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Monday, 26 December 2011

Barapani Diary...After the break..

Long time no blogging..enjoyed my little long holiday in Delhi. It was a mixed bag holiday with health playing some tricks on me, my little one..but then life is something you have to squeeze out some happiness from and no perfection awaits us anywhere. Onset of delhi chill, mall hopping, long rounds in SN Market, Karol Bagh in the foggy Delhi sun and yes...mouth watering Shawarmas at Defence colony Al Bakes, those crispy fried besan pakodas covered with muli and mint chutney at Lajpat Nagar and the show stopper... sending maid for  Chole Bhature from INA footpath .. once husband steps out of the house :P..well he can,t be blamed considering my non alcoholic fatty liver and high triglycerates (whatever that means).Speaking of delhi, can,t get over the taste of good food and good times... that hot cuppa at Barista with a warm almond muffin and new found husband :)), rediscovering same old relationship in Saket malls sharing a plate of Sushi..watching deer and peacocks with daughter at Hauz Khas in a leisurely warm sunday morning and of course Dilli Haat with its colorful bangles stoles and yes yes.. fried momos at Nagaland stall..with red hot chutney..and not to miss the sabudana vada at Maharashtra stall.. ah yes the foody in me is up,awake, hungry and relishing, savouring good times...

Colourful Dilli Haat


Deer Park..Hauz Khas

Sushi at Sushiya.. Select City Mall Saket...

After the crests and troughs.. health problems in family, being stuck in a fog affected Rajdhani Exp but toddler of my daughter keeping everyone busy in the compartment.. finally back and I was about to write back to where I belong..who knows where I belong to...that four lane clad, malls and flyover embellished city of Delhi where somehow I found my little space ( I know many would object to me occupying little space :P), city of guwahati where school college university days zoomed by in the bank of Brahmaputra.. or this place where I am supposed to spend one year more and had spent another year earlier in my first job. In Delhi I,d always feel I belong somewhere in Assam in Guwahati..while at Guwahati I just longed to see the world and while being in this place there,s a sense of calm and peace, a feel of ' Shangri la ' where time stands till and whose inhabitants hardly venture out of this land..One thing I,d take with me is ( provided I leave in the right time) the memories of these girls here.. simple smiling hard working.. running small shops in one hand , and large families in the other. Independent, struggling, smiling and when required they can tackle their menfolk in an enviable manner,give them a taste of their own medicine..! I have seen all the maids wherever they are Delhi Guwahati  Kolkata one common thread binds them, one single story with one common character a drunk violent jobless husband..here somehow the story has a twist... braveheart hardworking womenfolk...decision makers..and supporting men behind them..well things may not be so simple as they seem..but for a change this is interesting ..and I can't help admiring these women..

Iva, the beautiful young girl  with bright red lipstick in the days she is well and a nice flirty smile works in the office from 8 to 5;30, has two sons at home,most of the days as I return from evening walk I see her standing in queue to collect water from the roadside tap, sometimes beating up her son and rarely sometimes her contagious sound of laughter catches my attention as I turn to see her sipping tea in the small tea shop with other folks, waving at me smiling with her kowai stained lips. There is Rani pale timid, three children at home, studying for her Class XII exams when she is not cleaning office and making tea, there is Meera smiling chatting , she lost her working husband of excessive drinking, left with five kids, no compensation from office yet. Meera runs a tea shop the lifeline of the airport.. provides poori for breakfast, simple rice sabji for lunch and roti for dinner. Sometimes I wonder without Meera,s shop all the airlines staff, office staff, workers all would starve to death..even the passengers when flight is delayed because nothing edible is found inside the airport. Debo, Meera,s helping hand, over worked, stressed out often sick with stomach ache and fever, sits in the shop from morning to night, without her pooris aren,t fluffy enough, lunch isn,t ready in time and when she is taking a break I have seen her carrying a pile of hay while returning from harvest. The pimpled, smiling girl..people say won,t get married.. some failed love affair..who knows..

Peaceful the sweet fragile tiny office assistant whom everybody love to tease, Theresa hardworking shy office attendent..comes to office leaving her infant at home. And the numerous girls who run different shops, some sell Kowai the local betel nut, some pork and fish and in the local market day so many would flock around,some with a stoic expression, some using a smile to bypass the language barrier, oldies smiling and speaking in pure Khasi.. I hardly get the language barring a few stray words I have picked up..but the smile is infectious and the toil the hardship..my salutes to these women..

We, the women...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Barapani Diary...Life in the Airport...III

There is something good about working in a small, very small  airport..it feels like your own!! All the staff.. all the units..so alien to each other in bigger airports..where we ATCS are totally engrossed in ourselves..here just seem like one big family. One flight is the life of the airport..all the units would be waiting for the arrival of the flight and breathe relief once the flight is gone. There,s a bond binding all of us..make us see where we all exactly stand..whereas in bigger airports somehow its always me and us..my job my task.. not my responsibility...all units are fighting their hearts out in the blame game..anyway that might be essential considering the tough lives we lead...Let me come again to my small airport..this small airport gave me a sense of ' importance' , this is very obvious but then hardly any mere mortals who doesnt get copmlacent with a little bit of recognition , little bit of self importance and if it doesnt get to the head it works on fine.. it gives a 'my' feeling..dont know exactly when the building the passengers the flight the staff became so ' mine'..flight,s safe timely departure arrival became so much my concern not because its my ' duty' to read ' Cleared for take off' and ' Cleared to land'..simply because you become involved , concerned and learn to think of the airport as a life which needs to be watered and nourished so that it can breathe ,survive and beam with life.

Such a lovely building.. all it needs flights passengers taxiwallahs stallwallahs..bursting with activities cutting across the mesmerizing silence of the hills..pouring life into the adjacent villages..dont know which future is better..this calm tranquil building in the middle of nowhere or an aiport ,a full working airport dragging in the villages within its powerful clutches..transforming the area into a fledgling township.. I dont know..and to be on safe side the future does not depend on me! Well that is too safe.. future follows its own course, may be with great foresight and vision from certain stalwarts who are able to give a direction to the future.. for the rest of us .. just wait , watch... may be brood sometimes.. ah the greens and the hills.. all gone..or may be nod pessimistically..no futureof this place ,of this airport..surviving only in bureaucratic papers...I dont know what is better..can just wonder and marvel at the greens and hills, peek into the local life , and feel sorry for my airport...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Barapani Diary...Life in the Airport..II

Every place has a pulse throbbing underneath.. a heart beating within..be it a hardcore stone hearted city like Delhi or a soft shy coy Elizabethan maiden like Barapani..once you feel the pulse.. you start vibrating with the same frequency out of habit may be and then.. if you dare ..you fall in love. May be with the beauty, may be you begin to touch the heart within and may be simply you have no other option..and things begin to work out just like an arranged Indian marriage does!! A stupid analogy may be..but then trying to make the best of what one has...or to lay contented with what destiny has offered..or to try to explore discover and if not anything else than grumble, sulk..all these somehow compares to one analogy..
Anyway in this land.. hope against hope is my new found ' friend' rather companion..almost a decade younger than me ( as per her statement) , my Malayali colleague struggling in the Khasi land with her language, with her food habits, struggling with the severe cold hitherto unknown to her, with her new job, with her stern bosses. Looking at her..I somehow doubt whether my company really have a HR policy where H stands for Human ( Please pardon me AAI.. with all due regards to everything you have given me till date)..a twenty three year old Malayali girl from Kottayam ,engineer by profession.. has her first posting in Barapani Airport..of all the places..and of all the directions  (southwest to north east)..Wonder how much travel allowance AAI has to pay her.. She is my companion for morning walks..( one walk a month..that,s a different story)..where we did yoga in the Runway(Hope higher authorities are not reading). Can't help mention just as we were into ' Balasan' ( our favourite one..lie on your stomach with knees curled up.. like a child) a flight hovered above and she stared at me for a moment before breathing ' Run' (:P)...Well, well a tried and tested air traffic controller like me was taken in by the ' Run'' before ATC sense poured in " This is an overflying aircraft.. it wont land...watch opens at 9:30" I convinced myself before convincing her as we watched the plane fly away..... and faces lighting with dismay replaced by laughter....

She turned out to be my saviour, tea biscuit breaks in office, long evening walks, long chats, our worlds were different..a Kerela village with hardworking mother and siblings in financial constraints..and my world in bits and parts..parents coming in sometimes, reminiscent of childhood days  only the child now replaced by my toddler, tussle between mother and maid.. and..the husband... alienated with his daughter and wife, but not sure whether to feel pity for him..as every weekend a new movie , or the same movie twice, a new restaurant..freedom I guess. And yes I am not disliking the freedom as well, books, net ( though service is very erratic), little bit of blogging, some diet of daily soaps with Ma, getting in touch with the sweet sounds of the languages I knew so well since childhood, the taste of childhood food and vegetables and the rains..incessant,nostalgic.

A dash of Kerela, a pinch of Delhi, bits of Guwahati..in the rain kissed hills of Barapani...while we count our days for the end of a year and the end of an exile.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Barapani Diary....Life in the Hills...I

Air Trafic Control Tower

Again the time of the year when every bengali yearns for his home...the homecoming..the Durga Puja.I watch from my tower as the tiny ATR offloads its passengers..and reloads itself fully, a rare instance..as most of the days the half empty ATR takes off in the air from the deserted airport. A longing to be home..away from this land locked island..I breathe away my wish in the gusting wind engulfing the tower, gather my things together to go down, winding up the day,s job after the lone plane of the airport takes off. Few offcial letters , routine replies, routine data entry into the computer..routine jobs..routine smiles but outside office premises nature greets you with her open arms..some days a rainbow would glisten in the fresh rain drenched sky..some days the cows would bathe in the water logged fields..nothing routine about this world, a silent world..content with its simple undemanding dwellers..dwellers who haven,t robbed off all the wealth from her, dwellers who have guarded her,protected her against outsiders and chose to live a quiet merry life..life within these hills.

Tomorrow is the local market day...a colourful market with so many facets..a day when the village is busy with all the hustle bustle..village roads are full of vehicles...a day for whom I,ve learnt to wait whole 8 days....to get my fill of fruits, vegetables and fish for the week. It is almost like a festival for the villagers and soon I was caught in the spirit as well.. happily munching pineapples and oranges with the deadly local chilly powder with my colleague, packing different types of sweets available fried in God-knows-what oil, missing altogether 2-3 hours of office... looking forward to the fun day ahead.

Happiness has a little price to pay, this colourful market with fresh vegetables , lures me..makes me plan my entire week ' food programme' , strange but in this land where a proper grocery shop isn,t available in the near 4-5 kilometres, no goodies ,the vegetables are refreshingly fresh and seem garden plucked.

I load my bags with vegetables, goodies, toys for my toddler..look around for some lift, if anyone is there with vehicle..try to shove in the over loaded bags..and don,t mind walking the lovely stretch with a packet of pineapple in hand and my dear colleague accompanying me.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Wanderlust: Here am I in this part of the world..in a god fors...

Wanderlust: Here am I in this part of the world..in a god fors...: Here am I in this part of the world..in a god forsaken airport..where nature cradles her offsprings in her lush green lap..and what do I do....