Bonding over Arthur Hailey’s books

by Chandrika R Krishnan

Flight into Danger...also called Runaway zero Eight was my first book by Arthur Hailey. He had co-authored it with John Castle. This dog-eared, yellowed book is still  one of prized possessions.  I have never been to the cockpit of the plane ..Did I say never been?

Sorry, I have been to the cockpit of Maple Leaf Flight 714 along with George Spencer.

When both the pilot and the captain of the plane are down with food poisoning after eating fish, it falls on our hero who had flown a single-engine plane some twenty years ago to bring the plane safely down.  From the control room, Treleaven guides Spencer and we are taken inside a cockpit. At the end of this thin little volume I had bitten my nails to the bone and had sworn never to fly . I had also learnt how people handle the evacuation process and keep things ready during an emergency.  That was when I was sixteen or seventeen. I was hooked to Arthur Hailey and went through all his books like a horse with blinkers.  I knew all about Phantom pain and that an autopsy is done by a ‘Y’ shaped incision and that the Rh type in your blood group  can make a difference in the early stages of pregnancy from his Final Diagnosis .  I learnt about hotel industry from his book Hotel. When I walk into a bank, I remember The Money Changers and I know that medicines for cold is to keep ‘”mothers happy!”   The nexus between doctors and pharma industry was dealt very beautifully in Strong Medicine.  Overload dealt with Electricity board and Wheels about automobile industryVery well researched, he takes us into an Airport or behind the scenes in the news industry in his The Evening News. 

A couple of years back, when I re-read the Flight into Danger while traveling, I had a stranger approaching me at the airport and we had a pleasurable one hour conversation taking us back to the world of Arthur Hailey and his books. He lamented that people hardly know about his books. I am not sure if he is popular author among the young but to  my family and me, he was our dining table companion.

 

 

 

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