Travelling with pet – Day of Travel

All formalities completed, all legal papers ready. Now for the big day, the day of travel. Shadow gets excited, curious, stressed, apprehensive of what is happening in the house with all movement of packing and stuff. He has lost his sleep the entire day, he does not want to leave our legs, he follows us where ever we walk inside the house.
Finally the time has come to say bye to the house. We make a booking for airport drop via Ola. Normally cabs do not transport pets. We make a request with the driver and he agrees, surprisingly! We book a bigger vehicle to include in the transport also our luggage and shadow crate.
We reach the airport and we have a problem. One of the strays at airport spots shadow and wants to come in! After the first level security, part of their rules we assemble the crate and make Shadow go inside. The security were very cooperative. They helped my wife in assembling the crate and tried to keep us cool by chatting with us while I was holding shadow. Then we moved to check-in counter of Lufthansa. Once our boarding passes were taken, few other staff of Lufthansa got the other formalities completed. Fixing his food and water to crate, getting a declaration form signed by us, getting a sheet to be put inside the crate.
Then they took me to their ticketing service counter where I paid 400$+tax for the shipment. After payment they did a confirmation internally. Then the Lufthansa staff kept the crate on to a trolley and we went to the security area where the crate is scanned and say bye to Shadow. The crate is to be scanned without him inside.
Shadow1
Shadow2
The staff helped in putting the sheet inside the crate and also we had kept a blanket and pillow for his familiar smell and something which he can (and eventually did) tear up when stressed during the travel. He did his usual sounds of “dont leave me”.
Then we got through our formalities and the flight left Bengaluru. Yes we had some tension, fear about how he would be doing in the cargo section. Once we landed at Frankfurt, he was moved to animal section for feeding, walking and test. Frankfurt was our transit point. We checked with cabin crew, ground staff and others but it is part of the process and we are not allowed to see him or be with him till the final destination.
Few hours later when we landed at Prague airport we got out of flight immediately. Then we stood watching through the glass window as Shadow crate was brought out and the ground staff communicating with him! What a sight of relief.
Shadow3
We picked him up at the excess baggage counter and his whining did not stop till we took him out of the crate. We stopped at the customs for completed the next set of formalities. This took us two minutes. They checked the papers, scanned the micro chip. While we were told it would take 30mins at customs, all it took was just 2mins! Thanks again to Global Cargo Services for getting the paperwork in order.
We spent quite a long time outside the airport for his walk and to get him out of the stress before we travelled by road to Brno.

Thank you Lufthansa!
Finally we are at our new home together! 🙂

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Travelling with pet – Formalities

In 2016 when I got the confirmation to move out of Bangalore to Czech Republic, the biggest decision we made was not to abandon our boy Shadow. By that time he was with from late-mid 2012 and it did not seem ethical nor moral to leave him out. Abandoning him at any kennel or on the road or leaving him with some other people was not in discussion at any point of time. Which meant we would take up any obstacles that come on the way to ensure that he is in new place with us.

Who is Shadow? We did not buy him from any breeder nor from any other person. We actually do not know his exact breed. October 2012, late in the night when we returned from one of our long trips and parked the vehicle, he came as a small puppy and stood in front of the vehicle. We took him inside the house and next day enquired all around close to where we lived. Nobody had a clue where he came from. The security of hostel of reputed institute were taking care of him for last 15days. They had their own difficulties to keep him beyond certain period. They were happy if we were to keep him and they could see him everyday. It was first big decision we made when we decided to bring him and be a part of our journey.

First I travelled out of India late-mid 2017. Am not sure if any other person moved out with their pet to Czech Republic. We read through lot of material on websites like pettravel, understood government rules and based on that made a list of things to do and complete.
Firstly, a microchip (international standards) needs to be implanted into his body behind the neck. Secondly, for his dimensions a crate is to be bought. We got the micro chipping and a Petmate crate grade 4 from Cessna, Domlur.
Then we had to get the blood test done. There is 90 day wait period post extraction of blood for rabies testing. This is required because we come from “high rabies countries”. Before this he had to be given a rabies vaccination. Post vaccination the blood test can be performed after minimum waiting period of 21days. During the blood test while we were contemplating where to send the blood sample (whether to Dubai or London) is when we contacted Global Cargo Services via our doctor Nanjundappa. The representative from Global Cargo took the blood sample from Nanjundappa and sent it to London lab. Thankfully Shadow cleared the test. After which we were to wait for 90 days. This was a big delay for us. We had planned a New Year 2018 re-union and had to shift it to end of March 2018.

In the meantime my wife got him through training like making him first get used to the crate, then locking the crate and doing work inside the house and later locking him inside the crate and going out for few hours. To this she added additional training and also to go out for walk with muzzle aka mouth cap, because over here one can travel in tram, bus and train with pets.
Beginning 2018, his blood test result arrived and he was declared fit to travel by end of March. When you decide to travel you would have to mark special services during booking of ticket. Whether emirates or lufthansa, we zeroed in on Lufthansa due to less travel time from Frankfurt. After booking my ticket I called up their customer care and gave complete details, they confirmed the services and added to my ticket “Transporting Animals”.
The next and last important part was to get the paperwork completed. The representatives at Global Cargo assured us of getting it done. April 2018 when I was there in Bangalore there is one formality to be completed. This is to take Shadow to Animal Quarantine Center at Bengaluru Airport. Along with representative from Global Cargo we went for inspection. The inspection also includes scanning the microchip. He cleared the inspection. And finally his papers were ready along with clearance certificate.
Lastly 4 days before travel he had to be given deworing tablet. Recommended, Slayworm Merial.
Shadow was ready to travel with us! 🙂
Thanks to all those who had been part of his life during the last approximately 6yrs in Bengaluru
1. His doctor Nanjundappa from the time he came to us.
2. Cartman, Koramangala where we used to drop him for boarding some times.
3. Global Cargo Services for getting the paperwork completed on time and to perfection.
4. Cessna, Domlur

15yrs gone by (Life outside workspace) – Part 1 (Endurance)

It is difficult to write the entire duration of life in last 15yrs in one post. The entire thought of life so far is split into few parts.

To think back load’s of things happened and in these years. It is your life in your hands and how you shape it depends on you. Our parents had done their best within their capacity. While we may not agree to our parents as years go by, they had sacrificed quite a lot and beyond their capacity too. All this to see their children “settled”. I have never agreed to this and maybe not. Life is an adventure and to copy a quote “life is a box of chocolates, you never know what is coming next”. It is never possible to undermine the efforts of parents.

2002 January was the time I moved into Bangalore. Everything looked fine, go to office, come back home, eat, sleep, party, workout at gym. Nothing else. Life went on like a machine. While everything looked to follow a routine there was a need to break free. 2004 was another changing point in life.

The first change in 2004 was joining SAP Labs India (detailed post later). The year that I got into an aeroplane for first time and made a trip to Germany. second change was the first solo backpack trip that I did. I asked a colleague and good friend about Waynad and off I went. Little did I know that it would change my way of travel. That was the beginning and was not the last! I learnt some things from that trip and I started craving for more. It was then I decided that in future trips to Germany I cannot run to places for 1.5days over weekends but rather do longer trips.

Later the next major change happened. Like any other day my brother and myself were running between domlur-koramangala-domlur when my brotherproposed the idea of running marathons. There was no turning back, have been running from then on. Marathons, ultra marathons, long distance cycling and also came in running to office as part of training.

Marathons are an experience. You run and run and run going through physical and mental disturbances. In the course of running you overcome these obstacles. As you drag yourself to the finish point there is a burst of emotions and a smile curves in. There is nothing big that you get except a medal, the value of which only you know. They were also not times when you finish a run, click a selfie and post on social media. Running becomes a drug, you run for the adrenaline rush when you cross the finish line. The body takes a toll not just during the run but also the period of training.

Just when you feel you are doing great you fall down. Injuries pull you down because we have treated body like sh**. Lack of strenghtening exercises, lack of training plan and irregular diet and other habits all merge together to sc*** you up.  After sometime you feel fine and fit only till you are you pulled down by injuries. Lack of guidance was something I felt then.

I am thankful for having met Gladson via recommendation from a colleague. The body weight exercises were just the menu I wanted along with stretches for dessert! 2014 was the peak of my running even finishing an ultra of 50kms at Jawadu Hills in 4.5hrs.

It was not all about running in these years. I also started cycling long distances some time reaching the destination and some time not. In 2005 when few friends ganged up and cycled from Bangalore to Chennai I was the only one who did not finish even though we had a relaxed plan to cycle in 2days time. I had resolved then to cycle to Chennai in under 24hrs and years later it was accomplished with group of guys from SAP! The total distance around 350kms. We did it in 21+hrs.

Similarly we cycled Tour of Nilgiris (organized tour) for 9 days with only aim of finishing comfortably each day and to not get into the support vehicle at any point of time.

The last of cycling tour was from Manali to leh again with a different group of guys from SAP supported fully by my wife. There were lots of emotional exchanges and mood swings given the altitude we were heading towards. Inspite of all that we completed in around 9days a distance of 450kms.

There is one important thing to learn from high endurance activities that is to understand one’s body. At least from my perspective I have a better control of my body and mind. Other thing is failure is part of learning process, either you fall down or get up and succeed. After a point of time you will enjoy failure and success taste more sweeter, nothing comes on a platter! And the finish line is not the same all times.

 

Travel to Brno

Many years ago I got this strange idea of moving to Europe for work. This would also enable travel to different parts of Europe to explore. Though I am percieved adventurous I have my own restrictions.

Last year I saw an opportunity and was not ready to let it go down. Brno stuck on to me. I have not visited Czech republic in the past. Things were falling in place and I got a job here in Brno.

It is not a piece of cake to just move in and join work. There is a whole lot of documentation work. Apostille of degree certificate, police certificate and apostille of same, apostille of marriage certificate (if you are married, for your spouse). It is better to have your spouse name on passport. Once all the documentation process is over then you go to consulate in Delhi to submit the application and relevant documents. The rest of documents include proof of accommodation in Brno and employment offer letter. Then is a process time of 90days. Once the application is approved by end of 90days you need a medical insurance which would have at least minimum of one week from date of travel from India. After which you make another trip to Delhi to collect your passport which will contain single entry visa.

Now starts the next work which is to book a flight ticket. Flights to Brno from Bangalore take 2days with long stopovers. What is the other option? Take a flight to Prague and from there take a bus or train.

I got a ticket via Doha to Prague and the airlines was Qatar airways. I had my own reservation since I have traveled by this. It turned out to be a gentle surprise. It was comfortable journey with only a two hour time in Doha.

At Prague the immigration was another surprise. It took only a minute to get stamped and sent inside!

To let know the immigration process at Bengaluru was also only about a minute. The age old forms which were to be filled in the past are done with!

From Prague (PRG) airport I went to train station and by journey time of 2.5hrs I was in Brno. For booking train ticket click here.

It was a convenient journey.

There are other options to fly in by Lufthansa or Airfrance or by Ethihad or by Emirates.

Men & back slap

In the movie Pink, Amitabh Bachan concludes stating that:
1. Women should not laugh and talk
2. Women should not touch and talk
3. Women should not have a drink

All these are inviting for a man. These are signals sent out by girls.

Today morning while I was returning during my run near Bellandur Petrol Bunk a girl was walking on the service road. Two men on a moped are coming from a distance. Suddenly when they are close to the girl the palm of the guy sitting behind stretches out. The moment I call out his hand goes inside folded. Nothing happened.

What remains in our mind is what our Sultan said “baby ko bass pasand hai”. So conveniently conveyed as “base” with the action and nobody wanted to censor.

Whirlpool – Service & Social Media

It all started in the month of May 2016. After noticing for a month the fluctuation in cooling of the refrigerator, I called up whirlpool customer care and registered a complaint. The technician who arrived at the house conveniently said it is gas problem and refill is required and would send the concerned technician.
In 2nd half of June, the technician did come to fill the gas. Post which he discovered the core board was not working. He reported the issue to his boss and his boss promptly gave the response which is normally given to customer. “Sir, two days part would be available.” 2 days became 5 days to a week to 2 weeks to 3 weeks. In the meantime he asked us to contact his boss and put pressure! <brilliant tactics>
Frustrated with the behavior we made a post on social media, twitter and facebook. Whirlpool India facebook page post did not get any response from the company. With more than 40days since identifying the problem now the whirlpool incharge asked us to send model number and serial number and buy a new fridge since the core board was not available anywhere in India. I asked him for the requisition form which he had sent to his head office. I did suspect foul play.
On the other side I kept posting to the twitter handle of whirlpool customer care, apparently this is caters to US region. Due to constant posts and complaining about the attitude of whirlpool service guys in India finally they relented. They forwarded the complaint to India head office and then the action started. I got a call from Delhi office of Whirlpool. They followed it up and found that core board did exist in India. <unlike what was claimed by Bangalore office>
A week later the board reached Bangalore and was fixed by a different technician.

If you are talking to Madhu from Whirlpool, Bangalore ask him clearly what is going to be his action plan.

What this entire episode also highlights is the importance given to social media in India and in USA. While the India handlers ignored, the US after repeatedly pressing on understood there was a real problem. Thankfully there was someone listening.

Music & Safety for runners

I may not be qualified to write long post on this topic.
This is something from what I keep observing and how things are around me.

Music is a great company while running. Lot of runners like to plug in music and keep oneself motivated to run. Some keep the volume low while some keep the volume high. The genre of music also varies.

While the attention is to running and music, lot of them are not aware about what is around them. When we block the ears with music, we are blocking that essential sense from listening to approaching sounds form behind. Theory could be that run against the flow of traffic.
At least in India, the flow of traffic is not restricted to one side. There are lot of road uses who drive/ride their vehicles on the wrong side also. There are in this some elements who would extend their arm on to the runners. Though I have no idea whether extending the arm onto body of runners translates to climax. It is definitely going to take decades to change the mindset of our people. In this time one cannot stop running citing these reasons.

When not listening to music we tend to listen to sounds around us and it is quite probable that we may move away from these elements.

If listening to music is something that cannot be avoided then it is better to run inside parks or around lakes where there are more public. Or to run in a group who also maintain same pace.

Run safe, be safe.