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Random thoughts mid air

thoughtsThese are thoughts that came to my mind when flying back from Delhi to Mumbai on July 31, 2014 onboard the Go Air flight.

  • You realise the value of games only when you are on a flight, tired and nothing but the phone in airplane mode for company. Why did I remove all of them?
  • Kejriwal is back to his usual antics. Saw on a rickshaw in Delhi about his dharna or whatever on August 3, 2014. No kidding!!! Sunday barbaad Delhi waalon.
  • Delhi flyovers are so flat that they accumulate water sufficient for a child to swim. Glad Mumbai is not so bad though can’t say the same about the Dadar fly over!
  • Usage of whatsapp for school homework transmittal reminds me of my days in VJTI when we had to photocopy and post stuff to each other.
  • I used whatsapp today to do some google research for Kavya. Collected material while at Delhi Airport and sent it to wifey so it is done before Kavya sleeps. #collaboration
  • Co passenger has a headache and requests for a pain-killer. Air hostess checks and asks “have you eaten anything?” #courtesy #goair
  • Traveled without shaving foam just so that don’t have to check in my bag. So when I get off I can say my bag was the first to arrive which has never happened!
  • No news papers on board. How boring. Can’t kill time and no online access either else would have posted these on social media. Need internet in flight like in the US.
  • Do they actually measure what is trending on whatsapp? Today alimony, hotmail and hot male were trending on all possible groups on whatsapp!!
  • Mumbai’s climate showing up already as we pass through a bumpy patch. Will it be raining when we land? Yesterday’s landing at Ahmedabad was kinda scary with water every where.
  • Captain makes the magical announcement that we have commenced our descent into Mumbai. Those are the words everyone longs to hear after a tiring day.
  • Reminder to self – get the cycle fixed you idiot before you forget cycling!!!
  • Should I make all of these into a blog post? Or should I post individually on Facebook? Confused!! Mind is constantly thinking.
  • Why don’t people turn off their cell phones? Mid air I hear someone receive a message on a Samsung phone going by the sound. Also why don’t they install jammers? Jhanjhat khatam!!!
  • With 10 minutes to land I am now feeling sleepy. Hang in there Manish, go home and sleep like a baby. Considering my girth can I be called a baby??? Oversized maybe.
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Rains in Mumbai but I am not complaining

People wade through waterlogged streets of Mumbai after heavy rains in Mumbai on July 2, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)
After an acute dry spell all of June not to mention the scorching heat, Mumbai finally received rains yesterday. And the rains Gods well and truly opened their hearts out. No it wasn’t like the July 26, some 8 or 9 years ago but it did bring respite from the sweltering heat.

People went ballistic on social media (yours truly included) talking about the rains. Everyone was either posting pictures or discussing rains. Hot topic of the day it was.

As expected, life was out of control with flooding, traffic jams, potholes, you name it and you had that…

But I for one was surely not in a mood to rant. It brought the much-needed respite from the heat. The sun went into hiding for almost the entire day as the grey clouds took over the skies. Just that the clouds opened up so temperatures dropped from the 35 degrees + that we were living in to under 30. May not mean much to all but it meant the world to Mumbaikars.

Air, road and rail traffic was all thrown out of gear. The first rains always do that in Mumbai but we are used to it so the typical “chalta hai” Mumbaikar braved it all. As usual it debunked the usual claims of the municipal authorities that they had done their work and there would be no flooding etc. But still “chalta hai”

As I write at 0630 on Thursday it is raining outside. I could not go cycling as it was pouring hard but I am surely not complaining. Just a hot cup of coffee with R D Burman music would do the trick for me.

Rain Gods, please continue to pour. Mumbai (and the whole of India) very badly needs rains. And also please pour in the catchment areas so that the lakes get filled up. Mumbai’s annual water supply is at stake already.

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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.

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The Mumbai Monorail …. finally

ImageYesterday, February 1, 2014 saw the Mumbai Monorail finally being inaugurated. I had all good intentions of taking Kavya today as it is thrown open to public for a joyride on the Monorail but looking at the images posted on twitter, I chickened out. Just not worth the long queues…. Mind you it is India’s first mono rail and so is special.

Reminds me of different experiences on monorail with Kavya – Sentosa in Singapore which was her first trip abroad. She was less than 2 then but it was a good experience though she may not remember anything about it.

In 2008, she visited USA for the first time and since we had time between connecting flight at JFK, we went around the terminals of JFK in the monorail there. Little did I know then that there was a VJTI hand in that project. A fellow Engineer (Civil) and a very dear friend, Sanjeev Malhotra was then with the Port Authority of NY & NJ at the designing stage.

Unsure if there are other monorail that we have visited – Maybe at Changi Airport in Singapore, there is a monorail that connects the terminals? Just looked up Wikipedia and it seems like it is not a monorail.

So after Sentosa and JFK maybe it is Mumbai for Kavya on the mono rail. But that will be next Sunday and not before that.

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Lessons to be learnt from Taxis / Taxi drivers

Mumbai Taxis
We have all seen the famous yellow and black taxis in Mumbai either in person if living in Mumbai or in Bollywood films. The thoughts that I am sharing are lessons learnt from the taxis / drivers. These are not my thoughts but have had the opportunity to learn these by interacting with different people over the past few weeks / months.
The first lesson is thanks to a dear friend, philosopher and guide, Suneel Agarwal. We often see an empty taxi and curse the driver ahead as he is slow and looking out for a prospect at every possible corner. Our blood pressure often reaches flash point if we are in the car behind such an empty taxi. However if there is a passenger in the cab, the taxi is driving fast and smooth.
In life too, such an analogy applies. A man without a purpose in life, without a goal in life is like a taxi without a passenger going about in his own way at his own pace, stopping everywhere and blocking the path ahead of the people following him. Similarly a man with purpose is moving fast in the direction of his goal.
The second lesson was had when in Delhi last week when I met a Senior Executive. We were discussing where he lived and commuting to work and home. It turns out that he lived some 60 kms away from his place of work and knowing the Delhi traffic he has taken upto 3 hours to travel one way. One day he was complaining about this and his Mother said “Look at a taxi driver. Does he ever complain? No. Ever wondered why? That’s his job and like it or not he has to do it so he enjoys what he is doing”. In life we too need to enjoy doing what we are doing.
The third lesson was learnt when I attended the Mastering the Mind Monkey Session by Dr. Anand Patkar. He spoke of Taxi drivers and asked the audience if we had ever noticed that when we are trying to catch a flight or reach for an appointment, we ask the driver to hurry up. But the taxi driver drives as he would. Can he change the traffic or anything else? No. So he does what is best and remains calm and drives along merrily. We have to bear the brunt of the stress. In life, let us understand that not everything is in our control so best is to leave things as they are and enjoy the ride.