Friday, May 27, 2011

Smiles worth more than a million dollars

I still remember my first flight.  I didnt sleep well that entire night out of sheer excitement - the flight was an early morning one and I was probably the first one to be ready.  I remember sitting in the window seat and feeling the exhilaration of the aircraft being lifted into the air.  The feeling of transcending into space, literally, a sweet dizziness and seeing the earth move away from you putting you into a completely different orbit are unforgettable moments in life.

During the flight, there were so many thoughts, inbetween all those conversations we had, but the one I clearly remember is the thought about taking  my parents on a flight journey somewhere, someplace... and that was many many years ago..

I almost lost the chance when my sister was planning the same with my parents, and fortuntely ( how mean of me) that didnt happen and a couple of earlier occasions when i suggested this to my parents, they werent actually ready.  They both were trying to get over a bad phase in their lives, and I didnt want to force them, into anything they didnt want to do at that time.

Now they are much better and when Joel, my third generation cousin, invited us for his marriage, a couple of months back ( his wedding was on 22nd May and he was so thoughtful to invite us in March, the next day after finalising his wedding.) at Kerala, the idea was back again.  By now, I pretty well know how to deal with my parents, If I ask them, shall we go by flight, there would be other suggestions, so one day I called them and said, we will go for Joel's wedding by flight. complete silence on the other end of the telephone.  Appacha, I have blocked the tickets and in another 2 days time, tell me if the timings are convenient.  No defences, no opposition, no contradictions and dad mumbled let me discuss with Ammachi and call you back.  Thank God, I thought.

A couple of days later my dad confirmed the dates are fine and thus my parents first flight was finalised.  Infact, we were going for Joels wedding from multiple directions - My sis and family along with my son, Dennu, were coming from Bangalore.  Dennu is spending time with my sister as part of his 2nd lap of holiday tour. Joe had a official trip to Coimbatore coinciding with Joel's wedding, so he promised to reach Aripalam, ( my dad's place) by car. And i was flying down with my parents through Cochin.

I much later realised, actually during the wedding day, I did the wisest things in my life in taking my parents to Kerala in a flight for a relatives wedding, as almost all my typical Mallu relatives got to know about their flight journey and my parents were brimming with pride.

On the day of the journey, I went to pick up my parents from their place and I saw my parents all dressed and ready like little children, who are promised to be taken to a theme park, excitement written large and bold in their eyes.  Smiling and laughing we went to the airport on a saturday afternoon.  I remembered the days when I held their hands and was led to the known to the unknown in multiple environments during all those growing up Juvinelle years, when all I had was the faith and trust in them.  I knew if my dad was around I had nothing to fear.  I am truly biased that way about my dad.  Years later, today I saw the roles reversed, I saw their trust and pride in me.

All went well.  The normally bustling airport was a little more crowded, being a saturday and also partly because of all the renovation works going on in the Chennai airport. unlike a working day when the lounges are filled with Corporate honchos with emotion-less faces going around in a detached manner, this day had more of a family crowd and I guess that must have made my parents a little more comfortable.

My mom was a little worried about her first flight - she is slightly claustrophobic.  Even in a car, the first thing that she will ask is to put the shutters down for air to come in.  she feels suffocated in closed environments.  Infact, i was a little worried too about her. 

The baggage taken in I handed over the boarding passes and they were thrilled to see even the tickets.  Security check for my dad was interesting - he missed his silver rosary in his pockets and the machine beeped so he had to part with it for few minutes.  He checked with me if the baggage will arrive safely.  My mom wouldnt part with her handbag, as it had jewels that we had to wear for the wedding.  she quickly grabbed her bag after security check and waited for a few minutes in the lounge to see the entire set of Chennai Super Kings entourage coming into the lounge. 

finally we boarded the aircraft with the smiles of my parents broadening by the minute, so many people calling from Kerala to check if they have started, and my dad wanting to sit near the window.  This being a big aircraft we all could sit in the same row and my mom told my dad, again like a little child, after a little while I want to sit near the window.  My parents are such lovely couple, in sync with each other and they have the knack of managing each other.  I sometimes feel they balance each other so well that i have so much to learn from them. I heard my dad say, "anyway you would sleep in a little while, so it doesnt matter".  I made a mental note to check with the inflight executive about availability of an empty window seat.

The excitement on my dads face was quite evident and I saw him explaining a lot of things to mom and I had the opportunity to see the expression on the faces of my parents took off. They were joyous, smiling and so happy.  Excited is an understatement - My dad could see and identify some landmarks in Chennai and after a while was enjoying the beauty of clouds all around. The flight touched Trivandrum before it reached Cochin and I heard Dad say to his nephew while the flight landed in Trivandrum, one journey and we have two take-offs and two landings. 

Before the flight took off from Trivandrum, checked with the airhostess and organised a different window seat for dad so Mom could also sit near a window.  My dad thoroughly enjoyed the journey, mom too, but she started having ear pain after a little while, but she was fine.

I was revelling in their joy and happiness all through this journey - The smiles of my parents brought so much of satisfaction and I know I could never ever repay them even in part for all that they have done for me and the sacrifices they had to make, which made me what I am today. Atleast this, and I am so thankful for this opportunity.  And as a first born at home, I could do it before my brother or sister could do it for them.

I have just one regret though - I should have done this much much earlier. :-)

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