Departing From GNOME Asia 2023

Bidding heartfelt farewell to Jens, Justin and Amita on the day of departure from Nepal, I travelled with Sumantro, Saheli and Nikita on an Indigo flight bound for New Delhi from Kathmandu before boarding another Indigo flight going from New Delhi to Pune, culminating the GNOME Asia 2023 adventures.

Departing From GNOME Asia 2023
Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash
Akashdeep Dhar all packed and loaded on his way out of the hotel room
From left to right - Jens Petersen and Akashdeep Dhar sharing travel plans over breakfast

I decided to turn down Sumantro Mukherjee's proposal of visiting Bhaktapur early in the morning in favour of sleeping in some more to prepare for the long departure travel. As I was already feeling under the weather the previous night, waking up a bit late at around 0600 am Nepal Standard Time helped me quite a lot. After checking up on Samyak Jain who had left early to catch a flight around 1000 am Nepal Standard Time while getting freshened up, I headed down for breakfast with Jens Petersen and Nikita Tripathi. Jens told us about his plans of staying back a day more for exploration over a light breakfast meal consisting of Idlis, Sambar, Coconut Chutney and a cup of Masala Chai. With the breakfast wrapped up, I brought my luggage from my room to the reception area where I met with Sumantro Mukherjee and Saheli Das Mukherjee returning from their adventures. As they proceeded to the dining area for breakfast, Nikita Tripathi and I decided to get ourselves checked out of the hotel at around 0930 am Nepal Standard Time. When it was Sumantro Mukherjee's turn to check out, I decided to use some Nepalese Rupees that I had with me to help pay the extra amount for him as these would serve no purpose once I am across the border. With us bidding goodbye to Jens Petersen and messaging Justin W. Flory and Amita Sharma about our departure, we boarded a taxi arranged by the hotel reception for the airport.

From left to right - Saheli Das Mukherjee, Sumantro Mukherjee and Akashdeep Dhar on the bus from the airport terminal to the Indigo flight
From left to right - Akashdeep Dhar and Nikita Tripathi on the boarding flight bound from Kathmandu, Nepal to New Delhi, India

The four of us reached the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) quite early and after spending the remaining Nepalese Rupees that I had on myself to pay for the taxi, we headed to the reception to obtain our boarding passes. Nikita Tripathi and I were seated in window seats with my seat being just behind hers but unfortunately, Sumantro Mukherjee and Saheli Das Mukherjee could not obtain neighbouring seats. The quick arrival at the airport proved helpful to compensate for the crowded immigration queue and a huge barrage of delayed passengers rushing to the front of the security checking queue made it worse. As breaking the queue was a behaviour, we did not take kindly to as we were on the clock as well - we decided to hold our positions with great physical strain as otherwise we could end up missing our flights. We made it through the security checks just in time to join the boarding queue for our Indigo flight to New Delhi, India. After a short bus ride from the terminal to the aeroplane, we were subjected to another checking of hand luggage carried by the passengers. I decided to have the lunch meal provided by the flight and catch up on some sleep in the absence of an in-flight entertainment system available. We soon found ourselves at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) after a short flight of roughly a couple of hours and after bidding farewell to Nikita Tripathi, we moved to the next departure gates.

A queue of passengers leaving the conveying bus to get their hand luggage checked again before they were allowed to board the Indigo flight
A nearby Bhutan Airlines flight as seen outside the window of the Indigo flight that is about to take off

Sumantro Mukherjee and Saheli Das Mukherjee had a relatively shorter layover as their next flight to Kolkata, India was to depart at 0700 pm Indian Standard Time while my next flight to Pune, India was to depart at 0900 pm Indian Standard Time. After getting through the immigration queue quickly with the assistance of a helpful authority official, we took a stop at the Duty Free Stores of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to purchase some sweets and liquor for our friends and families. Once done with the purchases, I followed the two out of the terminal when I saw the display stating that my next flight was to be departing from the same terminal. As much of a pain as it can be to get through the security checks again, I was still lucky as I had a lot of time to kill before my next flight so I did not necessarily have to rush. After bidding the two farewell, I headed into a lift that took me to the entrance of Terminal 3 where I restructured some of my luggage to make sure that my recent purchases from the Duty Free Stores did not cause me any trouble. The liquor was flagged out anyway at the security checks and after a discretionary inspection to confirm that the liquid was indeed packaged in a sealed bag - I was let go off without any further questions. I began walking through the massive airport corridor towards the designated departure gate for my next Indigo flight and found myself a spot to lie down on when I got close to it.

A glimpse of the Terminal Three departure entry gates as well as the vehicle-packed roads leading up to it
A Taj SATS catering vehicle on its way to deliver quality food to the flights as seen outside the window of the Indigo flight that just landed

I decided to get a brief respite and connect with my friends and family to let them know about my safe arrival to the first layover destination in my return travel. I also shared photographs of the purchases I made with Justin W. Flory and Amita Sharma who were headed back from Pokhara, Nepal to Kathmandu, Nepal after getting through their day trip. Soon enough, it was around 0800 pm Indian Standard Time and the boarding announcement for the next flight from New Delhi, India to Pune, India was made. With the backpack stowed safely in the overhead bin, I took my assigned window seat and waited for the flight to take off. I was soon offered a light dinner meal consisting of a chicken sandwich and a bag of spicy peanuts when the flight took off and I decided to get myself a cup of tea to soothe my aching throat. To my chagrin, my fellow passengers seated in the adjacent seats exhibited zero regard for my personal space by continually leaning onto my lap and nearly knocking my meal over to click pictures from outside the window. I did not articulate my dissatisfaction over what looked like an honest mistake and instead decided to help them out by taking photographs for them. After around a couple of hours at 1130 pm Indian Standard Time, the flight landed at Pune Airport (PNQ) and I departed with my dad after finding my luggage on a conveyor belt which was surprisingly designated for multiple arriving flights.

A food outlet named Dilli Streat located inside the airport terminal
Boarding queue for the Indigo flight from New Delhi, India to Pune, India