Dad gave Dipi and me a pleasant surprise. He took us to Safdarjung Airport...
..we were standing in front of a glider watching the pilot preparing for the ride. We were put into cock-pit and strapped to the seat. The pilot hopped in and strapped himself. The transparent, U-shaped shutter slide shut, sealed into the glider. We waved at mom and dad, mom seemed little nervous. They too waved back.
The winch was a kilometer down the runway... actually a dirt track. The steel cable hooked to the bottom started pulling the glider slowly and picked speed quickly. Speed always fascinated me. Even now, I was so excited to see the blurred ground below us. We were zooming now and then we could feel lifting off the ground. We went higher, silent and smooth and sailing… above the capital city of India. It was a wonderful sight. I could recognize few familiar streets as flew in a big circle. The flight lasted just a few minutes. We wished it was little longer but the pilot was preparing to land. We descended smoothly towards the runway… the touch down was little bumpy and noisy and we could see dust rush on the glider as it came to a halt.
The glider had one wheel in the belly below the wings but I cannot remember seeing if it had wheels in the rear end. Dad helped us out of the cock-pit, we waved bye to the pilot and walked towards the parking area.
Though our stay in Delhi was short, dad showed us most of the historical monuments… Red Fort, Qutab Minar, some tombs, Rastrapathi Bhavan, Rajghat, Parliament House, another fort… During one of the many visits to Qutab Minar (our flat at Press Enclave was pretty close by and it was the outskirts of New Delhi back in 77) dad took us to a garden on a hillock. As dad and mom strolled around, Dipi and I climbed up and started rolling down the grassy slope. Mom asked us to stop. No! We were jungles. Time to go back and we were itchy all over. Mom was smiling; serves you both right! We scratched all the way back home and rushed to the bathroom and took one long shower.
As kids, we have troubled mom driving her nuts and she used scream at me!! “Katte Papa!!”