The flying object has always fascinated man. No wonder the Wright Brothers made it possible to sit and fly inside it! The Aeroplane was a very curious object for the Mysroeans in the 1960s, if not before and to some extent, even now. A small airfield south of the city at Mandakalli village was from where small aircrafts operated mostly, if my memory serves right, for the NCC and for pleasure trips during the Dasara season. I cannot name the aircrafts like Capt. Anup Murthy Perhaps he will know which were the ones that we saw in the air during the 60s and also more about them.
Throughout the 1960s, each time on our way to Nanjangud [often in one Khalaq’s Hillman Taxi which had the license number of 77] with our family, my grandfather first used to show us the ‘Yennehole’ and then the Mandakalli airfield from his front window seat. My memories of that vast, open glade were of a small, lone building and the fluttering striped cloth tube – the wind direction indicator. They appeared distant from the road.
My grandfather used to remember his lone trip by air from there to Bangalore [no idea which year and for what purpose, but I assume it to be in the late 40s or early 50s] and that it took just about 20 minutes. Later my uncle used to tell a little story of how the flight, prior to his, for a joy ride was thwarted due to a technical snag causing a minor mishap before take-off, during the Dasara season in the early 60s. He could not undertake later, forever.
I was thrilled to be there at Mandakalli among a group of friends in the early 70s on a bicycle ‘adventure’ .
During the time of Dasara, Circus shows were common [opposite the Palace]. As advertisement and attraction, besides the joy rides, the pamphlets used to be dropped to the streets from those small aeroplanes occasionally, but we only saw them waft down and fall somewhere else.
The sound of an aeroplane always brought children out of homes, looking up in the direction of the sound, because it was not common. Nobody notices a huge aircraft flying low in Bangalore or Mumbai because they have airports there and it is as common as birds! Here in Mysore, it still remains a curious object. In recent times, the Helicopters bringing in the Netas to Mysore also make us look up in awe. Even now, a jet airliner leaves a long smoke trail in Mysore's west - southwest sky occasionally.
In the mid 60s, I was there as a little boy at the Bangalore airport to receive an uncle returning home from the US. I have vague memories of that. Still fresh is my visit to Cochin's Army Base to see a friend in 1995. He had taken me inside a stationary helicopter [hundreds of meters and controls!!] which he was taking care. By the way, I also saw and went inside a huge, famous and old ship that was touring the world, selling books. [Will get back and add its name]. Coming back to edit when the name popped up! It's Doulos, the world's oldest sailing ship!
And in 2001 our cricket team had been taken to the Airport to see how the Meterological Dept. functioned [they were organizing the tournament there]. That was when I saw how weather was predicted and how they helped air traffic.