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Taking a flight. Going from point A to point B. Crashes happen, but they’re so much rarer than car accidents, you’re really safer in air than on the roads. MH370 changed all that.

The MH370 Mystery

The MH370 Mystery

Usually when I take a flight, I’m terrified, one of the few passengers who believe that their prayers keep the flight in air. I switch off, or try to, by writing, or reading, or watching a movie, or sleeping off.

I know I’ve chosen to fly and that means I can’t get out of here and that I have risked a cold, wet end. Somehow, the seas seem more menacing, too deep, and I have visions of fish cleaning up my skeleton, flipping in and out of holes where my nose or eyes used to be.

The flight I’m in, with its soft light and the usual, almost ritualistic, announcements, the unflappable stewardesses who smilingly serve tea despite light turbulence, it is all a pretense– I’m inside of a flying coffin, and might as well be resigned to it.

That resignation would be higher to come by now. I have taken that flight between Kuala lumpur and Beijing, some five years ago– but the next time I’m on a flight, any flight, it will take longer to tranquilize myself.

To a writer, most of whose profession depends on “what if”– MH370 just changed the whole equation. Something the size of a jetliner has vanished into thin air with the now  (in)famous  words: “All right, Good night,” which the reporters and anchors keep bleating like some helpless chant. The best and the brightest minds and ships in the world are reportedly searching for said massive metal bird, with its 239 passengers, and the world’s media is trying to squeeze the ‘story’ till the last drop.

Each night when I go to sleep, I see a huge airplane parked someplace at a runway near a beach, and I keep imagining the passengers, including kids and infants, under duress, but alive. If I’m dreaming up such scenarios without knowing a soul on board, I cannot imagine the plight of the families in limbo, holding on, in the hotels in Beijing and Kuala lumpur.

I hope that’s how the passengers and crew of the plane are, alive, and ready to come back home. Because God knows that their loved ones, and all of us watching this deepening MH370 mystery, are ready to have them back.


Have you heard of MH370? Have you ever had a fear of flying?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Thank you for liking “Fluffy Bunny Overload.” I also wonder what happened to this plane even though there is not as much news coverage about it as before. The absence of wreckage makes me think that the plane did not crash. As for me, I do not travel by plane.

  • phillipnb says:

    Well, we have come to a point where we have to accept that MH370 is never going to be back. Here are some suggestions put up by a group of my friends to prevent this event from happening again. Hope you all will like it.

  • I cannot imagine what those families are going through. It now seems that, day by day and hour by hour, we are finally nearing the truth – and it’s not good. Despite all the conspiracy theories and the desperate hope, very sadly it could hardly have been any other way.

    I’ve flown Malaysian and I’ve been on a 777 many times (though not that particular route). And I know I’ll do it again. Both that airline and that model of plane have excellent track records. I know that flying is still safe, relatively speaking. The machine I’m in is a fantastic feat of engineering, expertly built and maintained and with safety systems honed by years of experience; the people flying it are highly trained, supremely competent individuals. I know all that, and I wouldn’t describe myself as a nervous flyer.

    But while on that plane I prefer to eat, drink, watch movies, read; anything to keep my mind occupied. Because when I lie back and try to sleep, I can’t help feeling every shudder and rattle, every breathe of turbulence, nor dwelling on the fact that 35,000 feet of empty, frigid air lies underneath my feet. So yes, I do pray, and I always will.

  • I’m a terrified air traveller,not sure why but I am. As a fellow writer I also use writing to get through a flight… my terror doesn’t allow me to put pen to paper nor does it allow fingers on a keyboard but I close my eyes and concoct tales in my head.
    It’s a terrible tragedy for any disaster to occur but disasters involving plane travel always resonates throughout the world more so then other forms of transport. Hopefully the families will find peace soon.

  • Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  • rhondabreen says:

    My wise aunt and best friend told me “you just got to give it up Rhonda and if it’s your time, it’s your time. Don’t ever let fear hold you back from getting on the plane.” It’s fear of the unknown that shakes us to our core. I’m a big scaredy baby, but I go…..I keep waiting to hear good news.

  • authorjabar says:

    Thought provoking

  • The Passengers are ALIVE! MH370 landed on desert terrain on a Northwesterly trajectory. The CIA and NSA saw the plane land safely by satellite. We are being told everything but the truth, and no one is lifting a finger to bring those people home to their distraught families.

  • Pete Buckley says:

    The evidence we have been given would point to the plane having been lost somewhere at sea though there is still a faint hope that it was hijacked and that the passengers are safe somewhere. Any speculation would be just that – speculation. For the relatives, it’s the not-knowing that is the awful thing and my thoughts go out to them.

  • Its unfortunate when incidents like this happen as flying really IS the safest way to travel. There are very few accidents with flights yet when there are they are so publicised frankly scare people. Car accidents are not publicised anywhere near as much yet how many car accidents are there every single day – a lot basically. But nobody thinks twice about driving. Saying that it is definitely a mystery how a thing of that size can go “missing”.

  • mikeakin1 says:

    I am a retired 20 year veteran of the Air Force. It is with embarrassment, well not really, but with a little bit of hesitation that I admit I will, or have not flown since I retired. I know mathematically air travel is the safest form of transportation; however, since I don’t have to fly…I won’t. Call me crazy, which my wife has many times. This new phobia of mine has no rational explanation for it, it’s just there.


  • Harliqueen says:

    I don’t fly ever, I can’t even go near a plane!
    I have heard of this flight, and we can all just hope when news comes it is good news.

  • jr cline says:

    I have heard about this flight.
    I’m not afraid of flying. I’m afraid of throwing up while flying.

  • simonfalk28 says:

    I feel particularly for people like yourself who have a connection with Malaysia. Let’s hope some information will come to light soon.

  • Beautiful post. I haven’t watched any news on this, but I am aware of what is going on. It is incredibly sad. My heart goes out to all the families involved.

    I haven’t flown much, and never over the ocean. After reading your third paragraph, I am quite certain I now never will.

  • Peter Nena says:

    The fact of that plane is terrifying. It chills me to imagine the fate of those aboard. Even worse is the condition of their families, relatives, and friends. Are they dead? Are they kidnapped and held in some obscure place undergoing torture? Are they victims of an experiment gone wrong, of a skilfully planned terrorist agenda? I read about some obscure, dangerous-feeling experiments conducted in the earth’s ionosphere. If people can do that, surely they can find a missing jetliner. That behemoth! I wonder. It would be a little relieving if it were found, whether crashed, with all dead. Mysterious disappearances–I have invested time to read them online–are terrifying. Fear of the unknown just got really real, and worse. How can an entire plane just vanish like fart in the wind?

  • Wow, this post is a AMAZING and speaks to me on so many levels! I understand that statistically flying is said to be safer that driving, but when broken down the dynamics seems quite different. This unsolved MH370 mystery is the equivalent of an unfinished novel waiting for the “happy ending”. That what appeals to our minds and souls, but every passing day leaves a lingering fear that the authors of this story want an ending unprecedented in aviation history. Scary thought !

  • Damyanti says:

    I think my views on this flight have to do with the continuous coverage that I cannot evade, cos I’ve been lying sick in bed, and find myself unable to focus on reading. But my hope remains. I really, really hope, all the passengers are safe, and will come back to their families.

    Apologies for not replying to each of you individually. I hope to visit back each one of you, soon, and thank you so much for stopping by to share your views.

  • I had a terrible fear of flying which I have blogged about on my site
    I spent hundreds of pounds in hypnotherapy, but it was a British Airways Fear Of Flying course that got me in the air for the first time. That was only about 6 or 7 years ago. Last summer I flew to the USA and Canada, something I never imagined I would EVER do.
    THe missing aircraft is really worrying, but it wouldn’t put me off flying. In fact I booked my holiday to Egypt at the weekend x

  • No lady, no. Have enjoyed your work – much of your “voice” that stamps itself as a strong and growing talent. But in non fiction, a moment, a week are surely needed to allow childish horrors to dim and the artist to begin finding a true and valuable expression to solidify. Those involved in this horrible event – need your consideration in my view, and for a matured reflection to be even possible.

    The model could be “Nox”. Even that slips and suddenly slides between humanity and dreaming . It will rise in time, the aeroplane in its time. Re Fukushima for example: today is too

    close, even the three years. ( here is a family revisiting their old bathroom today)

    Dry your eyes.(I flew out of south east Asia too, last October. The dank atmosphere at Beijing airport, lying on its anonymous plain scraped from old farm land, was nauseating, and the “kids” who knew nothing and no-one, were still sullen and robotic; almost Mao-driven as they searched me and my bags three times in seven hours, though I was obviously exhausted, because doing that endless prodding peeking and driving me, would assure them of a mean little salary that would not fairly reward them.) the departure of an aircraft will be explained when different races begin to play ball and reveal their Intelligence; they aren’t yet game to reveal what they must know.

  • Susan Scott says:

    yup, there by the grace of G.d go you or I .. let’s hope that there is positive outcome on this. If our phones can be tracked why not an aeroplane for Pete’s sake. I’m on a long flight from South Africa to the States tomorrow .. .. I’ll be breathing deeply all the way ..

  • Desiree B says:

    Yes, I’ve heard of it and I hope they find that plane soon.
    And me? Flying? Hah! I’m a gal that likes to be grounded, sorry. lol

  • lahowlett says:

    Well said. I, too, hold out for the scenario you describe of the passengers being alive even if under duress. One can only hope.

  • grotmanharry says:

    Very Nice

  • Dave says:

    Yes and you’re kidding, right? 🙂 I won’t go into the missing plane, but I will note that I have a terrible time flying. And the older I get the worse it gets. If you want to get an idea of what I look like when I have to fly, check out the scene in French Kiss where Meg Ryan’s character attempts to get over her fear of flying. Yep, I’m that bad, at least on the inside 🙂

  • Dalo 2013 says:

    It is strange how peaceful I am when I fly…and a decade+ ago, I was involved in a flight with an engine fire and emergency landing and that experience did not affect me in any way. I am still peaceful, and trusting of the pilots & crew (more than with drivers on the roads & highways). The fate of MH370 does seem bleak, but there is still hope… Nice post.

  • If this were a novel, you’d say, no way. Can’t be done.

  • st sahm says:

    What a feeling since you’ve been on that flight path. I’ve had fictional idealistic thoughts like all the passengers were ‘in on it’ and have started a new life exactly where they planned. Imagining scenarios like that feels more peaceful to me as an outsider but not knowing has to be maddening and heartbreaking for the families. Even if planes aren’t upgraded with high tech GPS systems (from what I’ve read they give vague delayed points bounced off satellites? How can that be?) most of all the passengers electronics are equipped with very accurate GPS so not being able to locate anything from anyone is unnerving.

  • Good article. I wrote two on the same topic that I have on FB. Well, until there is any solid evidence there will be theories and speculations around. Hope the passengers are safe wherever they are and they return safely to their families.

  • rabbiadar says:

    I have no idea what to think about MH370. What has struck me more than anything is the bizarre behavior of the Malaysian military and government. There is simply no telling whether they are merely incompetent or somehow complicit in the disappearance of that plane and its passengers.

    I’m not afraid of flying, never have been, but I choose my airlines carefully. I can’t imagine ever, under any circumstances, flying Maylasia Airlines.

  • D.G.Kaye says:

    Beautifully said and I had envisioned the same – hoping for hijack instead of death. It is a frightening world we live in now. All of our simple pleasures seem to have accumulated fear and suspicion when we venture out to fly on a plane.

  • tucsonmike says:

    Reblogged this on I am an Author, I Must Auth and commented:
    Let the investigators and searchers do their jobs. Intellectually, I would love to speculate, but would rather hold off.

  • Sammy D. says:

    It is tragic and frightening; thank you for voicing all our fears and sympathy for the families. The best analysis I’ve seen is at There’s a link on that page to “A Startling Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet”. It doesn’t alleviate the tragedy, but it does bring the mystery back into the realm of “likely” rather than “inexplicable” or “terrorist”. Our prayers are with all who are on the flight and their families.

  • tucsonmike says:

    Intellectually I would love to speculate, but think the Investigators and Searchers should be allowed to do their job.

  • I too hope for a miracle for the passengers on this ill-fated flight, but I do not think that will be the case. More likely, and hopefully for the sake of the family of the victims, wreckage will soon be found. I have to agree with Dan who posted above. My bet is also on a fire on-board. The ascent to 45K feet would be consistent with a pilot trying to oxygen-starve a fire. But, as you have flown that route, your fears are certainly not unlike those of many others.

  • I really hope that people are fine and can be brought home back, safe.

  • leesha0304 says:

    The missing Malaysian flight is really sad and scary. You think to yourself, how can they lose anything that big in this day and age? I hope they find it soon and my prayers are with the families of those on that flight.

    As for being nervous to fly, I think most people are. I used to get all worked up before a flight. With my current job, I’ve had to fly a lot and while I still don’t enjoy flying, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable in a plane and can even soothe other passengers. Turbulence? Just think of it as potholes in the sky, no big deal generally. And accident rates? The chance of being in a fatal plane accident is very low (I think it’s like 0.0000005, but that’s probably not the actual stat). You’re most likely to have a car accident. Plane travel is (I think) actually the safest way to travel.

  • I think the scary thing about flying is the lack of control. If you’re driving a car, you’re holding the steering wheel and can hopefully do something to less damage and injury. In a plane, all you can do is hold on to your seat and hope the pilot knows what he/she is doing. Plus, cars are smaller, so maybe that adds to the feeling of safety in them as opposed to a plane.

  • Karis says:


  • I thought that I was the only one that believed that my prayers singlehandedly keep my flight soaring and landing safely! I grip the seat and close my eyes during turbulence, landing and takeoff, as if I were on a roller coaster. I hate flying but I continue to do it. The mystery of the missing flight and passengers makes me that more o edge. Praying that they are on land, a remote island, waiting to be rescued.

  • Dan Antion says:

    All of us have a sense of “there but for the grace of God…” but it must be especially troubling for you, having been on that flight before. Sadly,I don’t think this will end well for the families waiting for more news. Personally, I tend to go with the theory that the crew was fighting a fire and that the turn was trying to reach a backup airport.

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