The last few minutes on a crashing plane

Published: April 25, 2012
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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

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 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? PHOTO: AFP

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 www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive

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