January 30, 2010


You've heard that shout quite often! Well...the private means of transport available in any place are one of the true mirrors of a city’s spirit. In India, the ubiquitous three-wheeler AUTORICKSHAW serves that purpose! This blogger has traveled in an ‘auto’ across many cities in the country.

The Jaipur drivers are polite and straight. They are game to go either by meter or pre-fix it. They do not haggle much over the rate and suggest something quite reasonable for the distance to be covered. Pune ones are rather vague to be judged. Their meters are read in a different manner. One driver didn’t bother to correct the blogger when he was paid extra, due to the usual way of reading the meter! And another one didn’t not exactly know the route to a certain location. But still managed to that place!!

In Mumbai, the financial capital of this country, autos are not allowed to run in all parts of the city. Only the suburbs have autos plying there. B-U-T…what awesome service?! Not an ounce of pride, quite well-mannered, and score very high on the comfort factor. They run strictly by meter, will rarely refuse to take you, never overcharge and have a no-nonsense approach to their job. This blogger once traveled from Andheri to IIT-Powai at the stroke of midnight and didn’t feel one bit insecure! What’s best…the driver didn’t throw any tantrum about night charges and I wasn’t over-charged by a single penny!

Bangalore drivers score low due to inadequacy to understand the national language well. They barely manage with broken Hindi or English! Hence the non-Kannada crowd faces a slight trouble with figuring out how much to pay! Apart from that, they are devoid of any airs, drive well, and are generally non-threatening!

The worst of the lot, of course, inhabit NEW DELHI. Being in the capital of a prosperous nation, these drivers could do with a lesson in decency and fairness! They are conceited about their position and think of the passenger as one who is born to be ‘taken for a ride’! They flatly refuse to go by meter, always quote a ridiculously high amount, come up with lame excuses like ‘we’ll have to go back empty’, and what not?! Some of them are shameless enough to have a smoke even while transporting a woman.

One in a fifty auto drivers in New Delhi is a genuine soul not interested in taking advantage of the female passenger’s situation. And when you come across that rare individual, you pray that next time we get an auto-wallah like this! Alas, that wish remains mostly unfulfilled! Similar is the situation with most locations in UP and Bihar.

So, the verdict is out. North Indian auto-drivers are a brusque lot. Mumbai ones score the highest for their service and comfort. Pune and Bangalore have a tie for the second position. And the Jaipur ones, ah! If only life was as uncomplicated as that city!

PS: "Just to add to your post, the auto drivers in Hydb are quite a painful lot...They usually refuse to go by the meter n when they do, beware cos they end up takin a really long route! In abt 5 yrs hv fought with many an auto driver here!" - Ashrita Prasad

RIDE ON!!!!!

NSD Fest

“Vichitra kintu satya…”

Manav Kaul has earned numerous accolades as a young theatre personality. This blogger wasn’t able to catch any of his productions in Bombay due to distance issues. So when “AISA KEHTE HAIN” was to be staged as a part of the NSD Annual Theatre Fest, I was up on my toes to watch it. Of course, it ain’t as easy as it seems! Luckily, an acquaintance from NSD sneaked us in the theatre before the performance was to be begin, and we stayed put…watching the play from the aisle! To make it better, there was even a short rendezvous with the director after his final rehearsal!

Personally, this blogger found the play just about okay. Individually the threads of the play are identifiable and have a rooting in reality. But what binds these separate threads is a sense of abstractness. And as it is with most works in the abstract, there is no clear theme fathomable!

As Kaul puts it, “The many stories within the play stand independently, strung together by a pliant and subjective thread. Everything is a collage – the little stories, the motley characters, the songs and the main story – all thrown together in a salad bowl. I love salads!” We saw that!

One line which caught the blogger’s attention was addressing of the unknown as “HEY VICHITRA KINTU SATYA!!!” [O…strange but true!]. Interesting!

Also see http://www.mumbaitheatreguide.com/dramas/hindi/24_preview_aisa_kehte_he.asp



Year-ends don’t always have to be about the usual ‘Best of…’. This blogger wrapped up 2009 on a zingy note. If that wasn’t enough, the New Year [2010] was brought in with a bang and more!!!

Bombay…the city of dreams…that’s where the above happened!!! A beautiful holiday, beginning from X’mas and wrapped up on my b’day! i ushered in X'MAS by 'celebrating' it for the first time..that too in train!:P! In MY city then, there were the usual suspects. Worli sea face, Siddhivinayak, Colaba, Marine Drive, St. Xavier’s, meeting up with friends, et al!

Yours truly was there mainly to attend the culmination of the 140th year celebrations of St. Xavier’s College. Everything else was just a bonus of being in Bombay…at the right time. Well, the time is always right to do the right thing!

It was a beautiful experience and I was showered with affection, admiration and gifts! Yeap…we live in a material world…though I’m not so much of a material girl! Each gift symbolized a bond of love, which has become stronger with time. And the absolutely awesome icing was the ‘good-bye’!!!

For the first time in my life… I was ACTUALLY given a surprise for my b’day!!! It was on the eve of my b’day...when a few friends dropped into the station to see me off. To be honest, it feels awesome to be the centre of all attention and warmth! And to top it, I was sent off with a gooey and delectable Ferero Rocher pastry [see image]!!!

Alas, there was no one to share my joy WITH me in tht Rajdhani compartment where I ushered my 21st birthday! But, as I believe, wishes are sent from the heart, and I knew I had tones of it surrounding me.

As if all this wasn’t enough to qualify it as my best b’day ever…I had surprises lined up onine too! When it rains…it truly pours!!! I’d like to share the poem which Vikashji mailed me along with his wishes. words are inadequate to express the joy I felt when I saw that e-mail from my favourite creative personality!

जन्मदिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामना

जो भी यहाँ चलते हैं - जन्मे हैं.

पर जो भी यहाँ जन्मे हैं
उनमें से हर कोई नहीं चलता.

आज तुम्हारे जन्मदिवस पर चाहता हूँ
तुम चलो.
आज, कल और हर कल के बाद वाले कल भी.

तुम चलो
और तुम्हारे पीछे दुनिया चले.
और तुम्हारे साथ चले तुम्हारे अपने.
और तुम्हारे आगे चलती रहे सफलता -
तुम्हारे रास्ते के कंकड़ हटाती हुई.


Any cake is incomplete without it’s cherry [red, or otherwise!]. the one which completed mine is…