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Showing posts from 2016

To Vizag on RedKnight 1452: Flying 'The Pioneer'

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To go or not. Let me see if my paper gets selected.

The annual gathering of Pharmacists in India was happening in Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny, a very important port city in the newly formed state of Andhra pradesh. Located along the eastern coast of the Indian Peninsula, Vizag was always a city of interest for me. This annual gathering is a place for meeting a lot of people, a great opportunity to present research papers and a large gathering of pharmacists - a place where one feels proud of the profession. The gathering is usually very crowded, and I prefer going there only if I have a research paper presentation. My paper got selected for the presentation, and I decided to make it to the event.

Next came the time to book tickets. My colleagues were flying an early morning flight - I thought of taking a little later flight, and booked on RedKnight 1450 - AirAsia India, I5, 1450. This was also an early departure, but later than my colleagues' flight. This flight had a 0615…

Gulbarga to Bengaluru on SUR-YPR Super Fast Express!

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I did not want to take a train to return from Gulbarga. I looked at all possible alternatives - there were hardly any AC options from Gulbarga - except the VRL Volvo, and an NEKRTC AC Sleeper. A friend suggesting traveling via Hyderabad - the run time appeared to be more or less similar, except the hurdle of having to change buses. I decided to book a train after I exhausted most options - I wanted a train that reached fairly early, so that I could head to office without much delay. After thinking and rethinking, I finally booked on the 22133 Solapur-Yeshwantpur Super Fast Express in AC 2-Tier. Luck didn't seem to approve my idea of keeping train the last option, and cursed me with a Side Upper berth - that too right next to the door! I kept pursuing the other options till a few days before the journey. It was on Sunday that I decided to stick to the train option itself.

December 13, 2016:
I was done with the examination work by afternoon, and my host treated me to great north kar…

Bengaluru to Kalaburagi on Vijayanand Volvo B9R

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I had to go to Gulbarga, aka Kalaburagi, for an exam duty. I had a duty at Gulbarga last year, and I had taken a train then. The train was not an option this time due to some time restrictions. I looked at option, and found only two AC options - one was a Volvo seater by Vijayanand and another was AC Sleeper from NEKRTC. I didn't want to take the sleeper, and without another thought, booked a seat on the Vijayanand Volvo B9R. They gave a "pickup" option from Jayanagar as well, which was very convenient for me.

December 12, 2016:
I left a little earlier from office - I had landed from Trivandrum just that morning, and hadn't gone home. I hurried with packing, and got ready by around 1830 or so. The pickup from Jayanagar 9th Block was at 1930hrs. After a quick dinner, I checked various cab operators, and finally got one on the Ola app. I received this message from VRL around the same time:
Binai K Sankar, Your Journey Bus No. is KA 25/C7745 Boarding From : JAYANAGAR 9TH…

TRV to BLR on Air India 584

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Getting back to Bangalore after the busfans meet at Pamba was getting hectic. The meet was on a Sunday and I had to be back in office on Monday, since I was traveling through the week, and I couldn't afford to miss a day's work. I looked at options to fly out of Kochi, but were prohibitively expensive. I decided to try flying out of Trivandrum, and was quite shocked to find flights at less than half the price of those flying out of Kochi. I initially thought of taking the red-eye Indigo out of Trivandrum, but the prospect of losing sleep, and the fact that I had more journeys that week made me rethink on that option. I kept procrastinating the booking for quite a few days, until I found that Air India offered me the cheapest rates for a Trivandrum - Bengaluru flight.

December 12, 2016:
I had reached Trivandrum the previous evening, and was put up at a state tourism run hotel near the Central Railway Station. Sadly, the property was in tatters, but luckily was undergoing a refi…

AirAsia to Kochi: RedKnight 1129

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Any reason to travel is a good reason! The fact that I was traveling for a bus fans meet made me happier. This meet is an annual affair a group does - and I never managed to make it for it ever. It was a prestige issue for me this time, and I had to make it to it this time, no matter what. I had looked at various permutations and combinations to find a way of conveniently making it to the meet. The meet was being organised on a Sunday at Pamba - the base station of Sabarimala pilgrimage. The annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala happens every November-January - two full months of devotees, and hundreds of KSRTC buses to ferry them to various nearby railway stations to the base camp in Pamba, until where one can reach by motorways.

Getting to Pamba in time for the meet wasn't easy, given that buses from Bangalore to Pathanamthitta reach there quite late. I had to look at other options. I worked around a lot of options, including going via Madurai, Kumily (a little circuitous) before I f…

Smart Flight: Pune to Bengaluru by GoAir 242

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I was terribly confused and disordered as I sat down to book tickets for my trip to Mumbai. I was to spend two days in Mumbai, catching up with old friends. I was confused between flying back straight from Mumbai or add up Pune to the trip. I had to catch up with some friends at Pune as well. My decision became clearer after checking fares on some OTAs. Fares out of Pune was much cheaper than similar timed flights from Mumbai - and the difference was quite substantial as well. I opted for an evening flight out of Pune, and finally decided to fly Smart on Go Air 242. 
November 20, 2016: I reached Pune station by around 1330hrs by bus from Navi Mumbai (read about that here). After a get-together with friends, I took a Uber to the airport reaching there well before the scheduled departure time of my flight. The airport wasn't very crowded, and I managed to get an empty seat near the food court. I remained outside till it was 1620hrs. I entered the terminal building by about 1622hrs -…

Shivneri: Navi Mumbai to Pune!

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Hours after landing in Mumbai, I was standing outside a dilapidated office that had rusting mesh seperating the outside world with itself. That was an MSRTC Reservation counter at Vashi Bus Station, in Navi Mumbai. The MSRTC officer sitting at the counter was quite baffled when I went and asked for a ticket to Pune. He looked quite confused - and mumbled something that I couldn't understand. There was one more guy sitting inside the counter - he quickly said, we haven't been able to sell a single ticket today. The internet was down. Let's see if it works for you. My heart sank. The heart beats became faster and louder. The guy at the counter played around on his system - finally the login page opened, and he entered the required details. He gave an ear-to-ear smile and said "Sir, you are very lucky!"

He gave out a Reservation Request form and a pen to fill it. I wrote down my details and returned it. The system acted up, and he had to re-log in to the system. I …

Maharaja to Mumbai! AI604 BLR to BOM

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It was time to plan another trip to Mumbai - been planning a trip since a very long time. A friends get together and a whole lot of busfanning was on the cards. I was a bit choosy when I went about searching for flights. I was confused about the day of my flight as well - I wanted to be in Mumbai on Saturday, after a bit of searching around, I decided to fly on Friday, instead. I wanted to try my luck flying the new Airbus 320neo - but then the choices were very confusing. A lot of research went into identifying rotations that regularly got the Neo. Pricing sent my choices into a complete tizzy. I found a better price on Air India - just a hundred rupees or so more than Indigo, which had the new Neos on the sector. After some thinking around, I decided to dive in, and book the Air India. This would also happen to be my longest flight on the A321, plus a flight on the Maharaja!

November 18, 2016:
I got up much after I had originally planned to, and ended up being a little late to get …