London: Flight No. AI 111 from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport to London Heathrow on Friday evening hardly looked like an international flight. The wide-bodied twin-engine Air-India Boeing, carrying close to 400 passengers, was like any other domestic Indian flight with a sizeable Sikh chunk, many of whom have made the United Kingdom their home. There was a young Sikh lad, interestingly a football coach in an East London school, but a hockey aficionado at heart. A Liverpool fan, he adores national skipper Sardar Singh but still cannot forget India's nightmare in the London Olympics almost 12 months ago. India had finished last among 12 teams!
But in the business class of this majestic Boeing 777-300 ER, an entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft, there was one 'colourful' Sikh who stood out with his green turban, a jazzy green silk tie and a green hanky tucked in the breast of his navy blue blazer. Fresh from his Indian Premier League TV stints on a popular entertainment channel, Navjot Singh Sidhu was grabbing some spotlight, but only just!
Sidhu took the fast track at UK Border Agency, the immigration department of the UK Home Office at Heathrow airport. He met a grumpy officer, who was oblivious of the 'celebrity' visitor who was seeking a quick 'stamp' on his passport. Surely, the Indian Premier League scandal and the latest happenings in the Indian cricket Board weren't chasing him, but Sidhu wanted to disappear from the public glare.