Experiences in flight are always galore and always very unique in nature.
|Experiences in flight are always galore and always very unique in nature. Stories of human tragedies need not be physical. It can also be psychological and hence the trauma in such cases stays much longer and troubles the heart endlessly. |
This particular incident happened when we were flying out of Tokyo. Now Japan is a country where the crime rates are low and the population is steeped in a very well mix of tradition and modernity.
We were taking the flight out of Narita airport and the commercial manager of Narita Airport, Mr. Tanakashi came in the aircraft and briefed me about a passenger who will be escorted in the aircraft in handcuffs and two Japanese security officials also would travel with him till Delhi. This meant that the passenger was a prisoner and by the travel protocol he seemed quite an aggressive one. I asked Mr. Tanakashi that one row in front of the passenger and one row in the aft of the passenger seat has to be kept vacant and Mr. Tanakashi confirmed that he is following the Standard Operating Procedures of prisoner transportation.
Passenger boarding started and the prisoner came in last along with two well-built police personnel immaculately dressed, and with the traditional Japanese bows at every crew that they are meeting while walking up the aisle to go to their seat.I went to the boarding door and accepted the prisoner. Looking at the prisoner I was shocked. He was a handsome well-dressed man in his early thirties and very polite in his disposition and very soft-spoken.I was wondering as to what crime he might have committed that warrants two officers to escort him all the way to India? I decided to talk to him later. I had to complete pre-departure paperwork. I went into the cockpit and informed the commander that the prisoner is on board and that all paperwork was in order. Flight papers and necessary documents were all on board and we are ready from our end to close the door.
The flight took off and after the seatbelt signs went off I went to see the prisoner. By now his chains were removed and he was sipping a glass of orange juice. As per protocol, prisoners and escorts are not served any alcoholic beverages.
I asked his name and he said that his name is Akhilesh Dahiya from Haryana. So I asked him what has he done so severely that he is being escorted by police to India?
His story shocked me and filled me with anguish and pain and us as crew how hard we may try to be aloof and apathetic, we are humans too and human tragedy does affect us greatly and we cannot forget such incidence for a long time.
In 2006 he went to Tokyo on an assignment for a travel agent company as he could speak Japanese. while working there as a travel coordinator for the Japanese tourist who would be visiting India through the travel agent, he met a Japanese girl and fell in love with her. His visa was for just a year so he came back in 2007 and went back again in 2008.
This time his visa was for three years. Now he and the girl got married and they started to live quite happily. Both were very happy and their's was an ideal family, both devoted to each other. In 2009 she delivered their first child. A girl and Akhilesh and his wife named her Saraswati. In 2011 around the month of October Akhilesh's visa was expiring and so he had applied for residentship citing that he is married to a local and that they have a child.
His petition was rejected. Akhilesh did not come back to India but overstayed. By 2012 December authorities came up to their resident and picked him up and he was put behind bars. His wife came to his rescue and arranged for a pardon only with the undertaking that she would be responsible for his deportation to India.
By now Saraswati was a cute, beautiful girl of three. With her innocence and sweet child voice and vocabulary asked Akhilesh, Papa are you leaving me and going..? Akhilesh with a chocked voice assured her that he would not leave her. So Akhilesh and his wife left Tokyo and went to the wife's paternal home in Hokkaido, in a village called Tsurui, without the knowledge of the authorities. Life turned normal. Akhilesh was helping his wife's father in agriculture and during this time his wife got pregnant again and in 2013 they had their second child, a girl, and this time she was named Aiko meaning love and affection.
Akhilesh and his wife were very happy and they were celebrating. This was 2014. Just a year later in the month of October 2015 Japanese authorities came to Tsurui and apprehended Akhilesh. He was handcuffed in front of his family, his wife was begging them to release him, Saraswati was too young to understand what was happening but realized that her father was being taken away from her and Aiko was too small to even comprehend.
He was now on my flight to India, Delhi. Narrating this story his eyes welled up He said that he will never be issued any visa for japan again. That means he will not be able to go to japan again in his lifetime. His wife will not be given an Indian visa for at least five years. " I will not be able to see Saraswati and Aiko again" How will I stay without them? they are my life and my heartbeat" .... He was now crying inconsolably. The Japanese police escorting him understood his mental trauma and they consoled him. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him that he can make a petition to the Japanese consulate that on the humanitarian ground his plea is heard. Akhilesh was inconsolable.
The flight landed in Delhi and after all the passengers deplaned the prisoner, again chained and escorted by the Japanese policeman, was escorted to the door where Indian immigration officers were waiting for Akhilesh. The handing over took place papers that were signed by all the parties. The Japanese policeman saluted us and as per protocol they needed to salute the commander of the flight and so they waited for the Captain to come out of the cockpit and they did the ceremonial salute and walked out of the aircraft along with the immigration officers and Akhilesh in tow. I kept looking at Akhilesh.
With his drooping shoulders, he was reluctantly walking through the aerobridge, two immigration in front, and the Japanese police personnel behind. He did not look behind and I saw him drawing a white handkerchief and wiping his eyes. A little later he was gone. I deplaned along with my crew and upon clearing formalities in the airport reached the hotel. Thought of sleeping but Akhilesh was imploring me to help him to reach Saraswati and Aiko.