Mumbai traffic – getting worse!!

Yesterday, February 13, 2014,Mumbai Traffic I had the misfortune of driving from Andheri East (MIDC) via Dharavi to home. It was an awful drive and thank God for the multiple FM stations, the phone with bluetooth and the AC that kept me company throughout the ordeal. It took me a good 90 minutes to drive the distance which under normal conditions would take me a third.

The bottleneck at Kherwadi junction was so bad that traffic had backed up all the way to the Vakola flyover. I wondered if all idiots like me were suddenly out on the road at the same time. Raised tempers raised, frayed nerves, you name it and it was all visible in abundance. Seriously driving is so stressful now in Mumbai!!! And the new crop of drivers is no better either. I used to think that Mumbai has the most disciplined traffic in India but how wrong I was. Drivers just think they all have the right of way any and everywhere. (my friend, Kiran will say the same thing for me but no I AM definitely better off) Two wheelers honestly are a bane anywhere. No I am not looking down upon them after all I am a fellow cyclist but the motorised two wheeler population think they can go ANYWHERE and I mean it. Most of them break the laws with impunity and think they are consistently right! When you are in the midst of bumper to bumper traffic you feel like taking a machine gun and getting rid of all these 2 wheelers who get in every possible nook and corner of the road. I mean it.

By the time I got home yesterday, was so tired that had dinner and slept like a log even as I was talking to Kavya. Sad but true.

Thankfully in Delhi I sometimes make use of the metro and AirPort Express. I find I can travel from one point to another without worrying about the traffic outside or the pollution. Yes it is crowded sometimes depending on the hour of travel but far better than the maddening traffic. Unfortunately the local trains in Mumbai are just not conducive to travel in even in the first class. Why can’t we have a world-class public transport system? Singapore has a damn good one. Delhi metro is good too and Bangalore AC buses are good too. Why can’t we just have a mix of Delhi and Bangalore in Mumbai? Lack of political will I guess. Mumbai May have the monorail and the upcoming metro but no plans to improve the local trains which are then lifeline of Mumbai? Beats me!! But honestly I am frustrated.

Another English Gaffe this time from Namma Bengaluru

Thanks to Vinubhai for sharing this one:-)

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India – A land of many cultures and festivals too!

Strange a title you would wonder but this is what I am beginning to realise yet again. I am an Indian at heart and an Indian by birth but my knowledge on festivals would be restricted to generally the ones we celebrate in western India. Today a colleague from our Bangalore office applied for leave for tomorrow on account of Varamahalakshmi. Now this is one festival I would not know of even in my wildest dreams. So as is the case with the present day generation / times, Google comes to my rescue. I found this link which explained the ritual. Speaks volumes of how much we know about our own culture honestly. We need to know more about our own country than the world around us.

Bangalore and Mumbai differences

I returned from Bangalore last night after cutting short my travel plans thanks to the terrible cough which just kept getting worse so much so that I was practically living on water (Imagine consuming 10 litres of water in 21 hours) and rushing to the loo so often. It was terrible. I am not saying that I went to Bangalore intact and contracted the cough there. NO. Just that the cough worsened thanks to the pollution on the roads there. You have to experience it to believe it.

So what do I find different in Bengaluru as it is now called from Bombay now Mumbai? Pollution for one is definitely higher there. The weather in Bangalore is awesome and you see many gardens (it used to be called the Garden City of India though I don’t know for sure if it still can be). They have a 24 hour FM channel which plays only English music (Radio Indigo 91.9). Come to think of it, even Delhi has one but there is no such thing in Mumbai. Bangalore has only one FM station that plays Hindi music (94.3 Radio One) whereas in Mumbai all the 7 private channels play Hindi only save and except for the Club nights past 10 pm on Fridays by which time I have hit the sack or close to. The radio stations play the local songs (or maybe other south Indian languages but for a person like me they all are the same). When in Mumbai there was a demand for Marathi music the channels slipped in Marathi songs on Sunday afternoons when the whole world is sleeping.

They have nice cheap food but it is hygienic (I have not had a problem on that for over 3 years now). You get filter coffee everywhere and if you want it without sugar then you have to ask for “less sugar”. Another thing to be noticed is that in Bangalore the shops sport their names in the local language in a font far bigger than the English name. When in Mumbai they tried to implement it, there was a hue and cry!! Why? Bangalore has its fair share of power woes though power is dirt cheap in comparison to Mumbai. I think it is the price we pay in Mumbai for stable and uninterrupted power supply. The autorickshaw guys in Bangalore mostly will not come by the meter (at least with me). In Mumbai I have not come across such a thing. Bangalore has a lot of the air-conditioned buses which are sorely lacking in Mumbai. Bangalore has a huge and nice airport which is light years away from the city which thankfully Mumbai has in the heart of the city. Come to think of it, a Meru ride from the airport to the city centre will lighten you of 600 or more. Mumbai will lighten you by 200 or so.

What is similar in both cities is that the Metro continues to remain a work in progress with the public at large wondering if this will ever see the light of the day. Don’t want to talk about Politicians anywhere so let me just end.

A temple that worships dogs???

No I am not off my rocker. Yesterday evening on my way home, Kiran mentioned about a news item he saw the other day in which they showed there was a temple near Bangalore which worshipped dogs!! It was unbelievable but I googled it up and realised that it is true.

With temples built for millions or rather zillions of Gods and Goddesses not to mention film stars (Yes Amitabh Bachchan has one), this one sure takes the cake complete with the icing!!!

You can view the news clip here. The article is here.

Can I say God help us considering my mortal fear for the canine species????

Some movie this…. It is nameless

Writing from Bangalore and the city is plastered with posters of this movie which has no name. All it has is this hand symbol and people are calling it “Super” so I guess the movie is now named super. What an ugh looking hero though I am told he is a super star here, Upendra. He badly needs a barber or will give Makarand Deshpande a run for his money. No I have not yet had the gall to go watch this movie nor do I intend to but the movie is a super hit I am told. I wonder how. Yesterday heard some song of this movie in the bus here in Bangalore. And honestly made no sense to me. I am sure they would be saying the same about Hindi movies…. But well, Bollywood sure has a bigger reach than Kannada films.

Common Wealth Mess

The Common Wealth Games 2010 are supposed to be held in Delhi in 10 days times. Why am I saying “supposed to” is because it is such a messy affair. India has been mocked at here, there, everywhere. The corruption scandals, the security, the widespread dengue is all in the news. To add insult to injury, yesterday a foot over bridge collapsed and the minister called it a small matter. The Delhi Government nonchalantly said that that the bridge was meant for pedestrians and not for the athletes. Ms. Sheila Dixit, is it that the lives of the common man have no meaning for you? Only the firangi athletes matter?

Then the Australian media conducted a sting operation and carried a suitcase laden with explosives right under the nose of the policemen into the main venue. There is no end to this. I just wish we could fast forward time and get it over with. Seriously it is too embarrassing. Nothing is in place and nothing will be. Common Wealth yes considering the money that has been siphoned off but Games? No way. Shame yes.

And this picture was taken yesterday afternoon using my phone not in Delhi but in Bangalore. While the word Mess is used in this part of the country to refer to a food joint, honestly it reflects the image of the country.