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Wings spread wide

Published : Saturday, 1 May, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1003
Aynun Nahar Esha

(This story is a tribute to BAF pilot Flight Lieutenant RummanTahmid (24) who went missing in Bay of Bengal on June 29, 2015. While some debris from his aircraft were recovered, Tahmid never returned)

Wings spread wide

Wings spread wide

It's a fine Monday morning. I took off with my aircraft from the base. Everything was alright until I lost contact with air control. But before reaching to this point, let me tell you something first.
The sun always seems a bit closer and a lot brighter when you are up in the sky, flying a metal bird, soaring high as the engines roar. Every other time, I have profoundly enjoyed the magnificence of the blue sky. Looking down, you could see the absolute brilliant look of the Bay of Bengal.  I feel so good, so powerful.
But right at the moment, sweating heavily under the cool-looking helmet, I am not in a position to dominate rather the vastness of sky above and the ocean beneath is making me a bit helpless. God, I hate that feeling.
Sitting inside the cockpit of F-7 MB fighter jet, wrestling with the joystick, I try to think, is dying this young worth it?
Oh boy, you are jumping straight to the conclusion, I thought. But first question, why is this bird not behaving? Maybe it's the engines or maybe it's the oil tanker. Could it be an electrical failure inside? Like a very tiny wire not attached properly? How I wish I knew.
A jet like this costs a lot of money. And you know, in a country like ours, even a peasant's tax money could possibly go into buying these expensive toys. That's why, ejecting from the aircraft feels like you are wasting your father's hard earned money.
But the only problem here is, the ejection button is not working. I could sense, I was falling, falling so fast. The aircraft was nose diving towards the Bay.
For a split second, I closed my eyes. What am I supposed to think right now? About God, family or death? Is 24 a good age to die? Will I be missed?
I wish I could talk to mom now. But what would I tell her? That, I am going to crash after a few seconds? I know she will cry a lot. But you know, time heals everything.
With all my might, I grabbed the joystick and pulled it harder, hoping for a last moment miracle. Nothing happened, except the jet falling downward further, decreasing the distance between the aircraft nose and the ocean surface. Still, the ocean waves seemed so beautiful to me.
So beautiful.
At first, it all went dark, or at least I thought it did. But I can assure you I was flooded with whiteness all around, it felt so warm...

The writer is a student at the University of Dhaka

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