Monday, July 24, 2006

Kandivli (E) woes

Shameen Akthar writes about travelling woes in Kandivli (E). Somehow she fails to highlight two critical factors contributing to the commuting problems - that of Akurli Road and Big Bazaar.

Anyway, at least the problem of a distant suburb is being talked about.

Link may disapper so pasting the complete article belo

Why it is so tough to travel out of Kandivli (E)

...asks a disgusted Shameem Akthar

To live at Kandivli east you must be a braveheart. Or be a reclusive renunciate, pretending not be part of this commuters’ conclave, stoically forgoing all invitations, assignments or exciting events requiring any travel. How else to survive the grind of commute without paying heavily in money or time?

I step out of my showcase complex into a paan-spit pool. But the autowallahs , thus beautifying my elegant gateway, giggle or start counting leaves on trees when I beg them to ferry me to my destination. If I want to go the station, it’s “too close”. Andheri Lokhandwala is “too far”. Malad west is too “in between”. Of course, if it rains, even I understand “the roads are overflowing”. And I truly empathise with them that during peak-hour the “highway is jammed”. If it is in afternoons, “only return-journey madam” and only after I promise to jot their mobile numbers, call them 15 minutes before leaving my destination. Otherwise, they’re content to keep on spitting. In my suburb, everybody is king except its residents. I’ve often spent 20 minutes to flag down an auto for a journey requiring as much time.

If I dare ask a taxiwallah, then woe me. On a rainy day, a nice avuncular one asked me Rs 250 for a trip that’d costs Rs 35 by auto (i.e., when meters are unembellished with ball-bearings). Yes, there are buses. But their links are yet to reach the seamlessness common to the less-tax-paying south Mumbai. Or western suburbs. Unless you are a nerveless daily commuter who by-hearts bus time-tables it’d involve a spiritless wait near gushing gutters.

Whatever the mode of travel, you must brave the hurdles’ race ahead. This may mean being run aground by not one but several mothers of all traffic jams — starting from the tractor factory at Thakur village to other regular kill-joys along the highway. Nowadays, a constable creates order out of these traffic spill-offs. But brace yourself for a spine-jarring, nail-biting finish, with adventurous vehicles playing catch-me-if-you can with groaning trucks.

As for train journeys and access into the stations — dhobiwallahs are happy because your laundry bills go up, thanks to the hopscotch you play over the muck. The railways dispensed with the first class daily ticket counters so you must buy from any of the second class ones. This means though you pay Rs 120 or so if headed towards south Mumbai you suffer murderous looks from a long queue of suffering folk who think you are doing the unthinkable, jumping queues. You emerge from this experience shouted at, elbowed, nudged and battered, mostly by men. Not a first-class experience.

On the return journey, I toss a coin before deciding where I must alight — Borivli or Malad. Why? Because the chances of getting an auto makes my life one of exciting guesswork.

These days I don’t travel much. I am recovering from an ailment without a remedy yet. It’s called the simmering suburban commuter rage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blog gone

Amish writes

Blogspot is blocked by Indian Government. Strange enough? There are so many ways to communicate. Blogging isnt just a way.

Can Indian govenment monitor, Yahoo mails? Hotmails? Gmails? Arent they too web based? Instead of posting blog, you post an email to your fellow terrorist.

Isn't creating a simple website easy? Domainname and website would just cost about 15$. Cant terrorist make one? And why would terrorists have website called they can create any name safe enough to be noticed by world. They can have website running on different port not necessarily standard port 80.

So many ways are possible. Infact if they post on blog they will make their plans open, wont they? You think they are that stupid? Who is being stupid here is left to readers to make out!

I remember. longback, the sameway Yahoo! Groups India was blocked.

Anyway there is a way to access your favourite blog, goto:


I have seen the hoopla on the web and even on news channels about this. I am able to access it probably, because we deal at corporate level with ISPs. But overall, I think it's just the ignorance of babus in understanding the problem and issuing correct directives. Someone in DOT must have been informed by police that there are anti-social/terrorist sites on blogspot. They say "Ok! Blogspot!! Let me ban all of it".

We are so infested with ignorance, that such mishaps happen all the time. Anyway, as with anything that affects bloggers - the elite amongst the aam junta - the issue has been blown out of proportion. Everyone in blogosphere has gone berserk - talking about murder of freedom, trampling of human rights etc. etc. Yes it is sort of true. But it's just a silly faux-pas by illiterate officials.
It's not some government pogrom against bloggers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hear hear

I am happy to note that some of the points I make about the character of Bombay resonate in Gaurav Sabnis's post.

Already, this resilience thing has been summarily criticized in the newspapers. But the despotic nature of Bombay is not acknowledged by many. So, comforts me that people agree with me.

Gaurav writes

...There is a give and take relationship between every metropolis and its residents, Bombay just takes and I have had the opportunity of living in all of India's metropolises and Bangalore. There is a tacit understanding and acceptance of the fact that the city is the boss. You have to be subjugated to it. It almost borders on slavery and that too no ordinary one. I call the people here superhuman because of the immunity they have developed to the hardships they are put to. Commuting daily to work is an ordeal that is an affront to human dignity...

...New entrants will find it abhorrent and their faces would more than give away their feeling of impotent anger. Yet slowly but surely they will push shove and jostle and find some ground beneath their feet and something to clutch on to. Millions of people who live in this city have no other choice but to fight and survive this city and live, just like the gladiators of Rome. Those who survive, live. Those who succeed to get a ticket into their own islands are glorified.

I wrote here
...It is anyway a ghost town, a megalomanic city whose soul is long dead. In the quest for lucre, people were trampling on others, fighting for space, being inhumane or indifferent, just barely surviving. The city had itself taken a form of a uncontrollable monster, with its own mind, surreptiously enslaving its people - making them think that its alright to slog, suffer, scour, bear, beg, grovel now, because there will be a better tomorrow when they will be free from all this. Of course, there is no tomorrow for Mumbai. There never was. Those who realise what there were trapped in, work harder, just so that they can get out of it. And those who can't, romanticize the misery...

But rather than my drastic and destructive plan, Gaurav suggests a less drastic action - a revolt.

Mumbai is revolting anyway!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

CCTV or just plain alertness

This is worth a thought. Make the commuters more viligant towards unclaimed baggages. Travellers should keep a watch on all the baggages that go on top rack as well as those underneath the seats and between gangways. With the number of people crammed in the train, an intuitive decision can be very easily made about what areas to cover, so that nothing is lef to chance.

CCTV have found to be useful in finding the culprits, but they don't generally help you STOP a crime. CCTV monitoring is not effective, because of the monotony of work - you necessarily need a person to stare endlessly into the many monitors to decide if there are any suspicious elements within the milling crowds. And how do you delve in their baggages from the TV. It's just not effective way to tackle crime and terrorism. Probably, it can be used to monitor restricted areas - say railway yards, train under-sides - where it may be possible to stick in the bombs. It would be easy to detect, because of the surreptitious nature of the activity.

Meanwhile for bombs in parcels, commuter vigilance only seems simple and effective solution

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Survivor Mumbai

I think Rahul Bose, got it right. In NDTV interview yesterday, he said that the whole notion about Bombay bouncing back just to show to the world and the terrorists that they can't be beaten is highly romanticized. People are back on those trains not out of any pride or show of courage, but just because they have to. We live in a third world city in a third world country and the people can't afford to lose a day's livelihood. Train is the cheapest and fastest means to get there and hence to board the train the next day. You may be afraid, but you do it. You don't have a choice.

I was sort of taken in by all the 'Salaam Mumbai's on all the channels. But then you have to realise the basic fact of life in Mumbai. Only money works. Which again, is not so bad.


"I don't believe it is a place where people want to be friends," said Rahul Bose, a Bollywood actor who came to help out at Bhabha hospital. "The glue in Mumbai is survival and competition."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tragedy strikes again

Obviously, it's hugely upsetting to have another tragedy strike Mumbai at such short notice. Fortunately everyone of my family members is alright. Dad and wife had to go to aunt's place for the night.

Coverage on the blogosphere (a few important links here and here) has been excellent. I managed to get the news from TV within 1/2 hr of the blasts. However, I must say, all the Indian channels were slow with their live reporting. In fact, the first pictures came from CNN (courtesy CNN IBN). Why, in spite of being based out of Mumbai, do these news channels struggle to get to the news so late?

On another discordant note, I still don't know why some celebrated bloggers as well as community blogs were quiet during the rains last week. Is it just that the blasts are more exciting and news-worthy.

My earlier posts here, here and here

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I was getting a hair-cut when a few Shoe-Sainiks came along in a car and started shutting down the shops in the area. Already people had got an inkling and were alert. Comments were being made about the idiocy of the whole thing and how Shoe-Sena (or what is left of it) is raking up an issue just to get noticed.

Anyway, I liked this heading. Poor Thackeray, what not he has to see in such an old age.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Madar Jose

Johnny Johnny!

Yes Achchan

Eating money??

No Achchan

Telling lies??

No Achchan

Raping Bombay

Ha! ha! ha!

Gaddon mein raste

From today's DNA, some brilliant photos

Look at all those vehicles stalled behind.

Employees of Central Bank, Nehru Nagar branch, Kurla, were undeterred by the flooded workspace on Wednesday

Sad isn't it. See the whole thing here

The biggies schlafen

Have a look at each of these blogs in the list here

None of the blogs in this venerable list have any update about the Mumbai monsoons. As I said, many of them stay in Mumbai and have been known to be socially responsible citizens in the blogosphere. They are contributors to various blogsites espousing social and civic issues.

But this serious calamity doesn't elicit a word from the cognoscenti. Surprising, since, we have updates about Wimbeldon, World Cup, the aging bikini and what not.

Something is seriously wrong

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

HC blasts BMC for ignoring 26/7 lessons

They are hearing last year's case. And still it's a repeat.

DNA reports -
MC’s counsel KK Singhvi said Rs250 crore had been spent on road repairs before the monsoons. “That money has gone down the drain,” remarked Justice Lodha.

250 crores. Do you see any work done that's worth 250 crores? Johnny Joseph probably stays in a drain.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why didn't he die

Mayor almost falls into Mithi

Mumbai Mirror reports -

The boat that was carrying Datta Dalvi on a tour of the river developed a technical snag and hurried to the shore; the mayor missed the bridge while jumping on to it from the boat

He would have good company

Killed due to MMRDA negligence

Badlapur residents Rajesh Kamble, 23, and Milind Gaikwad, 36, were killed on the spot when a rain-tree (above, left) on LBS Marg, Mulund, collapsed due to strong winds and heavy rains on Monday evening. Seen next to the tree is a trench dug up by the MMRDA, which the BMC says disturbed the tree's balance

BMC and the families of the two men who were crushed under an uprooted tree on LBS Marg, Mulund, late Monday evening believe that MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) has blood on its hand.

Immediately after the MMDRA dug up trenches on LBS Marg early this year to construct a nullah, disturbing the balance of many old trees and leaving their roots exposed, BMC officials had called up MMRDA and asked its officials to closely examine the trees and if necessary, cut them down.

Just three months ago, BMC had dashed off as many as five letters to the MMRDA saying the trees would collapse in the rains. "We also attached pictures of the trees to highlight how dangerous the situation was," says assistant municipal commissioner in-charge of T-Ward P R Masurkar.

Read here
(link may not work)

Silence hurts

None of the biggies of the Indian blogsphere (most of them Bombayites) are covering the deluge.

It's as if it's not happening. Or may be no one is concerned. Or they too are stuck. But then there are updates on their blogs, arent there? Why then squat on meaningful blogspot urls like Cloudburst Mumbai?

House under water

Again today, after a year, my house in Mumbai is submerged. Thankfully this time, my sis was at home and could remove important things from home. Most of it is lying with higher places neighbours and along the stairs. Still the furniture and walls are again ruined.

All, except me (stuck in Pune) have reached the house, unlike last time, where everyone except mom reached after 3 days.

I am angry that at the impotence of the BMC, the State Government and other irresponsible parties. They claimed that the clean-up was complete. That there will be no problems this time. However, in spite of a humiliating slap on the face last year and colossal loss to life and property to deal with, the government has failed to get their act right. The roads have huge potholes in just a week's rain. Try going from Panvel to Sion. You will think you are riding a camel. And then try the Western Expressway. Another drunk camel ride. Bastards! They have royally screwed this city and its people. Fuck them and their lot.

This is my parents' house and we have stayed for 14 years now. This is 2nd flooding in a row. They will surely look for another place to settle. But I have already decided I will never settle in Mumbai. Meanwhile, we have packed our bags and are off to grandma's place. For 3 months. Who will risk being drowned again?

I am utterly utterly digusted at the way this city is (not) looked after. It's a city beyond repair, that anything we do now, is like botox on an aged dying yesteryear diva - the spirit has long ebbed away.

I have discussed my way of reconstruction earlier. Yes, you need to bomb the place and start afresh. In fact don't start.

Just level it and construct a memorial to the incompetence of the BMC and State Government.

Update: - Business Standard has also published my blog post. Thanks Govindraj