Skip to main content

In Praise of Early Air India Stewardesses

Air India/Tata Airlines' stewardess Monica Gilbet (centre) shows the flight report to a Sikh passenger during a Delhi to Bombay flight. Year 1946.

Photograph by Margaret Bourke White

Two pics of Monica Gilbet published in Life Magazine
And here are the photographs of other Air India Stewardesses, all Anglo-Indian, from the year 1946 shot by Margaret Bourke White for Life Magazine.

Stewardess Avenell Divers saying goodbye to Sunyasi ascetic after flight on Air India.
 Monica Fernandez
Peggy Henderson
June Argent

Air India Air Hostesses, 1946 (not sure if this is from the same collection as it's not available at Life Magazine archive)

Tata Airlines Air Hostess. Undated. Probably early 50s.
Came across it  at: Indian Government's Online Photo Division


  1. You must compile all the stuff you have posted on your blog and publish it as a book - sure to be a best-seller. Amazing stuff

    Keep up the good work brother

  2. At least one buyer is confirmed :)

  3. hum bhee hain!
    kahaan se laate ho yeh sab..
    you in advertising?

    the women look so fresh and interested in what they are doing.

  4. Two buyers confirmed :)
    Nahi ji I am not even remotely connected to advertising field. I am a game developer. This is something that I do just for the fun of it.

  5. Brilliant and inetresting as always. :)

  6. Really interesting... I really wanna know who were the first Indian air hostesses...

  7. compile it into a book, all this has a lot of potential. being into designing. i know the importance of all this.. i am ready to buy it as well as do the layout and cover for free...seriously.

  8. Vinayak,
    right now I am just content doing what I am doing here and there is actually too much stuff to be put into a book. But hey thanks for the appreciation and the offer :)


Post a Comment

I always like to hear back :)
However, irrelevant comments and irrelevant links will not be published. Needless to say, same goes for abusive comment and spam. Leaving back links related to the topic is encouraged. I know it can be tempting but try not to leave your email ids, phone nos and CVs in the comment.

Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment.
[Update 1: Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry]
[Update 2: Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.]
[Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makersof“The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]

 Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.”

Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met…

While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cigaret…

Kishore Kumar, Yodel-ay-ee-oooo Songs, A List

*Updated with corrections pointed out by Bart Plantenga, author of some incredible book on Yodeling including Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World.


Kishore Kumar's brother Anoop Kumar, who we basically know for the line 'O manu tera toh hua ab mera kya hoga', used to own lots of Austrian music records. And from these records, Kishore Kumar picked up the art of Yodel singing, an art perfected in bathroom and then introduced by him to the world of Hindi film music. According to his biography 'Kishore Kumar: method in madness‎ ' by Derek Bose, "Kishore was a fan of the Swiss singer Tex Norton [* Tex Morton, an Australian cowboy born in New Zealand who sang  in the gene autry / Jimmie Rodgers style] and the Australian Jimmy Rogers [*Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the most American and one of the most famous yodelers in the world, famous for his blue yodels] as well."

Although most of these songs by Kishore Kumar are thought to be '…