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Monday, 22 July 2013

Epilogue

You are reading the preliminary version of the two books. To get the finalised versions, you need to purchase them.

By LinCH

Epilogue

It is 2009. The airline is already one of the largest airlines in the world, and Cabin Crew itself has gone through big changes. It's now an exception for a cabin crew member to be promoted at the speed and ease when the airline was shooting upwards in its growth trajectory. Animal bitching among the crew was ruthless and senseless at the time but now, it's the relentless productivity drive and the competition for promotion and a good record with the Company, among the crew that is wearing them thin.

Richard's star had been falling ever since his brother-in-law was deployed to another division as part of the Company's routine rotation of talent. The Cabin Crew Executive (CCE) job had been on the chopping board for some time as it was seen by everyone to be a waste of money. The decision was made to retrench non-performing crew, and offer all the CCEs and some older crew members early retirement packages following a quarterly loss for the first time in the Company's history. Reluctant to leave, but fearing the adverse consequences of defying management, Richard joined a few CCEs and a local businessman to start a consultancy firm which airlines could tap on for advice on in-flight service. It closed as swiftly as it started, and he found himself first working as a property agent, then a security guard and finally a taxi driver.

Howard and Connie are happily married, but they've no children. Howard's case is still open, but no one suspects him of murdering his ex-lover any longer. He had also taken a retirement package and now lives in China with Connie, where he is employed by a Chinese airline to train its cabin crew.

Ramesh is still a bachelor and isn't working. He ploughs about his neighbourhood on clutches whenever he wants to exercise; otherwise, he is seen racing on his motorised wheelchair in the different shopping malls in the island.


What led to his leaving the airline, some say, is karma. He was counting hell money with his Amsterdam gusto on his lustful face one day, when he walked and fell into an opened manhole at Dam Square. A prostitute saw him fall (luckily!) and ran out of her cubicle in her bra and panties, shouting to passersby for help. They called an ambulance which brought him to the same hospital he was once warded. This time, though, he was covered in sewage and smelling of faeces. Doctors made the difficult decision to save his broken leg, and he was allowed to stay in Hotel Okura after his discharge.

He was recovering and waiting for the doctor's permission to fly home, and his allowances were getting bloated because he wasn't working. He realised that, and was happily calculating his real money when the station manager called to say the Airline would be boarding him out medically. The Company's astute panel of doctors had concluded Ramesh would never recover from his serious injury to ever work again, even though he would probably be able to keep his leg. Not even the compensation of a hundred thousand dollars could console him, and he was heard sobbing all by himself, in his room, that night. 

It turned out the Company's doctors were right. On arriving home on the flight, the same leg broke again at the airport despite the fact there was no incident. At the hospital, doctors this time, removed the lower half of his left leg.

Only Gopal is still flying with the airline. The tall, compact man with deep set, supercilious eyes and large features, and big hungry lips is now a fearsome Assistant Purser and a cabin crew trainer. Although his work on board has repeatedly been called into question, everyone agrees he has talent. He has always been very good picking the right balls to polish and doing it well, even as he destroys others.

Feng lives in a big house with his wife and four children. They're a happy family. I'm glad he has chosen not to follow that man's trendy campaign to have two or less children in the island. When their children were growing up, husband and wife took turns to provide care and guidance for their children. A chartered accountant, his wife is always supportive of him and respects him as an individual and a husband, like the way he respects her and others.


Feng owns and runs a few medium-sized consultation companies which are generally doing well. He still lives on principles though I'm not sure if he compromises a little, nowadays. He is as optimistic as ever. These are perhaps some of the very characteristics which brought him success, but that doesn't mean he has the truth with him: so while he exudes confidence and people now admires him like I always do, I don't really envy him.

I have not changed much, but I'm largely at peace. My predictions and worse fears have come true again and again. History is repeating itself when it seems I'm always unable to benefit from being right, in any way. I can forgive myself for still having the occasional feeling that I only lose. That was why, since school, I had acquired the phobia of success. It seemed that failure is bad, but with success, there is even more to lose. Regret still fascinates and hobbles me, keeping in place the cycles of insight and loss, but it's now within control. 


Once in a while, I still encounter Isness. That and the knowledge I probably don't have much time left in reality, is what I am thankful for.


                                           – The End –