Journeys – Part Deux

In my last post about this topic, I had written that I will write about two plane trips that were most memorable.

The first trip was in January 2009, when I flew Jet airlines from Singapore to New Delhi and back. The onward trip was pretty uneventful and I don’t remember seeing much excep when we were very close to Delhi but the return trip was beautiful. The flight was an early morning one and since it was January it was bitterly cold. The airline was a small one, with a three seat aisle configuration. I think since the plane was a small one, it did not fly very high. So seated in the window seat, with Boone next to me, I was able to see the landscapes below. I could see india’s landscape as we flew past and at the exact same point we left continental india, somewhere between Puri and Bhubaneswar in the state of Orissa in India’s eastern coast, I happened to look out of the window. It was a beautiful sight and I could clearly make out the graduations from the browns of the beach to the turquoise of the shallow waters to the deep blues of the Bay of Bengal with all shades of blue in between. After that I quit watching the in-house entertainment channels and was just watching the scenery below me. I also kept the flight path open to check where we were. This way I knew when we flew over the gorgeous islands of the Andaman and Nicobar and also when we entered land again somewhere off the island of Penang. Mainland West Malaysia was beautiful from the air, and I could actually see the shadow the aircraft made on the buildings and on the ground. All said and done, I was happy to be home back in Singapore.

The other unforgettable trip was the day I flew when my hometown Mumbai was being held hostage by 11 gunmen. I woke up that morning feeling very excited and happy as by nighttime I would be home! But my sister called me soon from the US where she was at that time asking me if I was going to travel after all – this was a real shock for me and I wanted to know the reason why she asked such a question. When she told me about the gunmen, my first reaction was that of it being a big joke. Then I did what I always do when faced by something new – went online and started reading the news. My inlaws also called me to check if I was flying that night. I had to come in to work that day for the morning half, but I was totally unproductive and spent the whole morning calling my parents in Mumbai, calling the airline to check if the flight will take off and going online to read the news and see images and videos. What I saw was chilling, but when my dad said he managed to get someone to come with him to the airport and when the airline said the flight was going on as scheduled, I was determined to go. My inlaws were not too happy, but I didn’t want to waste my ticket and perhaps my entire vaccation. Also this time I was flying alone with D & P and S was coming after two weeks.

At the airport, it was calm, and I also got interviewed by Channel News Asia for the evening news. They wanted to know my reactions on what was happening in my hometown and also if I was feeling safe travelling. The flight was full and uneventful, although everyone was feeling stressed about what would happen once we landed in Mumbai. The airport in Mumbai was eerily empty and everyone was glued to the television screens which was showing the live action at the Taj Hotel and the Trident Hotels – scenes which will stay with us forever I think. I met my parents and the journey home which would take almost an hour due to the traffic took us just under 20-25 minutes, thats how deserted the streets were!

These two plane journeys are something that have been etched in my head. Maybe in the future there will be more such journeys (more of the first and none of the second please!).

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