Having been born, brought up and kicked around in a typical middle class household, I rarely had exposure to something called an aeroplane. Life has literally many ups and downs. Definitely I had a share of it in my life.
In the 1990’s when Narasimha Rao with Man Mohan Singh was churning the country by their reforms, we were slowly beginning to feel it. But the Information Technology bandwagon had already started off in what is typically called body shopping.
Body shopping involved a foreign company. This company pays an Indian placement agency or sometimes it would be a software development house itself for recruiting a person and sending him abroad like a piece of email at some mutually agreeable cost.
Since any foreign currency was near 12 times or more, all of us wanted to make some money as we did not know how long this money making saga would lost considering the political turmoil’s.
Just then the foreign companies were setting up companies and we all wanted to jump into that 12,000 INR per month salary and 5 day week elite group. That was the cool hip statement of those days.
Considering the above syndrome, myself too got affected and put my resume around every possible phoren company.
One such company, which took my resume, sent it to their phoren company in Singapore. One fine day my friend’s telephone jingled and somebody asked for me. My neighbor and good friend prashanth called me – Mohan phone for you.
I just ran as we did not have a phone at home and prashanth had just started a home based business and hence had a telephone. Needless to say we guys all misused his number in our resumes.
Asha, told me to meet her immediately as the phoren clients were interested in my services. I took leave that day in glee and went to their office. She explained I need to sign a contract for 1 year and based on visa approval, which they would process, I would travel to Singapore. I got princely money as offer and I signed on the dotted line.
As life would have it, the company got my papers approved and got the letter of intent and Asha beamingly said, we will book your tickets on Jan 24th night flight out from Madras (Bangalore was yet to be discovered on the international flight paths then).
I started my preparations. First was to learn cooking. That is another story by itself.
Lots of purchases need to be made. The first was the suitcase itself. My good friend prashanth and Mahesh assisted me in everything. We got to discuss the impact of flying.
None of my friends had experienced flight – never the less they contributed to my fright.
You need to sit back and hold your breath tightly otherwise you will sprain your back when the take off occurs – added jumbunath. You need to suck on that Rambehuli peppermint they give so that air does not get clogged in your throat and give ear pain – opinioned Mahesh.
On the doomsday after bidding farewell to my parents, friends at Madras airport, I felt alone suddenly at check in counter. Having been used to thieves in bus stations, railway stations – I was carefully looking around for possible theft of my only asset – the suitcase.
Somebody announced that Air Singapore flight SQ402 is boarding. Until now we were quietly sitting all around rushed and thrust our passport and tickets at the agent. I wanted the best aisle seat to look out of the window – habits die-hard!
Finally I was sitting in front of the magnificent aero plane and when the Singaporean air hostess smiled – I ensured there was no eye contact lest some thing happen and just moved looking for my seat just like in our cinema theatre. I was advised to be careful as these woman practice witchcraft and not look directly into girls’ eyes. I wonder why boys were advised like this!
Since there were too many people, by the time I found my seat, all overhead bins were full and I had to keep my hand bag in front of me and we seated.
Captain Lim welcomed us and with a bang, the doors were closed. I was now in panic mode. Should I hold breath, should I ask for peppermint….
Before I could say abracadabra, the plane started moving backwards, ooh just like our auto fellow who jump starts on gear, this was on reverse gear I though – later on to learn there are no reverse gears in an airplane!
The flight slowly made its way to take off and waited. I took out my Vishnu sahasranama book and started chanting the same mentally, as I had heard the danger is maximum on take off or touch down. In case something went wrong with flight, at least I am ensured a seat near lord Vishnu out of the 328 passengers.
Under complete screaming engines sound, I tried peering out to check when we will take off. Surprise! The flight had already taken off. I had not even felt any air in throat, back pain at all!!
I wanted to jump in joy and shout I made it.. I also decided to add my own spice when I told my friends how it felt like in take off.
Hold on guys… I need to worry about touchdown… that’s another story.