New Delhi International Airport, Taj Palace Hotel, Indian Airlines now called Air India and Fujiya

new-delhi-airport-departure-photo.jpg

(Delhi airport. Photo from : http://www.newdelhiairport.in)

I am just back from a quick business trip to Delhi which coincided with the coldest week in Delhi in 28 years. Not good news – but as luck would have it, the first day there turned out to be very cold but very sunny, which is a lovely combination. So, escaped unhurt.

For old times sake (and because they have a bloody early morning flight from Bangalore), I flew Indian Airlines, which has now been determinedly renamed Air India. Unfortunate. Because in the process, Indian Airlines, which I have always had a soft corner for, is really starting to resemble Air India, which according to me is unquestionably among the the 10 worst airlines in the world. So, here is an emotional requiem to Indian Airlines; RIP.

Among the obscene prices for hotels rooms in Delhi, I was able to wangle a slightly less indecent price (fairly crazy nevertheless) from the The Taj Palace hotel by booking a no-cancellation room, way ahead of time on the Taj Hotels website. It is always nice to stay at the Taj, because somewhere they have perfected the art of clean & efficient luxury service without the ‘looking-you-over’ approach of some Indian luxury chains, not the least of which is the Oberoi. Having said that, the Taj Palace ‘upgraded’ me to a suite and on checkout presented me with a bigger bill. Not professional at all and was immediately reversed of course. But did not seem right. And then I saw a review of the hotel on HolidayIQ and another person seemed to have had the same experience. Fishy.

Now on to Delhi International Airport. If Air India is among the 10 worst airlines in the world, Delhi airport now has simply no competition. I am sure it is the worst one in the world. Poor GMR. How will they ever get the amazing sloth of the Delhi airport to change? I do not think it is going to be easy at all. Of course, I was in the Indian Airlines terminal and they haven’t as yet got to changing things there. So maybe it will change eventually. But the sloth is reflected even in the private concessionnaires there. ITC hotels runs a restaurant in the Indian Airlines terminal at Delhi airport. Has to be the most awful airport restaurant in the world. On the whole, avoid Delhi airport if you can. Since you probably cannot avoid it, try to switch off all your senses while you pass through.

But this was all worth it. Because, I was able to hit Fujiya the most hallowed institution in New Delhi. Roast Pork or Sukiyaki in Fujiya is the rite of passage that makes men out of even the most unpromising material. And since I had my initiation many years ago, I returned for the nostalgia. And of course for the uncompromising roast pork. Had a massive meal and met all the old gang from the maitre d’ downwards. Mohit claimed it was a religious experience. I just hogged.

Click here for all my posts on Delhi.

And, here is an earlier rant on Air India.

But , if you prefer to know more about Chinese Food, here it is.

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2 thoughts on “New Delhi International Airport, Taj Palace Hotel, Indian Airlines now called Air India and Fujiya

  1. Hmm, I dont think I would miss Air India or Indian Airlines. For that matter, even Sahara. The ones I missed were the first private airlines, East-West Airlines and ModiLuft which gave us a taste of what’s possible if you privatize.

    Re: Taj Hotels, I completely agree.

  2. The following comment came in and I had no idea what to do about it. It is obviously very close to being spam. And that is what I should have done with it. But the subject sounded interesting. And so, I let it creep in to my blog for no good reason – even the url which is normally a strict no, no. Anyway, it is here now – with apologies to my regular readers.

    Ten-year old Siddharth is traumatized when he witnesses a religious ceremony gone terribly wrong. During this sacred ritual, his mother is consumed by flames and his father is horribly burnt. Once a normal, outgoing boy, Siddharth is transformed by the tragedy into an introverted child of a few words.

    While awaiting and praying for his father’s recovery, Siddharth is forced to live with his uncle. Continuing the inexplicable downward spiral of his life, young Siddharth is subjected to abuse from his aunt. The only bright spot in his life is the warmth he receives from his cousin, Druki. Despite the sad circumstances that have caused it, she is delighted to have Siddharth living in her home and existing in her life.

    One evening, as she is preparing for bed, Druki asks her mother about the death of Siddharth’ mother. Searching for words to give peace to her daughter, the woman tells Druki that God took Siddharth’s mother away because he loved her so much. Siddharth learns of this and is puzzled, wondering how it is possible that God loved his mother more than he. The question burns in his mind like a sliver and, try as he might, he cannot banish the tormenting thought. In his young wisdom, he finally realizes that the only one who does know the answer is God Himself. And thus begins Siddharth’s epic journey to find God and pose the question to him.

    With a childlike innocence, he begins this journey by asking those around him where God lives. Since no one can tell him where God lives, he decides to find out for himself. He begins on this path by watching those around him whose lives appear to be spiritual, feeling they may know where God resides. He visits temples, follows religious processions, spies on priests – always searching for clues that will lead him to God… always to no avail.

    In the depths of depression, the pointer to the direction he must go, finally and unexpectedly comes to him in the form of an old man who says he knows where God lives. The old man explains that, of course, God lives in the middle of the Himalayas. Enlightened and excited, he now prepares to embark upon the high path to God’s home. As they learn about this, his cousin Druki and Siddharth’s best friend, Raju, implore him to take them along. At first he resists, but when he understands that they too have questions for God, there is no way he can refuse. And so, the three set out to find God in his home.

    They begin their arduous trek riding atop a bus. But, before long, the bus’ passengers grow suspicious and they are forced to continue on foot. Along the way a helper comes to them – almost as if he has been sent to do so. Ali, a teenager who works at a highway motel, gains them passage on an Army truck, also joining them as he, too, has questions for God and is inspired by Siddharth’s plan. A harrowing struggle ensues as they ford a river, desperately scavenge for food and dare the howling winds of the Himalayas. As they continue their journey into the clouds – further challenges assail and assault the quartet… yet none can deter them.

    And then, true tragedies strike – Raju plunges through melted snow and drowns. In the thin atmosphere, Druki draws her final breadth. And even Ali vanishes into the consuming mists of the upper reaches of the Himalayas.

    At last, Siddharth alone reaches the mountain respite that is God’s true home. In triumph and humility, Siddharth poses his questions to God – questions that all mankind has pondered since time immemorial. In a scene as powerful as Lord Krishna’s narration of the Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna, Siddharth’s life is forever changed – and so shall our viewers’ as they come to bathe in the joys of God’s revelation to this simple boy. Triumph is Siddharth’s at last… for he has, with intrepidity, determination and pureness of spirit, sought God where he lives. And in that triumph, he comes to know the greatest blessing of them all… peace. Om shanti, shanti, shanti, Om.

    Enjoy the Trailer of the Movie:
    http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=i8t2Z8x7Ky4

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