I had been fascinated by the so-called aeroplanes from my childhood itself like any other typical Indian child of my age. My brother and I along with our cousins had counted the number of planes that flew very high up in the sky that we could see as flies from the earth. We waited until the night to see the blinking lights of red and yellow, moving in the black background. It really was a sight for sore eyes. Whenever we heard the buzzing sound from high up, we ran out of the house just to have a glimpse of it no matter even if the sun was right above and used all its power not to allow us even to gaze upwards. I think, we inherited that habit from our Granny. I still remember the way she looked at the sky by keeping one of her hands above the eyes to prevent the sun’s rays from falling directly into the eyes. The tears that came out of our eyes whispered the proud feeling to have watched the little fly that was shining like silver in the rays of the sun. I always wondered, how the pilot managed to keep that thing in the sky without any strings when the long Physics classes in school explained Sir Isaac Newton’s ‘apple accident’ and the gravity, g=9.8 m/s² which pulls everything to the earth’s center.
Recently, I got an opportunity to experience and quench the thirst of my curiosity regarding the flight travels. But the most exciting part was that I had to fly alone. The selfish part of my mind grinned on thinking the fact that I could feel all the thrills of my dream come true moment by myself . Indeed, it is nice to enjoy one’s own company .. especially at the time of adventures. My husband delivered a detailed lecture a couple of times over the phone on dos and don’ts during the travel, the things I can carry and so on. Actually, he gave me a complete idea of the matters which I have to take care and even the direction of my movement inside the airport even from the time I enter the airport till I reach safely in his hands. 😀 And I have this habit of imagining the scenes when I hear something and kind of already flew during the call several times 😉 . A day or two before the flight, when I called my husband’s parents, dad repeated the same rules and modus operandi of the travel.
When we packed my bags, I reminded myself and others about the restrictions in carrying the things like an expert; kudos to my husband.
There are two categories of baggage:
- Cabin baggage/hand luggage, which I can carry inside the aircraft with me;
- Check-in luggage, which will be sent to the cargo section.
Since it was a domestic flight, my airlines insist that I can carry a maximum of 7 kg as cabin baggage/hand luggage and 15 kg as check-in luggage, free of cost and have to pay an extra amount per kg if the luggage exceeds these maximum permissible limits. For the international, it varies. I have to keep my laptop, mobile phone, camera, power bank etc in the hand luggage and cannot keep any liquids in my hand luggage, so that my deodorant, lotions, and all cosmetics had to go into my check in luggage. In addition to that, there were some eatables like homemade banana chips, murukku and chutney powder from my aunt which I had to include in the check-in baggage certainly. So the toughest question in front of me then was to decide on which ones to avoid. Sometimes, if you could not pick up the right ones, ruling out the wrong ones would help. I had some of the books which I am reading and planning to read in the near future, my dresses aka a textile shop in my mom’s words, the photos of deities, a traditional lamp which has to be lighted in the evening at our new home, hair oil specially prepared by my mom, my Quilling supplies and so on. The list would go infinitely if permitted. I sat right in the middle of all these. Expression : Confusion.
My suspicion was that even my trolley bag itself weighed 3-4 kg. 😮
In the end, I had to compromise on taking some of my books, most of my clothes and Quilling materials on my next travel with me. I was left with no option than to keep the eatables packed in my bag as my loving aunt lovingly threatened me saying she made all of them just for me. So nice of her 🙂 As in any other big bag packing, my brother was my packer this time also. I don’t possess that great skillset for keeping things secure and making the optimum use of the available space as he does. If I had done that by myself, it would have been a mess for sure and ended up with most of the materials outside the bag. 😀 We weighed the bags, once the packing was over to make sure that the bags are under the allowable weight limit.
Finally, the D-Day arrived! The day I was going to touch the sky! My mom, brother and I left home early enough so that I could reach the airport on time. We reached a little before the stipulated time indeed, which happens very rarely in my case 😉
I will miss running to my home on weekends. I will miss my mom and her delicious food so badly! I will miss my brother! I will miss the silly fights and watching movies with him.. I was staying in a hostel and used to go home once in every two weeks and had to travel almost 5 hours on road to reach my hometown. I would not be able to go home that frequently from today on. I thought it would be an emotional scene while bidding adieu. But, my mom took it very lighter than I expected, to make me comfortable. Brave lady..surprises me always! They smiled at me. I went inside the departure section. Still, they were waiting outside just to make sure I secured the boarding pass. As directed by my better half, I walked towards the security check queue. Yes, everything is almost the same as he described. I placed my check-in luggage in the belt and waited at the other end for clearance. After collecting that, I went to join the queue to the counter of my airlines. There were not much rush and I managed to reach the counter without much waiting. The beautiful lady at the counter smiled at me. She looked stunning in her dark pink lipstick. She asked me to place my check-in luggage in the weighing machine, which would be taken care by them from there on. It would be taken to the cargo section and I don’t have to worry about the heavy bag anymore till I reach my destination. I requested for a window seat since I did not want to miss any chance of watching the outside from the aircraft. She asked me if I was ready to be accommodated in the last seat as the other window seats were already taken. The problem with that seat was that it could not be reclined. It did not seem a big deal for me as my journey was short, no more than one and a half hours and I settled for that seat. Finally, I got the boarding pass which ensured that I will fly on the day! 😀
I called up my mom who was waiting outside with my brother to leave the airport after I grab my boarding pass. Then I went to have my security check done. There were some trays and a notice beside them saying to keep the electronic equipment in the tray if there was any for checking. I placed my laptop, camera and mobile in the tray and kept it on the belt along with my cabin baggage for the baggage security check and joined the queue for my security check. A lady officer scanned me from top to bottom with some electronic equipment and sealed my boarding pass. By the time, I reached the other side of the security check, my baggage and tray reached there. I repacked my bag and walked towards the waiting area. There were many shops around and all of them seemed quite expensive but deserted.
The climate suddenly took a twist and it started to drizzle! The announcement to proceed to the gate was heard after a while and I was very much thrilled to join my fellow travelers. We were taken to the flight which was halted at a small distance from the exit by bus. And there it lay.. with pride.. My first ever flight. I climbed the stairs like a princess 😉 Two air hostesses who were standing there to receive us greeted me .. With a smile, I greeted them back and walked towards my seat.
To my shock, the seat which I was thinking as mine was already occupied .. I stood there perplexed, like the princess who lost her empire..(or the one who got lost in the empire). I double checked my seat number. Yes, it’s my seat. I interrupted the girl who was sitting in my seat. She did not seem amused. She asked me in a very bland voice while getting up, “Do you really want the window seat?” . Oh God! “Yes, Of course. It’s my first flight travel and hence I requested for a window seat” I said while keeping my bag in the luggage storage compartment overhead and secured myself in the seat and waited for the flight to take off. She sat next to me. We fastened the seat belt. The captain talked regarding the aircraft and the journey details in both English and Hindi. As instructed, I kept my mobile phone in flight mode after informing my family my whereabouts. And in no time, the flight started. All the passengers were seated and the air hostesses stood in the aisle, determined to do something. Some female voice started announcing something, I listened carefully. As per the announcement, the air hostesses started to show gestures on the safety measures. They explained and enacted on how to fasten a seatbelt, what has to be done if the aircraft make a water landing, how to use the oxygen masks, where the emergency exits were and so on. They did the same actions for both the languages synchronously. Where do the airline companies find such beautiful, cute girls from, I exclaimed. Even then, some of the passengers did not seem to heed any attention to what was going on there. They might have heard it a number of times before, I assumed. Anyway, I watched curiously. Curiosity- my evergreen expression!
By that time, the flight was taking off… Ooooh..! It was kind of a small roller coaster ride. I recollected how Swati screamed in a ride when we went to the playing area of the Mall in the city the last time . She did the same for almost every ride we took and we- Tintu, TL, Rashid, Manju and I imitated and gave her company for screaming. I missed you guys this time! Sometimes, I have this motion sickness and I made sure that there was a bag handy, just in case I needed it . But I was pretty confident that I would not throw up, as I was so excited about the journey. The rain has stopped and the sun who was hiding behind the clouds came out. As the flight started to fly high, I looked out of the window. I could see the big buildings and trees as small miniature blocks in the ground. As the flight reached more and more up, the earth appeared to be greener. Soon it seemed to fly somewhat horizontally and now I could see the white clouds floating just outside my window. Well, some seemed to be in a hurry, they were sprinting faster than me, but in the opposite direction.
And then I witnessed one of the most breathtaking scenes in my life when I gazed out of the windshield. A Rainbow! A rainbow was visible, deep down. It was the first time that I was seeing a rainbow that clearer and closer. It was so clear that I could identify the colours individually. And the mind-blowing part was that we were flying above the rainbow! Imagine a beautiful rainbow beneath and you have to look down to see it!
Time passed and now the only thing which I could see outside were clouds, like cotton balls floating in different shapes and sizes.. How would it feel to touch them? I got lost in my thoughts. The sky appeared to be more blueish. In between, I took a very small nap to recharge myself. The air hostesses were roaming around with food items through the aisle. I was strictly instructed not to buy anything from the flight as its way too expensive.
In an hour and a few minutes, we reached the destination. The landing again reminded me of the roller coaster incident. I kept my mobile on normal mode and informed my husband who already reached the airport that we were just a few meters apart now. It was one of ‘my day’, the memories of which I would love to cherish. I had taken flights many times after that – alone and with my husband, but that day remains special for me like the first is the best. After collecting my check in luggage as directed from the flight, I rushed to the exit. There you go! He stood there with his priceless smile, in a dark green t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, waving hands at me, waiting to hear my never-ending stories!