After more than three years, I went back to India on business. My colleague, Anuar and I left KLIA in a MAS flight to New Delhi on 1st February 2009. I was looking out for the things that had changed in the past three years. The first thing I noticed is that there are hand phones everywhere. The passengers could not wait until the plane touched down at Delhi International Airport at 9.30 p.m. before they switched on their phones. The young and the old had their phones stuck to their ears through immigration, collection of baggage and through the customs.
Alas the familiar pollution smell of Delhi and the honking of the cars as we travel towards our hotel to put up before catching the morning flight to Nagpur. I pointed out to my colleague some new car stickers which campaign for less noise by discouraging drivers horning. Years of habit of using the horns is hard to change for these drivers.
The next morning, I had to catch an internal flight of Indigo Airline to Nagpur. It was chaos at the domestic airport with hundreds of passengers trying to go through the security checkpoint to catch their flight. Flights of different airlines i.e. Kingfisher, Jet, Indigo, Indian Airline etc were scheduled to different parts of the country at nearly the same time. Passengers were unable to clear the two security gates due to the long queue and staff from each airlines were trying to announce and identify their passengers for immediate boarding. After standing in the queue for more than an hour, I finally managed to board the plane. Unfortunate the take off was delayed as we had to wait for some passengers who boarded late. It seems that the mad rush is a norm here especially for the morning flights. Things have definite changed to the worse since three years ago when there was only choice between Jet and Indian Airlines. Hopefully things would improve with the completion of the extension to the Airport which is currently being done. I finally arrived at Nagpur half an hour late.
This was my first visit to Nagpur which is a bustling city with lots of motorbikes on the road and parked everywhere but not a single helmet user can be seen. From my conversation with a local there, there is a law requiring every rider and pillion riders to wear helmets but due to some local politics, this rule has not been implemented here. Hand phones are also abundant here as in everywhere in India due to competition and affordability.
One thing that has not changed is the delicious food of thalli, naan, mutton briyani, alou gobi (cauliflower), dhal and many more dishes. I had to revert to vegetarian dishes after being warned that there have been cases of severe food poisoning due to the meat spoiling as a result of the frequent power failure and power rationing. I did enjoy a delicious mutton briyani the day before in the Hotel but did not want to take any chances after being warned!
After two days of working and meetings in our partner’s office in Nagpur, I was back in Delhi on 4th Feb morning to catch the flight back to KL at night. Delhi has not changed much except for the new Metro MRT system. I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant at Janak Place Shopping Mall which was located at walking distance from my rest house. Lunch was vegetarian “chop seow” noodles with Chinese tea.
Janak Place Shopping Mall
I took some photos of the nearby Metro line viaduct structures. I can only comment that unlike the LRT in K. L., there is not much consideration given to aesthetics for these structures.
As I walked back to my rest house, I took some photos of bungalows which have been converted to business premise e.g. clinics etc as below:
Three storey bungalow
All in the family clinic next door to my rest house
At the Indira Ghandhi International Airport, there have been tremendous changes since I was there three years ago. There is a total makeover in the departure area with plenty of seats, availability of free wi fi provided by Air Tel and for reading pleasure “Lounge” magazine is provided free. There are also more options for light food and beverages for the passengers.