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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Beginning of my Toastmasters Journey

Public-SpeakingYesterday, January 25, 2014, marked the beginning of my journey as a Toastmaster as I presented my Project 1 (P1) speech. Way back in 1989, I had joined Nazareth Speakers’ Academy and had done the course there along with Parin and Yogesh. But like you need to take a shower daily, you need to speak once in a while and I for one never did that. Joined Bombay Toastmasters Club (BTM) from October 2013 and am enjoying the experience. Yesterday was unique as it was P1 and the format is the simplest for P1 – Introduce your self. I had practiced my speech at home and yesterday narrated it in office too to get over the nerves. And I am glad it went off well. The support that the audience showed was amazing and my family was there too. And the best part about the format is that after a P1 the audience gives you a standing ovation. Truly makes you feel special.

Coming to my speech, I had tried to make it as humourous as I could (even if my better half felt it was too dry to be called humour) and had worked on the delivery in terms of pauses. I don’t know how the final result was as I haven’t had an opportunity to see the video but the feedback received was very nice with someone even commenting that I should consider stand up comedy!! Man that was taking things a bit too far for me. All in all had a great time. Thank you BTM, Toastmasters and all who had to bear the brunt of my speech.

I am putting down my speech here for posterity sake.

Proud father, Entrepreneur, Engineer, Foodie – That’s me

What is common between Wayne Rooney, Mallika Sherawat, R K Laxman and me? I am slightly heavier than Wayne Rooney, definitely more seductive than Mallika Sherawat and R K Laxman is far more serious than me. But one thread that connects us is that we are all born on October the 24th.

Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and guests, welcome to the rollercoaster ride of my life.

My Mother was making a Gujarati dish called mathiyas when she felt I was kind of gearing to get into the world. Small wonder, till this day and age, mathiyas are an inseparable part of my life.

My Dad, 78 now is a source of inspiration not just for me but a lot of other people as he has stands up against Parkinsons without any medication. He has been running the Mumbai Marathon for people afflicted by Parkinsons. I too run the full marathon, BUT only in my dreams.

My Mom is a great cook which explains my girth. I knew well in advance that I would not survive the hostel food and ensured that I got into VJTI in the vicinity which allowed me to always have Mom’s food.

My wife has been putting up with me for over 20 years and hats off to her for that herculean task. To live with a whimsical character needs a lot of strength. She has to raise two kids, one who is yammering before you, as you can see, is grossly oversized but she does a good job I would say.

My sister is a qualified nutritionist who helps people lose weight. However my failure as her case made her move her practice to the US.

I have had the privilege of great friends who have stood by me right during different stages from school to work. I also have a passion for pen friendship, which I continue to date, only the pen has been replaced by the keyboard.

After completing my Electrical Engineering, I joined my family business of Electrical Contracting which led me to meet some great people with Projects like Kellogg’s and Floatglass factories and TCS’s software development centre.

In 1998 the entrepreneurial bug got the better of me and I started off Rincon India Solutions Pvt. Ltd. specialising in fax solutions. Today I am proud to be part of a team that works for the customer and not the accolades.

My life wasn’t complete until 2004 when Kavya entered our lives. Since then, the entire household revolves around her. She is the best thing that ever happened to all of us and has changed our lives completely. She is super amazing and I’m the lucky one because I get to be her Dad. Just that she is a very good dancer and expects her dad to dance like Hrithik Roshan, but I am blessed with two left feet.

I learnt swimming at the ripe young age of 44 just because Kavya mocked at me “You still don’t know how to swim?”. Despite being from the feather light category I am learning yoga, and after a 28 year break I am cycling too. All of these, with just one hope – shedding a few kilos.

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time, to figure out whether you like it or not.

I am still at the first stage in many things, just as I have delivered my first speech today.

Over to you Toastmaster of the Day.

Missed Flight – Beggars can’t be choosers

Missed flight

This line has been used by me very often and have shortened it to BCBC. Today (January 17, 2014) I find myself in that spot honestly. Was to board the 1800 flight from Delhi to Mumbai and I was kinda over confident that the flight would be delayed considering the fog etc. The counters close 45 minutes before and I made it 41 minutes so missed the flight by 4 minutes or rather 240 seconds. So near yet so far. Ran helter skelter pleading with the powers that be (suddenly everyone for me became Sir and Madam). Last resort was to cough up a hefty sum and booked myself by the 2330 flight. This is when I told a fellow passenger who was in the same situation – Beggars can’t be choosers. Now I am sitting completely jobless here at Delhi T3 Terminal not knowing how to kill time. There is a glimmer of hope for me as I feel some dimwit like me will show up 4 minutes late for the 2030 or 2045 or 2100 flight and I will get to hop-in in his place. Hope Hope Hope….. And also hoping that someone else says BCBC…..

January 19, 2014 – The above post was written sitting idle at Delhi Airport. What eventually happened was that I met up with Senior from VJTI (Electrical), Kartikbhai and had an interesting discussion. Also met Prof. S Mantha who had taught us Theory of Machine (TOM) in the VII Semester at VJTI. So it was VJTI all the way at Delhi Airport.

Yes there were two people who did not show up (God bless them) and so Kartikbhai and me made it on to the 2030 flight which took off only at 2115 but no complaining. All’s well that ends well.

Cycling – A week past – Findings

fat-cyclist

I am enthused by my new-found love for cycling. For the past week I have been using it off and on and let me tell you every ride has memories of one form or the other.

Day 1, Saturday March 30, 2013 I went to Hanumanji Temple in Wadala and 5 gardens. A trip to 5 gardens always brings back my educational years – first to pass is Ruia College where I did my XI and XII. Then comes my school, DPYA where I spent my formative years right from Nursery to X. Then further down is VJTI where I did my Engineering so nostalgia is all around.

Day 2, Sunday March 31, 2013 I went to Siddhivinayak Temple which was the farthest I had travelled on my maroon BSA SLR bicycle and from there went to Mahim, passed by the office building and came back home.

Day 3, Friday April 5, 2013 Started from home not knowing where to go so got on to the main road at 0645 and rode on. Reached the Byculla zoo and then turned back. Must admit I was impressed by myself. Wrote on Facebook and was enthused by the Likes and messages from one and all.

Day 4, Saturday April 6, 2013 This was probably a hectic day. Morning 90 minutes of yoga. After that was all set to cycle to office as everyone wanted proof of my having cycled. Went in shorts but admit the traffic was bad. Return journey started at 1400 and it was terrible as the sun was shining mercilessly and the humidity was phenomenal. 1500 to 1600 Swimming coaching (Still don’t know free-style but am learning in all earnestness). Came home and went to meet an ailing school friend at Bhandup. Post dinner at 2215 went for a walk with my better half to Dadar. Came home and slept like a baby:-)

Day 5, Sunday April 7, 2013 After yesterday I was banking on a friend to accompany me for early morning cycling today but he dropped out at 11 pm last night so woke up at 0630 only. Left at 0745 and decided to drive to Priyadarshini building along the Eastern Express Highway and then via Bhakti Park, came home. On the way went up St. Joseph’s slope which during school days was always a challenge.

Takeaways from all these escapades – Please do not avoid a helmet at any cost. Traffic sucks. Early morning the number of cars maybe less but at that time no one pays heed to traffic signals or traffic rules of any sort. “Cycle to the left of the road” – This is what Mrs. Pereira had taught us in Standard III but look at the left of the road and you realise that is the most unkept side of the road. Even the smallest stone makes your bottom go up in the air and thud you come crashing back down on the seat. With a bottom like mine, IT HURTS! Watch out. Don’t expect any car, bus or truck driver to show any respect for you. They are ruthless. While crossing major roads, I have walked across. Can’t take on these mighty vehicles. So better to be safe than sorry. Eyes – Please protect your eyes with some form of glasses. I forgot my spectacles today and went on without them (I have a miniscule number so doesn’t matter) but when going down a slope you need to be extremely careful. Hydrate yourselves – I have been advised by all my cycling friends (rather gurus) to keep myself well hydrated. My 31-year-old habit of 1.2 litres of water first thing in the morning helps me there as I have enough supply of water in my body but will sooner or later need to carry a bottle as the temperatures rise.

Every road taken has brought me memories of one form or another so while I cycle my mind is wandering into the past. Enjoy the ride.

Rode a bicycle after 28 years

Hercules 110sYesterday I finally took the plunge and bought the Hercules 110s. I have been a cyclist right from Standard III when I bought the first maroon BSA SLR from a shop in Kalbadevi. This faithful friend of mine was stolen some 6 years later and I ended up in tears (A vehicle always has shared so many moments of your life). Then bought another maroon BSA SLR from Ambika Cycle mart in Dadar West. This one proved my teenage saathi from 1981 all the way till say sometime in 1986. Used to cycle down to Ruia College, to VJTI even if I was less than a kilometre away from both of them (and yet ended up late / missing the morning lecture…. shameless me!) In 1986 got my driving licence so the two additional wheels took precedence and I lost my friend. Somewhere deep down the urge to get back on 2 wheels was always there but the increasing girth / the feeling of ending up sweaty and grimy kept me away. Met Chetan Shah an avid cyclist who gave me an insight into what is done and how. Infact he sent me details of the model of the cycle to buy  (maybe considering my mass and girth:-)) and accessories I must have (including the helmet which is so necessary these days). Yesterday evening the bicycle was home and this morning after yoga I took it out for a test drive you can say. My first time since 1986 and womenfolk in the house were ready with their advice that “you haven’t tried cycling in so many years. Will you be able to do it? Be careful etc.” with a geared cycle. The first few metres were kind of wobbly as I tried to get hold on myself. It was also my first time with a geared cycle and I tried to change gears just for kicks around 5 gardens. The first bomb fell on me as the chain came off:-) Got it back soon after all did it so many time before in a cycle without gears:-) Went to the Hanumanji Temple in Wadala as my Grandfather always went there on Saturdays and we go there whenever something new comes in. After that went around 5 gardens reliving so many memories and took 7 rounds. Traffic sure makes cycling very difficult these days I will admit. I thought people stared at me every time or maybe they were pitying the bicycle who was thrust upon with such an elephantine load:-) But I was enjoying it. Will have to build endurance for sure but enjoyed my ride after such a long time. Good to be back cycling.

VJTI’s Pratibimb – A journey from 1988 to 2011

1988 was the centenary year of VJTI (Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute then) and we were organising the centenary celebrations including Pratibimb which was the inter college youth festival. I distinctly remember those days when getting sponsors was an absolute nightmare yet we managed to get some sponsors whose names are etched in my memory Pink and Purple, Concept furniture, Universal Cables, Shavo Norgren amongst others. We had managed to get Rock Machine to perform as part of the festival and they were the hottest band in Mumbai then who did awesome covers of the hits (Who can  forget their rendition of Highway Star?)Advertising was hard to get in those days and it was a miracle that Wrangler sponsored the Rock Machine event.

This morning on my walk, I passed by my Alma Mater as I do every morning during my walks. They had Pratibimb 2011 going on (so said the posters) and what struck me was the list of sponsors. They could find so many now!!! I could not resist but take the photographs of what I saw. I am sure a lot of my batch mates will recall what pains we underwent to get them on board and now I see sponsors clamouring to pay up!! Life sure has changed…..

Listening and seeing Dr. Narayana Murthy


Yesterday (December 20, 2009) as part of the VJTI Alumni meet, we had the privilege of having Dr. Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys as the chief guest. He arrived on time and the event started off on time. His speech was brief and to the point on the pitfalls in the education system of India especially us Engineers. What struck me was his humility. He arrived in an Innova with a chauffeur sans the entourage of body guards or black cat commandos or such that the politicians bundle with themselves as a package deal. He talked about water and energy conservation. Such a big man and has a bath with half a bucket of water. Why? As he and his wife believe that there are a lot of others who need the water. He switches on a light in his home only if necessary and has illuminated his home with LED lamps. He spoke of how he envisioned Infosys when he was wrongly arrested in Romania… Very humble person, very humane…. Hats off to you sir. I am proud of the fact that I could listen to you in flesh and blood atleast once in this lifetime.