Thursday, 6 June 2013

Clouds Unlimited

Experiencing clouds while traveling by air can be frightening, dull or absolutely breathtaking. While I have had my share of gray skies which limited the field of vision to the tip of the wings, some of my most magical memories of trips on airplanes are of clouds.

I think the first such memory I have is of my very first flight. As a young child, my first air travel was to Kathmandu, Nepal, with my parents. The flight was delayed and by the time the plane took off, the moon had risen. A full moon over a field of billowy cottony clouds had an indescribable impact on the young, prone-to-flights-of-fantasy, me.

Colours of the wind

Over the years and many many flights later, that it still one of the best memories I had of clouds. Having no digital camera or SLRs back then, I only have the images in my mind, no doubt mentally enhanced and added to over the years. On a recent flight from Kolkata to Pune, my plane encountered a particularly moody sky with all kinds of clouds, from the flat status clouds to the larger lone towers of cumulus clouds. We also passed an anvil shaped giant, a cumulonimbus with ominous flashes on lightning contained within its volume in an awesome display of Nature's raw power and beauty.

I had, as is always my preference, opted for a window seat. The elderly woman to my left had as much of an unhealthy obsession over clouds as I did and we spent the better part of four hours looking at the clouds and pointing out interesting shapes to each other and generally ooh-ing and aah-ing at the darkening sky outside the tiny window, oblivious to the smirks of fellow passengers.

I have a few pictures of the clouds as I saw from the window that day. I unfortunately could not capture the cumulonimbus with the flashes of lightening. May be, next time I look out of an airplane window and see clouds, I will get the chance. In the meanwhile, enjoy the pictures.

Sunset over a beach? Sunset over stratus clouds
A cumulus cloud that looks like it is propping up a galaxy
The nimbus in a darkening sky