Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Home Editor's picks A Pulitzer Prize winning report on Priyanka Gandhi’s aeroplane trip by Mausambi Singh

A Pulitzer Prize winning report on Priyanka Gandhi’s aeroplane trip by Mausambi Singh

What might look like just another air travel between two Indian cities turned out to be a fierce political statement by Priyanka Gandhi. This trip could prove to be a gamechanger for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

It was just another day for me in the office of Headlines India when I was researching for an article on India’s foreign policy by looking at Priyanka Gandhi’s photographs juxtaposed with those of Indira Gandhi. My phone rang before I could finish my first mug of coffee. It was a call from Priyanka Gandhi’s office. They asked me if I could join Priyanka for her flight from Delhi to Lucknow.

I couldn’t believe my ears. This was the biggest scoop of the election season and I was handpicked for it! Ghosh!

I immediately said yes and asked for flight details so that I can book my tickets. Priyanka’s office informed me that I shouldn’t bother as they will send the tickets. I was almost in tears. No one cares for us like they do. In the last five years, journalists were routinely forced to buy tickets even though chartered planes of ministers and big leaders went vacant.

Soon the ticket arrived in my inbox and there was another pleasant surprise. It was not a chartered plane but a common commercial airliner. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was taking an IndiGo flight. She will be walking and talking among the aam aadmi. I felt a lump in my throat.

Well, the IndiGo flight may not have a business class, but Priyanka Gandhi had already sent a message that she had class and she meant business. How could someone not miss this symbolism? Surely not an independent journalist like me.

I immediately proceeded to complete web check-in and booked myself a middle seat at 7B. I’m not only independent, I’m neutral, so I always book middle seats, neither window nor aisle, neither left nor right. I wish the biased journalists at Republic TV who question an independent leader like Mani Shankar Aiyar could understand these nuances. But when you are busy shouting, how will you get time to think and reflect?

At airport, I was among the first one to reach the boarding gates. I hoped to catch Priyanka chatting with common people there while waiting to board the flight, but she was not there. Maybe due to security reasons. But I could sense her presence. I could see that people were smiling at each other. Last time I had seen such scenes in Delhi was in 2015 when Arvind Kejriwal had swept the assembly elections. I asked a few people to smile more for my video report.

After everyone was settled in, Priyanka walked into the plane in the end. She clearly made sure that common men didn’t face any problems due to her boarding. She walked tall with her handbag that she kept in overhead cabin by herself, despite having four assistants and two bodyguards. The simplicity floored everyone.

Once she put her bag and smiled at the cabin, her assistant told her something pointing towards me. She smiled again, this time at me. I felt goosebumps. And I’m sure everyone felt the same. I remember the lady on the aisle seat in my row had immediately asked the air hostess for a blanket.

Boarding was completed. Priyanka was sitting alone in an emergency row with window seat 13F. She confidently acknowledged having understood the emergency directions given by the air hostess. It was another symbolism that can’t be missed. She was ready to take the risk alone and help common man in case evacuation is needed.

Once the flight was in air and seat-belt sign was switched off, I went to have a quick interview with Priyanka. She was still having her seat-belt on. Yet another powerful symbolism, this time laden with political message to Narendra Modi over Pulwama and Pakistan – that Priyanka doesn’t lower her guards just because everyone else thinks safety measures are no longer needed. Our borders with Pakistan will be more secure – the message was loud and clear.

I asked her some tough questions if she had pre-booked her in-flight meals and if there were some offline YouTube videos in her mobile that she could watch while in air. She calmly answered all the questions. A real leader is one who is not afraid of tough questions.

It was not a normal flight. I could see that passengers were going to the toilet more frequently than often. Perhaps it was just an excuse to catch a glimpse of Priyanka Gandhi, whose presence assured them that things were under control.

Whenever the captain ended any announcement with Jai Hind, Priyanka would smile. Just what we need today, a benign assuring display of patriotism, not an ugly vande mataram shouting jingoism.

The captain also announced that they feared some turbulence. The plane crew and air hostesses immediately skittered away, guys near the toilet ran back to their seats without peeing, but Priyanka sat there in her seat, composed, reassuringly.

I can’t forget those scary 19 seconds when the turbulence did take place. There were strange jerks. It felt as if the plane was being hit by gau-rakshaks. A 3-year-old boy was crying loudly out of fear, an old Muslim lady had started reading duas. I was scared too. The worst thoughts were coming to my mind e.g. will I die without getting this article on Priyanka Gandhi published?

However, even in such trying times, Priyanka was not screaming or looking for any divine help. She was sitting calm and composed. She didn’t even ask her bodyguards or assistants – who were sitting in the front and back rows on 12 A/B/C and 14 A/B/C respectively – to help her. Everyone was amazed. Perhaps those 19 seconds were a divine signal by the god, showing us who stands out from the rest in 2019.

Last night when Priyanka tweeted revealing how her grandmother Indira Gandhi would recount to her stories of Joan of Arc, asking her to be fearless, I could connect the dots. Who I saw in those 19 seconds was an Indian Joan of Arc – fearless and ready to lead us for bigger battles.

It is amazing how much we owe to this family. Jawaharlal Nehru gave us scientific temper, due to which we fly in aeroplanes today, Rajiv Gandhi brought computers allowing us to web check-in from home, while Indira Gandhi asked us to be fearless like Joan of Arc so that turbulences don’t bother us.

Priyanka Gandhi in an Indigo flight symbolized the best of the three generations. It is now up to us to choose the best.

~ written Mausambi Singh, Deputy Editor, Headlines India.

(the article is a work of satire inspired from a real news report below)

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Rahul Roushanhttp://www.rahulroushan.com
A well known expert on nothing. Opinions totally personal. RTs, sometimes even my own tweets, not endorsement. #Sarcasm. As unbiased as any popular journalist.

Related Articles

Trending now

Watch: Moment when firing broke out and an eyewitness who narrates exactly what happened

The horrific violence that broke out during Durga Visarjan in Munger, Bihar last night has left people wondering as to what transpired that led to the death of an 18-year old boy and left many injured

ABP quotes uncle of murderer Tauseef to whitewash the religious angle in the heinous murder of Nikita Tomar

Javed Ahmed out rightly denied any angle of religious conversion in the Nikita Tomar murder and said that he respected all religions.

Hansa Research says it has no business dealings with Republic TV, Mumbai Police’s leak to Economic Times falls flat

Hansa Research has categorically denied claims made by Mumbai Police which were quoted in a report in The Economic Times.

Bollywood: Actress Malvi Malhotra stabbed for rejecting marriage proposal of Facebook friend

Malvi Malhotra was returning home from a coffee shop when the accused said that he wanted to speak to her

India-US 2+2 talks: Geo-spatial defence pact signed, US extends its support to India amidst border aggression from China

The BECA pact will arm India with sensitive satellite and sensor data and enable it to keep a closer watch on the Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.

Recently Popular

Editors Guild issues a shameful statement tacitly condoning witch-hunt against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami by Mumbai Police: Details

After almost two weeks of the witch-hunt launched by Mumbai Police against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami, the Editors Guild has finally issued a statement

Faridabad: A month after college student Nikita files molestation complaint against Taufeeq, he shoots her dead

As per reports, the accused initially wanted to abduct the victim but killed her when she resisted him.

Nikita Tomar murder: Taufeeq alias Sajid introduced himself as Rahul, was pressurising her to embrace Islam

On Monday, 21-year-old Nikita Tomar was shot to death in broad daylight outside the Aggarwal college in Ballabgarh, Faridabad

YouTuber Lakshay Chaudhary levels serious allegations of fraud against Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official whose video on ‘Baba ka Dhaba’ had gone viral

Gaurav Wasan of Swad Official had uploaded a video about the financial difficulties faced by the elderly couple of 'Baba ka Dhaba'.

18-year-old dead as police open fire at Durga Puja Visarjan procession in Munger, Bihar: Here is everything you need to know

An 18-year-old youth has reportedly been killed and several others injured in the firing that took place on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday in Munger, Bihar

Kerala: Photographer Dia John depicts Hindu deity as smoking weed, deletes picture after outrage

Kochi-based Mukkootil Bhagavathy temple had filed a complaint against Dia John for hurting Hindu religious sentiments
- Advertisement -

Watch: Moment when firing broke out and an eyewitness who narrates exactly what happened

The horrific violence that broke out during Durga Visarjan in Munger, Bihar last night has left people wondering as to what transpired that led to the death of an 18-year old boy and left many injured

ABP quotes uncle of murderer Tauseef to whitewash the religious angle in the heinous murder of Nikita Tomar

Javed Ahmed out rightly denied any angle of religious conversion in the Nikita Tomar murder and said that he respected all religions.

Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions receives show cause notice for dumping garbage, bio-medical waste used during a film shoot in Goa on roadside

Goan activists threatened of taking Dharma Productions and Karan johar to court for breaking the laws of the land.

Weeks after being targeted by opposition parties and media for allegedly favouring BJP, Ankhi Das quits Facebook

Ankhi Das was mired in controversy lately after a WSJ article accused Facebook India of showing bias towards BJP.

Nikita Tomar murder: Main accused Tauseef belongs to a family of influential Congress politicians from Nuh in Haryana

The prime accused Tauseef's grandfather, uncles and cousin brothers are all infuential Congress politicians from Haryana's Nuh

While Munger video shows devotees protecting Maa Durga’s Murti in silence as the police unleashed blows, SP claims they shot their own

Violence erupted in Bihar’s Munger as police resorted to brute force against devotees participating in Durga Visarjan.

Waqar Zaka of Pakistani Roadies fame calls for ‘Digital Jihad’ against President of France

Waqar Zaka of Pakistani Roadies fame called for Digital Jihad against French President Emmanuel Macron.

‘Unacceptable’, ‘highway robbery’: Opposition suffers meltdown after central government makes way for any Indian to buy land in J&K

Following the passage of the new land law, opposition parties, as expected, are up in arms against the central government.

Pakistan’s National Assembly passes resolution to bring back its envoy from France, but there’s a catch

Currently, there is no Pakistani envoy in France as the last envoy was transferred to China three months back. The post has been lying vacant since then.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
469,673FollowersFollow
19,400SubscribersSubscribe