Saturday, February 27, 2010

My wish list........

A mini list for this year includes......

  1. Visit the Himalayas.
  2. Learn to scuba dive.
  3. A desert safari in Jaisalmer.
  4. Learn a language and speak it fluently.
  5. Improve my photography skills.
  6. Go on an Alaskan cruise.
  7. Spend Christmas with my family.
  8. Swim with dolphins.
  9. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  10. Use my skills to help the unfortunate.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Time flies real quickly. 2 months of the new year have already flown by. Where has the time gone?

On the work front, it is hectic like the time we were in start up mode. Lots of excitement, lots of plans, lots of promise, lots of long hours at work.

On the personal front, have missed a lot of yoga, travelled a lot to the otherside of town and back, checked out quite a few places on the network, spent not enough time with family.

A few years ago, in the month of Feb, one of my batchmates committed suicide. It left a lasting impression on my mind. It was the first time that I had experienced death amongst my own age group. It left me gasping for breath, questioning why, disappointed as there was so much promise and most of all very sad.

A couple of days ago, one of our pilots died of pancreatic cancer. He was 42 years old and has 2 young children. I did not know him and am not sure if I crossed paths with him. But I feel for his family and I am sad.

I wonder if I am living life in the best manner possible. One never knows when it is the end of the road and that's why we must live to the fullest. Bring as much joy and happiness to the people around. Not waste a moment on regret and negativity. Make a difference in the world.

Time is like a cannot touch the same water twice 'coz the flow that has passed will never pass again. So enjoy every moment of life.............

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love conquers all……………… Happy Valentine’s Day

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Today is Valentine’s Day and it is a time to remember all whom we love. Love is a lot about understanding, giving, sharing and accepting unconditionally. Love is a 2 way process and you love as much as you are loved.

I am loved and I love……………. Thanks for being in my life. I am using this blog to thank the people I love and who love me.

My parents – without whose love, support and care, I would not be the person I am.

My siblings - Tina and Floyd – who will always be there for me and I for them. They are both wonderful and I cherish the time I spend with them.

Their spouses – Giles and Cheryl – who are wonderful human beings and we are lucky to have them in our family.

My grandma – who is a true gem.

My aunts, uncles, cousins and their families – who are scattered all over the world. No matter what the ups and downs, guess blood is always thicker than water.

My friends – over the years am lucky to have made some really lovely friends. They keep me going every day in their own way. Some are old and some are new, some are distant and some are near. But each one special in their own way.

My team – who are my extended family at work.

My colleagues – who you cannot help but accept and love.

Through all the above relationships, I am grounded in reality, conscious of the peace and harmony in my life. They truly make my world a better place.

Do all things with love. – Og Mandino
A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. – Thomas Carlyle

A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love. – Henri B Stendhal

Lucknow - the city of Nawabs

As you probably have realised, I am on a trip to discover India. So at some stage, it was inevitable that I would visit Lucknow. As it so happened, my friend Smita had to attend a cousin's wedding in Lucknow and she suggested that I should come over for the weekend so that we could explore the sights together. She is from Allahabad and has been to Lucknow before but she wanted to refresh her memory (and probably view it from my eyes - a fresh perspective).

Lucknow - the city of Nawabs. Culturally very rich, architecturally even richer and so full of intrigue. However, sad to say, the city is overcrowded, dirty and the heritage sites are falling apart due to negligence. It just shows that we don't value our heritage and culture. The economic diversity was full blown. The contrasts were there on every front but honestly I was excited to be there and I am happy to have experienced Lucknow.

History and Background:
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, extends along the banks of the River Gomti. The creator of Lucknow as it is today was Nawab Asaf ud Daula. The city became known as a centre for Urdu poetry and courtly diction, and reached its acme during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah who was a connoisseur of music and poetry. It was during his reign that the British appropriated Awadh. Today, the city is dotted with remnants of its rich historic past.

Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and 'Chikankaari' or exquisite shadow-work embroidery on fine muslin cloth.
(Source -
Bada Imambara:
This is a beautiful structure which consists of a huge central hall which has no supporting pillars within it. The supporting columns are on the sides and each has a ceiling which is decorated in a certain style - Persian, Roman and Chinese. It also consists of a labyrinth called Bhul Bhulayah which spans 3 storeys and has many staircases some of which lead to dead ends. It is an extensive maze that came about unintentionally to support the weight of the building.There are also many doorways and galleries from which the soldiers in the olden days could view the entry of friends or foe. There is a secret tunnel that leads one to Agra, Jaipur and Delhi but it is said to be sealed now. The complex also includes the Rumi Darwaza (Roman Gates), a Bouli or well.
I liked the intricate carvings on the walls and the trellised archways. There were dolphins all over the doorways and when I enquired, I was told that they were a symbol of goodluck.
We also visited the Chhota Imambara and the picture gallery. The gallery consisted of paintings of Nawabs and had a 3D effect. The eyes and feet of the various Nawabs kept following you all over the place! Truly fascinating.
We of course ended the day enjoying the famous Tunde ke kababs and buying beautiful Chikan suit materials.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

7th Feb.......

On 7th Feb 2010 I will complete 16 years in aviation. And what a flight it has been!

I still remember myself 16 years ago. Recent out of college, unsure of myself (but sure of my career path - aviation), timid, nervous and fairly sheltered. However, I was smart, hardworking, ever willing to change and adapt and diligent in the discharge of my duties. Guess, these are qualities which ensured my path to my current position.

I was lucky.................had some great colleagues who mentored me, shielded and sheltered me and guided me. I slowly blossomed from a shy teenager into a mature woman. Lucky to have great teams to work with. They have helped me be a better manager, colleague and team mate and I do hope they feel the same about me.

I was have had opportunities to travel the world both on work and leisure. I have not only experienced a few things that people dream about but also learned along the way. From the very first trip where we were bumped off in far-off, hostile Tel Aviv, I have become stronger and more adventurous. I am no longer afraid to explore the unknown or travel to a new destination. In fact, I thrive on the expectation of the unknown and look forward to discovering the place, culture, its people, food, etc and in the process creating memories.

I was lucky.................I made some great friends along the way, who have stood by me, who are proud of my achievements and who enjoy my travels through my photographs and blogs. Also have been blessed by the presence of many people, some of whom have been in my life for a short time, some for a season and some for a reason. I have made friends for life and have accumulated innumerable memories that bring me lots of joy.

I was lucky…………to achieve quite a few things on my list. Have tried to use every opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills both professionally and personally.

I was lucky..............without leaving aviation, I managed to work in various diverse roles thereby expanding my horizons and enriching my portfolio. It has given me tremendous confidence and boosted my self-esteem. I am no longer afraid to speak my mind.

Most of all, I was have the family I have. Without their unfailing support, encouragement and faith, I could not have achieved whatever I have. 

I am lucky and I hope and pray the next 16 years will be as exciting as the last. Am certainly looking forward to the flight path ahead.

My top experiences so far......................

I have been lucky enough to travel to various places on work as well as leisure. Some of the places and experiences are (in no particular order)………

1. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

2. Walking amongst the ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

3. The Ancient City of Nan Madol, Pohnpei

4. The beautiful Alhambra de Granada, Spain

5. Being part of the Carnival festivities in Dusseldorf, Germany

6. Climbing the Great Wall, China

7. The leaning tower of Pisa, Italy

8. The sunset and views from the Eiffel Tower, Paris

9. Flying over the Nasca Lines, Peru

10. Taking delivery of the first A330 in Toulouse, France

11. Visiting the Airbus factory

12. Lourdes, France

13. The Smithsonian Museums, Washington, DC

14. Gala dinner at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing

15. The Niagara Falls, Canada

16. A private tour of CERN, Geneva

17. The ceremony at the Wagah border, Punjab, India

18. The ruins of Hampi, Karnataka, India

19. A stay on a houseboat in Kerala, India

20. Madame Butterfly (the Opera), Hamburg

21. The windmills at Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands

22. Dancing to ABBA music in the City Hall (where the great Nobel banquet is held), Stockholm

23. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

24. A flight on The Dove, Dusseldorf

25. A helicopter ride over Mumbai

26. A cricket match in Mumbai

27. The Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang

28. Watching the sunset at the village of Oia, Santorini

29. An audience with the Pope at the Vatican.

30. The Sistine Chapel, Rome

31. The Rhine river cruise

32. The Viennese coffee in Vienna

33. A rodeo show in Dallas

34. A baseball game in Toronto

35. The NASA facility at Cape Canaveral

36. The Phillipe Patek museum in Geneva

37. Delphi, Greece

38. Exploring the ruins in Athens

39. The beautiful city of Rome

40. Exploring the grand city of Paris

41. London – The Kohinoor, The Big Ben, West Minister, Madame Tussauds, the various restaurants, Farmer’s market, etc.

42. Busy busy New York

43. Praying at the Wailing wall in Jerusalem

44. The rose red city of Petra, Jordan

45. Ginger ice-cream at the Ginger factory at Buderim, Sunshine Coast, Australia

46. Holding a baby koala, Brisbane

47. Snorkelling in the waters off Pohnpei, Micronesia

48. Watching fireflies in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

49. The Pisco Sour and ceviche in Peru

50. The CN Tower experience, Toronto

51. The Lake palaces at Udaipur, India

52. The Jain temple at Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India

53. Been a couch surfer and a global freeloader.

54. Won a car at a lucky draw in Orlando, Florida

55. The beautiful palaces in Europe – Versailles, Sintra, Royal palace of Madrid, Hampton Court, Schloss Schonbrunn, Heidleberg

56. Visiting the Real Madrid football stadium

57. The Full moon party at Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Thailand

58. The museums of Europe – The Louvre, The Prado, The V&A, Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh, The Sex Museum (AMS), The British Museum, The London Dungeon, Miniature Wonderland (HAM), The Vatican Museums, The Red Cross Museum - Geneva

59. The miniature city of Madurodam, The Netherlands

60. A hovercraft ride between continental UK and the white cliffs of Dover

61. Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel

62. Saturday night on the La Rambla, Barcelona

63. Celebrating the 817th birthday of the Hamburg Port.

64. The Puffing Billy Tour and wine tasting outside of Melbourne, Australia

65. Exploring the beautiful island of Crete, Greece

66. Venice – Basilica di San Marco, gondola ride on the Grand Canal, observing tourists from the Rialto Bridge, Murano and Burano.

67. Tossing coins in the Trevi fountain, Rome

68. The tour of the UN, Geneva

69. Walk through 1000 years of history in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Canada

70. Sampling the various preparations of Codfish in Lisbon, Portugal

71. Eating street food in Asia – Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Jordan

72. The Canal cruise in Amsterdam

73. Having lunch in the Planten und Bloomen, Hamburg and the seeing the tulips at Keukenhof, The Netherlands

74. The beautiful city of Bruges, Belgium

75. Walking around the various cities of Europe.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Andamans!!

Just my luck, my good luck!! The Ministry called for a meeting in Port Blair to discuss connectivity and other issues. So off I went to Port Blair in the Andamans alongwith my colleague MadhuShankar.

Got off at the airport, which was quite small. Foreigners had to register themselves and show their permit at the immigration counters. Strange to see immigration counters at a domestic airport! Anyway went straight to the meeting venue and finally finished around 5 pm. However, we were in the Andamans and because of the common time zone with the rest of India, 5 pm was actually about 7 pm! This meant that we were about to miss the sunset and had barely time to check in at our hotel, dump our stuff, change and venture out for some sightseeing.

That evening we were invited for dinner at the Defence Ministry guest house as guests of the Jt Secretary of Civil Aviation. So before the dinner, we walked around the pier. There was a fireworks display and ships anchored in the harbour were illuminated with lights. It was a full moon night and absolutely beautiful. Then we went for the English session of the sound and light show at the Cellular Jail which is a historic place for all Indians. Learned a bit of the history of the place and the freedom movement.

The next day we took the Makkruzz ferry to Havelock Island which is about 2 hours away. Hired a car and went around the place, first to RadhaNagar Beach and then back to the pier. We hired a boat and went to Dolphin beach for some snorkelling. The beaches are amazing and the water is breathtakingly blue. We had just about enough time for some lunch and then we were back to Port Blair.

That evening we went to Carbyn's cove and had dinner with the ground staff. The moon was supposed to have been 15% bigger and brighter as it was closer to the earth. Tried to capture the beautiful moonlight but my camera failed me. :(

The next morning, admired the view from my hotel balcony which overlooked the bay. Then I went to the Cellular Jail for a daytime visit. Having been for the sound and light show, I kind of knew what to expect and I appreciated the visit better. The museum adjoining the jail had some great paintings depicting the jail, life in the jail, on the island and during the freedom struggle. Learned that there were stamps printed in Germany for the Azad Hind movement to be used in India.

When you think of it, what were the British trying to achieve when they sent prisoners to Port Blair? Were they trying to replicate a similar scenario as the one in Australia? They built a jail which could accommodate 700 prisoners, most of them political ones. However the irony of it is, the view from the jail is spectacular. Hope it made up for the rest of the terrible time the prisoners must have faced there.

The trip reminded me once again about the diversity of our country. I have to go back there to experience the uniqueness of the place before it gets corrupted by commercial tourism.

View from the Cellular Jail. Spectacular.

View from my balcony at the Sea Shells, Port Blair.

The Makkruzz ferry from Port Blair to Havelock Island.

The jetty at Havelock Island.

Radha Nagar Beach

Dolphin beach

The eternal flame at the Cellular Jail.

The Cellular Jail, Port Blair.