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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

03 June 2011

Come Fly with Me

Just booked our tickets to Perth for mum-in-law’s 70th birthday. Excitedly told C1 and C2 they would be going on an aeroplane. C1’s response? “Okay.” Just another mode of transport. At three-and-a-half, she has been on a fair few flights right from the time I was pregnant with her, so I guess her response is warranted.

But I still remember my first plane journey like it happened yesterday. I was nine, my brother Jason, six. Mum, Dad, Jase and I had gone to Goa (by steamer, no less) during our school holidays in October. After a susegad ten days there, it was time to return home. Instead of long faces and letdowns, we were super-excited - because we were getting to go home on an AEROPLANE!!!

At that time (mid-1980s), you could only fly Indian Airlines. Air India (remember its Maharaja?) was for international flights. Anyone would tell you that the dress-code for Goa reads swimsuits and shorts. But Mum and Dad ensured we were dressed in our Sunday best. We were boarding a plane, after all. A certain sense of decorum needed to be maintained.

Flight duration? A scant 45 minutes. So we had to make every second count. From waiting in the domestic airport lounge welllll before time, to boarding the plane, to figuring out how to do up our seat-belts, to listening to the air safety instructions...

The plane taxied the runway and my stomach did a somersault as the plane took off. I was flying! Keeping in mind the information my “well-travelled” older cousins had given us, we waited patiently for the air hostess to come around. Then Jase grabbed a handful of hard-boiled sweets and we dutifully drank our juice. Because that’s all we were going to get.

Before you know it, the plane had touched down in bustling Bombay. Palm feni, dodol and bebinca, black Mapusa market bags, roasted cashewnuts and Goan sausages intact, we found ourselves back home. But I was walking on air for weeks after...

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