“Up in the sky, look. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!”
Once a girl’s seen Superman in action, Niagara Falls kind of leaves you cold. You know what I mean? Oh well, despite me reeling with the frenzy of falling off the iron railing at the Niagara Falls, I could still hear people shrieking, squealing and bellowing at the top of their voices in glee (even though one cannot hear any noise other than the torrential deluge of the gigantic falls, I did). I heard them say it was… Superman! At last, my fall (pun intended!) was meaningful… This design of ‘acting to fall’ worked… and I knew my saviour would arrive. They say that sometimes when you are in love with someone, they can hear you. How would he not hear!? Afterall, when you really loved someone so much, how could he betray you?
OMG! I looked below and panicked. Just when I thought I was about to hit the waters of the misty Niagara and drown in the freezing waters, I was enveloped by strong blue arms wearing a red cape. “Oh! Thank god you are here”. “What do you think you were doing?”, MY man of steel asked… “I… err… I just wanted to see you”.
“Archu, wake up!! Its 8.30 a.m. my child. You are late!”
That’s when the beautiful reverie broke. “Oh mommy, must you do this to me all the time? The action had just begun!” Grudgingly, I trudged out of bed. How I detested being disturbed when I was happily building castles in the air. But today, finally when the dream ended exactly the way I wanted it to, I was delighted and didn’t resent being woken up. Infact, the trance brought a smile to my face as I remembered that beautiful day at Niagara Falls.
It was a cold windy morning in Niagara district, on the Canadian side. I had made up my mind to do the ‘Niagara Falls by air’ tour and nothing would stop me. It was a long standing dream, what with flying being a deep passion of my life (apparently, a passion that I had developed while I was still swimming with joy inside my mother’s womb). It was something to die for; and considering that it was my last day in Niagara, this was an item to be marked off my small checklist of ’10,000 things to do before I die’. 😉
I set off towards the St. Catharines Flying Club at the Niagara District airport, early in the afternoon. Since it was a very cold and somewhat foggy morning, I knew it would be futile to go there early. I was super excited about starting off on the best and hopefully most memorable journey of my life. I had dreamed of this day for many many years afterall. So with a twinkle in my eye and a bounce in my step I walked towards the booking office, only to be disappointed. I wanted to fly in a chopper. But being a windy day, it was too risky to send choppers in the air. Shattered! That was the state of my heart then. But the gentleman at the office was kind enough to let me know that there was a three-seater Cessna Seahawk available for the tour. However, since the weather was playing truant, we would have to wait for a while to see if the air had some mercy on us. Else the plane would not be able to fly. I was willing to wait. I had no other agenda for the day except my flying fantasy and so I was pretty determined. But as luck would have it, nothing comes easy. Since it was a plane for three and I was the only passenger, I had to pay double the amount. Much to my dismay, I realised I was really left with no choice and answered in the affirmative.
I waited patiently for a couple of hours and finally things worked out as planned and to my satisfaction. So what if more money was being spent, big deal. Nothing is more important than a dream being fulfilled. I went along with the escort to the preparation deck to get my instructions and prepare for the flight. I checked to see if I had my camera in tow and was happy to find it exactly where I looked for it. All set!
Walking out towards the limousine to the sky was a very emotional moment for me. The small plane looked very inviting indeed. I met the pilot – John. He seemed to be a nice guy and put me to ease immediately. He explained the basics and gave me the ‘must-know’ instructions. Though I was never scared of flying, I did have butterflies in my tummy. It was such a small plane, one that I hadn’t experienced before. Mixed emotions! Excitement and anxiety at the same time, to see how the adventurous ride unfolded! I kept my thoughts at bay and stepped onto the plane. Got another set of instructions and the earphones that I needed to wear during the flight. We would communicate with each other using that. Since I was alone, I sat next to the pilot. “Umm… well, I would’ve preferred Superman, but for now John would have do”, I told myself.
John started the plane. It took a while and… Voila! We were up in the air. We kept ascending gradually, and all the butterflies disappeared as I started taking in the awe-inspiring view. I go berserk when I am flying, that is the extent of my craze. It was a slightly turbulent flight since the weather was still windy and the craft was really small. But I remain undeterred. John did ask me if I was scared and I replied in the negative.
The tour was very scenic and I was mesmerised by everything I witnessed above and around the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls. Niagara Falls, truly one of nature’s wonders, is a cascading waterfall over 54 metres high with some 170 million cubic metres of water thundering into the gorge every minute. Throughout the flight, I never lost sight of the majestic Niagara River. We flew above the river and got a view of the Rainbow Bridge, American Falls, Bridal Vail Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Goat Island, Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Queen Victoria Park, Clifton Hill and the American Observation Tower. Although it wasn’t a sunny day I also caught a glimpse of the radiant rainbow. I was going nuts because of the dilemma of whether I should focus on enjoying the beauty of everything I saw below or whether I should click pictures to create lifelong memories. The former got the better of me. After getting a few exceptional shots, I put the camera aside and waited for the moment I had come thus far.
And arrive it did. We were absolutely above the falls, seeing the horseshoe right below. Okay! So when are we going to do the good deed I wondered? I remembered my favourite scene in Superman. You know – the one where Superman flies parallel to the falls? Why was the pilot not doing the same thing? Why were we not flying just like my favourite Superhero did, to get a better and closer view of the mighty falls? I wanted to do the same stunt and experience the falls in the same way that Superman did. Afterall, when two people are in love.. soulmates, isn’t this what they do?
I was just going to say something to the ‘fly parallel’ effect to John when I suddenly transformed into Lord Buddha and enlightenment struck me hard enough. I saved myself from the ‘foot in the mouth’ syndrome. Look at the incredible force of Niagara Falls, mademoiselle. How on earth could anyone ever get so close to the falls? The majestic falls aren’t called mighty in vain. There’s science behind it. The gravitational pull of the earth is beyond comparison and the falls will willingly swallow anything that comes close. Gobble up actually! I could hear the cacophony of the boisterous falls even at that height. Niagara Falls would wipe off everyone, everything. Did I want to meet my Superman (read: husband) in real life or was I just happy to die dreaming about meeting him in reel life? Better sense prevailed. I was elated that I didn’t implore John to support me in my endearing conquest. Thank god! The poor pilot was spared of my idiosyncrasy and I was spared of a few embarrassing moments that would make me flush.
I was happy to complete the spectacular tour, revel in the panoramic views of the falls (as against my preposterous fantasies); and go back home to begin my search for my real life Superhero!