Time – Some thoughts as they come to mind

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Yesterday being a Sunday, I had the liberty of indulging myself. I watched a Gujarati drama in which there was a very profound dialogue or so I felt. The protagonist said “You can turn off the tap to stop the flow of water but even if you turn off your clock, time will continue to pass you by”

It was indeed a wow moment for me considering Gujarati dramas aren’t the best source of penny dropping moments.

There is nothing as important as time and living in the present moment. I often see people waking up late and partying at night. No harm in that but I for one wake up every single day with the alarm at 0444 (thanks to Robin Sharma for inculcating the idea into my brains). What do I do? It gives me some time to do things that I would like to do such as reading or as I am right now writing this post. And after that, I can go for my walk or yoga or cycling.

Another quote that I have loved is “Never postpone joy” Come to think of it, how many of us postpone joy for the future? Why not savour the moment now rather than deferring it?

Find a purpose in your life to wake up early, live in the now and enjoy every moment.

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The Pagoda ride and then coastal ride

I was longing to go to the Global Vipassana Pagoda near Gorai. Had missed a ride earlier when friends had gone there. Finally, we decided to go there on February 4, 2018.

As is typical of me, I announced it to my friends and family and of course my accountability partners just so that I had no means to chicken out. And it worked. The previous night I slept past midnight and when the alarm went off at 0444, I was two minds whether to go or skip. But I jumped out of bed rather than listen to my silly sleepy mind and left home at 0600.

Reached the meeting point at Dadar TT and met Rony. He had got my tail light so he fixed that. We finally took off at 0615 just the two of us for what was to be a superb ride. The weather was pleasant so no complaining.

We rode over all the bridges starting from Andheri as the Metro construction work has made the roads below a living hell. Turned left at Kashimira and went in towards Mira Road and Bhayandar and other spots. The road does get a little uphill but it wasn’t so bad.

We reached Gorai beach around 0930 and clicked photos to preserve the memory of my first ride to Gorai beach on the bicycle.

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After the photo session, we left from there and found a simple restaurant which served us some lovely egg bhurji with paav. It was filling and kept us going through the sunny ride.

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We started around 10 am and rode to the Pagoda. The grandeur of the Pagoda is breathtaking indeed. They have a nice, clean restaurant which serves pure vegetarian food. Since we had already finished our breakfast, we had delicious buttermilk there and boy was it delicious!! Had another round as well. We decided that the next time we ride here, we would have our breakfast at this restaurant. They have a swing opposite the Buddha statue and I have a fetish for swings so enjoyed that as well.

Left from there and rode to Manori jetty. It is a short ride of about 9 kms. On the way, we spotted this house with bougainvilleas in full bloom. It was an amazing sight.

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We then took the ferry from Manori Jetty to Marve which is a short ride across so it would hardly take 10 minutes.

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From Marve we cycled again this time to Madh jetty via The Resort and The Retreat hotels as also Aksa Beach. This was another 9 kms but it was fun. You suddenly felt the traffic of the city though not as much as the normal Mumbai traffic.

We took a short trip on the ferry across the waters to reach Versova. Honestly, it was shouting distance so to say as the ferry took us to the other side in less than 5 minutes. It was tough manoeuvring the bicycle through the sand. No, I wasn’t even riding but just dragging it in itself was tough. Don’t expect any pristine beach or such as we landed on to the fishing village and it WAS DIRTY. What followed was an ordeal as the road leading out was extremely narrow and two trucks came face to face. Even a cyclist couldn’t get through. Finally, they managed to move from there and so we could move. We hit Yari Road and we spotted a Subway so had a filling meal there.

We took off from there and then continued the journey back home trying to avoid traffic as much as possible. We took the road via Juhu beach just so that we could be near the coast as much as possible. After all, we wanted to do the coastal ride.

Took the usual route thereafter and we returned home. There was less than usual traffic honestly. Maybe it was a Sunday so people were enjoying their siesta. I made it home at 3.26 pm having done 94.7 kms. All in all, it was an exhilarating ride and the view of the Pagoda was breathtaking.

A big thank you to Rony who always motivates me to complete the ride (especially during the uphill climbs). Without him, I would be the king of DNFs. (Did not finish). The two of us will definitely be riding there once again and maybe after reading this, we will have more cyclists joining us.

Here is the map of my ride from Strava.

Mumbai Cyclists – the most vulnerable species on the road.

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I know it is hard hitting but this morning I realised that we cyclists are the unwanted people on the roads.

Cars and trucks don’t care about us. They ride on as if we don’t exist and zoom by / stop without warning. Just this morning, I was coming downhill on the bridge so, as expected I was at a good speed. The cab which was riding to my right suddenly swerved in and braked to a dead halt. No, it is not that I wasn’t visible (with a reflective white T shirt and lights) and my gargantuan body sure can’t be missed. But well, he decided to do what he had to do. I had to hit the brakes and swerve to my right just to avoid ramming into him. Luckily for me, there was no car coming from behind else I would have been hit by that. So far so good.

On the way back, I was approaching the signal just before the one at Sion Hospital on the way from Sion to Matunga. It was just about 0830 so it was bright and sunny. The lights were green and so I continued to pedal ahead with my bell chiming. This rotund lady in her red dress was crossing the road without giving a damn about the traffic in her own sweet world (Headphones? I am not sure). I had no choice but to shout out loud and slam the brakes. Since the front brakes were applied hard, the wheel was locked and I flipped over the cycle and landed on my face and elbows. Thank God for the helmet that there were no head injuries and I got away with bruises and some bleeding from the elbows. The lady said sorry twice or thrice and walked away without any qualms. I had to get up and get my cycle back in action. Thanks to my friend who helped me through this. The whole intention was to avoid blocking the traffic. We walked a little ahead, fixed the bicycle and then proceeded further.

My question to the pedestrians is if, God forbid, I had hit the lady I am sure a crowd would have “gheraoed” me and hit me / pounced on me for sure. However, in this case, people walked away and the lady just said sorry. Thank God for my friend who helped me through it. What if it were something serious?

To the motorists out there, would you have done this (swerved in and braked) to another vehicle? Please understand that cycles are manually driven and braking is not machine controlled. Please leave some room for us to brake especially downhill.

To my fellow cyclists – please wear a helmet at all times. Please protect your head. After all, God has given you just one and there are no genuine spare parts available for replacement. Make sure you are visible to the motorists as well as the pedestrians. Reflective clothing is a must in the dark or then consider using reflective straps. Slow down at the signals even if green. Else, like me, you will end up wounded. And when you approach a populated area (where o where in Mumbai is a square inch of unpopulated space?) slow down to avoid sudden wheel locks.

Happy cycling on the streets of Mumbai.

Why gift?

Just this morning, a dear friend got some sweets from his holiday and my mind began wondering – When we travel on vacation or on work, we tend to bring some form or the other of a gift. Why? How did this ritual originate?

I don’t know but I do have a list of my own to shop for when I travel. Could be for my cousin, my friends, colleagues or whoever but shop I must.

Maybe it is just a small gesture of having remembered them when traveling? Or maybe returning the gesture they made when they traveled. I don’t know the real reason. The soul searching continues as the sweets are being relished.

Yoga and how it benefited me

Monday, July 3, 2017 – A day I won’t be able to forget. Went for a walk in the morning as usual. Upon returning the pain in my left shoulder and left upper arm was acute. I couldn’t even get my T shirt off. I thought it was a heart problem (left shoulder). Not wanting to panic all at home I didn’t mention it and quietly drove down to the office. It was a day of severe discomfort. I didn’t mention it to anyone all day except two of my closest friends. Around 1645 I went to the cardiologist to eliminate the heart problem. I underwent an ECG and the doctor advised me to go see an orthopaedic surgeon as that is what I needed. Left from there, relieved that it wasn’t the dreaded heart problem. At the Orthopaedic’s clinic, he asked me to raise my left hand and I couldn’t. He just touched the left shoulder and I screamed as he had hit the right spot. He advised an X ray which was taken under tremendous pain. Medication prescribed. Was asked to refrain from cycling and yoga and also follow up after 5 days.

Took the medicines and remained at home for the next 3 days. Skipped yoga on Wednesday and Saturday too. Cycling was never on my radar. Saturday, when I went for the follow up was advised to take a cortisone shot which would have elevated my already high sugar levels. I decided to let it pass.

Spoke to my yoga teacher, Mrs. Bhavana Roha and told her that I wanted to avoid medication. She assured me I could do it with Yoga.

Went for the class on Wednesday when she made sure I did different poses than the rest of the class. One of the poses she made me do was supta bhadakonasana. I was in pain but it was definitely better than the cortisone shot. Over the next few turns, I was made to do asanas and it showed. I persisted with my faith in yoga and she helped me pull through. Her passion for BKS Iyengar yoga is infectious beyond doubt and she instilled that faith in me that I could actually overcome this injury without the cortisone shot or any other medication. Yes, it did pain at times but as she always maintained, bear the pain.

Thank you, Madam, for pulling me out of this mess.

My speech as outgoing President of Bombay Toastmasters Club

June 30, 2017 was my last day as the President of Bombay Toastmasters Club. On Saturday, July 8, 2017 the new executive committee (Excom) was inducted and I gave my farewell speech. Here is the text of the same.

“On June 25, 2016, I was installed as the 9th President of Bombay Toastmasters Club. It was and will indeed be a matter of honour and pride.

On behalf of the entire Excom, I would like to thank each one of you for the support and encouragement throughout the year.

I would be wrong if I said we were the perfect team but then I had a ringside view of what went into the making of the meetings, contests, education sessions at the Club. And hats off to these 6 people who worked tirelessly to ensure that the experience of members and guests was positive.

Komal – the Sergeant at Arms. Let me admit that her role was always challenging as one slip up on her side and it would show up. Kudos to her for maintaining her smile even under tremendous stress. Every meeting was handled perfectly.

Pratibha – the Secretary. I would rather call her Aunty after that hilarious speech that she delivered at the Humorous Speech Contest. We truly discovered a new Pratibha that day. She has been meticulously minuting the proceedings of the meetings and circulating them every time.

Omkar – Don’t get conned by the smile. He is the dreaded Omkar. When it came to money matters, his response always was “I have so much budget only. If you can manage it within that fine, else forget it”. Performed the role of the treasurer to perfection. Our big achievement for the year was thanks to Omkar. We now have a KYC compliant bank account in the name of Bombay Toastmasters. I am sure this will go a long way in helping us manage our banking transactions smoothly.

Harshad – I have known Harshad for nearly 2 decades and so my input about him would be completely biased. He is a social media recluse and thanks to his role as VP PR he atleast started posting events on Facebook. Thanks to him for posting the image across clubs in Mumbai and creating awareness. Harshad I would love to see you on Twitter too.

Atul – How many times did we receive mails at 2 am from membership@b-t-m.club? Thanks to Atul who automated so much during the year thanks to his knowledge about Google. Thanks again to him that the Excom members have their personalised e-mail IDs. I distinctly remember during one of the meetings, guests received information on their e mails in the middle of the meeting. Always my shoulder to cry on in times of trouble.

Anand – the cool and composed Anand. Don’t know what we would have done without him. Be it contests or roles for the meeting, he was just cool as a cucumber as I would be edgy. Hats off to you Anand. Thank you for always patiently listening to me as I vented out my fears.

There are so many Toastmasters I have to thank for their guidance along the way but if I were to name them, it would be like reciting the names from the roster. Besides, the timer will show the red card.

On behalf of the entire team – thank you, members. We have achieved the coveted Diamond Club award yet again.

If any of us have knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone, my sincere apologies. It was unintentional.

Wishing the new Excom all success in the coming year. May we achieve greater heights and continue to grow as leaders and speakers.”

Now I have taken on the mantle of the Area Director for Area A04 with 4 clubs under me. Let us hope for the best.

ACB 1 Speech – Mind the Gap

 

After achieving the Competent Communicator (CC), I embarked on the ACB (Advance Communicator Bronze) journey. The manual I selected was the Entertaining Speaker so, have to complete 5 speeches to meet the objectives. The first speech of this lot was delivered on Saturday, April 29, 2017. The objectives of the speech are:

  • Entertain the audience by relating a personal experience.
  • Organise an entertaining speech for maximum impact.
  • Time: Five to seven minutes

Here is the transcript of my speech.

Mind the Gap

“Please mind the gap between the train and the station”

Elbowing “Wake up Papa. Our station has arrived”

As some of you have experienced, sleeping comes to me so naturally that even on train ride from Santacruz to Vile Parle, I can fall asleep. During conferences and meetings, if you are sitting around me you will know when I am asleep as I SNORE loudly.

Toastmaster of the Day, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests. Welcome to the sleepy times which are now sleepless.

That fateful day, Kavya and I were going to watch a movie, Ra.one for the first day, first show. Was it due to SRK’s marketing prowess or his charisma with the female audience? I still don’t know and don’t want to know either. As we enter,

“Don’t fall asleep. It is really embarrassing as you snore so loudly and heads turn to look at you and HENCE me. Worse they laugh!!”

“Young lady, I am footing the bill for this ridiculous movie not to mention the popcorn and the coke that you consume and I don’t even have the right to sleep in peace?”

No marks for guessing what happened in the movie but after that experience, she now keeps elbowing me lest I fall asleep.

Wake up to their fashion ideas – Jeez. I feel like I am from the ice age. The other day, Kavya sports a pair of jeans which in my humble opinion are torn and tattered.

“Kavya, have we fallen on such bad times? You don’t even have a decent pair of jeans?”

“Papa, you just don’t understand fashion”

Talking about jeans, I just hope those low waist jeans that were once in vogue don’t get to her. It was such an embarrassment watching people with those jeans and I always wondered if they would fall off in absence of the belt.

Oh Lord!

When it comes to shoes, she owns 3 of the 5 drawers in the shoe rack.

“Shoes have to match the attire”
“But what is the logic of using different coloured shoe laces on the shoes?”
“Papa, my friend has different coloured shoes on her feet. Atleast thank me for not doing that.”

Mind the gap!

Communication – This generation has a way with Technology but as a Toastmaster I just can’t digest the acronyms that they use. Using K in place of OK!! How many milliseconds will you save if you just typed the extra O? Dis instead of This, Y in place of Why, Dat instead of That…. The list goes on. They don’t just murder, or even massacre, they simply annihilate the language in broad daylight and I would second Arvind Nair’s anguish at that one.

Maybe the time saved is used for their obsession, selfies.

I don’t know what their poses mean especially that pout and the two fingers. And they adapt to technology changes so fast. Kavya is the tutor in the house as my wife, father and mother are coached by her – not on using the phone, but on the correct tone, manner and form of clicking the all-important and almost reverent selfie.

Mind the gap.

Ever heard of fingies? That is the selfie but of their hands.

Friday evenings, hours will be lost in fixing fake nails which to me look more like claws. Or then she will apply nail polish which to me WAS a shade of pink but now, I realise that nail polish can be in myriad colours including black. (Remember Eastman Colour Kodak from our days of yore?) She applies a certain colour on half the nail. After it has dried, she applies another colour so you see two different colours on the same nail. She will then garnish it with some drops of white on it. Voila! A good hour is consumed in this futile exercise. Come Sunday night and the room smells of acetone as the nail polish remover is working feverishly in getting rid of the efforts put in barely 48 hours ago. Why oh why do you apply it in the first place?

I honestly have lost it completely with this generation. Blame it on my age or call it the generation gap, these kids are just impossible to fathom. Nirav, as a father of two princesses, get ready. You don’t know what is coming. Kshitij has already been through this phase so he needn’t fret. Yet please mind the gap between fathers and daughters.