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26 July 2009

SIGHTED SITE : IGIA Terminal 1, New Delhi

TO PARAPHRASE the old Broadway song: "Hello, Delhi! It's so nice to have your airport where it belongs: a league of its own!"

I love this newly renovated airport. Officially the Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, its modernization took a painfully long time, but the long wait is worth it. (It reopened in February this year after two years of renovation work.) I remember having to endure musty odors of the human and damp-ceiling type (but mostly human), long queues with irate and irritating passengers, and no place to sit AND stand at the pre-departure area. The old airport often reminded me of domestic terminals in smaller towns in southern Philippines. The reality of it being the welcome mat to India's capital always puzzled me.

Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai have also unveiled their revamped domestic terminals, but Delhi Airport tops them all. Here's why:

    1. There is nothing fancy or pretentious about the architectural design. It looks modern yet feels ethnic (watch the huge square pillars at the pre-departure area). It's elegant. It's massive. With such a high ceiling, it tends to be loud, which all modern airports are. It's busy. All these adjectives point to one thing: it's pretty much like the Indian population.

    2. The pre-departure area has lots of seating. I call them the "gossip seats". Grouped in diamond shapes, they are perfect for Indians and non-Indians traveling together to face each other and engage in catching up, rumor mongering, character bashing, and, if you're from Gujarat, sharing home-made food.

    3. Convenience outlets are everywhere. Very convenient for laptop users and even for those who take the "Sweetheart my phone battery's dying so I gotta go see you next week buh-bye" route.

    4. Flight information screens in every corner means you don't have to pester the exceedingly beautiful North Indian female attendants at the information kiosk and make them frown with useless questions like "Why is my flight not delayed?".

    5. There are food kiosks at the northern, southern, eastern, and western parts of the pre-departure area. Good news for those who take budget airlines.

    6. No one is allowed to go down to the gates unless the public announcer says so.

    7. And the jewel in the crown: QUEUE MARKERS! For someone who's lost so much patience and raised so much blood pressure with queue-jumpers in India, Delhi Airport's queue markers are sweet, embraceable vanguards of discipline and order. We've indeed reached the new century in India with Delhi Airport's queue markers.

I now board my plane in bliss.

Queue markers at Delhi Airport

Queue markers at Delhi Airport

NOW PLAYING: Eliane Elias - Apareceu via FoxyTunes

25 July 2009

TRAVEL TALES : Deadly in Delhi

TIMES OF India announced yesterday that the Delhi-Gurgaon Highway claims a high rate of road accidents, with almost 100 people getting seriously injured every month. I'll be the first to concur with this, after witnessing a motorcycle accident on the same road in the morning.

The road was sloping up, and traffic was piling ahead of me. Suddenly, a motorcyclist showed up from nowhere, zipping past by me. Then just as suddenly, SCREEECH! The man somersaulted in the air, hurled out of the bike, and landed on the ground a few meters ahead of me. Thud! Then the bike! It fell on top of him like a flat sheet of plywood!

The sight was instantaneous, merciless, spectacular. I decided not to stare, fearing blood and limbs scattered on the gravely wide highway. Besides, even if there weren't blood and limbs, I wouldn't have seen anything, as a crowd quickly formed around him.

I was told later that the man managed to sit up and hold his crash helmet that had been split into two. I assume that the motorcyclist could have accelerated his speed, since the road was sloping up. Upon reaching the curve, he must have tried to decelerate, but the timing was off and he tried to veer away. With that speed, it was too late and too difficult to control the bike.

I hope the man is well. To all readers, please drive with care, caution, and common sense always. And if you're a motorcyclist, please avoid such high-speed roads as expressways and highways. You don't belong there. No, not even if you're an Evel Knievel junkie. Take the arterial roads for your sake and others' sake.

Unless you decide to take the expressway to the afterlife. Even then, don't take others with you!

17 July 2009

Amongst India's finest

Spencer's VM Team

The Spencer's VM Team

SPENCER'S RETAIL won another accolade tonight: its visual merchandising (VM) is recognized as one of India's best at the Retail Design Awards in Bangalore. It's the first time the company ever received this kind of merit, and that goes to all the men and women pictured above. They're the Spencer's VM team, and I'm thrilled to be their team head!

While we didn't get the top prize (it went to Levi's), being second best is just as good. First, the recognition comes at the end of the VM program's first year in Spencer's, so it's a great motivator for us to do better in the coming years. Second, this marks the first time that the Best VM category is introduced at the Retail Design Awards, so getting shortlisted alone is already a historic achievement. Finally, Spencer's is the only food store amongst the nominees. That alone makes the recognition so reaffirming. Our efforts are paying off.

The slide show below includes images shown at tonight's awards ceremony. It's how we won the merit!

Image source: Paul Ancheta at Flickr