I know it’s been quite a few days. I am really sorry for not writing to you all these days. Busy days are to be blamed. Travelling around the country kept me busy and to be frank, I had enough time to think of those moments which added colour to my life. So I thought of sharing with you an incident during my first flight.
I was about eight or nine then. We had vacations and so our family decided to go for a trip to Bengaluru. The city has always been close to my heart. First, because of the large collection of toys and then because of the variety of food and of course the time well spent with loved ones. We usually go by road which used to be a fun trip of almost 12 hours. But this time it was different. We chose to travel by air.
I was excited and nervous at the same time. The decision was taken in a split second that I did not even get time to think of it. We were to travel the very next day. I packed my ‘necessary’ stuff in a blue woollen teddy bear bag and my mother packed the rest of the items like clothes and toothbrush in another bag. Wondering about the ‘necessary’ stuff other than what my mother has packed? I will tell you, they were my children- my toys and a red satin piece of cloth which I found very attractive (I still have no clue why I packed it).
It was six in the morning and we set out to the airport. I slept as soon as the driver started the car. When I opened my eyes we were almost 10 minutes away from the airport and the driver was talking non-stop, silencing everyone else. He was talking about the recent flight high-jacks. I did not bother listening to him as all I understood was that a group of men, speaking in an unknown language high-jacked the plain and that they are cruel enough to hurt everyone. By the time he finished the talking, we were at the airport.
My mother was extra sweet at that moment and she offered to carry my teddy bear bag. I was wondering what happened and found out later that it was just an idea to leave my bag and babies and red towel inside the car. That did not hurt me much as I knew that I am going to ditch the bag and buy new toys.
Anyway, let us talk about what happened. All of us boarded the flight, my mother, father, brother and I. We had my uncle, his wife and daughter with us. Inside the flight, I came to know that my seat was away from that of my parents’. I walked to the seat with trembling legs, sat and my mother fastened my seat belt. My heart was beating double its normal rate.
A man, in his late twenties, if my memory is to be trusted, sat next to me. He fastened his seat belt, turned to me and gave me a warm smile. I don’t remember if I gave him the smile back. But I was staring at him for sure. Something about him scared me. That’s when I realized that I was unconsciously listening to my driver’s high-jacking story in the car. I turned back and avoided looking at the man. I wanted to go to my parents or at least see them. But I was so short (yes, I know it’s still the same) that I couldn’t even imagine looking beyond the tall backrest of the seat. I tried peeping but in vain. That’s when I did the gravest mistake of my life. I allowed the man next to me to meet my eyes. He asked me something. At first, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Then I realized that he is talking in an unknown language. The entire scene of my driver talking played in my head.
I felt as if he is blurring away. A few seconds passed and I realized that my eyes are welling up with tears of fear. I was sure that he is going to hurt me and I am going to die. I cursed my driver for warning me. I could have died peacefully if it was not for him to warn me of the ‘unknown language’. I started crying. I found his face changing. He started searching his pocket. What could that be? A gun, a knife, a bomb? I was just seconds away from my death. He took his hand out and I found something glittering. That’s a new lethal weapon, I thought. He pointed it to me. I hit his hand hard, as hard as I could, and screamed at the top of my voice. I knew I had to shout ‘HEEELLLPP’ (that’s how it work in movies), but what came out of my throat was ‘HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE’.
He got up from his seat and my heart almost stopped. He turned to the crew and said something. That should be his friend, conspiring to kill me. I tried unfastening the seat belt. I did not know how to do that. I was stuck with the beat. I cried, screamed and closed my eyes. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I opened one eye to see if he is there to kill me. What??? That was my mother, smiling. Why is she smiling when someone is trying to kill me?
She took me to the seat next to her. I cried all along the flight. I don’t know when I slept off and when I opened my eyes I was at the Bengaluru airport. We deboarded the flight and went out of the airport, there was an uncle waiting for us with his car. I sat with my father in the front seat, closed the door. That is when I heard an ‘Excuse me’. I looked out and found the man standing there. He apologized to my father for scaring me and gave me a chocolate. That was so similar to the weapon I managed to avoid in the flight. I smiled and the entire family started laughing. Later I found out that the ‘unknown language’ was Hindi.
Yesterday while I was travelling from New Delhi to Kochi, the only thing my mother told me was not to scream if I find my co-passenger talking in ‘unknown language’.
Now, forget the story and don’t start teasing me. It was not because I was scared. I was too innocent to know the ‘real intention’ of the world.