Monday, September 2, 2013

The Vada-Pav Chronicles

Lokhandwala Complex, Kandivili (E) Mumbai.
There was only ONE vada-pav centre for the entire Lokhandwala Complex ,Kandivili (E) apartments!!

                It was quite a regular practice by now. Wake up late every Sunday morning at around 10 AM; get ready for breakfast and dash to our favorite vada-pav centre near the complex next to our building. It was not a proper shop but just a corner where family of husband and wife would sell Vada-pav and tea.
Priced at around Rs 2.50 per vada-pav, we would hog around six to seven at a time, drink ginger tea and then return to our rooms. It was neither very special nor had any attractive ingredients. Just some chutney powder and mirchi to go with it. But somehow we were addicted to it.

                Another interesting thing was though they were husband and wife, at business, they were more like two separate entities, the husband selling only tea and wife the vadapav. Even the money had to be given separately. It only worked well for them being at the same place as the food complemented each other very well, just like them.
            It was not only us; this shop had a huge fan base. People would eat four-five and take another set “parcel “(No, I won’t use the word “Take away”. Its parcel only). All was well until…

           Until a competitor rose, right opposite to their shop (thela, as we call it). The competitor had the same business strategy. Vada-pav and tea.  And consumers love variety and choices. Slowly the fan base began to dwindle.  It looked as if the new shop was facebook and theirs was orkut.  Everyone suddenly wanted to try this new shop. It was flooded with customers while our Jodi had very little customers. It seemed everything was over for them. But for some reason they neither complained nor seemed agitated. They just kept serving whoever came to them.

                This went on for a while. Slowly people started missing the earlier taste they were addicted to. The customers started returning. I was one of the first to come back. The new vada-pav was good but could not beat the taste of the old one.  The competitor was not facebook J . The reversal was so much that now, again, the Jodi’s shop was again full while the competitor had time to watch a movie between two customers.

And then the Jodi lived happily ever after. OR did they.


                No one calls the competitor a competitor if he does not compete.So now our competitor was back with a bang, new, improved, better than everyone. And this time, it was not only Vada Pav. It was more. Samosa, Kocher, Dabeli, Missal pav, this and that. Basically he had everything to attract everyone.  The tide changed it direction again.

         If someone made time shorter, it would have looked like a tennis match where the tennis ball named customers went from this side of the net to other.

In your face, Vada-pav Jodi, in your face, you one trick pony!!

Suddenly from nowhere I could hear CEOs of Apple, Nokia, Microsoft and Samsung arguing loudly.

                 Word of mouth spread, more people started flocking there. Apun ka to kya hai, Jaha variety hai vahich apun. Every Sunday a different snack. From that shop, if you had a look at the Jodi you could see that this time they looked very angry, very agitated. It looked as if they would burn the competitor's shop just by the look of their eyes. The faces were distorted with jealousy.

It was about time, to make their next move.

               Just out of curiosity, one fine day, I went to the Jodi shop to see what their next strategy is. After the initial discussion I came to know that they were not at all angry at their competitor. ( all what I had thought  that they looked agitated was just in my mind). They calmly said that they had been in this business for years and vada pav was the one thing they were good at. They neither had the resources nor the expertise. But what they had was immense knowledge on how this business works.
They said that, the cost at which he was giving the snacks was not giving him enough profits. He was trying to attract customers first inspite of the losses. Sooner or later, he would either have to increase prices or reduce quality both of which would reduce his customers. And again, it had happened once, that the customers started missing her vada-pav and she was sure that they would return.
Moreover they were preparing less quantity nowadays and nothing was going waste.  Also that they were still making profits, though reduced by a great margin but never went to loss.

Small budget movies that made it big were clapping

Her strategy was simple. Continue whatever they were doing and wait for the competitor to stumble.
In exactly one month, the Jodi had made Nostradamus proud. The perseverance, quality they had set and customer retention had worked.I now knew why people call all Almirah's Godrej , All headache balms : Amrutanjan and all photocopiers Xerox machine :)

There was still only ONE vada-pav centre for the entire Lokhandwala Complex ,Kandivili (E) apartments!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


ಬೆಳೆ- ಬೆಲೆ

ಕಿತ್ತು ತರಲೆ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರವನ್ನು ,

ಮುರಿದು ತರಲೆ ಕಾಮನಬಿಲ್ಲಿನ ಬಳ್ಳಿ ?
ಅದ್ಯಾವದು ಬೇಡ .
ಸಾಕು ನನಗೆ ಎರಡು ಕೆ.ಜಿ. ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ !!

They asked me , what do you prefer
Continental or Thai food ?
I replied , neither
For me, only ತಾಯಿ ಅಡುಗೆ is good !! 

Bhaag Developer Bhaag
Oye Dev-Syve sab so ray honge
Customer sab ro ray honge
Aisi bug escalated bug rakh dil pe haath
Hum sath sath bolo kya karenge
Meeting karenge.. Meeting karenge.. Meeting karenge..
Meeting karenge.. Meeting karenge.. Meeting karenge..

ನಾ ಕೇಳಿದೆ ಆ ಹುಡುಗಿಗೆ ,
ಬಾಲೆ ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಊಟ ?
ಆಕೆ ಹೇಳಿದಳು ,ಹೋಗೋಣ ನಾವು
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಗುತ್ತದೋ ಅಲ್ಲಿ 
ಬಾಳೆ ಎಲೆ ಊಟ

Happy Women's Day
ಆಫೀಸಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ ನೋಡಿ ಬೋರಾಗಿತ್ತು,
ಅದೇ ಚಹರೆ ಅದೇ ಮೋರೆ. 
ಆದರೆ ಇವತ್ತು ಯಾಕೋ ವಿಷಯಾನೇ ಬೇರೆ
Did you ask क्यों रे ?
ಇಂದು ಕಣ್ಣು ಹಾಯಿಸಿದಲೆಲ್ಲ ಕಾಣಿಸುತಿದ್ಧಾಳೆ 
ಸೀರೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀರೆ ..

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


“I must have disappointed you” , the smiling passenger sitting by the window said, just as I was settling down with my not –so-heavy bag on my aisle seat.

I was taken aback.  Did I know him? He did not seem familiar.

“Excuse me”, I said, which in this context meant, I had heard what he said, but needed more explanation. Moreover I don't even know you”

“I said that I must have disappointed you”

He surely had disappointed me by not letting me know why he said that in the first case.

“Why ?” I politely inquired, still trying to guess who it was.

This senior citizen could be anyone. My grandfather’s friend, my father’s acquaintance, the “common man” from the movie “The Wednesday” or the LIC agent from “Kahaani”.

“I must have disappointed you because I am not the beautiful young girl you hoped to be in this seat to travel with you for next eight hours.”

         I was glad that he was not any of my acquaintance and hence I need not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed for not recognizing him but what he said was cent percent true, I always wished a beautiful female stranger to be my co-passenger, jaise film-o mein hota hai !! But I could not agree with him straightaway. I would seem to be a loser then.

           The passenger behind my seat, who had no better business than to overhear our conversation also waited for my reply.I spawned multiple threads from my brain’s thinking process which individually started working overtime to get a fitting reply to this know-all grand old man in the bus and the dropper of the eaves behind my seat.

“Not really, I have got enough material “, I said pointing to the girl sitting diagonally opposite in my front seat near the window.

            The division between the window seat and the aisle seat was unusually large and I was easily able to see her clearly from my seat.The eavesdropper behind got his answer. Satisfied he went to sleep. The person next to the girl was already sleeping. I safely assumed that the girl was indeed travelling alone.

           The grand-old man had tried his ice-breaker and was successful but little did I know that the ice was broken between other people too. He smiled at me and started staring outside.My brain killed all the extra threads it had created and started to relax when the girl in the front seat turned back to me, smiled and said,
“I noticed that you pointed at me!!”

Oh maaay Gaawd …

               I could do nothing but smile. I leaned forward and apologized and for the first time saw her face clearly. Or I must say half the face.When I had been to Pune, I had seen many girls covering their faces with dupatta to escape from dust and sun and ended up looking like terrorists. This girl was also covering her face not horizontally but vertically.
I could see the part of the face from one side only and that was enough.

        This was the first time a girl to whom I was a stranger had talked to me. I was thrilled. My heart jumped in joy so much that it hit the top of the roof of the bus and came back.

“No probs”, she said.” Let’s talk later”.
It was a true Mann mein laddu phoota moment !!

          My ears kept telling my brain to not let eyes have all the fun when her voice was also as sweet. I leaned back and again spawned multiple threads from my brain’s thinking process which individually started working overtime to find out what would happen next.
I did not have to wait long. Forty-five minutes later the bus stopped for dinner .I usually do not get off the bus but this time it was different.

        Not to seem too excited, I casually got down the bus, taking care not to even glance at her.I strolled a bit hoping for her to come and talk to me. And kept rehearsing what should be my first words to her. Should I apologize again or just start with job-interview type introduction when they ask “tell me something about yourself”.

      From the corner of my eyes , I could see her approaching. I wondered what her first words to me will be.She came very close to me.
This was a Mann mein doosra  laddu phoota moment !!

“Do you have three rupees?”
Mere mortals would have scoffed. Money? Already? Atleast introduce yourself.

But being a practical person that I am I would not fall into the trap that she was after money.
“Two rupees naa? “ I said.
“I too think so, but one does not come back from the dead just to switch off the room light. So it’s better to switch off lights before leaving the room”
“Okay, here it is. And your destination is over there”, I pointed towards the wall which read, “LADIES”.

Before she left I asked, “I will order in the meantime. Seeds or leaves ??”
“Coffee”, she said

       So our second meeting too was very short.I could still see only half of her face though.I stood there with two coffee cups in my hand. In these days of coffee-days, this must be one of the cheapest coffees a guy must have bought a girl on their first meeting.

As we stood sipping the coffee, staring at our bus, under the dark night sky,I asked her.
“Why are you covering the other half of the face”
She said,” What ?? Is this your first question, no introduction, nothing?”
“Hello, you started it. Took my three rupees too”
“Oh yaa, here is your one rupee,”
Now this was too insulting.
Regaining my composure I said, “Keep it, give it to some beggar in Bangalore. And transfer his blessings to my account”
“Hi hi hi”

By now I had found out the sounds of laughter’s we type during chatting are:
“Ha ha” : sounds like coming out of stomach, a general laugh to a common joke
“He he” : A lil personal joke
“Hi Hi” : Giggling.

So she was giggling which means she took it in the right spirit.
“So do you like me?” she asked.
“Well , you need to elaborate. “Like “ has lost its meaning after facebook has come into picture”, I replied.

She just smiled. Said nothing.

“ So , why is the other half of the moon dark ??” I asked.
“ Coz the sun chose not to shine there.Have you heard of acids?”

I stood shocked. I could not believe what I heard
“So are you not going to ask my name? My Facebook Id ? Mobile number ?”, She seemed casual about it

I would have, surely,  if I had not heard what she said just  now.She would be cute , but only half face. I could not even imagine how the other half would have looked.

All my excitement went downhill.

I did not want her number. I did not even want to remember that I met her.
Now I came to know why she talked to me in the first place. I mean no beautiful girl talks to you if they know that you will anyhow fall for her.

“I don't think that's necessary, after few hours , we will go in our own ways , probably never to meet.”

          I did not want to talk to her.I feared, now that she has spoken the truth, she would remove the veil from her face and I would be stuck to that image all my life.The conductor whistling came as a big relief to me.I had earlier thought, I would request the guy next to her to shift to my seat so that I could sit with her or ask “my friend who understands me” sitting next to me to shift to her place.But now I was just happy to be where I was.

           I silently walked to my seat and closed my eyes straightaway to avoid making eye-contact with her.I could still see a puzzled look in her face though she did not look disturbed by my sudden change in attitude.

          Nothing happened the next five hours. I made sure nothing should happen too.
As we reached Bangalore, I said bye to my fellow passenger and hurriedly got down.
I assumed she must have noticed this but there was nothing to feel bad coz I was still some random passenger in the bus. There were many others too who will not notice her.
I walked away from the bus and when I was at a safe distance, I turned to see her for one last time.

Angel or half angel, atleast she had created flutters in my heart for sometime.

She got down and took an auto.
As the auto took a ‘U’ turn and started coming in my direction, I panicked, for again I might have to give that indifferent look. As the rickshaw whizzed past me, she did what I feared about.
 She removed her veil covering her other half of the face and gave the most gorgeous smile ever!!!

I obviously knew about acids,infact topped in chemistry, but unfortunately failed the acid test and our chemistry too.

The moon was beautiful on the other side too..
 It was only that the sun was not shining there till now!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Gift -2

As promised , here is the sequel to my other blog  : The Gift
Independently it would be named as  :

  The Balloon

It was five in the Saturday evening and was indeed the favorite part of my week. I usually go for a small walk around my neighborhood at that time and being alone helps me to contemplate on the events that unfolded over the week and also gives me time to get mentally prepared for the week ahead. It was indeed a perfect evening for the walk. I was feeling very calm and relaxed as I went past the parks, temples and empty by lanes in my area.

               That day I decided to take a different route rather than the normal track I was accustomed to. This road was one of the busiest in the area and I could feel the traffic and the buzz around the place. It did not irritate me that day which might be because I was feeling happy from inside . As I gazed across the road, I saw a bike coming towards me. It was not the bike not the husband-wife-small kid on the bike that made me look in that direction. It was a large balloon that the kid was holding in her hand. It was one of those blue huge round balloons that you see near any fairs. As the bike whizzed past me, I could see that the thread of the balloon which the kid was holding so tightly slipped out of her hands and the balloon flew towards me. Due to my extremely fast reflexes that I have built over the years I managed to grab it out of thin air in the midst of such heavy traffic. I caught it and looked at the direction of the bike waiting for them to stop and get back what was theirs. But due to the pressure of traffic or some better reason unknown to me, they did not stop. I guessed that the small kid would be crying but there was nothing I could do.
 I just stood there still, not knowing what to do with the incredibly big balloon. People around me were too busy to even look at me or the beautiful thing I was holding. I decided to take it home but then I was sure that I would not play with it.
                I remembered that construction worker kid whom I had given chocolates last time and wondered if I should give the balloon to him. But then my brain told me otherwise.
                I went on my next mission.
                Find a deserving child who would get this balloon.

                So I started walking, looking around for someone whom I could pass on this unexpected gift. After fifteen minutes of walk I could finally find someone. This was also a three-member family. The parents were carrying tiny packets of groceries and vegetables and along with then was a small kid tagging along, looking at each shop on either sides of the road,  secretly hoping that her parents would buy her something. It was surprising that she was not throwing any tantrums though. It looked as if she was accustomed going empty handed every time they went shopping. They surely stayed in slums and could not afford anything else.
                I approached them and instead of directly giving the balloon to the kid, which would have resulted in quizzical stares from her parents, I talked to her father, told him about how I suddenly became the owner of this mega balloon and that I would like him to give it to that girl.

He looked at me suspiciously at me for a few seconds (who would not if some stranger suddenly would have come and gifted you something), but then since he had nothing to lose he gave it to her kid. The shriek of happiness that the kid let out still rings in my ears.
I did not wait for them to tell me anything and just left.
Now I had a new topic to think for the rest of my walk.
The butterfly effect of everything that happened in last seventeen minutes. Instead of thinking what happened, I started guessing what would have happened next.

The bike balloon loser:
The husband would be furious about the kid losing quite an expensive balloon and also for the fact that he could not stop there to get it back. He would have cursed its new owner too. (At that moment : me )
The wife had noticed me and might have taken comfort with the fact that the balloon was still safe and would still serve its lifetime making someone else's( mine) life happier.
The kid would have cried a lot but would have got something else (chocolates/ice-cream or another balloon) to just shut her mouth.
The balloon gainer:
The father would have been extremely grateful to me for bringing that gleaming smile on his daughters face.
The shriek of happiness of the kid would have filled her mother’s heart. She would have blessed me whole heartedly.
The child would be waiting to get into their area to show off to the other kids (her friends) of what her dad-the superman, had "bought" her today. The parents would for once walk to their slum with their heads held high. But deep inside he would know that from next time his kid would not be as silent as she was today and would he definitely could not afford to do that any other time. He must of made mental notes of how to deal with that next time.

Poor me:
No loss, No gain.
Got the balloon, let it go.
One side villain, one side hero.
One curse, one blessing.
One cry, one laugh
And one happier walk back home.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Women's Day :)

ಆಫೀಸಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ ನೋಡಿ ಬೋರಾಗಿತ್ತು,
ಅದೇ ಚಹರೆ ಅದೇ ಮೋರೆ. 
ಆದರೆ ಇವತ್ತು ಯಾಕೋ ವಿಷಯಾನೇ ಬೇರೆ
Did you ask क्यों रे ?
ಇಂದು ಕಣ್ಣು ಹಾಯಿಸಿದಲೆಲ್ಲ ಕಾಣಿಸುತಿದ್ಧಾಳೆ 
ಸೀರೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀರೆ ..
  --Impromptu one written in office on women's day 2013 (08-03-2013) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Gift

                 I was on my weekend cycling rounds when I suddenly got this brainwave of buying a chocolate bar and giving it to any random person who might have never had it in their life. I thought it would be exciting to see their expressions and anyways it would bring them joy. So I hopped to the nearest shop and bought a bar of Dairy Milk Silk and went on to look out for a deserving candidate.

                After a very short search, I found a boy playing with a waste piece of wood on the sand near the construction site. It was evening and I could see that they had stopped work and returned to their makeshift huts.As soon as I saw him I immediately knew he was the right person to receive this sudden gift.  I knew I would have to wait till I see some elders around him so that they could see what a heart-warming gesture I was about to perform. I did not have to wait long as his mother came out to see what her kid was doing.

            I approached the boy, excited to see the reaction, my heart filled with pride for doing this spontaneous noble deed, and politely asked his mother if I could give him a chocolate. When she agreed, I pulled out the bar and gave it to him.

I waited to see his reaction. I thought he would shriek out of happiness.
He did nothing. He just took it and looked at me.No thanks , no smile, nothing.
I felt a bit disappointed. I expected something more. I looked back at him.

                  He had the same look on his face. But this time, his eyes were talking to me. It showed such sense of gratitude, those gleaming little eyes, that suddenly seemed to clean away all my dirt of sadness in mind and instantaneously cleansed my soul. It was magic. I was thrilled. I had never felt such calmness in my mind before.

 Without saying anything, I left from that place, Cycling and wondering if I had given him a bigger gift or he had given me!!

Update : The sequel to this blog is published here: The Gift-2 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Employee of the Year

            On  Jan 10 ,2013 our team went to Club Cabana for team outing. We did have a great time. Also we did lot of experiments in levitation photography and slow motion videos. After I returned and checked our photos, I got this thought of converting this to a short movie , and this time, for better measure , with a theme.

So the outcome was this :)

Check this video , after its fully buffered, with your headphones in full volume and enjoy it :)

Also do not forget to let me know how it is .....