A small jerk, followed by a deafening thump! I was shaken up from the ocean of memories and tranquility with a noise so loud that it benumbed my senses. The announcement was getting louder and clearer. The flight was announcing its sudden landing to all the 45 bewildered passengers seated with an expression so pale that conveyed the feelings of fear was always mutual, whatever be your status or class! The fear of an impending catastrophe glared at us right through our blank faces.
I stole a quick look at the air hostess who always had that plastic smile attached permanently on her face. No! Her smile had vanished for the first time! She also looked visibly shaken and had lost control of her usual composed self. That made me cringe more as it visibly conveyed the incidents that might follow. She kept darting her gaze to the windows and the cockpit may be unsure of what she should do first. She seemed to contemplate a million questions running through her mind.
“Damn it! Must be some inexperienced pilot! This is why I never choose IA flights, especially when it is an Indian pilot on board!” murmured my co-passenger with an expression that was difficult to ascertain. It was a blend of panic and exasperation! I concluded myself. He looked dapper for someone traveling in a 3am flight. I stared at my attire and chuckled. I gazed back at this bewildered man shaking like an autumn leaf about to wither. I coined his name as “George”. He was a Malayalee and I loved the name George most among all those muddling names Keralites have.
I stared back at my watch which seemed to tick slower than usual. I shook it to ensure that it is indeed working. Letting out a sigh I drifted back to the blank faces in the flight. The flight was already delayed by one hour! And, now this had to happen! Roughly about 40 minutes ago the pilot was announcing out loud about bad weather conditions at the airport and that he might have to land the flight in a nearby airport which was just 300 kilometers away.
As soon as his loud words dawned on me, my heart started pumping so fast that I wondered whether my co-passengers could also hear it. My mind drifted into moments of despair as I frantically worried out loud, “What should I do now?” My brain waves took the form of an internal Google map and started tracking the time and distance it would take to catch a bus or taxi and finally reach her. With shivering hands that seems to have transmitted the fears that gripped my mind, I checked my purse again. The pink colored currencies smiled back reassuringly at me.
George, on the other hand, was getting hysterical staring with a bewildered expression in the direction of the pilot’s announcement. The pilot was explaining about the altitude in which we were flying through the cottony clouds. I shut my eyes and started praying to God. Maybe I was sitting as close to the silvery gates of heavens as I can ever be that God can hear me among the first prayers that transmit over to him. ” God, please, I will board this flight again to let you complete my fate. I can happily go crashing down in a fireball and be crumbled down to grains of ashes! But, just for this one time alone, please let me land down safely. Let me go and do what I yearn to do! What my soul craves for! After that, you can do whatever you wish!”
Mumbling the silent prayer I slowly drifted to sleep, unable to differentiate between reality and dreams. A loud thump jolted me up from my sleep and I checked around to look whether I’m alive and breathing or not. Thank heavens! I peered outside through the windows to check which airport had we landed at last. George was stuck on the window seat like a lizard. All I could catch a glimpse of was a nearby flight. I frantically prayed that it should not be the Cochin airport! Finally, after what seemed like eternity came the clear announcement of the pilot. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Trivandrum airport. Local time is 5.00 am and the temperature is..” I didn’t bother to hear the rest.
My mind was in a whirl. I can’t sit here for even one second more listening to the announcements that went on and on! I quickly unlocked my seatbelts and jolted up, only to stare in dismay at the makeup layered face of the Air hostess with the same plastic smile. She courteously requested me, ” Please be seated till the signs are on!” I wondered whether she will be able to say the same if she was going through a similar mental trauma I was facing.
Soon, the announcements were over and we were directed out of the plane in a slow-moving queue that resembled the way little kids were directed out from the classrooms by the headmistress. The escalator in the domestic sector was packed like sardines. I didn’t have even a moment to waste and hence I rushed down the stairs puffing and panting. It was finally the day! The sunbeams wrapped my face and welcomed me. It felt good to be standing back on the chestnut-hued sands. I checked the time and it was 5.15. God! It will take even more 4 hours to catch a glimpse of her! I started to slow down my pace engulfed in her thoughts, her enticing smiles and the look that darts arrows down through my heart. The humid air of Trivandrum caressed my sleepy worn-out face as I willingly ushered in my flashbacks to transmit me and my brain to moments of ecstasy. The mind, the soul and the brain kept on repeating just those 7 alphabets..Nivedha!
NP: This is not my story or my imagination. Just transferring the thoughts of my friend who asked me to write it for him! So, the credits goes to him alone!