First Time Flying: Parents Travel Alone

First Time Flying: Parents Travel Alone

Parental Blooper Reel

This past week, my parents ventured on a trip across the U.S. that will go down in family history and stories for many years to come. The cause for the trip, unusually, was not for a vacation but for my dad's work. it would be a short trip, only a couple of days, but there would be a lot of time spent on a plane and in unfamiliar airports. As a reasonably experienced flyer myself, the idea of my parents going on their first flight ever- across the country and everything- was a combination of worry and amusement.

Fully prepared to answer any questions about what and how they packed, I pretty much let them be- I figured that they'd have everything packed that they needed. I only made one comment, that I usually added a bandanna to my luggage to identify it easier. As I headed off to work that morning, ready for my mom's updates, I had no idea what would happen next.

Turns out, several things on the list of normal flight worries came true. Via a group message with my sister and I, my mother recounted the many things that went wrong on their first time all the way through an airport. As the person house-sitting and pet-sitting for them outside of work, I couldn't always respond to the updates I received in a timely matter. The first update, 7-8 paragraphs long, listed 6 things that had gone wrong, or were unplanned, before they even got on the first plane.

1. Dad didn't bring the printed paperwork to the airport.

2. Dad didn't check himself in- thought he was fine, ("he had an email from work")

3. Had to back for a boarding pass for Dad- (Seriously? I'm going to mess with him so much for this.)

4. Security had to test a liquid for their C-PAP machines

5.. They went to the wrong gate at first. The correct gate was on the other side of the airport.

6. They had to ask to be moved together on the plane.

After all this, the first flight went really well, and both my parents enjoyed it. To quote my dad: "Like the song says, 'THAT WAS F**KING AWESOME!!' " Their second flight, the long straight shot to California, was where even more things went wrong.

1. They out my parents' luggage on the wrong plane.

2. My parents hadn't packed any other clothes in the carry-on.

3. My parents had to wash the clothes that they had worn on the flight over.

4. The luggage didn't show up until after my dad had to go to work.

5. My mom had to break the luggage lock because they couldn't get it open.

All in all, they came back safe and with everything they left with, including a few stories I probably haven't heard yet. Do you have any airplane and airport stories that you'll always remember?

Cover Image Credit: Stephen Leonardi

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An Open Letter To The Fatherless Girl On Father's Day

So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.


Father's Day, it comes around every year. It is a nationally celebrated holiday and people plan parties surrounding this day, but some do not think about those who do not have a dad. Maybe you have an estranged relationship, maybe he walked out, maybe you guys are fighting, maybe you never met him, or maybe he passed away. It will be okay. Trust me, this will be my eleventh Father's Day without a dad, and yes they have gotten easier.

My dad passed away back in 2008, so I strive everyday to make him proud and even though he is not here I will still celebrate him on Father's Day. He was the dad that every little girl would want.

For those who lost their dad's, this is for you:

Live each day for him, celebrate him on Father's Day. For however long he was in your life, he shaped you into the person that you are today. Yes there is now a piece of you missing on this day and everyone wants to post a picture of their dad and makes you miss yours even more. But celebrate him, celebrate his life, celebrate his legacy. But it also a celebration for all the father figures that came into your life to help you grow up and give that advice that you needed to hear.

But I also understand that not everyone has a great relationship with their dad, so this is for you:

Celebrate those who have helped you get to where you are today. Life can't be perfect and just know whatever your situation may be, it made you stronger. It taught you to fight for what you want. It taught you to be independent and strong. Celebrate with your friend's dad who probably helped you in a time when you really needed it.

There might be some jealousy as you see people posting and talking about gifts they are getting for their dad. I get it, but just know it will be okay and this is only one day out of the whole year. But also do not forget to thank to all of the father figures that helped throughout the years. So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.


When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.


The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.


When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.


Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.


When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.


The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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