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Things to do, for a foreigner visiting Mumbai.

 

Anyone travelling to India, will agree, that no visit to India is complete without visiting its maximum city, MUMBAI. Obviously, for any visitor the usual tourist spots like the Gateway of India or the Elephanta caves or Haji Ali Dargah are on the list,but ,if you are a tourist, who wants to feel the vibe of the city or wants to experience something,that only this city can offer, then here is the list for you :  

 

Mumbai  Local Trains:

local-train

                                If you are from USA or UK or any other western country, then am sure, you would have experienced the peak hour rush while travelling on the Undergroud in London or Subway in New york. But, when in Mumbai ,do experience the fun (and not so fun for many) of travelling in the mumbai local trains. One big difference s , that Mumbai locals are not closed unlike the underground or the subway. Trust me, the crowd on a non peak hour , will still be much higher than peak hour rush in any other country. My sincere advice is, no non Mumbaikar should try travelling at peak hours, just for the fun, visit just the station at peak hours and you will know what i mean.

Catch a Bollywood Movie:

pvr

                                Catching a Hollywood flick at Piccadily circus or a play at the West end or a musical at the Times square  might be a routine for some of you, but watching a latest bollywood release in Mumbai is a very different or dare i say a better experience. I firmly believe, that movie going experience in mumbai in way better than most coountries in the world. The luxurious theatres, awsome services, never ending queue of patrons makes is so much fun. So , next time in Mumbai, do catch a bollywood flick on a Friday or a Saturday evening at one of the plush theatres near you.

Enjoy  an IPL game:

wankhede

For beginners , who do not follow cricket , let me just inform you, that cricket is India’s number 1 sport and Mumbai is one of the most important centres of the game. IPL (Indian Premier League), is Indias premium T20 Cricket tournament (similar to EPL ) but is played only in the months of April and May. Even if you dont understand cricket, visiting the Landmark Wankhede stadium for a game ,just for the experience ,will be well worth it. 33000 screaming fans, never ending energy,deafening sound, its difficult to match up anywhere in the world.just make sure, that you book your tickets well in advance.

Ride an Auto Rickshaw :

auto

Public transport ,across the globe comes in various shapes and sizes, but nothing like an auto rickshaw. People ,who have traveled to Thailand, might find it similar to tuk-tuk’s , but auto rickshaws are much cheaper and easily available,do take a ride.

Visit a Ganpati  Pandal:

ganpati

Though, India is a country of festivals, in Mumbai, nothing compares to Ganesh chaturthi. If you are around during this festival (around aug-sept every year) , a visit to a local Ganpati Pandal will be an experience of a lifetime. The beautiful decor, courteous people, awesome mithai (sweets) distributed as sweets and long queues of devotees , makes it one of a kind. When in lords city, do visit him, its enriching.

 

Street  food:

Mumbai offers world cuisine and wherever you are from, you will find your food. But, mumbai street food is one of its kind. You should surely sample Vada Pav  ,Pav Bhaji and Pani puri in Mumbai. Though, maker sure you make a request for a non spicy one.

Street Shopping:

The last thing you should buy in Mumbai ,are brands. you can always buy them in your home city. Mumbai, offers huge amount of street shopping right from apparel to books to beauty products to everything. If , you can bargain well, you will end up buying a whole lot of stuff, whithout causing a hole in your pockets.

 

 

Why Not to VOTE these Elections !!!

With 29 states and 7 Union territories, the elections are always around the corner in India. From zilla parishad to local municipal elections to vidhan sabha to Lok sabha , the election season is never ending.

while Studying Civics in school, we were taught  ‘Government of the people, for the people and by the people’. The Importance of of voting was stressed upon and vote was projected as the ultimate weapon against the government.  VOTE  was supposed to be a bhramastra against the government there by preventing it from getting corrupt or complacent.

I too, the day I became 18 yrs old, registered myself as a voter, i believed that now i had some power and a miniscule role in the working of the worlds largest democracy.

Even today, with elections around, there are campaingns for encouraging all the people to come out and vote in numbers. But honestly, today when i look at the scenario today, i dont get excited to vote, i dont think it makes a difference or it even matters. Look at what has happened in the recent past,     

 

1) Ideology , my foot:

                        Generally people are made to believe that they are voting for some ideology or may be against some ideology.We give a serious thought and decide whom to support, as the other party has a totally different ideology ,which we dont agree to. In the last State elections in Jammu & Kashmir, BJP and PDP made a post poll alliance and formed the government. During the campaign , PDP was totally against what BJP did and vice versa. Look at what happened later, did the vote for or against BJP or PDP matter?  Voters were made to look plain stupid.

2)  Power at any cost:

                        During the Maharashtra elections, our PM called for people to vote against NCP,which was being called a naturally corrupt party. Couple of years into the government, the NCP party chief has been conferred upon the Padma Vibhushan. well, its obvious, he is BJP’s plan B, just in case the Sena lion roars. So, all those who trusted and voted, well congratulations, you have been conned royally.

3) Coalition governments , a mockery of a system:

                                                            Just before Bihar elections, Laluji and Nitishji (a former ally of BJP) came together ,so as to keep BJP out of power. For years ,Nitish Kumar came to power harping on wrong doings of laloo yadav. so now, do people vote for someone , who they had voted against the last time? has he changed for good?..well who cares !!

4) I am with the goodies:

                        Building up to the lok sabha elections, Ramdas Athavale and his party were with the UPA and was very vocal about his criticism of the NDA. NDA throws a few foodies (read ministry positions) and there he joins  the NDA bandwagon. what does a voter do now?

 

5) Government of the family,for the family ,by the family:

                                                                        If lalu yadav is not eligible, promote Rabri Devi as CM. if you thought experience and few more qualities are required to be a CM, then you are grossly mistaken. Whether it is the Gandhi family or Pawar or Yadav or Thackeray or Badal or Scindia (list is never ending)  the baton is passed into the family only. whether the candidate deserves or not is inconsequential. So, are we obliged to vote for the family??

 

6) Amma or Amma Look alike:

with sudden & unfortunate demise of Amma, the other amma  becomes the front runner to be the CM.  so all those , who voted for the more experienced amma for the betterment of the state,please go and watch a newbie trample all your plans. Who is this lady and what are her credentials ??, well u voted amma, but now you dont have a say.

 

We can keep highlighting many many more examples like this. The fact today is, it doesn’t matter whom you vote , as the political dynamics and coalitions after the elections ,will make your decision look like a joke.

I Would rather stay home and enjoy a holiday for this election, but ,the only reason why i would vote is, that if i don’t ,the most corrupt will end up getting my dummy vote. I Vote ,just praying that the lesser evil wins.

 

A VOTE IS NO MORE  THE POWER, THAT IT ONCE WAS !!!

 

This is why ,I don’t go to New year parties !!!

It is that time of the year,when almost everyone is gearing up for the New years. There are folks,who have been making never ending plans. There are some, who are trying to shed the extra kilos. Some are still hunting for ‘that’ stunning dress  they gonna wear and then there is me (or people like me) who don’t  have a plan for the new years eve and we do not intend to make one.

Its not, that I  have not done that ever.In the growing up years, as a teenager , we used to get all excited about the new years. Wanted to see the glam parties and the stuff that goes on.But, that attraction and interest didn’t last long and here are the reasons.

  • Compulsive partying:

You might be in the middle of the most chaotic time in your personal  life or might be going through the worst appraisal at work, but you still need to party.

If, I ask why?

Dude its 31st, how can you not party, the whole world is partying. Lots of people end up at parties so that, they do not feel alienated. you party ,when you want to or when you are really happy, and not just for the heck of it.

  • Overcrowded:

You enter any party venue, and then there are a million people stacked in there. These events are always oversold and not to mention the gate crashers. I always felt that at least 30% crowd at such bashes are actually gate crashers. With such a sea of human flesh around, you start feeling suffocated in those small and closed venues. The dance floor is non-existent, there are never ending queues at the buffet counters.we Indians are any which ways never short of crowds. Be it trains,buses ,metros or even streets, please spare me at a party at least. I am here to enjoy!!!!

  • Free Pass hoarders:

Come December and everybody starts looking for a free invite or a free pass to some new year bash. Lots of people manage to get those and you can actually look at them and recognize when they arrive at the venue. These are those, who are trying to make the most of the opportunity .At times, ill behaved ,loud and in a herd.

  • Unlimited Drinks:

Though I am a non-drinker but, have friends who do drink and I have been out with them on multiple occasions. Drinking to enjoy the drink and drinking to get drunk, are two different things. I fail to understand why, but lot of times, even affluent people ,tend to lose their mind ,when they are offered unlimited drinks. They try to gulp a gallon down before the twilight. As the night progresses, these dancing drums of all possible spirits , start with their un describable dance moves and then graduate to throwing up. These sights are unbearable.

  • Over hyped :

Over the years, I realized all these parties are just over hyped. They are all the same. The themes ,which are used for marketing purposes are ridiculously untrue. From the Russian theme party to the Brazilian samba to moon and back and what not.They just don’t justify the sales pitch.

  • Over priced:

Any invite to a decent venue is priced from 5K onward ,and the for a 5 star event , they start at 10K. Even the hotel rooms are priced atrociously.Remember, they are exactly the same facilities which are sold at 5 times the price.Honestly, I never found a party,which was actually worth the price we had paid for the invite. In fact, the same hotels and venues offer much better services and quality on the other days.

  • Traffic:

New years eve , and how can I not mention the traffic. From the by lanes to the highways everything is jam packed. Every car in town is on the road and so are all taxis. The traffic ,starts to build up from early evening and remains the same through the night. The millions walking on streets or near beaches ,start jay walking bring the traffic movement to a crawl.

So what do I do on New years eve?

Well, for me its like an everyday evening. Just that, I don’t go out. Am home and that’s about it.

 

Miles between Inches

The weekend has just gone by and its Monday morning again. The buzz of the alarm reminds Ameya of his responsibilities and drags him out of the bed. His wife for 15 years,Priya  is already up and finishing her early morning chores. Its time for the kids to get up and get moving, its school time.

This morning is no different, infact just the replay of the previous one thousand mornings in the life of Ameya and Priya. The only thing that has changed in these mornings, is the date. Every day for them is a theatre that plays the same show, where they play their role to perfection. Their corporate jobs have acquired them and that too, to an extent where, they don’t own their time or thoughts, leave alone the time for the clichéd ‘SOUL MATE’.

Let us just blur the backgrounds and the surroundings and just look at just Ameya and Priya, as a couple. Two lovely people , who met in college,fell for each other and at some stage in their lives decided to be for each other forever. As time went by and the life progressed everything around them grew except for the intimacy between  the two.

The nonsensical fun that was part of their daily routine is non-existent, the chatter,the teasing and surprises are now replaced by well seasoned and agenda based talks. Hefty conversations involving home,finances,retirement planning are now the (only) things that they talk. Earlier they didn’t need topic to have a chat, now the urgency of the topic makes them chat.

Their day starts and ends on the same bed, just a few inches from each other, but the distance between them has grown miles.What is obvious is never said and what is said , may be has no soul to it.

The ‘COUPLE’ is now two individual entities under the same roof and may be, this marks the beginning of the end of a relationship, that was meant to be till eternity.

Speaking up to a spouse of 15 years might be more difficult for Ameya or Priya , as compared to, what it was when they spoke for the first time. Then it was an all to gain and nothing to lose situation, today it could be an all to lose and nothing to gain situation.

The conversations have the solution to everything in the past, their absence today is the cause of everlasting problems. The years and responsibilities have been a catalyst in ending them, but it’s not an irreversible chemical reaction.

May be may be, just get that bedroom conversation going and suddenly it might start rolling the time back.the issues that you thought were the reason , might not even exist, the anxiety over something could have been misplaced, may be what kept you away was just the creation of your own mind.

Shun those messaging apps and adorable social media comments, just speak up.

Yess, it is difficult , but not impossible.

Your agenda for the day, HAVE A HEARTY LAUGH WITH YOUR SPOUSE / PARTNER TODAY and see the magic. Lets reduce those miles back to zero distances.

…..and if you love it, do message back the experience, I am waitinggggggg!!!!

WHY BOLLYWOOD SHOULD STOP MAKING BIOPICS .

Let me start by getting into the minds of the cricket fans in India. We live all our childhood playing gully cricket and at the same times following everything that has got something to do remotely with bat and ball. Forget international games, we spend lot of our time in our young days playing and watching local tournaments ,box cricket tournaments and school tourneys on gymkhana grounds.

 

At some stage in our lives everybody has wanted to be a Gavaskar or Kapil Dev or a Tendulkar. For us they are not just cricketers or just stars , we all see a part of them in ourselves. It might be an absolute illusion, but that’s why the words ‘CRAZY’ & ‘FAN’ always go together.

 

Most of us will know the statistics of these heroes and their performances.we have heard experts & commentators discussing and analyzing their techniques a thousand times. So at least we feel that we know a lot about them, but obviously that is not true.

 

When Sachin tendulkar’s restaurant called TENDULKAR’S  had opened in Mumbai, I went their time and again for dinners, this inspite that the food was pretty average.The reason was simple, I never went there for food, I went their to see the memorabilia that he had kept there. His bats,jerseys,trophies etc. we were thrilled looking at them from close ,as it made us feel that we are in touching distance of our hero. That’s how the fans think.

 

On Thursday 29th Sept , I was at PVR ICON, Andheri ,Mumbai to catch another movie and was thrilled when I got to know that M.S. Dhoni, himself was present in the audi for the premiere of his movie. Not that, we got any special treatment, but , just that he was in the same campus as I, it made my evening. That’s how the fans think.

premiere.jpg

 

The list of Bollywood releases for the year 2016 got sports fans really excited ,as the list mentioned AZHAR , M.S.DHONI  and a movie on SACHIN slated for release. The IPL fever was at its highest when AZHAR finally released, no points for guessing ,I did watch it and sadly walked out of the theatre very very disappointed.

Today I walk out of M.S. Dhoni (the movie) and I am disappointed again.

 

The so-called biopics that Bollywood makes, have always been a disappointment as first and foremost they have to be politically correct. These movies talk about  those aspects of their  life or career, which are known to all the fans.Add to that, all the masala that is added to make it a commercial success.

 

We go into the movie hall, wanting to see and know the ‘OTHER’ side of our heroes, but unfortunately  that is non-existent. Also, apart from the struggle , we want to know about the feelings that they went through when they made correct as well as incorrect decisions. The world talked about it, but what was it within their minds. If the unspoken has to remain unspoken, why have a biopic??

 

What I Got to See in M.S. DHONI, the movie

  • His early childhood ands passion for the game.
  • Hurdles he faced on his way up.
  • The steps he climbed on the way to the top.

 

Apart from point no 1, I guess the fans knew the other 2. So how is watching this movie different from reading the daily newspapers.

 

What I (as a fan)  wanted to see in the movie.   

  • His childhood
  • What was he told when he was handed over the captaincy. (remember , it was in very controversial scenario)
  • What was he thinking when he handed the ball to Joginder  sharma in the penultimate over of the 2007 T20 world cup.
  • What was the reaction of yuvraj, when suddenly Dhoni decided to bat ahead of him in the 2011 WC finals.
  • How did he feel to be ‘AUCTIONED’ in the IPL in its inaugural year.
  • What he felt about the failures that he faced as a TEST captain overseas.

These are just some of the questions, the list can go on and on.

The movies don’t present both the sides of a coin. I am not mentioning AZHAR at all, as it was a disaster from the first scene to the last one.

DEAR MAKERS, WE WANT TO SEE THE PERSONALITY OF THESE HEROES FROM WITHIN THEIR REAL MINDS.

What they appear or do superficially is known to all of us.

If 3 hours is not sufficient to do justice to all aspects, why make it?

HOW ABOUT A WEB SERIES??

WE FEEL CHEATED AFTER WATCHING SUCH BIOPICS.

 

 

 

Reasons , why i don’t support ECO FRIENDLY Festivals

 

Come August and its celebration time. For we Indians, the end of august marks the beginning of the most joyful  time of the year. It marks the beginning of our festive season ,which goes on ,almost till the year end. We are loud, we are hyper,we are colourful  and that’s how we like celebrating. That’s how we have always been and will always be.

The festive season has just kicked off, from janmashtami to raksha bandhan to Ganesh chaturthi to Eid to Durga puja to Diwali , going all the way to Christmas, they keep coming.

Along with the festivals, the crusaders  on the social media to get hyper active and  start pushing the agenda of ECO FRIENDLY festivals. Less water, no synthetic colours ,no fire crackers , no this ,no that , the just keep going on. But, personally ,I DON’T support them nor do I buy or want the idea of eco friendly, safe and non polluting festivals. No , I am not a jerk, I am being logical.

 

In august, The supreme court , refused to change or relax the restriction ,that the lower  court had put on the height of DAHI HANDI during the festival of janmashtami. It said it wont permit a height of more than 20 ft for the human pyramid,as it is dangerous . Also ,earlier the high  court had disallowed children below the age of a8 from participating in the pyramid formation.

Building up to the festival, a prominent leader in Maharashtra  openly  refused to accept the order and asked ‘HIS’ people to go ahead and do as they wish. The issue here was not about,what the court had said, it was more about, ‘THEY’ interfere in ‘OUR’ religious matters and not ‘THEIRS’.

On the occasion of Eid-AL-Adha (Bakri Eid), the ask for an eco- friendly (read  blood less)Eid grew and the reason cited was, why only ‘OUR’  festivals are targetted and not ‘THEIRS’.

 

I am no expert on religion or on ill effects of pollution and stuff, but purely as a lay man all I know is, festivals are supposed to unite us and give joy to one and all.

We have shared the puran poli’s  and sheer khurma’s to easter eggs  thinking of the festivals as our own. The thought of ‘MINE’ and ‘THEIR’ has never crossed our minds and it never will.

I don’t mind , if few people suffer by falling in dahi handi or get injured in Muharram procession or get skin infection due to chemical based colours or inhale a little more of poisonous gases from the fire crackers. This number will be small (hopefully) and only the unfortunate few will suffer on short or long term basis.

Agreed, that it does affect all of us in a longer run, but it will kill us slowly ,without letting us know and over a period of time. On the other hand if this OUR’s  and  THEIR’s debate flares up and it keeps growing, it will spoil the secular and friendly fabric of the nation ,thereby  killing the entire nation at once. Hence, I choose to sacrifice a few unfortunate ones for the larger interest of the nation. We have survived the Mughals to British to World wars only because of our unity and I don’t want to give that up for any reason whatsoever.

So, let the decibels go up , lets increase the height of pyramids, lets not bother about the pollution or and other damage, they  will hurt us in a way much smaller than what the communal polarization of our nation will do.

 

Note: I know,lot of people might find evil intentions in this post as well, coz unfortunately lot of us interpret stuff , not based on what is written, but who has written it.

 

JAI HIND

                                                                                                                 

If you have a dream , here is the plan !!!

Well, let me start by telling you a little story. Sorry, but I did steal these from the diaries of two people, here goes the excerpts from the first one

From the diary of Ameya Desai,

15th Dec  1989:

Its my 8th birthday and I am ecstatic to be selected in the junior volleyball team at my school, I am surely going to be a great athlete in future, may be some day play for my country at international level.

4th April 1995 :

Wow, I loved riding my new motor cycle today, I always wanted this one and it was great zooming past everyone else like a wind….oooooooooooooooooo felt like I flew today.

6th june 1999:

Biggest day of my life so far, finally got admission to one of the most reputed colleges for engineering in computer science, I am going to rock the course and will surely be the envy of others. I know I have it in me.

17th August 2003:

Just can’t believe this , admission to the dream university in USA is now a reality. Wooo hooo, off to USA tomorrow night,  here I come uncle Sam, the world is now mine and I surely will conquer it.

5th Jan 2004:

Cant believe I met her,I knew it was meant to be like this and I knew it since the day I saw here, my batch mate today and I know my soul mate forever.Life cant be more beautiful!!!!

18th March 2005:

Yess yess, it had to be me,I slogged for it, worked for it and now finally got it. Placed from campus with the biggest software giant , and my package, well I wont reveal here , you would be jealous. Ha ha ha!

13th January 2007:

Finally the D-Day has arrived, great to have my mom blessing me on this important day . Finally I am not single anymore, sorry bachelors, I leave your community.

11th September 2012:

Feels great to move into our own 4000 sq ft home in the downtown, will cherish this moment for life.

16th April : 2016

Never knew I would be heading the entire clan at this company, position,power  and an awesome pay package, well life looks complete today.

From the diary of Pankaj Desai (Ameya’s Dad),

13th  june  1985:

Just dropped Ameya to school, his first day at school, was a bit cranky so had to stay back for sometime, missed my office today , but I guess being with him on the first day at school was more important, office can wait.

4th April 1993 :

Ameya has become a teenager today , need to start saving a little more, will cut down further on my expenses, growing child, his needs will definitely be on the rise, let me be ready.

6th june 1998:

Ameya is doing well at junior college , am sure he will be eligible for admission to a good engineering college next year. I just applied for funds from my provident fund ,will have to keep the fees ready, my child is brilliant and I will make sure that he does not lose this great opportunity to learn.

14th  April 2003:

Just finalized the deal for the only piece of land that I owned. Ameya is supposed to fly for his MS in August, needed money to pay his fees, dollar has become too expensive. But then, all my property was meant for him only, no regrets.

15th March 2004:

Ameya just left back for USA, he was here for a month on his vacation. He has grown up so much in last one year. These foreign Universities make them work too much, I am worried, looks like he’s not taking care of his health it seems, but he looked happy and hence I am grateful to GOD. Let me take your leave for today, have a doctor’s appointment, my back has been giving some problem since last few months.

18th March 2005:

Ameya got placed in a huge company, he sounded so happy on phone. Wanted to get up and jump and dance but at my age the health doesn’t let the body be itself, though I am relaxing in the arm-chair, all of me is dancing within.

5th January 2007:

My wife just left for Ameya’s wedding on 13th. The back problem and slipped disc prevented me from taking such a long flight. Also , I had to be here to manage stuff here, cant just lock and leave. So have to give the wedding a miss, but will try to be there on Skype. Hope he has a great married life.

 15th July  2012:

The age seems to be catching up, the back issue has worsened ,movements are restricted. Last few years I have struggled to complete my regular chores. The maids and help are around, but you all know how they work. I Better do it myself, or today I wish I could do it myself.Feel helpless and lonely, never thought it could be like this.

16th April : 2016

I thank God for a great life, gave me everything,just that, I wish I cud be with ameya a little more, want him to be 4 yr old again, but I am happy  about where he is , I and my wife will live through it.

 

My Two Cents

If you read the entire thing and are sad about it, then you are AMEYA in your own way.

We as kids grow up, we have our plans, our life and our dreams. Absolutely nothing wrong it, but we tend to forget to include people for whom ‘We’ were always the plan.

Our lives revolved round our dreams, but theirs revolved round making those dreams come true for us.

We grow wings and fly away to leap across the world ,leaving behind those,for whom we are the world.

We have plans but unfortunately they are never part of the plans, we want to fly,fly high but fly alone, without the burden of any responsibility.

Dear all, plan and grow, don’t stop, but make sure your parents are always part of the plan. They are not part-time jobs,they are your full-time responsibility.

Unless ‘DAD’ is part of the plan , its NOT a plan!!

 

 

Note : All above names,dates and events are fictional….just in case… if you were wondering.