My two year old son and I were travelling within India. He liked the window seat then and still does. The flickering light on the wing has fascinated him forever. Moments after take -off, he pulled at my arm and whispered “Fire”. I wondered what he meant, or whether it was a random rambling. He clutched my hand, while turning my face with his little hand towards the window. To my utter horror, I saw sparks emanating from the wing of the plane. My heart pounded, I looked around, it was a night flight, passengers were relaxing, most had shut their eyes, the lights had anyway been dimmed before take-off. I hate to ‘summon’ the crew, but on this occasion, I stretched up to turn on the light above. An air hostess approached with a tolerant smile, thinking it was another annoying mother who wanted something for her precious child. I whispered to her, pulling her towards me, involuntarily clutching her arm ‘Excuse me , our plane is on fire”, I said, through parched lips.
She looked out, her arm tensed, she whispered back, “please don’t tell anyone else.” Almost suddenly, the plane lurched sideways, she was on her way to inform the pilot, she swayed but held on to a seat to steady herself, proceeding forward. I held my son, distracted him with the lights which had come on..the same lights which they tell you will be lit in the case of an emergency, on either side of the aisle.
I remembered those who had read my palm, or my horoscope and told me how lucky I was, The plane titled a little, I got the view of a lake below us. “Damn, now not only will they burn us, they will drown us afterwards to make sure we die”, were the thoughts racing through my head. “How will I get the same parents and my husband, and this child, and my sister?” were my thoughts. I shook when I realized my child was in my lap. I thought I should concentrate on the crash landing, on how to save my son, Could I hold him over my head in the water, could I fasten a life jacket on him right now ? did they have tiny life jackets? Angry tears flew down my cheeks, salty and hot. The plane turned around, miraculously landed back at the airport we had taken off from. No passenger was aware of what had happened until just before the landing, The Air hostess thanked me and informed me, in private, that one of the two engines in the plane was burnt out. The safety mechanism had not been initiated on its own, my son’s warning had saved us all. My husband met the pilot, quite by chance, a month later , at a social gathering. It was confirmed that a woman with a small child had averted the tragedy, and the woman had not caused an alarm.
Can I ever complain about my life ? no way !! I’ve been given another life, within this one, and I know how precious life and my loved ones are. And yes, I do know when to keep my mouth shut 🙂
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