They had started ploughing and the fields looked like gigantic cakes cut into equal size pieces. Finally we arrived at Palaly and waited for the signal to get down. There were only about 10 people in the plane and when I went out to the exit, the second to leave, I got the shock of my life. I walked along the center isle of the aircraft and bid farewell to the airhostess and just poked my head out of the door and oh my goodness! Crack-crack-crack. There was this 100-foot long red carpet laid very straight right from the foot of the steps, elite commando soldiers stood either side in their signature maroon berets and carrying MP5 submachine guns. Half a dozen cameramen were scattered covering every angle. Couple of well-dressed civilians was waiting anxiously with garlands decorated with purple orchids. Another couple of high ranking army and air force officials wearing their full military suit decorated at the breast with many medals and stars on their shoulders stood at attention. At the end of the red carpet were half a dozen vehicles comprising of two luxurious white Toyota Prado Land Cruisers and four escorts open backed Land Rovers with more commandos. It took all of five seconds maximum to take in this VIP welcome standing just out of the door on top of the stairs. I must have looked ghastly white for one of the air force personnel came and motioned to get down and led me and my colleague who was already waiting at the foot of the stairs to the side.