My First Flight

My first air travel was almost accidental. In my family, giving surprise is as common as a Bengali having indigestion. It was December 1999 when I came to Mumbai airport to see my brother off. It was one of my cousin’s marriage in Kolkata.

People of this generation would never even realise the excitement of a flight these days. But in our time, it was a big deal.

I was sad to miss the marriage. Coming to Kolkata for marriage was a minimum 10 days affair in those days. Spending 6000 rupees over a flight was more than luxury for me.

To be or not to be happy!
I was never good at hiding my expression. And my brother was always good at reading unexpressed emotions. With that conflicting state of mind, I came to the airport wearing the stupidest of a smile on my face.

Finally, the time came when I had to stand out of the gate and that ‘Golden Moment’ of the sheer joy of a man entering the airport. And that was the moment, my brother gave me the biggest surprise of my life. He took out another ticket from his pocket and I saw my name on top of that glorious leaflets of Jet Airways. Remembering that moment, I still feel indebted to my brother. That was suddenly one of the best gifts I have ever received till date.

Surprise turned into an embarrassment
Till this moment, it was surprising. My surprise turned into an embarrassment in a few minutes.

I was unprepared, to say the least. But suddenly I became extremely overconfident. I realised that was also my brother’s first flight. And it is my utmost duty to take the lead from now. So I went to the check-in counter and asked for two adjacent window seats. I still remember the expression of that lady. Somehow she explained that windows seats can never be adjacent. But my overconfidence continued.

Once onboard, I announced to my brother, it is after all hard-earned money, and we have to get the best of it. My brother is a man of high esteem. But that flight, I am sure he would remember forever for all wrong reasons. Flying Jet Airways those days was royal in every way. As a matter of fact, flying itself was a matter of pride those days.

thud on my back

PC – Sanjib Chakraborty

The experience started with a glass of cold drinks followed by handing over a wet towel. I had no idea what to do with that cologne drenched wet towel. “My towel is wet”, I complained to the air hostess.  She smiled at me and said, yes sir, it is a wet towel. At this point, I was a bit angry at all my relatives. I used to ask my father and all my other relatives about their experience of flying.  I knew important things like free candies or getting a blanket if you are cold. But no one told me about this wet towel.

Can I keep it as a token of my first flight?
As a quick learner, I looked at other people and started demonstrating to my brother. I almost became a master of using wet towel.  What happened next was more frustrating for my brother. The lady came and asked me for the wet towel and I smartly said, can I keep it as a token of my first flight?

If you all think that this was the height of embarrassment for my brother you would rather skip the next part. By the time we landed in Kolkata, I had taken a table mat, a stainless steel spoon and fork and probably fifty candies as mementoes of my first plane journey. Thankfully flight those days had no break Journey. Otherwise, I am sure my brother would have jumped out of the flight.

Talking about surprises, it continued for some time even after we reached Kolkata. No, I am not talking about my cousin sister’s smile seeing me. It happened that evening when we went out for a FUCHKA outing. I remember taking out a few tissue papers from my pocket. I smartly announced to all that I brought them from the toilet of that flight.

I couldn’t recollect what happened after that except a big thud on my back! Ahhh… that still pains!

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  • Sumi

    July 23, 2019 at 5:21 am
    Reply

    I think I still remember the expressions on everyone's face when you arrived and the cheer joy of seeing you home

    • Sunando
      to Sumi

      July 23, 2019 at 6:20 am
      Reply

      I know! It was an unforgettable trip!

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