A Petrol-head’s Dream

Forgive the clichéd title, but being a petrol-head and admiring those metal beauties zipping around on rubber on black tarmac since my childhood, my share of driving one came too late in life. The start of my thirties to be precise. And so I believe I must be allowed this indulgence.

Anyway, I grew up in an era when the choice of tourist cars was the grand old HM Ambassador with windows that wound down manually and a sort of igloo shaped cabin that magically expanded to hold as many people and stuff as you needed it to. I enjoyed my vacations to different holiday destinations in my state in this car and every trip had some breakdown or accident that was worthy of being retold generations later. It was but natural that my curiosity would gradually turn into an avid and keen interest and admiration. A part of it was also due to the changing passenger vehicle market. Tata Motors gave us icons like Indica, Safari and Sumo – timeless cars that still have a soft corner in my heart. The Daewoo Cielo, that loooong sedan majestically advertised on the glossy pages of The Sunday Times, Ford concepts splashed across some glossy magazine that I got for free while rummaging for comics at a local bookstore, all added to the awe and I was thoroughly smitten by these divas. The impact these harbingers of the history of cars to come would be indelible.

Fast forward to about 20 years and the car segment in India has drastically changed (and for the good, of course). Consumers are now spoilt for choice, car makers are busy releasing new design languages, models, variants, refreshes or outright creating new segments! What a time to be alive!

It was high time I grabbed me one of these beauties and check off one item from my bucket list – owning a car. The first challenge was to learn to drive. Since we didn’t own a car before,I never really got a chance to lay my hands on one and learn driving. And as I always fell asleep when I rode shotgun I was scared if it would happen while driving as well. 2 days into my driving lessons and I was hooked! The acceleration, the awareness that you have the power of a hundred horses at the tip of your right foot was exhilarating to say the least! I knew then that I would enjoy being behind the wheel come highways or twisty narrow lanes choked with traffic. Falling asleep at the wheel was the monster under the bed I had already vanquished.

Driving tests done and dusted, I then turned my attention to buying the best car my budget could allow me to. For me it was a simple decision, the new compact sedan Zest from Tata Motors. The buying decision, my thought process, the pros and cons warrant a new post altogether but the bottom line is that in my humble opinion it’s the only car in its class that gives the most value for money. For me that had a significant impact on my buying decision.

And so during the auspicious Ganesh festival last year as I grinned from ear to ear while accepting the keys to the metallic grey petite beauty, I fulfilled my dream of owning my first car and checking off an item off my bucket list and added some much needed ‘Zest’ to my life.

That grin still comes back on every time I take the wheel.

 

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NOTE:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Love

Love.

Takes you places.

Places you’d rather be and places you don’t want to see.

Places of your dreams and places that make you scream.

Places dark with a ray of light, places bright with a storm in sight.

Places you never want to leave, places real yet so make-believe.

Love.

Changes you.

For better and for worse, without a chance to rehearse.

Makes you a Demon and a God, makes you fight wars uncalled for.

Makes you laugh in your misery, makes you cry when you’re happy.

Makes you a saint. Makes you a sinner.  Makes you lose all and still be a winner.

Love.

Kills you.

Drives a knife in your spine and kisses you a sweet kiss goodbye.

Squeezes your heart dry and leaves you to die.

Rips you apart from a gaping bullethole to leave you a corpse without a soul.

Makes you hate life and welcome death. Makes you pray for your final wreath.

Love.

 

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In What UNIVERSE Is ‘NOW’ Better?

20 YEARS AGO…

I woke up. Depending on the time and my parents’ mood, I was either pampered or spanked to the bathroom. My school bag was prepared. Dad dropped me off at the bus stop and waited till I boarded the bus and took my seat. I carried a heavy school bag. I sat through boring classes. I had the option of an open window and fresh breezes during boring classes. I fought off sleep in the afternoon. I carried my lunch. My school had 2 breaks, one for 15 minutes when we ate our lunch, another for an hour when we played our socks off. I came home by 4 p.m. I got to play in the evenings until even the players, forget the ball, were invisible. Homework was easy. Pocket money was ‘on-demand’. Financial freedom and independance didn’t exist, and I couldn’t care less. Weekends were crazy.

TODAY…

I am woken up by concerned voices about how late I’m going to be for office. I drag myself to the bathroom. If someone is available, I get a drop-off to the cab pick up point, or I haul my ass off there by myself. I carry a heavy bag. The books have been replaced by a laptop and a diary. I sit through boring meetings. I sit in a cozy, centrally air conditioned office, with no open windows or a hint of fresh breezes. I fight off sleep in the afternoon. I carry my lunch. I get just one, 1 hour break. Office is for 9 hours, and I have to log my time spent in it. I have to be on call, on demand. I come home by nightfall. There are no friends I get to meet after office. I have to haul my ass back to home with that heavy laptop on my back. I’m my own ATM. Financial independance is comforting, but scary if you look at the future. Weekends are fleeting.

I cannot crib. I’ve chosen this life. Makes me wonder though, the first 15 minutes of ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ were probably the truest appraisal of the human race.

 

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NO FRIGGIN’ WAY!

Reasons why Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara doesn’t deserve the ‘Best Film’ Filmfare award, in no particular order except the 1st –

Raping a fond and nostalgic tune we grew up listening to #DoordarshanMusic; Hritik’s entry scene, where he’s overdoing the whole LSE stock broker / analyst / god-knows-what bit; DCH for the next generation, where Goa is not enough, and so go to Spain and promote #SpainTourism ala NGC / Discovery / any-other-lifestyle/nature-channel;The one line advice given to Abhay Deol about his marriage decision, even though the whole trip is planned for him; Hritik’s general and liberal overacting especially when he say’s ‘Let it go’ before jumping off a plane; the whole crazy father son situation between Farhan Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah, I mean was that really needed?; That Doordarshan music scene AND it’s rendition really REALLY pissed me off, I means seriously, what the fuck?!

I didn’t see it ever once it was released on satellite tv, and I daresay it has been shown quite a number of times. Had I seen it before, this list would have been considerably long. Ah well!

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The Seductress

Of all the seductresses who will lure you all your life, Hope is the cruelest. She plays with your mind endlessly, manifesting herself in dreams and nightmares, ambitions and apathies, serendipity and missed opportunities, successes and failures. She promises you better tomorrows at the end of hopeless days, silver linings to unending grey clouds, healing of past wounds, and exorcism of the demons that threaten to rip apart your spirit and soul. And here’s the scary part. You believe her. You believe her more than the God you worship, the religion you follow, or the master you bow to. You believe her like your life depends on it. You believe her more than yourself.

It is hard not to. While you’re painting a picture of the grand success your life will eventually turn out to be, and writing the eulogies that will be read at your funeral by the who’s who of whomever, you know that the average day is duller than the absolutely inevitable and monotonous passage of a second, signaled by the movement of the second’s hand of a clock. The devil lies in the details. And there are details to be taken care of, if you do wish to complete that picture you so cherish. It is a giant jigsaw puzzle, with pieces after pieces of the same colour, with just a suggestion of a change in shade or hue. But you work at it nevertheless, hoping that the pieces you are putting together are in the correct order as you edge towards completing it. So each day that you work tirelessly towards something, without a hint of progress or achievement, this Hope, this picture pushes you on. So while the ticking of the second’s hand is inconsequential, the change in day, month and year is most certainly not. That’s ‘The Butterfly Effect’ at its purest. She dangles carrots, she whips you with sticks, but she achieves her objective. You are seduced into tomorrow.

And cruel as she may be, that tomorrow is always the best thing that could have ever happened to you, simply because the alternative is to stop existing. And you don’t want to do that. Not while you have Hope seducing you. And that is her saving grace, her exit sign from hell. Because without her, there’s only Time. Hope’s seduction is perhaps the only thing that is keeping you from perpetually fixing your eyes on the clockwork motion of the second’s hand or slitting your wrists open and drain into oblivion. Without her seduction, your life’s graph will only contain a timeline and some semblance of activity running parallel to it. Falling prey to her seduction is what you are wired to do. That is why you pick yourself up and dust yourself off after falling down, you mend your broken heart, and you start again from square one. Granted there are moments when you look beyond the seductive possibilities Hope presents, when you are able to separate the white canvas from the shapes and colours of your picture. And those who make this a sustained habit are the ones who achieve nirvana or wash up dead on the shores. But that is a rarity.

So give in to this seduction. Let Hope lead the way. She may promise you roses, all the while drawing blood with the thorns, but it will be worth it. There will be a moment when she’ll let you smell them and keep them. There will be a moment when the second’s hand will feel proud because it will move in your honour. The pieces of the puzzle will suddenly make sense and a life defining pattern will emerge. You will boast of not being tempted into NOT being seduced. It will be orgasmic. That is when you’ll get to say ‘My Turn’. And don’t worry of Hope ever losing her charm or her moves.  Don’t bother of Hope deserting you in pursuit of another suitor. Don’t be afraid of Hope leaving you in the pessimistic depths of your mind’s hell.

Rest assured. Hope springs eternal.

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Austerely Stupid

I admire Rahul Gandhi. I really do. He’s a true Congress worker. And he’s so humble!!! Imagine! Just because his mother, the great Smt. Sonia Gandhi decided to travel by economy class from Delhi to Mumbai to Mysore, he decided to go by AC Chair Car!!! His mom saved 7000 bucks, he saved 445!!! Now’s that’s a mama’s boy!

We Indians really overdo it when we overdo it. Of course, the Great Indian Media has to play its part here as well. Or how else will the people know about all the hype? Our leaders are splendidly exemplary. The moment our FM made an appeal for our ministers and MPs to be austere, everyone got busy telling the media how austere they are by telling their travel plans and their overseas appointment cancellations and their refusals to use private jets (which they are entitled to) to visit foreign countries. But Rahul Gandhi truly overdid it! For me it’s just an example of how blind our leaders can get. To save a mere Rs. 445, he travelled by train with all his security guards and his followers (read as suckers), causing great inconvenience to the ordinary citizens, who by the way, are the real users of our trains. So if you look at the economic value of this whole exercise, I must say it would be in the negative.

The media, as always, is doing its bit to contribute to all this bullshit. And they too overdid it when a channel went on to show what Rahul ate at 8.15 am or what he drank at 8.45 am. I bet the reporter also knew when Rahul went to use the rest room, how long he was in there, and the exact nature of his stay inside (judging by the atmospheric smells afterwards). I mean, come on! This is expected from the Indian Media but the question remains that how much low are they gonna go???

I’m sure a day will come, and soon, when our austere leaders will resort to wearing the same clothes thrice before washing and using half flush when peeing so that they can give the water thus saved to the flood affected people on the lower banks of Yamuna, and begin using Tata Docomo’s pre-paid plans to save the precious paise on every call and out do each other to convince people that they care for the tax payer’s money.

Come to think of it, we have leaders who build a city full of elephant statues and parks by demolishing residential quarters and buildings, and ask for a draught relief fund of 80k crore to the centre. Sigh!

Austerely yours,

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Religion. Maggi.

Disclaimer: This post is not for those who are “calorie conscious”, or hate cheese, butter and other such foods. To be worthy of reading this post, you must swear by that glorious fast, and I mean lightning fast, food – Maggi noodles.

I swear by Maggi. Almost no other snack has given me so much pleasure as a hot, steaming bowl of Maggi on a rainy day. It was a daily ritual for me once. I’d come home from college, drenched to the bone. Aaji (grandma) would kick into action. She’d give me a dry towel and start chopping veggies for my special Maggi recipe, which I’m gonna share with you now (yeah! Like it or not! :P).

For best results and utmost satisfaction, follow the instructions to the letter. 😉

Ingredients: Chopped Onion, tomato, capsicum and green chilies are a must. Apart from these, you can have cabbage, carrots, green peas, and whatever else you may like, 1 packet Maggi Aata noodles, 2 cubes cheese, 2 tablespoons butter.

So here we go. First, take a suitable utensil and put the butter in it and keep it on medium flame. As the butter gets hot, put the green chilies and onion and sauté nicely, till the onion turns a shade golden. Then you can just put the rest of the veggies you’ve chopped. Sauté them till they are a bit soft, and then pour in the required amount of water (I mean, you know how to make a simple bowl of Maggi, don’t you????). So as the water begins to boil, you can put the masala and noodles. The rest is simple. You stir it occasionally and when around 60% of the water is gone, grate a cube of cheese into the pan so that it melts. You know when to turn off the flame, don’t you???

Voila! You have your bowl of Maggi ready!!! Now all you have to do is this. Make sure nothing remains in the pan. And I mean not a piece of veggie or an ounce of the gravy. I lick the spoon and the pan clean with my fingers ;). I know that is gross, but I don’t give a damn if I am. So once you have transferred the noodles from the pan to the bowl, grate the other cube of cheese and garnish the noodles with it. You can also add a bit of ketchup to make it tastier, but that is again, subjective.

The dish is ready, now just snuggle into a quilt on the sofa and turn on you favourite channel or open your favourite novel and enjoy the fruit of your labour. J

One last thing, don’t forget to lick the bowl clean after you’ve finished the noodles. You don’t want to waste anything now, do you?

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

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