PAF Base Mauripur
The next day when I woke up, I still had the hangover of seasickness. Our programme for the day was to visit PAF base Mauripur. I wanted to take rest but my friend Saifullah Soomro (kit no 364, Jinnah house) insisted that I must accompany them. How could I refuse my chocolate hero (I called him so because he was a fan of a Pakistani actor Waheed Murad, and would leave no stone unturned to pose like him), and so I unwillingly joined them. PAF Mauripur base is one of the oldest air bases of Pakistan. This base was later renamed as Masroor base in 1967 after the name of Air commodore Masroor Hussain, who died in an accident, as a bird hit his plane and his plane crashed. On our arrival at the base, we were given a briefing and after that, our group was shown various installations and the fleet of aircraft. Due to my sickness I opted to stay back in officers mess. To keep myself busy I was reading a book of cartoons (televisions had not yet invaded our lives), and I saw a smart air-force officer in his typical flight-suit that is worn during flights. This suit looks like a jump-suit and I have always wondered how they wear it as the entire suit is in one piece. He ordered a cup of tea for himself and curiously looking at me, he enquired about me from the attendant. On hearing that I was from cadet college Petaro and that I was not feeling well, he came to where I was sitting, and started cheering me up. After he finished his tea, he said that he wanted to show me the fighter plane he was about to fly. The airstrip was adjacent to the mess. On reaching the fence he pointed at a plane parked across the fence, and said to me:
“Young boy; I will now be flying that plane. It is a fighter plane “mirage” acquired from France. Now you stay back here. I will go and fly it, but before taking off, I will wave at you”.
I was amused and watched all this with great interest. In jubilation I forgot my illness. My new host went inside, boarded the plane and waved me before closing the cockpit. I waved back in return with my mouth open in excitement. He started taxiing the plane and before his plane lifted off the ground, I could see that he was waving at me, while I was also doing the same. My day which had started with a hangover, culminated in one of the best adventures of my life.
“This is it. When I grow up, I will also fly”.