Day 14/ 365 – Football Super Sunday

Got to see one of most exciting matches of the Premier League this season. Billed as the “El Cashico”, due to the enormous amounts of money both the teams have poured in their teams, it was one of the matches to look out for. I have been a Chelsea supporter since last 10 odd years now and though I am not a die hard fan (i.e. don’t need to watch all the matches), I do follow most of their games. I was super excited when Jose Mourinho came on board once again and since then have been looking forward to enjoying some Chelsea success. I was hoping to enjoy that Manchester United but the day was won by brilliant performance of Wayne Rooney. He played like a man possessed and draw was a fair result. The game with Manchester City was the second biggest game for Chelsea and I was glad that they were able to grab all 3 points in the game. Like Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres was playing like a man possessed and hopefully with him scoring in 2 consecutive games, I am hoping he is back to his best. He seemed to be enjoying the game and didn’t let the disappointment get to him for missing a straight forward goal. In the next couple of minutes, he set up the pass beautifully for Schurrle to score and also hit the goal post with a super shot. During the dying stages of the game, with scores level and points to be shared between the teams, he created the error from keeper Joe Hart and defender to score the winning goal. For me it was an absolute delight watching Chelsea and Torres play the way they did. During the later stages of the game, it seemed like Chelsea were the one looking for the goal and had stepped up the pressure considerably. It was really good watching Chelsea attack and get the result they wanted. I know a lot of people will say it is too soon in the season to mention this, but Chelsea definitely look like title contenders this year. Next stop Arsenal!!

Day 13/ 365 – Race Day

Last mentioned in my previous post, I was in two minds whether to run the half marathon or no. I hadn’t been practicing since the entire last month and was not too comfortable running the half marathon. Post a lot of persuasion by my brother, I decided to run the race, even though I was not at all prepared for it. The night before the race, I also caught cold, even though it wasn’t too serious to be worried about. Sunday morning came very early for me (4:30am, time when I am usually going off to sleep). Got ready to head for the race with my brother, who was super charged up. Met P along the way. He was running his first marathon, but he was prepared as he had practiced enough. We reached holding area at around 6:20am and did some warm up for the race to begin at 7am. We slowly moved towards the start line and in between I got to see a beautiful sunrise. There were a lot of people who were participating in the race and it was good to see so many people turn up for running. Indian’s are normally not known to run and all, even though we produced the Flying Sikh. So it was nice to see so many people turn up for this event, though this was a fraction of what turns up at the Mumbai Marathon.

The race started sharp at 7am. In the beginning I was able to keep pace with P and my brother. But the signs of not practicing started showing up, once I crossed the 3km barrier. At this point I was simply wanting to kill myself for participating in this event with no practice at all. My ankle had started to pain and swell and even though I was wearing an ankle band, it wasn’t doing much to stop the pain. I had now almost made up my mind to not run the race any further. I could see the Vasai station exit and all I wanted to do was go straight and board the train and head home. My mind kept saying straight and my heart kept saying turn left, turn left and that’s what I did. I turned left. I was running, walking, running, walking and after 30 mins, my running app said you have completed 7kms. I was ecstatic. I knew I still had a very outside chance to beat my  existing time and I started pushing for it. The heat and humidity were now really taking a toll on me. I started to get the same feeling again. Don’t want to continue any further. I wanted to sit down and take a break, but I realized, if I sat down anywhere, I wouldn’t be able to get up and continue. So I kept walking. I tried to run, but my knees were starting to hurt and I felt like ankle was going to swell so much that it would burst outside my shoes. I had managed to complete around 13kms in 2 hours. The remaining 8 were going to be bitch and I knew it (prior experience of running the marathon).

I was now only walking. I tried to run again, but I was just not able to do that. I was extremely tired and all I wanted to do was to finish the race. I trudged along the rest of the route and was able to finish the race in 3 hours and 17 mins. Not the worst that I have performed. The entire race made me realize that I need to be a lot more fitter and at the same time, need to practice before I participate in the next event. I also need to manage my schedule better as currently, I reach home and then go to sleep. May be I should run for a little while and then sleep.

On the side note, the event was extremely well organized. Though I felt they should have managed the traffic better as there were vehicles on the road while the race was ongoing. There were also people walking along the route and were definitely a distraction. The organizers had kept water junctions at various places and that was really great. One more thing could be – they can start the race an hour early as starting the race at 7am is a bit too late, considering October heat and humidity. Overall a good event and well managed and organized.

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Day 12/ 365 – Vasai Virar Marathon

This year I have registered for Vasai Virar Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 27/10. I have never participated in this marathon, though I have been running the Mumbai Marathon since last 5 years. I remember running my first half marathon when me, and my best friends spent an entire night talking and then took an early morning train from Kharghar to CST to participate. I participated through a NGO then. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but at the same time was very enthusiastic for running in the event.  The encouragement that people provided while running has been really great. Since then, every year I have been running Mumbai Marathon and get very excited to run. However, this time it is different. While I have gone ahead and collected the bib for the event, I am not sure if I am going to participate in the event. For this race, I haven’t been able to practice at all, due to change in the sleep cycle, and thus not very sure that I should be running for such a long distance.  I tried running in the National Park over the last 2 weekends, but was not able to run more than 6 kms. So I am guessing, running a half marathon is going to be a huge struggle. Still in two minds about the race. Will probably decide if I am going or no.


Day 11/ 365 – Visit to South Mumbai

Today I went to  the Press club located near CST to pick up my marathon bib for the Vasai Virar Marathon. I am running this marathon for the 1st time and as usual have not been able to prepare for it. I like traveling to South Mumbai, be it during mornings, afternoon, evenings or night. There is something beautiful about South Mumbai, which sadly is missing in the suburbs. Be it the art deco style buildings at Marine Drive or Victoria architecture which adorns the CST terminus, the cleanliness of the streets or the orderliness of the traffic (you wont find a lot of people breaking traffic rules here), the Khau Galli near Azad Maiden or the cafe’s at Colaba Causeway. Somehow I enjoy being there. The most likely reason for liking there would be – the long walks I used to have with my father when I was a kid. We would go to Fort area due to some or the other work and there was always more than one thing to do. So our preferred mode of travel would be walking. Me and dad would walk for many hours together – he would tell me where each street leads to. Since he was born and brought up there, he knew all the roads. We would go through the old Mumbai i.e. Girgaum area, where there are still chawls and buildings which are as old as 60-80 years in the narrow alleys and roads,  to the swanky, post Mumbai. The best part is more often than not, we would always have lunch at an Irani eatery (which sadly no longer exists), called Bastani and have Chicken cutlet or egg pudding or just plain bun maska and chai. For me, that would be heaven. We would always ensure that we went for lunch there or if we were in Girgaum, then there is this famous vada wala, who sells sabu dana vada and piyush. There are lots of memories associated with South Mumbai for me and may be thats the reason why, I am more or less always ready to go back there.


Day 10/ 365 – Bike issues – final

So as mentioned in my earlier post, I decided to take my bike to the Kamala Yamaha Service Center in Borivali (E) to get it checked. On checking the bike, the mechanic says that the problem is with.. guess what?? Battery!!! I told him that I have just got this new battery yesterday and I am not sure the issue is with the battery. He told me that I have put a 4AH battery and I should have put a 9AH battery. I told him, the original bike battery was only 3.5AH and this should work fine. I told him to check the wiring and electrical rectifier to make sure there is no problem with them. In case, there is no problem with wiring and the rectifier, only then call me to change the battery.

I got a call from the mechanic that evening that the problem is with the battery and they have checked everything. Reluctantly, I told them to put a new battery and retain the old battery so I can return it back to the vendor. I called them next morning and was asked to collect the bike as it was ready. I was still not convinced that the problem has been fixed. I went to the service center and picked up the bike. Told the mechanic, that if there is any issue I am going to bring the bike right back. He assured me that the problem has been taken care of and I should not worry at all. I took the bike to work that evening. While everything seemed to be working fine, I was just not sure that the issue was really resolved.

After my shift was over, I realized this was now the moment of truth. Either the bike had been fixed or I was in for a long night. The bike started fine and I had just about reached the office main gate that I saw the dreaded “orange” light and the bike stalled. I was now in panic mode as I was 23 kms away from home and didn’t want to park the bike in the garage was would have to come back the next day either ways to take the bike. So I applied the Indian trick of pushing the bike and starting it in the 1st gear. The engine roared to life and I raced against time to reach the service center 23 kms away. All was going well until I reached the Dahisar Check Naka, where the local cops were checking only bikes. The cop asked me to stop and reluctantly I had to stop, knowing too well that the chances of starting the bike now where were very low. After checking my bike documents, I was allowed to go and as feared the bike didn’t start. Here I was 8 kms away from home and around 6 kms away from the Service Center at 4am in the morning, not knowing what else to do but to push the bike until I reach the Service Center.

I must have pushed the bike for approx. 3 kms when a good Samaritan asked me what was the problem. I told him what the issue was and he offered to help push the bike with his bike. With enough speed, I was able to start the bike once again. This time the good Samaritan stayed behind me.. just in case if the bike stalled again. He followed me until I was just a few meters away from my destination (Faith in humanity restored). I finally managed to reach the service center and parked the bike there. Didn’t really want to take a chance in the morning. I boarded a rickshaw and returned home. The entire ordeal had made me very angry and I had decided that I was going to give the service center guys a piece of mind.

I went to the service center in the morning and told them what happened. This time a senior mechanic looked at the bike and immediately said that rectifier is a problem and probably it wasn’t checked properly. He then started to work on the bike right away and after testing with a different rectifier and same battery fixed the issue. Finally after 6-8 days of continuous issue with the bike, the issue was finally resolved.

Day 9/ 365 – Breaking the Karwa Chauth fast with Google Hangout

Today being Karwa Chauth, day when wife fasts for the longevity of her husband and only eats after seeing the moon and her husband, my wife – G, decided to keep the fast. I wasn’t sure if she was joking or was really keen to keep the fast. So I called her in the evening to check if she had any lunch or anything to eat in the whole day. She replied in negative and I was like why are you keeping the fast as I am not going to be around in the night when you need to break the fast. So she was like I will eat in the morning. Not the one to accept this, I suggested she eat dinner when she reaches home. Dinner time and I call her up to check if she has had dinner and she again says a no. Then she suggests something innovative, she asks me to come on Google Hangout. I wasn’t sure if there would be access available, but I was like let me give it a try. Got the Hangout configured, in the mean time she went hunting to see the moon. After seeing the moon, she came on the Hangout and thus we were able to see each other – breaking the fast. An interesting and a non-traditional way to break a fast.

Day 8/ 365 – 24

Watch 24 (Indian version) finally on Sunday and must say I have been impressed by what I have seen. It is much better than the daily saas-bahu soap opera that the rest of the channels dish out. Was finally able to watch out something that is gripping and entertaining at the same time. I remember when the original was being aired in the US, my room mate would be like super excited and would leave everything to watch the show and I never used to understand why. After watching 4 hours (back to back) of the series, I can understand why he used to be so excited. Not sure what season 1 of the original 24 covered, but in the Indian version there is an assassination threat to the future Prime Minister of India and the entire season is based on that. Sadly, due to my working hours I wont be able to watch the show when it is aired on TV during regular times, but do have an option of catching it when it repeats on Sunday.  The best part is, the show also gets aired on the HD channel which means very little advertisements and there is overall continuity to the show.  Finally excited about watching something good on TV.


Day 7/ 365 – New battery, but problems exist

So I had got the battery charged a couple of days back and took the bike to work. While returning from work, I got the same “Orange” light again and decided I am going to replace the battery. I managed to reach home without any issues and parked the bike. Didn’t use the bike on entire day Saturday and tried starting the bike today afternoon. But there was no response. So I went to the battery store and got myself a brand new battery. After installing the battery by myself, a first for me, the bike seemed to be working fine and there were no “orange” light issues. I even drove for sometime and everything seemed to be fine. So in the evening, I decided to take the bike out for a spin as I wanted to check if it worked well with headlights turned on. Initially while riding for the first 20-25 mins, there were no issues and I was feeling confident that the issues was resolved. However, thats when the dreaded “orange” light appeared again and the bike stalled in the middle of the order. After waiting for a few minutes, I turned it on again and it seemed to work. However, whenever, I would turn on the headlight I started facing issues with the background light in the odometer and the horn started sounding funny. All these are indicators of the battery dying, however, the problem is not with the battery. The problem seems to be something else altogether. I am planning to take it to Service Center tomorrow to understand what issue might be and see if it can be fixed. This is the first time, the bike has given me so many issues. Lets hope tomorrow all of them would sorted and done with.

Day 6/ 365 – Mumbai traffic woes

Today after the MBA lectures got over, we decided to go for snacks to a nearby place. We were in a friends car when suddenly we started discussing how much of a pain it is to drive in this city. There are traffic jams everywhere and nothing is being done to manage them. I got a car recently and to be honest, I dread about driving it in Mumbai traffic. There are vehicles everywhere. If you are not surrounded by vehicles, then there would be people jay walking. If not people, there would be cows and if not cows there are always dogs!! I mean there is place for everyone but for you to drive. Recently the government approved some 3000 odd rickshaw permits, don’t know where they would be driving or where we would be driving. The traffic situation, I feel, is worst in the suburbs with auto rickshaws and bikes cramming for every little available space.

This leads to the question: how to manage all this much traffic? May be some sort of car pool system. Or may be rickshaws/ taxis could operate only during designated hours during the day or only a fixed number of rickshaws or taxis to operate during the day. Probably this would help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and thus freeing up some space for the private vehicle to drive. Also private vehicles should be occupied with minimum 4 people while on the street. This would also encourage people to carpool and reduce pollution as well as the number of vehicles on the street.

I feel these are some solutions that the government should initiate as soon as possible to reduce the traffic woes that have currently plagued the city. All of these initiatives require political will and discipline from the citizens of the city. Will be able to implement any of these? Only time will tell.


Day 4/ 365 – Not sure what to write

I think my mind is blank right now as I don’t have anything to write today. Nothing new has really happened today and I am already thinking how I am going to manage to write a post each for the remaining 361 days. What if I don’t have any topics to write or what if I encounter a writers block (not that I am much of a writer). I was hoping to put this post up after a few weeks, if not some months later. However, this is way too soon in the project. Hopefully I should be able to write something interesting as the day goes on. Have quiet a few things lined up for today – MBA presentation and all. In the mean time, I leave you with some illustrations of Indian Gods which I found on Reddit today. Enjoy!!