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A gentleman’s indulgences: Concorde flight

The one regret that takes off recurrently, and refuses to be grounded: Not being able to fly on the Concorde while I could

An Air France Concorde.
An Air France Concorde.

I am not quite sure about what set the tone for that afternoon. Maybe it was that bed of a million slivers shimmering off Lago di Garda in the late afternoon light that greeted me blindingly, as I rolled out of bed and sauntered to the villa’s balcony, uncharacteristically jet lagged and appropriately dishevelled.

It could as easily have been the languor that seems to suffuse my instincts, usually within two nights of being in the Italian hinterlands.

Perhaps it was Lady Piaf’s Non Je Ne Regrette Rien playing on a scratchy record somewhere in the distance on the estate—her impassioned French crooning being the numero uno suspect for nudging me out of slumber about half a day ahead of the alarm I’d half-heartedly set.

Most likely that, since I found myself rather wastefully contemplating upon the biggest misses of my life: a tango of heavily charged reminiscing, covering my widest material slips. The indulgences that got away, so to speak.

There were a few monumental ones. Most amongst these I’ve made peace with, reconciling to the fact that I was simply better off having missed these buses. But what about a missed flight?

The one regret that takes off recurrently, and refuses to be grounded: Not being able to fly on the Concorde while I could.

I was 25 years-old when Concorde announced its final flight. A bona fide earning citizen of this free world, and I could have, should I have set my priorities straight, found a route to make it on to that passenger manifest. It’s another matter that I, at this point had no standing visas, though had they tested me for company trivia, I would’ve doubtless been awarded an honorary flight permit. From the number of seats, its take-off speed, flight time between destinations, the name of the pilot to commandeer its maiden flight, the height it flew at, the in-flight dining menus, the turbojet that powered the aircraft, I had it all covered.

As wistful as I remain about this instance, there’s a second flight in sight. Musk’s SpaceX flight around the moon that’s being chartered by the Japanese super collector Yusaku Maezawa is scheduled to lift-off in a few years. I’d better set up a meeting and see him at the earliest.

Arvind Vijaymohan is CEO, Artery India.

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