My self and Mr MR Kedia were posted to SMS- Germany for 3 months for on-job training in 1983. Few interesting events took place and few are worth revisiting. One of them is described here. We were travelling club class in the upper deck of Air India's Boeing 747 popularly also called Jumbo jet. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of Air India. Since for 26 seats in 7 rows, we had in attendance 8 stewards and hostesses. They would every now and then offer drinks or minor eats. Itinerary was Delhi-Rome-Geneva with connecting Swiss Air flight Geneva-Dusseldorf. The plane made an unscheduled stoppage at Athens, we were not permitted to go to the terminal building but came down for few minutes and went back due to chilly weather. The reasons for the additional stoppage was strike by Custom personnel at Rome.
Kedia and me
L-R, Me, Mr GC Pd, Late Sri PL Modi, Mr MR Kedia
In Rome Air India was unable to load food hence the captain announced that passengers may drink as much they want. While I had already taken few drinks I availed this opportunity for gulping down 2-3 champagnes. When the plane reached Geneva we were slightly delayed and a lady from Air India was there to hurry us up. I was little drowsy but Kedia was sober and he thought of a plan and asked me not to hurry so that we miss the connecting flight and get an over lay in Geneva. We had seen the travelator for the first time and any way it was making us move slow as we did not walk over it. Our plan worked and finally we missed our flight. Our only worry was how to inform our colleagues at Dusseldorf of the changed plan since they were supposed to pick us up there. Swiss Air agreed to help and they sent a fax to SMS office. We were taken to a 5 star Hotel Penta for an overnight stay with all food coupons. That night we could hardly sleep as it snowed and we were excited to go out and enjoy. We enjoyed the Swiss food specially the cheese.
Next day we moved around and saw important places such as Geneva lake and UN establishments ILO & WHO. We could afford to buy some curio items. Thus we could visit Switzerland for the first time. At Dusseldorf my little German knowledge worked as The taxi driver was not able to under stand our address ie 26, Oberbilker Allee, and I used the German for 26 ie sechsundzwanzig and the driver took us to our apartment.