My First Flight
When my husband landed on this brilliant opportunity of flying to Paris with his beautiful colleague, my curiosity about flights increased. As the eldest child of a moderate middle class family traveling itself had meant to be a big deal. Forget flights, I had not even peeped into a I class train compartment. So, when my husband was talking to his agents about his schedule to Paris and back, my curiosity knew no bounds and so did jealousy. Now, I was curious like never before. I wondered if the seats were close (enough), could you talk inside and be heard - after all, I could hear the flight roar even 1000s of feet above my head, could you eat and above all could you sleep (?!) So, here I was analyzing and going green while my husband got dressed in his best of clothes and sprayed his favorite perfume. I could hardly say anything as I couldn't "tell" anything to him. While I fretted away about what could happen inside the flight, I felt awkward that I had such little knowledge about flights-worst I didn't even know how big an airplane looked! So, while my husband was away, I waited eagerly dreaming that some day I would make it. And while my husband went up the Eiffel Tower, I just went upstairs to the terrace of our house and got an aerial view of our surroundings. I spoke to my husband on long distance calls and he was talking of the Opel Vectra that he was driving and I could only tell him how the local bus nearly bumped into me in the bus stop. My inquisitiveness, jealousy and what not increased with every phone call and I started praying God for the day to come soon when I could chip into my husband's monologue of the 'Foreign Affairs'.
I was praying God after this asking Him when the time would come when I could talk, walk and act like 'I knew it all'. I asked my husband at regular intervals if I could go with him in one of those "business trips"(instead of that beautiful colleague of his!) But it took a long while before the day actually arrived when I could go with my husband.
So, when the D-Day actually arrived-thanks to my husband's office policy of spouse accompanying the employee - I was greatly excited. I was to accompany my husband on his trip abroad. My joy knew no bounds. This meant that I could fly an international flight and it also meant that I could study the "in flight conditions" and even analyze (??) But even before this, my husband said that we had to go to Madras to get the visa. This meant that I had to take a domestic flight. I thanked God that such rules existed. Imagine knowing about international flights and not knowing about domestic flights.
I was in Pune when I got this news and for our visa we had to go to Chennai. This meant flying from Pune - Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai and Chennai - Bangalore (as our base is Bangalore). On hearing this I was even more thrilled - three flights in a row!
I asked very few questions lest my husband should know about my ignorance. I took a lot of guesses and held my head high in air. I dressed in my best clothes and was ready to experience the new 'high'. My husband gave the tickets in a counter and we were given boarding passes. Two suitcases were screened earlier and they had a tag. These were now given at this counter. I looked in awe as a belt carried away these boxes. We carried small bags with us. We walked to the aircraft and got inside the flight. A smiling lady welcomed us inside the flight. She was smiling at everyone and was wearing a portrait smile. I could not help wondering how she could do this to so many people everyday and everytime. She may have to do this even if her boss had fired her a few minutes earlier!
In side the flight was huge (and they said that it was a small flight from Pune!) The seats were neatly arranged in two rows. As I walked to my seat carrying my bag, a tall handsome man stood in front of me and gave me a brilliant 24-carat smile and he took the bag from me and put it away in the overhead locker. A lady gave us instructions about wearing seat belts and some other precautionary measures. The flight time was announced to be just 15 minutes. I sat with rapt attention listening to everything and looking at everything. I wanted to know it all. I looked out and saw how things got smaller & smaller. It was good to be on the other side. (I mean - when you are on the ground the flight looks smaller!). But somewhere deep down I had this unquenched thirst. I was still not there.
After sometime, the flight went really high and I could hardly catch any glimpse down. I was above the clouds. Flying high I was high too! I now knew what the proverbial cloud 9 meant!! I sat near the window spell bound and engrossed in nature's ecstasy. It was such a contrast to what had happened in one of our trips. While in Pune (before my maiden flight journey)- we had gone on a holiday to Mahabaleswar- a beautiful hill station). Actually, there, after all the sight seeing, we had rushed to be at the sun set point by 5.45 p.m. There was a massive crowd eagerly waiting to see the sun dip behind the mountains. We had to peer our heads to catch a glimpse but now from the flight we could actually look at the sun set in the far horizon with nobody even bothering to take a look at it. It was indeed a beautiful sight and we could get a clear view (without any heads blocking our view).
We were flying above the clouds and now I could hardly see anything below. There was a thick layer of clouds below and looked like we were flying close to another land above. There were lumps of clouds here and there and looked like mountains. Perhaps another planet looks like this. Maybe even Mars except for the fact that things there would be red. I could imagine all sorts of science fiction. I don't think I would have been surprised to see an alien take an evening stroll on the clouds and maybe even science fictions of this kind are written only while flying high like this.
Just as I was deep in thought, my reverie ended when an announcement came through announcing the landing of the flight. I was happy but for that bit of feeling which felt like I still had not achieved it. As the flight landed I told myself that I had triumphed. The flight landed in Mumbai and as I was trying to pick up my bag from the overhead locker when this handsome young man came again and asked if I had a pleasant flight, I beamed and said 'Yes'. Helping me with the bag he looked at me again and said 'That's a lovely dress. Suits you well ma'am'. I was extremely happy and said 'Thank you' and looked at my husband. He was turning green and said 'That was unnecessary'. That moment I was elated and that was when I told myself that I had just taken my First Flight!! A few minutes later, I announced to the whole world I had taken off by making a number of STD calls.
After this, I have flown many airlines - both domestic and international but the first flight will remain in my mind as the most memorable flight I have ever taken. That simple juice and salted nuts they offered in the flight is perhaps the best meal and the best service offered by any airline.