Flight 303 by Suresh Chopra
In Flight 303 by Suresh Chopra we have the theme of freedom, appearance, respect, temptation and desperation. Narrated in the first person by a man called Chopsy it becomes clear to the reader after reading the story that Chopra may be exploring the theme of freedom. Rummy has been caught for a robbery and is travelling back to the U.K so that he may serve his prison sentence. However in an ironic turn of events Rummy becomes a hero because he is able to open the plane’s cockpit. The pilots having taken time outside the cockpit and locked the door. What is interesting about the story is the fact that Rummy is a likeable rogue. True he has been a member of a criminal gang but he has never hurt anyone. His job is to open locks and nothing else. Something that he is exceptional good at. Though he does end up paying a price when the British police capture him in America.
Another interesting thing about Rummy is the fact that he takes everything in his stride. Nothing appears to get to him. Not even his imminent jail sentence. He is good-natured throughout the story. Even having time to speak to Chopsy when they are in the airport terminal. The police officers too can see that Rummy is not a bad guy and do a deal with him in whereby if he opens the pilot’s cabin. They will let him off his crime. This may be significant as it highlights how desperate the two policeman are. They know that Rummy is their only chance of survival. It may also be significant that Rummy does not have the appearance of a thief and it is for this reason the other passengers offer him presents in order to ensure their safety. How successful Rummy becomes is noticeable from his time in Las Vegas. When Chopsy meets him again.
Life is totally different for Rummy and he is living the high life. Although the reader suspects that Rummy may be up to his old tricks and picking locks for criminals. Regardless of this it is impossible not to like Rummy as in reality he is not really hurting anyone. True he is stealing but he is stealing from the rich, who some critics might suggest can afford it and reclaim any losses through insurance. In fact Rummy appears to be the happiest he has ever been. Money in his pocket and a beautiful woman by his side. A far cry from when Chopsy saw Rummy in New York. It also goes without saying that Chopsy respects Rummy. Whether he is a criminal or not. He likes his personality and they would be considered to be friends. Whether Rummy is in handcuffs or not. This too may be important as it highlights that Chopsy does not necessarily judge someone by their occupation.
The end of the story is also interesting as by changing his clothes Rummy is taking on a more appropriate personality. He does not wish to be seen driven away from the airport in his old clothes but rather clothes that are more fitting for his means of transport. There is a sense of respect from the other passengers on the plane for what Rummy has done. He has after all saves their lives by opening of the cabin door. He may not necessarily be respected by others but those who are thankful for his achievements do respect him. In reality Chopra may be suggesting that a book cannot be judged by its cover. Rummy is a criminal but he is a good criminal. He will help those he can even if it means he might lose his freedom. Although as readers we are aware that Rummy has gotten away with the crime he was arrested for. The passengers and the two policemen valuing their lives over a crime Rummy may or may not have previously committed. Rummy now has the chance to live his life as a king though when the money runs out it is difficult to say if Rummy will return to a life or crime. We know his heart is not in it but the pull of the extra money may be too much for him.