I took my first airplane ride when I was barely two months old, a tiny bundle, travelling on a joint passport with my mum, moving to a new city that would be home for many years to come. The airline in question was Air India, which, despite all the years that have passed since my maiden flight, remains steadfast and unchanged. And I love it! It never fails to give me a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. Even now, whenever I hear a certain type of Indian classical music, or spot a paisley printed Sari, I’m reminded of those countless flights I’ve taken in the iconic Indian airline over the years. On hoardings opposite Juhu beach in Mumbai, the Maharajah’s waiting arms were always ready to whisk me off from one home to the other.
As a child I would diligently read all the safety instruction cards (memorise them actually), and pour over every page of the in flight magazine, and make mustaches and horns on everyone when I’d get done with the stories, and take long wonderful naps. Luckily I have the god given talent of falling asleep anywhere.I have even slept while standing in a moving bus. Sleeping when you’re on the move is the best kind I think
Meals tend to be hit and miss in most flights, but the one tradition I’ve steadfastly maintained over the years is eating the bread roll with a whole packet of butter, no matter what (the situation with my weight might be). Sadly, many flights don’t have this as part of the meal any more.
I had a very poor appetite as a kid, still do actually, but something about airline food has always been exciting, if not terribly appetising. Your food is neatly segmented, every meal a mystery, with everything you could possibly need-starters, main course, salad (yes I remember getting those on most lunch and dinner services), water, caffeine, condiments and dessert.Back then I always flicked the wet wipes for later. I never actually used them. I just collected them, for..you know,my tissue collection. Its not as weird as it sounds..really!
I’m still like a kid when it comes to the window seat though. My head is usually stuck in the clouds, taking photographs, thinking, dreaming.Despite my fear of heights, I think take offs are the best part-the rush, the adrenaline, the feeling of being on a roller coaster (even though I don’t sit on actual roller coasters). Even better is the feeling of falling, as the plane gets ready to land, and may sometimes start the process of rapidly dropping altitude.
I know some people feel that flights are these tedious things that are a means to an end, but I’d like to think that the rituals of the journey are an equally integral part of the travel experience.