The last few minutes on a crashing plane

Published: April 25, 2012

Each one of them had a plan, a future, a dream, a place to go. They had wives and children to love, parents who would give their own lives to save them, siblings who loved them more than themselves. PHOTO: FILE

They were headed for a destination; some for familiar places, others looking for new ventures.

She must’ve been sitting on the aisle, slowly sipping a glass of coke, glancing at the in-flight entertainment every now and then. A toddler must’ve been on his first flight looking out the window amazed at the puffy white clouds outside his window. The crew may be behind the curtain, cracking jokes, stacking up food trays and fixing their attires.

There might have a been a man in a suit, typing away corporate plans for his company for the next two quarters. A father may have been contemplating whether he had bought enough gifts for his children and should stop for more once he landed. An old man, sitting in between the two men, may have been wondering how to squeeze out from his chair to use the bathroom before the plane landed.

Each one of them had a plan, a future, a dream, a place to go. They had wives and children to love, parents who would give their own lives to save them, siblings who loved them more than themselves.

What was the exact moment when it started? Was it a sound? Was it the plane’s movement? Who knew first? Did they announce what was happening? Did they have time to react? Who explained it to the kids, what was happening? It must’ve instinctive. You can smell fear, we can innately tell danger ahead.

Can anyone imagine their fear; the painful wait till it happened, the absolute uncertainty, the helplessness in a mother’s eyes who couldn’t save her children? Did they see their entire lives flash before them?

I sit here and ask millions of these questions, and I get no answers from the TV. I sit here and imagine their faces, and I get no answers from the newspapers. I sit here and watch their loved ones breaking down repeatedly on TV, and the authorities give us no clear answers. There is contradiction everywhere. Words like most probably, maybe, perhaps and most likely are thrown around in every sentence.

The airline says they will compensate the families. Can a wad of cash make up for the pain of losing your father, son, brother, daughter or mother?

Another hour passes. Another unrecognisable body found. Another call for a funeral. Another mother cries. Another heart breaks. And we stack it all up in our heads as another tragedy.

All we can really do is pick up the debris of our heart and pretend to move on.

Read more by Saba here.

Saba Khalid

Saba Khalid

A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at letherrunrunrun.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Amelia

    This made me cry a bucket…Recommend

  • Cheryl

    U really made me feel da entire situation :…………….Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    What a pretentious bit of kitschy writing. Seriously. How annoying.

    I sit here and ask millions of these
    questions, and I get no answers from
    the TV.

    My Question: Why are you asking the TV these sadistic-as-heck questions?

    Words like most probably, maybe,
    perhaps and most likely are thrown
    around in every sentence.

    Just like this piece? Recommend

  • http://thedabbabrigade.wordpress.com RiffyR

    I’m at a loss for words.Recommend

  • Usman Shahid

    The idea behind this blog is similar to the mentality of reporters, who try to bring sympathy in their reports by asking the families of victims,

    “Aapp ko abu yaad to aa rahey hoon ga”. or how are you feeling on the death of loved ones”.

    @Author: Don’t request Allah to show you the feeling of a person who is going to die in a plane crash. Who knows your wish come true in the near future.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    @Usman Shahid:

    Exactly! This piece just feels cheap and exploitative. It is like a film trying so hard to win an Oscar, it gets buried under its gaudiness. Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    @Usman Shahid:

    Don’t request Allah to show you the
    feeling of a person who is going to
    die in a plane crash. Who knows your
    wish come true in the near future.

    OK that’s a bit harsh though. :PRecommend

  • Sanaa

    u know how to write kid… keep it up!Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    This blog does make you wonder what those last few seconds or minites were like for the passengers…. :-((Recommend

  • Haris

    You’ve got a way with words. Sometimes I don’t need to even need to read your name to know you’ve written something. You’re style on its own is so distinctRecommend

  • tehniat

    speechless.. Recommend

  • Multan

    Nice written… At least, This might be only blog, which show me the VALUE of LIFE!!!! TIME IS LIMITED and DREAM are Unlimited!!!

    Ya Allah raham…Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Hideously shmaltzy and needlessly kitschy.

    The article so transparently tries to tickle the reader’s tear glands, it’s reminiscent of the media vultures who’ve turned a horrific tragedy into an opportunity for fame.

    It offer no real information, or solemn words to honour the victims, it just desperately attempts to elicit a strong emotional torrent through melodrama.

    The author’s intentions may have been perfectly noble. But the words come out sounding rather disingenuous.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/ishaq.zaidi Ishaq.Zaidi

    I am Speechless, You wrote it’ so nicely..@ Keet it up. :)Recommend

  • http://pakistani-edu.blogspot.com Usman Shahid

    @Noman Ansari

    Harsh words come out because i was thinking that this piece will be at par with her previous writings. She is a good writer and i liked her earlier pieces but this time, she got off the track.Recommend

  • Laiba

    @noman ansari: You criticise someone’s writing and all you have are bad movie reviews to your credit. Jealous much?Recommend

  • Bisma

    very well written Saba, for a while i felt as if i was sitting in the planeRecommend

  • Shakeela

    This article really moved me. You’re a really good writer.I just dont get one little thing: “I get no answers from the newspapers. I sit here and watch their loved ones breaking down repeatedly on TV, and the authorities give us no clear answers.” Were you actually expecting the TV and newspapers to tell you what the passengers were thinking while the plane was crashing? I mean what answers were you looking for?Recommend

  • prabhjyot singh madan

    Touching !!!!, :)Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    @Laiba:

    haha yes you got me. It was jealousy! Of course! How did you know? That was a low hanging fruit, and you grabbed it with both teeth. :)Recommend

  • Naila

    she’s not asking anyone to tell her the feelings that the passengers went through, but her questions are aimed at the government, The airline? Why did they let this happen in the first place? What couldve been done to not let this tragedy happen

    Another great post. You have a proper fan following. :)Recommend

  • A typical fan

    The way u have produced the scenario and the way u have defined each and every thing is just too awesome !! U have just got a fan ! Guess who ? Me ..!! I am looking forward for ur novels… :] Recommend

  • Shamaila Javaid

    you expressed my feelings and thoughts I had in my mind…well written.. i wish we could do somthing to help the families to ease their pain.Recommend

  • Shamaila Javaid

    You simply expressed my feelings and questions I had in my mind..I wish I could do somthing to ease pain for the affected families..Recommend

  • http://Lahore GlobalNomad

    This is a sequel to a blog post in The News by one Abdullah immediately after the crash with the title, “127 Stories & 1 Plane Crash”. Wish you had some new idea and ET check that they present something unique idea. Recommend