Like most other students, the vacations are the most favourite days of the year for me. Vacations are the only times a student can relax without absolutely any kind of course related worries (except perhaps the results). For me though, the summer vacations represent the time for meeting relatives and going on family trips. Last year we had multiple experiences: the first one being the Gujarat-Rajasthan trip, where we explored a few places in the two Indian states over a period of 9 days. This year too, we had a similar plan, only grander. Instead of two states, we were going to explore places in two different countries – Singapore and Thailand. Just like the Gujarat Trip, we were eleven of us travelling this time and about half the group comprised of senior citizens.
While the previous trip was completely planned by us, this year we took the help of the tour planners Cox and Kings. Unlike the last year’s trip I was pretty psyched. I had a fair idea about the places we were scheduled to visit, thanks to the courtesy of my friends (who had been there earlier) and of course, Google. We used almost half a year to plan it and work out the littlest of details. This was the first international trip for my grandparents and I wanted it to be really special for them.
The newly opened T2 terminal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) was one of the reasons of elevated levels of my interest as I had heard a lot about it but never actually gotten a chance to see it for myself. It had been a very long time since I saw the face of the international airport.
Day 0: 24th May, Mumbai
There was something different about the trip this time. I knew it in my gut that I was going to enjoy every bit of it. I was glad we were getting out of Mumbai – it was peak of summer and I was in no mood to bear with the increased humidity along with the sun’s wrath. Fortunately our flight left a little after midnight. We had to be in the airport three hours earlier, and were hence saved from traveling in the hot sun.
Coming back to the beginning of the trip, we were on the elevated road leading exclusively to T2. The sheer smoothness of the road coupled with the absence of traffic jams made me forget for a while I was still in Mumbai. The taxi breezed through and the wind in my hair brought me some relief from the otherwise sultry summer.
A moment later we could see the new airport terminal. It was as grand as it could possibly be, standing out from the rest of the scenery. I just couldn’t take my eyes off its beauty. The security, as always, was pretty tight. It took us about ten minutes to just enter the airport after getting the travel documents checked. I was left even more stumped when I saw the grandeur inside.
We had done a web check-in a few hours earlier. Regrettably, that wasn’t enough as our seats were scattered. Security Check and Immigration followed the check-in of the baggage; and were soon followed by the trip to the duty-free area. This part was the grandest of all. It felt like as if I was at a shopping mall.
After a hearty dinner we boarded the airport shuttle. We settled down and buckled up once in the plane. My excitement grew exponentially as it took off. I am always left amazed by the airplane rides no matter how many times I fly. I look forward to the funny feeling in the spine as the plane takes off, observing the wing of the aeroplane, seeing the vehicles appear the size of ants, flying in the clouds, you name it! The thing I enjoyed the most was seeing the surroundings shrink. The city soon looked like just a network of fading lights. The last sight of Mumbai I remember was seeing the city disappear under a thick blanket of clouds.
PS: Photo Credits – My sister