Spice of Life | A trip down memory lane on wings of time - Hindustan Times
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Spice of Life | A trip down memory lane on wings of time

ByRameshinder Singh Sandhu
May 01, 2024 06:10 AM IST

Seeing me with a suitcase, a tourism volunteer on Market Street enquired if I wanted any help with directions. I had simply planned to wander around. The highlight, however, was a coffee break just before my departure to the airport at the luxurious Palace Hotel in its enthralling garden court, known for its grand ceiling made of 72,000 individual pieces of glass.

Time flies faster than a Concorde plane. That’s what struck me as the phone flashed memories, stating ‘a year ago’ on this March 4. They took me straight to San Francisco airport from where I was taking a flight back to India after spending several months, exploring pockets of North America. Within seconds, every moment from that day began to unfold, beginning with an early morning bus ride from Sacramento, the capital of California. My cousin had come to drop me, while it was still dark but the sun had almost risen as the bus arrived in San Francisco via its famous Bay Bridge, which presented the iconic skyscrapers and its piers along the water. I had arrived early despite having a late afternoon flight as I wanted to enjoy the views of the city one more time.

In Amsterdam, there were souvenirs of tulip flowers every few steps and soon I found myself on the Delhi flight. (AFP)
In Amsterdam, there were souvenirs of tulip flowers every few steps and soon I found myself on the Delhi flight. (AFP)

As I wheeled my suitcase from the bus stand towards Market Street, which takes you straight to the waterfront, I could feel the city still getting ready for the day. The coffee shops were busy and many were on their way with coffee cups in hands. The pedestrian paths were wet having been freshly cleaned and the beggars like everywhere were following up, “You got a spare dollar?”

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Seeing me with a suitcase, a tourism volunteer on Market Street enquired if I wanted any help with directions. I had simply planned to wander around. The highlight, however, was a coffee break just before my departure to the airport at the historic and luxurious Palace Hotel in its enthralling garden court, known for its grand ceiling made of 72,000 individual pieces of glass. Sitting there was such a sophisticated feeling as I was surrounded by guests from many parts of the world.

Just outside was the way to the underground train station from where I took the direct train to the airport. I remember I was struggling to pull out my ticket for it from the auto ticket point but I eventually figured out. I still have that ticket cost of which was $13. At the airport, the check-in was quick but not the security screening. Being an aviation geek, plane-spotting kept me engaged. I was booked on KLM all the way to Delhi via Amsterdam. The blue plane was shinning bright under the Californian sun and I suddenly began to recall my long trip, including fresh moments from San Francisco’s downtown.

In Amsterdam, there were souvenirs of tulip flowers every few steps and soon I found myself on the Delhi flight. It was a grand Boeing 777 while to Amsterdam, it was a Boeing 787. But there was one thing common on both flights: Happy crew members and scrumptious meals.

From Delhi airport, I took a bus straight to Punjab. As decided, I got down before my hometown to reach my maternal village and meet grandmother. It was noon when I reached. She was more than elated to welcome me and was such a good listener, who enjoyed many American tales. I stayed with her for nearly a week. Our conversations about the trip would continue till late almost every night.

But that March, I was completely oblivious that it was her last spring. She passed away this January and also became a memory like many other memories. I wish she had stayed with us not only this March but for many more to come. Most of us take everything for granted in life, but her passing taught me that nothing is permanent in life and nothing lasts forever. Time creeps up on us without giving any notice. Value every day, every moment and everyone around.

The writer is an Amritsar-based freelance contributor and can be reached at rameshinder.sandhu@gmail.com.

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