Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Ride in the Chopper



It was in the winters that the weather was sunny with no trace of clouds in the clear blue sky; excellent weather for the planes to fly especially the ones with the rotors that we call helicopter or chopper in military terms. As if knowing the thoughts that was going through my mind, a chopper landed on the helipad, that was in much need of use to qualify it as a helipad. It was a chopper from Nepal and the pilots were to be halting the night in our mess.

That night we planned a gathering with the pilots, it was nothing official. We just gathered for a little bit of chit chat over the bottle of whiskey. The whiskey made us tipsy. One topic led to another and the male egos were hurt by contesting about whom being tougher in the field. From the look on the face of the pilot, I can feel that they were not happy about the talks revolving around the male ego, toughness and boasting of drunken men. The gathering was ended by the invitation of the pilot to take us for a joy ride the next day.

I did not want to go for a ride but my friend wanted me to accompany him and he said that such opportunity should never be missed, for we would never know when we would get such chance again. I felt he was right. So we went to the helipad and there we saw the pilots ready, looking smarter than the night before in their flying suit with a dark sunshade covering their eyes.

We got inside the chopper buckled up and took off. The ride was not smooth at all from the beginning itself. The moment it was off the ground the chopper made a maneuver with its nose pointing at the ground which could have made us fall flat on the face, if not held by the seat belt. It followed the river and the view was awesome from the top until the pilots tilted the chopper sideways and told us to have a better look. I was so afraid that the door would open and we would fall freely from the sky. But I could not show the fear openly remembering all the boasting the night before, and tried to act normal, showing fake excitement of joy.

The final maneuver was that the chopper was going towards the steep cliff directly as if it was going to crash with it. I nearly told the pilot to look out for the approaching cliff when they made a steep climb like that of a fighter jet. I felt like puking due to the comical maneuver combined with that of fear of the imminent accident. I wanted to scold the pilot but that would amount to showing how afraid I was so I kept mum.

However, we landed safely. I internally appreciated the capabilities of the pilots, but I did not mentioned it to them, knowing full well that they have performed all those stunt, with us on board, as a sweet reply for all our boasting and hurting their ego the night before. And I m quite sure, they must have appreciated our guts too, for we did not cry out like a drowning cow, throughout the crazy maneuvers. With mutual respects we parted our ways.   

Reaching home, I had a very unsuccessful attempt to vomit remembering the flight and feeling dizzy more than consuming a bottle of whiskey. Even now the sight of a chopper makes me feel retch.

(As narrated to me by my friend Maj Chang almost 7 years ago)