Barapani Diary ‘What future holds’ (Part 3)
My job as an air traffic controller needs me to be posted at small and very small practically non-existent airports for a certain duration of time. In year 2011, one such posting led me to Barapani, an airport around forty kilometres away from Shillong. An entirely different world where from around thousand arrival departures at Delhi airport there was a lone flight to control, that too the flight played truant and missed our airport many days! In the place where my toddler grew up amidst nature, I read, wrote, introspected, reflected, and missed my husband at times!
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‘What future holds’ (Part 3)
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 Air Traffic Controllers are 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, making us see where we all exactly stand, whereas in bigger airports somehow it’s always me and us, my job my task, not my responsibility…all units are fighting their hearts out in the blame game. Anyways 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’, a sense of belonging, this is very obvious but then there’s hardly any mere mortal who doesn’t get complacent with a little bit of recognition, a little bit of self-importance and if it doesn’t get to the head it works on fine. It gives a ‘my’ feeling, don’t 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 it’s my ‘duty’ to read ‘ Cleared for taking 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 is flight passengers, taxi-wallahs, and food stalls, bursting with activities cutting across the mesmerizing silence of the hills, pouring life into the adjacent villages. Don’t know which future is better, this calm tranquil building in the middle of nowhere or an airport, a full working airport dragging in the villages within its powerful clutches, transforming the area into a fledgling township.
I don’t know and to be on the safe side the future does not depend on me! Well, that is too safe, the future follows its course, maybe with great foresight and vision from certain stalwarts who can give a direction to the future. For the rest of us – just wait, watch! Maybe brood sometimes. Ah the greens and the hills, all gone or maybe nod pessimistically, no future of this place, of this airport, surviving only in bureaucratic papers…
I don’t 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…!
Excerpt from my one-year posting at Airport where I was this close to nature in a different world!