While rummaging through a box of knick-knacks last week, I found this draft scribbled on a small writing pad that I thought I’ve lost a long time ago.
Night landings hold a special kind of magic. They start off quite scary, with nothing but darkness as far as the eye can see. Once in a while, a flash of lightning might illuminate the night sky 0r a portion of the aircraft’s wing for a fraction of a second at a time.
Then as the familiar grinding of the lowering landing gear breaks the monotony of the engine drone, the magic begins. Through a gossamer veil of clouds, I manage to snatch glimpses of the city’s lights spread out like a dazzling, bejeweled carpet on the ground. My pulse quickens at the sight of the familiar shape of the North-South highway, winding like ribbons of light. I’ve still never quite figured out from which direction the aircraft approaches the runway of KLIA.
I’ve witnessed this scene unfold countless times yet each descent somehow still manages to retain a certain uniqueness.
I hear the unmistakable comforting whirr of the landing gear and the shift in the engines’ hum as the pilot begins the landing sequence. Then suddenly the miniscule lights morph into a miniature landscape, getting larger and larger as the plane descends lower and lower. And as the landing gear comes into contact with the runway, the wings extend forward before bending slightly downwards. Then as the plane decelerates, the wing extensions slowly retract. The plane begins its slow taxi into the gate.
Dots of blue mark the path to the gate. The main terminal comes to view. A vestibule with a man at the helm awaits, his joystick at ready. He deftly maneuvers the skybridge towards the aircraft door as the passengers inside the plane scramble to get their hand luggage from the overhead bins.
Selamat pulang ke tanah air. (Welcome back to your homeland.)