October 12, 2010

The tragedies of a BEST bus commuter

It has been quite a period of time since I have been using the BEST bus service for my work commute. It will be quite a period of time I keep using the BEST as it is the best and shortest way to get from Dahisar to Powai.

While the experience until now has been bittersweet, it is more bitter than sweet. I think I'll better sum it up nicely rather than rant on and on and never reach the end of it.

The tragedies of a BEST bus commuter:
  1. Waiting for an hour for a 489 at Dahisar Bridge.
  2. If one doesn't come up after an hour, going to Borivli station and waiting for an AS-461.
  3. If even the AS-461 doesn't come along, going to the eastern side and seeing a goddamn 489 pass right in front of your goddamn eyes!
  4. Getting into a 10 am 489 bus from Dahisar Bridge under heavy rain and with many, many people around you.
  5. Sitting in a ladies' seat purely by mistake, only to be rudely driven out of it by an angry aunty and worse, be educated in decency and courtesy towards women.
  6. Getting into a seat beside a smelly UP guy, who abuses so much into his Nokia N73 China model that it needs an aunty to stop him.
  7. BEST TV at its worst and dishing out the same old heady mix of "Chandan ka meethha paan" ads and "Body & Soul" shit all the time.
  8. Getting into an argument with a bus conductor who you think is timid, but who turns out to be a foul-mouthed fighter cock.
  9. Waking up from a good window-side sleep, only to see yourself drenched in the rain.
  10. Discovering that the open window is jammed and the bus is overcrowded, so there is no place for you to stand - you have to sit in the rain!
  11. Your 489 bus shutting down right in the middle of Aarey Milk Colony.
  12. Standing all the way from Dahisar Bridge to Powai in a wildly speeding and swinging 489 bus - so you feel as if you are going home from work, and not vice-versa.
  13. Your wild 489 bus skidding down a slippery Malad flyover and narrowly escaping a major accident - so now you have to get into another bus to Powai from a crowded bus stop on the frigging Western Express highway.
  14. Feeling quite nice when your bus skips many stops to help you reach work faster, then feeling quite differently when it skips your stop as well.
  15. More than 5 of the above tragedies happening on the same day, driving you completely nuts.
Five months into this "BEST experience", I have seen a lot - I have seen multiple tragedies on the same day and yet survived to tell the tale. You get to see a lot more.
  • A very old woman tries to get into the bus. The bus, as usual, is in a hurry and the conductor rings it - result - the woman has a really bad fall. The bus stops, the conductor gets shouted at, the driver gets called in, then both of them almost get beaten up - that was by half the people on the bus. The rest just want the mess to get over - they need to get to work. The old woman is helping herself up, all by herself.
  • A guy sees a girl and realizes she needs a seat. He requests another guy to vacate the ladies' seat he has occupied and the girl gets a seat. Meanwhile, the other guy wakes up from his sleep and starts talking loudly to the first guy.
    "Why the hell did you wake me up?", "Can't she stand?", "Can't you see I was sleeping?", "Is she your girlfriend or *****?", "Ladies can also stand, why do men like me need to stand for *****s like her?". The good guy just says,"Shut up, you m****c***!!". The crowd laughs - after all, who doesn't like a good show for free!

September 11, 2010

Beware of such emails

Following is the content of an email I received today. The email was moved to Spam automatically, and usually I just empty out the Spam blindly, but the subject of this email was just too good: Please Reply Urgent

All of you who are reading this, please do not reply or forward or do anything other than delete such an email if it happens to drop into your inbox.

Gmail, please do something about this nuisance!

Please Reply Urgent
Bill & Exchange Manager.
I am Mr. Ahmed Jean, a banker in Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). I have decided to contact you on a business deal of us$10.000.000 (ten million United States dollars). The depositor of the said fund died with his entire family during the Iraq war in 2004. According to our banking law, if the fund remains unclaimed for six (6) years then, the fund will be transferred into the reserve bank as unclaimed bill.
I wish to present you as his cousin or business partner so that the bank will transfer the fund into your bank account for us to share it. Your percentage will be 40% while 60% will be for me. As an insider in this bank, I assure you that, this transaction is 100% risk free. If you are willing for this deal, contact me for more details but if you are not capable, please notify me.
The transaction will take us only few banking days. Do not disclose this deal to anybody because I want the secret to be between us only. I will give you the text of the application to fill and send to the Bank for the release of the fund into your bank account on the receipt of your message.
I will be glad to hear from you as soon as you receive this message as to enable me give you the application to fill and send to the bank.
(1) Full names:
(2) Private phone number:
(3) Current residential address:
(4) Occupation:
(5) Age and Sex:
Yours faithful,
Mr.ahmed jean
Bill & Exchange Manager

August 29, 2010

84 things not to do in Mumbai

Here's a hilarious email I received today. Some of the points are matter-of-fact and serious, but it is those matter-of-fact yet hilarious points that got me going.

This is some serious advice for localites and non-localites alike.

1. Get into a Virar train if you are going to Borivali.

2. Take a Taxi outside Dadar or Kurla station - all are chors.

3. Eat Bhel at Kailash Parbat.

4. Call a cop Pandu.

5. Argue with a Koli Fisherwoman.

6. Get a 11 Rupee massage at Girgaum Chowpatty.

7. Call a BEST bus driver Bablia.

8. Buy enhancement medicines from Van - Travelling Hakims who are the desi versions of the flying doctors.

9. Look smart while visiting Chor Bazaar.

10. Ask the Sandwich wallah on Dalal Street for market tips.

11. Stand in front of Amitabh/Shahrukh/Salman's house - people may laugh at you as you look stupid and it is a thorough waste of time.

12. Visit Baba Bengalis - they are neither Babas or Bengalis, they are all perverts and thugs.

13. Visit sleazy Video Parlours and get caught in a raid.

14. Get excited and start jumping when someone offers you Paanch ka Dollar, it's just a tiny 5 Rupee coin.

15. Go for a Shiv Sena rally in the hope of a Free Vada Pav and Shiv Sena Banian.

16. Stare at Koli Women in Gorai and Make fun of Kolis in their Kasti. (ROTFLOL!!!!)

17. While commuting do not tease people shitting near the tracks, they throw stones back at the train

18. Hang outside the train, Poles might hit you before the crowds will.

19. Tease a Hijra.

20. Bribe a Porter to grab a seat in V.T, chances are he might run off with your money and even beat you.

21. Get conned at Fountain from Guys selling cheap Mobiles, they mesmerize and wrap soap bars.

22. Avoid pimps behinds Mondegar & Pasta Lanes.

23. Donate money to the Crying Cab driver, he has conned thousands.

24. Invite Brass Polishwalas into your house.

25. Sit for more than 20 mins extra at an Irani Cafe - the Bawa owner might shout some sister abuses.

26. Drink Neera at 5 pm at Dadar Station.

27. Have lassi outside Dadar Station (west), they add Tissue Paper while preparing it.

28. Throw stones at monkeys in Borivali National Park.

29. Loiter around in Shivaji Park on Dec 6th.

30. Ask for a bargain at the Maharashtrian Cloth store in Dadar.

31. Call up 26407383 Beanbags thinking it's an escort service.

32. Call a Maharashtrian guy Bhaiya, no matter how respectful you mean.

33. Go to Mondegar and ask for a Jain Pav Bhaji.

34. Look straight and walk - there are open Manholes, flicked by Druggies.

35. Wear Brown Khakis shirts - people will mistake you for BMC staff.

36. Ask for Warranty & Guarantee from the Mallu Electronic stalls in Fountain area.

37. Search for the Kala Ghoda in Kala Ghoda.

38. Ask why statues in Bombay have one finger pointed like Umpires.

39. Apply Rai ka Tel on your head and travel by public transport.

40. Go to Chor Bazaar in your Car or Bike.

41. Wear nice footwear to SiddiVinayak or Mahalakshmi Temple

42. Go to Haji Ali during high tides.

43. Go to work when a Shiv Sena bandh is on.

44. Dial 100 for fun, Cops will put your entire family behind bars and use bars.

45. Buy water & tea for Chai-Pani, Old Monk should work.

46. Fall asleep on the Harbour Line, Thieves will strip you of everything.

47. Eat Missal / Ussal Pav before going to work.

48. Board a fast train in Dadar to go to Bandra - Opposite platforms and a very horrible crowd.

49. Go for midnight mass thinking you can patao chicks.

50. Give money to bhikari (he is the same guy who is @siddhivinayak on Tuesday, @mahim church wed, @mahim dargah on Thursday, and @hajiali on Friday, @mount mary on Sunday).

51. Go to an Orchestra Bar, it's nothing but the local banjo party guys in better clothes.

52. Talk to a Gujju for more than 10 mins, he will start playing garba with you

53. Go to Versova beach, it's full of shit and methi plants.

54. Join any friendship club, its like inviting blackmailers.

55. Go to Bhagwathi hospital in Borivali. (ROFL!@#!$#@!)!

56. Pronounce Sandhurst correctly, Sandas Rd makes more sense.

57. Ask where is the Chinch in Chinchpokli or Chincholi.

58. Trouble naughty couples in the A/c Buses.

59. Go for morning show in sidey theatre expecting sleazy action, you might encounter khudkushi action around you.

60. Travel from Andheri to Ghatkopar by Bus, the bus is full of pickpockets.

61. Travel ticketless on Friday - if you are caught, Anadi court is a big torture.

62. Wear a Red tie or red handkerchief and stand near Gateway or Radio Club, it's a gigolo symbol.

63. Give 100 bucks to a conductor and expect him to give you change, he will sadistically torment you till the last stop.

64. Buy cheap booze in Churchgate Subway and get caught by cops for not having permits.

65. Buy Crackers from Essabhai, Crawford Market and travel in train.

66. Go to National park with your GF/Wife and take the jungle route Robbers & Adivasis might loot you.

67. Ask for free Chakna in bars, its history since Aug 2, 2008.

68. Go to Voodoos on Saturday, its the only Gay bar between Istanbul and Bangkok.

69. Go to Navy Nagar and think you can buy booze for cheap.

70. Try to play all the instruments at Furtados in Dhobi Talao.

71. Stand close to the platform when the Rajdhani is passing, a sonic and nuclear blast of fart, shit and farsan will hit you. (ROFLMAO!!!!!)

72. Ask for extra chutney and sambhar in Udupi hotels.

73. Visit Ganga Jamuna in Tardeo thinking it's a holy place.

74. Assume that booksellers in Fountains are dumbos, they know their Pulitzers and Bookers more than us.

75. Take the driving test, paying 300 bucks makes more sense.

76. Do a court marriage in Bandra court.

77. Count the numbers of floors of Oberoi towers just because Amitabh did.

78. Bet against India in a game, Australia is the safest option.

79. Get scared and not gamble in the McDowell Derby at Mahalaksmi Race Course.

80. Note down prices or take Photos at Alfa in Irla.

81. Buy 100 bucks Windcheaters from Churchgate, they are all the ones recycled by the Bhandiwalis.

82. Search for Tigers in Borivali National Park, they will end up finding you!

83. Search the roads & gutters of Chira Bazaar & Opera House hoping to find diamonds just because the newspapers claim so.

84. All the things mentioned are NOT to be DONE in Mumbai.

July 18, 2010

Watch Inception with a brain or two

I love Christopher Nolan movies because they make me think. I hate them because he's always trying to show off his intelligence. Inception is one more movie which I will have to watch again to grasp it completely. I think Nolan cuts off a sizable proportion of his audience by making his movies intellectually complex. Many people like me find The Dark Knight amazing, but there are plenty more people who think it sucks and slept before halfway through the movie. (I think that's reasonable - if you just fail to appreciate Ledger's performance and hate superheroes, the movie has little in terms of quality entertainment).

I am meandering away right at the start here, and let me get to the point. Inception is a truly standout movie, purely on merit of its concept, its idea. I remember watching the trailer in May and getting all excited about the basic idea of the movie - robbing your ideas in your subconscious. I couldn't wait to watch it unfold on screen. Other than the basic idea, the movie is good action, with a strong performance from DiCaprio, but that's pretty much it, I believe. The movie could be much, much more.

Watanabe is initially projected as a villain, but gets reduced to a tame supporting role. Ellen Page's role promised much and delivered to a good extent, but did not satisfy. The source of Cobb's disturbed mental state is unconvincing - the whole Mal line could be dropped off and more complex relationships between the team members themselves could be portrayed. I would have liked to see Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in particular, with meatier roles - giving their roles as much meat as Ellen Page's role has would be good. Having said that, the Mal line does increase the depth of Cobb's character and does justify Nolan's claim that "the emotional journey of Cobb's character is the driving force of the movie." (That's pretty damn right, Cobb's role to Inception is just what The Joker was to Dark Knight)

Keeping the actors and the roles aside, the development of the idea is really good. The thief creates the world of the dream and the victim fills it with his subconscious. The victim can be made to dream within a dream, driving everyone in the heist deeper into his subconscious and hence closer to his secrets. The deeper the level of the dream, the slower time passes. So, 2 minutes in real life means an hour at the first dream level and 10 hours at the second level and so on. The thief takes advantage of the fact that on waking up, the victim never remembers how his dream began, but only the end. I found the concept of limbo very interesting. It goes like this: If you are hurt in a dream, the pain feels very real, but you are still in your dream. If you die in your dream, you wake up instantly. But, if you die in your dream while being too sedated to wake up, you go into limbo - a state of unconstructed dream space where a few real-time seconds can be decades.

These are the things that make the movie intellectually irresistible - just like The Matrix. And that's why it's a must watch. Watch it seriously with a bunch of non-nuthead friends and you will be talking about it for a while after.

May 2, 2010

Why ask for sunshine? Why ask for rain?

I awoke this morning with a strange thought (strange enough to be a morning thought!) - the last 7 years of my life have been spent learning tech! My mind raced back to the moment I chose to take up Science with IT as a vocational subject in Bhavan's College. That was way way back in June 2003. And then, I thought about the moment I stepped into St. Francis Institute of Technology to become an IT engineer. What was I thinking?! It turns out that I wasn't thinking at all. And it has been the same for me all my life. The moments I wasn't thinking have been the moments that have shaped my life.

What you may have surmised by now is that I am one of the '3 Idiots' - discontented, grumpy, self-pitying individual who just wonders now why the hell he took up engineering when he knew there was a better alternative. The truth is quite the opposite! I can hardly imagine myself working in any field other than Computers. Maybe, math was a better choice and I am a good photographer too. But at this stage, I can safely say I am blessed. Your life is nothing but the sum of the choices you make, and I am glad I made the right choices every time. Maybe they were not the best choices (one of them was not even a conscious one!), but all-in-all the tech life which I lead is good.

Making the right choices to shape your career is not always easy. You need to do your homework, ask questions, look for answers and hope for the best. But, once you make your choice, you better stick to it no matter what and give it your best. Else, life will be tough and you will be left asking for some sunshine and some rain!

February 19, 2010

A walk in heaven

The train comes to a halt and you are awoken by the gentle jerk. It has been 15 minutes since this walk in heaven has commenced and you just want to keep walking. You look around - the train is still crowded, the people are the same, MP3ing or just staring at no one. Your walk in heaven can resume. The train starts, you close your eyes and you are walking again.

10 minutes later, your walk in heaven ends - it's time to walk home. You get out of the train feeling a lot lighter - in body, in mind, and more noticeably, in cash.

January 9, 2010

TCS - a new beginning

I could not find an apt alternative title, so had to make do with the cliche. It is a new beginning for me as a TCS associate. Yes, that's the title one gets for being an employee of TCS. Two weeks into this association and it definitely feels good. TCS is an excellent company with a reputation for certainty and I am truly proud of being a part of the No. 1 IT company in India. The name TATA evokes a certain respect in the Indian mind and I just hope I live up to that image.

No new beginning, however, is perfect. A new beginning means change and this change has been tremendous. The commute, the dress code, the workplace, the colleagues - in short, the newness of it all can be overwhelming at times. My current work location is somewhere near The Leela Kempinski in Andheri and it is not exactly work for us all - it is training or Initial Learning Program as it is officially termed. Most of my colleagues in my batch are not from Mumbai, the dress code is a bit stern, but these are not issues at all. It is the commute that is the grave issue .

Me being a resident of humble Dahisar, my daily commute to The Leela Kempinski involves a bus from Dahisar to Borivali, a train from Borivali to Andheri and a bus (or rick) from Andheri to Marol. The commute to work is fine, but it is the journey back home in the evening that is currently ruining my "association". A 15 minute route from The Leela to Andheri station takes 1 hour by bus and nearly Rs. 30 by rick, both of which are undesirable, but frustratingly the only available options. There are friends to share the fare by rick and there's an alternative, fast route via Sahar Road. But both options hit the wallet hard, especially when you are in the first month of employment.

Andheri East has become a civic nightmare, thanks to the Metro construction. As for the train journey, the first class pass doesn't matter as the rush is same as second class, plus rowdiness and lack of cooperation with fellow commuters makes matters worse. Grumpy young and grumpy old men in first class compartments give stares at the slightest push - they all want their nice little comfort zones in an inhumanly packed rush-hour local! Mumbaikar's spirit - what's that?!

However, I can't grieve too much. I am happy that I am employed after 5 months of the devil's workshop. Things could have been worse. Everything happens for the best. It's time to "Experience Certainty"!!

January 8, 2010


An e-mail doing the rounds today - a day filled with boredom of the highest order


You have two cows. But you drink goat's milk.


You have two bulls. You adamantly consider them as cows.


You have two cows. You buy Rs. 900 Crore worth of cattlefeed for them.


You have two cows. You throw them into air and catch their milk in your mouth.


You have two cows. You paint them both to get colourful milk.

Softwarism:(Ultimate. ...):

Client has 2 cows and you need to milk them.

1 . First prepare a document when to milk them (Project kick off).

2 . Prepare a document how long you have to milk them (Project plan).

3 . Prepare a document on exactly how to milk them (Design).

4 . Prepare a list of other accessories needed to milk them (Framework).

5 . Then prepare a 2 dummy cows (sort of toy cows) and show to client the way in which you will milk them (UI Mockups & POC).

6 . If client is not satisfied then redo from step 2.

7 . You actually start milking them and find that there are few problems with accessories (Change framework).

8 . Redo step 4

9 . At last milk them and send it onsite (Coding over).

10. Make sure that cow milks properly (Testing).

11. Onsite reports that it is not milking there.

12. You break your head and find that onsite is trying to milk from bulls.

13. At last milk them onsite and send to client (Testing).

14. Client says the quality of milk is not good. (User Acceptance Test).

15. Offsite then slogs and improves the quality of milk.

16. Now the client says that the quality is good but milking is at slow rate (performance issue).

17. Again you slog and send it with good performance.

18. Client is happy???

By this time both the cows are aged and can't milk at all. (The software got old and get ready for next release repeat from step 1) !!!!!

I don't know if it is funny or disgusting or what. It's just good timepass to read.
(Disclaimer: Not all of the ideas expressed above are endorsed by the author of the blog)