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Old 2nd February 2010, 13:37   #46
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No pics of food man.... Was too busy stuffing my face to take pics!

But detailed descriptions coming up.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 13:42   #47
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You said it bro, Gali Paranthe Wali was a real disappointment. So we walked a bit further, and found this shabby looking place next to Fatehpuri Masjid. Next to some famous falooda guy.

What brilliant Paranthas! And how large! And none of that deep fried variety, proper tandoor kind. Three of us struggled to finish two paranthas. And we are quite the hogs.

I also had some brilliant jalebis from some guy on Chandni Chowk. Much different from the famished variety that I get to sample in Mumbai.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:09   #48
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After spending a good amount of time at the Audi stall, we make our way to the BMW stall. They are not allowing everyone into the stall randomly but in groups. They ask us to wait but my cousin and I are a little impatient and move on after taking a few snaps. I'll put up proper BMW pics later, in chronological order. I had a detailed look at the Beemers when I went to the Auto Expo for the second time.


We find the TVS stall in our way and give it a few minutes of our time. They donít have anything new and we take a few pics of the RTR with ABS and move on.



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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:21   #49
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We enter the stall of the most iconic luxury car brand of all time (my report, my opinion is the be all and end all of everything. No arguments tolerated!) Mercedes Benz. We enter at the exact time when Derek OíBrein (yes, the same Bournvita Quiz Contest Host) is introducing the cars and the CEO of Mercedes India, Mr. something something. There are three cars being unveiled. The GL, the S500 and the SLS. We donít know which SLS it is. It is later revealed to be the Desert Gold Edition. They even have a lady playing the harp! Iíve never heard a harp before and it sounds beautiful! Lends a touch of class to the proceedings.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:25   #50
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Mr. CEO comes on stage and proceeds to talk. I already know what to expect and move around taking pics of the SL63 AMG, CLS63 AMG and the new E-Class coupe. Soon, Mr.CEO is done with the talking and some artistes take over and proceed to give a small demonstration of ice skating where there isnít any! The white part that you see is not ice. Itís some sort of plastic. Later on, when we were closer, I could see it and saw all the marks on the plastic caused by the blades of the artistes.




Anyway, more importantly, the cars are revealed. Iím eagerly waiting to see the SLS. And surprise surprise! Itís a Desert Gold Edition! Mr.CEO poses for a lot of photos. Seems to be a very obliging chap, but then, thatís his job, isnít it?

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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:51   #51
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Surprisingly, I am able to get really close to the newly unveiled cars. Soon, Mr. CEO vacates the centre stage and we are all allowed to get up close and personal with the cars. I even get to sit in the passenger seat and the driverís seat of the SLS.

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I must say, I didnít expect to fit in so comfortably! It looks tiny, but the seats are comfy even for a plus sized guy like me. It was a really nice experience sitting inside the SLS. You are surrounded by Carbon Fibre and it feels really special. I just wish I get to drive it someday! The steering wheel is perfect. The shape, size and texture is perfect.


I even sit in the SL 63 AMG but it feels like an anti climax after the SLS.


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We are about to leave the Mercedes stall when we see a huge crowd gathered around a small tent inside the Mercedes Hall. We wonder what it is. My cousin goes and inquires. Turns out, they are supposed to be distributing freebies. They are supposed to give laptop backpacks free to all the journalists. But realising that there are a huge number of non-journalists, they have obviously refrained from distributing the goodies. However, some guys are creating a ruckus and finally one smartass inside the booth decides to start distributing the backpacks. All hell breaks loose. Just watch the small video clip below which I shot from my phone.

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Old 2nd February 2010, 22:37   #52
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Itís almost a stampede. I move away. My cousin tries his luck. Two bags are snatched out of his hands. However, itís a case of third time lucky for him. He comes away grinning like an idiot clutching a black laptop bag. I take it from him and am not surprised to find that it is of superb quality. This is a Mercedes Benz stall after all. We go outside and open the back and find some booklets, a DVD and the entire press release inside. We immediately strike a deal where we both benefit. I keep the promo material, he keeps the laptop bag. Both of think we are smarter than the other.


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Old 2nd February 2010, 23:45   #53
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Nice coverage, you can be a freelancer scribe now . By the way, I'm hungry more pics and where's the food?
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Old 3rd February 2010, 00:18   #54
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Hi Nikhil,

You have done a great job of covering the luxury cars. Wonderful Mercides as well as your experiences of getting laptop bag and the promo materials.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 00:39   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk13 View Post
Nice coverage, you can be a freelancer scribe now . By the way, I'm hungry more pics and where's the food?
No pics of the food. Food is coming up! I cant sit in the Merc and eat, can I?

You need to have patience. I'm typing all this in MS Word and then copy pasting with the relevant pics. Converting 8mp pics to 500kb takes time. Then choosing them and uploading them takes time.

And I need to go in the chronological order!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 00:47   #56
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Feeling very happy, we head to the Maruti stand. They have been allotted the same hall they were allotted last time but itís very inconvenient to reach there. Itís a little distance away from the more happening and crowded areas of the Auto Expo. We reach and we donít see anything new which is realistic. They have a couple of concepts, but they dont interest me. The Kizashi is the only thing which catches my fancy. Fortunately for us, they are allowing us to sit inside the Kizashi and Iím not one to let go of any opportunity. I sit at the back and in the driverís seat. It feels BRILLIANT! The quality of the interior is really good! It simply doesnít feel like a Maruti. And thereís a very good reason for that. Itís a Suzuki and not a Maruti. My cousin is also quite impressed.
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They also have a few Suzuki bikes scattered around. Unfortunately, that photo clicking frenzy at the Mercedes stand has taken a toll on my camera battery. I try to take whatever pics I can with my phone. My phone is equipped with an 8mp camera which is reasonably decent outdoors, but absolutely hopeless while taking interior shots, especially in low light conditions.



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Old 3rd February 2010, 00:53   #57
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By now, itís getting late and dark outside. We havenít yet seen the Volkswagen stand. Itís been a priority for us since morning because of the hype around the new Polo. We head to the VW stand and see the Polo. It looks fabulous from the outside. There isnít too much of a crowd thankfully and we immediately get a chance to sit inside. As weíve been doing all day, we both sit on the same side and see if it has enough leg room. It doesnít. The interiors also donít seem to be up to the mark. They seem to be one notch below what we saw on the Jetta. We speak to the sales executive and he tells us that the pricing is between 5-7 lakhs ex-showroom. And no alloy wheels as standard. Only the top end version comes with alloys, ABS, EBD and airbags. I am pretty taken aback. Just a day ago, I had read Sidindicaís post about the pricing, alloy wheels as standard, etcÖ. I donít know whether to believe this executive or not. I speak to another executive and he also repeats the same things. Iím very surprised. I speak to a few other people at the VW stand (prospective customers and Auto Expo visitors, not VW execs) and they all are of the opinion that the car will flop in the market if the pricing is really 5-7 lakhs. Everyone has the same tune on their lips. Itís too expensive for such a small car.


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The new VW Beetle.


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The new tiny Polo



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After the VW stall, we decide to call it a day. We havenít seen the Yamaha stall, but both of us are quite tired and he has to travel all the way to the other end of Delhi and then go to his office to start his shift!

We go back to our stall, pick up our bags and leave in a colleagueís car. He drops my cousin on Barakhamba Road and then drops me on Pusa Road, Karol Bagh. I trudge the last few hundred metres to my hotel and with relief take off my leather Florsheims. These are called ďComfortechĒ, but comfort with respect to what? Walking on nails? My feet are killing me. We have dinner and call it a day.

Tomorrow is a very interesting day for me. I plan on touring Old Delhi. I just hope I can wake up in time!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 01:01   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
No pics of the food. Food is coming up! I cant sit in the Merc and eat, can I?

You need to have patience. I'm typing all this in MS Word and then copy pasting with the relevant pics. Converting 8mp pics to 500kb takes time. Then choosing them and uploading them takes time.

And I need to go in the chronological order!
Hard work pays, you see. You see you're becoming a pro scribe with proper drafting and editing followed by posting.

Also awaiting your take on Delhi's traffic, and hope you weren't a victim of Bad Road Transport (BRT) brainchild of Madam CM, a key initiative to ruin Delhi.

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Old 3rd February 2010, 01:38   #59
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I didnt have much experience of Delhi's traffic. But the few times I was in a car, it was crazy! Especially while returning from Auto Expo the first day. Thankfully, I didnt use a car the second time I went. I read in the newspapers that it was absolutely insane.

Metro ki jai!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 01:58   #60
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Day 3). January 6th
My plan today is to visit Old Delhi and do a lot of sightseeing. I wake up a little late and have a hearty breakfast at the hotel we are staying at.
I leave the hotel around 11:00 am and take the Metro to Chandni Chowk station. I walk out and go straight to the Gurdwara Sis Ganj. This is the most famous and popular Gurdwara for all the Sikhs in Delhi. This is built at the site where the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of the Mughal emperor in 1675 A.D., Aurangzeb, for refusing to convert to Islam. Before his body could be quartered and exposed to public view, it was stolen under the cover of darkness by one of his disciples, Lakhi Shah Vanjara, who then burnt his house to cremate the Guru's body. This place is marked by another Gurdwara, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. The severed head ("Sis") of Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought to Anandpur Sahibby Bhai Jaita, another disciple of the Guru. It was cremated by the Guru's son, Gobind Rai, who would later become Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs. The Gurdwara at this place is also called Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
The Mughals for the most part were very secular and allowed people of religions other than Islam to prosper and live peacefully. This was especially evident during Akbarís reign. However, Aurangzeb was a bit of a hardcore fundamentalist. He was not only very religious but he was of the opinion that all his subjects should be Muslim. If they werenít, they were deprived of many basic rights.

Anyway, I walk into the Gurdwara and ask for some information. Iím pointed to the ďInformation OfficeĒ. I walk in and meet an elderly Sikh gentleman. He asks me what I want and I explain to him that I want to know as much as possible about the Gurdwara and the history behind it. He asks me to take a seat and launches into a lengthy explanation about Sikhism and various things connected with Sikhism. I must admit that he was very very knowledgeable and was very patient as well. While we were talking, a group of foreigners who had been inside the Gurdwara came into the office and the gentleman started answering their queries. He requested me to stay seated as he said he was explaining a few things from which I would benefit as well. In all, I spent almost 1 and a half hours in that office even before actually going inside the Gurdwara. It was a very nice session.

Just before I went into the Gurdwara, he tied an orange cloth around my head. I went inside, had a look at the Gurdwara and got back. Seeing the Gurdwara didnít take too long actually. Itís not as big as I had expected and I didnít feel like taking photos. The gentleman had told me that I can take pics, but when I was inside I somehow didnít feel like it. I just went round, had a look at the place where they have the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs and came out.

I went back into the office, thanked my guide and left. This entire experience is free. I even felt a little awkward asking him if I should pay him something. He said everything is paid for by the donations that come in. He is not a guide for the money. He says itís a sort of a volunteer job. Anyone can volunteer and devote as much time as they can to the Gurdwara. They can be guides, they can help out in the kitchen, anything.

And like in all Gurdwaras they welcome one and all to have a meal there. I didnít though because I still had a lot of ground to cover and I had spent much more time than I had budgeted for in the Gurdwara.

Anyway, I walked out and I decided to visit the Juma Masjid. Why not the Red Fort you ask? Well, because the Juma Masjid area is home toÖÖ.. Karims! Yes! Iíve heard so much about it and coming here and not eating in Karims is a criminal waste! So, I decided to go to the Masjid, finish the tour and then go to Karims for lunch!


The road to the Juma Masjid is actually quite dirty and filthy. Very frankly, it put me off a little bit. I know that the area around it is still used my lakhs of people everyday to go about their daily lives, but I do think that the authorities should make an effort to clean it up. I could see so many foreigners covering their noses while walking. The Juma Masjid is the largest mosque in India and is a huge tourist attraction. I think it deserves better than what is currently there.

Anyway, I walk to the Masjid and enter. There is a wide open courtyard. There is a pond close to the entrance of the actual mosque. This pond is used by worshippers to wash their feet, hands and face before they start their prayers.

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This is the North Entrance through which the Royal Family used to enter the mosque for their prayers during the reign of the Mughal kings.


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There are two tall minarets flanking the main mosque. You can buy a ticket for 20/- and climb the minarets to get a view of Old Delhi. However, keep one thing in mind. You are technically not allowed to use your camera without permission. Permission means you buy a ticket for 200/-. As in most places in India, people working there are out to loot you. They donít say anything when you are clicking pics. However, when you are on your way out and they see the camera, they pounce on you and ask you whether you had bought the ticket. The guy tried this on me, but I had bought the ticket. In spite of it, he tried to say some bullshit like you have to get the ticket stamped, etcÖ. This guy wasnít even in charge of this. His job was to ensure that you bought the tickets before you entered the minarets. However, I argued with him and after a while ignored him and continued.

The climb to the top of the minaret is very strenuous. Especially if you are carrying a bag, camera, etcÖ Itís even more strenuous because you would be barefoot. You have to remove your footwear even before you enter the courtyard. It is a very narrow passage and claustrophobic people would do better not to attempt this climb. Iím not particularly claustrophobic but I felt uncomfortable at times.

Even when you reach the top of the minaret, it is very cramped. When I reached the top, there were two couples. It was quite a tight squeeze. To make matters worse, another 6-7 people reached the top while I was there. I just had a look around and took a few snaps. Unfortunately, being a winter day, there was the usual haze and fog. I couldnít get a single good picture of the Red Fort from the minaret.

I started climbing down and as you can expect, that was much easier but a little dangerous as well because the stairs are kinda steep and if you miss one, you will tumble for a long time before you stop!


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I reached the bottom and there is a guy standing there. He seems to be one of the guys who work at the Jama Masjid. I asked him where Karims is and he points me to the place. I get down, collect my shoes and start the walk towards Karims.

Before I leave the Jama Masjid though, let me give you the basic facts about this place. It was built by Shah Jahan on a small hillock. He built this very close to the Red Fort so that he and his family members didnít have to travel too far to pray. When he built it, it was the largest in the Indian subcontinent. However, his son Aurangzeb built a bigger mosque, the Badshahi Masjid in Lahore. The Jama Masjid faces west, towards Mecca. There are red sandstone steps from the North, East and South sides. The Eastern gate was the royal entrance and lots of street performers, vendors and food stalls used to crowd these stairs. This tradition continues even today. I donít see any street performers, but lots of food stalls, lots of vendors selling books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, shawls, and many other things. It definitely hums with activity. But itís very dirty. The Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 AD. It has 3 domes and inside, there is plenty of marble used. There are lots of engravings and inscriptions in Persian (or Arabic or Urdu. I am not too sure). The minarets are made predominantly of red sandstone but they have strips of white marble as well. The white strips that you see are made of marble. It doesnít look like marble from a distance though. The entire Jama Masjid is made mainly of red sandstone but there is plenty of white marble used as well.

Even the domes are made mainly of white marble with strips of black marble in the middle. The spire on top of each dome is made of gold. Iím not sure of the spire even today consists of gold or is a mock up of how it was during the Mughal times.



The floor of the mosque is covered with white and black marble ornamented to imitate the Muslim prayer mat; a thin black marble border is marked for the worshippers, which is three feet long and 1 Ĺ feet wide. In total there are 899 such spaces marked in the floor of the mosque.


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