There are many events in our life, when remembered now, one can say, “I knew where I was…when that happened”.
Like, when Indira Gandhi was killed I know where I was exactly. I remembered my walk all the way from School to home, a distance of some 6 kms. Because when some big people die in India, the second casualty is transport. On the way, I saw my friend “Jassi” and I called out. He quickened his steps and sauntered away. Little did I know, his community was the third casualty.
Just the same, I remember 29th January 1986. The space shuttle Challenger had exploded during launch, and next day I had switched on the TV and saw the event again and again on Doordarshan on my black and white TV.
This Space Shuttle launch was different. It was the first time a “non-astronaut”, a teacher, was chosen by U.S. through a nationwide selection. The hype had got massive media attention and was topped by a huge explosion in the sky. My eyes always seems to follow one lone rocket which seems to “survive” the explosion and run away from the crime scene.
I had never been so glued to the set before. The next time I happen to do the same, glued to Internet, was Sep 11, 2001, another of those, “I knew where I was…” moment.
A new show, Challenger: The Final Flight, is on Netflix. Miniseries are my favourite, and this has just 4 hours of binge worthy episodes.
7 crew members died. The show takes us into the lives of few of them and their families. Also are those engineers and administrators of NASA, who made a fateful decision to launch and the callousness which accompanied the day of the launch. The ominousness is highlighted by a glitch just minutes before launch.
Also in play are the other Human sides. Second people to show up (always) are the coverup guys, the third people to show up are the people who want to tell the truth.
And all while, the First People, they knew: “It was going to explode”.