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Amrit and Balbir
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Balbir Singh and Amrit Sethi are founders of the popular web portal, www.koramangala.com. Since its inception in December 1998, the website has received global media coverage and was also featured on "Sunday Morning 60 minutes", on the widely viewed CBS News channel.

Recently, the couple went on a 2-week trip to the United Kingdom - Balbir's second, but the first for Amrit, for whom this has been a fabulous experience.

Back to Oh! To be in England

We're Leaving on a Jet Plane

The distance from our house in Koramangala to Bangalore Airport, is hardly 10 minutes as the crow flies. But to drive on Bangalore's infamous potholed roads (if one can call them roads) and weave through chaotic traffic jams, the journey could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 years. Some never make it and miss their flights.

That's KC - our pet German Shepherd;
a striking pose indeed

German Shepherd
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I wasn't taking any chances. I'd asked for the City Taxi to report at 6.30 am even though our Jet Airways flight was at 08.55. The taxi arrived on the dot and we were ready to go. There was just one last thing to do, something I knew would be difficult for me; bid goodbye to 'KC' our beloved German Shepherd dog.

He'd never seen such flurry of activity nor heavy bags rolling out before. He knew something was up. That morning, he seemed crestfallen and his expressions said it all. I went up to him and gave him a big hug. He responded - as he usually does - by licking me all over. With a heavy heart we got into the taxi and as we drove off, I glanced back. There he was ears up, peering through the gate and wondering where these people were off to leaving him Home Alone. I'm pretty sure he watched the taxi all the way till it turned the street corner and disappeared from his view.

Did I see his eyes turn moist? I think I did. I was missing him already.

Hampton Court Palace, built beside
the River Thames just outside London

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We completed check-in formalities. Outside the airport building, I had a few smokes in-between saying goodbyes to Reena (our daughter-in-law) and younger son Roshan. Deepak, the older chap couldn't come as he was doing a shift at AOL where he works and wouldn't get off till noon. No specific last-minute instructions given, except that they should take good care of KC, who may feel a bit out-of-sorts for a few days. At about 8.15, we went through security and awaited boarding call.

After breakfast on the flight I tried to get some sleep (we were up since 4.30 that morning), but couldn't. Whole lot of things kept crossing my mind. The itinerary for instance; did I get it right or did I miss out something? Did we pack all that we needed, or did we leave something behind? Often my hands would feel for the various pockets of my blazer where I'd kept the passports, the tickets, foreign exchange. 'Yes, it's all there' I kept reassuring myself.

We landed in Mumbai on time and after identifying our 'Through Check-in' baggage, we were on the coach to the International airport. I looked around for a place I could have a smoke, but the all-familiar 'No Smoking' sign was everywhere. It was tough but I had no choice. Immigration didn't take long as we had expected. After security and a half hour wait, boarding was announced.

Sightseeing tour of

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The aircraft was huge. The plane that brought us here from Bangalore was in comparison, a midget. Down the narrow aisles we went till we found our seats - 64G and 64H. The plane wasn't even half full. Which, I thought to be pretty comforting. I also noticed there weren't any tiny-tots around; this was even more comforting. I have this unexplainable aversion for wailing and screaming kids on a journey.

At precisely 13.20 the aircraft eased off the tarmac and soon we were airborne. The in-flight entertainment programs didn't have anything extraordinarily interesting. We watched something anyway. We downed a few rounds of 'Jack Daniels' and when lunch was served, we preferred the Continental Meal on the Menu.

Lunch done with, I soon dozed off.

Smart Policeman at
Buckingham Palace

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Mona didn't. She was all agog! Before boarding, she'd called her mother in Chennai, spoken to half a dozen others. She kept herself busy switching channels of the in-flight program frequently checking the Flight Path that was being displayed. When I awoke from my siesta, she told me that we'd flown over such and such country and I could tell she was all excited, which was quite understandable.

It's only later would she realize that in all her excitement, she'd forgotten her wrist watch at home. Luckily, I'd brought a spare piece which she could use.

Next: O Lights Of London

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