Flying drones was my greatest hobby, and while I was staying in that country, I did not doubt that I would be flying quite a lot. So even from the insides of the plane, as I stared out the window, I was lost in a silly illusion of my drone flying alongside the plane. Imagine the view, imagine the thrill. Am I witnessing the future? Is that where drones are heading? Are we in the right track for a new form of transport?
In any way, I arrived at New Delhi, India around noon. While going through all the bureaucratic process, the paperwork, everything, I could feel my hand itching to play with my drone. The daydream on the plane had ignited my imagination, and I was ready to go all out. Still, I had to get lunch, find my hotel, shower, do all the things everybody tediously does when arriving at a new place. But I was like a kid, excited and impatient, going through the mandatory activities in a mindless rush, just wanting to play with my toy – even if it’s way more than that.
If I hadn’t been so eager to get out and fly my drone already, I would have found my behavior funny. I was like a cartoon character, with my feet moving irregularly fast, little drones flying around my head. That would have been hilarious. And it makes me think even more about the future of drones. Can they get bigger and fly higher? What if they get smaller and more precise? The possibilities are endless, and I hope to be there every step of the way.
Finally, I’m out on the street. First, I find a bench that seems appropriate enough and get ready for the real trip. My drone is ready, my hands are prepared, my heart is racing, and up it goes. The little thing starts flying steadily. I have enough experience to know how to conduct the drone in a new environment. I’m careful and alert of everything around me. Once I’m comfortable enough, the drone and I start moving through the air and the streets, between masses of people and above them. Having the drone with me makes me feel great like I have a secret power over these strangers, an eye above them, a friend.
The streets, at times, get too narrow. And I find myself certainly overwhelmed. There are so many people, smells, sights, and then there’s the added vies from above. The presence of the drone is very distracting, is a responsibility, it’s like a second head. So I start to lead us in the direction of wider roads, where the tourists pass by or stay to hang out and enjoy the view. It’s slightly more peaceful and a great experience for me, because of the drone. Because in these wider roads with a wide horizon I get to explore the air so much more comfortably.
As I walk, I get to hear curious little kids wondering about what’s flying above them. They point their little fingers to the sky and mercilessly question their parents. Tourists and locals reacted equally. Childish wonder is universal. However, with the diversity of the people in there, most of the time I couldn’t exactly understand what they were saying. Different languages swarmed me. I was just able, like anybody, to recognize the tone of curiosity that fell from the mouths of the children, and the way they pointed out the drone was endearing. Additionally, most people were in such a hurry that I rarely got to hear what the parents would answer, that’s if they even answered. That’s how parents are.
But among all the noise and the buzzing activity of the city, I managed to catch a few conversations that revolved around my drone. Mostly, I was also able to remain unnoticed. People only watched the little flying robot and ignored the ordinary human that was playing with a few buttons. That feels kind of funny, and it made me feel like some spy even when I was doing an activity that was harmless and genuine, not to say.
So, in my role of innocent spy, listening to strangers discuss my drone, I will always remember a few of the bits and pieces of conversations I heard while I was staying in India.
“Mom, what’s that? Is that our plane? It looks so tiny” a little girl asked. But their plane did not shirk into my drone, and her mother did not answer.
“Mom, look at that! I think I see a bird wearing armor!” That one made me laugh and attract odd looks in my direction. But the little girl was just so convinced that my drone was a bird knight in shining armor on its way to rescue a bird princess.
“Dad, is that God?” Again, I laughed like a madman. People stared at me as if I was crazy. But didn’t they understand the hilarity of a little child thinking my drone was God? I mean, the young boy had a point, something unknown in the sky could be God. But I was expecting someone to think it was a UFO, an alien, not God. And that wasn’t even the best part. Because at that time I did get to catch the answer of the parent.
“Yes, Danny, that is God.”
The young man answered in a deadpan voice, and for a second I wasn’t sure if he was joking and the kid would understand or if he was going to let his child grow up thinking the saw God in New Delhi in the shape of a drone. But when I heard father and kid laugh, of course, I joined in, tears escaping from my eyes for how hard I had laughed.