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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.