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May 01, 2017 10:34 am
:: Memories of Charles De Gaulle Airport
May 01, 2011 07:32 am
In October 1983, my wife, daughter and son aged six years were on our way to Sri Lanka from Nigeria for the Christmas vacation. We were on a UTA flight from Lagos to Paris and from there to Colombo.

My son was experiencing a severe stomach upset between Lagos and Paris, and was in a bad state on arrival in Paris. It was early morning. The Colombo flight was in the evening. My son wanted to be the at the airport, instead of being at the hotel offered by UTA.

He was having terrible nausea. We were desperate. Suddenly a young Asian took our son into his arms and motioning us to follow him rushed to the basement. In halting English he said that he was from Jaffna and was employed at the airport.

He was taking us to the medical centre at the basement. He told the medical officer about my son’s ailment. A physical examination followed. Clothes had to be taken off, our son refused. The doctor was furious. There was no full examination and no medication. Our friend brought us back to the ground floor. He told us to wait and was back with about a dozen apples, grapes, french fries and some tablets. He got a drink from a vending machine. He said Hondai bonde. He was with us till our son was near normal. He took him and showed the aircraft taxing above, for take off.

He gave his address. He asked us to drop him a line, about our date of return. We sent him a thank you card, indicating our date of return. Another family a mother and son also about six years joined us on our return trip. We were sent to a hotel, during our stopover. The Lagos flight was on the following day. A youngster - a Tamil youth met us at the exit. He gave us a letter. He was holding a placard with my name. The letter said “Welcome back brother, sister and small friends. My friend will take you to see Paris. You can go by bus. Please come to my place for dinner. Thank you. Your brother,” His name was Ravi.

We took Ravi to our hotel. He stayed in the foyer. We returned after refreshing ourselves. He was smiling. He said in Tamil “My big brother wants the other two also to come.” I could understand a little Tamil and could also speak. He took us on a guided tour of gay Paree.

Eiffel Tower to the Louvre and back to the hotel for lunch. Meals for us were on the airline. Very reluctantly our “Tour guide” joined us.

Again round the city. A few minutes in the hotel and we were taken to his home, a small house, teeming with youth from the North. Our host and his wife welcomed us. A sumptuous meal with wine and beer was served.

We wanted to get back to the hotel. Our host gave a lovely French talking doll to my daughter and an expensive battery operated jeeps for the boys. I thanked him. He took out a piece of paper and read with difficulty “Thank you my brother and my sisters. I am so happy.

I was able to help a

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