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Out of the Blue: You are my sunshine...Jodhpur, Dec'13

 
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sumantra
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Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:26 pm    Post subject: Out of the Blue: You are my sunshine...Jodhpur, Dec'13 Reply with quote

Out of the Blue: You are my sunshine...Jodhpur, Dec'13


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14315.html

79.1 Introduction: A weird title, once more

Jodhpur is also known as the `Blue city', though this sobriquet
is not as well-known as Jaipur being known as the `Pink city',
owing to the red- and pink-sandstone buildings dotting the city.
As an aside, some other cities in the state of Rajasthan also
have some `colourful' names, such as Udaipur (the `White city',
in addition to it being called the `City of Lakes', a title it
shares with Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh).
Jaisalmer is sometimes referred to as the `Golden city', with its
stone structures wearing a golden hue especially in the mornings
and the evenings.

The `blue city' can well be seen from the ramparts of the
Mehrangarh fort, where many houses have been painted a light
blue. The sea of such blue buildings gives the city a unique hue,
which is also complemented by something that my host for the
conference, Mr. Green had told me once.

``You are my sunshine''? No, there is absolutely no
relation of this part of the title to the famous song.
Jodhpur is the city that receives the highest average sunshine
(the unit of which is a `hel': though Jodhpur residents sometime
suffix an extra `l' at the end of this unit, especially in the
summer months), throughout the year.
The regular reader would be familiar with my friend Mr. Green,
with whom I shared many a memorable moment during our
Japan trip, parts of which I have documented in the following trip reports,
44. F.East'12-4: Arigato, Nippon
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13135.html
45. F.East'12-5: Sayonara!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13204.html

79.2 A Tradition of Hospitality. A bit of History.

``padhAro mhAre des,'' thus goes the common refrain of the
land, Rajasthan. Literally, welcome to my country, or my abode -
this part of many songs set in the traditional folk
tunes of the state of Rajasthan (mostly based on a Raga, referred
to as `mand' or `mishra-mand' (or sometimes, even `mA(n)D'),
embodies the basic Indian philosophy of atithi-devo bhava
meaning, consider thy guest as God. Right from the cold and arid
regions of Jammu and Kashmir to the southern tip of Kanyakumari
(`Cape Comorin'), and from the western stretches of Gujarat to
the eastern fringes of Arunachal Pradesh, this is a sentiment
that has echoed through the sands of time, across generations, in
India's golden past. In the hot and arid regions of Rajasthan,
the affection with which a total stranger is offered a drink of water,
has to be seen to be believed.

I had been to Jodhpur once, in December 2003, with my parents and
brother, and enjoyed the city immensely. We had really been
impressed with the cleanliness of the city, the superb
maintenance of the points of tourist interest, the planned
itineraries, a nice Guest House (Hotel Ghoomar), friendly and
helpful people all around, and above all, the easy availability
of clean drinking water, and tourist-friendly food that was not
too oily, or too spicy. I will start with the last point, first.
We are a family with just the diametric opposite of cast-iron
stomachs. At the drop of a hat (or less), our stomachs revolt,
often in unison, but this was perhaps the first family trip then,
which saw no one partake of more medicines than food. In fact, the
medicine box did not see any use at all, by any of the quartet.
The food started right from the clean railway station, where we
had landed up on Mandore Express, an overnight train from the Old
Delhi Railway Station (officially, the `Delhi Main' station,
which was colloquially termed `Old Delhi' after the `New Delhi'
station came up). The easy availability of continental food, and
bland food - boiled vegetables, for instance, began right from
the railway station's canteen. located on the first floor.
Jodhpur is well-known for hot and spicy food, primary among which
is the hot snack, where a large green chilly is gutted clean, and
stuffed with a mixture of spices, dipped in batter, and
deep-fried to create magic. We did not venture this way,
but much to our delight, found non-spicy food all around. The
three-wheeler auto-rickshaws did not over-charge people, the
shops had soft-spoken and well-mannered tourist-friendly people.
Overall, almost everything was affordable, whether it was good
food, or some representative textiles of the region. The
Rajasthan State Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) runs Hotel
Ghoomar, which was neat and clean, and above all, quite
affordable. It was a grand tribute to the Rajasthan Tourism
set-up. This was the pre-Internet age, when the bookings were made
at Bikaner House in Delhi, a former palatial mansion of the
rulers of Bikaner, close to Raisina Hills, the Viceregal lodge
that later became the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence
of the President of India.

There was a nice conducted tour of four of the city's primary
attractions, the Umaid Bhavan city palace (part of which is a
hotel, and a part still in use by the erstwhile royal family),
the incredibly impressive Mehrangarh fort (which has been
lovingly restored to nearly its former glory, a lift ride to the
top, a well-planned circuit of the entire palace, and above all,
extremely clean toilets), the Jaswant Thada, a large white marble
temple and a site of cenotaphs of the former rulers of the place,
and the ancient city of Mandor with its temples and palaces,
close to the main city of Jodhpur. Over the years, our extended
family has been to many places in the state of Rajasthan: Jaipur,
Alwar, Bharatpur, Bikaner and Udaipur (a few of these more than
once), and noted the RTDC as a well-oiled and well-organised
unit, quite a departure of what one associates with a a
Government-run tourist organisation. It is also a tribute to the
hospitality of the people of the region.

79.3 Hospitalisation before Hospitality

This is a slightly unrelated issue, but I will briefly touch upon this,
since there was a brief period before this Jodhpur trip,
when I did not travel much. The bad pun above actually owes
itself to an observation when I had visited the new IIT Guwahati campus
in September, 2003. A room in the IIT Guwahati Guest house
(where I had been put up) had doubled up as the Dispensary. What
slipped out of my mouth, before my startled guests, was the following,
``How does IIT Guwahati dispense with its guests?''
While a decent person would have stopped at this, I was in a naughty mood.
I went on,
``This gives the connection `hospitality' and `hospital' a new
connotation...is the Guest house food that bad?''
I had stunned my gracious hosts into near-complete silence.

People of Jodhpur are famous for their hospitality (as I have
written above), but before that, I must point out that I had to
curtail some of my regular travelling owing to my Mummy's
hospitalisation, and surgery. By the Grace of the Almighty, it
all went off well. When Mummy is in a good mood, she does not
mind medical procedures too much. This was quite a serious pair
of surgeries, and there was a series of tests, where the
serious-faced person taking blood was a bit taken aback, when Mummy said,
``Do you have a blood bank here?''
The person looked utterly confused, before Mummy continued,
``I guess I'll need a transfusion now. You've taken everything out.''
Or as we were waiting for another test to start,
she motioned me to take a look at the person who had just gone in.
He had a huge moustache, and an unruly mop of hair.
``Look. He seems to have popped out from under Goddess Durga's lion.''
As we went past the ICU with its (obviously) shut doors,
she launched the following,
``A misnomer, for sure. How can it be `I See You'?''

During her period of hospitalisation, she fired quite a few similar missiles.
As I was drifting in and out of sleep,
she told the Doctor that I needed the bed more than she did.
On being asked by the nurse as to who would be the attendant at a
particular time, she replied that it would my father.
``He will relieve my husband at that time,'' she said.
``Though looking at his state right now,'' she added,
``I think he needs to relieve himself more than anything else.''
Papa had come in by then, and it was his turn to be in the line of fire.
``The nurse called me `Aunty''', she said, and then added with a
pause, for effect,``she must have seen you.'' (Papa has grey hair)
The Wife's father is also well-known for his puns.
On the way back from a particular dentist's office who charged a
rather hefty fee, he had commented,
``whatever the actual specialisation, he is an `artha-dontist'''
`artha' in the Sanskrit language also means `money'!
He also raised a bit of a surprise at a well-known heart care
hospital in Delhi, where he walked into the hospital, for an
operation. He overheard the attendants there talking among
themselves, `No, he cannot be the patient - he just walked in!'
He had his son's Nursery teacher a bit stumped, once.
The teacher had complained to him in the first ever
parent-teacher meeting, that he did not understand any English,
nor did he understand any Hindi.
``This is precisely what we have sent him here for,'' he had
replied, with a completely straight face.

My only travel during this period was a short trip to Gwalior,
where I took the MP Sampark Kranti from Nizamuddin to Gwalior,
and returned on the Bhopal Shatabdi, the next day.
30 Nov and 01 Dec, Saturday and Sunday. I had typed out this
portion of the report, with all incidents seemingly fitting in
with this theme, but out of the blue came a trip to Gulbarga,
which I described in the previous trip report,
khilte hain gul yahAn: Gulbarga, Dec'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14268.html

79.4 Planning for the Hospitable Blue City!

Initially, I was planning a family visit to the place. We were
looking forward to a train trip to the city, with a choice of the
following sets of daily trains:
1. 12461 Mandore Express DLI-JU, 09:15 pm - 07:45 am, the next day
2. 14659 DLI-JU, 05:30 pm - 05:05 am, the next day
3a. 12463 DEE-JU, 10:25 pm - 08:25 am, the next day [Wed, Fri, Sun]
3a. 12482 DEE-JU, 10:25 pm - 09:10 am, the next day [Mon, Tue]
and for the return:
1. 12462 Mandore Express JU-DLI, 08:00 pm - 06:45 am, the next day
2. 14660 JU-DLI, 11:00 pm - 11:10 am, the next day
3. 12464 JU-DEE, 07:00 pm - 05:35 am, the next day

As the days went on, we realised that this would eat into
Junior's school schedule a bit. This was followed by some
relatives dropping in, keeping us `relatively' busy.
In the end, I was to do this trip, all alone.
And what would be my itinerary?
As usual, I went in for the Air India option.
North India was in the grip of a period of dense fog.
Air India was possibly the best bet, in such a situation.
The pictures from the airport will show the reader, why.

The guests around also kept us busy.
This period also had its interesting moments.
We had gone shopping. The Wife went berserk at a particular store.
I mention this, since this is something many husbands will attest to.
And Wives will hotly deny.
``Is there anything that The Wife has not checked out in your
store, over the past 15 minutes,'' I asked him.
Taken aback for a second, he gave me a smile.
``Don't worry Sir, there are indeed a few such items, and there
is always a next time for that. I can see that you have your
hands full,'' he said, noticing the two heavy bags in my hands.
The Wife joined me in laughing out, loudly.

79.5 Flying out of Delhi...

The itinerary for this leg of the journey was as follows:

Set out 18 Dec (Wed) for Jodhpur from New Delhi
AI 475: Air India (A319) [Seat: 05F; PNR: JYL2S]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Jodhpur Airport
New Delhi (DEL) - Jodhpur (JDH)
[11:00 am - 12:10 pm]

It was an extremely foggy day at Delhi, and some flights had been delayed.
I noticed a Ethiopian B763 going towards the runway, after
pushing back. This is from the part where the domestic and
international fingers look at each other, at Delhi's IGI Airport T3.



At the food court escalator itself, I spotted our ride for the
day. It would be an old friend, CO the `company' plane, VT-SCO.
We were assigned Gate 28B for boarding. The `holy' plane CR
(`seer') VT-SCR was to our right. We boarded well in time. We
were ready to push-back well in time, and at 10:59 am, the Captain
came in on the Intercom, and informed us that owing the traffic
congestion and a large number of flight backlogs, we were number
12 in sequence, and would push back as soon as the flight got
deck got the green signal from the ATC. Captain P. P. S. Sidhu
was in command, and the senior Ms. Shaw was in charge of the
cabin. The captain had announced a flying time of 50 minutes.

As we turned into the runway, a really foggy sight awaited us.



I was glad I was flying Air India, which has about the largest
fleet of CAT-IIIB compatible planes and crew in the country, to ensure
smooth operations even in situations of fairly dense fog.

I was pleased that all the 12 audio channels were on, and the 5
video channels were showing, on the Thales i3000 IFE system.
To my slight disappointment, the old film songs audio channel was
not playing old songs of the era I like.
The Wife jokes that the only era I prefer is usually the silent era.
We had taken off into the fog on the new runway 29
behind an Ethiopian B763. As we took off, I noticed only one CR7
`masked bandit' parked on the remote stands, where as there were
two parked there, when I had come in. I wondered, why.

This Jodhpur trip was circa December, 2013.
There was no mention of any refreshments in the first
announcement. It was not that I expected any. Friends who have
taken trips on this sector before, have said that it was only a
packet of groundnuts/peanuts, or a packaged fruit drink. I was
obviously pleased beyond words, to see a cart pull up, and well,
there were water bottles on the top. That was fine, but what
pleased me a bit more was the little trays coming out.
So, it would be a hot beverage with two biscuits, I thought.
I was in for a pleasant surprise.
There was a fruit cake slice on the tray.
The catering was by Gate Gourmet...what would this be like?
I held my breath till I opened the packet.
It was a very fresh slice of cake!
It was very soft, moist, and before I realised it, I had already
consumed half of it. The regular reader would understand my state
of mind (mind er...well, you know what) at this moment, and
forgive me for the lack of a picture of the same.
Among the hot beverages, the coffee came in first.
Much to my pleasant surprise, the coffee was hot, strong, and
though an instant coffee, was quite tasty!
I was pleased beyond words, and fired my laptop up, and sat down
to type in details of this part of the trip report.

79.6 ...into Jodhpur!

We flew over the city of Jaipur, which was visible on my side of
the plane (the starboard, or right side).
I also noticed some salt works in the distance, before we turned
right to come closer to Ajmer, and onward to our destination.

Here are two images from the window, for this part of the trip.





As we came in to land, being on the starboard side of the plane,
it was a tourist's delight. The Umaid Bhavan palace was visible
in the distance, and further away, was the incredibly impressive
Mehrangarh fort. Just as Captain Bedi touched the wheels down, a
C-17 came into view right beside the runway. The sights that
followed were a treat to the senses, for the military aviation
enthusiast. There were a few Mi-8 helicopters around, with a HAL
Dhruva ALH parked near the C-17, and an Alouette Cheetah too, nearby.
There was a large number of the Mig-29 Fulcrum (`Baaz') interceptors,
with another large number of Mig-21 Bis Fishbed (`Shamsher') interceptors
also parked, near-by.
The bombers were represented by Mig-27 Floggers. As we walked
from the aircraft to the old but impressive civil aviation
terminal building, an Mi-8 came in to land close to the C-17.
The bags came out fairly quickly, and we were outside in no time at all.
We had reached there on time, and my work would start shortly.
The regular reader would be familiar with my host here.
Yes, it was Mr. Green, who is based in this city.
He was the co-organiser of the conference I had come to attend, at Jodhpur.
I was just an attendee, but Mr. Green had sent out some
volunteers to the airport specifically to receive me, and to take
me from there, along with some dignitaries, who had arrived on the
same flight. Mr. Green was up to his neck with work, but had
micro-managed the schedule for me, just so that I would not even
face a moment's discomfort.

It is not everyday and everywhere, that one can walk to and from
an airport. The regular reader would remember a similar
experience for me, on my San Diego trip, that November itself
(Nov'13), where I had walked from the airport to the hotel, and
vice versa. That memorable trip had resulted in a 5-part trip report,
73. US,Nov'13-1: Tailwinds to the Windy City!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14179.html
74. US,Nov'13-2: Winds/Sands of Time..Windy City-Sandy Ego!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14198.html
75. US,Nov'13-3: Midway, from Midway, to USS Midway
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14215.html
76. US,Nov'13-4: San Diego-Midway, Chicago
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14233.html
77. US,Nov'13-5: Haring back, Return from O'Hare
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14255.html

The weather as quite nice in Jodhpur at that time, and I had
wanted to do the trek on foot. I had checked out maps of the
area, and had already drawn up plans for the same: it was nearly
a straight route from the airport to the hotel, with the
conference venue somewhere in between. Jodhpur is a fairly neat
and clean city as well. However, Mr. Green would not have any of that!

79.7 Notes from the Conference

In one of the conference sessions, I made myself comfortable near
the stage. The reader may be surprised at my inappropriate sudden
interest in work. So were perhaps the photographers, whom I asked
if they had clicked my picture. I appeared shocked at their
positive response, clearly admitting that I was doing something
else on my laptop (for which I needed the power source, hence I
had located myself strategically close to the stage). I told them
that if Mr. Green were to see these pictures, he would shoot
me...not with a camera, but with something more dangerous.

My stay was at the impressive Hotel Shriram Excellency, on
Residency road. As the regular reader would expect, a lot of my
hotel ratings would be based on not just the room, the food also
plays a singularly important role in my evaluation. The hotel
proudly advertises itself as a `vegetarian' hotel. In fact,
vegetarianism is quite prominent in this region of Rajasthan.
A person well-versed with this region would know that the Bishnoi
community traces its roots to this region. Legend has it that
once a king of the region had ordered clearing a forest. Close to
some 450 people of the community, of all ages, had sacrificed their
lives, by embracing the trees of the jungle, as the king's men
cut down the jungle. This heart-wrenching story has inspired many
people to convert themselves to staunch vegetarians. A community
of the Jains is even more strict, where they partake of vegetarian
food only after the plant has withered away.

Coming back to the hotel: Mr. Green had insisted that I stay
right there. We share a penchant for walking long distances, and
while he did not allow me to do the airport stretch on foot, he
had me stay at an excellent hotel, which was at a walking
distance from the conference venue. Yes, the food was also excellent!

The first day's buffet breakfast had a milk shake, fruits (papaya
and water mellon), milk and cereal, upmA,
utthapa(m) with sAmbhar and coconut chutney,
sauteed vegetables, parAnThA, sAbu dAnA khIr, curd,
and some other items, which did not interest me that much.
Feeling quite full, I readied myself (mentally and physically)
for the longish morning walk to the conference venue.

For me, a conference usually implies conferring with friends, and
like-minded people. Thanks to Mr. Green's foresight, the conference
organisers were handing out hoodies to participants. `Hoodies'?
I heard this as `goodies', and as I wondered what the goodies
were about. Just then, a friend came in from Mumbai, wearing just
a half-shirt (on the upper part of his body, that is).
Yes, just a half-shirt, on 19 December 2013, in Jodhpur.
Yours Truly, as Mr. Hood(ie),
and his band of merry-men went into an over-drive.
``Hey...please allow him to break the line.
He needs this more than any one else.''
Mr. Green is a staunch vegetarian, and a strict tee-totaller.
That led to his popularity level going down considerably, among
his many friends. Many of us asked if the conference banquet
would indeed be a...banquet, or would it be a dinner.
``A lavish dinner,'' he answered with his usual enthusiasm,
albeit quite diplomatically. Many of my other friends who had
come in, including those that the regular reader would be familiar with.
Dr. Don suggested a BYOB: `Bring Your Own Bottle'.
There was a sponsors' session, which had talks by the major
sponsors of the conference. The session was supposed to have two talks.
After the first one, Mr. Green announced that the rest of
they would go ahead with the rest of the scheduled programme,
since the team from the other sponsor had not come in.
I whispered loudly from behind him,
``I hope their sponsorship has come in.''
Some of my other friends were a bit shocked, since I had let out
a little snore from inside the conference session just a while back.

79.8 The Con-Fun-ence Con-tinues!

Dr. Don was his usual witty self during the conference.
His wife had stayed back at Gwalior with his daughters, and he had
dared not argue with her, on family matters. Why, we asked.
``Arguing with your wife, is like having a mud-fight with a hippopotamus.
After a while, you find that you are covered in mud,
and the hippo is actually enjoying it.''
However, the one quip which brought the greatest laughter, was an
un-intentional faux pas from our friend.
There is no direct air or road connection from Gwalior to Jodhpur.
He had decided to take the train route.
``I have taken the via-Agra route,'' he announced to our group of
friends, who broke out into peals of laughter. He repeated the
statement to himself, and reddened at what we had just heard from him.

The lunch was interesting. Rajasthani cuisine is usually high on
ghee, or clarified butter. Yes, the venue was Hotel
Shriram International - at another end of the same Residency
road, where my hotel Shriram Excellency was, albeit a 45 minute
fast walk apart. They too announced themselves as a pure vegetarian
hotel. There was pAlak paneer koftA (cottage cheese slices
dipped in batter, and deep-fried, and then cooked in a spinach
puree. All with a generous amount of clarified butter, of course.
There were potato-based preparations, jeerA (cumin) rice,
pIlI dAl (pigeon peas), and four types of salads,
including a traditional `Indian green salad', and one which I
gorged on, one which had a generous amount of sweet corn/maize.
There was a nice khIr/pAyesh/pAyasam to go with gulAb jAmun,
which had balls of a sinful batter immersed in an
equally sinful sugar syrup, but not before the balls had been
deep-fried...in ghee, of course.

The venue had an interesting toadstool-shaped fountain, which I
was to take a picture of, later in the day.



The next day's complementary breakfast at the hotel was quite
similar. The milk shake was sinfully chocolate (which I did not
mind one bit). The South Indian snack had iDlIs, another
of my hot favourites. The dessert had a sevaI-khIr,
vermicelli-like thinner strands cooked in desiccated milk.
I was quite full by then, and like the previous day, did not
patronise the dessert one bit.
The next day's lunch was relatively similar, with a kaDhI, which is a
curd/yogurt-and-besan(Bengal gram/chick-pea flour-based gravy,
with fried gram flour balls (gaTTA) in it, and the
continental salad had a macaroni-based offering. The dessert had
a rAj-bhog, a cottage cheese-based preparation similar to
a rasgullA, but with a crystallised palm-extract-based
centre, and the ball relatively larger in size. The other item was a fruit
custard. Needless to say, I took a multiple helpings of both.

The conference venue was close to the Jodhpur airport (and air
base), and the movements in the sky found favour with me. I was
able to spot quite a few Mig-27 sorties, and some Mi-8s flying in
formation. Mr. Green came up to me, asking is I had seen a common
acquaintance. Was he at the conference venue, or had he gone back
to his hometown? I interpreted the question as follows,
``Has he taken flight, or has he taken a flight?''
Mr. Green was understandably busy, but did not want to disappoint
his friend, either. He gave a polite laugh, and went off in pursuit.
Or should we say, better pursuits?

The dinner was impressive. In addition to a live roTI
(unleavened bread) counter serving at least three varieties of
the same (by default, smeared with...butter), there was a live
noodles counter as well. In the main course, a spinach-and-sweet
corn preparation took the cake, along with sauteed vegetables. The
dessert counter was heavily patronised by delegates. There was a
mUng dAl halwA (a sinful preparation of a popular type of
pulses ground into powder, and cooked with dry fruits and
ghee of course, into a sinful hot mush. mAl puA
came next, which had a refined flour-based thin cake fried, and then
dipped in sugar syrup. The third item was what is often jokingly referred
to as the original traditional North Indian delicacy, ice cream.
Needless to say, I had my plate full,
in spite of having my belly quite full. I tried my level best,
but was unable to quite convince otherwise-like-minded friends,
into joining me for a second helping. I was quite determined,
however. I marched to the counter once again, before a voice
started ringing out in the head, `stay away, stay away.'
I wished hard, that I would listen more to the voice in the heart
(closer to the actual destination for...sugar and spice,
and all things nice), rather than on in the head.
I came back, much to the complete shock of my friends.

An ex-Indian Air Force servicemen was there as well, who asked me
if I was worried about my wife or kids finding out how many
sinful helpings I had had. I shot back as to how many years it
had been since he had been married, and how many children he had.
He said, ``married at 25, had my daughter at 27, and son at 29.''
I sensed an opportunity to pull his leg.
``You were in the IAF then - that explains it completely.''
``Why?'' he asked, a bit taken aback.
``Simple,'' I said, ``the IAF had the Mig-25, the Mig-27 and the Mig-29.
The first one has been retired from the force, so have you.''

The last day of the conference saw me wake up rather late, and
rush for breakfast. The highlight of the breakfast was a strange
masAlA utthapa(m), which had potatoes and peas on the top,
which surprised me a bit. There was the closest Punjabi relative
to the dosA(i) - the aDhai dosA(i), specifically.
The similarity actually stops there, since the chillA is
not made from any fermented flour.
This chillA had some cottage cheese/panIr on top,
but was a bit salty for my liking. I had it with the other usual items.
I checked out, and set out with my baggage, for the conference venue.
This was a 45-minute walk in pleasant weather.

79.9 The Return, back to Delhi

I bid adieu to Mr. Green with a heavy heart.
I had ended up with an equally heavy belly, since Mr. Green
simply would not allow me to set out from there, without having lunch.

Set out 21 Dec (Sat) for New Delhi from Jodhpur
AI 476: Air India (A319) [Seat: 06F; PNR: JYL2S]
Jodhpur Airport - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Jodhpur (JDH) - New Delhi (DEL)
[02:10 pm - 03:10 pm]

It was old friend CO, the `company plane' again, VT-SCO. Our
plane had come in from Mumbai, and was delayed a bit. The fog in
Delhi has a domino effect on most flights which come to the city.
If we were worried about our delay, I wonder what the passengers
on the corresponding flight to Mumbai, would feel. The plane had
not been able to come into Delhi, having its schedule completely
gone topsy-turvy, due to the dense fog in the morning. At the
time of my journey, Air India had near-symmetric flights to
Jodhpur from Delhi and Mumbai, and these flights connected
India's two most important cities via Jodhpur.

Captain Ravindra Kumar was in command, and Ms. Arora, the cabin
in-charge. By the time we had lined up at the 05-end of the
runway 05-23, I had seen two Jaguars parked beside a hangar. As
we took off, I saw the rest of the exciting fare on offer that
day, the Mig-27s, Mig-29s, Mig-27s, and Mi-8s.

After we got to cruising altitude, there was the now-familiar
ding, and the announcement of a snack. What would it be this time?
The `snack' had a bottle of water, a mango drink, and a packet of
salted groundnuts/peanuts. I was very happy. After the drastic
cost-cutting, this was perhaps the best a passenger could get on
a short flight circa Dec 2013.



As we came in to land at Delhi, I noticed the heavy cloud cover,
and under it, thick fog. We landed on runway 11, and the cabin
crew announced a temperature of 15 degrees Celcius outside.
I got into a pre-paid taxi, and it was home, sweet home for me,
after quite a few days!
---
Links to my 79 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/


Last edited by sumantra on Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ameya
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a second I thought you are putting up some TR from Dec'14 . . and was wondering what happened to entire 2014
when I noticed it is actually Dec 13.
Which means th backlog is now 1 year 4 months
Sad

But Thanks for the TR Smile
JDH - a place which I have been wanting to visit, had best chance this winter but the air fares just killed it


Indian languages can be funny

When you wrote mand - in marathi it means slow / dumb

Overall interesting TR Sir. the food in rajasthan, the IAF spotting and the return leg.

What were the loads like - specially foreign tourists, considering this was peak season for tourism ?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
Which means th backlog is now 1 year 4 months
I'm trying, Sir!
ameya wrote:
When you wrote mand - in marathi it means slow/dumb
Sir, mand(a)-buddhi Sumantra is aware of this Smile In another language, it also means `bad' and `soft', among others. In this case, it is the name of the Raga.
ameya wrote:
What were the loads like - specially foreign tourists, considering this was peak season for tourism?
Both flights were quite full, Sir. Yes, foreign tourists, plus Indians...lots of Bongs on both the trips (many on their LTC) , possibly travelling to/from Jaisalmer, the site of Satyajit Ray's movie, Sonar Kella (Literally, `The Golden Fort', the site of a detective adventure of Ray's Feluda).
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sumantra - sounds like you had a delicious time in Jodhpur - just how it should be!
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
Hey Sumantra - sounds like you had a delicious time in Jodhpur - just how it should be!
Thank you, Nimish Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra, a nice trip report with good runway pictures. Is this also called pink city? Jodhpore airport is an important air force base. Please take a look here and the picture says everything.http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=26.248429&lon=73.049383&z=15&m=b Very Happy
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue, Pink, Red Rajasthan is a city of contrasting colors. I have never visited Rajasthan, but after reading so many TRís from you I definitely want to see this beautiful place.

The Ethiopian airlines was a good catch, and I am impressed that they have such great network within Africa and rest of the world. Bear in mind this was a country ravaged with hunger, disease and famine a few decades ago.

Great to know that Air India is able to keep up their network during the winter season when many of the private carriers struggle on this front. The small snacks on both legs is quite a good effort in spite of all the cost cutting on Air India. As for the instant coffee do they give it in a sachet with creamer or is it pre-mixed?

Coming home at 15 degrees is such nice weather which I rarely experience.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for reading, Sir!
sabya99 wrote:
Is this also called pink city?
Sir, Jaipur is the Pink City, since many structures are constructed from the reddish-pink sandstone.
sabya99 wrote:
Jodhpur airport is an important air force base.
Yes, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
Blue, Pink, Red Rajasthan is a city of contrasting colors. I have never visited Rajasthan, but after reading so many TRís from you I definitely want to see this beautiful place.
Thank you, Srinivas: this is something I can say, from experience. The Rajasthan Govt-owned Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) is perhaps the best of its kind in the country. They have a very good network, and very good facilities. The state advertises itself very well. One's heart goes out for Kerala, on the other hand: such a beautiful state, and yet, the Govt infrastructure is almost non-existent.
sri_bom wrote:
... I am impressed that they have such great network within Africa and rest of the world. Bear in mind this was a country ravaged with hunger, disease and famine a few decades ago.
Indeed: they are an efficient people, and the airline is good as well. ET and KQ happen to be two of the best-run airlines from Africa.
[quote="sri_bom"]The *A. The snack on a few short sectors I have experienced, is better Very Happy
sri_bom wrote:
The coffee
Srinivas, it is not a pre-mix. Some pre-mixes served on airlines are actually quite good. The ones which serve the Cafe Coffee Day premixes usually get my admiration for the coffee. And Air India Regional (Alliance Air) (9I, ex-CD) has these CCD pre-mixes as a part of the buy-on-board. Oh, when will they also introduce pre-booking it on the website? Indigo's pre-mix is also not bad.
So what do they do on Air India? There are many who prefer their coffee, black. To cater to the tastes of all, Air India serves a black coffee, with some milk powder/creamer/liquid milk(yes, on a few International sectors), with a sugar sachet. My major crib is that the coffee is Nescafe Classic, almost every time. And to think that the traditional South Indian Filter Coffee kApI is the one highest on my preference list, with the Coorg/Kodagu coffee beans, mixed with a subtle amount of chickory, giving it that distinctive flavour. I do not mind some of the chickory-less blends available in Madurai, or the one produced in the Wayanad district of Kerala, a state otherwise famous for its obsession with tea.
sri_bom wrote:
Coming home at 15 degrees is such nice weather which I rarely experience.
True Smile But in Delhi, the range of temperatures is around 45 degrees, ranging from a small fraction above zero, to around 45 degrees Celcius in the dry summers. That is not something to look forward to!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see you back safely!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
Nice to see you back safely!
Thank you, Sir. It was great talking to you!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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rakesh959
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gud one Sumantra Sir as always!The same salted gorundnuts/peanuts are served on MAA-BLR-MAA on AI.Not bad for a 40minute hop.I'm coming to Dilli soon.Hope to catch the masked bandits Very Happy Once again a great TR from you though I cant beleive this was in DEc'13 Shocked
Cheers!
Rakesh
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rakesh959 wrote:
I'm coming to Dilli soon.Hope to catch the masked bandits Very Happy
Nice, Sir!
rakesh959 wrote:
...though I cant beleive this was in DEc'13 Shocked
Ah Sir, thank you, I am trying my best to clear the backlog.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- great recollection of your previous trip, what detail!
- yikes, from a family trip to an alone trip .... bad luck even tho it was still fun.
- must have been nice to see the military a/c in JDH
- sounds like an ideal buffet breakfast, how I miss those!
- I loved the conference stories Laughing
- the lunch descriptions made me sooo jealous. There was a restaurant in Bangalore (Rajdhani) which I liked a lot- vegetarian thali. I was on holiday in Rajasthan almost 18 years ago don't remember the food tho.
- thank you sumantra. extremely well written as expected.
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
- great recollection of your previous trip, what detail!
The last one, before I relinquished by long-standing bachelor status?
stealthpilot wrote:
- must have been nice to see the military a/c in JDH
Amazing!
stealthpilot wrote:
- I loved the conference stories Laughing
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed being a part of all of it, and those seriously giggly moments Smile
stealthpilot wrote:
There was a restaurant in Bangalore (Rajdhani) which I liked a lot- vegetarian thali.
I have heard a lot about this one, as well. I would love to visit this place. The only thing incongruous for me is a Delhi'ite going to foodie-land Bengaluru, to partake of a North Indian thAlI Smile
stealthpilot, thanks a lot for all the kind words, this trip report took quite some time to write, in the midst of Mummy's operations, but the small incidents, the cheer, the little fun, the leg-pulling, the witty quips here and there: all make life worth it!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra sir,
Another lovely TR from you!
Nice introduction to the city - I have yet to visit Rajasthan properly (Sawai Madhopur being the only part so far - the Ranthambore National Park!)

I hope all's well with your Mummy now - sorry to hear about that! Sad

Relatives are relatively annoying or is that just me? Razz

The Boeing 767 pic was awesome! Lovely aircraft, that.

I believe the parents went to Jodhpur on AI475 only, does this flight continue to BOM? Yup, peanuts and Tropicana juice were on the 'menu' for their flight.

Very interesting bits from the stay in Jodhpur - shows why you stand out from the others! Razz

The pics are lovely too, thanks for sharing! Very Happy

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
Sawai Madhopur
2001-2007: I used to look out from the Sleeper Class coach, beside the open window: longingly, at the station, wanting to get down, and touch base at Ranthambhore. Sawai Madhopur also came in with the lunch service on the (then 2903) Golden Temple Mail, so I have memories associated with food, as well.
jbalonso777 wrote:
I hope all's well with your Mummy now
Thank you Sir, she is doing fine.
jbalonso777 wrote:
I believe the parents went to Jodhpur on AI475 only, does this flight continue to BOM? Yup, peanuts and Tropicana juice were on the 'menu' for their flight.
On the dot, Sir. I think the snacks are much more filling now, post-*A entry.
Thank you once again, for the detailed read!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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