Posted by: rajeevgopal | January 12, 2010

India Trip 2009 – 1


Kuwait Airways – Low rate or Low service?
When my travel agent quoted the deal of $670.00 per person for a trip to India (Chennai , to be specific), I could not say NO. Grabbed it then and there! $670.00 is a SUPERB deal! I have never ever seen a deal below $1000.00 for a to-and-fro trip to Chennai or Trivandrum, from USA. The flght is from JFK, told my agent. Never mind, for $670.00, I wouldn’t even mind walking from Mechanicsburg PA to JFK, I said. And laughed.
Kuwait Airyways was never number 1 for anyone’s list flying to Kerala. The service was not at par. But it is better than Air India, which has its own internal issues to solve first, before showing some good customer service. The individual TV sets did not work properly and the seats were not that comfortable. It was ok for both myself and my wife, but for our 6 year old daughter, it was BORING!
The flight to Chennai was ok. The flight we took, was via London. So we had security checks in JFK as well as in London. Hassle, it was, but we did not mind as it was for our own cause. Once we reached Kuwait, we had to change the aircraft. There are airport officials every where in the airport, but knowing English is not enough. Because they dont know any. The airlines desk staff helped us find the gate.
Chennai – The City
A seemingly surprising wonderful weather in Chennai welcomed us. My brother-in-law had come to pick us up, with my sister and nephew.
Chennai had changed. The Airport fly over, which was in the beginning stages of construction in 2007, had completed and was pretty pukka! Chennai has its own charm even in midst of heavy traffic and unethical driving sense. The emergence of MNC and its clones, and the eat outs catering them have polished the face of Chennai.
We visited the Crocodile and Snake Park on our way to Ideal Beach Resort in Mahabalipuram Road.
The ambience in the beach resort was ecstatic. The resort was very clean and neat. The food was awesome. And the beach – simply superb!
World’s greatest cuisine – Anything that Mom prepares!
The best part visiting my Mom is getting great food! She is a great cook. She is passionate about cooking! And she likes to see people eat and be merry! And guess what? All we did in Chennai was shopping and eating! From Beef Cutlet to Mutton Pulau – anything that came our way… sumptous indeed!
Kerala Cafe – The film of films
Sangam was playing Kerala Cafe. I had read numerous reviews about the movie and seen interviews about the same. And above all I am a fan of Ranjith, the director, who is the producer of the movie. Kerala Cafe is a compilation of 10 small movies. Yes, 10 movies, directed by 10 different directors. All the stories engulfed me. We had a good time at Kerala Cafe. Some of the credit indeed goes to the theatre and the setup. Sangam is a great theatre.
Time went by very quickly and we had to fly to Trivandrum. Simi’s parents came to the airport to welcome us. Trivandrum was very hot, an unusual condition for December. The only change I saw in Trivandrum was the emergence of flats. More number of builders have occupied the lands and build more flats in the city. More people have immigrated to the city thanks to the flourishing Technopark.

But again the infrastructure of the city has not moved an inch yet. It has moved, of course, towards the worst. The roads are in a very bad shape, thanks to the not-so-focussed politicians, and failing projects.

(To Be Continued…)

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