Course at Cairn India Ltd. office, Gurgaon, India, August 8th to 12th, 2016
Earlier this month I travelled to Gurgaon, India, for conducting a 5-day course on seismic attributes at Cairn India Ltd. I left Calgary on Friday afternoon (August 5th) so that I could reach Gurgaon well in advance and try and get over my jet lag somewhat – I wanted to be nice and fresh when I begin my course on Monday morning. In fact, I had been looking forward to boarding the Dreamliner flight on this trip, having had a good experience on my earlier trips recently.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliners are one of the most modern planes, with larger windows complete with push buttons to darken them so as to avoid the bright sunlight getting into your eyes. These planes are also provided with an automated dimming light system that changes with the daylight outside till it gets dark. Other features include better cabin air-pressure, USB chargers, and the overall fuel efficiency of the plane itself. As mentioned above, this was not my first flight on the Dreamliner aircraft, as I had flown on them twice on my recent trips to Argentina. Of course, the business class flights add the comfort dimension to your journey. The entertainment system on board provided a good selection, and I was able to catch up on a few Bollywood movies. The quality of food as well as the service provided were great.
On this trip it was a beautiful afternoon when I left Calgary with only a few scattered clouds hanging in the sky. As the plane gained height it was a pleasure watching the clouds come floating at us, seemingly so light and fragile. And it did occur to me at the time that were it not for the clouds, a plain blue sky would seem like a flowerless garden. As it is when we are up there, the empty space around us gives a feeling of loneliness, as we traverse through it.
As the plane gained height, we could see the clouds in their various patterns, providing a nice spacious canvas with big gaping empty spaces giving a glimpse of the landscape below. The 4-hour journey from Calgary to Toronto was comfortable, and seemed to have flown by quickly, as I watched two Bollywood movies over some snacks and wine followed by lunch. It was dark as the plane landed in Toronto.
The next Dreamliner flight took off on time and I was mentally prepared for the long journey (14 hours), reminding myself that I should catch up on some sleep also. On this lap, I watched two Hollywood movies, besides another Bollywood movie, and did manage to get some sleep also. I frequented the flight path on my screen to see how we were doing, and did capture a couple of images as well (shown below).
The flight was comfortable and entertaining and landed on time at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi on Saturday late night. After the airport formalities, I took a taxi and headed for the Westin Hotel at Gurgaon, where I checked in to spend the next 7 nights. The Westin was chosen for its proximity to Cairn office. About 10 days prior to embarking on this trip I had read in the online Indian newspapers that on account of the rains, there was flooding on the roads in Gurgaon, but that night I did not see any visible sign of flooding water there. Another thing I learned that night was that the official name for ‘Gurgaon’ had been eclipsed with a newer name ‘Gurugram’. I had asked myself, where was the need to change it? But then reasoned, that probably ‘gaon’ sounds a little ancient or backward, and perhaps needed a change.
I did catch up on a little sleep that night in the hotel. Usually, when I am travelling, I don’t sleep very well in the hotels on the first night, as the bed, pillows, sheets/quilts, etc. are all different from what I used to, but it gets better after that.
I got up early on Sunday due to jet lag, and so got ready for breakfast. Westin offers a wide variety in terms of the type of breakfast to choose from. I obviously went for the Indian section, to feast on items I don’t usually get to select for breakfast while in Calgary. Finished with breakfast, I looked through the local newspapers and after browsing on the internet for a while felt sleepy, so, dozed off. When I got up, I realized it was evening. So, after making some phone calls to friends and family, I made my way to the hotel restaurant for dinner. I found – to my surprise – that it was busy down there. There was a lot to choose from; the different types of tasty cuisines and relishing them was indeed pampering. My week long stay there was very comfortable, as I enjoyed well-equipped spacious room, the food and the overall service provided by the staff. I would indeed look forward to staying there again in the future.
The next morning I was up early, well-rested and fresh, and after breakfast headed to Cairn India’s office. It was a short ride by cab to the DLF Atria block housing the office, and did click a picture for my remembrance. Cairn India Ltd. office is a modern and well-equipped set up with full amenities, and I am sure its employees are proud to be working there. Amongst the first few people I met at the Cairn India office that morning were my hosts, Partha Mitra and Soman Chacko, both working in senior management and advisory roles, followed by Monisha Rajaram, the facilitator for my attributes course. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, I quickly got set up for my course. There were 20 participants in my class, all young enthusiastic geoscientists, very smart, attentive, motivated, and inquisitive. As we get underway in the course, I make it a point to encourage the attendees in my class to ask questions so as to clarify their doubts. I also challenge them with quiz questions periodically, so that the enthusiasm stays strong all throughout the five days as they are learning. I think the course went off well, and based on the pre- and post-tests that I gave them, they all did very well.
I did have company at tea/coffee breaks and lunch, and it provided a chance to chat about different topics and have fun every single day. Partha made sure that I was looked after well while at the Cairn office, and even invited me to participate in their office mini-parties as well as the Independence Day celebrations on Friday (12th Aug). For the benefit of readers from outside India I may mention that India celebrates Independence Day on the 15th of August every year.
A flourishing restaurant is housed on the ground floor of the building that provides subsidized hot food for the 1000 odd employees working there, besides some snacks and soft drinks.
I have to mention that while at Gurgaon, right from the first day, I immediately felt the hospitality, the warmth, the regard and respect for a visitor, which is so typically Indian. That is not to say that I do not experience all this elsewhere as I travel around the world, but there is something special about my own people, and I believe it is a cultural thing. Perhaps it connects better and comes on display easily.
The return journey was from Mumbai to Calgary via Frankfurt, again both laps comfortable and enjoyable. And of course I was coming back home after delivering yet another satisfying teaching assignment, which I value so much.
My overall experience at Cairn India Ltd. was very enjoyable, comfortable and satisfying, and I look forward to such experiences at other places also. The interspersed images are for me to cherish these memories and to share them with others.