OMG !!!

For the purpose of representation only. Picture credit theoneenigma.com

On my way home few days back, I picked up a pet bottle of 7up. The label read ‘New and Improved lime and lemon flavour’. But when I drank it, it tasted the same. Now I dont need to tell you that 7up (or for that matter, Sprite) is just a carbonated sugar water. And I bloody paid 24 bucks for a ‘new and improved lime and lemon’ flavoured carbonated sugar water. Feeling cheated eh? I did!

I decided to check other such products whose marketing team might have cheated on me or many other such people around me. The first one I spotted was a Bajaj Pulsar DTSSi. I remember an old Pulsar who had an equally powerful engine as the new one. And it didn’t have an adjective to define its power. Then came DTS, then DTSi, then DTSSi and now a DTSFi is also in the offing. Now if I understand correctly, DTS means ‘digital twin spark’. But I dont know what it means to Bajaj. And I’m sure by the time I add another 40 years to my life, Bajaj will add at least 100 permutations and combinations of the entire 26 alphabets.

Bajajs are not the only ones. The Ariel I use says it has some ‘anti stain chargers’. So is it some thing like Deccan chargers? Not only Ariel, all its competitors have some or the other fancy ‘some thing’ inside them. May it be dirt magnets or active oxygen or stain busters or what not. And there are many others… a ‘DNIe’ television, a ‘Silver Nano’ washing machine, a ‘Bio Sleep’ air-conditioner, a deo fresh refrigerator and even a ‘thermo some thing’ shirt! I wonder what the ‘exxttrraa’ adjectives have added to the products. They have certainly not added any value to it. Try checking the ingredients of the washing powders of different brands. I’m sure the brands who command a comparable brand value will more or less have similar contents… and similar results.

I also heard a radio ad of a gutkha brand some time back. It said “<snip> khaoge to jeet jaoge”. I’m sure they meant exactly what they said. 🙂   Marketeers are getting creative these days. And they are aptly aided by the creative team from the ad agencies. And when you realise what they are actually playing on and with your mind with their DTSSi and dirt magnets, all you end up saying is OMG and WTF! Let this be an SB- a stress buster.

The Meetings!

Office meetings are always so funny. Every time we have a meeting, I remember Scott Adams. If there is one guy who has understood the corporate world well, it is him. And boy, how well he captures it.  🙂

This incident is from one of our review meetings in the office last week. The bosses were discussing the usual and the obvious, as usual. I listened to it for some time. But then I found out that I was invited only to make sure that each of these bosses have at least one listener (me) who will look at them and pay attention. That was injustice man, and without any perks too. Of course, there are those bourbon biscuits and wafers. But the idiot office boys keep those plates in front of the bosses. So even that ‘perk’ is gone.    😦

I decided I had had enough. I opened my laptop and started the old favourite gtalk. Then started the series of pings. Hello to him, Hi to her… boy I was all over the gmail. Just when I was discussing one’s prospective groom on one window, telling a friend how boring it is on the other and discussing a break away proposal on the third I realised that the conference room had gone silent. Every one was looking at me, some of them in anticipation and one of them (my boss of course) in anger. All I could do was smile, why is it not funny? 🙂

Boy, the meetings are just like the classrooms. You cant even do your own stuff when the teacher is not watching you.

Catching the Pushpak

Pushpak is not a bird, but a train. I almost successfully ruined my record of never having missed a train despite trying to do so each time I have travelled alone. In the story ahead, I will try to narrate you the sequence of events that led to me almost missing yet just managing to get on board the Pushpak Express. Enjoy…   🙂

Date: 26th February 2010

7:24am: After snoozing my morning alarm twice in a subconscious state, I finally heard and registered that it was my mobile phone’s ring and not the Nokia tune I composed in my brain. “Haan main uth gaya hu… nai yaar… I was about to enter the bathroom… Yes I will… cya.” That was me lying to my wife. Actually I had to. She is aware of my ‘almost missed the train’ stories and was righteously worried.

8:00am: The spring in me had to function really well. Exactly 28 min after my wife’s call (yes I slept another 5 min after she called), I was all ready and about to leave my home. 5 minutes to go down, 25 min to go to Thane station, 5 min to punch the coupon, another 5 min to catch the local and then 30 min to Kalyan station. Meaning exactly at 9:10 am, I’d have been standing at the platform No. 4 of Kalyan station, waiting for Pushpak express. The scheduled arrival of the train was 9:12am. I had also called my friend to drop me to the station on a bike to save those additional precious few minutes. The plan was perfectly in order and, what you say as a slang, “Cut to Cut”.

8:35am: Let me remind you, you are on Mayur’s Blog and reading about MY story. So every thing here IS INDEED cut to cut. But I cant say the same thing about my life. Meaning we met traffic on our way to station. Forget saving, we ended up losing 3 minutes. Add to that, the coupon counter was crowded. So it took me another 5 minutes to punch the coupons. In the process, I lost the 8:35 slow local to Kalyan, which I was originally scheduled to catch. Since I had to recover the lost time, I thought if I could catch the fast local to Badlapur from platform 5 instead of the next slow Kalyan local at 8:40 from platform 2. Par wo Kehte hai na, jab gidhad ki maut aati hai to sheher ki taraf bhagta hai. Aur main bhaga bheed ki taraf. The foot over bridge was so over crowded, I ended up being caught on it, in the middle of the two platforms, haplessly watching both trains depart. I cant describe you the agony here. I can only laugh.

8:45am: 10 minutes lost. Crucial 10 minutes lost!!! The next fast local on platform number 5 was 9:03am fast train to Ambarnath. There was no way I could hope that it ran ahead of Pushpak (since they were supposed to run on the same track). The fastest a slow train could ply between Thane and Kalyan was 25 min. I still had 2 minutes safety margin. Considering this and hoping that there was a next train from Platform 2, I muscled my way back only to read the next train was at 8:48am AND going only to Dombivli. And then I looked up… and then down… and then sideways. Gosh! I was sure to miss my train. (For those people who dont know, Dombivli is 2 stations before Kalyan. Meaning now there was no way I could reach Kalyan before Pushpak express reached there.)

8:48am: I called my wife, “Shayad meri train chhutne wali hai… arre nai yaar… naaaa! Sab thik ho jata agar… forget it. Dont worry, I’ll be there.” Another 2 minutes went off and there was no sign of the Dombivli local train. I was now getting increasingly nervous. I had no idea if I was going to make it. If I managed to miss the train, I had two option, one was to take a flight (at INR 10,000 it was a very costly option) or to board the next train (at 1:30pm) and travel in an unreserved compartment. I just prayed for a miracle.

9:10am: Getting out of a terminating local in Dombivli in the morning rush hour is like fighting the old British rulers in their own backyard. It is THAT difficult. But I could not afford to lose time and energy both. “Jai Bajarang Bali” I decided to jump and cross tracks from the wrong way and get to the adjoining platform. Within seconds I was standing below the indicator. It read the “9:16, A, F12” meaning the next local was a fast local train to Ambarnath departing at 9:16am. And Pushpak’s departure timing in Kalyan was 9:15am. “Cut to Cut”, is what you call it?

9:13am: I called my wife again. I have always found it very soothing to talk to her when my a** is on fire. Because she starts laughing, whose intensity becomes the indicator of my performance. Anyway, in the background the lady was announcing the commuters on Platform number 4 to stand away from the border line as a fast train was about to pass. We both uselessly prayed, I dont know for what. May be we were hoping that the train was not Pushpak. And a train approached with vehemence & ferocity.  And it WAS Pushpak Express. Sigh! How does it feel when the train you want to catch actually rumbles in front of your eyes while you hopelessly watch? Ask me.

9:16am: I was now feeling like a tail ender batsman on whom lied India’s world cup hopes. I had to hit a six of the last ball, whereas I was not even confident of connecting with the ball. And I was hopelessly hoping for the guy to bowl 6 no or wide balls. But what option did I have? I decided to take a chance and board the Ambarnath local train. My circus had come to an end. Now only god could help. No doubt I had my favourite Ganapati Bappa on my finger tips, my lips, in my brain and all over the body.

9:21am: Still in the train, I was getting desperate. The equation was tough. Pushpak had to stop for 10, or at least 8 minutes on Kalyan station for me to have a real chance. The probability was very low, since the scheduled halt was never more than 4 minutes. Moreover there was one more catch. The express and fast local trains normally travel on the same track, and so take the same platform most of the times. By this time the train would have reached the platform4, I thought. So I hoped that if at all Pushpak had not departed, my local train had to take a different platform (possibly platform 5) for me to have a real chance. It all became the game of probabilities.

9:25am: My local train slowly chugged on to Kalyan station. Since it was crowded, I couldn’t figure out which platform it was taking. The relative ease of the driver was very disturbing for me. Had Pushpak left? Were we going on platform 4 or 5? I didn’t want to think. Who would want to take a choice between spending big money and be saved from the beating down from wife and mother OR take a 13 hrs journey in an unreserved compartment and then face an angry wife? The choice was difficult to make, especially when I was standing on the foot board with my haver sack tugged behind and eager to jump down.

9:26am: I got down amidst the chaos not knowing which platform it was, only to realise that the local had parked itself on platform no. 5. That was a good news, meaning there might be a train standing on the other side. I swiftly squeezed myself between some people ahead and bulldozed the others who refused to acknowledge the courtesy to reach platform no. 4. I could see a train standing from distance. It had started moving slowly, very slowly. I ran towards it. I could slightly imagine what was written on the instruction board. “2533 Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Lucknow Pu… PUSHPAKKKKK!!!” Yessss! I made it!

9:28am: My wife got a call on her mobile. “Hello… Mil gayi train. Haan haan mil gayi… ufff! Ya ya… achha baba I’ll be careful… Pata nahi S9 ya S10 hai aur muze S4 mein jana hai. Dont worry I’ll go…” I finally caught the Pushpak and made it to Bhopal. Holi was great.

Hope you enjoyed reading.  🙂

Garfield Again

Just couldn’t hold myself back from putting up this one. Jim Davis, you rock.

PS: For some reason the picture is not getting uploaded. I request you to please click on it. It is worth    🙂

Maxmayur’s Omelette Making Classes

How easy is to make an Omelette? Heat a flat pan, pour the egg yolk, spray a bit of salt, pepper and chilli powder to taste, remove when done and eat it with bread, sauce or the way you like it. Well, let me teach you how I make an omelette.  It is like a competition between you and you. Just for gags!

Round 1: Put the pan up for heating. Conveniently forget to soften the flame (this is important). Try making a hole in the egg shell. Is it too small for the yolk to come out? Ty harder. And the egg breaks on your palm. Sadly since the yolk didn’t make it to the pan, you lost round one.

Round 2: Your pan is already getting heated up on. So you just concentrate on breaking the egg, err… making a hole in the shell. Make sure you hold the egg really close to the pan so that the egg falls on the pan. But be careful, the pan must be hot. So try breaking the egg just enough. Still 30% of the yolk falls outside of the pan. Shit! You say. You concentrate on cleaning the fallen yolk for next 2 minutes, only to realise the ‘possible’ omelette is now burnt… thanks to the overheated pan. Round 2 too lost, badly.

Round 3: Now this is the last egg you have. So you apply your brain. you break the egg shell in a container and then pour it on the pan. You control the flame so that it doesn’t get over heated. You spray salt and pepper. You decorate the plate by some sauce, 2 pieces of tomatoes and soft sandwich bread. By now the omelette is ready. You put that on the plate too and take pride in your achievement. Round 3 is won.

Congratulations. You can now make an omelette.

Travelling with a Gujju Family…

… makes you realise the following things.

  • The families are BIG and they all stay together. May it be a railway compartment or a house. Together, they must stay.
  • They eat a lot. And some times they feed you too. 🙂   I wonder how they carry so much stuff. And how do they finish all of the things they carry?
  • They talk a lot. In fact too much and too loudly. And they want you to join them as well.
  • … and they make your journey fun!

I’m sharing seats with one such big happy family right now. They are making my journey, well, pretty interesting.

Psst! Do I have a Gujju reader? Oh yes, of course, Harshad Bhai. No offence meant sir… 🙂

R A N D O M: V

When nothing else works, random does. 🙂

I’m sure Random will inspire me to write good articles and new stories in the future. I had been blanking the ‘Stories’ section for too long now. Speaking about stories, yesterday a friend compared me to Chetan Bhagat first, and then to Jug Surraiyya (when I told him I’m interested in writing columns. Comparison with Jug was a BIG one though). In fact, in the last few months I have received quite a few compliments (so it seems) that I can be a Chetan Bhagat (I mean a writer like CB). I dont know if it is a compliment. I’m personally not a big fan of his (or his writings). I think his style of writing is very easy one. And I dont want to match it at all. Without being critical of him (since I dont like to criticise people in the creative field), I’m in fact trying to evolve a more complex and intriguing style, myself. Some thing that will keep the reader glued and guessing (Some one said Robert Ludlum, eh?). And apply the same style to my love stories. Ha! That makes some sense. (it is supposed to make a sense).

(Too many bracketed disclaimers)  🙂

Have you bought a house? I have. By no means I want to look down upon you, in case if you haven’t. In fact I would look up to you. At least you are saved of the ‘EMI ka Phera’. When 60% of your hard earned salary goes into paying House, Car, Education load EMIs and another 30% on household expenses and bills, that is when you realise how dreadful is the Phera. It is an absolute, humongous, capacitive, redundant force that stops you from doing almost every thing you want to. You cant just plunge into a business unless you have a contract in hand. Even if you have, you compare the earning with the value of the EMIs. You cant think of an alternate profession. You cant fight with your boss. (what if he fires you? Who’ll then pay the EMIs?). You get nightmares that recovery agents are banging your door. You cant think of any thing but that… You cant this… You cant that… You cant blah… You cant bloop… !!!

Waiiiiiiiit a minute!

Now I know why I’m not able to write good stories for last few weeks. Good that I have found out. The sinking feeling is going to sink now. I’m going to be right on it. Tell me, do you also face such randomness? Just splash some water on it and you’ll feel fresh. 🙂