My father and me seated in Madras Air port anxiously, not knowing what was kept ahead of us. We were asked to sit there and wait. It was a great adventure for me. Because I never left home all my life till then. I was 22 years old, fresh from University studies, all ways under the protection of parents. We were sitting in the Air port Lounge waiting for our next step to be told. The chairs were seated near the wall of the room. My dad was so downhearted he loved more than any one. His face was pale , seeing him like could not bear the pain in my heart. Dead silence reigning over us, we were unaware and uninterested of everything else in that room, except waiting silently for further instructions,
We both sat in complete silence for a long time ; suddenly dad said, ” Leela, you came into this world, on to this earth,in this place only , Madras: Now again you are leaving this earth in this same place” I smiled feebly, remembering that I was born in Madras, Egmore Hospital when my dad was working as a Police officer in combined state of Madras and Andhra Pradesh.–Again that thud of iron stone was thumping in my heart , because I never saw my dad so sorrowful, in my life time. He was having the courage of a Lion, but that day he was so sorrowful , even with traces of tears in his eyes. that made me to an uncontrollable agony in my heart.
Again he said,” Leela , after you reached Bombay ( Mumbai) who will receive you,and accommodate you, I wonder, I will go and find out in the office.”
After seeing his face I could understand that the Air India did not make any arrangements for our stay in Bombay. . Each person has to arranged their own accommodation, with friends or relatives.
But even after hearing those words also , I was not afraid, on the other hand I remembered the Promise of God ” MY GOD IS MY HELP , HE IS MY COMPANION” and said the same to my dad, and it was his turn to be astonished on seeing my courageous demeanor.
Miracle: While I was talking to my dad, to my surprise I saw a familiar face of a girl, little knowing that she would be my companion in Air India. To my right side in the chair opposite to me. Immediately even not telling my dad I jumped up to my feet at once , and reached her as if to catch a fish in the pool water right in front of me,–
“Hey you are Nirmalatha. Nirmalatha . Boddu. right? ” Her surname is Boddu. she was as surprised as I was she immediately stood up and said ” Hey Leela”-recognizing me at once. We both were giggling at each other, realizing that, we both studied 9th class to S.S.L.C together in the same Stall Girls’ High School, Guntur in 1968—-Later we were transferred to Vizayanagaram, Kakinada and then Vishakapatnam, where I did my Post graduation —-7 Years passed away, How could recognize her remembering her name even with her surname. and so was she !!Both of us in immense joy and we quickly went to my father very happily. My dad after coming to know that she too was coming as selected Air Hostess he was very happy, and he inquired about any body was going to receive her in Bombay.
She told us that her close relative all ready went to Bombay to receive her when she reached there by airplane, after knowing that I had none to receive me she assured us saying,” Do not worry Uncle, Leela will be with me, my relative yesterday it self had gone to Bombay to receive me in the Air port, so Leela and me would be together, he already arranged accommodation, so no worries” She happily informed us.
Lo!!The sorrow was vanished my dad’s worry erased, Nirmalatha’s dad also was police officer in Guntur when we were there, so dad after knowing her father he was more relieved than before. Wonderful!!
Then the Air India Office staff started to call each one of us by name one by one. We started to walk into the another room from the lounge with our papers, . That was a glass room, there was a table and out side that table dad was staring at me in tears. That was the very first time that I ever saw my dad in tears. But some strange courage had encompassed me and strengthened me .The promise of the Lord, “I WILL BE WITH YOU EVEN WHEN YOU ARE IN THE SKIES” ringing in my heart .And The Lord’s miracle,and His PRESENCE assuring me as I was seeing Nirmalatha in front of me.. This miracle confirms that God is very near to me and His presence was imminent.
After I waved good bye to my dear dad, I had to turn back and walk towards the Air craft. After I seated in the Air craft ,as the flight was taking off, into the clouds, I looked down through the window and found to my astonishment that there were heaps of s twinkling stars . Later I realized those were nothing but the electric lights in the dark night of the city. It was 7:30 pm –(Winter 1975). It was announced that we will reach Bombay within an hour, I knew my dad would not reach Madras Central Railway station by that time in bus , it would take more than two hours.
After we got down in Bombay Air port one or the other came for every one, to take them We were told in the Air port office when we should report again , where should we meet Chief Air Hostess Miss Biladwala , which time we should report and where,, all that was written on a letter head, and given to us. THE FUTURE THAT WAS UNKNOWN TO ME WAS IN THE HANDS OF ALL KNOWN GOD, SO WHY SHOULD I FEAR? That was my source of courage. I was not at all afraid, The gracious Lord had given me Nirmalatha as companion,affirming His Presence, what else I need?
As Nirmalatha informed us before her relative came and took us to the accommodation which he arranged for her, I preferred to stay back in the Waiting room of Victoria Terminus Railway station , I slept that night in that room, and with the help of godly Anglo Indian Care Taker of the Waiting room I could sleep there on the floor after we both read the Bible and prayed together. The next consequent three days Nirmalatha and myself went to Santacruz for Medical check up , which was very thorough, they checked every inch of the body , and sent some people for treatment, even a spot on the body or face was taken into consideration. They accepted both of us. But some girls were sent back. This Medical check up was done for three days.
The Air India staff arranged accommodation for us in Salvation Army Hostel,
Y. W.C, A- hostels to join. Nirmalatha relative joined us there and went away.
Such a big city, we were two Andhra girls, ignorant, innocent, did not know the world, did not see local trains before, tender aged, but very strong willed, and courageous minded. God had provided the companionship to one another so that miracle encouraged us very much.