Aero India 2021 will begin in Bengaluru in a few days’ time. Someone sent me the promotional video about this biennial event earlier today. Nostalgia set in, and I began to reminisce.
Aero India 1996
I was in college when the first Aero India was organized for the first time ever in 1996. Back then I lived in Pune, but was visiting family in Bengaluru. I had to take one bus from Majestic to Gangenhalli (now SanjayNagar), I got down near the Veternary college. A second Bus took me near Yelahanka, rather, Kogilu Cross. From there, a third bus towards Chikaballapur. First two were BTS buses, the third was KSRTC.
My trip to this air show and exhibition was promoted by the egging and prodding of my mother, of course. I had resisted the very idea of spending an entire day traveling, but fortunately I did.
A family friend, then a newly minted graduate from AFTC at Jalhalli, had come to receive me at the main gate. After spending three hours in “Disneyland”, I got a chance to sit in a mock up of the cockpit for Light Combat Aircraft. What an experience it was! The return journey is blurry because I was mesmerized. The sonic boom created by the demonstration of Sukhoi 30s still reverberates in my ears.
Aero India 2015
Fast forward to January 2015. We had moved to Bengaluru around 3 months prior, and we lived a handful of kilometers away from the event. For this event, booking the tickets was a breeze, and the drive to Yelahanka AFB was exciting. At the venue, finding and then parking the was chaotic, return journey was a disaster thanks to poor traffic management by the traffic Police. At the venue, however, the Disneyland effect continued.
Aero India 2017
We did not visit the event a couple of years later. But towards the end of the event, I was supposed to catch a flight to Delhi. I missed it because of… traffic jams! I t took me 2 hours to reach from Ramanashree resort to Kogilu crossing in Yelahanka area of Bengaluru. Typical commute time: 5 minutes.
I had an alumni meet and a couple of engagements, planned for the next day. I booked a super expensive flight ticket and reach New Delhi the next morning. Those were the times when we were getting started with gaathastory, and money was tight. The flight cancellation added to the financial woes. Today, I can write about that experience with a smile on my face.
Looking Forward to Aero India 2021
Aero India brings back several fond memories indeed. We have plans to visit the event with a bigger group of friends this year. Hope this most recent edition will add a new flavor to our collection of memories, something that one is looking forward to.