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My first हवाई यात्रा

My summer vacation of the year 1977 was a special one for me. That was the first time I traveled by air.

Every summer vacation my family visited our native place in East U.P. We all, my parents and six of us siblings would travel by train from Delhi to Deoria, changing train at Lucknow. The train journey meant suitcases, holdall, and lot of eatables, not to forget the good old surahi. Very often, a surahi was purchased on the railway station before boarding the train and was filled with water as and when it was empty. Interestingly, that surahi was broken at the end of journey and a new one again purchased at the start of new journey.

In 1977, my father’s office started giving air fare as LTA. Now, the problem was Deoria did not have an airport. The nearest airport was Lucknow. Then we came to know, that Gorakhpur had an air strip which was under  control of Indian Air Force and to our good luck it allowed only one commercial flight i.e. Delhi- Gorakhpur. We felt God could not have been kinder.

In those days, Air India operated international flights, Indian Airlines was responsible for domestic flights and Vayudoot took care of remote destinations. (There was no other airline available). Understandable, we had to go by Vayudoot. I still remember Vayudoot being referred to as Yamdoot because of its service. But that could not dent our enthusiasm towards our first air travel.

‘Planning’ for THE air travel started. Although Daddy told us that we will get breakfast on board, we got some munchies. You see, we were smarter than what Daddy thought us to be. We knew that like train journeys, we wont get to see hawkers there. Unlike train journeys, we were dressed in good clothes. On the d-day, my parents and the four of us (by that time two of my elder sisters were married) left for Palam Airport (now Indira Gandhi Airport) in a taxi. Roads appeared to be sooo…. beautiful. Somehow, we felt that the distance from home to airport was too much. I wish to add that except Daddy, all of us were going to the airport for the first time. The airport was a big , neat and an amusing place for us. The whole process of checking in and security check was interesting and amusing. Today, when I look back, that routine procedure also was exciting and thrilling. As compared to today, the airport was not crowded at all and it made us feel upgraded. We were no more traveling by train. We had joined the elite class – or so we felt.

The long wait between security check and boarding was unbearable. Appeared like hours if not days. Finally, boarding was announced. The four of us ran to grab the best (read window) seats. How would we know that the seats were already allocated. How could Daddy be so cruel! He did not opt for window seats for all of us! But what was that! We were entering a bus and not a plane. Daddy read the disappointment on our faces and explained the logic of that bus trip.

We entered the plane. It was a 40 seater Fokker Frointship. On landing at the airport, the backs of all the chairs had bowed down to kiss the seats. We gently lifted the backs and occupied our seats. It was amicably decided that we would take turns at the window seat. Fastening of the seat belt was difficult and amusing. As if we would run away. Now, again a long wait for the aircreaft to fly. Why on earth could it not zoom away!

Finally the doors were closed and the air hostess came with her sweet smile and a sweeter voice. Believe me, she did not appear to be doing her routine job with a plastic smile. Obediently, we listened to her and followed her instructions. We also read the instructions booklet kept in the pocket. And the plane started moving. It appeared the runway was endless and the plane was never going to take off.

Finally it did take off. The rattling of the aircraft (it was an old plane) appeared music to our ears. And then came the air hostess with a tray of sugar candies and toffees that too free. We could take any amount. We did fill our hands with as much as we could. I have a feeling we must have done some stupidity to declare that we were flying for the first time. Otherwise there was no reason for her to give us the remaining sweets at the end of the journey. Soon after, she came with that ‘heavenly’ breakfast. We were confused whether to enjoy the flight, the breakfast or the scene outside! Quietly, we kept the fruits served in the break fast in our hand bags. How else could we tell our cousins about our air travel! I am sure none of us wanted to show off. Other than this, nothing interesting and worth remembering happened during the flight.

We landed at Gorakhpur Air Strip. How small it was!

From there started the ordeal. We had to take a jeep to reach the bus stop. Then we boarded a rickety state transport bus to reach the village. It was still not over. My uncle was waiting with a  बैलगाड़ी to take us home. Here we were just out of the aeroplane and now in a bullock cart!

Even after 34 years, and so many air travels, this one stands out in my memory. Never ever has a plane journey been so exciting, so amusing, so wonderful and so memorable.

P. S.

As pointed by my son, it was Fokker Friendship and not Fokker Frointship.

My younger sister who was with me in this journey pointed out that we flew by Indian Airlines and not Vayudoot.


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Smart बच्चे

The children in the neighbourhood were playing badminton right under the window of my first floor flat. Nothing unpredictable, that their shuttle cock entered my room through the open window. As I had gone down to get vegetables, they found the flat locked. Since ‘time is precious’, they decided not to waste time in waiting for me, and decided to help themselves. Within no time, the bench kept in the park for senior citizens, was brought. The watchman’s chair was mounted on it, and the tallest boy stood on the chair. A makeshift anchor was ‘created’ and the boy deftly pulled out the shuttle cock. Lo! started the celebrations.

I came back at this point of time and was surprised to see the paraphernalia under my window. When I came to know all that had happened, I reprimanded the children for their act. I was in for a bigger surprise, when a proud parent explained to me how ‘intelligently’ the children planned and executed the entire thing. I was furious and threatened to lodge an FIR as this was a straight case of trespassing. The parents of the children involved, told me to stay calm, as the children had not stolen anything. In fact, I was advised to appreciate their intelligence.

I wonder was I really wrong in my perception! Often I feel outdated, when I get upset seeing underage children driving vehicles. I remember my children did not even learn to drive before they reached eighteen. Have I been unfair to them? Or are my children not as smart as the ones driving on the streets without license?

Often we see children back answering their parents. The parents seem to be appreciating this. The children are certified to be ‘witty’. It is their ‘presence of mind’ that makes them so smart. The toddlers have their own mind. They cant be forced to eat something they do not fancy. Nor can you advise them on what to wear, how to behave etc. If one tries doing anything that they do not like, he/she shall be rewarded with slaps and kicks. After all, the tiny tots know what is good for them.

Are we laying a good foundation for them? I dread to think what type of adults will they make. Often we hear people lamenting the younger lot, for their arrogant attitude. The children are like creepers, if we dont provide them with the right kind of support and direction they are bound to go haywire.


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My first post

I dedicate this blog to Zephyr of  Cyber Nag for inspiring me to start it, my son Siddharth, for starting it for me and my daughter, Mudita for giving me joyous moments by her simple yet thoughtful acts.

It was not easy for me to start on computer. Initially, I was so busy with my children growing up. Moreover, the comp was not available to me, thanks to my son. Then one day, I realised, that my children have left for hostel and I had all the time in the world and very few constructive things to do. And then my children told me to try my hand on the comp. I felt like a one year old child trying to learn ‘how to walk’. Interestingly the two angels which took my help to learn to walk were providing me support this time. My son like a strict tutor, getting irritated with my repeated mistakes and often throwing up his hands in despair. And my daughter, like a patient mother- teacher explaining it to me and encouraging me to try once more. Believe me, it is a very interesting journey for the three of us, proceeding with bouts of laughter on my mistakes. And all this time, my hubby ( he is a man of few words ) keeps smiling.

I  have named my blog “Kachha Lemon”, because, I am a beginner and would like to enter this field as ‘kachha limbu’. Then why ‘lemon’ and not ‘limbu’? I know this question will be put to me, sooner or later. Actually, I wish to write in English and Hindi, both.

I know I will make many mistakes. I am equally sure, I shall improve with your help. Not only will I look forward to your comments, I will appreciate your constructive criticism.


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