“My husband’s a pilot with an erratic schedule. So when passenger flights stopped operating during the lockdown, we finally got that ‘quality time’. We did all the ‘quarantine couple’ things. We binge watched Money Heist, worked out and played Ludo–the winner could ask the loser to do ‘one thing.’
But one morning his airline called for volunteers to fly a cargo flight carrying essentials and medical equipment. The cases in our area had doubled and I wished he wouldn’t go. But he was itching to help. When he said ‘Nothing would make me happier than doing my bit’, I couldn’t be selfish anymore.
I couldn’t sleep the night before; not knowing whether airports would shut, or flights would be grounded without any notice, leaving him stranded. The next morning I put on a brave face for him. When I saw him don his captain’s uniform, I broke down; I was proud and scared.
The next 24 hours were a nightmare. He took off at 5:30 AM but had forgotten to give me his tracking details. I was worried sick. When I finally got in touch with him, I screamed at him for forgetting! To calm me down he played Ludo with me during the halt, and after I lost, he begged me to sleep as his prize.
But his flight didn’t land at 2:30 AM like it was supposed to. I had no way to contact him. I panicked. ‘What if he’s stranded?, and worse–’what if he has to be quarantined?’ Finally, he returned home at 4:30 AM in the morning, safe and sound–I could breathe again.
After a few weeks, he was called back to pilot a flight during the Cyclone–my fears multiplied but he helped 181 people reach home to their loved ones and that’s what’s important.
He’s operating domestic flights now. When I’m scared, I think of the relieved passengers who get to go home because of him! I’ve always had the deepest respect for those fighting on the frontlines, but now I empathize with their loved ones. The uncertainty of not knowing where they are, what’s happening and whether they’ll come home or not is crushing. So while we salute our unsung heroes, let’s take a minute for their loved ones as well. Because for every fighter on ground, there’s a parent, child and spouse out there fighting their worst fears.”