Sunday, September 7, 2008

60 Minutes of Terror

There are very many of us who are impervious to the threats that dangle over our heads,like the mythical sword of Damocles. As a Nation, we are so used to news of floods, famines, random acts of terror and other such similar calamities which claim hundreds of lives with such regularity, that it would seem the general public may have overdosed on bad news and therefore, been rendered insensitive. Maybe it is that we honestly believe terrible things cannot happen to us. Or perhaps, it is the fatalistic Indian Psyche at work, believing that the fates cannot be crossed and what has to be will be. Despite being constantly bombarded with news of different kinds of disasters and the tragic loss of lives, it never ever crossed my mind that I could possibly be caught in any such situation....Well, until last night....
Yesterday evening, I was flying home from Bangalore. I was happy...and excited to be going back to my moggies and could hardly wait to board my flight. Not even the extra strict security measures [ they made me take out my laptop before baggage screening and three-quarters of the contents of my handbag post screening!!!] could dampen my spirits. As I had almost an hour to kill before departure, I decided to browse at the bookstore and was engrossed in Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef when the first announcement was made.
Attention all passengers. If you see any suspicious, unattended bag or package anywhere in the airport, please inform the security personnel immediately. Please do report suspicious behaviour as well
I was intrigued. This was the first time I had heard such an announcement being made in any airport in India. Although it has been a while since I flew into or out of Delhi or Mumbai, I am a regular on the Bangalore-Chennai circuit and therefore, should know if this was a part of the routine.
I shrugged away my surprise, assuming that the authorities had finally become more vigilant. To be honest, I was a little pleased at the responsibility displayed. But then, when the same announcement was repeated thrice in a span of 30 minutes, the voices in my head began to mumble.
*Three announcements, each 10 minutes apart?...this can't be good news....Why? Why? Why?.....Could they possibly have received a Bomb Threat??? ... Oh my goodness, they HAVE received a bomb threat....why else would they make three announcements one right after the other...*
A moment of silence as that awful thought registers.....
* OMG, I MIGHT ACTUALLY DIE!!!*
I look furtively around me but no one else around me seems to be the least bit affected by the announcements. It suddenly occurs to me that the airport is not as crowded as it ought to be on a Saturday evening.
* Maybe there was something about a bomb plant in the Airport in the local news and people have cancelled their flights this evening....Drat!!! this is why I should be watching the news more regularly!!!...Damn my lazy ignorant corpulent self...I have no one else to blame but myself*
I contemplate ringing Dsk or a friend for an update, but then decide against it. There really isn't any point worrying anyone, is there? I mean, if a girl's gotta go, she gotta go.....
* But then, if there was a bomb threat, someone would have called me by now....Oh damn, as if people have nothing better to do on a Saturday evening than watch the evening news*
I gloomily consider typing my will on my Blackberry... Just as a precautionary measure. But then, what was the point? If I was to perish in a blast, it was highly unlikely that the Blackberry would survive me. It probably made sense to make my last calls to my loved ones...But how would I do it without starting a panic attack?
As I continued my musing in this dark, morbid vein, I spied a Kingfisher hottie breezing past, asking Chennai bound passengers to report for boarding.
* hey, that's my flight...But there is a good 40 minutes before departure...why on earth are they boarding us now???...There must be a bomb on the premises.....*
I grab my bags and stride over to Gate 11 where they were indeed boarding the Chennai flight. Screwing my courage to the sticking-place, I ask one of the Red Hotties the reason for the quickie boarding.
" Oh ma'am, we got our clearances early" She chirped at me.
But the voices in my head were not quelled.
* She paused for a whole minute before replying....And wasn't that smile a tad too forced? ..... Why? Why? Why?...Anyway, I bet its safer on the plane, so better we get our backside in pronto*
I heaved a sigh of relief when the doors were firmly latched ten whole minutes prior to scheduled departures and as the giant plane taxied down the runway as the clock struck 20:40 hrs. As we soared up into the dark skies, I snuggled into my seat with my favourite cat and mouse cartoon for entertainment and was just beginning to enjoy my ride home when all at once, the plane jolted. Not once. Not twice. But all through the entire journey. The mighty Airbus just kept jolting and shaking and rattling so much that my teeth were actually chattering vaguely.
* Oh great, I narrowly escaped being splattered across Bangalore's new international airport, only to be exploded mid-air into an unidentifiable mush of charred flesh and blood...no, wait...maybe just charred flesh.....err, does one bleed in a mid air explosion?...Oh damn...it doesn't matter.....OMG, was that lightening we saw???.....I REALLY AM GONNA DIE!!!*
I was dead tired...Tired of being rattled...Tired of the ominous voices in my head which seemed to have decided that this was it...And tired of worrying myself to death. In all probability, if the plane did not explode, I would most probably psyche myself to death!!
So, I switched off the voices in my head..turned on the volume on the Tom and Jerry show...Unwrapped the sandwich in my dinner box and decided to enjoy what may well be my last minutes in this world..
I would like to think that I infused some courage into the white knuckled, elderly gentleman beside me because after gaping at me for a few minutes, he too turned on the news channel and managed to stuff a cookie down his throat.
Fortunately, the plane landed safely in Chennai. A bit of an anti-climax I concede but then, in this instance, better an anti-climax than a disaster.
I was just so grateful to be alive...that I almost flew into Dsk's arms and couldn't stop patting him and Ging alternately....And for once, I didn't whisper any protests later at night, when I sensed my little furry purry gingerly sneaking in and settling down in the nook between my shoulders...
Nothing like love to heal a wound or still a tremulous heart.......no?

9 comments:

Roopa said...

That would have been one terrible evening! Paranoia is a universal phenomenon. Can't escape that!

Moggie Mom said...

Yeah, it was scary...I have always been a white knuckled flier, so paranoia made it a lot worse!!!!
:) :) :) :)

Ganga Dhanesh said...

whoa...lady, hold on...not managing to keep up with your torrent of writing...anyways, once again, a nice post:)

Moggie Mom said...

LOLS Ganga, Thank you for the compliment....:) :)

Roopa said...

I am a white-knuckled, thumping-hearted, Xanax-needing flier too. So I can empathize with you.

Moggie Mom said...

Welcome to the Club!!!
Gosh, what is Xanax? Forgive my ignorance but I am an anti-med person....Not taken a pill in years!!!...Well, except the odd avil when my dust and fine particles allergies peak....
:) :)

Roopa said...

alprazolam - it is a benzodiazepine, anti-anxiety , anti panic-attack pill. one pill makes you real drowsy, you might not go to sleep but you can float through turbulence ;)

TM said...

nice post...
for a moment i tht it is some 60 minutes show..and i was right, it was the show of terror in the mind

Moggie Mom said...

Well expressed, TM...Looking back, it does seem like a show... :) :)

Roopa, I will keep that in mind...:) :)