It was way back in 1995 when I flew the first time and that was one one trip of my life when I was nervous and had experienced anxiety and fear as the date came nearby. The name had recently been changed from Bombay to Mumbai and I then headed to the airport. It had reached a record 150 arrivals and 152 departures on November 3, 1995. I reached the airport to see the baggage retrieval area having some counters for hotel reservations (we could see the whole of the airport those days unlike today anytime while going or coming). Some auto rentals showed presence, but no pre-paid taxi counters existed then. The Taxi service was available from and police monitored queue outside the airport. We had the wired coin telephone boxes available those days. A single snack bar and some shopping facilities were there those days too. There are 2 Intersecting runways even then and our check-in happened manually at the counter. There was no Air Traffic Control tower (It was built only in 1999 by Airport Authorities of India). It was in 1995 that 42 new airlines operated air services to and from, through India, though we still knew Indian Airlines for Domestic travel and Air India for International Travel. Jet Airways had entered in 1994 but most of us preferred our Indian Airlines and treated it as a safe and cheaper mode of transport. I had an Italian friend with me and we both travelled to Goa for a couple of days and come back from the same Airlines. The flight was very pleasing those days without much wait at the airport and without much of noise around. I could feel my own heartbeat as we boarded the Aircraft and as it took off I missed several heart beats, my eyes might have popped out many a times even when in mid air as the aircraft used to shake a lot due to the air turbulence and since it was my first time, I was not at all comfortable sitting there. I refused to open my eyes for most of the flight, remembered God and my family after which I started praying to the dead and gone forefathers and ancestors to land me safely. Either they heard my prayers or I got over my fear, but in any case we landed safely in Goa and went to finish the office work. We both were absorbed in the work for two days and did not get any time to relax or Enjoy Goa. Work pressure in India has never changed I must say. I had a new heavy instrument with me those days known as the Mobile phone which too I had to keep looking at for the fear of misplacing it. Finally the day came when we had to return to Mumbai. As we headed to the Airport, I felt less pressure on myself due to the second time of getting in an Aircraft. We landed safely at the airport and this time I did not call out God or my ancestors either. On the way home, I recollected that it was actually a great experience or as my Italian friend had described it before we departed. He had said, “Thank you for the #Fantastico Experience in India”. I smiled all the way back home, thinking about the word #Fantastico.
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