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khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:49 pm    Post subject: khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13 Reply with quote

khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14268.html

78.1 Introduction, starting with the weird title

khilte hain gul yahAn is a popular 1970s era Hindi film
song, which translates as `flowers bloom here'. The `gul'
refers to a flower. This is not as atrocious a lame pun as some
of the ones I have used before.
As a child, I seem to remember having read about the
Gulbarga fort having a flower-and-petal structure in its
heydays, which lent it the Urdu name. (It doesn't quite look so,
from the Google Maps image, though.) I had been quite intrigued
by this, and when I got a chance to visit the place in December
2013, I looked forward to it even though it would mean a very
long drive from the closest and most convenient airport, Hyderabad.
At the time of writing this report, the city has officially been
renamed to `Kalaburagi', an ancient name for this rocky land. The
renaming happened in early November, 2014, nearly a year after
this Gulbarga trip. Hyderabad has always been an interesting
airport to fly in and out of. I did not have much time on my
hands for this trip. A journey via Hyderabad meant that I would
obviously look at an option to try out a somewhat rare domestic
wide-body flight in India, courtesy Air India. What better an
opportunity than to try perhaps Air India's best performing long-distance
flight, the Chicago one?

The invitation came from an old friend, who is settled in this
nice place. I would be meeting him after nearly a decade, when we
had last met at Mumbai. I was really looking forward to that.
He had tried to entice me to come with the family, quite a few
times, but things had never really materialised, before this
official trip. He had told me that Gulbarga was the seat of power
in the region, in the 8th to the 11th, and the 14th to the 16th
centuries. The first Kannada book was written here. The Dayabhag
concept of Hindu law was proposed here. The Lingayat sect which
dominates the state of Karnataka, originated in the region. This
was also the place responsible for the fall of the huge
Vijayanagara empire. A famous Dargah (a shrine built over the
final resting place of a religious figure, typically a Sufi Islamic revered
saint) of Khwaja Gesudaraj was also in Gulbarga. And the Gulbarga fort,
of course, with its large mosque, the Jama Masjid of Gulbarga.
It is said that if one gets a good spouse, one is happy.
Else, one becomes a philosopher, and perhaps becomes history.
Either way, my friend had tried to entice me, with lots of history,
and philosophy, and tried to persuade me to get The Wife, and Junior also along.
It would not happen this time, at least.

The most time-effective option for me would be to take AI 126
on the DEL-HYD leg. AI 126 is the flight that comes in from
Chicago, and goes on to Hyderabad, via Delhi. The drive to
Gulbarga would take about 5 hours, so I would be in Gulbarga
close to midnight, if the flight was on time, which it generally is.
I would take AI 127, the HYD-DEL flight, on the way back, which
is the last flight of the day on the sector on Air India. The
flight goes onward to Chicago. My friend, while admonishing me
for planning out such a tight schedule with hardly any time to
spend with him, appreciated my time constraints, and
suggested that I set out in the early afternoon from Hyderabad,
so as to have most of the road trip with some light around, and
reach Gulbarga around dinner time.

My itinerary came to the following:

Set out 03 Dec (Tue) for Hyderabad from New Delhi
AI 544: Air India (A319) [Seat: 07F; PNR: J2QR7]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - RGIA, Hyderabad
New Delhi (DEL) - Hyderabad (HYD)
[01:15 pm - 03:15 pm]

Set out 04 Dec (Wed) for New Delhi from Hyderabad
AI 127: Air India (B77W) [Seat: 42K; PNR: J2QR7]
RGIA, Hyderabad - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Hyderabad (HYD) - New Delhi (DEL)
[08:55 pm - 11:10 pm]

This would allow me to set out for the airport in the late
morning, take a lunch flight to Hyderabad, and be in Gulbarga by
dinner time. On the way back, I could set out from Gulbarga in
the early afternoon, and be well in time for the last Air India
flight out of Hyderabad, which was also a dinner flight.
Food for thought, I thought.

78.2 Chicken at Check-in

I had barely made it home on time, rushed with my bags, and as
the taxi came up to our place, I bolted the door, and bolted from
the door, to be there at the airport. The taxi had come in a bit
late, and I had also got late. As I huffed and puffed to the
check-in counter, my completely dishevelled appearance did raise a few eyebrows.
As I went up the check-in counter, the lady there had just gone
to have a chat with her colleague. Her colleague noticed me, and told her,
``look there, there is a passenger at your counter,
yes, the one that looks like a chicken.''
She had not intended this for my ears, but I just happened to be within earshot.
Now, my name is not something my fellow Delhi'ites are very comfortable
pronouncing properly. The lady started, ``You are Mr. er...''
``Mr. Chicken,'' I completed the sentence for her, a bit loudly.
She looked up at me, shell-shocked, as did her colleague.
Stunned, they stared at me as if I had realistically done something
chicken-like, such as say, eating a wiggly worm right in front of them.
``Check-in, not chicken,'' said I, with a twinkle in my eye, as
the adjacent lady apologised, but took it in good humour, and
told them that I had indeed resembled the poultry bird which
spoke er...fowl language. That brought a smile to their faces as well.
The check-in and security check happened without much ado.

78.3 Roaming about the Domestic Departures, IGIA T3

It may sound cliched, but here it is. For a trip report with a
title `khilte hain gul yahAn' (flowers bloom here), I
cannot but help admire the indoor plants at the terminal,
just after the security check area.

``Let a thousand flowers bloom, and let a thousand schools of thought contend.''
This line is possibly a misquotation of a line from Chairman Mao
Zedong's initial speech. My convoluted mind played around with the irony
between the terms `Mao' and `LMAO'.

There was an attractive Skoda Octavia displayed close-by.

The company's India wing had been plagued with some lack of
quality control, and some bad press, on that account.

At the T-junction up the light ramp, I turned right, and went up
to the end of the terminal building finger. There was an
attractive Thai A333 going towards the new runway for take-off.
Please pardon me for the reflection band in the middle of the picture.
In my defence, it seems to somewhat complement the lines in the
Thai livery on the fuselage.

(Thanks to member The_Goat for correcting my mis-identification: it was indeed an A333, not an A332, as I had written earlier. No, it was not a typo: it was an error, which an aviation enthusiast should not commit!)
Coming back towards the T-junction, there was an attractive Volvo
XC60 displayed there.


The view from the windows here is something we will rarely get to
see now. There were two Air India B77Ls parked on the remote
stands. The two planes were VT-ALG `Kerala' to the left, and
VT-ALA `Andhra Pradesh', Air India's first B77L, to the right.

I had made this Gulbarga trip way back in December 2013. At the
time of writing this trip report (March 2015), VT-ALA `Andhra
Pradesh' had been sold to Etihad, and Air India had been left
with three B77Ls, VT-ALF `Jharkhand', VT-ALH `Maharashtra' and
VT-ALG `Kerala'. `Maharashtra' was seeing service, after a long
period on the ground, after a main landing gear spar crack, and
other issues. `Kerala' had been grounded for quite some time,
and had been seen around in a very bad state, before a friend
reported that she had been repaired, and had been possibly
stored, with her engines having been taken off the pods. I have
pleasant memories of `Kerala': it was my first experience of the
Thales i4500 IFE system (as opposed to the Thales i4000) on
earlier aircraft. I had taken a memorable flight on this plane on
24 September 2010, as AI 314 DEL-HKG, with which I had made a
hesitant debut on this part of the forum, `Trip Reports'.
1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10018.html
It was also my first time in the then new airport terminal, IGIA T3!

As I roamed around again, I saw one of my favourite planes in the
new Air India `Flying Swan' livery, the CRJ-700 `masked bandit'.

JE the `Junior Engineer' plane, was standing next to the B77Ls.
Here is a better view of the overall scene:


78.4 A lunch flight to Hyderabad

It would be CO, the `company' plane, VT-SCO, for my flight today.
The A319 in the new colours, was relatively neat and clean, though the plastic
surfaces had some grime marks. The fabric looked fresh.
I was disappointed that the IFE was not switched on.
I had been excited to see a Taj-SATS truck pull up beside the
plane, as we waited for the boarding announcement at Gate 34B.
Captain Saurabh Mishra was in command.
I have flown with Captain Mishra before, on 31 May 2013, on AI 636,
DEL-IDR, on an all-Y A320.
Ms. Gauri Kumar was in charge of the cabin.
I have flown with Ms. Kumar before too, on 13 Oct 2013, on AI 850,
PNQ-DEL, on an A321.

Soon after take-off, extremely appetising smells enveloped the cabin.

I started the proceedings with the bun.
Just after opening the packet, I raised it to my nose.
The smell of freshly baked bread blew me away.
The Taj ancestry was made even more obvious with one little
nibble I took. Much to my delight, it was a brown bread bun!
It was soft and fresh, and I enjoyed it immensely, morsel by
morsel, with the Amul butter chiplet, which was rock-hard and
cold, just the way I like it. I was now looking forward to more.
The presentation is not something Air India is known for.
Yes, there was the now-usual plastic cutlery in a thin zip-lock
packet, with sugar, milk and salt-and-pepper sachets. While
plastic cutlery helps save on weight, and cut costs; plastic knives
do not cut very well, and metal cutlery not just looks
fashionable, they are environmentally friendly as well.
The salad was not well-presented. It was very fresh, however.
There were slices of a very fresh and crunchy cucumber with the
skins on, a slice of tomato, and a carrot disk in a small
container topped with a juicy slice of lemon.

I sprinkled a bit of the salt and pepper on the salad, and then
brought my nose closer as I squeezed the lemon slice: the drops
went into the salad bowl, and the droplets of the lemon's
essential oils went into my olfactory system, sending the
digestive juices into raptures.
I noted that the lemon juice was a bit more than what I
could need for my salad, but I squeezed the last drop out of the
slice, nevertheless. After the salad went down my oesophagus, I
would pour out the remaining drops over the main course.

And what was there in the main course?
In the centre was a bed of medium-grained aromatic rice.
To its right was a delightful arhar/toor dAl,
pigeon-peas - no, not just boiled, they had been lightly mixed
with tiny shreds of tomato lending it a subtle different flavour,
and tossed around in a minute quantity of oil. Trust Air India
recipes to show their culinary muscle, for some thing as simple
as a pulses-based preparation. If the subtle flavours of the
dAl pleased me beyond doubt, the chicken malAI
curry to the left of the box, surprised me a bit. It was a bit
oily: after all, malAI is cream, and a cream-based gravy
is expected to be a slightly oily. It was a bit spicy as well!
My parents do not like food with even a bit of chilli powder in
it, since they are a bit allergic to the same. I do not mind it
one bit though. Did the destination modulate the catering
Department's decision to go ahead with a particular variant on the menu?
Yes, AI 544 was going to Hyderabad, and then onward, to
Vijayawada, places known for fiery and spicy food. The gravy had
the usual onion and tomato puree, along with a medley of spices,
among which the subtle smell of cinnamon ruled the roost,
followed by the taste of ground black pepper, and cardamom. The
chicken pieces were soft and had been marinated in a different
combination of spices, which had penetrated the insides rather
well. From what I could make out, the spices used in the
marination included roasted cumin powder, and coriander.
It was delicious!

By now, the beverage service had started, and much to my
surprise, the coffee came first. We Indians generally have a
strong preference for tea as our favourite hot beverage, in most
parts of India with the notable exception of South Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu, where coffee rules the beverage preferences. The
coffee was at least strong and hot, and lest it lose the latter
property, I had it as I hungrily eyed the dessert.

The dessert was the perfect end to a grand lunch.
It was a walnut brownie, resting in a gooey mush of chocolate sauce.
The Taj ancestry of this masterpiece was also obvious.
As always, I opened the pack with my nose in close proximity, to
let the first unwrapped flavours of the dish whet up my
expectation of the preparation, even more.
I smelt a hint of butter, and of course, the walnut.
I took the tiniest spoon out from the zip-lock sachet.
Yes, it is the same one usually used to stir one's hot beverage,
but of course, the reader knows that I have other ideas.
Revolutionary ideas, about using the spoon, for non-revolutionary purposes.
Let the experience end quickly, I picked a small piece
of the brownie (without dipping the spoon in the gooey mix,
below), just to partake of the intrinsic taste of the brownie.
It was really soft, moist, and tasted very fresh, indeed.
I was on cloud nine. Now, I gradually picked off parts from the
bottom of the bowl, and enjoyed each morsel, keeping the piece as
long as I could in the mouth, instead of wolfing it down.
The trays were cleared out quickly, and I think my hearty `thank
you' to the gentleman clearing our trays, betrayed my
intrinsic satisfaction at having had a lovely lunch.

78.5 From Hyderabad, to Gulbarga

Captain Mishra put'er down at Hyderabad softly.
VT-SUP, a SpiceJet Q400, was at a remote stand at RGIA, Hyderabad.


At around 03:30 pm, my bag arrived on belt 2, and
I was picked up at the exit of the impressive Rajiv Gandhi
International airport at Shamshabad, for the long trip to
Gulbarga. We took exit 18 on the outer ring road towards Appa,
then onward to Manneguda, Pargi (which we reached around 05:30
pm), and onto Kodangal. It was then that I began drifting in and
out of sleep, and finally crossed the Karnataka border, and
headed towards Gulbarga, which we duly reached in about five
hours, as scheduled. After dropping my bags at the impressive
Hotel Amantran, he whisked me off to his place for a homely
dinner. By the time I came back, I was dog tired, and hit the bed.

My friend is a Joshi brahmin, who is quite a bit of a linguist.
In addition to English and Hindi, he can speak Sanskrit.
He comes from a family of priests, and has done the recitation of
verses himself, at many a ceremony. He is well-versed in his
profession as well, he is a Professor of Electronics.
His mother tongue is Kannada. He can speak Marathi very well.
He is also quite good at Telugu, the language of the other state
adjacent to this part of Karnataka. Hailing from Gulbarga, he can
speak some rather chaste Urdu as well. This clearly makes seven
languages he is quite comfortable with.
I have also been amazed at the quality of common-place Hindi
spoken in the region. His wife had cooked a lovely common spread
of the region, replete with the jowAr bhAkhDI (a crispy
unleavened bread made from millet flour, popular in the states of
Maharashtra and Karnataka). She told me,
``main khAnA parostI hUn.''
This blew my senses away. I come from Delhi, in the heartland of
the Hindi-speaking belt of North India. What she said cannot be
exactly translated, since it invokes a certain emotion carried
with the words. Literally, it means, `let me serve the food', but
this simple choice of words (which are all but lost, now-a-days,
rarely is this verb used) which has embedded lovingly feeling of
laying out a spread for a honoured guest, woke up my sleepy mind.
Whether I was honourable, was itself questionable, though.

78.6 More at Gulbarga

The next day had a packed schedule, but not before a satisfying
Udupi-style breakfast at the hotel itself. The official work took
quite a while to get over. It was mid-day by then, and I was now
looking at my watch. Would I make it to Hyderabad on time?
The highlight of the lunch was a visit to a
khAnAvALI/khAnAvADI joint, a traditional
full-course traditional meal joint in Southern Maharashtra and
Northern Karnataka. My friend knew that I would love it.

There was still some official process left, and while we waited
for the same to complete, my friend decided to take me for a very
quick tour of the Gulbarga fort. I had my eyes on the watch, but
my friend wanted to make the best of my visit to the place.

The Jama Masjid is a fairly well-maintained structure.
The layout of the arches is very impressive!

Here is a view of the arches from another angle:


The Gulbarga fort itself is not in good shape. Here is a view of
the ramparts on the outer boundary of the fort structure.

Here is another, close to the main entrance to the complex.

The view here isn't exactly electrifying.
I soon bid him a warm farewell, as the driver stepped on the gas.
The driver had asked me if I would like to stop anywhere on the
way, for some refreshment. I gently told him no, my next source
of refreshment would be on the flight itself.

78.7 At the Shamshabad airport's international gates

My host had predicted that I would be at the airport at 07:15 pm.
I entered the extremely impressive Rajiv Gandhi International
Airport at Shamshabad, Hyderabad through Gate 2, which had a long
line of Air India counters, There were a number of people
checking in for the final destination Chicago, at the four
counters dedicate for this flight. A baggage handler asked me to
go to any other counter if I wished to, any counter could check
me in. Beside these were counters for the Dubai flight.

From one of the GMR group airports, I was travelling to another.
Hyderabad to Delhi. The architecture of both of these terminals
is attractive. The roof structure at the Hyderabad airport is striking.
Here is a view above the check-in area.


As I went past the International gates, I noticed a B77W standing
there, in the Air India Flying Swan livery. The regular reader would
remember my friend from not Middle Earth, but Central India,
Mr. J. R. R. Talking, from whose hawk-like gaze, no airport movement
could escape. It would be `Madhya Pradesh' for me again, he told me.
In my sleep-deprived state, I texted back that this perhaps would
be my first ride on this plane. He immediately chided me for my
remark, since he reminded me that I had taken this flight a month
before. Yes, it was 04 December, and I had walked into the IGI
Airport at DEL on 04 November, to catch exactly the same
flight
, albeit on the other leg, DEL-ORD. Here again, I was
to board AI 127, but on the HYD-DEL leg. I looked at `Madhya
Pradesh' in all her splendour.

I mentioned this to Mr. Talking. He texted me back immediately,
saying that the RGIA at HYD had some lovely white floodlights
air-side, enhanced the Air India livery tremendously.
What a sight it was, except for the lights inside the terminal
adding their reflections on the glass.

Close to this, was what is a GMR group characteristic.
The greenery at their airports.


Just beside this is the childrens' play area, and the escalator
down to the Air India executive lounge.


The boarding announcement came in rather quickly, at 08:05 pm itself.
Captain C. V. Madhu was in command, with Mr. M. Bisht in charge
of the cabin. In my sleepy state, I was a bit startled to see a
three-engined freighter in the darkness. W went past it too
quickly for my sleepy reflexes to try to click a snap.

78.8 Dinner on board AI 127!

The first announcement itself had the announcement about dinner
in it. I was also extremely happy that the crew had loaded the
packets into the ovens, and fired them up well before take-off,
according to the procedure outlined for this meal. By the time
the seat belt signs had gone off, the crew got into action almost
immediately, and soon, some great aromas enveloped the cabin.

Yes, it was distinctly the dreamy aroma of capsicum in a dry
preparation, possibly with potatoes. This aroma is rather
distinct, as opposed to capsicum in a curry. My digestive juices
fired up in eager anticipation of a great meal.
I was seated on my favourite Air India B77W seat 42K, and had
watched the proceedings at the galley in front of me, with avid
interest. The trolleys went up ahead, and I decided it would be
worth the wait. Just then, a trolley came up from behind me.
`Veg or Non-veg for you, Sir?' said a pleasant voice.
The reader would know my usual choice.
The tray sent me into raptures.


There was a distinctive brown bread bun, which had pleasantly
surprised me on the onward journey. Which was the catering agency?
I need not have opened the (plastic) cutlery zip-lock pack, from
which a Taj-branded sugar sachet popped out, though the absence
of the usual Taj-SATS card surprised me a bit.
I gently pressed the bun pack in anticipation.
Yes, it was what I had anticipated.
The butter was also rock hard and cold, just the way I love it.
For a change, I decided that I would explore the main course.
I wanted to take a picture of the meal, lest I forget to do so in
my quest for sudden urges of gluttony. I was also extremely eager
to know if my guess about at least one of the contents, was correct.

As I opened the Aluminium foil covering, I was pleased
beyond words to see exactly what I had expected. It was a dry
capsicum and potato preparation indeed, which went well with the
aromatic medium yellow rice bed in the centre. Yes, I had tasted
it a bit, before my attention turned towards the salad bowl.
No, the presentation was nothing to write about: straight sticks
of the reddish carrot, and cucumber, with its skin on. And yes,
there was a lemon slice. Of course, I would sprinkle a good bit
over the salad, add a little salt and pepper (more of the
latter), let the goodness seep through the salad, as I devoured
it, piece by piece. I would pour every drop of the remaining
juice over the rice bed. I did so, and squeezed out the last drop
from the lemon slice into the rice. I sprinkled a bit of
remaining pepper and salt here. The rice had been done to
perfection: the grains stood out, and had absorbed the required
moisture during the re-heat, and cooked to perfection. This was a
perfect accompaniment to the dry potato and capsicum preparation.
The orangish chicken curry gave me a pleasant surprise. It was a
sweet and sour preparation. The chicken pieces were soft and went
very well with the tomato-and-cream-based gravy. As I
was applying my finishing touches to the curry, the beverage
service started, with the coffee once again. The sight of a light
coffee did not enthuse me much, as did the characteristic light
aroma of the most Plebeian instant coffee available around.
It was at least hot, and I had it quickly.

I had been eyeing the dessert bowl for quite some time, but
remembered that I had to do justice to the brown bread bun.
The bread smelt heavenly fresh, and every morsel with the
rock-solid butter was worth savouring.
The gulAb jAmun was a piece of art.
There was very little sugar syrup with the dark brown ball of
sin, with tiny shred of pistachios visible, lending it its
characteristic flavour. The gulAb jAmun itself had a
distinct harder outer crust, which had been browned well, and the
pistachio-syrup had penetrated the depths of the ball-like sweet.
Now, the long wait after the lunch was well worth every minute of it!

Captain Madhu landed the big bird softly, on the new runway at Delhi.
Soon, I was in the impressive international arrivals section
after about a month, albeit on a domestic flight.
One of the highlights of the part just prior to the mudrAs
(hand gestures) gallery with Immigration, is the tiled wall, with
cascading water falling in dancing steps, and the low lighting
enhancing the classy feel to it!

---
Links to my 78 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/


Last edited by sumantra on Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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The_Goat
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Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2960
Location: South of France

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the TR, sir.

When I first saw Gulbarga in the title, I sincerely wished you weren't going there to be associated in any way with that notorious 'Poojya Dodappa Appa College of Engineering". That place has the reputation of producing more engineering degree holders with zilch knowledge of anything in the engineering line than any other institution in India. I know quite a few rich clowns who got their degrees from there by just bribing the profs.

Good to hear that you went there only to meet your friend.

The chicken incident is hilarious. I am surprised that the AI check in staff in DEL associate their customers to members of the animal kingdom on the basis of looks. I wonder which animal I will be tagged as the next time I travel with them. Wink

The meals on the AI flights look yummy. I think this is one area where AI scores better than most of its competitiors. Of course, there are always unpleasant exceptions like the Basheer Bonda incident (Sorry, basheer Wink )

The next time you go to that area, I would recommend that you try to visit Bidar. It is about three-four hours away from Gulbarga by road. It is home to a beautiful gurudwara bearing the name Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib. The gurudwara itself is quite small, but right next to it is a hole in the ground which has been giving out water ever since Guru Nanak placed his foot there. The water is very tasty and refreshing. They have built a marble structure around it, and there are plenty of hawkers on the road next to the gurudwara who sell plastic bottles to enable people to take the water home.
_________________
I don't know which is the more pampered bunch : AI's widebodies (the aunties) or Jet's widebodies (the planes).
-Jasepl
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir, thanks a lot for your kind comments, and the detailed read!
The_Goat wrote:
When I first saw Gulbarga in the title, I sincerely wished you weren't going there to be associated in any way with that notorious...
Sir, I find it quite ironic that I had actually gone to the PDACE itself, my friend, an IIT Kharagpur M.Tech and IIT Bombay PhD, is a full professor in the Dept of ECE there! I wasn't quite aware of PDACE's other side, since another of my acquaintances is a PDACE alumnus, and currently heads his Department at IIT Ropar. I guess there are always two sides to a coin!
The_Goat wrote:
The chicken incident is hilarious. I am surprised that the AI check in staff in DEL associate their customers to members of the animal kingdom on the basis of looks.
I guess I must thank my stars that they did not see me hogging on food! I guess I just overheard a private conversation. Of course, if you read the sort of things I say, and discuss with my colleagues, I sometimes thank God that they are private conversations, else I would find myself jobless, soon Very Happy
The_Goat wrote:
The meals on the AI flights look yummy. I think this is one area where AI scores better than most of its competitors. Of course, there are always unpleasant exceptions like the Basheer Bonda incident
Of course, Sir Smile Some flights are associated with some particular food items, such as the last AI MAA-DEL (the ex IC 802) sappAD(u) flight with the lightly spiced cheTTinAD(u) food, AI 127 (the one I took on the HYD-DEL leg) with the famed Hyderabadi biriyAnI (I do not know why that was missing on this particular flight!), and AI 658 on the (CCJ)-CJB-BOM leg with a lovely vegetarian Kerala-style biriyAnI. I guess the list goes on Very Happy
The_Goat wrote:
The next time you go to that area, I would recommend that you try to visit Bidar.
The bidrI-work is incredibly beautiful...I would love to visit Bidar, Bijapur and the whereabouts...
I find some parallels of my friend with you! Both of you are fantastic linguists, with a deep knowledge of many languages, and...an intrinsic knowledge of many places, and their attractions! I will be on the lookout to see Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib in case I am lucky enough to visit the place!
Talking of Gurudwaras in the neighbourhood, I have been lucky enough to visit the impressive Sachkhand Sahib in Nanded. Nanded is another small place I have visited quite a few times. Sir, I look forward to your opinion of the famed educational institute SGGSITS, situated there Razz
Thanks once again, Sir for the very prompt reply, and your in-depth knowledge on so many fronts!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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The_Goat
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Sir, thanks a lot for your kind comments, and the detailed read!
Sir, I find it quite ironic that I had actually gone to the PDACE itself, my friend, an IIT Kharagpur M.Tech and IIT Bombay PhD, is a full professor in the Dept of ECE there! I wasn't quite aware of PDACE's other side, since another of my acquaintances is a PDACE alumnus, and currently heads his Department at IIT Ropar. I guess there are always two sides to a coin!


Sir, my knowledge about that place dates back to the 1990s. I am sure a lot of things must have changed for the better. If they are recruiting IIT PhDs as faculty then the standards definitely have gone up considerably.

sumantra wrote:
Sir, I look forward to your opinion of the famed educational institute SGGSITS, situated there Razz

Cheers, Sumantra.


In the 1990s the college in Nanded, like the ones in Gulbarga, Osmanbad and others, used to be one of the favorite destinations for capitation fee paying students from Hyderabad. I don't know much else about the place. Maybe it too has improved considerably since then.

In those days a 10+2 from AP used to be at a huge disadvantage, as we were not allowed to apply in any professional college outside the state other than in the national institutes like the IITs and Roorkee (which wasn't an IIt back then). This was thanks to that dunce NTR, who had decreed that students from outside AP were not allowed to study in AP colleges. So the other states retaliated by closing doors to AP students. However, the capitiation fee colleges were exempted from this rule as most of them were run by people with political connections, and saw this as an excellent opportunity to make money.

Thankfully, all that is past, and there are no such restrictive rules nowadays.

One more thing. That Thai A330 looks like an A333 to me.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Sir, my knowledge about that place dates back to the 1990s. I am sure a lot of things must have changed for the better.
Sir, yes, a lot has changed at many places since the 1990s!
sumantra wrote:
Sir, I look forward to your opinion of the famed educational institute SGGSIET, situated there Razz

In the 1990s the college in Nanded, like the ones in Gulbarga, Osmanbad and others, used to be one of the favorite destinations for capitation fee paying students from Hyderabad. I don't know much else about the place. Maybe it too has improved considerably since then.[/quote]Sir, I admire your knowledge of history and geography as well! I did not have much idea about the AP trouble, thank you for the information. You perhaps confused SGGSIET with another private institute which started in Nanded at around the same time. SGGSIET is a Govt-funded institute, which has come a bit way from its muddy approach path in the 1980s (literally, as well as figuratively). the then Director sent its faculty out for PhDs (in bulk!) at premier institutes in the country, who came back to serve the institute. The publication record in the institute is very good.
The_Goat wrote:
One more thing. That Thai A330 looks like an A333 to me.
Ouch Sir, thank you for the correction. I have credited your name right there, in the original report draft. I should not be forgiven for making that error: it was definitely not a typo, it was an identification error on my part!
Thanks once again, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report and what a great title to kick it off. If I recollect a lot of 70’s movies had their songs beginning with flowers:

- Phoolon ka taro ka
- Phoolon ke rang se and many more.

The Chicken episode at the check in counter was hilarious and I am sure the check in agent would have turned red as a chicken herself.

The flower at Delhi airports are they real or fake? And what is the idea behind displaying those cars at the airport are they for advertisement purpose or is there a lucky draw like Dubai Airport?

The masked bandit alongside AI 777 reminds me of the National Geographic episodes where you have an elephant along with her baby’s strolling in the jungle. You have nicely managed to capture this to show the scale.

The food on Air India looks fabulous and seems like they have not disappointed you again.

As for the Thai A330-200 or whatever I can never get it right as well 

Sri_Bom
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Srinivas, thanks a lot for the detailed read, and the kind words!
[quote="sri_bom"]The flower at Delhi airports are they real or fake? And what is the idea behind displaying those cars at the airport are they for advertisement purpose or is there a lucky draw like Dubai Airport?[/both]They are all real plants, and the GMR group does an excellent job of seeing that all the installations are in great condition. The Hyderabad airport is also great in terms of the greenery, both inside, as well as on the outside.
The cars: some are for display and advertisement (rakes in the moolah!), and occasionally, some have been parts of lucky draws as well.
sri_bom wrote:
The masked bandit alongside AI 777 reminds me of the National Geographic episodes where you have an elephant along with her baby’s strolling in the jungle.
That is some comparison, Sir! The Wife agreed with your comparison (elephant and baby elephant) and likened it to Junior standing by my side. I also got a shouting for my being obsessed with food, which gives me my elephantine proportions Sad
Thanks once again, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:20 pm    Post subject: Re: khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13 Reply with quote

- Great TR Mr. Chicken
- I love Thais livery, one of my favourites esp the 346s (add me to the list who find it hard to tell the 332/333 apart)
- 'Junior Engineer' really looks like one next to the 77L
- Do you remember the names of everyone you fly with, or do you have an excel sheet (or something similar) which you check when you're in the cabin Smile ?
- Udupi style breakfast sounds like the perfect start.
- Meals look yum, not a coincidence you chose lunch and dinner flights ehhhh.
- Too bad you couldn't squeeze in some more sightseeing.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:36 pm    Post subject: Re: khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13 Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
- Great TR Mr. Chicken
Thank you, stealthpilot!
stealthpilot wrote:
- I love Thais livery, one of my favourites esp the 346s (add me to the list who find it hard to tell the 332/333 apart)
Now, you expect me to believe this, from one who knows every nut and bolt in the cockpit, if not on the plane? Smile
stealthpilot wrote:
- 'Junior Engineer' really looks like one next to the 77L
Smile
stealthpilot wrote:
- Do you remember the names of everyone you fly with, or do you have an excel sheet (or something similar) which you check when you're in the cabin Smile ?
No, I wish I were that well-organised. I just check out my trip reports, and do a quick search.
stealthpilot wrote:
- Udupi style breakfast sounds like the perfect start.
Breakfast, lunch dinner, whatever! Very Happy
stealthpilot wrote:
- Meals look yum, not a coincidence you chose lunch and dinner flights ehhhh.
Very Happy I usually look forward to this!
stealthpilot wrote:
- Too bad you couldn't squeeze in some more sightseeing.
Yes, unfortunately, most of my trips are official ones, with official time restrictions, and when I do get a bit of time, it is usually always click-click-click from behind the camera lens, with hardly any time to actually enjoy, or savour the surroundings. Most of my trips are made in a tearing hurry. I guess I should be thankful for these opportunities, as I think I have got far more chances to travel by air, than my lowly official position would otherwise allow. This year has been a low air travel year thus far Sad
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:

As for the Thai A330-200 or whatever I can never get it right as well 


stealthpilot wrote:
add me to the list who find it hard to tell the 332/333 apart)


It is quite easy. Just look at the number of windows between the two front doors. The A333 has almost double the number compared to the A332. It is that part of the A333 fuselage that Airbus pruned to create the A332.

A333






A332


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
It is quite easy. Just look at the number of windows between the two front doors. The A333 has almost double the number compared to the A332. It is that part of the A333 fuselage that Airbus pruned to create the A332.
Thank you, Sir: for putting it in a form which laypersons as Yours Truly can understand it better. Just like you like the shorter B772/B77E/B77L better than its longer brother, I like the A332 better than the A333 Smile By the way, I am sure stealthpilot was just joking: he can tell us the intricate details of the A332 and A333 front offices!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
I am sure stealthpilot was just joking: he can tell us the intricate details of the A332 and A333 front offices!

Hehehehe yup I could tell the difference between the cockpits ..... but no I really am terrible at telling them (from the outside) apart Embarassed

The_Goat - I tend to look at the length and the front section however counting the windows does seem the best way tho.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Srinivas, thanks a lot for the detailed read, and the kind words!
The masked bandit alongside AI 777 reminds me of the National Geographic episodes where you have an elephant along with her baby’s strolling in the jungle.
That is some comparison, Sir! The Wife agreed with your comparison (elephant and baby elephant) and likened it to Junior standing by my side. I also got a shouting for my being obsessed with food, which gives me my elephantine proportions Sad
Thanks once again, Sumantra.[/quote]

Your wife has great sense of humor. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
sri_bom wrote:

As for the Thai A330-200 or whatever I can never get it right as well 


stealthpilot wrote:
add me to the list who find it hard to tell the 332/333 apart)


It is quite easy. Just look at the number of windows between the two front doors. The A333 has almost double the number compared to the A332. It is that part of the A333 fuselage that Airbus pruned to create the A332.

A333

Thanks Goat you made it so lucid to understand




A332

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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
Your wife has great sense of humor. Very Happy
Sir, it does not sound nice when her mood is not too nice!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a lot of reading is pending including a lot on this forum.

The gulbarga TR was fun to read. I am sure your friend promised more and good food and that led to opt for
food over widebody (of AI) !

Interesting incident there about Chicken !
Nice picture of the CRJ with the T7 in background ! Damn.. how small that CRJ looks !

Lunch looks nice !

Interesting to se VT-SUP - same type of birds which got the airline into a s(o)up as per many analysts

Gulbarga - Bijapur - Sholapur - Bidar is a nice belt with multiple such ruins never protected and never advertised sadly

On the return leg the water bottle looks additional to the onward leg. Or did they give you bottle separately ?

Thanks !
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
I am sure your friend promised more and good food and that led to opt for food over widebody (of AI)!
Ha ha Sir!
ameya wrote:
Interesting to se VT-SUP - same type of birds which got the airline into a s(o)up as per many analysts
Very Happy
ameya wrote:
Gulbarga - Bijapur - Sholapur - Bidar is a nice belt with multiple such ruins never protected and never advertised sadly
Sir, please update us on more such structures: given your love for travelling, I am sure you would have visited many of them! On the other hand, your earlier hometown (er...somewhat) Delhi has a wealth of ruins: the seven cities of Delhi. There are an incredible number of small structures all around, each with its own story to tell. One has to mention the good work of the Archaelogical Survey of India in documenting these, putting up boards, revamping and repairing many of these structures and converting some of the larger ones into tourist attractions - all when I remember many of them as bat-dens with an unbearable stench in the wilderness, often home to drug addicts.
ameya wrote:
On the return leg the water bottle looks additional to the onward leg. Or did they give you bottle separately?
AI gives out a water bottle with a meal as a standard, however, there does not seem to be any constancy in the standards of the water bottles served, I guess Smile
Sir, thanks one again for the detailed read, and the kind words!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, the final Sumantra sir TR in my reading backlog!

To be honest, I might be hallucinating a bit since I've read a lot of DEL-HYD TRs from you hahaha Razz

Too bad you couldn't get 2 B77Ws on this trip, but oh well it looks like the food was fantastic! I can't wait for AI20 now!

The fort is in ruins and its unfortunate that nothing could be done about it!

The comparison of the CRJ with the B77L: holy Hell! That is crazy!

With regard to the A330 confusion argument, I look at various factors: first of all, the airline. What airlines have only A333s?
Then, I look at the engines: PW? RR? GE? I roughly have an idea of airlines that have different engines for the A333 and the A332.
Then, I look at livery differences (if applicable): UL A333s have a blue belly, A332s have nothing.
Furthermore, I take a look at the third emergency exit: more often than not, the third emergency exit on the A332 will be smaller than the usual doors that are used for boarding and all, while the A333 have regular doors all the way through (see the Goat's images)
As a lost resort, I have somehow 'trained' my mind to think the A332 is quite short for a wide body, and so when I see a long A332 - I know its an A333 Razz
But that's just me, I never thought of The_Goat's theory of more windows in between the first and second doors! Very Happy

Thanks for a lovely TR!

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
in my reading backlog!
Thank you Sir once again, for the detailed reads! You sure have a good reading speed, to still make out good details. Much like your camera's shutter speed and pan, even when taking pictures of hight-speed events.
jbalonso777 wrote:
To be honest, I might be hallucinating a bit since I've read a lot of DEL-HYD TRs from you
rue, they came bunched up. However, I am not complaining! Smile
jbalonso777 wrote:
With regard to the A330 confusion argument...
That is a good read, thank you, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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