Monday, January 28, 2008

Macho man on a plane…

This morning, I woke up at 0300 to catch a 0500 red-eye to Bombay again. The city of dreams, good for many, bad for me… Anyways, I was not in the best of cheer, and was standing in line to get my bag screened, when, out of the blue, a guy jumps the queue puts his bag on the belt. The poor attendant tried to tell him to go back in line and he said, “Do you not know me? I fly from here everyday! I am in a hurry… blah blah…” Now, this guy’s bag, for some odd reason got called and by the time I got through with the screening, he was stuffing his ‘daily flight gear’ of ‘Rupa’ briefs, ‘ganjis’ and a ‘gamcha’ back into his bag.

(Tip: always pack your ‘personal’ garments in a shopping bag and place it at the bottom of your travel bag. Anything that you think that may make the security curious, like computer hardware, battery operated devices, etc., should be on top.)

Anyways, I saw him again jumping the queue where I was waiting to check-in. The executive asked him to go back in the line, he created a fuss saying that he will bring the airline to its knees and out of business, and that no one had a problem. To save the poor executive I called out, “Sir, I have a problem.” The others in the queue joined in and he went to the next queue, but only after trying to fix me with a stare… He had his way there and he gave all of us ‘lesser’ ones a cocky smile and left.

The next thing I know is that he is sitting right in front of me – Seat 15F (Which incidentally on a Boeing 737-800 is at the emergency exit without a reclining seat). He tried to brush the flight purser away by telling him the now common “I travel daily and I usually sit here” reel. But rules are rules and he had to endure the 30-sec odd procedure. After sometime, he rings for assistance and complains loudly about his seat being spoilt and not reclining. The passengers almost applauded the purser when he told him, “Sir, this is your usual seat and it does not recline.” What happened next was unbelievable, he threatened to file a complaint with Air Traffic Control* (of all authorities) about the uncomfortable seats. He even went to the extent of asking the passengers to sign a complaint that he would draft. No response. So, he starts name-dropping on his cell-phone all through the safety announcements and the taxiing. The pursers tried more than once to persuade him to disconnect and switch off. They even told him that they would not take-off until his phone is switched off. Finally a gentleman sitting in my row on the aisle, got up, pulled Mr BigShot up from his seat, slapped him and threw his phone on the floor! (I thought that the gentleman could be an Air Warden.)

The pursers scuttled to pick up the pieces, and Mr BigShot was stunned. Then the Air Warden(I’m sure he was one since the pursers did not raise any objection when he) took the pieces and told him to collect it when the plane landed. Enough entertainment, I dozed off, through the take-off, cruise and landing. (I’ll talk about that gift another time.) I see a glimpse of Mr BigShot pushing through the aisle to get out. As luck would have it, he was on the same bus as I and again pushed through to exit… He rushed to the baggage claim fidgeting for about 10 minutes till the bags started coming in. Mine was probably the 4th bag; I walked out and had my first caffeine and nicotine fix for the day in leisure. Since I stay pretty close to the airport, I walk out to get a ride. It seems unfair to engage a guy standing there for hours for about 40 Rupees. As I walk past the pre-paid rickshaw stand, there’s our man fighting with the driver and the constable. I didn’t wait to find out why…

I often wonder why people make fools of themselves to get noticed or feel important. Well… outside of college groups and boy’s nights… but I fail to understand that otherwise. Or is it the influence of the likes of Sunny Deol that makes them believe that louder is manlier? I’m sure all of us have had enough and more of such experiences. Unfortunately, these kinds still walk among us.

* Air Traffic Control reminded me of the cabbie who dropped me to the airport this morning. He asked me how much I paid for the fare to Mumbai. I told him Rupees about 500 for the ticket and about 2000 for taxes. He was not surprised. He said in unadulterated Hyderabadi. “Compulsory lete saab. Humaare company ku aur mereku road pe chalaane ku itta dena padra… Flight waaley khaamush baithtey? Aajkal issi mei loot hain.” (Translation: They will definitely take (extra money). My company and I have to pay this much just to drive on the roads… Will the air authorities keep quiet? These days, this is what brings in the moolah.” Qaderbhai – kudos for summing up an issue we have all been wondering about all these years…

(BTW, did you guys notice the title kinda rhymed? Latent talent, I guess)

(And again… Latent Talent is an anagram… How much better am I going to get! Getting better with age? Hmmm…)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekends and a week :)

Hey readers! I'm off home this weekend and will be with my family the whole of next week! It seems weird that somehow I don't find time to blog when I'm home... I had a month-long break in December too, when I was home and not a single post!

Now, don't get me wrong here, It's not what you think... It's just that it's so much easier for me to switch off when I'm here in Mumbai. Back home, I always have something or the other on my mind. And I have my favorite place to sit by the window and then, sloth overwhelms me. Moreover, when I'm home, I'd rather be good and save the missus some trouble and do some cooking, right? Wrong! She is mortified of the idea that I might be cooking at home. The kitchen, in her own words, "Looks like a war-zone"!

But This time, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, thanks to EuphoRHEA (You'll find the link to her blog on the right). So, even if it means I cook for 10 mins and clean for an hour, I'm 'all in'.

This time, I'll try and see if I can update you on my culinary skills. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

BTW, someone please tell Chandu that I'm bad-mouthing him because he's not reading my blogs anymore. I just have 2 regular readers ;) and without him, I'm cut down to 50%...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Here without you baby...

It's so wierd innit? Sometimes you listen to a song and think that the singer felt exactly what you are feeling!

Here's this one by 3 Doors Down that I was listening to:

Here without you...

A hundred days had made me oldersince the last time that I’ve saw your pretty face
A thousand lights had made me colder and I don’t think I can look at this the same
But all the miles had separateThey disappear now when I’m dreaming of your face

I’m here without you babybut your still on my lonely mind
I think about you babyand I dream about you all the time
I’m here without you baby but your still with me in my dreams
And tonight it’s only you and me

The miles just keep rollin as the people either way to say hello
I’ve heard this life is overrated but I hope that it gets better as we go


Everything I know,and anywhere I go it gets hard but it won’t take away my love
And when the last one falls, when it’s all said and done it get hard but it won’t take away my love


About the song:
Artist: 3 Doors Down
Album: Away from the Sun (2002)

A walk on the other side…

I turned 30 on January 12. I thought it would be a monumental event in my life, not quite. But I still wonder – What is the big deal of having 30 candles on your cake?

(A good thing about turning 30 is that people start buying your philosophical bullcrap! Your musings are considered ‘mature’ opinions. And the worst – people consider you a man of years… Be cautioned if you want to read on.)

To be honest, I have not seed 30 candles on my cake… There was no cake at all :p But I will still consider myself a 30-year old. And do I feel any different? Hell no! I still love the same kind of music, I would still watch the same kind of movies, and I still care about the same people… So what is the big deal? I say – It is the wisdom!

Factually, I am 100% wise (proof – I have all four of my wisdom teeth). There are some who claim otherwise. But since this is MY blog and added to that I am writing about MY birthday, I will not entertain that group!

Coming back to MY wisdom of 30 years – Your only assets is life are the love of your dear ones! In the darkest of your days, they will shine on you and comfort you.

My neighbor from my hostel days – ABC (no, he doesn’t wish to be anonymous… that’s his name – A B Chandrasekhar) and his wife, Ruby Chandrasekhar, took me to my favorite hang-out and bought me drinks! I was flooded with calls from my friends after the dreaded hour, and that too, cheered me up :) I would’ve loved if I was with my wife, but well, you can’t always control things.

Then on the big day, I met my niece, sister, and brother-in-law. Later some of my old college buddies – Vishal and Prakash were in town, and along with Sony, Nitin, Maninder, Chandu, and his wife we spent some quality time reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ and narrating some of my much sought-after PJs. 500 miles away, my wife was comforted by friends. They were enjoying a live band and though she wished to be with me, there was good company at hand. (But nothing could compare with my PJs, right honey :) ?)

This in addition to my family, with their unconditional love.

So, boys and girls, keep your family and friends close. Because, like I realized when I matured, on your birthday, don’t count the candles, but your loved ones.

P.S.: The average life expectancy for an Indian Male is ~64 years. So, only those of you who want to shorten your's can call me middle aged... humph!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nano Car… Giga dreams…

Yesterday was a historic day for India. We did what the rest of India and the world tagged as ‘Impossible’. We launched a production car that would cost just USD 2,500 or GBP 1,250!

It was all over the news channels. Most of them were rightfully optimistic about it. Sahara Samay, between about 9 and 10 pm, started a debate on whether we actually need this car… A reporter was also sent to Singur (where the Nano will be manufactured), to seek inputs of the locals there. They also showed footage of protestors burning effigies of a car (that looked more like a bus) to express their opinions. Sunita Narayan was spewing venom enough to burn out the entire ozone layer. And many more reactions – some negative, but an overwhelmingly large number were unable to express their pride and joy in this achievement. I am a part of that majority, and I would like to look at some points put forward by the other side.

“It will lead to congestion.”
No doubt about that one! The already choked roads will have to accommodate more cars. That’s the point – We will have to gear up infrastructure to accommodate them. In the same vein, if there were a lack of jobs, do we stop education? No! We create more jobs, right?

“The environment will take a beating.”
Well, the Nano has lower emissions than most two wheelers. So, this argument is incredulous!

“People should use public transport.”
I agree. I would too, myself if the person who says it (Sunita Narayan) shows me how to do it. I bet she would not have stepped into a blue-line in Delhi and come out happy.

“The diesel version will be the last straw.”
Hmm… From whatever research I have read on the topic, diesel is far less harmful than petrol when it comes to harmful emissions. There is a higher percentage of particulate matter, which is nothing more than carbon.

“The farmers will be displaced.”
The farmers who came on to Sahara Samay last night claimed that they used to earn upto INR 70 per day working the fields of Singur. If they are willing to learn a new skill, I am sure they will be able to earn double that. And look at what the plant will do to the future of their children… Better quality education, exposure to a new trade, the hope for a better future…

“We do not trust Tata Motors.”
Whom do you trust then? I hope they realize that they are talking about a company that reinvests 67% of its profits back into the society. That this company is leaps and bounds ahead, in ethics, of the number two company in India. That this company has given India its many firsts – Airlines, Internet, Locomotives, Steel, and the list is endless.

So what does the Nano symbolize? It symbolizes the dream of a visionary. He saw a family of four struggling on a two-wheeler in the rains and decided to do something about it. Most of us wouldn’t even give that sight a second glance. And despite the prices soaring upwards, he has delivered a $2,500 car that a family can afford. Why? No one could have said it better that Mr Ratan Tata – “A promise is a promise.”