Thursday, November 03, 2005

Match This!

It all started with a phone call last friday...Sandeep called me up "Are Akya match la yenaar aahes ka?Aatach saang mhanje tujha pan ticket sangto!" (For non-maharastrians, literal translation "Hey akash, do you wanna come watch the match?Tell me now so i can book a ticket for you as well").....My reply was "Mhanje Kay!!!!"...(Again for non-maharashtrians, "Hell Yeah!!!")....Then i get the confirmation on Monday...Our tickets are through!...Wo!..We were going to watch the match!LIVE!!!

3rd of november was a holiday...even if it wasnt i wasnt gonna go to office...Iam not touched in the head!..For those who think what is all the fuss its just another cricket match...big deal...well....i got news...Cricket match in Pune...Nehru Stadium....India playing a top side like SL (well, not so much on top right now..but nevertheless....)...all top stars fit and playing...India 3-0 up in the series..and a chance to see Sachin, Sehwag and Co. bat in flesh in blood...well...thats what all the fuss is about!...

I woke up today at 5:30 am!..Man i havent seen what 5:30 am looks like in years!...Had my tea and got ready to leave my house by 6:20..picked up Satya (a friend)...and rode down to Grahak Peth on Tilak road to park our bikes in my friend's office building....and walked a good 1 km to Gate no. 5...the entry point for all us troopers...12 of us....and quite a motley bunch we were...ages ranging from 12 right upto 40....Now we had picked up rs. 300 tickets, the cheapest of the lot (just consider the following surnames and you shall know why Rs. 300; Apte, Gokhale, Pendse, Shrotri, Phadnis...get my drift?;o))...which was a big mistake..something on which i will elaborate we were people from all walks of life...we got to the gate at we bottles of water allowed....nothing plastic...we hadnt taken anything that didnt bother us much....and after various security checks we finally got inside the stand...and scrambled to get good seats...well...good patches of concrete...and ended up right in front of the pitch..good patches of concrete..we could see the action pretty straight...

We were settled in our seats..umm..patches by 8:00...and then sat and stared at the ground..watching the teams practice...Ladi (Nikhil) had brought along a scoring sheet and we were all poring over it...Sri Lankans in one corner and Indians in the other...the stands kept filling...and soon the start time grew nearer our stand was soon bursting at the seams...people were even sitting the was a great atmosphere around the expectant Dravid and Attapatu walked in for the toss with Ravi Shastri...and grew to a deafening roar as Dravid won the usual everybody expeccting India to bat..but Dravid chose to bowl..which created a few dissapointed faces...many people seem to think that the only reason why cricket needs to be watched is for India all is consequential..he he...but nevertheless...the innings began with roars and hoops of joy...every dot ball was being cheered...and every run being jeered...and soon Sangakarra was back on his way to the pavillion..deafening roar again...and this continued for the entire innings....cheers and jeers...mexican waves...erate spectators..which reminds me of an ugly scene..i was heading out of the stands in the middle of the Sri Lankan innings to strtch my legs a bit...and to give my butt a break...and for some stupid reason the officials had shut the exi near the place where we were we had to make out way all the way to the next enit..about 70 m from where we were sitting....and since the aisles were occupied by people as got difficult...and one grop of dadas (not remotely in the brotherly sense) refused to let us by....anyhow...we got out and back...with considerable difficulty..and amidst a lot of foul language and curses...but then...the cricket is worth all this!.he he..

Anyways, after teh lankan innings ended, lunch was merely a formality..a vada pav..being sold at Rs. 10 about stadium robbery!...and a few biscuits and oily samosas...a complete meal right?..he he...and due to a scarcity of good water....we had rasna....better than jostling with a few hundred people for buying Pepsi...anyhow, our hunger satiated (temporarily i might add), we sat down to stave off a hunger of another kind..a hunger to see Viru and Sachin to cart the Lankan bowlers all over the park...

The innings started..slowly at first..and then very slowly..and then Sachin got out..after a few lucky edges...Pindrop Silence!...the entire stadium went HUSH!....this is still the "shock & awe"; read respect and expectation the man comnmands...well he was replaced ny Yuvraj on the crease...who poked around a bit and then got out as well..anyways..soon things settled down after "The Wall" came in.....and then thirst pangs began to strike we sent one of the kids in our group to fetch some water....and went he did...and came back with 20 pouches of water...for 100 right?...he he..nways...we opened them up thirstily like desert wanderers...only to find that the water tasted like liquid was that bad!...2 sips and 20 pouches were thrown right back into the box they were brought in...Sick!..

Anyways, as the innings prgressed it all resumed, the cheers, the jeers, the mexican waves...the pindrop when Sehwag fell on 48 and Dravid on was all there!..and at 190/6 all the people had worried looks on their faces..will we?...or wont we?...well..Mr. M S Dhoni had the answer..WE WILL!..and he made sure we style..finshing off the match with a couple of HUGE hits straight back down the ground..a treat to watch!

Soon we had left the stadium after the presentation..our butts head aching...hunger ruling the roost..but warmth in our hearth...that India had won!..and won convincingly...All the bad arrangements, dirty spectators, uncouth youths, hard steps, tepid water, expensive vada pavs were forgotten in this joy!

However we all came out of the stadium with a unanimous time..BUY THE Rs. 1500/- tickets!;o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Air" - apparent?

This tapered cylinder u see above has drilled a major hole in my not so fat pocket!A hole worth 1800 bucks!So what is this little cylinder that I, Mr. Kanjus as my best friend calls me (shes got it wrong though, iam "careful" with my money,*chuckles*), have spent this small fortune on?Ladies and gentleman, may i introduce, my latest aquissition and the latest addition to my bike, a K&N Free flow Air filter model R-1060!

What does a K&N do?Well, to put it simply, it allows more air to enter the cylinder. Reulting in higher air density. Resulting in higher performance. And efficiency!Plus its a one time investment!I never need to change the air filter on my bike ever again!

K&N are renowned the world over for their expertise in air-filters and air intake systems designed to improve the performance and efficicncy of engines.They have a various range of filters for cars,bikes,trucks even lawn movers!The buck stops here as far as air filters are concerened!

So, now lets look at what the R-1060 has done for my redhead. Firstly, the air-induction noise at higher throttle openings has me hooked!Mmmmm..Sheer music to the ears!Now for the performance. This being a bare basic base model, the increase in performance is not gut wrenching, but perceptible. Its subtle, but its there.

Me being a mechanical engineer, i have to give specs right?Iam bound by the law!:o)...Here are the specs..
Product Style: Round Tapered Universal Air Filter
Base Outside Diameter: 3 in (76 mm)
Flange Inside Diameter: 1.688 in (43 mm)
Flange Length: 0.625 in (16 mm)
Flange Type: Centered
Height: 2.75 in (70 mm)
Top Outside Diameter: 2 in (51 mm)
Top Style: RubberTop
Material/Finish: None
Flanges: 1
Inner Wire: No
Weight: 0.5 lb (0.2 kg)
Product Box Length: 4.5 in (114 mm)
Product Box Width: 4.5 in (114 mm)
Product Box Height: 4.25 in (108 mm)

To sum up, my bike just got a "nose job".And its made her hotter than hell!To many more happy miles on my redhead!Vroooomm.....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

David & Golliath?

Catastrophe struck the coast of New Orleans last week Hurricane Katrina ripped through the coastline leaving thousands dead and lacs homeless. A month and a half back, the same happened in our very own Mumbai. A typhoon rippd through the city and left thousands dead and homeless. See some similarities in my sentence construction?.Well, if according to this data received by me on email is anything to go by, the similarities dont end here. Read on..Its very interesting...

1. Inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina... 18
Inches of rain in mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1
2. Population of new orleans... 484,674
Population of mumbai.... 12,622,500
3. Deaths in new orleans within 48 hours of katrina...100
Deaths in mumbai within 48hours of rain.. 37.
4. Number of people to be evacuated in new orleans...entire city..wohh
Number of people evacuated in mumbai...10,000
5. Cases of shooting and violence in new orleans...Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in mumbai.. NONE
6. Time taken for US army to reach new orleans...48hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach mumbai...12hours
7. Status 48hours orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricty
Status 48hours later..mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual
8.'s most developed nation
India...third world country.

If these stats are anyting to go by, this is definitely a case of David triumphing over Goliath.Obviously our dear Chief Minister Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh read these stats.Or something similar.Cause he was quick to point out that "They (American relief operators) are still perplexed at how to control the situation...compared to them, we did well". Capice!

But this brings us to an important question doesnt it?..Are all administrations like ours?...The Americans knew one week in advance that Katrina was going to hit..then why did so many people die?....Same in Mumbai?..Rumours have it that the typhoon was predicted before hand..but the administration chose not to take the caution for thought right?

All I can say...thousands of lives were lost when a majority of them could have been isolated from the tragedy...somehow the will to do good has been superceeded by the lust for money.... but as I say....where there isnt a way....There is God!..

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Right Next Door To Hell! along any road in Pune!..What is that you notice?....Daredevil bike riders?...Bandit queens...or putli bai as they are fondly called?..foul mouthed rickshaw drivers? with drivers who treat the world as their own personal spitoon?....smoky PMTs?...Well all of the above..Plus one more very important ingredient!..POTHOLES!...All these make up for one deadly recipie. Everyday when i get out of my house to go anywhere, the words that leave Aai's mouth without fail are "Savkash Ja" (drive carefully)!

As we all know this year Maharashtra has been hit with torrential rain. As a result and as expected..the roads have taken a terrible beating...the roads resemble the scene of a landmine blast..this has been the condtion for the past two and a half months.Mr. Kareer (the municipal commissioner) has been assuring us that the roads would be repaired on top priority..well..they repaired them all filling them with bricks, stones, mud and god knows what else...not a single drop of bitumen..."temporary repairs" they call them...temporary all right..raises everybody's "temper"....

These potholes by themselves are a major safety hazard for drivers especially those on two wheelers...but by filling them up with bicks and mud and finishing it off with khadi (loose stones) is not making matters any more rosy...this is a major factor for vehicles skidding especially if the loose stones are peppered around a bend in the road..But the PMC still maintains that they have repaired the roads.

But alas!When it rains again, these so called repaired potholes get transformed into pits of slush...all that mud mixing up with water and making matters worse...and when its not raining all this dust rises up and increases the SPM level dramatically...making it a nighmare driving thru these clouds of dust.....also this damages the vehicles to a certain extent...ruined suspension components...nuts and bolts working themselves loose...wires shorting out ...Grrrrrr.....

I wish someone somewhere will see some sense soon...and get atleast some of the corruption out of their systems....this so called shortage of bitumen is non existant...nobody in their right mind is gonna believe that we have a shortage of bitumen for 3 months...this apathy is hurting the business chances of Pune in its goal of being the IT capital of India...the more the PMC spends on roads the more revenue they will generate..through increased business activity..wake up and smell the coffee Mr. Kareer!...Ofcourse these bad roads are giving back specialists a lot of business...peoples backs(incuding mine!!) are taking a severe beating..But thanks to the gas charged dampers on my bike i am isolated from the undulations on the road to a fair extent....

Petrol has hit Rs. 50/- in Pune..God bless us all!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Water Water Everywhere But Not a Drop To Drink!

We are all very well aware as to what happended on Terrible Tuesday. Mother nature got fed up with all the abuse treated out to her since the last 50 years in Mumbai and finally retaliated. And with immense fury!3000 lives!Not a death toll you would associate due to a typhoon in one of the top cities of the world.

Let us dissect this a bit shall we? Why did so many people lose their lives?Part of the reason was panic. Most of them were caught in this kind of situation for the first time in their lives. And trust me, no matter what anyone says, it is very difficult to think rationally in these kind of situations. We have not been given the adequete disaster training for a flood. Elementary things that doors of a car will NOT open if the car is submerged in water.Why is this so? Because no one ever imagined a FLOOD could ever occur in Mumbai.A tsunami maybe. But a flood?.Well Terrible Tuesday has answered this question for us.

This flood did not occur directly due to heavy rain. There is no rain cloud in the world that could make water rise upto 15 ft in 3 minutes. This was a ghastly mix of bad maintenance, shortsightedness, greed and sheer bad luck! Why do i say greed? The answer lies in 3 important words: Bandra-Kurla Complex! After this fiasco happened people came out with the information that the planning commitee had been advised against building the Bandra-Kurla Complex since it was blocking the overflow path of the Meethi river and was going to be built totally on marshy and reclaimed land. But greed and shortsightedness overcame common sense and the complex was built. And we are all seeing the repurcussions now.

People blame the BMC for poor maintenance. Fine. They are guilty for that. But the fact remains that these drains are abused and used by one and all as their own personal garbage dump. When the storm water drains in the Andheri and Sakinaka area were opened to be cleaned, they were found chocked with animal bones, plastic bags, paper pulp and god knows what other goop;mainly thrown there by the various restaurants in the vicinity.

Let us look at the commercial aspect of this all. HUGE LOSSES! Sums it up doesnt it?Roads, cars, offices, godowns, raw material, finished goods: You name it and it will be in the washed away or destroyed list. Peoples homes, cars, valuable, cherished belongings, memories, their whole lives washed away in one sweep! Even the insurance companies stand to lose in this bargain. Everyone but one species of Human beings lost on this day. Who gained?But of course, the sleaze of red tapism...the bureaucrats and so called public servants!Centre sanctions Rs. 500 crore as relief!. Moments later a meeting is called at a bureaucrat's house to discuss how best to siphon off this money.And reflief?Yeah distribute a food packet here and there. Make a few public assurances and appearances. Mission accomplished!

So who is to blame for this?The BMC?Yes. The rain gods?YES. The city planner?YES. The people of Mumbai?YES. Why do i say this?Cause even the people abuse the city to our own benifit. Throw trash on the road, in drains, spit as and where we please, walk our pets on public roads, show total disregard for authority:It all adds up and one day you get everything back with interest. My heart goes out to all those affected by this flood. It must have been a harrowing time for one and all. But we should consider this as a warning and seriously introspect as to how we can contribute to making all our cities greener, safer and all in all better places to live in.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

My Ravishing Readhead!

One look at her and i was smitten!Bitten by the crush bug!Head over heels!Or should i say...handle over wheels!Iam talking about that gorgeous female in my life. My flame red Pulsar 150 DTSi v2!:o)

Just run your eyes over those gorgeous 17'', 6 spoke alloy wheels, that sexy tire tread,100/90 section rear rubber. that hot disc brake, those low slung handlebars, those Messerschmit gun style pilot lamps and that hot racy sports bike stance that she exhibits!...Man iam drooling all over!

Enough of that!Lets get down to the brass tax!I bought my bike in Feb 2005 and havent felt better ever since!Shes a dream to ride!...the new gas filled shockers really improve the ride quality.The new 17'' wheels coupled to the low slung handlebar(even on the 150) have really made the handling razor sharp.Shes become a really nimble and surefooted traffic carver.A boon in Pune's MAD traffic!Acceleration has improved a lot over the older version thanks to the ultra short gearing employed due to the adoption of the smaller wheels. Also addition of the ExhausTec has pushed the roll ons through the roof!I can easily pull thte bike from as low as 40 kmph in 5th gear without the engine groaning! And the paint fifnish is simply great!..My flame red colour is HOT.

Now on the negetives. Gearbox is still a major concern. Lots of false neutrals. Espcially if you are into late downshifts. The bike will simply not change gears if stationary!Also, the gas charged dampers tend to bounce a bit with a pillion on board. Can get a bit hairy if you are trying to take that corner Rossi style with a poor soul perched behind you! Ground clearance has gone down a bit thanks to the smaller wheels! Have hit the ExhausTec Box on a few rocks once or twice! Top speed has gone down significantly over the previous model. The best i could manage with about 1400 kms on the odo was 105 kmh. But now with more kms logged on and the engine freeing up, i might be able to do better.

All in all i can say that shes a great bike, for the city and the great outdoors!Great power coupled with killer efficiency and head turning looks!..Well what more could i ask for in a bike!..And at 57 grand that too!..Three cheers for my "ravishing redhead"........

(P.S.: Iam planning to buy a K& N filter for my bike soon. Ill publish the performance details about that as soon as i carry it out!)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Age needs to be respected.Not shunned!

Try taking a walk through Kamala Nehru Park in Erandawane nowadays.What meets the eye?Well besides the usual kickle cackle of children and concerned and loving parents tending to them?The answer is, well, old people!Lots and lots of old people.Some sit on the park bench with their spouses sharing a tender moment lost in time, some sit and stare in space, some are involved in laughter clubs, some are actively strolling by(much faster and longer than me much to me embarrasment!!!).

I feel the respet for older folks has gone down a great deal in today's world. All over the globe. America has always been rude to their elders. Thats a well documented fact. But what worries me is that this phenomenon is creeping its way into India too. Which is a very worrying sign. While we are picking up a lot of good stuff from the West, we dont need to pick up the bad too.Ill give you a very personal example to this whole scenario. During my engineering days, i used to travel by bus to college. Now we are all pretty much aware of the pathetic state of PMT buses. More people stand than sit. but what used to disturb me that strapping young youths would stay put in their seats even if a aged person was standing right next to them. Even young girls. Where is the respect and dignity for the elders gone?I dont think our parents brought us up with such values. We must have messed up somewhere ourselves!

I am myself not absolved of all balme. Nor am i trying to be a purist. Heck, i am not the kindest or the most considerate son. Nor grandson. But thats my point exactly. Through various personal experiences i have come to the realisation that the old saying is really very true. Old age is really nothing but a second childhood. Older people need the same kind of tender loving care and attention that children do. The only difference being,you have to give back to old people what you have received from them!

To wrap this up id like to say that while living for yourself is importnat, living for others is also equally important. Our parents need our support in their old age. We owe it to them. It is one of the biggest virtues of us Indians as a people: Our respect for elders! Let our generation be the flagbearers of this virtue!