Once a Delhi-Imphal affair
Posted by Rojit on February 28, 2013
I looked at the faces engulfed with excitements and wondered how much this would be magnified in just about 3 and half hours after (240 minutes to be exact). The girl with the tattoo exulted a sense of pride with her so called ‘fashionable attire’ which she put on and which, to many, would be laughed at. To me, she looked exactly like, no offence, the lady in the movie ‘Grudge’. The children on the other hand at the queue kept on creating a nuisance and yet, amazingly I found everyone having a curve in each of their faces!
Then, the best thing happened when the cute air hostesses on 6E-221 greeted us putting on an artificial smile. I was going back to Imphal for a week-long stay bunking a few classes of course!
Mine was 18F (if you remember the once-upon-a-time yahoo chat, this means female aged 18!!) and even though for an umpteenth time, I have been on a low cost airline like this, yet I asked the girls in Indigo colour where my seat was. That was a ‘bahana’ to talk to them and to add more, I added – ‘where, where!?’ 18F was as comfortable as it could get…windows seat, slightly in the mid way and most importantly, no girl besides me!
As an unsorted hobby, I usually peeped into the name chests of the airhostesses but amazingly I didn’t do it this time. I was more into another state of mind and this was preoccupied by the scenic beauty created at the airdrome by the artificial lights. The flight took off with not much of a hiccup and as I gazed through the windows, Delhi was so beautiful at this time of the day and at this atmospheric level, it had become paused. This moment, I pondered about Delhi being the capital and so many things happening each and every moment, and that this tranquil picture would be soon transformed into the usual day with buzz all around!
In the midst of this, the small picture did come to my mind as always and wondered the day when She might be lighted the way Delhi was that moment. The journey was long enough to see the entire sky illuminated by the slow rising of the sun and for me, it was the ultimate thing I have ever witnessed! You saw clouds passing through the wings and at the far far off place, you could see magnificent bounties of nature formed with these clouds. It was closest to the thing called heaven. And out of nowhere, you could witness something in your lifetime – the snow clad Himalayas! And I knew at this height, that these mountain ranges extend till far northeast even touching Manipur and the very thought of this left a happy moisture all over this face. Like almost in every discussion we had when we sorta get drunk, I was having this series of questions over my mind as to what could be done…rather what could I do for this small state of mine in order to let everyone live and let live with peace and prosperity all around! I smiled at myself thinking what the hell I was thinking at this part of the world where I was like 1000 feet above the ground and forget about doing something for my state, the next few hours of me being landing in Imphal wasn’t at all an ‘inevitable’! I remembered movies like ‘Cast Away’, Final Destination etc and somewhere in these happy moments, I was somewhat in the midst of angst.
The flight from Guwahati to Imphal should take 40 minutes at the max. But the flight was delayed by an hour and half and that’s something I wasn’t expecting from Indigo Airlines. That’s OK because in the next half and hour or so, what someone’s gonna experience could definitely blow your mind away! And it did that to me like every time when the valley of Imphal being surrounded by 9 hills could be seen from top view! Mesmerized I was and I didn’t know where but suddenly I had this urge of jumping off from the plane at that moment. The Loktak lake, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, was the next to be witnessed. When I first saw it, I was amazed by the formation of little structures by the floating grass or rather ‘phumdi’ as the local call it! It’s magical and it seems like my heart has been wishing for something so spectacular that it’s out of this mind.
And as the flight lowers the altitude, all I do as many other flight mates, is to figure out the places that were on view. And frankly, looking down from the sky so high at those places my life’s moments assembled to, it was still hard to identify. I did identify ‘Ningthem Pukhi’ and the Porompat TV tower once. Across all these beautiful landscapes, there was also something running in the back of my mind and which was to break free in the minutes to come – the joy of inhaling the air of Imphal city.
As soon as the flight landed and all I could hear were people talking to their kith and kins telling them about flight landing and some blah blah. This particular young boy sitting behind me was asking his mom what dish was on the menu! ”Oh how I miss having chagempomba!” – my first thought. The grudge looking girl was walking just after me as I walked out of the Arrival terminal and boy, her family was OK. I was again with all the people assembled there looking at her with awe with just a simple thought – God save her!
In half an hour, I was at home with ‘lafu eromba'(banana stems) and fish curry. And As my granny stood there watching me having my lunch, I knew exactly what she was thinking – When will I leave her again? And we both knew though smiling ateach other, it hurt like anything!