One of the great highs of our family was when we went for a holiday to the UK & the US in ’96.For Seema & Shirish it was their first journey by air and also their first visit to a foreign land.A first holiday abroad for Deepa as well.This was a great learning experience for the children and something I know they will always cherish. Deepa’s mother also come with us on this wonderful holiday.
Those were the days when getting visa’s was much easier than now.Our interview lasted just about 5 mins and the Embassy official gave us his ok and good wishes for a great holiday !!!We travelled all the way by the United Airlines and had pleasant experiences all the way except that the travel agent had marked us for a Hindu meal!!!???All of us wanted the non veg continental meal.Most often we managed to change it but some times had to grit our teeth and bear it !!
Our first stop was at London where we stayed with Srilakshmi & Manoj and their son,Neesh. We saw and did what most tourist would do; a visit to Madame Tussaud’s museum, a ride on the famous London double decker buses, a visit to Piccadily Square etc etc .We had a memorable visit to the West Minister Abbey, where we saw a choir of little boys troupe into the church and heard them sing. They sang in the most ethereal way.We visited Winsor Castle and had a great time. Shirish quickly took to the London Under Ground and the buss services.He could find his way around quite easily.The children had budgets of their own for spending. Shirish was quick to spend on all that caught his fancy but Seema was ultra conservative on spending and we had to force her to open her account and spend.
We then flew across the Atlantic to New York and then to New Jersey where we stayed with Chitramaman ,his wife Rose and their children Kevin & Sheila. We were hospitably looked after and had a great time. Chitramaman has a wonderful house with a small brook and wooded areas around the house. It was a dream house. Rose and the children took us around the sights of New York such as the Science museum , the Naval Museum on the aircraft carrier, etc etc.Memory fades away on all the things we did and enjoyed.We do have two full albums of photos to recreate the memories.We drove down with Chitramaman and family to Pittsburg,Pennsylvania where we walked around the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed and also saw the freedom bell.En route we stopped at the Seven Flags Adventure resort and all of us particularly the children had a great time.Sheila and Kevin were about the ages of Seema & Shirish and so they got along together famously.From New Jersey we flew across the US to the West Coast to Los Angeles where we stayed with our old friends from Deshbandu Apartments,Vineet,Kavita and their daughter Brinda. It would be repetitive,but yes they looked after us very well and we had a great time. Vineet and family took us to San Diego where we saw the Water Park and some breath taking sights as we drove down from Los Angeles.We went to Disney Land and the Warner Bros Studio.It was a mind boggling experience for the kids.
After a two week fun & experience filled holiday we returned to Delhi after a brief one day stop at London.We had several great get together since then however the thrill of that first holiday and the magical sights and sounds we saw in UK &US will remain special for our family.