keyboard. I learnt Indian classical music from a very young age and turned out to be a pretty decent singer. I think keyboard comes naturally with that! 

My all time favourite songs are- Staying Alive by BeeGees, Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bob Marley and Holy Ground by Taylor Swift! Others just come and go. I like the acoustic version of almost any song. 

My all time favourite books are- Harry Potter (all), Lord of The Rings (all) and Scientific Basis of Vedic Thoughts written by Dr. Satyavrat Sidhantalankar which I read in Hindi.


Taking off from Mumbai

Sherry: That is a wonderful mix of influences and inspiration! Your origami is lovely, too. Is there a cause  especially dear to your heart?

Arushi: Yes! I feel that if we educate the young we can grow old in a better society and more beautiful times. I want to spread not just vocational education but also Humanitarian values among young people. I think children are more influential than grown ups and they shall form a beautiful nation given the right education. 

Also I am an ardent lover of India. I want to see my country flourish to great extents. I am not very sure what I shall do about that but I want to and will in future as the curtains are raised and I see the bigger picture!


Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world
in Dubai

Sherry:  I know you will. What would surprise us the most about you?

Arushi: Maybe the fact that I actually like routines even though I barely get to have one!  Or maybe, the fact that I am spiritual but not religious. I feel religion brings disparity among people and we should accept all religions as the means to achieve peace.

Sherry: I agree -  it should unify and not divide. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Arushi: Yes. Dear friends, fellow poets and awesome creative people of the blogging world, Thank you all so much for giving me an audience, for visiting my blog and most of all, for inspiring me each and everyday to write something new, and thus fulfilling a dying dream. This was indeed a part of my bucket list and thank you from the deepest of my heart to help me grow this dream and bring it to life by adding your beautiful words and reading my poetry. I really enjoy reading all your poems so please keep writing and loving it!

Sherry: Thank you so much, Arushi. I do my world traveling mainly through these interviews, and I have to say, this has been one of my favourites. My heart soars just looking at the photos of the things you see. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us today. Do keep writing!!

Sigh. As we reluctantly depart from the skies and regain our land legs, it is cool to reflect on how many different ways there are to live a life. Hasn't this been fun, kids?  Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! Hmmmm.......where do I feel like traveling next? 


47 comments:

  1. hey Arushi! love your interview and thank you Sherry Blue Sky. beautiful poetry, love 'em all!!!

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  2. Hi Arushi, so happy to see you chat with Sherry...and whoa..i'm totally blown away...so lovely photos to be seen, amazing journeys to be heard about and some wonderful dreams to make India shine...thanks for sharing these beautiful poems too.....and Sherry what an interview !! Monday is my favorite day !!

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    1. thank you Sumana! i was happy to chat with Sherry too!! such a enlightening talk!! :)

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  3. hey great pic of you and hubs...and what an adventurous life....cool to see the world a bit..travel can get hard...i used to travel all the time....and love that warm feel of coming home too...smiles.

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    1. true that Brian... when you have someone to come back home to it makes travelling far more fun and worthwhile... the warm homecoming is always awaited!! thank you for stopping by!

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  4. Captain Arushi! I loved hearing the passionate way you speak of your work and family. And your poem Humanity is so full of wisdom - so nice to get to know you a bit!

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    1. thank you Kathleen for your kind words...

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  5. I now can say I have met a pilot poet!! it seems the perfect combination because you can fly and seem as at home in the air as on the ground. I don't recall reading a poem of yours about flying, but love the Aurora poem above. When you finally get to see them, would you prefer to be in the air or on the ground?

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    1. on the ground susan!! as much as i love flying i would not want to see the aurora fleetingly.. i would love to just stand there and watch and wonder about the beauty!! i have written a few prose on flying but a poem directly on commercial flying i havent!! thank you susan for being around my blog so often!! :)

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  6. Amazing interview.. and what an adventurous life you love.. All those pictures and all that you have seen.. yet I have seen the Aurora a few times.. It's a marvelous scenery..

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    1. Lucky you Bjorn... hopefully ill get to see them soon!! thanks a lot ! :)

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  7. What a great interview . . . I was blown away by all that you do Arushi, the flying, travelling, writing poetry and prose, origami etc. I also love how your mum has been such a big influence in your life. Great photos, I really enjoyed learning more about you.

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  8. Sherry, what a wonderful interview! Arushi, how wonderful to learn more about you, your life, your family, your career, and your writing. My goodness, you are a busy young woman; and with all of your travels you definitely have a lot of subjects to write about! For someone who is sometimes afraid of flying during times of air turbulence, what do you as a pilot feel when you have to fly through turbulence?

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    1. Well its never too fun for anyone to fly through turbulence Mary!! sometimes maybe sometimes it can be scary at the back... but in the cockpit its mostly controllable and in safe hands... also the worst is most often avoided thanks to the modern weather radars... thanks a lot Mary!! :)

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  9. This is such a fascinating interview, ladies! Thank you to both of you. Arushi, a cousin of mine works for Airbus but I have never met a pilot. If I ever travel with Air India, I hope you will fly the plane! Your mother seems to have been a great teacher and a wonderful and loving inspiration. I am glad I now know you more.

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    1. i hope I am your pilot too Gabriella... would be so much fun to meet a fellow blogger in real across the world!! thank you!! :)

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  10. Thanks Sherry for another lovely interview ~ I too am blown away by your background Arushi ~ How fascinating to see the world from your eyes ~ I am enjoying your pictures and photos and words ~ Good to know more of you ~

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  11. Breathtaking interview! Photos - amazing! So love, Arushi, your uplifting view of future world with wise and kind people! I really surprised by the pilot-poet, thanks to you and Sherry xx

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  12. My apologies, to all, for my late appearance here - we had a wonderful family gathering today. My oldest son and his wife and new wolfish puppy (!!!) are here, and we were finding all the wild spots, then having a family barbecue. So I am very late arriving. I so enjoyed putting this interview together. Arushi, your photos are breathtaking and your life is just lovely to read about. Thank you for allowing us to hop aboard with Captain Arushi......may you log many happy hours flying the skies.

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    1. thank you Sherry for putting me up so wonderfully here... you have definitely made me sound so much more exciting!! it was a pleasure chatting with you!! stay in touch!! :)

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  13. Wow I just sent this link to my cousin (also an Air India Pilot) Arushi such a pleasure to meet you!! Great interview and lovely poetry!
    Thanks Sherry!

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  14. :) Wow!! Arushi what an exciting profession you have, not only it is adventurous but involves a lot of responsibility and you handle them nicely!...I have visited so many places and seen their beauties through your poems!...keep blogging and best wishes..............

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  15. Wow, lovely pictures Arushi. I didn't know you are a pilot. :) Have read many of your writes and they all are so beautifully written including the one you have shared here. I am a regular flier of Air India, and next time they announce the name of the captain , I will give extra attention, it might turn out to be you ;)
    Thank you ladies for the lovely interview.

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    1. Thanks ankita... lets hope someday we fly together :)

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  16. Arushi it's so nice to meet you and know more about you. Good luck and all the best to you.
    Sherry thank you for the beautiful interview.

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  17. Didn't think I'd ever use this word in earnest, but here it is:
    AWESOME!!!

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  18. Love this interview and being able to put some history with the face, blog and poetry! It all sounds so interesting and the pictures are awe inspiring. Anywhere there are mountains I am happy.

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    1. Me too George... love the mountains... thank you ... :)

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  19. Sherry what a lovely and fascinating interview. Arushi I'm happy to make your acquaintance. I enjoyed your poetry as well as finding out about your life. Northern Lights got me wondering why you wouldn't have seem them. Interesting what happens at 60,000 feet. I remember one trip flying close to the Arctic Circle and being amazed to see the sun simultaneously setting on one side of the plane and rising on the other. A beautiful sunset and sunrise occurring at exactly the same time.

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    1. That is cool, Stormcat. In Tofino I used to take a boat to work and some mornings, the moon would be going down on my left as the sun was rising on my east - very cool indeed!

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    2. Well... i have seen a sunset and sunrise together... its a weird phenomenon.. very spectacular... ive also seen the moon at mid noon... but ive never flown close enough to the arctic sadly to see the northern lights..

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  20. Lovely interview...nice to know about Arushi...what a thrilling profession she is in...:-) Beautiful poems...love them ..thanks Sherry for letting us know her...

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  21. Arushi, what a wonderful life you live. I grew up around airplanes. I became the airplane mechanic, my mother was the stunt pilot, one cousin a fighter pilot, another flew celebrities. Planes are a thrill to handle can't imagine those large gears you get to handle.

    Congrats on being a newlywed. And you know we can all enjoy your poetry a bit more for knowing you better.

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    1. Moonie, what a fantastically interesting family you have! How did we miss talking about this in your interview? LOL.

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    2. Moonie truly i agree with sherry... what a fabulous family... a mom and a stunt pilot!! Awsome...

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  22. Yay! She IS awesome! I'm so happy you enjoyed this visit, kids.......keep coming back. We have many more stories to share!

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  23. Amazing interview!! Arushi, I enjoy my visits to your space each time I stop by to read :) I love to read how many different passions people have. You are truly blessed!

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