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Pathetic Pune Pun: Puny Pune Passage. May'13

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4477
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 7:09 pm    Post subject: Pathetic Pune Pun: Puny Pune Passage. May'13 Reply with quote

Pathetic Pune Pun: Puny Pune Passage. May'13


This report can be found at the following URL:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13579.html

I request the reader once again, to pardon me for the
Pathetic Pune Pun. No, Pune is one of my favourite cities. The reader
needs to pardon me for the pathetic pun on the name of the city.
The trip was a very short one, hence the reference to `puny'.
`Passage' should be replaced with `trip'.
However, have I not tripped before, on language?

58.1 A Good Night's Sleep? Nay Nay, Destination Pune

This was to be an extremely hurried trip to Pune, the cultural
capital of Maharashtra. One look at my itinerary should give the reader
a hint as to when I must have woken up, to get ready for the flight.

Set out 25 May (Sat) for Pune from New Delhi
AI 851: Air India (A320) [Seat: 02A; PNR: WY6WN5]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Lohegaon Airport, Pune
New Delhi (DEL) - Pune (PNQ)
[05:00 am - 07:00 am]

Yes, I was up with the alarm at 02:30 am. I had gone to bed late
- there was a huge lot of work to complete, miles to go, and
miles to go before I could even envision hitting the bed. I barely
got up. The friendly cab operator arrived on the dot, and I was
soon on the way to IGI airport, Terminal 3. He dropped me in
front of Gates 3-4, the Air India gates.

58.2 ``what do you do for a living?''

As I sleepily approached the CISF guard with a copy of my tickets
in my hand, and a photo ID, the guard asked for the other ticket
as well. I was a bit surprised, and told him sweetly, that it was
my return ticket. The man smiled at me.
``No, that is your onward ticket for today,'' he said softly,
and added, possibly for effect, ``what do you do for a living?''
I was a bit taken aback, and in my confusion, I blurted out,
``I am a teacher.''
He gave me an understanding smile, and suddenly that cracked me
up. We shared a hearty laugh, as he wished me a nice trip.

This was the first `truly domestic' flight of the day. IGIA T3
was still brimming with activity. I had been unable to perform a
web check-in for a flight with Pune as its destination. Somehow,
this does not work on Air India. The check-in and security check
took a very short time, and soon, I was going up in the elevator
to the food court area to court some lovely sights across the
tarmac. Of course, I did not want to spend too much time there,
lest the aromas set my digestive juices flowing, and causing me
further distress. And what did I see?
A China Southern A332 was pushing back from its gate, opposite to
the first Domestic pier. There were Air India narrow-bodies all
around. As I headed towards my gate (30A), I kept a lookout on
the adjacent gates for any interesting aircraft. I would not be
disappointed. Both Air India A332s were docked at the domestic
wide-body gates on both sides of the first domestic pier! The
`Wide Body' plane WB: VT-IWB was at Gate 34, and `Wide Aircraft'
WA: VT-IWA was at Gate 31. They would be doing the morning runs
to Chennai and Kolkata.

58.3 EPiC Cabin for Picky Passengers!

I spied a sprightly senior plane at our gate.
It was the EPiC plane, VT-EPC.
We entered a spic-and-span plane. Air India seem to maintain
their older planes very well: the fabric looked and felt fresh,
and the plastic surfaces were spotlessly clean and free from grime.
The front bulkhead however, missed the stylised `A320' sign, that
is a nice feature on many an old double-bogey A320.



Captain Vishal Arya was in command, and Ms. Arora was in charge
of the cabin crew. As I watched with some interest, the entire
plane filled up. Air India has a winner here, in the morning
flight to Pune. Many people have re-iterated on many forums, the
need for a morning flight to Pune. With this flight, the timings
are such that one can do a same-day return to Delhi.

The cabin crew in my section of the plane - all looked familiar,
I had travelled with them on other sectors, before. Ms. Arora was
a middle-aged lady, there was a young lady and a young gentleman
to help here. Ms. Arora was quietly efficient, and pleasant, too.
She went about her duties with great speed, and her experience of
the cabin showed. She closed the front door herself.
She had had the ovens loaded very quickly. Just after Captain
Arya switched off the seat belt signs, she sprung into action at
once, and with her two junior colleagues, had the trays loaded
very quickly. Being in the second row gave me a good opportunity
to peek into the goings-on in the forward galley. I had
nothing but admiration for the two ladies, who were there most of
the while. I had an idea about what the pleasant announcement
would be about. Breakfast would be served on the flight.

58.4 Food for Thought, Thought for Food. iDling away.

By the time Ms. Arora came to my row, they were a bit short on
the non-vegetarian trays. Ms. Arora announced that they had
loaded only 8 of them, perhaps because of the relatively low
usual demand for the type on this flight. She told me that she
would check with the rear galley, and in almost no time at all, I
had the tray that I had asked for. She had made a few gestures
towards the rear galley, and the needful was done!
However, had I made the right choice?

One of my Delhi-based friends (who also patronises Air India
quite a lot) has a very strong dislike for the South Indian
vegetarian breakfast commonly served on Air India morning
flights. I had often wondered why. On my previous trip, I had
discussed this with him over SMS. He had said that he did not
like the iDlis and the sAmbhar.
It was quite apparent that our tastes are a bit different.
He has a point, however. I must add that the iDli is not exactly
suitable for a reheat on a plane. The iDli is made from a
carefully fermented batter, and then steamed, and to get the
proper taste, it has to be consumed fresh. The iDli is an item
that does not remain spectacular in taste on a reheat, more so
since it is a fermented item, and is not fried either, so unless
the right amount of moisture remains inside the box during the
reheat, it will clearly not be at its best. The smells were
quite appetising no doubt, but I went in for my usual choice,
the non-vegetarian tray.

When the catering staff were loading the food items on the plane,
I noticed the ChefAir sign on a consignment of items. The
breakfast started with a bun that was incredibly soft and fresh.
A slight dampener was the butter chiplet, which was not rock
hard. It had been warmed for the discerning passenger, but as I
have mentioned before, I do not fall into that category by a fair
margin. The fresh taste of the bun was overwhelming however, and
I had it with the butter and the mixed fruit jam. A little note
here: in my childhood, Mummy never allowed us to partake of the
mixed fruit jam, since it appeared to have too much in terms of
artificial colours. I used to longingly look at the deep red
spread that my friends had inside their sandwiches.

The fruit bowl was simply superb. It had one slice of the `Disco'
variety of papaya, three slices of a slightly sweetened
pineapple, and five slices of a nice musk mellon/honey dew
mellon. I polished it off in no time at all. The fruit tasted
very fresh, and I siphoned off the little juice at the bottom as
well, much to the slight disgust of the lady sitting beside me.
A lady seated in front of me called Ms. Arora, and asked her if
the iDli was a rice one, or a rave ravA one.
A bit taken aback, Ms. Arora explained to her that only the
menu was specified to the cabin crew, not the details of the items.
I was almost bursting out of my seat to inform her of the main
constituent of the iDli which had been served.
But then, how was she to know that my nose was a bit
doggie-like in its sensors? It was clearly a rice iDli.
A ravA iDli has a different aroma.

As an aside, many people still do not know how ravA or
sUjI is related to wheat. The ordinary wheat or
ATTA (or its sinfully refined avatar (maidA)
available in India is biologically Triticum aestivum,
whereas ravA or sUjI is semolina, made from the
tougher Durum wheat Triticum durum, which is a bit more
difficult to ground into a very fine flour. Of course, both have
unique tastes of their own! The iDlis came with a little coconut
chuTney, that was still putting me into two minds - had I done
the right thing by not choosing the vegetarian offering?

By this time, I had opened my main box, and was staring longingly
into it. There was a nice potato-based chop, which had shreds of
coriander inside it, and some light cream-based concoction, which
had just been done to perfection. The amount of cream was not too
much, yet it made its presence felt in the potato-mash (which had
a little finely chopped green chillies as well - the kind that
impart their aroma, and are not hot). The entire item had been
fried very lightly, so as not to make it overtly sinful. There
was a nice baked beans offering in a tomato-based thick gravy,
which hit the taste coefficient nicely. The huge and fluffy
omelette was superb - it had been done in very little oil, and it
was very clear that the cabin crew had taken the heating
instructions seriously, and done it just right. I noticed a pack
of Tata Tea Gold tea bags being brought to the counter in the
galley, and was in a fix - should I go in for this tasty tea? I
resisted the temptation as the coffee came in first, and I wanted
something for my headache soon, while the tea was brewing in the
pot. The instant coffee was strong, and not too bad,
Surprisingly, I had failed to note what the brand was, but then,
Ms. Arora had prepared it far from my prying eyes, too.
Moreover, I was too absorbed in the chop at that time.
There was a slight chop of the other kind before landing, which
was not very nice on a full tummy, but thankfully, it was short,
though not sweet.

58.5 At Lohegaon airport, Pune

Pune would welcome us with 37 degrees Celcius,
which was a much more pleasant thought than the 45+ degrees which
I had left behind in Delhi (though that was the prevailing day
temperature - at night, it had dropped to the mid-30s). Captain Arya
brought her down like a feather, coming in from the East. I was
on the port side of the plane, and was treated to the wonderful
sight of the Sarang (The IAF's helicopter aerobatics team) which
flies the ALH Dhruva, in the very impressive colour scheme.
Inside the hangars, and some outside, were what one makes a trip
to Lohegaon airport in Pune, well worth it - the sight of the
Su-30 MKI multi-role aircraft!

We docked at the second aero-bridge. VT-JGA, a Jet Airways
B738 was docked to our left, at the first aero-bridge. This
would head back to Delhi. A SpiceJet flight was boarding, and
another one came in as we entered the terminal building.
What was the status of the new AAI constructed terminal? It was
so-so. There was a large amount of construction still going on,
it was all on the inside, with nothing outside. Some parts of the
terminal looked a bit in need of some maintenance, while some
were relatively nice. The Jet Airways flight had its bags on belt 1,
where our bags also made it after some delay. The SpiceJet
flight which had come in, had its bags arriving on belt 2. The
other belts continued in their Newtonian state, inertia. They
continued in their state of rest, and not acted upon by an
external force. When my bag finally made an appearance, I picked
it up, and hurried outside to my waiting car. We drove past the
Yeravada jail (which housed actor Sanjay Dutt at the time of my
trip), with its very impressive walls, and murals on the walls.

58.6 Notes from Pune. Short notes.

We hurried to Shivajinagar, where my work was. I had a small
amount of time to get ready, and made it on time. It would be an
extremely tiring day, and I would hit the bed in the late
afternoon, waking up to the sight of a pleasant breeze and a
rained-out city outside.

The next day was a very hectic one. I had woken up early in
the morning (05:00 am, with the alarm, of course), and got to
work. After a tiring day and an official lunch, I headed towards
the place where my accommodation had been arranged, and packed my
things together. The vehicle to drop me at the Lohegaon airport
came in well before time, and I set out for the airport.

58.7 At Lohegaon airport again. Time to get back.

The check-in happened without any incident, as was the security
check, where I had to take out most of the contents of my bag,
which were put into the X-ray machine again. I headed off towards
the first floor, where our flight would board from. The terminal
was quite neat and clean, and looked well-maintained. A Jet
Airways flight for Mumbai and Kolkata boarded from the first
floor non-aerobridge gate, since it had been parked at a remote
stand. This plane took off towards the west, which I guess would
be runway 28. An Indigo A320 had taken off earlier, just before
an IAF An-32 had come in. The first floor continued to impress -
there are a lot more power-ports as compared to what I had seen
some time back, when this part of the airport had come up.
An interesting feature I noticed for the first time, were two
islands with a table in between. This had numerous power-ports,
and Internet cables, with free Internet offered on them. The
Internet part somehow did not work for me, however - it was
perhaps an off day for the airport. This facility would have been
there for some time, since some of the cables had the spring
mechanism broken. I wonder why the airport did not offer wireless
connectivity - this perhaps comes at much less infrastructure cost,
and does not involve any fragile cabling.

At 05:51 pm, PJ, the `not-so-funny' plane VT-PPJ landed on runway
28, and in the glorious sunshine, docked at an aero-bridge. Four
minutes later, a Go Air grey A320 VT-WAE landed, and went towards
a non-aerobridge stand, beside our plane. The plane had come in
from Bengaluru, and would return to the same city.
We boarded on time. The itinerary for my return trip was as follows:

Set out 26 May (Sun) for New Delhi from Pune
AI 850: Air India (A321) [Seat: 10F; PNR: Y6WW7]
Lohegaon Airport, Pune - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Pune (PNQ) - New Delhi (DEL)
[06:40 pm - 08:40 pm]

We boarded from the aero-bridge in the middle. A Jet Airways
ATR-72 VT-JCM had parked to our right. We pushed back a bit late,
as a Jet Airways B737-700 came in to land on runway 28. Our
flight was absolutely jam-packed in Economy, and less than 50%
full in the Business class. Captain Sandeep Marwah was in
command. Evening was falling, and in the light of the setting
sun, I noticed an exciting line-up of military aircraft on the
IAF ramp. In addition to the An-32 which had come in, I noticed
one Mig-21 (I did not notice which variant it was, it was not a
trainer `Mongol', for sure), one Mig-27, and one Jaguar lined up
side-by-side. The Su-30MKIs are always an exciting sight!

Captain Marwah executed a long and powerful take-off from runway
28. Immediately after the seat belt sign was switched off, I
heard the usual announcement which was music to my ears. It was
the only music to my ears, since the audio channels were not
working, at least on my seat 10F. I was disappointed. I would
watch the 5 video channels only while having...dinner.
Yes, it was a dinner flight!

58.8 The dinner!

The dinner was excellent in terms of both quality and quantity.
The catering supplier was Sky Gourmet. The bun was incredibly
soft and fresh. The butter as usual, had been warmed a bit, which
I did not like one bit. However, the smell of fresh bread was
simply irresistible, and I love things sinful. The butter went down
with the bun in no time at all. The salad was the usual Indian
green salad, with cucumber, orange carrots, and...a slice of
lime. I smelt the essential oils emanate from the lime slice, as
I squeezed it on the salad, and enjoyed the bliss with salt and
pepper. The main course had a 5 pulses gooey mixture to the right
of some aromatic rice. The 5 pulses preparation is quite common
among Punjabis, with a nice mixture of pulses with their skin
(the pulses, that is), and some without. The item to the left was
a big surprise: it was a soft and flavourful mutton rezzala,
which is cooked in cream, and some intrinsic fat itself. The
dessert was superb - it was a very fresh rasgulla! The instant
coffee was not too bad. The trays were cleared quickly by the two
young ladies and one young gentleman serving our section of the plane.

58.9 A gripping mov(i)e

The reader may remember me mentioning the lack of the audio
stream on the PTV channels. One of the movies playing was `Murder 3',
and I had noticed most of the plane intently watching that
movie. After the plane had landed, when the announcements were
over, the movies continued, and when the plane's L1 door was
opened, I noticed many people still glued to their seats, since
the movie had reached a rather interesting climax. It had to be
seen to be believed. I also heard chatter around me, ``come on,
get up,'' was something I heard from more than one person! In
this situation, I managed to get up quickly, take my bag, and was
intent on making a quick exit from the plane. Captain Marwah
had made a simply amazing landing on runway 29 - it was yet
another landing which passengers could hardly even feel. I
noticed the cockpit door slightly ajar, and as I thanked the cabin
crew - this had a very senior lady in the front of the cabin.
Seeing the door slightly ajar, I had put forth a request (in a
slightly loud voice for effect), to be allowed to thank the
Captain for a spectacular landing. This surprised the lady, and
as she hesitated, Captain Marwah looked back, perhaps hearing my
words. I appreciated his spectacular landing. He was still in his
seat, and gave a very sweet and appreciative smile, and thanked
me for the same. We had docked at the international terminal.
The plane was possibly going to Mumbai as AI 317 -
the international connector to the Hong Kong flight, continuing
to Mumbai. We had parked beside PPM, the `concentration plane':
VT-PPM. An air-conditioned bus was welcome in the 39 degrees
Celcius temperature (this was still less than what I had
expected!), and soon, I was going through my usual routine,
taking a pre-paid taxi, and setting out for home.

58.10 Parting shot...

I apologise for the lack of pictures in this trip report, since
there was hardly any opportunity to click any. I will end this
report however, with a picture I took at a sports goods shop. Please
attention to what is written on the football, `Arsenal', but
the part that is visible from the angle I took this picture,
shows the first four characters of the name of this famous team,
and presents a hilarious sight.


---
Links to my 58 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR there as usual Sir. Btw the Morning pune flight might be rescheduled now as from Jan 14, MAFI project will start and there is an embargo on flight movements from 10pm-8am.

Cheers
Shivendra
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shivendrashukla wrote:
Btw the Morning pune flight might be rescheduled now as from Jan 14, MAFI project will start and there is an embargo on flight movements from 10pm-8am.
Thank you, Sir. However, it is nice that the MAFIa is finally happening at Pune. Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir, thanks for the TR.

The presence of Sarangs was due to the Passing out Parade (PoP) of NDA.

Traditionally, it had the 3 sukhoi 3 jaguars and surya kiran display along with the super dimonas of the NDA

When Jaguars shifted out of Pune, it was a 3 sukhoi + surya kiran & Dimonas

Now a days, occasionally they get Sarang, since even surya kiran is disbanded

The presence of others is more operational which keeps on happening at PNQ for joint exercises.

I happened to land by the same flight on 26th May morning while I was returning from DME via MUC

Glad you enjoyed your PNQ trip
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
The presence of Sarangs was due to the Passing out Parade (PoP) of NDA...I happened to land by the same flight on 26th May morning while I was returning from DME via MUC
Yes, Sir - thank you, I remember corresponding with you and Shukla-ji on this, who also confirmed the same. As regards your flight: I remember that as well: the free (for all) J class experience for you and Mrs. Joshi!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again this is a brilliant write up from you, Sir!

It is quite interesting that AI sends both an A320 and an A321 to Pune from Delhi, why would they do that?

Also, that was a very interesting insight into idli's - something which I've had just had a lot over the past few days and I will be writing about it in a bit!

We look forward to more!

Regards
Jish
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Nimish
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm - lovely report from Sumantra - though it left me a bit disappointed as there was no closure to the dilemma of "Was the NV meal the right choice" Wink.

Truthfully I had no idea of the difference between regular atta vs. sooji/ rava - so that's for that insight. Now comes the next question - what's the diff between Sooji and Rava? Or are they the same thing with different regional names?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Jishnu for the kind words!
jbalonso777 wrote:
It is quite interesting that AI sends both an A320 and an A321 to Pune from Delhi, why would they do that?
A good capacity match+convenience in scheduling. While the second set of flights was welcome- given the demand, the third pair took me quite by surprise - but even that seems to be doing quite well, from what I heard. This is the evening-night connection.
jbalonso777 wrote:
Also, that was a very interesting insight into idli's - something which I've had just had a lot over the past few days and I will be writing about it in a bit!
Great, Sir - we look forward to that!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
...though it left me a bit disappointed as there was no closure to the dilemma of "Was the NV meal the right choice" Wink.
Thank you, Nimish - given that I am primarily a vegetarian, I often indulge in something that sounds ominous, sins of the flesh on flights Razz Yes, it was a difficult choice between the veg and the non-veg. But do not hold your breath much. On a recent BOM-DEL dinner flight, I was offered both 25 Dec'13. Very Happy
Nimish wrote:
Truthfully I had no idea of the difference between regular atta vs. sooji/ rava - so that's for that insight. Now comes the next question - what's the diff between Sooji and Rava? Or are they the same thing with different regional names?
Yes, sUjI and ravA are the same - just different regional names Smile It is just that people from the South have used it for more mouth-watering dishes, at least in my humble opinion. If you love the material, you are lucky to be a Bangalorean!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great report Sumantara.

I always find early morning flights a pain specially those that depart at 5 AM. Even when I go on business trips I prefer something that departs at 8:00 so that it gives some extra winks at night.

I often see in your report that you are taking early morning flights? Is that your preference or something that is not in your control.

PS: Today is my lucky day as I am able to post all replies without any hitches.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...
Thank you, Sir!
sri_bom wrote:
I often see in your report that you are taking early morning flights? Is that your preference or something that is not in your control.
I try to avoid it as much as possible, Sir, as much as I try to avoid late night ones. I also like to avoid same-day returns, but yes, often, it is the only choice I have: a balance between trying to complete some job quickly (not quite something I am used to, given my semi-Govt job Smile ), and being able to enter the house, with an angry The Wife, and Junior, who thinks of me as just some enter-tainer (pun intended), who takes him out Smile
sri_bom wrote:
PS: Today is my lucky day as I am able to post all replies without any hitches.
We are all glad for that, Sir - I really wonder what the problem is!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all I must apologise .... I read 6 TRs these past 2 weeks (3 of them yours) but never got around to replying. The one time I sat down and attempted a reply the internet in the hotel wouldn't let me (strange, I could sign in and read etc .... but couldn't post)

So now ill just have to say I read it and enjoyed it a lot + your usual brilliant style of writing......all the questions I had are long forgotten Embarassed
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avbuff
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
First of all I must apologise .... I read 6 TRs these past 2 weeks (3 of them yours) but never got around to replying. The one time I sat down and attempted a reply the internet in the hotel wouldn't let me (strange, I could sign in and read etc .... but couldn't post)

So now ill just have to say I read it and enjoyed it a lot + your usual brilliant style of writing......all the questions I had are long forgotten Embarassed


+1 I'm equally guilty of that.

Good you enjoyed your Pune trip.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
First of all I must apologise .... I read 6 TRs these past 2 weeks (3 of them yours) but never got around to replying.
Thank you, Sir: I really appreciate you keeping in touch with the forum in spite of your busy work in the front office. The perspective you bring in to your posts, is rather unique, thank you for that!
stealthpilot wrote:
The one time I sat down and attempted a reply the internet in the hotel wouldn't let me (strange, I could sign in and read etc .... but couldn't post)
I guess this is one of the whitelisted IP addresses of the hotel's service provider. I get into this situation sometimes when I am travelling, and using my data card.
Nimish and Aseem had a nice post on this, perhaps on the Site-Related thread. I seem to have noted the URL...it is:
http://www.projecthoneypot.org/white_list.php
stealthpilot wrote:
So now ill just have to say I read it and...all the questions I had are long forgotten
Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Sir: it makes it all worth it Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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