The day prior to my departure came quickly and I found myself on a bus for the 3-4 hours drive towards Nadi. I had a relative by marriage who was a Customs Officer there in Nadi and I spent this night at his home.
The 18th of July was here at last! My flight was scheduled for the afternoon and I knew my family would be there to see me off. Sure enough they arrived in my brother-in-law’s bus, scores of them, the bus was full!
My wife had arrived with her family in her uncle’s taxi. I met with everyone who came to see me off. When she and I spoke again it was a reminder of our previous conversation on the subject.
My mother cried of course and so it began, everyone else started up. It was like contagious or something!
Hemma said to me in final parting, “I love you always. Hurry and get settled so you can call for me as soon as possible.” Wouldn’t you know, just like an old movie, it was all about timing. In these tear stained moments the announcement came for my flight’s boarding.
We hugged, we all hugged. My wife and I held one another. It wasn’t one of her lady bear hugs but that’s okay because I think she was being the normal coy Indian wife, what with all eyes on us and everything. What else right?
It’s okay. I could see through the tears in her eyes she was going to miss me. She would miss ‘us’. I know she really didn’t want me to leave her.
I walked out to the passenger boarding steps of the TEAL airliner, not the color. That’s Tasman Empire Airways Limited for those of you scratching your head trying to recall.
Yes I was a bit nervous; this would be my first flight ever! I had no idea what to expect. I’m climbing aboard a Douglas DC-6 and heading for Sydney, Australia. I turned to wave as I ducked into the aircraft. I too was crying.
Another adventure of this lifetime was beginning and those spinning propellers on the sides of the aeroplane were going to get me there well, at least part of the way there.
As I said before this was going to happen in steps.
First step, board an aeroplane, second step, fly over the ocean in that aeroplane to a country I’ve actually already been to. This oughtta be good!
I do remember the meal that was served; it was Indian food and it was actually very good!