Himalayas here I come

Flight from Delhi to Gaggal

The day arrives and  Sanjay drives me to the airport. I am on my way to Bir Billing for 12 whole days. Sanjay has not been able to join me once more but has organised the works. Double the amount of time as compared to last year’s trip, an XC course that I will participate in along with Hiren & Dwane, and a chance to fly in the cockpit on the Delhi Gaggal sector.

I am excited and euphoric and happy to be stepping out of my usual routine. The first half of the jouney was uneventful. The flight from Delhi to Gaggal was an exciting first. We flew over the mountains and came face to face with huge cumulous clouds. It was awe inspiring and educating. Also i got clued in to the fact that the weather was still to settle in.

In the cockpitPilot in commandfoot rest in the cockpit jumpseatbir-billing-08-095.jpg

Reached Bir in the late evening to find everything as it was last year this time. Met Ravi, Bandya, Sandeep and Vinay who gave me details of their first time mountain experence. Flying in Manali and Billing. Later that evening Steve and Suzanne came by and we went out to the 3 women’s cafe henceforth called Bimala Didi’s place as  her 2nd daughter is now married and has moved away.

A wonderful meal of rajma and rice, great company – Pete and Ken joined us there, and back to the guesthouse for a coffee and small talk on the terrace. A great end to an exciting day.

Astrid Rao

Author: Astrid Rao

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