I am in the last lap of my France tour. At the moment I am comfortably seated in TGV, which will take me from Bordeaux to Paris. I will be reaching CDG airport by afternoon. I should be well within my schedule for my Air India flight from Paris to Delhi. Probably at this time tomorrow I will be busy in my business activity. I am having mixed feelings, which I suppose are normal at such a time. After almost thirteen days of leisure, traveling, sight seeing and meeting people from other countries, I will be back home and will be with my wife, relatives and neighbors.
I have been to France, a country which I always remembered as a place of art, literature, fashion, theatre, affluence, history and culture. On all these counts my experiences of the last thirteen days have been up to and sometimes beyond my expectations. But let me not appear pompous, I personally did not meet any writer, or artist; however I did believe during my college days when I had read “Last Tango in Paris”, “Madam Bovary” and “Hunch back of Notre Dame” that writers and artist spent a lot of their time in restaurants, parks, libraries and open cafeterias on pavements. Moreover I also did not see the models, ballets, and tarts as I would believe they were there at that time. I had slightly different picture of Monte Carlo, Monaco and Cannes. On these counts probably my imagination was better than my experiences. What really fitted the bill were my watching Moulin Rouge theatre, Greek and Roman civilization remnants , monuments of Paris, the beauty of countryside , the land scapes,the over all affluence, a relaxed life style , conflux of culture , preservation of culture, history and a haven for tourists from all over the world.
My return Air India flight was the best. The flight was almost empty and therefore the passengers had lifted the hand rests and we were comfortably sleeping, one person on four seats. After some rest we were awakened to have drinks. The choice was whiskey, Bacardi, gin, vodka, wine and beer. I preferred whiskey with soda. It was a good change to find Indian Air Hostesses with Indian features and Indian complexions for a change. It seemed I had already come in contact with India. They had the familiar giggles and they didn’t seem to be as confident and professional as their counter parts in France, but none the less they were as pretty as them. When you fly internationally the world looks so small. By the time you get up you are almost in a new continent and in a new country. What I am writing is no revelation but the experience is gratifying.
During my tour what I found most interesting was that the girls did a lot of hard work- our rooms were sparkling, the counters at the receptions were attended all twenty four hours with genteel, fresh smiling faces, they mesmerized the audience with beautiful dances and music, they served excellent food in hotels, restaurants, they were excellent guides during tours of wineries in Bordeaux and boat cruise on river Seine and they were soft spoken, courteous air hostesses in the plane. These moments I cannot forget because of the sparkle in their smiles. Some of them were so angelic looking – one looked like a Barbie doll. If I was Matisse I would have drawn pictures of the lissome bodies and attractive faces of some of them. Can any amount of money be a price for the grand experience which I had during my brief sojourn?