In which Trupz says Welcome to my world – Pune

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There was a time, when daily hustle bustle of the big city, engulfed life. There were timings to be kept for waking up and dozing off, alarm clocks were matched to train station timings, and 5 minutes here and there would mean losing out your favorite seat. These were small things that mattered so much; that simply being out in the morning to breathe some fresh air seemed like some sort of a luxury. All exercise and catching of breath happened either running for the bus or rushing to the train. Climbing up and down the foot over bridge and jostling the crowd was daily massage I did not sign up for. Thats life in the fast lane in Mumbai for you. Long train travel across suburban Mumbai to reach work and even longer queues for buses and auto rickshaws to get back home. At a mere 28 years i was already exhausted. Unable to give enough time to family, unable to maintain a social life and more importantly unable to give time to myself.

Then life took a turn for the better, the start-up AD was working for decided to move to Pune! Initially it spelt disaster for me, my company had no offices in Pune and how long AD decided to stay there was unclear, whether this was permanent move, would that mean changing jobs for me – all the balls were in the air and I could not afford to drop even one. I decided to stay back in Mumbai initially. The logistics had to be sorted out about this whole Pune move, career wise, finance wise and obviously family wise. Both our parents were extremely supportive, having been through such times themselves they understood my concerns and his desire to take some risks and backed us. The job hunt for me in Pune was not very promising, with the recession etc and most companies on backfoot for hiring. Moving from Mumbai was just not an option. A very informal discussion with my manager led to a solution I had not dreamed of. The company would allow me to work from home, as long as all working criteria were met and the work did not suffer. I would need to travel to Mumbai as when required. All in all it meant a green signal for me to move to Pune, and a very unpleasant 3 months of separation would come to an end.

Home Sweet Home

In all this time, I managed only 3 trips to Pune, and was impressed with what i saw. It was just like any other emerging metropolis. My image of a sleepy old town, with very typical Puneri folk was wiped out in an instant. My first travel to Pune landed me directly into Kalyani Nagar – skim past this area and you are reminded of South Mumbai in an instant. A very upcoming and developing suburb, it took to my liking instantly and we decided our next abode would definitely be in this area. Limited with our finances, we settled for a 1BHK flat in an old society – but it had a vantage point. The location was superb, literally stones throw away from the Mall and multiplexes, biggest restaurant in area was across the street, all consumables were at arms length and everything else only at walkable distance. My initial grimace for not finding a house with a view disappeared within days when I figured out what advantages the house had ;P.

Silhouette – kalyani nagar backdrop of a sunset

Life began slow here, we arrived with bare minimum furniture, just enough things to survive. Most of what were needed laptops, books, Television, mattress, cupboards and gas stove. Thats it I thought to myself, the first night i closed my eyes – this will be home. I had taken a couple of days off just to set up everything in the new house. Cleaning up, unpacking, cooking it all had to be fitted in while managing work. With travel out of picture I suddenly had more time on my hand, so I cooked regularly. Exploring the new living area was a lot of fun too – but auto rickshaw meters in Pune were running faster than my heartbeat, so i took to walking around, it is best way of exploring the place :). Acclimatizing to neighbourhoods like Koregaon park and its numerous lanes, the camp area and of course the  temptations of the malls, purchasing new tid bits for home, my time was consumed by these. My now broken camera along with me walked many a sultry evening absorbing Pune. The setting sun shedding light on new avenues in life.

AD took me to office one day, I took to liking his colleagues immediately, some I had met before in Cleartrip and some I met for first time. They have a very close bonding, dinners at our place and hanging out became part of many a evenings. His boss did not mind me working out of their office too, they had enough space to lend me a table which was a very friendly gesture. Someday’s working alone from home often made me quite lonely. I had begun to miss the whole work atmosphere, fun with colleagues and office outings etc. Chai and coffee breaks were too by myself and not very enjoyable. Soon working out of AD’s office became a regular thing, atleast once a week, as on Thursday there was a power outage for more than 6 – 7 hours. I did not miss my own office so much then, as we went out for lunch with his office folk and there was always some or the other happening there to keep me entertained. Watching them work from sidelines, often gave me a kick too. In  their initial days I did pull an all nighter with them a couple of times. Pizzas and Red Bulls were great companions then.

Fun times at IB

Soon after we moved here, a few other friends from Mumbai also did – they too decided to set shop here and I began to miss Mumbai a lot less. Pune is traveller’s paradise, except for a brief spell in Summer, you can travel around through out the year. There are forts, hill stations all which are within reach of Pune. City is decorated with historical monuments from Shivaji’s times. Our first travel was to temple at Parvati. Then venturing out to Sinhagad, Aga Khan Palace, Panshet, Kamshet lakes and Pavana Dam. I had always pestered AD for not being able to trek, but we got an opportunity after coming to Pune, Quasi planned out a 4 day trek to Harishchandragad and before that I managed a trek by myself with ShikharVedh gang to Tornagad. The travel to office was limited to 5 Km for AD, he took to cycling there, the spell lasted a good few months till monsoon set in. Rains in Pune are wonderful, the place completely transpires into a green blanket and weather is nothing short of European romance.

The Naka Boys re-unite

Many people had warned me of how I would not be able to fit in and be out of place, and how Pune does not offer a social life, but it all proved wrong. Pune has some of the best eating joints, from the very Puneri Shreyas on Apte Road to Bedekar misal. A wide variety of Parsi food from Dorabjees to Zamu’s. Koregain Park is filled with little gems of places with the most surprising cousine – Our favorite has been Arthurs theme and Tertulia’s. Not to mention the little micro brewery which makes a lot of noise on social circuit called Doolally’s. Never did i get a chance to enjoy such a variety in such a short span of time. FC road and JM roads are a foodies haven, with popular joints like Vaishali and Good Luck Cafe to gorge at.

Fields of Good

On of the best things to have happened is that I got back to my hobbies, writing and photography. The more we traveled the more stories there were to tell.  Desire and passion to write were back and i was slowly mastering the art of photography. I got active on twitter and made some very nice twitter pals- it was a totally new experience of socializing. Suddenly I did not feel so exhausted, there was always something that kept me busy. While all this was happening, work kept its pace up and did not hamper career front, I got my promotion and my raise and things were looking good. Friends kept visiting and so did family. The home began to take shape as more and more “things” came into the house. Walls got photo frames and shelves,mattress got a new bed, windows got new curtains, the cycle is now replaced by a motorbike and life as we knew it changed for the better.

We still visit Mumbai often, but we long to be back in Pune. The city has taken my heart and Home is where the Heart is ….. We both are still pursuing our dreams and desires, and working equally hard to fulfill them. But in the midst of all this, life in Pune has given us that little cocoon to take a breather once in a while and I still have some time left to LIVE a little bit more.

In which Musical Weekend Part 2 – Pune Wine Tasting and Bacardi NH7

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After revving up last Friday night in some Hindustani Classical Music, the line up on Saturday was even more interesting. I had been observing my twitter timeline being tagged with “#NH7” for whole of last week. It was only after I saw the advert on TV I could correlate, and it was impossible to believe that such an event is to be held in Pune!!!! That to in Koregaon Park, i mean give me a break ….! Plans were on for saturday afternoon, the girls and I were to attend the Pune Wine Tasting Festival, which was held in Koregaon Park again, yeah baby, KP was hot and happening for 11/12th December.

The line up for Wine tasting was great and who would not like to spend wintry Saturday in green lawns sipping on some of the best wines available. I usually like White wine and stuck to Sauvignon Blanc, Jacob’s Creek being one of my favorite. Though I was surprisingly addicted to Chenin from Vinsura and healthy variety Biowine which contains Ayurvedic hebs and tastes awesome, although some may think of it as typical medicine, but one has to acquire taste for wine. Poonam (_alps) as she is better known, Prutha and myself had decided to meet up for this event. It was a fine afternoon, when we reached the venue the atmosphere was in equally great spirits!!! I was meeting Poonam for first time and we had a lot of catching up to do :).

Prutha at the Grape Stomping

The grape stomping was the highlight of the evening, and organisers invited the guests to partake in this fun activity, although it was tempting I preferred to get the grape juice only in my stomach and not on my clothes. lots of chatting and sipping, _alps and I, finally called it a day as I was to go for the NH7 event later in the night. Now whoever said Pune is a laid back and boring city, was surely not at these places in December 2010!!

As the weekend approached, the buzz of NH7 was almost becoming a scream on twitter, one such was mine also which was heard by @dhempe and he managed to get me passes for both days…woooot, unexpected this was. So flushed from the wines I made it to NH7 venue, where 2 guest passes were promptly waiting for me. The highlights of this event for me were the performances by Indian Ocean and the Raghu Dixit Project. I enjoy music tremendously for them both. Indian Ocean I had watched them at Mood I in IIT Mumbai when Kandisa was just released and it was a rage. Seeing them again after almost 8 years was a resurrection. Before them was a fusion band lead by Susheela Raman, who played some kick ass numbers never heard before and although she sang in Tamil, it was superb fusion. Rise it higher and Mamavatu, I hope I got the names correct were mindblowing.

Indian Ocean
The most awaited band and aptly the close of event at the Dewarists stage were Indian Ocean, in between the change of bands after Susheela Raman finished on the Black Rock Stage we also got a slight glimpse of Raghu Dixit and what was on offer from them next day. Public demand asked for Hey Bhagwan and they did not disappoint, with a promise that closing on NH7 on Sunday will be a rocking one. Indian Ocean did not waste any time and had the crowds tapping their toes and then jumping around almost as soon as they started, Bandeh, their infamous song from Black Friday putting everyone in a trance. Going on to “Maa Reva” and some more songs from their soon to release album, the band ended on the all time favorite Kandisa, the song which plummeted them to glory.

Magic Numbers
On Sunday, I missed the band Swarathma, they are quite hot on the music scene now, and very highly recommended by a music buddy of mine. Rock bands like Midival Punditz and Asian Dub Foundation were to playing on the Eristoff Arena, but I chose to stick to Dewarist’s stage as the atmosphere was good and so was the crowd. Reached early before Raghu Dixit was to be on, to catch the closing of Magic Numbers, an alternate rock band from UK. They 2 pairs of brother sister duo and one of the sisters on the electric guitar was literally smoking it. We have often heard of Indian bands travelling abroad to phoren lands and getting appreciated there, this is what exactly happened to magic Numbers also. I was surprised to see an evolved audience and people who had hear them before. The band members announced that it was the best concerts ever at which they have played and great audience too, flattered yes but he was just being too modest.

Raghu Dixit
The most awaited gig of the evening was Raghu Dixit project, having seen a a dekko of them the previous evening, it was but the most appropriate close to the mind blowing weekend that NH7 had become. RDP came with their kitty full, and didnt waste any time in gearing up the audience with their most popular tracks, “Hey Bhagwan”, “Ambar”, “Mysore se Aayi”, “Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo” . They did have the new song about Mumbai too, but seems like will take some time to grow on me. My favorite among this list were Amber, Hey Bhagwan till i saw their Electronic Violin player who went like crazy when they sang “Mysore Se Aayi”. It was a fast paced 60minutes and not one boring moment throughout. Vishal Dadlani too joined in the crowd and Raghu made sure he acknowledged him in the crowd and thanked him for giving their folksy band a chance to bring out from the pandals to world stages, you will be surprised to know that RDP is 2nd most downloaded artists on ITunes in World Music Arena.

Overall the NH7 was superbly managed, the sound was world class and the stages was nothing like i have ever seen before, matching all norms of international standards. Each and every artist mentioned the hospitality and the arrangements that were made for them as awesome. We know that when going to a concert you dont want to be bogged down by lack of infrastructure and technical glitches, to keep an audience happy you simply need great music as promised and you bet this event lived up to its reputation. With a promise of being back again soon, the Dewarists arena at NH7 brought its curtains down and Pune witnessed a history in making.

In which Musical weekend part 1 – Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav

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” Music expresses that which cannot be said,and on which it is impossible to be silent – Victor Hugo “

 

 

So it was going to be a lot of action packed things to do over this particular weekend, all happening n Pune. It was hard to believe. Lots of events and programs happening all over the city, each one better than the other and none which could be missed.

First it was the coveted Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav, the mother of Indian Classical Festivals. My dream to attend one of these since a long time, and now that we had shifted to Pune, there was no point in giving any reasons for missing it. It was on from the 9th Dec – 12th Dec, and many well known artists like Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Begum Parveen Sultana, Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Rajan Sajan Mishra and Prabha Atre were to perform. Although it was going to be difficult to make it for all 4  days, Friday the 10th seemed liek the best choice for us as Pt.Vishwamohan Bhat and Jasraj Ji were to perform in second half of the day.

The preps had begun a day before, with me running pillar to post to acquire tickets, having heard from friends how difficult it was to get hold of the passes and unaware of whereabouts of shops where they are sold, I was aiming in blind to get entry here. Checked with some of my Pune tweeps and confirmed from them that tickets were sold at the venue also. This was a relief. Made plans with Adi to leave for the venue after work on Friday. It was only past 6.45 but winter evenings made it seem more later and we walked into the RamanBagh Prashala at the New English High School. An open Pandal, with silken sounds of lilting music from the Mohan Veena devouring the air. Our tickets stated “भारतीय बैठक” which literally meant sit wherever there is place.

Image courtesy - E sakaal

A good look at the crowds and almost 60% of spectators, sitting on the ground, many had their own mattresses with them, some making do with the flooring mats arranged by the organisers. From where I was standing Panditji looked almost like a dwarf, although the projection arrangement was wonderful. Spread across the arena were large LCD monitors and screens where one could comfortably sit and watch almost like a home television environment. Many would argue the fact that if it has to be watched on TV then why go through so much trouble. But the high of being in the crowd and absorbing that musical bliss is what is so tempting. I could see senior members in spectators, those probably battling with aching bones and arthritis (the cold weather must have surely made it a bit worse), but still giving the much deserved “दाद ” for every scintillating high note Panditji touched with his Veena. It was even more encouraging to see many youngsters in the crowd, with the festival in its 58th year and well known among the connoisseurs of hindustani music, it is no surprise that  tickets were at discounted prices for college students. This is the ongoing effort to conserve traditional and cultural gems such as Classical music and nurture future generations. It is important for youngsters to be acquainted with all forms of Art and appreciate them.

Courtesy Time of India

Jugalbandi of maestros

We decided to stand and wait till end of Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhats and Ustad Sreenivasan’s jugalbandi. This duo, with Panditji on the Mohan Veena and the young Ustad closely following him with the Mandolin was accompanied on the tabla by Pandit Vijay Ghate. It was like a musical symposium on stage. Mesmerising to watch and listen to. Soul stirring “आलाप” and hair raising melodies, I am sure it was the raag Yaman Kalyan or Shyam kalyan, but  the जुगलबंदी between the two only left the audience asking for more, which Panditji duly acknowledged and played for exactly four more minutes. This time of course he had the audience swaying to the bhajan “वैष्णव जन तो”, what a perfect close to the duel.

The crowds consisted of people from all over India, all music enthusiasts; some practioners and  some evangelists, like they say for every Tansen there also have to be some Kaansen. The elderly friend dup sitting besides us had been attending the Mahotsav for over 15 years. Now retired and originally not from Pune, they made it a point to come here annually. I met people who has come from Rajkot, Goa, Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Dharwad and the likes. I was told that most people in the audience were from out of station, some did not even have a place to stay and most of them camped at the venue itself. Monumental commitment, I respect all of these people hugely. There was a diary being passed around in the audience, someone who had been attending the festival for almost a decade now was asking the people from the audience to share their experiences. I was privileged to have written mine, it has now been recorded somewhere in history.

Darbari Kanada

Image Courtesy Times of India

Next on was Pandit Jasraj, the octogenarian duly accompanied by his disciples on the Veena, harmonium and the Tabla. In classic Pandit Jasraj style, he first began with an anecdote of his first encounter with Pt.Bhimsen Joshi. It is so humbling to hear such generous praise and humility for each other amongst these maestros. Contemporaries in their own right, but never adversaries. After addressing the audience as form of God, “ईश्वर”  and raising is hands in salutation to all with a devotional “जय हो!! “, he began to knit the Darbari Kanada with Chamundeshwari Shloka. Although the sound arrangements, especially the mike was a constant interruption with Panditji for first 10 – 15 minutes, he continued. He even tried to explain in Marathi what he wanted, but the sound guys was unable to adjust it rightly, so he blatantly decided to use only one mike. Such is the resilience of great artists, such small debacles do not stop them attempting to  their task. Panditji was well aware of how long the audience had been waiting for him and he was in no mood of disappointing them. Stating time and again of how appreciative he is of the organizers and calling the event “आपला सवाई महोत्सव”, he struck the right chord with the audience. Hitting extremely low notes in his आलाप, and the minute हर्कातेन, which is the highlight of his vocal performance, he had the audience captivated. The Darbari being a very intense raagas, one gets completely immersed into it and it was so obvious with deep devotional rendition that almost seemed like coming from straight from his heart. Panditji was so impressed with his harmonium accompanist, that in the middle of his own singing, he stopped to compliment him saying , “बेटा आज तुम्हारे हाथ में अब्बाजी आ गये!!”. Such small nuances mark the makings of a great human and an even greater artist.

Panditji is known to be deeply devotional, in last 10 minutes that  were remaining he promised to play for 20 minutes, this was another one of his bhajans, “ओम नामोह गणपतेय वासुदेवाय” the sounds of which are still echoing in my head. It was almost like he had attained his Nirvana on stage when he went into the chants of “विठ्ठला विठ्ठला”. It was difficult to hold back those tears that rolled down, his calling to the God was so overwhelming that it suddenly seemed to have cleared and purified the air around. I almost did not want him to stop, but as is customary and keeping with the police regulations, the event for that day promptly came to a close. A crowd of well over 3000 people, all huddled up in their places were captivated by the sounds of the evening. Everyone,I am sure carried a part of the magic that we all witnessed that evening.

In which There is magic in our hands

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So it was special occasion – no birthdays or anniversaries but something even better. Finally Adi crossed off the one thing he wanted most on his wishlist. A MacBookPro is not just any other thing – it is “D thing” to have in many perspectives.

For us Blawghhers – it is a momentous occasion, as one milestone was achieved. Just as one graduate from play school -> high school -> college and then University so has Adi, from tinkering with the Sinclair, to his desktop box P3, to the HP- P4. Compaq laptop and finally University level for all geeks, the MacBookPro!!

I have witnessed his progress from a grumpy Windows user to a Linux enthusiast going on to be an OpenSource guru and now the eventual Apple Fanboi :P.

So while I am getting used to the left close, multi -touch scroll, window expose and the genie effect on the MBP – I must confess I have fallen in love with FluidTunes. All this just at the tip of your fingers is just like magic, seriously minus getting into all the techie details; I am sure a lot has already been written about it, this baby is a piece of work.

Although I write this post on a decently configured laptop, the grey HP is paled by the white beauty of the Mac …..

In which DVD player,TV and new ways to do old tricks

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And just like that, it has been 9 months since we moved to Pune. To put it in startup terminology, what was an idea or thought to set up home in Pune, is slowly becoming a feature endowed product of a typical ‘HOME’. When we moved here the intent was to remain light, a minimalistic existence. So we had the essentials of a mattress, wardrobe, mirror, gas stove, tables, and chairs, bookshelf, with appropriate contents that went into each and of course a TV. There was almost no investment in procuring any of these as most were what we brought from home and the TV loaned from my cousin. A standard bootstrapped model.

As what would be a natural evolution, the television at first was a non-necessary addition, so we survived almost a month without any cable. But then came the IPL season, soon to be followed by the FIFA world cup and other such highlights of 2010, so it became a necessity to get a cable connection. Now that sports season almost to an end and becoming un-interesting, there are at most 7 channels that we watch out of the 100 odd that are available. Most of the time we end up watching sitcoms on the laptop.

Window shopping at Croma the other day we saw this WESTON DVD Player with USB attach facility. Immediately it became a must-have, and without any second thought, it was purchased. The thought of comfortably watching the favorite sitcoms on a television screen was a much-wanted relief. Now our TV isn’t that high end or state of the art. It is a rugged old horse of about 10 -12 years, a simple CRT of a brand that is now non-existent but does a hell of a job of what it is supposed to do :). So the DVD player was opened and gadget freak in me took over to plug it into the TV. As though it was going to be a Eureka moment, I waited with bated breath when I switched to AV mode – only to find a blank screen.

That was almost not possible, I was damn sure all connections were correct. So unwired and rewired it again but no luck. So the real geek suggested trying the AV slots in the back of the television set – that did not work either. A phone call to my cousin revealed that the AV slots of this old Joe were fried and so I was left with no option but consider buying a new television.

Not sure why, but I was not entirely convinced that there isn’t a workaround for this – there are always these connectors like PS2- USB, laptop to TV using the S-video or the DVI to MUX between various devices, so why should there not be a way to hook up a DVD player to a TV minus the AV jacks. So I decided to  “Google IT” – that’s a sure-fire solution to almost every doubt. The first search result itself gave me the solution I was looking for (100% accuracy). To fix my problem all I was required to do was purchase what is called an RF Modulator.

A few simple steps and VOILA – the DVD was working

  • Purchase an RF modulator and a connecting cable. This device will convert the output of your DVD player into a signal that can travel over the coaxial cable.

Now these things are not that easily available in branded variety – I did have to make do with a local / Chinese make which came at a price premium of Rs.150/- (along with the cable but no guarantee)

  • Hook the composite output of your DVD player to the RF modulator and the RF modulator coaxial output to your TV.

In some cases switching to the AV mode to of the TV automatically will detect the DVD signal, in some cases like mine, you will have to tune the channel frequency of your TV set to locate the DVD signal. You can save this to any of the unused channel numbers.

  • Tune your TV to the chosen channel.

The RF modulator which I purchased also has a slot for the cable wire and an ON / OFF switch to regulate the DVD and cable channels.

Yippee, the USB is attached – now I am enjoying my favorite sitcoms on a bigger screen. Of course it did take a good week to get it all sorted, hunting for the modulator and all, but in the end, it was worth it. Of course, many suggested the simpler solution would have been to buy a new TV – but then what is life without a bit of experimentation – there are always new ways to do old tricks :P.
For detailed articles please see these links
WIKIHOW – Connect TV to a DVD without A/V jacks
ABOUT.com –  The RF modulator – DVD player connection option

In which Trupz decided to speak up and speak out

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This post was selected for Tangy Tuesday pick on BlogAdda

 

 

This post was selected for the Tangy Tuesday picks on Blogadda

A freak of incidence and I ended up taking the PMT bus from Warje to Pune station via Swargate (just like most other buses this one too had a number plate illegible to the naked eye). Loaded with 3 bags (my laptop sack, a purse and an extra cloth bag – more on why i was carrying so much in next Blawghh post) I climbed into the bus which was more brown than the “laal dabba” (red box) all thanks to the continuous rains.I had got in at the very first stop and was much disheartened to see almost all the bus full. Also given the Sunday afternoon I was sure the frequency of buses was poor and it didnt make sense to wait for the next one.

I spotted a lone empty seat, was just making my way towards it when an atrocious man who had no shame whatsoever, jostled and made way to it before me!!!! Forget about chauvinism, the dude didn’t even to say Sorry or for that matter give me a second look. Little did I know it was actually a Run for the Seat. I didn’t want to spoil my taste for the day after the awesome lunch and  kept mum.

I turned around and saw that there were 2 more seats “Reserved for Ladies” occupied by these dudes ( looks like Warje is a place filled up with “DUDES”). SO politely and as nicely as I could have asked i said to the 60 year old pair of dudes occupying the first seat.”Excuse me, this is a ladies seat” – yes of course I said this in Marathi, “ही लेडीस सीट आहे“, confused and out of sorts as if he had committed a sin, he apologized and said that he didn’t know, as he could not read and no one else bothered to tell him, he sat there with his partially hearing impaired friend. Now, this duo was carrying some huge parcels wrapped up in a cloth, we would usually call them “बोचकी“:colloquially. Considering the crowd in the bus already,these elderly and physically challenged  folk standing in the aisle would have been a worse inconvenience to everyone than me with the 3 bags.

So I asked them to sit tight, and cursing my bad luck I looked at my 2 victims (i reveal that these guys suffered exact 2 minutes later), and said, “”ही पण लेडीस सीट आहे“” (this is also a reserved seat for the ladies and push off really, i mean really cant you read, that is what my brain was ranting) – I got an extremely unconcerned look back from one and  the other pretended not to hear me at all. Just as i was about to repeat myself, another lady passenger came in and approached this same duo with same request as mine and received a similar response back. Now i was pissed, may be it was time to take off the Sunday attire and show these guys some real punch. You can almost imagine what followed for next 6 – 8 minutes was a verbal battle that was filled with language that was difficult to decipher for both dudes, with me and my partner in rhyme (lets call her lady in pink) lashing at them in English, cursing them down for having no Education and behaving like illiterates (come on they could not read ” for ladies ” – “महिलांसाठी”), having no decency to talk and behave with women and largely for citing examples of how they abuse/insult women everyday they travel in “शिटी” buses from their locality ( i.e they occupy such seats and apparently no “ladij pyassenger” has ever complained or raised a voice) and get away with it.

The tempo of this EPIC word fight reached its height, when for some reason, me dressed in jeans and a T-shirt was much an issue for this one goon, since he went to the extent of passing a lewd comment like “when you are dressed as a man, why are you asking for a ladies seat!!”

Now was the time for the Mumbaite in me to step out, and give this guy a piece of my mind. For those who know me well, and are well aware of my vocabulary skills in all three, English, Marathi and Mumbaiya, you can imagine the dialog; with me using up all of everything i know in the abuse department and creating some new ones during a very heated and one sided conversation. For those of you who don’t know me, tickle yourself,think what you would have done if in my shoes (especially if you have been there before). After about 3 minutes of verbal lashing (it would have been a physical one – with my right hand imprint on his cheek but thank god i was carrying the cloth bag with it) that included the mention of, brains, bones and teeth and lots of comparisons with poultry and farm animals, insects and birds, another slightly older man approached me and said , “बाई माणसान अस बोलू नाय!!” (it is not good for women folk to speak like this (loosely translated)), to which i politely asked him to Shut up, if he can’t help.

I yelled out at the other passengers for being by standers, and acting as though it was not their problem, how they like being extras in a movie, to the other women who sat in reserved seats(there are 5 such seats in every bus) for not supporting female passengers and informing other passengers to sit else where, to the conductor especially,as he kept printing tickets all this while at the far end of the bus – refusing to interfere and check out what the ruckus was. And mind you all this while the bus was halted. I demanded to see the conductor, and by now surprisingly a lot of other passengers (who suddenly found their lost b&||$ and sanity got up and asked the rioting goons to vacate the seat. The lady in pink, by now managed to drag the conductor forward and threatened to report him if those 2 goons were not thrown out immediately. There was a huge opposition from them but eventually the chaos and noise was alarming and the driver stepped in, he told the 2 goons to step out of the bus if they were not going to be quiet and as per the rules, only female passengers should occupy the seats in question, otherwise they can find themselves place in next bus for the same route which was right behind. I thanked god for sending in this driver because with all that high pitch screaming my larynx was about to burst. Much against their liking the duo stepped out, giving me the “LOOKS” and finally the bus moved.

This was about 5 hours ago and I am still not very proud of my actions, the aftershock of going through such a vociferous and stooping-down-zillion-levels-of-tolerance and conduct to duel with some random person is shuddering. The nerve on my forehead was ticking like a bomb and my heart was panting so loud that I could not hear the grinding sounds of the bus. Many questions came to my mind, as to why this situation came up, was I wrong anywhere? Was the guy who pushed me away to race for the seat correct? Was i incorrect at letting the elderly man take up the first seat, considering his age and baggage or was i wrong at taking on the second pair? Apart from learning a few new Marathi cuss words I realized what the mentality of some men folk is like, especially those who are “supposedly” illiterate (naturally they cant read) and devoid of any reason. A simple seat in the bus, common decency in addressing women and a basic civic sense was lacking in them. They had no fear of rules, of authority and if people (other passengers in the bus) would have remained oblivious to their actions they would have got away with their misbehavior. On top of this, there was this other DUDE, who was more concerned about my demeanor than that of the goons and expected that i should be quiet ??

I was not upset that I would have to stand with 3 bags to carry, their attitude towards Women in particular, the arrogance and the pride in being the way they were, ticked me off. In the end I did no wrong, I voiced against injustice, big or small, I made a point very clear that unlike many other “ladij” they encountered and oppressed, I refuse to be party to that. Whether by choice or force or by pressure LAW has to be enforced and RULES must be followed. I don’t know what lesson those goons took away from this, but out of some of the things i learnt, such parasites in society have to be outnumbered by the anti bodies like me: it is important to let people know you need their help, in my case the passengers heeded; may be in a small number but that is all I wanted!! That is all it took to scare off the goons. Sometimes people don’t have the courage to rebel for fear of being left alone, but once they know the numbers are growing and more people supporting, they will join in. Secondly the more you let someone get away with a miscreancy, the more you encourage it and increase the chances of them repeating it again So don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out.

A complaint was lodged by me against the conductor who did not step in and take necessary action, it is too shameful to quote here the reason for his abstinence.