Thursday, July 18, 2013

Passenger 32C

Sameer Gupta was running late. He checked his watch. 6.00pm. His flight was at 6.20pm and he was still stuck in the long queue at security check. I knew I should not have stopped at McDonalds!, he cursed himself, that McEgg would cost me 5000 bucks if I miss this flight!

After what seemed like ages, he finally got through all the checks. Snatching his bag from the conveyer belt, he rushed towards the boarding gate. Fortunately, he was just on time. With a sigh of relief, he boarded the Air India flight to Bangalore. He quickly settled down on seat number 32C. Aisle seats were his favorites. Soon the flight took off. While everyone craned their neck to look outside the window, Sameer's sole intention was deep slumber.

Half an hour later, the food services started. Delicacies, they said. Sameer shook his head in disgust. Delicacies my foot! I'd rather eat a cactus!. He was getting bored and still had two more hours to spend on the flight. He took out his iPad, and was about to unlock it, when he stopped short, stunned. He could not believe it. There was a news flash from CNN on his lock screen, and it read:

Breaking News: Air India flight AI466 to Bangalore crashes. Many feared dead.

Sameer blinked. This cannot be true. There must be some mistake. AI466 was precisely the flight in which he was sitting right now! And the news flash had come in forty minutes ago! His head swam and he felt faint. And then he saw it, a second update from CNN on his lock screen. He had missed reading it. It read:

Flight AI466 crash update: All bodies charred beyond recognition. Officials claim there are no survivors. Search still going on.

Sameer felt sick and the bile rushed up his throat. He got up and dashed to the washroom. The small enclosure did not help his cause and he puked into the commode. Strange thoughts invaded his head. What does it mean? Is this flight going to crash? Am i going to die? Charred? He felt helpless. Splashing copious amounts of water on his face, he went back to his seat.

Sameer's hands were shaking as he opened the CNN app and tried to see the details. To his surprise, the news details were not there in the app! He calmed down a bit. Maybe this was indeed a big mistake. Maybe they broadcasted the new flash in error. He started to take deep breaths and closed his eyes. He was almost back to normal when the cabin attendant's shrill voice rang out over the intercom:

"We are about to run into bad weather. I request all passengers to return to their seats and fasten their seat-belts. We will resume the food service shortly."

Panic returned in a flash. Turbulence! Sameer felt his hearbeat double up. He gripped the seat handle tightly. Within a few minutes, the plane was surrounded by a thick envelope of grey clouds. He could feel the entire plane shaking. Each jerk added to his fear and he felt faint. He started praying.

After a few seconds, the turbulence subsided and they were steady again. But Sameer did not feel reassured. He called the cabin attendant and said:

"Are you sure everything is okay? Are you sure there is nothing wrong with this flight?"

The attendant smiled at him and said:

"Please do not panic, sir. It was just a minor turbulence. Everything is fine. Try and relax. I will get you a glass of water."

Sameer gulped down the water and tried to calm his nerves. He glanced at the other passengers. Most of them were sleeping peacefully. A few of them were chatting happily, and some were reading magazines. Everyone seemed so relaxed. They haven't seen what I have seen! The future!, he thought bitterly.

To his utter dismay, he felt his surroundings darken and turned to see another thick layer of clouds surrounding the plane. This one was much thicker. Much more ominous. The turbulence resumed. This time the plane started shaking uncontrollably. He knew this was it. The plane was going to crash. All of them were going to die a horrible death. He closed his eyes and screamed....

With a strong jerk, Sameer woke up. He was drenched in sweat. He looked around. He was sitting safely on his seat. The plane was safe and cruising along. It was just a dream! Just a big, stupid dream! And it felt so real! Relief washed over him. He almost laughed. I have to tell Sanjana about this! Thinking about his wife added to the relief. He looked at his watch. Still an hour to go. Sanjana would be waiting for him at the airport. They had planned a lavish dinner and he was really looking forward to it. He looked around at everyone. Everything was normal. Peace. Quiet.

And then it started. The plane shook violently. The baggage enclosures flew open and bags rained down on them. Sameer watched in horror as the front half of the plane broke away. He felt his body lurch forward. He closed his eyes. Just a few more seconds. And then - Peace. Quiet.

Sanjana was about to leave for the airport. Her husband was scheduled to land in less than an hour. She had just started her car when she felt her iPhone buzzing. She grabbed her phone. It was a notification from CNN, and it read:

Breaking News: Air India flight AI466 to Bangalore crashes. Many feared dead.


  1. omg...this is so thrilling and full of suspense....and ends with a twist...super awesome story :) :)

  2. What a suspense! How can it be true? He could foresee death!

  3. beautiful example of a person with an abstract mind. pray to god that its not a true story.

  4. This keeps getting better and better :D

  5. really know how to hook the readers.Having a lot of fun reading your stories Abhilash.This one took me back to the first episode of Lost:)