The plane was going down. The angle made a few passengers to strap themselves in. It was not because the flight was landing, destinaiton was hours away. It was not because the pilot was almost dead, there was something wrong with the flight which made it go down and also made the pilot hit his head hard, when he was holding both hands to his chest in pain. The co-pilot was flying it alone, he did not hesitate to check a guide in the open as the pilot won’t see it now. The pilot was unconscious. The co-pilot did not know what was wrong, but he knew what could be. He knew that it could be solved if a person with good knowledge on aeronautics and flight, got ten minutes in the room below his feet. The room with wires and switches.
The problem, and the way to fix it was told to the air-hostess. Sandhya was the cutest air-hostess on earth. Her mother said it, she almost believed it. That was the reason she walked with so much confidence. Dusky, not so short, the perfect lip gloss from her sister, and she liked her uniform. Confidence radiated, so people whom she spoke to replied with clarity even in the crisis. They knew death was waiting but they spoke well.
People were asked questions. The pilot could be treated, but could not be made fit enough to take up the stick again. She found two doctors from the passengers’ list, and they went to work on the pilot. The doctors did not hesitate, ‘let him at least die treated, die healthy’ they thought in sync. So they worked hard, sweat more in work than in fear. Extreme risky measures were taken in the heart operation, and the pilot could now talk in vowels and he was also accepting the fate. The pilot even joked about the situation which the spectators found incomprehensible and very funny. They laughed their hearts out.
The air-hostess also found a pilot trainee. He was taken to the cockpit. He reminded the co-pilot of his wife, when the trainee picked his nose. They worked hard in the cockpit, the trainee was intelligent and calm. There was no interview when he walked in. He sat in the co-pilot’s seat and the co-pilot in the pilot’s. The pilot had requested his headphones to talk with the co-pilot. So the acting pilot also heard the joke, he understood it and laughed artificially. He was also getting there, the region of acceptance. Sandhya had no time to visit the cockpit. He did not need confidence, he had something much better.
Yesterday, his wife had called him intelligent. His daughter wanted to make wax dolls, she was heating paraffin over pan. It got to flames, they poured water, turned off the stove. Nothing stopped the flame. The co-pilot put a lid over it and explained, all that need to be done was to cut oxygen. There he was called intelligent. Morning the wife kissed him bye, and called him a clever husband.
That thought flooded in, he heard his wife’s voice ‘intelligent’ ‘clever’. Too much happiness to handle, the muscles could not help but curve the lips to a permanent smile. That was enough for him to think clear. Also he had the trainee who reminded him of his sweet wife. He did not need Sandhya to walk past or talk confident, like the passengers had needed. He and the trainee found a way to delay the death. The flight was now straight. But there was leaking fuel and no communication. Not a good situation, but death was as far as it was sure. Two hours was good time bought for an almost nose down flight.
Two hours to death. Everyone knew.
It was clearly party time. A couple kissed in front of everyone. They did not even hold hands in the flight till then. A stand-up comedian, whom Sandhya and an old man recognized was requested to perform and he did. A bartender from the list, and all the alcohol and juice from the pantry and the cargo, it became a legit party. The smuggler did not take out the cocaine out of his tummy, he felt that god won’t accept him into heaven if he helped in intoxication, a sin, before death. But Sandhya called him, he was astonished how an air-hostess found what the army of security at the airport missed. He forgot he was a psychology student. He was asked to talk with the children. He accepted to do it, god is going to love him. Doors to heaven inside the man’s head opened wide open when the kids were made to stand around him with ice cream cones in hand.
Every professional, or pursuer of profession had work. They were the best on earth for the couple of hours.
He was watching it all. He was an Aeronautical engineer, the kind which deals with flights and rooms inside flights with wires and switches. He felt guilty for not volunteering to help. Half hour since the technical failure. He had not spoken a word. He had the only unhappy, painful heart in the flight. He overheard the co-pilot talk with the pilot trainee after the flight was put to autopilot and they joined the party. All that needed to be done was to have an appropriate engineer in the room for ten minutes. After that the flight can be made to land in the nearest airport.
His guilt, engineering college ID card and doubt was killing him. The former two teamed up and so he called Sandhya. He was about to accept that he was an engineering final year student. He was ready to take up the responsibility, to try fix the plane. She walked to him, smiling. To the student it looked like she knew what he was about to declare.
“Yes, I know. We have an hour now. I do not want to risk making it short giving you the room.” she said. So she really knew.
It hurt, but did not hurt his ego. He had company of millions. Students who don’t exactly know what they study. His feelings showed on his face. Now Sandhya was hurt.
“Are you single? Men’s college right?” she looked at the ID card which he had waved to call her.
He had replied positive, and also added he had always been.
“I love you. I mean it. You did not fight, but accepted the ignorance, and let people live. I am your girlfriend. If we survive, I will marry you in two years.” She patted him and walked away to the children. There were no parachutes, they were all damaged at the beginning of the problem. Also he cannot just try fix two for a marriage.
It was enough, dying with his love. Which was the initial concern when the problem was announced, dying single. She had been loving and caring. The beautiful glances she gave was enough to prove it. He also began to smile. He plugged in earphones and created a romantic playlist and listened to it. The first playlist on his mobile. He was happy.
Only regret, he was an engineering student. He could have helped in some way had he studied something else, or just gave up the idea of education in an institution after school.
When it was one hour fifty minutes since the announcement, Sandhya sat beside him and held his hands for twenty days. The first eleven minutes of the twenty days they were alive.
MORALS OF THE STORY:
- It is not easy to become a doctor. Requires too much marks in schools and lot of money. So the number is less and most of them are good.
- Most other professions do not need the kind of dexterity and precision.
- An engineer needs the above and more, but there are too many engineers to trust one (many do not trust themselves), especially a student. Not all engineering students become engineers. Actually very less do. Most work in IT, sales, marketing, media and arts.
- Everyone knows this but few realize it at the right time.
- Take right choices and prevent accidents.