May 29, 2010
My sincere condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in the tragic plane crash in Mangalore. Certainly, it’s not even closely related to the incident that took place last Saturday. But I knew I had to share this.
It was just two weeks back that I traveled on the Air India Express from Mangalore to Dubai, on the 12th of May, to be precise. The long one and a half hour journey from home to the airport had already made me tired. The moment I boarded the flight all I wanted was a good night’s sleep. But to my disbelief the air conditioner wasn’t working. With my eyes half open I tried to figure out what was going on. I could see all the passengers busy fanning themselves. It still kept me wondering what was wrong. Too tired to call a steward I shut my eyes and went back to sleep again. Or so I tried!
The heat was getting unbearable after some time. Even more annoying was the loud noise coming from the front of the aircraft. Two families with toddlers were busy arguing with ALL the flight attendants with regards to the malfunctioning of the A/C. Again, my eyelids closed with minimal efforts.
Finally, the plane was about to take off, I could hear all the safety instructions being read out and demonstrated. I have heard it all before and I almost know them by-heart. For sure my sleep was more important to me as I had to resume work the next morning. I could faintly feel the plane moving. OK, correction. It WAS moving and it got became within seconds, thanks to the lousy rattling noise of the wings!
With a totally worried look on my face I opened my eyes. (Was wondering if everything was alright). The person on the other side of the aisle, grinned, or perhaps it was my expressive look that yielded that faint laugh from him. Very honestly, I was recollecting all my loved ones. I was grateful that the two functions I had attended, one from maternal family and the other from the paternal side where I had the opportunity of meeting all possible loved ones. And then I hear the flight attendant literally screaming, “Sir please be seated. MADAM PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTs”
The person told me, “woh family paagal hai. Plane take off ho raha hey aur woh khade hein”. I peeped onto the aisle only to see the lady STANDING during the take off with her infant in her hand. Oh yes, the A/c wasn’t working! She perhaps thought standing up would mean, closer to the A/c vent. In no seconds she along with her toddler was walking up and down the aisle!!! The plane still is clearly on the ascent. The two families would just not listen to sit down. Yes I do agree, it was still warm, A/c’s were yet to bring down the temperature inside to normal. I guess safety came second to her, and comfort first. Wasn’t she diverting the attention of the entire crew towards her? What if their attention was needed for a better purpose than merely consoling the ‘hot’ family?
It was a spooky journey for me. As the plane descended and I couldn see Dubai Flower Centre at the same level as the plane, the plane immediately takes off again, this time, sending all the passengers into turmoil. Was it a hijack? I thought. I had yet another very quick flashback of the great vacation I had and the image of all my loved ones kept displaying on my retina. After another 10 minutes of journey the flight was back into the landing position, giving me a sigh of relief. To those keen on knowing if the two families were seated, NO, the moms were still patrolling the plane!
Switching on the mobile phones as the plane’s front tier reaches the ground, sending SMS’s, opening the overhead cabins etc., is a common sight among passengers.
It’s often easy to blame the whole wide world for any mishaps. Probably, that is how the saying “After a crash, if the pilot is alive, nail him. If he is dead, blame him” came into being. As an individual we do ignore the rules and regulations that are put in place for our safety. Perhaps we could be a little more obedient and honest towards our duties and responsibilities… too.