AIZWAL is the capital of the state of “Mizoram” in India. A vibrant city, over 112 years old. The mountain ridges with an altitude of 1,132mts are bounded by rivers “Tlawng and Tuiria”, AIZWAL is indeed a beautiful destination. The place offers pleasant travel opportunities through the year, we use to fly to this famous destination thrice a week from kolkata in ATR 42 -320. The ATR 42 is a twin turboprop, short -haul regional airliner with a seating capacity of 48 pax with 4 crew members and 1 engineer. We use to fly mostly full, blooming with beautiful honeymoon couples, not missing any single chance for those quick pecks on each other , while looking down from the window. The unforgettable glimpse of young bright eyes, going home with first salary or a promotion. We as fly attendants witness many emotions of love, pain , success , failure everyday in the same cabin. These moments of job is precious to me and I loved it !!
Among “us”, Aizwal’s “LENGPUI AIRPORT” was also famous for something else…And that something else was “its Aloo paratha”, (a popular Indian Frankie) with those tangy green chutney, wrapped in a newspaper to us. After landing , our eyes used to be glued on that last passenger….who use to take forever to get down.
To inform you , landing at these airport was not so easy. The low clouds used to cover those mountains making the visibility of the runway low. The Director- General of Civil Aviation has already declared Lengpui as one of the 11 “critical” airport in the country, its “table top runway” is still short of the expected length.
Table top Runway
“Table top runway” are those which are carved out of a hill with gorges on either side and little space to maneuver in case an aircraft overshoots the runway while landing. The other critical table top runways in India are Kozhikode and Mangalore, which create an optical illusion that requires a very precise approach from the pilot.
Even with these criticality, landing looked amazing, the hills looked more greener and beautiful with decreasing altitude. These hills also had timing limitations for take off .
Our stop over here was approximately for 25 mins or less, depending upon the no of pax flying back. Though we loved this place but we didn’t had our scheduled lay over here , other than certain exigencies like technical snag or poor visibility . These exigencies had given few crew the opportunity to breathe in the fresh hill air but I wasn’t one of them, until now . Since everything has its own time but is “this” the time for THIS???
I neither knew nor wished….What ever happened, That day!!
That One Day
A lazy Sunday, I was on “Airport Standby” from 12 till 4:30 pm . Since we partied last night, so got up late,ate the left overs, and reported at office. It was less crowded with few operations. Was passing my time looking at the watch and scrolling phone, so the battery was almost dead now, but it was just 45 more mins before home time.
Suddenly the flight dispatch got active, ringing phones, people on phone trying to explain and solve something, few higher officials in office. My curiosity took me out, and as I entered the scene the problem got solved… and
No!!! I did not do anything , I just appeared and like a bollywood movie climax scene ,the case got solved…
And what happened is….
Yesterday, one of our Boeing 737 got grounded at Aizwal , and now for its rectification a big machine is to go from Kolkata. The attendant suppose to do it has somehow exceeded her flight duty time. And , I am on standby and well under duty time so I can very well go. To spice up the situation, as it was already late so I will be coming back tomorrow as SOD.
But!! I am rostered for a Guwahati stop over tomorrow , I presented my excuse as a polite professional and responsible crew.
That , will be taken care of, do not worry!! The dispatcher assured me.
You proceed to the aircraft,the ramp car is waiting. I picked up my tote bag .
What is in a crew bag??
The flight attendants, that are working for major airlines and have roster that involves stop overs, they always carry with them a kit bag, which should be prepared and packed all the time.You never know when and where you have to stay. So, for us “ Kit 💼 bag” is a part of uniform!
As per the norms , Crew ID, Cabin Safety manual, First aid manual, Training Proficiency Record, Announcement book and a flash light. FA can not fly without it.
And , I was having all of those, what I was not having for the stop over was….
……A change of cloth , phone charger, Toiletry bag , just basic makeup kajal ,lipstick and my phone calling card. Just couple of days before I got back from Hyderabad lay over and cleaned my kit bag for washing, and this is “my cleaned kit “, having nothing than manuals 🙄, And I’m on my way to Aizawl for a layover!! The craziest thing was , I can’t let anyone know about it , as the kit bag and a flying crew should be packed and ready to face any situation. 😊 So, now , I accepted the situation and called mom to inform about my sudden trip, as my phone network doesn’t work there so i will be unreachable until back.
I was happy to see the left side of the flight deck but right one was not “Right” the first officer,
Ohhh why him !! I don’t like him … I murmured!!
Somehow I have been flying back to back with him, and those formal greetings has now progressed to exchange of “weather condition” and his Delhi base news..which I was not interested in at all…all I wanted now is to figure out my stay with whatever resources, I had in my bag.
I also met my colleague in the aircraft , who explained me the procedure of a “Ferry flight”, as this was my first ever experience. I explained the light weight of my bag to her she hugged and handed me few essentials. I felt as if tears rolled down…though there wasn’t any. And the ramp car went away.
Thats… it… enough of everything… told myself. All is good !! My “Stand by” turned into flying, “extra hours”…good for me! Trying to see the positive side of it, as, ultimately it’s just the way you look at things / situation. I read somewhere “Everyday can not be good , but there is something good about Everyday”!!
After a deep breathe , I replenished my makeup,signed flight papers, did my pre flight checks. Briefed the captain, pulled and locked the door..
Captain, First officer ,my galley , a huge black machine in the cabin and me !! Pushback, rolling, runway, crew at station and the Take off… no announcements, no call buttons …no service for an hour !!
I always wanted to breathe in the air which touches the beautiful green hills, the tall trees. The babbling , burbling, the soul of the valley, the blue stream “The beautiful Tlawng river ” which completes the beautiful “Aizawl”.
We landed and I felt good!!
As a quote by Harvey Mackey
“Positive thinking is more than just a tagline, it changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive ,it not only makes me better but it also makes those around me better”… and it was..
The first officer was feeling much better after landing, the weather was perfect and the ride from Lengpui airport to our hotel in Aizwal was nearly an hour away. We were tired and the journey was long….and the Delhi boy wanted to take a walk uphill, after reaching Hotel.
Did I went with him for a walk uphill ?
How well did I managed my stay ?
Why the extension in my room started ringing midnight?
A lot more to unfold…in my next page of myskydiary.com
All my readers friend, please share with us your experience “when a small positive thought took over a negative stress of yours”. All of us get caught into certain unfavourable situation sometimes , but the beauty is to make the situation favourable. We would love to read your story.
Take care of yourself, Happy landings.