Thursday, May 31, 2012

An African Morning at CSIA

As chance would have it, I am flying to Bangalore right now - a 6.30AM departure, which necessarily meant waking up early.
But then I received a message from Jet Airways, last night, that since our aircraft was parked on a remote parking bay at the international terminal of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), we would need to report 90 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. That is a real pain in the ass.
My cab did not turn up at 5AM and Neeti so sweetly agreed to drop me. I suspect that the cab played truant because of the Bharat Bandh proposed for today. Luckily, our building's security guard got me a cab from the fuel station next door. I was happy that  Neeti could steal a few more winks!
At the airport, I bought an Assam tea as a salve for my throat from the Cafe Coffee Day outlet at Terminal 1B. With my tea cup in hand, I boarded the bus to take us all to the parking bay.
The best thing about this short 10-minute ride is that you end up going all around the periphery of the airside, around Runway 14-32, getting a full view of Runway 9-27 with all magnificent carriers from exotic lands taxiing, landing and rotating!
A little smart boy, about 5 years old sat next to me - he was nattily dressed in a red t-shirt and was clutching a smart bag with cartoon characters on it. (I don't even know some of these characters - blame it on the generation gap!) It was evident that the smart young lad and his mom had flown in from the United States on a red-eye as they were carrying United boarding passes.
The boy's eyes widened, to what I imagine would be a diameter of an inch on seeing massive aircraft parked on the international side. There was a majestic Air-India Boeing 747-400 royally parked on the left of our bus. The boy innocently asked "Mumma, does this big plane really fly?"
I was so reminded of my days as a toddler, when I used to fly with my folks. Those early days of flying kindled my interest in aviation to such a burning passion that I so badly wanted to become a commercial pilot. As fate had it, my myopia stopped me from going that way. But I do get massive goose bumps, the size of adolescent pimples, when I steal a glimpse of the cockpit while boarding or disembarking! I am a great believer in Karma and I hope God grants me my wish in my subsequent births.
Just at that moment, a Kenya Airways Boeing 767, which had touched down, from Nairobi, moments before, taxied right beside us toward its parking bay. The boy looked amazed to see it beautiful green-red-black livery on the tail! 
Man! This beauty, "The Pride of Africa", as the fuselage of the aircraft so boldy said, comes from so close to my motherland, Uganda! The very sight of this beauty made me so badly want to go back there that it hurt! I hope I am able to do that soon - fly on this Kenyan beauty to Nairobi and onward to Entebbe! I tried grabbing a quick picture of this pretty Kenyan jet on my BlackBerry, but it turned out to be far too grainy to be uploaded here.
It seemed to be an African morning at CSIA - an Ethiopian Boeing 767 was pushing back for its departure to Addis Ababa - nostalgic again for I was there in Addis Ababa, way back in1981!
All that nostalgia made me teary eyed, as our Boeing 737-800 rotated on full throttle towards Bangalore!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Romance is Back!

After months of staying away from cinema, partly because we were focused on ensuring a smooth shift to our new home, we reignited our romance with movies. There was no better way to do it than to head out to watch the very pretty, Vidya Balan's tryst with Kolkata in Kahaani!
The first time I saw Vidya's performance in Parineeta, I had predicted that she would leave an indelible mark on Bollywood. Her successive power-packed performances have indeed proved that she can pull it off, solely on her own.
Kahaani kept us gripped, as "Bidya Didi" weaved a magical performance, that threaded right into the finale. Some people claim that the climax of Kahaani had been lifted from the 1994 Hollywood mystery-thriller, "Taking Lives" starring Angelina Jolie. Frankly, even if that is true, I feel no one else, no other female lead,  other than Vidya Balan could have breathed life into the role of "Bidya" Bagchi.

But we watched  Kahaani way back in March. After we completed the elongated settling-in process at the new house, it was time to freak out again and what better way than to get back to the nearest multiplex. Even though that's become somewhat of a task - the nearest multiplex, PVR at Oberoi Mall is a good 3 kilometers away, unlike earlier when we had three multiplexes within a radius of a kilometer - we used to finish dinner 10 minutes before the scheduled time and then leisurely walk across. We don't have that luxury anymore.

But after many recommendations, we drove across to PVR, at Oberoi Mall, to catch up with Vicky Donor. All the actors did a marvelous job of entertaining the audience, especially Annu Kapoor, who played the role of Dr. Chadha, as well as the mother and grandmother of the lead character, Vicky Arora.
Yami Gautam was refreshing, while Ayushmann Khurrana played his part as a pro. The plot, though an excellent comedy, was an exciting way to communicate the importnce of sperm donation the audiences.
Besides the social message, this movie is indeed a tribute to Punjabiism - the very fact that  Vicky Donor was directed by Bengali shows how well filmmakers can pull it off, commercially, setting the story in a Punjabi household! Imagine how the film would have bombed had it been set in the all so proper Bhadralok household - it would have been scored a big zero on the comedy meter. Or, even a Gujarati setting would have rendered the movie unwatchable for over 75% of India.
Most Indians may hate to admit it, but contemporary Bollywood proves how chilled out the Punjabis are! And we Punjabis, will undoubtedly remain proud of who we are!

Then rustic-ness of Uttar Pradesh was wonderfully captured in Ishaqzaade, a welcome break from an overdose of Punjabi-isms. We watched  Ishaqzaade back-to back with  Vicky Donor.
Ishaqzaade beautifully captured the election time machinations of local politicians. Woven around these machinations was a beautiful love story where the parts were played by the two newcomers - Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor. They both played their roles to perfection and set sparks flying with their amazing on-screen chemistry.
Arjun Kapoor's depiction of Parma, a young lad in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh was real, true and honest.  Parineeti who played the role of Zoya, was both fiesty and spunky at the same time - its rare to have an absolute newcomer have that kind of spunkiness. It was after a long time, that I did genuinely feel that debutante (in a lead role) would go a long way in filmdom. The last time I felt this way was for Vidya Balan, after her debut in Parineeta.
I am not kind, at all, on slapstick Hindi comedies and avoid such movies at any cost. I did think my romance with Bollywood was over when in the mid-2000s there was a quick succession of slapstick stuff. However the evolving, experimental genres which are lent a different twist by some talented newcomers have truly rekindled my romance with Bollywood!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jet Airways v/s IndiGo - The Verdict Is Out!

After two full days in Chennai, on May 11, 2012, it was time to return home. But no visit to Chennai is complete without a 'pilgrimage' to Sri Krishna Sweets, so I headed to Sri Krishna Sweets at T Nagar and picked up some Mysore Pak and a few packets of savouries unique to Tamil Nadu, which Neeti and I relish over a cup of tea!
And then there was the 30-minute ride to Chennai airport. Being driven on smooth roads like those in Chennai made me wonder whether Mumbai is actually run by nincompoops or is Mumbai's pathetic condition attributable to corruption. The guys running the BMC are actually smart - as the newspapers suggest they know how to stuff their mattresses with cash. But is it really different in say Chennai or Gujarat or Delhi? Perhaps, yes, because despite the all-pervasive corruption, work does get done in all these places, but in Mumbai it's a different story.
At Chennai airport, I had an hour to spare. The place was teeming with passengers, as the airport is undergoing a modernisation and spaces are rare. In the security hold area, a good number of people seemed to be headed on short haul trips - Madurai, Kozhikode, Kochi, Vizag, etc. The opening of airports at all these small towns and affordable airfares in 2004 following the Air-Deccan launch gave wings to the middle class. Those wings are here to stay.
A couple of honeymooners who had returned from Port Blair seemed to be headed back to Delhi and Mumbai, while some college kids were busy revising their GRE and GMAT guides - the cacophony in the security hold area did not seem to bother them at all. 
I was flying on Jet Airways's flight 9W 468 back to Mumbai that evening, which was scheduled to depart at 1750 hours. As always I had chosen a window seat - 17F that evening. 
I must say, Jet Airways has badly fallen from grace in the last 2 years. The aircraft upholstery looks old and dirty. Their cabins smell acrid. IFE - or in-flight entertainment has been taken off. The stewardesses look like courtiers in the court of the Chinese Emperor - I sometimes wonder whoever designed their uniforms must have been surely out of his mind - a confused soul. The food has become really lousy, I would say cold sandwiches are a lot better than what Jet Airways serves on board.
At one point of time, in the early and mid-2000s, Jet Airways was the preferred carrier for business travel. But their staff was too snooty, haughty and arrogant, they looked down upon the non-corporate types. Kingfisher's launch in 2005 changed all that. Jet Airways was forced to turn down-to-earth and get a bit more contemporary.
But recently, Kingfisher's woes seem to have had a bad effect on Jet Airways' standards. Sample this, when the meal service started on 9W 468, the stewardess Veena ignored my row, row 17 altogther. My co-passenger, who was seated on 17E matter of factly said "We've been ignored!"
I thought Veena would come back again with our meal trays. 10 minutes went by - the rows both behind and ahead of us were served, but we weren't. My co-passenger, who was a bit hungry called for the cabin crew. Veena came dashing to enquire what was required in our row. To add injury to our insult, she feigned ignorance and acted as though she was innocent. Such behaviour, to any passenger, let alone frequent fliers,  is unpardonable and deserves one tight slap!
But we still hadn't lost our decency, though it was evident that Jet Airways had fallen from its once lofty position.
In a few minutes, our meal trays appeared magically out of nowhere - the food was really bad - aloo tikkis were almost raw and tasteless, while the channa gravy was cold.
I find it counterintuitive that Jet Airways is rapidly and consciously lowering its guard, in the wake of Kingfisher's woes. Today, I would say, the IndiGo product is multiple times better than Jet Airways', today. IndiGo is super-efficient. Not only is IndiGo's inflight product clean and neat, they are marvelous in ensuring that they convey an image of sincerity and honesty to the customer, which is where Jet Airways fails miserably.
IndiGo, today, gives a serious and more meaningful and viable alternative to business travelers. 
Rather than mindlessly cost cutting, Jet Airways should maintain the quality of its product to remain in the reckoning. Besides service, maintaining a decent network is as critical - a number of questions remain unanswered - why is Jet Airways exiting the Mumbai-Johannesburg route, while South African Airways finds it a viable opportunity. Similarly, it has not yet restarted its Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco flights, though Chinese carriers are expanding their footprint across India - I recently heard Air China is expanding to Mumbai and Bangalore.
As these thoughts were spinning in my head, we landed at Mumbai and I tweeted my complaint to Jet Airways. Three days later, I received a response from Jet Airways asking for my Jet Privilege number to investigate further. I somehow missed the message and saw it today. In these 10 days or so, I never got a reminder that they needed more details. That speaks volumes for their seriousness.
They seem to have lost the plot completely. I am pretty sure I would shift my loyalties to IndiGo lock,stock and barrel.
The verdict is out, IndiGo is set to win hands down!

Post script: A series of incidents while flying IndiGo have forced me to reconsider my loyalties. IndiGo has completely lost its plot. Read more about what happened later in 2013 and 2014 at:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Marmite -- Spread the Love!

Some of my earliest memories of Marmite are from Quarry House, in Kampala. I still remember the large dark brown jar, with its peculiar shape and its distinctive yellow label. As a little kid, I abhorred the yeasty and sharp taste of the brown textured Marmite, saying it was only for Papa.

Years later, while our family was in Mwinilunga, Zambia, I really did start enjoying Marmite - Marmite spread on toast with a thin slice of cheddar. Call it getting used to the taste. 
Marmite is a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is quite salty and savoury. Marmite had its origins in the late 19th century when a German scientist, Justus von Liebig, discovered that brewer's yeast could be concentrated, bottled and eaten. In 1902 the Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in England. The yeasty paste took its name from the French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot, which has come to an enduring symbol of the spread prominently shown on the label. 
By 1908, Marmite became quite popular in Australia and New Zealand and subsequently during World War I, British troops were issued with Marmite as part of their rations. Australia evolved its own variant called Vegemite!
Marmite has come to known for its goodness - it's rich in folic acid and Vitamin B9. But then all the "right" things may not always taste right!
After we returned to India, my joy knew no bounds when I discovered Marmite in a departmental store at E Block, Connaught Place in Delhi. That jar of Marmite was a treasured posession for quite sometime. As life became busier, I too lost touch with what tingled my tongue.
But again in 2006, I found Marmite in a departmental store at Greater Kailash, M Block market. And my love affair started all over again. Since then Marmite has been a regular for my weekend breakfasts, notwithstanding its cost!
I would say Marmite tastes best on toast alongwith a spicy tomato omelette, which is what I just had. Marmite works wonders when mixed into a cup of hot milk - a savoury concoction that warms from within.

Marmite usually invokes extreme emotions - one can either love it or hate it. But where its loved, people can go to extremes. For instance, in the aftermath of the February 2011 earthquake in New Zealand, the Marmite factory had to shut down. This led to panic buying of Marmite from supermarkets and over one hundred online auctions for jars of Marmite, were held, with some sellers asking for up to NZ$800 per jar, which was over 185 times its usual retail price. People were advised to use Marmite. Even the Kiwi Prime Minister John Key admitted that he may have to switch to Australian rival Vegemite once his personal supplies ran out!!!!!
That's how love for this yeasty paste can be!
That's probably why Marmite is sold with cheeky liners "Love it or hate it", "Spread the Love" or even "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Marmite you're Brown & I Love You". Today, I discovered a Marmite fanpage on Facebook too!
But I am worried - my jar of Marmite won't last beyond a month from now. Godrej Nature's Basket has run out of Marmite stocks. I would have to ask my folks to pick it up from some departmental store in Delhi! I hope I get my replenishments fast, so that I can continue spreading the love!

Friday, May 11, 2012

When In Chennai, Do As The Tams Do!

Work brought me to Chennai yesterday morning. The journey was pretty uneventful as I slept all through. We landed at 8.30AM, precisely 5 minutes ahead of schedule and proceeded straight for our meeting at T Nagar.
After the meeting got over, we headed to Nungambakkam High Road and Harrington Road for some more meetings. At Chetpet, I caught with a senior colleague and had an interesting and insightful hour-long chat on business and upcoming trends. I must admit that it takes courage to foresee the future and still come up with an inspiring vision, despite the all pervading gloom.
But in all this the anticipation of having great food had already started building within me. But I had to wait, looking forward for the evening to come. By 7PM, I retired to my hotel. Energy levels were extremely low and I could not dare to venture out to Sarvana Bhawan or Murigan Idlis. Instead I chose to have an early dinner at the small coffee shop downstairs as I had planned to retire early.
I chose the buffet, but stuck to the south Indian delicacies on offer. I started off with the beetroot pachadi - diced beets cooked in curd alongwith rice and fresh salads. The pacahadi gravy had a shocking pink colour, and much to my tongue's pleasure the gravy was tangy with crunchy beets heightening the taste.
Next I had a few rotis with a spicy mutton curry. The curry was absolutely astounding - the meat chunks were tender and chewy. The gravy was smooth - made of coconut, onions and tomatoes - freshly ground pepper lent the gravy an exquisite flavour and it went very well alongwith the rotis!
Much to my dismay, I took a bowl of dal makhani alongwith the mutton curry and rotis. Having a North Indian delicacy deep down in the southern heartland can be quite an ordeal - the dal was just not right - a bit sweet and slightly underdone! But the mutton curry more than made up for the disappointment. And I was reminded of how my colleague regretted having a paneer gravy earlier yesterday for lunch.
After the hearty meal, I had a very sound sleep. 
Today morning, I woke quite early and was feeling quite hungry. The breakfast downstairs was the standard hotel fare. I steered clear of the continental stuff - baked beans, hashbrowns and sausages. Instead, I had vadais, idlis, a plain dosa with a generous helping of steaming sambhar along with three amazing chutneys - a coconut chutney, a tomato-ginger chutney and a green chilli-coriander-mint chutney. All the three chutneys were amazing - fresh and tangy. They reminded of the excellent and unforgettable lunch that Neeti and I had at Murugans in Madurai. The vadais and idlis were authentic enough, though Murugans had already set my bar for idlis high enough. I am certain, Neeti would have loved to have this breakfast.
It is a fact that though today South Indian stuff has become the ubiquitous fare served for breakfasts across India, it only in the South that one gets to experience the real thing. 
Perhaps, it has something to do with the freshness of spices used or the honest, unadulterated method of preparation or is it just in the air or in the genes?
I really don't know all that! 
All I know is that it is sacrilege not to have local fare when in these parts. When in Chennai or Tamil Nadu, do as the Tams do!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Haveli - Keeping Traditions Alive!

In the first week of April, Neeti and I visited Delhi for a family function. After the function got over at Delhi, my folks and I left for my hometown. It was evening by then. Fortunately, the National Highway 1 (NH-1) had a decent traffic, which ensured that we could move on at a decent speed.
We steered clear of the roadside eateries or dhabhas at Murthal. As always all the dhabhas were teeming with people, with an endless number of cars neatly parked by the side of the highway. Clearly, Indians are moving around, traveling and spending. What slowdown are we talking of? Nothing seemed to have slowed in these parts. The Highway Economy clearly is booming!
But by the time we hit Karnal, we all were famished. Instead of reaching home at an unearthly hour and having dinner, my folks decided to stop at the Haveli and give me a traditional treat. Such offers of treats have to be graciously accepted, but this time it was accepted with gusto! This is the kind of food that I have always loved - the rustic earthiness of traditional Punjabi food is uniquely pleasing to the senses.
Haveli has tried to recreate the traditional Punjabi village set up right on the NH-1, just after Karnal. The place is adorned with brass cooking vessels and utensils, martbaans or earthen vessels specifically used for storing pickles, chulhas - wood or coal fired earthen stoves, gharras - earthen pots to cool water and a lot of other stuff that I had seen as kid at my grandparents' place. Brass plates and tumblers were also used to decorate the place.
At least in urban North India households, it is difficult to find these utensils today. Brassware has given way to steel and in some cases ceramic-ware and glassware. Perhaps in the interiors of Punjab and Haryana, the peasantry must still be using these traditional utensils, though steel has made inroads. But the tradition of using brass is on it way out for sure. I am pretty sure that coming generations would certainly not even know what all these things were - using these would be alien concepts. 
But places like the Haveli are keeping those traditions alive for youngsters to see and experience.

Even at 10PM, Haveli was full of families enjoying hearty traditional Punjabi meals. The family in the photos above seemed particularly happy after having hearty parathas with generous doses of white butter. It is a fact that for generations Punjabis have zealously devoured milk and milk products and yet there were few cases of heart disease. Now as times have progressed, lives have become sedentary but stress has increased manifold, resulting in such diseases, but traditional foods are often as culprits!
We were served by a friendly Garhwali waiter, who deceptively looked like a Punjabi dressed in a salwar kameez! He mentioned that life was tough for him in the hills - agriculture was tough but the lure of the highway economy brought him here and was quite happy with his job. 

It was time to order food. For me, it had to be a traditional Amritsari kulcha (unleavened bread stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes and cottage cheese) with chholey (a spicy chickpea gravy) served with a generous helping of sliced onions and a generous dollop of white butter. 

My parents played a bit conservative and ordered tandoori rotismoong dal tadka (tempered moong lentils) aloo-gobhi - a potato and cauliflower dish garnished with juliennes of fresh, sharp ginger and coriander. I particularly liked the way they served pickled green chillies - one could simply lift them with the toothpicks and bite on them to set the tongue on fire. But then we had ordered a bowl of cool yogurt to beat the spiciness!

And what a hearty meal that was! It was simply mindblowing! But we had to had to hit the highway again to reach Yamuna Nagar before midnight!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Amazing Indian Landscapes Part 6

This collection is from a short trip to Jaisalmer. We landed at Jodhpur in the afternoon and proceeded straight to Jaisalmer on an exceptionally smooth highway, that snaked its way through the arid areas of Rajasthan.

It was the beginning of summer with hardly any traffic on the highway. The driver mentioned that in summer, people prefer to travel either late in the night or early in the morning to beat the sun.

The first glimpse of the dunes!

The sun sets over the Thar!

Jaisalmer at dusk!

A bright new day! Its 5.30AM!

Ruins in the Thar!

A lone pedestrian

Back in Jodhpur, the Mehrangarh Fort stands tall even after 700 years!

A view of the old city of Jodhpur!


I came across this account of a New York taxi driver on Facebook, which is a lesson on patience. I realise that I too have a lot to learn. 
The story goes on in his words:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'
'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.
'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Up In The Air .... Part 7

This was a short but interesting work-trip to Jamnagar on a Dassault Falcon 900EX business jet sometime in January this year. We boarded the aircraft which was parked at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport's charter terminal at Kalina.
In a few moments after we settled in, we began taxiing towards Runway 9-27.

A view of the Air-India hangars - here you can see an Air-India Express Boeing 737-800, an Airbus A310 and a Boeing 777 to the extreme right. 

As we were turning on the taxiway on to Runway 9-27, I got an opportunity to capture the magnificent Air-India Boeing 747-400 - the palace of the skies! Sadly, these Boeing 747-400s will not do commercial flights for Air-India anymore. They would be used for VIP flights only. In a few months, we'll see the Boeing 787 make these hangars their home!

The Falcon 900EX requires just 1,500 meters of runway length to take off - just a fraction of the entire length of 3,445 metres of Runway 9-27. The takeoff thrust was perceptible because of small fuselage of the aircraft. You would never feel the accelerating thrust in a bigger jet!

Here we overfly Madh Island.

There you can see Borivali and Gorai on the right.

On course to Jamnagar!

Magnificent clouds appeared as we headed in a north-westerly direction!

Approaching the Saurashtra coastline. The sea always appears chocolaty brown here!

The barren landscape of Saurashtra. But change is coming here with the waters of the Narmada canal reaching this parched landscape! I am always fascinated by the way Gujarat is transforming itself.

VT-TAX - a Cessna owned by Turbo Jet of Hyderabad parked on the tarmac!

We take-off, gain altitude and fields give way to the salt pans!

As the sun sets, the display shows our route back home!

Different perspectives of the same sunset!

Holding over Mumbai! In common parlance, we were circling over Mumbai!

The city looks magnificent at night!

Landed!!! The Falcon 900EX is such a beauty!

The other editions of Up In The Air can be accessed at:
Up In The Air .... Part 6
Up In The Air .... Part 5
Up In The Air .... Part 4
Up In The Air .... Part 3
Up In The Air .... Part 2
Up In The Air .... Part 1
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