Chopper rides
9/9/2009  |  Dreamz.Unlimited: The Subir Raha Blog

At some point, helicopter flights became routine events. Flying over the open sea, watching smudges becoming offshore platforms and drilling rigs or crossing the ridge just before getting into Dehradun or circling over Delhi waiting for ATC clearance while thunderstorms build up. Couple of times, the pilots couldn't locate the helipads: once we landed at Jamnagar just before fuel ran out, and the other time, I had to guide the pilots over my old station, Haldia. Landing at Jodhpur on a summer afternoon was an unforgettable experience: stepping on the hot concrete of the tarmac was the nearest I came to walking on fire.

The flight I'll always remember was a long haul from Nazira to Borjhar, in a single-engined Chetak. It was monsoon time in Assam, and the rains came pouring down. Visibility dropped to zero; there was just a mist of water outside the glass bubble. It was like the documentaries on deep sea descent, with the difference that we had the haze of the day around us, not the darkness of the abyss. The steady roar of the engine was the only point of reference in that limbo. There was nothing to do, nothing to say. After some time, the downpour changed to a drizzle, and we could see the green fields and muddy rivers down below, at the right place!
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