I remember vividly taking my first flight when I was just 16. I was part of the Under-16 Indian Football team then and I was very excited about everything that was happening in my life. It got a bit arduous because of the amount of paperwork they made us do before we started our journey from Kolkata to Bangladesh, but the thrill of the unknown was riveting. I can reminisce how crowded it was at the Kolkata Airport back then, also because there used to be fewer flights, mostly Air India. Nevertheless, it was my maiden flight journey, filled with childish exuberance.
Since then, I have been a constant flyer with no doubts regarding preference to flights over any other modes of trans1. Terminal Building of the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport, Guwahati 2. The entrance at the Bagdogra Airport 3. Terminal Building of the Goa International Airport At the airport port because, it saves a lot of time and with so many airlines coming up, flying today has become real smooth.
However, there is one thing about these updated airports that makes me miss the old times, and I really wish could be brought back in practice. That is the goodbyes that were earlier allowed with an entry pass. That point of contact, the see-off from your loved ones while departing now gets over early. I understand that it all adds up to the security reason, but this is what I miss about my old airport memory lane, that emotional connect.
Travelling for me mostly revolved around sports and the people I mostly travelled with were my team mates. I have indulged in family trips many times but a great chunk of my travelling has been for sports and that is one of the many reasons I love Bagdogra Airport, which lies near to my home town, Sikkim. I have travelled so much from the Bagdogra Airport that it now feels like home. It has been serving so many people over the past years, and I would love to see it expand with the rising traffic.
I like to travel light and comfortable, which is why I am always carrying just the right number of bags. Apart from Delhi and Mumbai Airport, which I think are great airports, I really like the Guwahati Airport. This non-metro airport has upgraded so well with time. The transition, be it arrival or departure, has become so smooth and saves a lot of time.
Considering my hectic travel routine, one thing that I need at the airport is a cup of coffee. I just can’t do without it. Whatever time I spend at the airport, I like acknowledging the love I get from people around. At times, it does get a little embarrassing as it encroaches your private space, but I am always up for a selfie.
My favourite destinations internationally are Singapore and Thailand, undoubtedly. The greenery in Singapore enthrals me so much that I keep visiting it often. Bangkok also tops my list because of the serene beaches it houses. I have grown up in a cold state, so I always had an inclination towards sunny beach sides and so do my kids. They love beaches and swimming. Indian airports have become so beautiful now and one such airport is the Goa Airport, which truly portrays the ethnicity of the town and is comfortable and hassle-free.
Of late, I have started travelling for leisure and as a family we have hit quite a few spots. Next destination on our wish list is Uzbekistan. Its snow laden scenery fascinates me to a great degree and getting to ski there would be the icing on the cake. However, it’s always the journey that is more exciting than the hotspot for obvious reasons: the planning, the enthusiasm of the prospect ahead and seeing the kids over the top of what lies ahead.