A bird’s view – at Night!

After 6 long months of B-School I was on my way back home. I was hoping I’d get more frequent breaks when I first saw the trimester system (which would mean 3 breaks in a year as compared to 2 in engineering). I also hoped to go home more often as my college was in Kerala. Hehe! What wrong notions! 😛

My direct SpiceJet flight from Kozhikode to Mumbai had been cancelled and all the passengers had been put on the flight to Chennai where we’d have to wait 5 hours before the next flight to Mumbai. I didn’t care much as the “going home” part was the only aim – it didn’t matter how. For the first time I travelled on the little plane with rotor blades – a Bombardier Q400.

The little plane with rotor blades!
The little plane with rotor blades!

Even with the rescheduling many seats of the 80-seater plane were empty. It was the time when Spicejet was struggling to stay afloat with strong competition from Indigo and Goair. They have improved significantly since then.

We got into line where the planes were taking off one after the other within minutes of each other (totally contrast to earlier times when there were only a handful of flights on a day and you could guess which flight it was when you hear its sound – kind of like how people still recognize trains when they hear them). 10 minutes later, we were up in the sky – the city lights shimmering below. It looked beautiful with patches of light of the suburbs connected by the lit highways. As we went further up, the whole scene looked like a PCB (a printed circuit board: the ECE-ness rubbing off). We moved into the darkness and all I could see through the window was the reflection of my phone’s screen as I was typing away. As usual, travel was providing me the fuel to write! 😛

I noticed my neighbour snoring away. He looked liked an executive from some huge corporation – the kind used to flying around all the time. Many passengers around took water and sweets to pop their ears during take-off while this gentleman didn’t even realise that he was now a few thousand metres off the ground. I turned back to look out the window and spotted more patches of light which kept disappearing – we were moving through clouds.

The next thing I know is the air-hostess poking me awake to keep my seat straight as we were about to land in Mumbai. Well, that was quick! 😛 The flight was still circling the city waiting for the signal to initiate landing. As we kept circling, I got to see one of the best views of Mumbai I had ever seen. We were going south upon which I saw the floodlight Wankhede stadium and the Taj hotel. I recognized these as I had done a fair bit of Google Earth-ing in the past. As we moved out of the city and over the sea, the flight swerved and showed the Mumbai that you see in maps with the only difference that it was night. It was beautiful! The whole city was lit with the Queen’s Necklace forming the outline at the bottom. I could spot the Worli sea-link jutting out into the sea. And the whole city was throbbing with the veins that were the roads full of streetlights and vehicles.mumbai

The night-scene of Mumbai – a city that was truly alive and throbbing! Oh, I so wished I had my camera in my hand at that time to capture the moment. We again turned towards the sea and the scene was now full of ships – big ones which could not come closer to land. It was a sea of darkness with the few lights that were ships and their reflections. I wondered how far these ships had sailed to be here.

The plane lost some altitude and I could see the decks of the cargo ships. We moved in the same direction as the ships that were going parallel in the waters – it was almost as if we were racing! We overtook the ships, and the plane turned to show the most amazing sight of them all. The city with its million lights in the distance, the complete darkness of the sea and the bright ships and their reflections floating in the darkness. Ah! I so wish I had pics! I was glad that all the waiting in Chennai had paid off. This experience was truly worth the wait!

We landed in the Mumbai and walked out into the chilly air. Winter was finally here!

(Note Nov 2019: at the time of writing this article, I was still in college and had hardly traveled by flight. It sure is amusing to go back to this article having traveled on flights 2-3 times almost every month in the last 5 years. I still get the same level of amazement when I get to see a clear view of a city and recognize landmarks from 15000 feet in the air!)

Date: Nov-2013

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