Friday, February 13, 2009

my accidental stop over in Karachi

My first flight out of India in June 1970 .I was a young boy of 20 .A sheltered idealist Indian boy.My dad had procured a reasonably priced ticket to Germany via Baghdad on Iraqi airways.I think it cost 1500 rupees.After i applied a visa for Germany i had to get this ticket before receiving a visa in my passport.I had to get a visa for Iraq also and became first time aware that it would have helped me if i had known Arabic.not that i had any opportunities to learn it in my formative years.My dad and grandfather who were among my first teachers knew Arabic script and knew Persian as well.They were scholars of Persian.Recited Persian poetry and many times wrote in Urdu in Arabic script. My dad had learned Devanagari Script on in sixties as the central government promoted learning of Hindi among its officials.Thinking back i was not concerned about my trip and was not anxious of timing and other issues as i may be today.Plane flew from Palam airport if i remember correctly it was a MacDonald Douglass plain. By the way my family was able to come to the plane to see me off.As special courtesy they put me up in first class section.Plane must have departed in late night or early morning.I remember I had bought a bottle of Chivas regal at Delhi duty free shop for $45. a handsome sum for gift for my prospective bosses.After about45 minutes we were told that plane will be making an unscheduled landing in Karachi Airport .On arrival at the airport we were told that their was some mechanical problem and it will be taken care of in few hours.From air as well on ground it appeared that Karachi was like desserts i had seen in Rajasthan in summer and it seemed barren and not very crowded.I visited the airport shops and talked with everybody and anybody who would talk to me .I remember in a gift shop lot of things handcrafted in onyx.i enquired and learned more about onyx than i had known before.One thing i remember most that the luncheon they served included chicken,it was most delicious chicken i ever had .Though i have become vegetarian in last several years ,yet i remember that being the best chicken Marsala i had ever had .May be it was time, place and circumstances.

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