Saturday, 4 February 2017

Indian Airports Are The New Railway Stations

I was boarding a flight to Kolkata the other day from New Delhi and I had a eureka moment. I was about to join the check in line and I was almost there when this guy pushed me away and took the spot ahead of me. But… Instead of getting pissed off at this uncouth being, I was amused and started smiling. I realised… That we’ve made it. We’ve made airports one of our own. We don’t give a shit anymore. We’ve made the Indian airports the new Indian railway stations!

What I saw in that man was the sheer lack of any inhibition that he was at an airport. Not that one needs to be scared while at an airport but it’s just one of those places where we usually expect our fellow Indians to behave properly. You know, it’s a trait that defines us quite well. Let me give you some examples.

We don’t litter when we’re in a mall but we’ll throw an ice cream wrapper right out the window of our Audi or BMW as soon as we exit the mall. We’ll yell “Aye chhotu! Do chai laga badhiya wali” at a dhaba but say “Bhaaya, do expressos please” at a Starbucks. McDonald’s will always be “Can I have 2 McAloo Tikki burgers please?” but at a chaat wala it’ll be “Bhai tikki mei mirchi kam lekin masala zada rakhiyo aur dahi upar se thodi dalna lekin anaar bilkul nahi dalna aur saunth thodi extra.”

The list goes on… But the point is this – We behave differently at different places.

Till recently, flying was one of those fancy things where we behaved ourselves. With more and more purchasing power and flights becoming cheaper day-by-day, the entire experience is changing. There’s all kinds of pushing and shoving rampant at airports now. Much like our good old railway stations. Given that anyone and everyone is taking a flight these days, this is only a natural consequence.

On one side, I’m glad that flying has become cheaper. It’s a more convenient mode of travel that’s much safer than trains and also much quicker. People are more empowered today and they feel like peers of their western counterparts. On the other hand, I’m just amazed at how quickly we’ve trashed the whole experience of flying. Say what you may, flying on an aeroplane used to be quite fancy and still is, at least for me. But I’m feeling that feeling go away… One flight at a time!

On a flight to Bangkok last year, I saw multiple gangs of lecherous men in their t-shirts and shorts get on our flight ready to just pounce on the strippers at the plentiful go-go bars of Thailand. So much so that they started harassing the airhostess probably because they could not control their urges for even a couple of hours. Never in my life had I ever seen airhostesses yelling at the passengers so bad. I was transported back to primary school.

Look at the airports today. They’re crowded like mad. People are sleeping on floors because all seats are taken no matter what time of the day you’re there. It’s like someone has hired these people to just sit on the seats all day long. There’s always some food items missing from the supremely expensive outlets there. Every now and then you find a floater in the washroom that hasn’t been flushed down properly yet. Haldiram’s to khul hi gaya hai. All we need are a few cows chilling around in the terminal and we’ll have successfully replicated our railway stations.

But you know what would really make flying as good (or bad) as travelling in a train? When we have our poop falling down through a hole in the loo that we can see. That’d be killer!

But wait. I think this has already started to being tested. Read this link for more. Cheers!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Just A Conversation Between A DINK Couple

“It was a cold December night in Gurgaon. The party season was in full swing as Christmas was getting closer by the day. Old Monk was the choice of poison for many and that’s really where my story begins. It was a typical Friday night at the agency when we were wrapping up all pending tasks to ensure the weekend went without any calls from the servicing team. We ended up leaving office by 9:45 pm and headed straight to our favourite ahaata that was hardly 5 minutes away. We were settled in by 10 pm and had our first drink in our hands as we ordered some masala peanuts…

“Somehow winter makes you drink a little more than usual, and when you have good company, even more so. It was a special occasion for one of us as she’d just wrapped up the week by winning a prestigious advertising award for a project she’d led. The drinks were on her and we were more than happy to celebrate with her. After all, who minds free drinks?

“We were a couple of bottles of Old Monk down amongst the 6 of us when an old boss of ours decided to crash our party. In fact, he was leaving when we spotted him and convinced him to buy us a round. In came a bottle of tequila and in no time we were on the makeshift dance floor of this fairly swanky ahaata and dancing away to glory. We had forgotten all about the food and were happily inebriated to even care about what we ate. Shots were downed like there was no tomorrow and we managed to empty a full bottle of tequila in 30 minutes flat, which was a record time for even us, the so called seasoned drinkers.

“It was 12:30 am and the music had stopped and the lights had been switched on. The staff started to clear out the tables and we cleared the bill at the cashier’s counter itself. All the bags were picked and we continued the chatter right outside as we smoked in the foggy air of Gurgaon. It’s a good feeling when you can drink till the wee hours, party with friends in a not so expensive place, smoke in the open without any hesitance, and take a cab to go home. No matter what people say, if you’re careful enough, Gurgaon is a pretty safe place to be in. I mean, we’re all surrounded by the corporate kind of people who’re just like us. We’re all in the same boat…

“I stay in a place far, far away from Gurgaon. So I’m usually the last one to be dropped when I take the office cab. And because it was a weekend, I didn’t have my car on me. I’d rather not drink and drive. So we usually manage to get an office cab on nights like these but we got a tad too late this time round and none of the office cabs were available. We decided to Uber it and were on our way after saying our goodbyes to the others. One of us had to be dropped within Gurgaon and the other near SDA. And since I live in East of Kailash, I was going to be the last one to be dropped. I wasn’t too worried. From SDA to EOK was not a lot of distance…

“As soon as we got into the cab I started feeling a bit dizzy. I couldn’t see straight after that last cigarette I smoked outside and was slurring quite heavily. Within a span of a few minutes, I passed out completely. After that, all I have are fleeting glimpses of what happened during the cab ride. We first dropped off my friend in Gurgaon and they woke me up to say goodbye. So I remember seeing her off. The next memory I have is that I’m lying in the back of the cab and somebody is touching my arm…

“I didn’t wake up with a jolt as I was still heavily inebriated. I managed to open my eyes slowly and tried to make sense of what was happening. The back door was open and there was a guy leaning inside. I figured it was the driver and his right arm was locked on my left arm and he held me tight. It took me a few seconds more to understand the situation properly and then slowly I started to hear things right. Suddenly, fear gripped my whole body and I realised I was in big trouble.

“I got up with full force and slightly shoved the cab driver out of the car. I looked around and recognised the place a little. As I was standing and about to yell at my cab driver, he asked me, probably for the umpteenth time ‘Haanji aapke ghar ki gali kaunsi hai?’ I told him it was the previous one and he got back to the driver’s seat and I got back inside the cab again and we were off. In the next two minutes I recollected and realised the cab driver was simply trying to wake me up as he was lost. It probably took him some effort to wake me up as it can get quite tough to wake a person like me when I’m drunk.

“I was glad I wasn’t too far away from home. I was glad he didn’t take me to UP and loot me off my belongings. I checked my pockets and everything was in its place. I sat back and relaxed again and reached home within a couple of minutes. I got off, paid the man a tip, and that’s how I reached home that night!” He said.

“You’re lucky you’re not a girl.” She sighed… 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

You Don’t Need A Train Ticket To Go To An Indian Railway Station

“The real beauty of this country is only seen through a train journey…”
“If you want to see the real India, travel in a train…” 
“All you need is a general trail ticket in India to experience its true essence…”

We’ve all heard these statements from our white friends who come to explore India in the most Indian way possible. You will also find those Indian vagabonds who are avid travellers and amateur photographers who echo such thoughts. But we all know the reality behind all this. No matter how much we romanticise the Indian Railways, we all know it’s a cheap, dirty, risky, and an extremely slow mode of travel option. Period.

There is a side of this story that probably deserves a little more credit. The side that revolves around the Indian Railway Stations and not within the trains themselves. The side which does not require you to travel in the cheapest train to experience life. The side that we all experience yet we don’t appreciate.

What I’m referring to is the small ecosystem that exists around all railway stations in India. An ecosystem that caters to all kinds of people. An ecosystem that thrives from people who are not actually travellers. An ecosystem which everyone is aware of but nobody really notices.

From going to the station on a Saturday night at 2 in the morning after a night out of partying at a 5-star for a quick and cheap meal to eating seekh kababs at Comesum on a Wednesday night after a long day at work, we’ve all experienced this at one time or the other in our lives. When it comes to food late at night, there’s only very few places that come close to giving you an experience like an Indian Railway Station would.

The Indian Railway Stations are also the ideal locations for some introspection for us humans. I’m not suggesting anything on the lines (no pun intended) of going to the tracks and giving up your life. Rather I am talking about just buying a platform ticket and just sitting around in the middle of the night and watching trains pass by. Seeing poor people sleeping on the floor covered in their kambhals is an added advantage.

Of course, the Indian Railway Stations are also home to a few travellers as well. The travellers that are travelling between cities on road and are looking for a night halt at their chosen locations. It’s a known fact that some of the cheapest hotels are always around railway stations and the railway stations are also some of the most well connected spots in any city or town.

So, no matter what you reason be, no matter what time of the day, it is not always necessary to be a train traveller to visit a railway station. All you need is the location of the nearest railway station and the spirit of an explorer to experience the world around Indian Railway Stations.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Safest Place In Delhi

I’m a Jamnaa Paar kid. You know, the place where the autos don’t go. Where the streets have no names. And where the majority of the baniyas of the city live in. Me being one. Pity I don’t have a single trait of being a baniya. No wonder I haven’t been able to monetise this stupid blog of mine yet. I’m such a nakli baniya that my dad is a doctor and my mom practices astrology for charity!

So, it was, of course, a big move up when my family and I decided to move to South Delhi so that we could be closer to work and not spend 9 hours a day on the road just honking, yelling, sweating, spitting, and blowing our noses. After living for close to 28 years on the other side of the Yamuna, it finally felt like our dreams of becoming cocks like all other South Delhiites was going to come true. But… It wasn’t to be.

Even after spending over a year living here I can still see creatures from Jamnaa Paar as humans. This also includes beings from Rohini, Punjabi Bagh, Pitampura, and more. They did not suddenly start stinking or started looking dirty. I went to my nearest Starbucks to check what was wrong with me. Why was I not able to blur away their presence? I smashed my Java Chip on the floor but picked up my laptop and slowly walked away. I had no answer.

It was not until Ramadan 2015 that I understood how this city of ours worked. It was a regular night in the middle of the week when my wife and I decided to grab a few drinks after work. It was about 11:25 pm when we started feeling hungry and we just couldn’t get ourselves to order 48 pieces of nachos for 475 rupees. I mean, unless those nachos are plated with gold, they’re not going through my throat. Or, unless Angelina Jolie shat on them. I'm sure even her poop tastes like chocolate. She's a Goddess, after all.

Anyway, it was then when we decided to go to our favourite joint where we would go once in 6 months when we were broke and wanted to be bad Hindus. No I’m not talking about GB Road. That would be plain weird. Well, I’m not sure. I’ve never tried it. Not that I want to. But maybe Amsterdam’s GB Road one day? Who knows.

We drove for 20 odd minutes before the familiar shady lane greeted us with the usual hustle bustle even at 12:05 in the night. And no, we did not land up in Mumbai in 20 minutes. The story is still about Delhi. So… We parked the car inside the government hospital that’s about 600 meters from our actual destination. We took a rickshaw and started rocking towards our regular spot. The ride is quite good for your libido as it goes through many ups and downs and if you're feeling extremely horny, you could have an orgasm by imagining this ride to be a sex simulator.

And then it appeared. The beauty. Amongst the crowded and the brightly lit neighbourhood, you can see it resting behind all the madness, the Jama Masjid. The famed Jama Masjid from the Chandni Chowk area. It’s what Old Delhi is proud of. It’s what makes Delhi 6 actually 6e. And you know, where apparently all the terrorists of the city go to? Like, I have heard from some very close sources that they have a Yakub Memon, Afzal Guru, and an Umar Khalid memorial within the compounds with access only to Dawood and Kanhaiya Kumar.

We stopped as soon as we saw Lalu Shahi Kababi’s brightly lit sign board with flashing lights on. Our destination was on our left. We ordered the regular – bade ke kabab (buff meat). They’re dipped in butter and after the first bite, I always need to check my crotch in case I came. Thankfully, it has never happened yet but that buttery kabab in the mouth can make anyone cum.

It was more crowded than usual that night and that’s when we realised it was Ramadan. There were families and friends, boys and girls, young and old, all in their traditional terrorist attire, you know, a white kurta pajama with a skull cap and a beard? Some women didn’t have beards. But, of course, that’s how all terrorists look like, right?

We decided to walk around and infiltrate this terrorist network a little deeper this time. It was almost 1:00 am and we were only going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. All that these stupid terrorists had was some amazing food (read: meat), great hospitality and sweets to die for. Ahh, who were they kidding. They could not scare us into not eating their god given food. We could also see their laugh was fake. Their joyful gestures were all a trick to lure us into believing all was ok. And boy oh boy they had a serious attitude problem. They acted as if they didn’t even notice us. How can that be? We were the so called 'normal' people walking cautiously in an apparently unsafe area. I'm sure every kid there that night was just a dwarf terrorist with amazing makeup. Oh these smart terrorists, always coming up with new tricks to fool people. Hah!

We spent enough time eating Biryani, Seekh Kabab, Shaami Kabab, Korma, and wrapped it up with a kilo of firni each. We were quite sure that with the amount of food we ate and the money we spent, they would definitely not kill us. It was 2:00 am when we sat back in the car. And this is the conversation we had:

R (me): Ahh. What a night!
A (her): Seriously, what killer kababs. *burps*
R: I can’t imagine it’s 2 o clock at night!
A: I know. It’s brilliant
R: Imagine GK 2 M Block at this time.
A: Ugh. Guys in their Audis and Mercs drinking outside 24/7 and spitting their hot dogs on the road.
R: Hahaha yea. I can’t even imagine the drunkenness that must be happening at Hauz Khas Village. 
A: I’m sure there’s a rape happening in a Fortuner in Gurgaon as we speak. 
R: Insensitive but true! 
A: And they call this place unsafe. Why?
R: Muzzlims.
A: Bhencho, chutiye.
R: *drives away*

It’s that time of the year, people. Some great food, vibes, and hospitality await you in the by lanes of Matia Mahal. Don’t go by what your parents say about a crowded place dominated by Muslims. There are bigger idiots in just South Delhi than all the rest of Delhi combined. I know them personally and I’m sure we have all experienced their dick behaviour from time to time.

I vouch for you and your girl and your family’s safety if and when you go witness Ramadan celebrations near Jama Masjid. It’s a mind blowing experience that you can’t get that anywhere else in the city. Shun the malls and the pubs with their fake offers and go and get this authentic experience. It’s completely chill unless of course you start yelling “TERRORIST TERRORIST!!” at seeing a Muslim man dressed traditionally. I’m quite sure they’ll cut off your kabab and hang it as a tourist sight. I mean, it would be the right thing to do irrespective of anyone’s religion.

I’m going to be there. Are you? 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Stay Drunk Stay Inspired

Inspiration comes in many forms. For some it is Buddha and for some it is Ram, some look up to Raheem and some go to Jesus.  Women often become inspiration for men, great leaders of the world also try their best to inspire people, but where does that leave us?

Clearly we don’t look up to our current leaders. Hello politics. And we’d rather die than take inspiration someone of the opposite sex. Hello sexism / feminism / equality / gender-based-keywords. We’re hardly religious any longer and we’ve forgotten all about our world’s history.

But all is not lost. We still have some heroes we can look up to. There’s still some good out there that we can go to when we’re feeling low. If it’s inspiration that you’re looking for, look no further. Below are 8 fictional characters that have changed the way of life for billions of people if not trillions. There’s just one thing common between them all. They like to stay drunk. Let’s get started. *hic*

Homer Simpson: He is probably the baap of all drunks. No pun intended. Older than the majority of us, he has successfully managed to raise his kids for over 20 years now and keep his marriage strong all the whole getting drunk on some Duff beer.

Peter Griffin: He’s like the predecessor of Homer Simpson and his mentee and he has done a splendid job of it. In fact, he has taken being drunk and foolish to the next level and only time will tell for how long will his beautiful wife Lois will stick with him.

Sterling Archer: It’s a known fact that this man will die if he stops drinking. The cumulative hangover will actually kill him. So to maintain his sanity and to stay alive, he must stay drunk and continue to be the deadliest spy ever.

Humphrey Bogart: When it comes to some live action characters, there’s nobody like Humphrey Bogart. The man in Casablanca can tempt any sole to grab a whisky and a cigar and listen to some piano. Sheer class.

Nicolas Cage: Have you even seen Leaving Las Vegas? No? Go watch and then argue with me. There is drunk and then there is Nicolas Cage drunk.

Randy Marsh: He once got operated upon and became a dolphin. Need we say more?

The Gang From It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Imagine being in a bar all day long all week long with nobody else but an unlimited supply booze and some like-minded foolish company. Drunkenness doesn’t get more fun than this.

Hank Moody: This one is meant to be. He is good looking. He is a writer. He is extremely promiscuous. And he stays drunk. It’s the perfect combo.