That’s right. We met, we partied, we parted and we had a whale of a time. It would have been even whaler had all our friends joined us. So while we had fun there was always a stray comment – “Pity so and so couldn’t be here”. There is always a next time though and it’s closer than you think. Bossman Bhushan has decreed that we assemble again, within the year, at Bangalore. No ifs – no buts.
Back to Pune. There were no delayed flights or late trains and everyone assembled as scheduled. None more scheduled than the first arrivals Dodhi & Sarita who arrived at 5.30 am on the 1st.
Dinner at The Maharatha, Sun n Sand.
Having settled down we assembled in the hotel itself for drinks and dinner. After all the hugging, back thumping and shouts of delight at having finally met again, everyone settled down to the story of their lives. Amongst the first few to arrive was the original Boss, Air Cmde Murph Murthy. Sprightly and full of beans it was a delight to see him so chirpy and full of beans. There were also a few more originals from the 1967 era and thereabouts, Air Mshl Ramdas, Brother, Sis and importantly Mrs Neelu Kapoor. Then there were the almost originals – Keru, & Chau.
We were delighted that Girish made it, even if only for the evening. Being with friends and people who cared, we requested him to say a few words, even though it would be hard for him, about the gun battle in which Akshay laid down his life. To his eternal credit he gave us a detailed synopsis of the Uri attack, and we hope that it also enabled him to unburden himself somewhat. To say that there was not one dry eye or heavy heart would be an understatement. Yet it was something we wanted to hear from Girish and help him through this terrible time. And Girish came out with flying colours. There he was talking and then there was silence. A deafening silence. Someone clapped, the tension broke and the room echoed with applause.
So what is it about this darn aircraft that brought so many of us together? So close that we feel free to express our deepest sentiments and emotions knowing that we will be perfectly understood and find strength from that empathy? Abiding mystery. Ravi had brought a young gentleman to the party and while talking to him he commented how completely zapped he was by this show of camaraderie and genuine affection that was on display. Beyond anything he had ever experienced.
To be continued…….