Something moved, I shook the thought off thinking that it’s regular and went about selecting a movie from my Netflix downloads. It was a 2.5 hours flight from Goa airport to Delhi. For the next few hours, I wanted to concentrate on cinema and be in the company of good movies. So, I zeroed in on the one featuring one of my favorite actors – the Tom Hanks – in Captain Sully. As I started going through the description (yeah, I do that. I have to read even while watching a movie :D), I realised I have known Captain Sully. How?
Oh yes. It was my dad talking to my mom, “Guddi, listen up. An American Captain landed the plane on the river. What a massive show of talent.” I still get goosebumps thinking about it. So, I begin with my movie.
A little less than 30 mins. & my plane begins to shake again. “Oh, it must be the movie. Well, no! It’s the frigging plane. Why is it moving so much in the middle of a flight.” I regain my calm & sit tight. And that’s when the ‘dancing began’. The aircraft was taking plunges (it felt that). It was the exact feeling that you get when a speeding car hit the speed breaker – in that moment – we hit the ceiling & then come back to our seats with a push. We didn’t hit the ceiling, but there was a strong sense of something going wrong.
My first instinct was to check online – while I was up in the air – as to how to get out of a plane crash. Two seconds later I realised that Google won’t work so high. I frantically take out the card in the back pocket of every seat & read instructions on how to life jacket myself. I started groping for one under my seat, but couldn’t locate one. I got jolted & almost lost a tooth.
And our aircraft kept going up and down. As it came down in fast speed, we all will feel as if we are falling. People started chanting by then. Kids were calling out to their mothers and mothers were standing to look out for their kids. In the midst of this, the air hostesses were asking everyone to remain buckled up & not stand.
Sully was still playing on my screen. I suddenly became overwhelmed and paused the movie.
It was crazy chaos. I was chanting too – Gayatri Mantra & was telling myself, “this is not the end.”. Don’t worry.
10 mins. of crazy turbulence after spending 50 mins. in the air. In next 30 mins., we landed. Since the landing happened some 45 mins. before its scheduled arrival, I thought we landed in Jaipur. We didn’t; we landed in Delhi itself.
Later I realised, it was, in fact, an emergency landing. There was apparently a crack in the glass of cockpit & thus the series of ensuing events.
The flight landed. We were safe & early. On the elevator, I heard people guessing what could have been the cause. After many guesstimates, people settled for, “the pilot must not have exercised caution.”
How easy it is to blame the pilot for us. In fact, the same thing happened in 2009 when a highly experienced pilot, landed a passenger plane on to a river demonstrating brilliant expertise and capability. Even after performing a feat of miracle, he had to justify himself, prove his act right & fight the world. It’s always easy to blame.
God was kind that day. We all probably had better things to do in years to come. And we hadn’t loved our families enough YET.
Cheers to #Life
June 27, 2017 (Goa to Delhi)