A failed entrepreneur moves towards redemption
This story has been inspired by the floods that occurred in Mumbai in July 2005. I spent them trapped on the eleventh floor of an apartment building without electricity. My sole link to the world was my Nokia 6600 phone.
Until I switched on the television the next day, I did not fathom the extent of the floods and that I was one of the lucky few. I had food to eat, clean water to drink, and had got home without an incident. Several colleagues had harrowing tales to relate about wading through chest deep water, crossing flooded flyovers, cars floating out to the sea even and of course there were no flights. Even a first broke out on an ONGC oil platform. People slept overnight in their offices and the cellular phone networks stopped functioning around 18:30 IST on 26 July 2005. However, what emerged out of the floods was the resiliency of the people. Nothing held them back from what they had to do.
He climbed inside his personal powered aircraft and shut the door. All he wanted to do was go home, but, at the thought of home, he realized that he couldn’t remember where it was or what his name was. All he was sure of was that the back of his head hurt. Must have been when he landed after the blast. An errant gust of wind recalled him to his immediate peril.
He knew it was suicide to try to take an aircraft as light as this up in this kind of weather. The chances of his dying in a crash were just as likely as his dying on the rig, but he took the craft up anyway. His personal powered aircraft careened wildly. He shoved the throttle to its stop and tried to climb above the clouds, but that didn’t work. This was not that kind of aircraft. He tried the small radio but heard only static. Nothing seemed to work, not even his cell phone which should have been working thanks to the new cellular phone masts installed near the rig. The portable GPS failed, too, and visibility was near zero thanks to the rain. It was all he could do to keep the craft aloft.
The sea seemed endless. Had he flown over the city in the rain? He was about to turn when he caught sight of a bright warning light. About the same time, the PPA’s engine cut out so he glided towards the light. As he got closer, he saw a convoy of police cars and an ambulance jammed together. They were almost floating in the water. There seemed to be no one in the vehicles. Behind the emergency vehicles was an endless line of cars, buses and trucks stretched ahead as far as the eye could see. But they were all dark and from what he could see, uninhabited. Where was everyone?