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Calcutta: A Short and Sweet Trip, June 2012

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:32 pm    Post subject: Calcutta: A Short and Sweet Trip, June 2012 Reply with quote

Calcutta: A Short and Sweet Trip, June 2012
-------------------------------------------
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12982.html

I had a meeting in Calcutta, for which I set out on a very hot
June afternoon, towards the IGI Airport, New Delhi. Yes, T3 it
would be, and I would be flying after quite some time. Almost
every time I enter this terminal, there is something new. The
plants and their arrangement change almost every time I see the
place. The entire area is neat, clean and smells of efficiency.
This time, the part after the security check, bowled over many a
visitor with four large aquarium bowls, with different types of
goldfish inside. The bowls have an aerator inside, and have a few
varieties of goldfish swimming inside.



I was looking forward to this flight for another reason - I would
meet up with member Ameya of this forum, for the first time. We
had our flights from T3 at about the same time, and a series of
text messages set up our meeting. Forum regulars have been
enthralled by Ameya's wonderful trip reports - here was an
opportunity for me to meet him in person! I had told him about my
approximate height (6 feet) and build (huge, 6 feet'round the
middle - ah, not quite, but the reader gets the point of the
hyperbole), what dress I would be wearing, and that I would have
my analog SLR around my neck, and a black bag, on a mini-trolley.
Ameya had sent me an SMS about his gate and mine, so as soon as I
had got my trolley, I went off towards his gate, seeking out a
person typing hard on his keyboard. In no time, I heard a very
soft voice calling out my name. It was Ameya, the walking
Encyclopaedia on aircraft utilisation and rotations, route
planning, registrations, and so much more!

There was an unidentified aircraft with a blue tail parked at T2.
This had been discussed in a few fora, as to which airline this
operated for, and why it was parked at T2 for quite some time.
One of my Delhi-based friends confirmed this to be an A300/310.
Ameya and I also discussed this. He said that it was quite
difficult to make out, since it was occluded by the three
Kingfisher parked aircraft from the road side, and an aerobridge,
from the other. On taking off from runway 29 later, I just got a
fleeting glimpse of the plane - it looked like having its stripe
go down, much like the violet stripe on Fedex aircraft. Another
prominent Delhi-based spotter later confirmed the identity of this
mysterious plane - this was a GCS cargo A300F4.

We talked about many things - from our jobs, to our common
passion - aviation. We also talked about the Il-14 `Crate' seen
at the Air Force Technical Area at Palam. I had booked a
starboard seat (10A) in the vain hope of getting the secondary
runway 27 for a take-off. Soon, it was time for him to go to his
gate, as his flight had announced boarding. I went towards mine
(31A), which was changed to 28B after some time. Needless to
say, his trip report was out almost as soon as he had completed
the trip. `Jet Airways combi bird to Pune - this evening',
posted 22 Jun (Fri), 2012. Ameya's vivid trip report can be
found at the following URL:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12382.html
Thanks, Ameya - it was great meeting up with you, and
thanks for writing complementary things about me, much of which I
do not deserve!

The gate change.
There was an altercation between an angry passenger, and the Air
India ground staff on the gate change. The ground staff spoke
softly, and respectfully, while an irate passenger vented his
anger on the helpless and hapless person. I had overheard the
gate agents sending people personally to the earlier announced
gate 31A, to repeatedly check for any passenger who may still be
seated there, by mistake. The announcements over the PA system
were loud, clear and unambiguous.
Then, why this kolaveri, kolaveri, kolaveri, Da?

The itinerary for this leg of my journey was as follows.

Set out 22 Jun (Fri) for Kolkata from New Delhi
AI 764: Air India (A321) [Seat: 10F; PNR: H4X1D]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - NSCBIA Domestic Terminal, Kolkata
New Delhi (DEL) - Kolkata (CCU)
[06:00 pm - 07:55 pm]

Yes, I was pleasantly surprised to have a 321 on this sector.
Loads are often good at this time of the year, leading to a 321
replacing the more common 320 on this route. What did I see
around me? The international section visible from the Air India
finger was barren to start with. By the time we pushed back
(a bit late: 05:05 pm), there was an old A320 in the new Flying
Swan livery, and another, in the Indian colours. When I came in,
there was only one `masked bandit', the CRJ-700. I had seen this
landing when we took the flyover to the T1 side. Soon, another
one came in, and around the time we pushed back, one had taken to
the skies. There wasn't any interesting movement that day.

We boarded well in time, on the dot, at 04:30 pm. The plane was
there for some time, this was VT-PPB: Pb, the `leaden' plane. It
was loaded too, with the loads in the economy section well above
80 percent. Captain Ajit Singh Tushir was in command. For some
reason unknown to me, we did not push back in time. Boarding had
well been completed on time, the refuelling all done, but we
waited at the gate. It was interesting to note that the plane
beside ours as VT-PPA: PA: the `mic-loudspeaker' plane. These
were the first two new planes for the then Indian Airlines. They
had initially been painted into the new Indian livery (the
second, not completely), before the paint scheme shifted to the
new Air India Flying Swan livery. The plane was relatively clean from
the inside, and all PTVs were working (except one, which the cabin
crew apologised for to the finicky passenger - a
three-and-a-half-year old noisy boy, seated in the row in front
of me.) The plane was not in perfect mint condition however, as
there was some duct tape on one of my arm-rests, and some grime
on some plastic joints. I have seen older Air India planes in a
much better condition, hence I am making this comparison. The
fabric was spotlessly clean, however. So were the window panes,
too. I wished I had something to photograph through those clean
panes!

Captain Tushir took off from the new runway 29, and very soon,
banked left. I only caught a fleeting glimpse of the blue-tailed
mystery plane, while we took off. The Air India IPG strike was
on, and many Air India Boeing 777s were sitting idle, two on the
apron, and two in the Air India maintenance area. For once, I had
little to report on interesting planes around.

The food and beverage service started without much ado.
Needless to say, the food packets being warmed up had sent my
middle into action, and eager anticipation. There were two
members of the cabin crew for the forward economy section.
As one lady came up to my seat, she looked at me, and said,
``Sir, I think you have travelled with us before er...a larger
aircraft, to Jeddah, or Chennai...''
``You have a fantastic memory Madam,'' I said admiring her memory
- this was my 14 March 2012 trip from Delhi to Chennai, with
Captain Devi Sharan in command!
The lady remembered that she had clicked a photograph of me with
Captain Sharan. I was amazed - cabin crew come across so many
passengers day in and day out, this lady had remembered the
person who had turned into an excited 10 year old, at having met
Captain Devi Sharan, the hero of the Kandahar IC-814 hijack.
I opted for the non-vegetarian offering, and she softly asked me
to tell her, in case I wanted anything more.
I was simply overwhelmed, and thanked her for her kindness.
Very sweet memories of that trip simply passed before my eyes.

The trip report `To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!'
can be found at the following URL:
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12196.html

This set the tone for the `snack'. I was pleased to note that
this offering was quite reasonable in terms of the quantity.
I started with a coleslaw sandwich, made with a combination of
white and brown bread. The coleslaw-based filling had shredded
lettuce, cabbage and carrots (the orange coloured `vilayati
gajar', as it is called in North India, or the Nilgiri carrot - a
smaller avatar of the same, which grows at
Ooty/Ootacamund/Udhagamandalam). The bread was soft and fresh,
and the sandwich, quite tasty. The accompaniments were a sachet
of tomato sauce/ketchup, and a small plastic container with a
coriander-and-curd chutney. What would that go with?
I opened the main box.
Inside, was the same spinach-sweet-corn-cheese quiche, which I
have taken a strong liking to. It was heavenly.
The chicken offering was a dry preparation of soft boneless
chicken pieces, cooked in a onion-and-spices thick gravy. It was
a bit oily and spicy, but tasty, all the same.
The dessert blew my senses away.
As I have written before, Air India seems to be experimenting
widely with sweets. The covering on both sides of a square piece
of absolute bliss, was a thin covering in a dryish sugar syrup,
tasting much like the North Indian `balushahi', or the South
Indian `badusha'. Inside was a generous layer of a sweet block,
whose constituents disappeared into my oesophagus much before I
was able to dissect its composition. This looked a bit like the
North Indian delicacy, the Sohan Halwa, but was not overtly
sweet. Giving it company on the fluid side, was some thick
custard. The above combination had the outer covering as its
sweetest portion, which was beautifully complemented by the other
mildly sweet layers. I polished the bowl clean.
Then came the beverage service - and as usual, I opted for the
coffee. I was in for a very pleasant surprise. The coffee cups
were a bit smaller than the usual Air India ones, but the
disappointment at seeing the smaller cups was completely offset
by the taste of the coffee, which reminded me of my first trip
(in September 2007) aboard the same plane, VT-PPB. the reader may
remember me recounting the advertisement in the then magazine
`Swagat', inviting passengers to sample the coffee from the
coffee makers aboard their new planes.
The `snack' thus ended on a very high note!
The trays were cleared soon, and I sat down to key in this part
of the trip report. I had fiddled around with the IFE, as I
usually do during the food phase of the flight. I had watched a
part of the movie `Independence Day', a move which was then
applauded for its special effects. I had surfed the channels -
there was a regional language serial playing on one channel - it
was some Bong serial, which was supposedly funny, judging by the
loud reactions of some people around me.
The rest of the time, I was on my laptop.

Captain Tushir got us down in Calcutta on the main runway, from
the North end. We crossed the secondary runway, and parked at the
International apron, a short distance away from an Air India
Regional ATR-42, VT-ABO (BO, the `smelly plane', or was it BD,
the `smoky' one?). I had waited for an elderly passenger to
disembark, and got some royal treatment - an Air India Swift
Dezire car (the type meant for the cockpit crew) picked up
another gentleman and I, and dropped us at the domestic arrivals
gate. From the 41 degrees Celcius/Centigrade, it was a pleasure
to walk into the 29 degrees cool and humid Calcutta. A friend
from the US rang me up as I was waiting for my baggage. He asked
me the temperature at Calcutta, and I answered, 29.
What...came the shocked voice at the other end, before the
unit conversion realisation dawned on him. We had a good laugh.

Baggage.
Bag-age. It simply took ages to arrive, as three flights had
their heart's contents downloaded onto one belt.
I went to the pre-paid taxi counter, where the process did not
take much time. Ah...I was getting visions of resting in the
Guest House, as soon as I reached it.
That was the key - as soon as I reached it.
For some 25 minutes, I roamed about the line of dilapidated
yellow Ambassador taxis, trying to sniff out the one assigned to
me. There was a ping-pong between two policemen - each
re-directing me to the other, with a new message.
I was getting restive, but kept my temper under control.
Finally, I marched up to the window, and demanded another taxi -
one which was within the city limits, so to say. The assigned car
came in in another ten minutes, and the grumpy driver set out for
my destination, swearing and muttering under his breath, of
having been assigned a completely out-of-place destination. He
even complained about it to other taxi drivers at various road
junctions where we stopped. About an hour later, I was at my
destination, where I got visions of a bed again.
I was not too hungry, so I had a light dinner before setting
sight on a bed. As I changed, I looked at a T-shirt which would
serve as my night-dress (which had seen better days), and
laughed. I was reminded of a friend's T-shirt, which I had
christened as being `bullet-proof'. In other words, it had so
many holes, that the probability of a bullet piercing a piece of
fabric, was close to zero.

My work was at Jadavpur University, whose green and beautiful
campus has many a lotus pond. Here is a picture of one of them,
with the lotus in full bloom.



Lotus?
What a coincidence.
Please read on, below.

Two days later, I set out back from Delhi. the check-in and
security check was quite efficiently done, and I sat at my
favourite place in the airport - the new finger housing gates 2
and 2A. There wasn't any exotic plane to write about. The main
runway was in use for both take-offs and landings, with the
direction of usage being North-South. The itinerary for this leg
of the journey was as follows:

Set out 24 Jun (Sun) for New Delhi from Kolkata
AI 701: Air India (A321) [Seat: 10F; PNR: YXZS3]
NSCBIA Domestic Terminal, Kolkata - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Kolkata (CCU) - New Delhi (DEL)
[05:00 pm - 07:10 pm]

We boarded on the dot, at 04:30 pm. We boarded through bus gate
1, which seems to be a regular one for this flight. The Mumbai
flight AI 775 also boarded from the same gate, just before us.
The term `line' was a misnomer, as the `line' snaked this way and
that. From that point onwards, I guessed that the loads would be
fantastic. Indeed, the Economy section was 100% full. There was
not even a single seat empty on this flight today. We had boarded
well in time. The plane for our trip today was to be VT-PPN: pn,
the `diode' plane. This is a plane I have travelled before on.
This was parked at the International Terminal at the NSCBI
airport. There wasn't much activity at the International
terminal. An Air India Regional ATR-42 in the old Alliance Air
colours, had boarded from there, and set out on a North-eastern
trip. Air India Regional ATR-42s are parked on the International
apron, and always board from the International terminal, at
Calcutta. A Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 boarded through the
aerobridge with stairs, with passengers walking to the plane.
The NSCBI airport's International terminal has two departure
gates on the first floor - one a true aerobridge, the other has a
set of stairs leading down to the ground level.

For some reason again, we pushed back only at 05:00 pm, the
take-off time. We landed on schedule, with possibly helpful
tailwinds driving the plane quickly to the destination. We had
taken off from the main runway (entering through the relatively
new `Kilo' taxiway from the secondary runway), entered the turning
pad, and taken off towards the South. After the doors had closed,
the name of the Captain was announced - Captain Jalaj Vats.
Jalaj! The word means `Lotus' in Sanskrit.
I had expected this direction to be used for landings and
take-offs, and taken a seat on the star-board side of the plane
just to have a look at the new terminal under construction.
Yes, despite the encouraging claims, the terminal still looks...
under construction (this report is circa 24 June, 2012) - at
least, to a non-discerning observer, who just glances it - either
from the air (as in my case this time), or from the ground - as I
was waiting for my taxi, on landing up at Dum-dum (the place
where Kolkata's NSCBI airport is - it was earlier called the
`Dumdum' airport). If I had been on the port side, I would have
spotted the three derelict propeller aircraft (including Biju
Patnaik's DC-3), and also seen the Howrah Bridge and the
Vivekananda Setu, on the Hooghly. We went over the clouds, soon.

Now, the event I want for with bated breath, came up a bit late,
almost half-an-hour into the flight. I was a bit surprised
however, since we had made a very smooth climb, turned right over
the the south end of the runway, went over the Hooghly, and had
reached altitude. We were not climbing, and there was no chop,
either - we were going over a almost uniform cloud cover below.
Had the Captain forgotten to switch off the seat-belt sign?
A few dings here and there were for the attention of the cabin
crew. The responses were requests to some restive passengers to
be seated. Almost just as we had reached the designated altitude,
the cabin filled with some wonderful re-heat smells.
Chicken tikka, my nose guessed.
Finally, the long awaited different ding rang, and the standard
announcement. The cheerful cabin crew came with the food trolley.
Non-veg, please - thank you.
I had one look at the plate, and my hungry eyes searched for the
name of the caterer. Taj.
The first item was a rather interesting-looking sandwich with had
a mixed orange-and-white filling, interspersed with some reddish
dots. I had hungrily eyed the item being partaken of, by a
gentleman in the row in front of me.
When I opened my packet, the whiff of some very fresh bread
entered my nostrils, setting my digestive juices into action.
The filling was a combination of shredded Mozzarella cheese in a
molten bed of orange Cheddar, with some paprika and red chilli
powder dotting the mixture. The bread was incredibly soft, the
product of the in-house Taj bakery, no doubt. The innovative
mixed-cheese-with-spices filling absolutely melted in the
mouth. What a fantastic start to the mini-meal!
The item I attacked next was the main course.
To the right was a vegetable mash ball, which had been fried ever
so lightly. The mash mainly consisted of potatoes and peas.
The middle had a very soft vegetable patty, with the mixed
vegetable mix embedded in one of the softest coverings I have
ever had. This clearly showed its Taj heritage - it was simply
excellent. The item to the right was what I had smelt from the
time the plane had reached cruising altitude.
Skewered Chicken pieces, three of them, soft, and succulent.
The highlight was the marination. I could make out that flavours
of freshly ground cumin (jeera) and dried coriander powder
(dhania), in a curd/yogurt-based mix had seeped in beautifully.
The pieces were served with thinly sliced onion which had been
very lightly fried, to retain some of the original twang, and not
taste raw, at the same time. Wonderful!
The dessert looked quite ordinary, until I opened the box.
It was a nice walnut cake piece, nice, though nothing out of the
ordinary - a bit of a surprise, considering the two items above
from the Taj bakery staple stable, had the bread part incredibly
soft, and simply extra-ordinary!
An ordinary instant coffee in the regular cup, completed the food
service. What about the IFE? The selection was similar, except
that the regional language serial was no longer there on this
leg, at least at the time when I was trying to surf the channels.
The audio seleciton did not disappoint - throughout the flight, I
sat listening to a selection of film songs of the famous
actress/singer Suraiya (whose real name was Mumtaz Shaikh). At
one point in time, I used to take pride in my knowledge of Hindi
film music, especially the old ones. This selection was fantastic
- there were at least three songs that I was heard for the first
time! When the programme repeated itself, I switched to the old
Hindi film song channel for a while, before switching to the
programme on Suraiya, which was a `featured artiste' channel, or
something like that. It was fabulous!

The moment we floated in over the Indraprastha Thermal Power
plant, I realised that we were heading towards the new runway,
runway 29. I saw many landmarks from a distance, as Captain Jalaj
Vats made a very smooth touch-down on the runway. We had landed
with some speed, so we exited the runway somewhere towards the
end, and wait...that was not quite normal - we just went on, and
turned...left! The International piers!
The plane docked there, and we went down the stairs, to a bus.
On the way, I saw Captain Vats, and thanked him for an excellent
landing.

We entered through the bus gate, and we entered the Mudras Hall.
I saw the nice indoor plants, and wait...
Plants?
The Wife (`TW') and Junior (`Jr'), and my Mummy, and Papa - both
parties were out of station. I had to manage both houses.
And their plants.
The look on my face could well be described by the Troll
character face - one which is ghost-like, white with fear.
I had been away for two days.
Both TW and Mummy have an unacceptably deep interest in plants.
I looked at the plants inside IGIA T3, brimming with health.
My bag had taken some time to arrive, increasing my anxiety.
I would have to go to both places (my residence as well as my
parents'), and water the plants.
As soon as my bag came out, I rushed to the pre-paid taxi
counter, got a receipt, and rushed towards my designated bay
number. The taxi driver seemed to be a big fan of old Hindi film
songs, and not even some of my favourite numbers improved my mood.

As I boarded the taxi, all the way home, and then to my parents'
place, and back, I was texting a Friend, Philosopher and Guide
- let us refer to this person as the `FPGA'
(sorry, VLSI designers - I have just misused a term.)
The (long) conversation went something like the following.
I have replaced the SMSpeak with plain English, below.

FPGA: ``What's the plan for dinner?''
Me: ``AI701!''
FPGA: ``weren't those just snacks?''
Me: ``Heavy! Will just take some milk at home, may be with some
cereal. I am known as a `Cereal Killer' ''

The conversation soon shifted to what was on my mind, as soon as
I got home. I had a look at TW's plants, and then drove down to
my parents' house, to have a look at Mummy's plants.
To say the least, the situation at the `plant-ariums' at both
places was not very encouraging. I would see the stars, soon.

Me: ``Oops - I had thought that Mummy's and TW's plants would be
chloro-filled, but they are Chloro-MT. My throat is getting
parched with fear. As they say here in the chaste vernacular,
`kiye karaye par paani pher raha hoon' ''
Me: ``How can I make these plants go green (with envy)?''
FPGA: ``Water them. It is not chlorine!''
Me: ``If they don't go green, some one will see red! I am not
red-green colour blind''
FPGA: ``Water, and organic manure. Plants need pampering.''
Me: ``I need Pampers, too. I am generating organic manure
(`Huggies') in fear. Oops...''
FPGA: ``What happened? Was it the AI701 food?''
Me: ``No, Fear Factor. Part 2''
FPGA: ``Did you put them out in the sunlight for the 2 days, or
did you put them in the shade?''
Me: ``I know I have the average intelligence of blue-green algae...''
FPGA: ``Sunlight, or shade?''
Me: ``Between them, Mummy and TW have more potted plants than the
total number of insect species on Planet Earth. How can I
take all of them in?''
Me: ``Plus, I do not know much about plant care. When TW saw me
approaching a plant one day with a bucket in hand, she shrieked
out in horror, ``Oh no, this plant is of the XYZ species. You
must only use a water sprinkler.'' I am not a VLSI
designer. Yet, I am a bucket-brigade device.''
(Sorry VLSI designers, again)
Me: ``Phew, the threat has been watered down a bit.
I am now much more calm and composed.
Earlier, I was compost.
I hope the plants start `shooting' now!''
FPGA: ``You should feed them some auxins and cytokinins now''
Me: ``Ha ha! for one who can't differentiate between
an auxin and a toxin, and cytokinin and the sight'a quinine,
you expect your bud-dy to be a `bud-ding'
Biotech-no-logist? No, logically...''
FPGA: ``Auxins for shoots, Cytokinins for roots. When you are
culturing a plant in vitro, you can modify their concentrations
to get the desired effects in plants''
Me: ``I couldn't modify my concentration in Biology in the Xth
standard, so did not get the desired effect in me. In
today's world, BioTech sells/cells!''

SMSspeak isn't expected to be so long. SMSes are meant to be short.
So are trip reports, I guess.
So, I guess I'll end it here, before it runs.
And lest readers run away.
---
Links to my previous trip reports:

36. Indore again in 2012, April
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12937.html

35. Can't Cut Calcutta Calls! CCU, Mar'12
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12909.html

34. Tinsel-town ahoy! Mumbai, Mar'12
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12885.html

33. Indoor/Indore in 2012
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12835.html

32. Colour Range over the Orange City: NAG, Jan'12
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12803.html

31. AI strike(,) PAT in the back: Patna, Jan'12
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12781.html

30. Regressive TR: Shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12742.html

29. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12730.html

28. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part I: Mysore
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12686.html

27. Hampi Hamper, Part 2: Hampi!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12661.html

26. Hampi Hamper, Part I: Banashankari, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12623.html

25. JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12592.html
(This is out of sequence, only to report on something that is
very recent, circa Sep'12)

24. PNQ: PeNning Queued Reports, Dec 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12557.html

23. Little BHO-Peep, Nov 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12496.html

22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12465.html

21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Beijing, 2011 Part 3
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12452.html

20. No Panda-monium: Beijing, 2011 Part 2
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12389.html

19. North By Northwest...er, AI and CA: Beijing, 2011 Part 1
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12348.html

18. Going Bananas over Oranges: Nagpur, Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12333.html

17. To the City of Joy and back, on Air India: Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12238.html

16. To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12196.html
(This is out of sequence owing to sheer excitement, and nothing
else!)

15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12157.html

14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12136.html

13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12091.html

12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12016.html

11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11717.html

10. The City of Lakes: Mother's Heart, Heart of the Motherland
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11556.html

9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore:
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11533.html

8. Inter-metro Shuttling on AI: DEL-BOM on AI810, BOM-DEL on AI888
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11449.html

7. On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11160.html

6. DEL-BOM on IT308, BOM-DEL on IC166
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10986.html

5. DEL-MAA on IC439, MAA-DEL on IC802
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10809.html

4. DEL-PNQ on IC849, PNQ-DEL on IC850
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10510.html

3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10401.html

2. DEL-NAG-NDC, NDC-BOM-DEL on G8
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10169.html

1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10018.html
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abhigopal
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Brilliant writing. Superb!
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing writing Sir !

Many thanks for the kind words you showered on me in the first paras.

1 question about the trip. DId you figure out which is onwards and which is return in terms of IFE offering ? Since you did a round trip and on the same type, the changes of this being observed are more !

Very nice animated conversation so to say at the end Smile

Glad to read it on a monday morning Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent TR - thanks for posting. I loved the "potty" conversation at the end, hope the plants all ended up well with the "der aaye durust aaye" TLC they got?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the kind words, Abhishek, Ameya and Nimish!
ameya wrote:
Did you figure out which is onwards and which is return in terms of IFE offering?

Ameya: trust you to come up with difficult questions. I had never really given this a deep thought, and as with most trips, just flipped through the pages of the Air India magazine, to try and find the best match with what is being shown. Is it something to do with odd and even flight, if so or not so, with what city as reference? I have no clue, since in this case, the two legs of the trip had near-identical content. Further, what happens on round-trip flights with the same flight number e.g., AI 469, which used to be DEL-RPR-NAG-DEL, and is now DEL-NAG-RPR-DEL? I have no clue!
Nimish wrote:
I loved the "potty" conversation at the end, hope the plants all ended up well with the "der aaye durust aaye" TLC they got?

Ha ha, good one, Nimish - no, I did not exactly get a good certificate from either The Wife, or Mummy. In fact, TW castigated me for religiously watering what turned out to be a creeper weed, which had got long and healthy by the time she came back!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whenever Sumantra Sir is in air, AI menu seems to be upgraded ! Very Happy
I think you took Charlie taxiway to international apron area. Kilo taxiway seems to in good use!
29 degree nice and cool? Thatís too much for me!
It is a good report overall.
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Calcutta: A Short and Sweet Trip, June 2012 Reply with quote

Another excellent TR there professor. Its unfortunate that we could not meet up this time due to some urgent work that needed my attention. I hope that we do meet up when I visit Delhi again.

sumantra wrote:


Me: ``Oops - I had thought that Mummy's and TW's plants would be
chloro-filled, but they are Chloro-MT. My throat is getting
parched with fear. As they say here in the chaste vernacular,
`kiye karaye par paani pher raha hoon' ''
Me: ``How can I make these plants go green (with envy)?''
FPGA: ``Water them. It is not chlorine!''
Me: ``If they don't go green, some one will see red! I am not
red-green colour blind''
FPGA: ``Water, and organic manure. Plants need pampering.''
Me: ``I need Pampers, too. I am generating organic manure
(`Huggies') in fear. Oops...''
FPGA: ``What happened? Was it the AI701 food?''
Me: ``No, Fear Factor. Part 2''
FPGA: ``Did you put them out in the sunlight for the 2 days, or
did you put them in the shade?''
Me: ``I know I have the average intelligence of blue-green algae...''
FPGA: ``Sunlight, or shade?''
Me: ``Between them, Mummy and TW have more potted plants than the
total number of insect species on Planet Earth. How can I
take all of them in?''
Me: ``Plus, I do not know much about plant care. When TW saw me
approaching a plant one day with a bucket in hand, she shrieked
out in horror, ``Oh no, this plant is of the XYZ species. You
must only use a water sprinkler.'' I am not a VLSI
designer. Yet, I am a bucket-brigade device.''
(Sorry VLSI designers, again)
Me: ``Phew, the threat has been watered down a bit.
I am now much more calm and composed.
Earlier, I was compost.
I hope the plants start `shooting' now!''
FPGA: ``You should feed them some auxins and cytokinins now''
Me: ``Ha ha! for one who can't differentiate between
an auxin and a toxin, and cytokinin and the sight'a quinine,
you expect your bud-dy to be a `bud-ding'
Biotech-no-logist? No, logically...''
FPGA: ``Auxins for shoots, Cytokinins for roots. When you are
culturing a plant in vitro, you can modify their concentrations
to get the desired effects in plants''
Me: ``I couldn't modify my concentration in Biology in the Xth
standard, so did not get the desired effect in me. In
today's world, BioTech sells/cells!''


Ha ha ha.. Professor.. this was a funny conversation!!!

I must have learned a million new ways to refer to my food from your TR then I would have learned anywhere else. You know, you should open a blog and post it there. You will be famous no doubt Smile

sumantra wrote:

The look on my face could well be described by the Troll
character face - one which is ghost-like, white with fear.


You mean this??

[img]https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQ0LWjAWcrnd4dx4SHOgGdMp716zr3ulkkIs7w31Z1nwBrAZ7j[/img]
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Calcutta: A Short and Sweet Trip, June 2012 Reply with quote

Shukla Sir, thanks a lot! I missed you too - I look forward to your next visit.
shivendrashukla wrote:
sumantra wrote:

The look on my face could well be described by the Troll
character face - one which is ghost-like, white with fear.
I think this will be more appropriate - I just do not seem to find a suitable image on the Internet. In the image in the link below,
http://thefunnyplanet.com/pictures/821.jpg
the character closest to what I have described is the one on the bottom right.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
Whenever Sumantra Sir is in air, AI menu seems to be upgraded ! Very Happy I think you took Charlie taxiway to international apron area. Kilo taxiway seems to in good use!
Really, it should be I who should refer to a senior person as you, as `Sir', or Mr. Ganguly. You are a very senior member on the forum, and we all appreciate your experience, and immense aviation knowledge!
Thanks a lot once again, Sumantra.
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sabya99
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
sabya99 wrote:
Whenever Sumantra Sir is in air, AI menu seems to be upgraded ! Very Happy I think you took Charlie taxiway to international apron area. Kilo taxiway seems to in good use!
Really, it should be I who should refer to a senior person as you, as `Sir', or Mr. Ganguly. You are a very senior member on the forum, and we all appreciate your experience, and immense aviation knowledge!
Thanks a lot once again, Sumantra.


You also have a profound knowledge about all aspects of Indian aviation. Dont underestimate yourself! Very Happy
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
You also have a profound knowledge about all aspects of Indian aviation
Hardly, Sir! Something that may interest you. On 26 Jan 2013, I thought I saw both runways in action separately, though due to the parallax from the ground floor, I could be wrong. Initially I felt that the secondary runway was being used for South-North take-offs and landings, and then all operations shifted to the main runway after it got dark. In 2008, I remember pointing out that I had seen the `staggered parallel' operations which you have so vividly described in your NSCBIA thread, along with numerous pointers to representative videos.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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avbuff
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR sumantara and enjoy your domestic flight anecdotes in India as always.

I may not respond to all your TRS, but rest assured I do follow them Wink
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

avbuff wrote:
Nice TR sumantara and enjoy your domestic flight anecdotes in India as always.I may not respond to all your TRS, but rest assured I do follow them Wink
Thanks a lot, Ojas, for taking time out to not just follow my myriad reports to the most routine of all routes, but also write reports of your own! Yes, I do not travel international much - I have barely been able to manage one a year, but whenever I do, I also describe the same.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ProfeSir !
I found a new way of adressing you as Sir Shocked

I agree with you, there has to be a linkage of flight numbers, however circular flights and multi legs is a difficult proposition.

Imagine, say a DEL NAG RPR DEL flight, I have to get down at RPR and I start watching a movie and they change the movie selection after NAG !
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
sabya99 wrote:
You also have a profound knowledge about all aspects of Indian aviation
Hardly, Sir! Something that may interest you. On 26 Jan 2013, I thought I saw both runways in action separately, though due to the parallax from the ground floor, I could be wrong. Initially I felt that the secondary runway was being used for South-North take-offs and landings, and then all operations shifted to the main runway after it got dark. In 2008, I remember pointing out that I had seen the `staggered parallel' operations which you have so vividly described in your NSCBIA thread, along with numerous pointers to representative videos.
Cheers, Sumantra.


Early morning and evening hours are the time to notice such events. One runway being used routinely then as visibility becomes favorable the other one gets into action. I think under current condition both runways could be used briefly but staggered operation could be continued for longer time periods.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
ProfeSir!
et tu, Ameya? I have tired hard to convince both you and Shukla-ji that I am not a Professor as yet! Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
Early morning and evening hours are the time to notice such events.
Spot-on, Sir - these were the times when I observed such events. Thank you for the explanations, and the videos!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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