Sunday, November 26, 2006



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life

Act1,Scene1: It was my freshie year. Having been allotted hostel13 meant travelling up and down the slopy roads leading to the academic area. Something that would be a real arduous task. For the unitiated, the academic area is more than 1 kilometer away from my hostel and you have to surmount two himalyan slopes on your way. What i badly needed was a bicycle. Severe cash crunch, as always, ensured that my bicycle could only be a "bicycle"! Not the sleek and sexy ones which most others seemed to possess. So a not-so-soothing-to-the-eyes blue coloured framework, just two brakes, just the normal handle without any add-ons, the normal bell capable of producing the most repulsive and an ear drum piercing sound and ofcourse, no signs of gears-all in all the kind of cycle that the filthy rich kids of today would dismiss as prehistorical. Despite this it cost me a fortune-1700 bucks!
Act1,Scene2:Now its my fourth year. "Well wishers" bombard me with queries with a clockwork regularity. Queries of the type, "You don't even realise its kiddish?". "How long will she carry your load re?". "Will you exploit her even in your 5th year or will you even cycle to your office?". And these queries crop up only when my "well wishers" are in groups. The boisterous laughter that emanates thereafter can unnerve or irritate the lesser mortals but i still manage (or pretend to manage) to maintain my composure. So i would like to use this medium to express my gratitude to all "well wishers" who have ensured that my love for my cycle does not mellow down with age. For someone for whom a trip to the main gate has become a religious ritual, life sans a cycle would have been hellish. My old faithful- she has withstood the vagaries of faith and weather ungrudgingly. She bore the brunt of Bombay's monsoons for an entire month when i parked her in the open unattended while i cheerfully proceeded on a vacation back home. There are loads of people who owe a big thanks to her for having saved them on innumerable occasions - be it missing a lab, lecture or a date:d . She has been subjected to double and triple ridings as well regardless of her highly fragile and docile framework. And despite all these favours, the ungrateful fellas have tormented her and her owner with the crudest of jokes. The biggest advantage of having a cheap bicycle is that noone really bothers even giving her a look while the costlier ones keep getting moused.There have been gazillion occasions when she has suffered a chain break, puncture, break fail and god-knows what !! But every time she has recuperated back to "fighting fit". Alas!! now these events have become just too frequent- signs of old age catching up with her. Every second day some part gives away and getting a repair costs me a fortune. But the strong bondage ensures that i do cough up some precious bucks- something that i don't do for nothing! Now for all my "well wishers"- here's some good news! The truth has dawned upon me albeit late. The imminent has arrived. She definitely deserves a rest. Before i say RIP , i must tell you its AVON SLR 707. Go have a look ...

ps: The preference of "she" over "it" and "he" has a reason. Not to be disclosed :p
pps: She is too camera shy for any pictures. Everybody loves my baby :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Salaam Bombay !

Ever since i was done with my schooling and all, i have lived the life of a nomad. I have been lucky enough to have lived in some of the beshtesht cities one can think of. A huge chunk of that stay has been in the himalyan kingdom of Nepal. Then i have lived in places like Patna,Mumbai,Delhi and Nainital . Having lived the biggest part of my post-schooldays life in Mumbai, i consider myself qualified enough to voice my opinions about the city. I , for reasons inexplicable, do not like the sound of the word Mumbai. So i would be better off using Bombay. Before i go about rattling my version of " reasons why i love Bombay", i must say that these views are totally personal to the me and any offences are purely coincidental.
First and foremost, i like Bombay for being Bombay. The kind of Bombay that one grows up with watching doordarshan's serials and movies. The kind of Bombay that is the real exotic orient. The kind of Bombay that greets you the moment you get down from your train onto the platform. Everyone seems so lively and active - the entire city oozes life from every pore. For someone who is awe inspired at the very sight of a beach, Bombay keeps me mesmerised. Having looked at some of the best beaches/shores like Murud, Colaba, Bandra etc (and still miles to go before i sleep),it has only left me longing for more. And how can someone waxing eloquent about Bombay forget to mention Bombay's awesome snacks. Stepping out of my college's main gate, the first thing that attracts me are the street vendors selling all possible permutations and combinations of "puris" - be it bhel, batata or sev. A start without a stop. The amazingly crisp chikkis and the vada paos - the list is simply endless. Even the Bombay local trains are inviting. Despite the sometimes unnerving crowd that zeroes on you from all sides, travelling by the Bombay locals is another experience that i look forward to. Looking out of the window, you can see the exact Bombay that has been depicted mesmerisingly through media, literature, news etc. And i swear, i have never been pick pocketed!! ( during my much shorter stay in Delhi, i had been pickpocketed twice). I also love Bombay for being one of the richest cities one can think of. The shopping malls and the multiplexes are always teeming with the Bombay millions- something that would have been a luxury in some other place. Bombay, as far as my perception goes is also much more safer than a host of other Indian cities. Personal experience says that you can hit the roads even in the thick of the night and still return home safe and sound. For a city which is as important as Bombay, i must say that the people here are totally devoid of any ostentatious displays- something that is quite evident in some other cities that are far less important than Bombay. And i must add - the Bombay populace is mighty helpful and forthcoming.There are still myriad other reasons why Bombay rocks but then i am quite sure i have bored you people enough. There would be more people living in the city of Bombay than in the Australian continent ten years from now and i am proud to be one of them.