KARACHI: Princess Flavia was royalty in more than just name. She was the most pampered child in her home. Her mother would serve her breakfast in bed. She owned a huge collection of elegant dresses. And she loved to dance and go to parties.
But unlike fairy tale princesses, her end was not a happy one. Flavia, 26, who worked as a flight attendant, died a tragic death. She perished with 127 other people in the Bhoja Air crash on the outskirts of the capital on Friday.
“Her life was similar to those princesses live, except for one aspect. She had a job, and princesses don’t work,” said Prince Henry, Flavia’s elder brother. Sitting in his apartment in DHA’s Bukhari commercial, Henry tried hard to fight the tears as friends and relatives streamed in with condolences.
“We were inseparable. We were best friends; we even studied in the same school.” Both of them matriculated from YMCA, after which Flavia did her intermediate and BSc from a government college. Then developed her desire to become a flight attendant. “I don’t know what inspired her to become an airhostess. But whatever the motivation was, she wasn’t ready to budge from her decision,” he shrugged.
The decision irked her father and brother. “We knew it was a risky job. We were always scared of plane crashes.” They tried to persuade her to study more but she would not listen. In between attending phone calls and explaining addresses to relatives, Henry shared that Shaheen Air was the first airline Flavia joined and where she worked for two and a half years.
Every flight of hers ended with lots of stories to share with the family. “She loved travelling and was crazy about flying to the UK where my father lives. But she never got a chance,” he said with a small smile. Flavia, who was well known for her attractive features, also modelled for an advertisement for a pharmaceutical company alongside her brother. According to him, she was recently made an offer to model for a newly launched lawn line but he did not permit her to take this job as he wanted her to focus on one thing at a time.
She was so intent on her career that she pooh-poohed getting married. “Last Friday I told my mother to just marry her off and Flavia just laughed,” said Henry.
Flavia’s passion for her career included the goals of working for renowned airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways. But for the time being, she took what was offered to her: Bhoja Air. “The airline promised a bright future - of going onboard with jumbos. That lured Flavia into joining and she fell for their trap,” he said angrily. “Every time her flight would take off, I would call her to ask if she had landed safely. But this time her mobile was off. Her life was off.”
Christian leaders from various political parties came to condole but were shooed away by Henry. “They just wanted to make news by coming to our place. I told them that if they really wanted to help, they should set up a camp in Islamabad and facilitate those coming to take their loved ones.”
But perhaps the gravest slight was that Henry had to bring her body home on a Bhoja Air flight.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.