Saturday, August 2, 2014


8pm, flight from Mumbai to Kolkata. The take off has just taken place and we are hovering in the sky like a feeble bird trying to stay stable in a gale. Things seem to be shaking from time to time and as for the fear of death, it's not there anymore. If
It must happen it must, there is no stopping it unless put onto the spot. All of a sudden, a crackle comes across the speakers as the captain says "we have a guest on board" and then pauses. I thought there is some celebrity who would like to entertain us on the momentous occasion of Eid, I could only imagine a film star popping out of his seat, dancing on a number or two, kissing babies on their forehead and giving autographs on ladies' breasts. But before I could carry my imagination any further, the captain let's out the rest of his dialogue "who is in need of medical assistance, is there anyone on board with medical background ?".

My pupils dilated as if somebody had used them as a trampoline, from being wide and full, they shrunk to the size of a full stop. I heard the rest of the passengers on the plane crane their neck over their seats to see what the drama was all about. They were probably missing their favorite serial on the flight so this story might be one for the kitty parties and the poker nights. At the back of the plane was an air hostess who seemed to have lost consciousness and was being carried by her colleagues. She had been made to lie down while they looked at us with desperation, but not a soul moved, all could been seen were their eyes looking back at them, anticipating, expecting but not delivering. But then I saw a man with grey hair get up from his seat with an air of confidence, I could notice the outline of his stethoscope in the pocket of his jacket and this was his moment to shine.

He had been sitting in his dilapidated clinic in the gutters of the city, tending to pregnant teenagers and children faking their sickness to skip school. The money was measly, the hours were boring and life seemed to be just treading downhill with each passing day. But now, was not the time for making ends meet, he had been called for and he would serve. He started walking towards the air hostess and noticing him she went up to him with an air of anticipation in her eyes as she asked "are you the doctor ?", the man nodded his head and said something that sounded like "Can I see the patient ?" The look on her eyes changed drastically to that of disappointment as she asked him to sit down on his seat. What had happened ? Was he a veterinarian ? Was his breath too stinky ? Apparently it was neither, the question that he had asked was "can I use the toilet ?" So much for his moment to shine and serve. The old fart wanted to go for a tinkle while somebody was probably boarding the stairway to heaven.

It was one thing embracing death in times of peril but would I let somebody else die while I continue living ? I was no doctor nor a medical practitioner, hell my mother told me I was not man enough to study biology. But there seemed to be nobody to help and the only thing I was good at was being a hero. But what was I going to do ? Hold their hand and tell them it was ok ? I had no answer but the situation at hand seemed to have improved. Someone had shown up and tended to the lady, things were under control. This plane was not going to be hearse after all. I heaved a sigh of relief as I got up from my seat, went towards the seat where the hostess was lying, passed her by and opened to door to the toilet. Order had now been restored.

No comments: