This has been a long overdue post. But, better late than never right….
The flight to Hyderabad was the highlight of this trip and the most tiresome for me. We were supposed to leave Seattle on June 16th – myself, S, Sarath and Sanjay and my SIL’s kids P and K. We were planning everything and the kids were excited to go to India. But, nothing goes as planned right so, right before we were supposed to leave, we got a big disappointment – S’s passport (which we had sent for UK visa) did not come back. We sent both of our passports at the same time. I got mine back well ahead of time but unfortunately, S’s passport got held up. So, the week before the trip was spent in total frustration and tension. So, at that point we had two options – one was to cancel all the tickets and re book them and the second was that I will go ahead as planned with 4 kids and S will come after he gets his passport. The very thought of travelling internationally alone with 4 kids was terrifying to me. I just couldn’t imagine myself doing it. So, I called the travel agent and he told me that it would cost around $3000.00 to rebook the tickets for everybody. So, after a long discussion, I decided to go ahead with our original plan and travel with the kids. I was just so scared. Two years back, I had to travel with Sarath and Sanjay and that was in itself very tiring. S told me clearly that if I did not want to go alone with the kids, we will re book the tickets even if it is expensive. But, I really did not want to spend so much money when it is not entirely necessary.
So, I started planning for the trip. The kids were sad that S was not coming with us but, they were excited about the trip. I was doing fine until the day before the trip. On Sunday, I was very scared about me going alone with 4 kids and S not being able to come as planned and I just started crying. S sat with me and let me cry for a while and then comforted me. On the day of the trip, I did fine. I sat all the kids and talked with them about the luggage we will have on the plane and what they need to do once we are in the ariport. We went early to the ariport to make sure that we get seats together. Even then, it was a tight call. Because I was travelling alone with 4 kids, they did some re-arrangement and gave me the seats as I requested. I was really thankful for that.
The kids did really good on the flight. I had the 3 older kids sit together in the seats next to the window. I just had to keep an eye on them. Since everybody gets their own personal TV’s. handling them was easy. They each saw what ever they wanted to including Sanjay. He being the little one had to sit next to me. When the food was served, I told them to eat what ever they could and they listened to me. I was surprised and relieved. Once, I got them settled, they watched TV for a while and then I had to force them to sleep. The kids hardly slept on the flight to London though. I think they were very excited. None of the kids slept and neither did I.
Once in London airport, the kids were following the signs for the transit passengers and walked all the way without any complaints. I had checked Sanjay’s stroller at the gate and specifically told them that I need it in London. That helped me a lot. With Sanjay in the stroller, I only had to keep an eye on 3 kids 🙂
The flight from London to Hyderabad is 10 hours long and I was worried about this flight. I thought the kids will be really bored. But because they did not sleep on the first flight, all four kids slept for about 5 – 6 hours on the second flight. I got some sleep too. When they were awake, they just watched TV, played video games and just had fun. The air hostesses helped me a lot on the second flight. One thing I should mention is the attitude of a couple of people on the flight. Because the flight was full, and they could not accommodate the seating request I had, we got the last two rows of seats on the plane. I was not very happy because it would be very difficult to keep an eye on the kids. So, I asked another couple sitting in the next row if they would be willing to exchange the seats since I have to keep an eye on 4 kids. The couple were not very old or young. But, the man said he has some knee problems and needed an aisle seat. I told him there were 2 aisle seats available but he was just not even ready to consider the idea. I got frustrated and told him it was okay. So, I had the 3 older kids sit in the back row together and Sanjay and myself in the row in front. There was another person sitting in my row. He was 14 years old and was travelling alone. He heard my conversation about switching seats and offered to help me with the kids. I did not even ask him. He helped Sanjay with the seat belt while I was helping the other kids. He kept an eye on the kids all the time and even entertained Sanjay while I slept for a little while. I am so thankful to him. He even told me that he is used to little kids and is happy to help me. When the kids woke up, they were hungry and this guy went and got them chips and cookies from the galley. It was so nice to see that kid wanting to be helpful.
When we landed in Hyderabad, I was so relieved but, we were the last ones to get off the plane. Also, they did not have the immigration cards for us on the plane. So, we had to take them after coming out of the plane in Hyderabad. It took me so much time to actually get these kids in control, fill the form and everything that we were literally the last people to come out of immigration. By the time we were in baggage claim, our luggage had arrived.
My parents and in-laws were supposed to come to the airport and they were late. While we were waiting for them outside the airport, I was just so happy to be back in Hyderabad, taking in the cool morning breeze and couldn’t believe that I actually successfully traveled from Seattle to Hyderabad with 4 kids! I was just so proud of myself at that moment. I was extremely tired and as soon as I saw my parents, I was so relieved and felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. and guess what the first thing my mom told me – “You have lost weight and look very good”. That really made my day and I was just happy to be there with my mom and dad in the city I love the most 🙂