The weather here in the UK is freezing cold at the moment, so I’m letting myself think about things further afield and taking a trip with the Ladybird Travel Adventure series to India. I originally came across series 587 when I found Book Three which takes the reader to the USA, and since then I’ve also managed to add Flight Two: Canada to my collection. Flight Four: India jumped out at me from a charity shop shelf recently and I was delighted to pick it up and add to my Ladybird travel collection.
Originally published in 1960, Flight Four sees Alison and John again accompany their father on a business trip, but this time to India. Their father has business in Bombay to start with, so that is where they head on a luxurious Air India flight, stopping in Rome on their way. Once again there is no mention in the book of Alison and John’s mother, or any other family members that they might be leaving back home.
Not only do Alison and John start to experience Indian hospitality on the Air India flight over, but they are also charmed to be welcomed at the airport by the Chand family (Mr Rand Chand being a business contact of their father’s) who greet them with traditional garlands of flowers which their father placed around their necks.
They spend a week in Bombay where they stay with the Chand family and in this time were shown around the city as well as the surrounding countryside. They also became familiar with the size of India and the feel of the country. Once their week in Bombay was up they bid farewell to the Chand family and boarded a second flight to the smaller city of Aurangabad where their father has some time sightseeing with them. They then take the train to their father’s next place of business – Agra. However, it is obvious that the children and their father are travelling in luxury on this business trip as it’s not a traditional hot and dusty Indian train, but instead a sleek new one with air conditioned carriages and a separate dining car.
As well as Agra’s old fort Alison and John were also taken to see the Taj Mahal, before heading on to the Indian capital Dehli, where they father had to spend another week on business. This isn’t the end of their trip though as Dehli is followed by Jaipur, Chandigarh, Kashmir and the Himalayas, Benares, Darjeeling, the Ganges, Jorhat, Calcutta, Madras and Trivandrum. At one point the children ask their father to draw a map of India showing all the places that they have been to, and when he does so you realise just how much of the country they have covered. They were exposed to a huge amount of Indian culture and as well as visiting historic sights also got to see everything from tigers and elephants through to tea plantations.
Like in Book Three, the journey felt a little bit contrived. Whilst I fully appreciate how much Alison and John must have learnt whilst on their travels with their father, I am also left wondering just how realistic a trip like this would have been. Would a father have taken his two children on such a long business trip with him back in 1960? Was this because their mother was no longer on the scene for some reason, or was she left at home with other children? Maybe I need to go away and do some more reading up on Alison and John and just why they travelled so much with their father.
If you want to read about other books in my Ladybird collection then please make yourself a cuppa and head over here.
This post originally appeared on Ladybird Tuesday on Being Mrs C.