Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I was able to run this monday after my sunday long run and did about 6km. I followed it up with a run today of 7.5km and did it in about 42minutes. I hope to do another 15kms during the week, as I am not sure if I will be able to go for a run this Sunday. I hope to compensate for it by doing my long run on Monday Oct 2 (its a holiday, Gandhi's birth anniversary).

I hope to go for a day trip to Nashik (about 5-6hr drive from Mumbai) for a wine tasting trip to Sula Vineyards (Nashik Vintners Pvt. Ltd., Gat 36/2, Govardhan, Nashik or visit www.sulawines.com for more details). Looking forward to it, hope it takes place.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I had a tough run today, inspite of starting off at a quarter past seven in the morning, it was hot and muggy. Did manage to do 19kms in about 2hrs. Guess I will have to start a lot earlier to beat the heat. But, what is a bigger concern is that the Hutch Delhi half marathon start at 7.30am, which will be quite hot at this time of the year.

Gateway of India - by day & night

Gateway of India pictures clicked from the Royal Yacht club.

Time Out Mumbai (TOM) completes 2 years

The Time Out Mumbai Team at Taj Lands End, Mumbai

Last week I attended the Time Out Mumbai anniversary bash. It was a well attended and organised anniversary bash. TOM is a wonderfully produced magazine by a bunch of very committed and passionate people of Peprika media. Looking forward to the next edition on Delhi from the team.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

How to renew your passport in Mumbai....

I only managed to run thrice this week, though I did manage to complete 21kms over this week. But I actually have good reason for it, as one evening I was at the Royal Yacht club (its close to gateway of India) and the second day was due to my expedition to the passport office.

My passport office visit was required for renewal of my passport, so that I could attend the Singapore marathon. I had registered online and got a date allotted to me one month after. On my allotted date I was advised by some friends to hire a broker/tout who would ensure that I would not have to wait in a long queue (and would need to reach the office half an hour before start) and complete the exercise in under an hour. Whereas some others told me that it was pointless to use a tout, as they are not really allowed to do anything inside the passport office and the only thing they do for you is wait for you and keep a place for you in the queue, and you have to do the rest on your own. I chose the latter, I reached the passport office at 7.30am and had to wait till 10.00am for the counters to open.

Now coming the interesting bit, when I joined the queue at 7.30am I was about 40th in the queue, but by around 8.30am I realised that I was 70th in the queue. I soon realised that many of the people standing in front of me where touts and they where representing their clients, and each of them was fixing about 5 people in the queue. I decided to protest against such moves and soon found like minded fellow queue mates who were equally upset with this and to our credit we managed to put a stop to this. We thought that we had solved the problem, but it was only after we went inside the office after 10am, we noticed that at regular intervals, there were a couple of touts who would come and drop a couple of applications at some of the 12 counters for clearance.

The concerned officer at the counter would then take up these applications in between the applications submitted by people who had come there in a legitimate manner. But the bigger issue was that these applications were not supported by any original documentation and the concerned person was not present in person. (these measures are important so that passports are not allotted to people who are applying for them with an intent to misuse them). I might be wrong in my observation and these applications might have had a valid reason for having come at the counter (out of the blue), but this is how it appeared to me!

My recommendations to those of you who are visiting the passport office for renewal –
  • There is no point in hiring the service of a tout, its just not worth it.
  • Try and be there by 7.30 am.
  • There is no need to come earlier than that and do not be worried if you are among the first 100 entrants, there are about 12-14 counters and many of them come for other issues like ECNR approvals, changes in passport (all of which have different counters in Hall 2)
  • It will take you about a maximum of a couple of hours to complete the application scrutiny and submission process, if you reach by 7.30, it should not take you more than an hour after the counters open.
  • The staff is very strict and sometimes very unreasonable, so even though you are required to bring only two supporting documents for proof of residence, please carry an additional 2 document options. Also carry some spare pictures, the person at the counter asked me to replace my pictures in the application, as he felt that the picture which I had pasted was not good enough (and guided me to a photostudio across the road, which ripped me off) In short, if your application has not been vetted/arranged by a tout or agent, there is a 50% change that they will find some imperfection in your application.
  • Do remember to carry water, fruit and some sandwiches with you, plus some reading material, the wait can get very boring (touts are not the most interesting guys to chat with!!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Petrol dealers strike is good for Bombay

The petrol dealers strike could not have come at a better time for the city of Bombay (Mumbai). Although their reasons for going on strike are a little silly - how and
why should they interfere with the state government taxation policy on petroleum products. There are a few state run petrol pumps and some company owned petrol pumps which are functioning, but they are in sufficient to meet the demands of the city.

Before I write further, some might believe that I am biased as I use the public transport and I also believe/have faith in Bombay's robust public transport system. Let me state some things which I observed over the last two days - my bus ride to work today was a lot smoother (though the bus was crowded, more than usual), I saved about 10mins or more of travel time, the air felt a lot fresher and the roads looked a lot cleaner. Other than that I also observed that lot of people were using car pools which was a pleasant surprise in Bombay, people were not using their private cars unnecessarily for small errands & unwanted trips.

I hope that this indefinite strike continues for a few days, it will teach us a good lesson on how we can conserve and use petroleum products judiciously. This will also give the car pool movement a big kicker. I hope the state government decides to levy a heavy congestion cess or some additional tax on private vehicles that enter the main city. This will not only help reduce traffic but will also provide additional
resources to the government to invest in the city's public transport system.

I recently met a the guy who started a service called Koolpool in Bombay. visit www.koolpool.co.in to register or call +91 22 39442772 for more details. Its a very safe way to carpool and its supported by a SMS based platform to facilitate the car pool system. Registrations are now open and the service would start soon in Bombay
and some other metros.

Coming back to my preparation, I did manage to run 7.5kms today and did it in decent time of a little over 42minuets. I hope to run four times during this week, followed by a 20km long run on Sunday.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I had a good run today, my best one in a long time. I did manage a comfortable 19kms today in about 1hr 53mins. Plus not too many after effects after the run, had a hectic day today, but not feeling drained at the end of the day. I am already feeling a lot confident about posting a good time at the Hutch Delhi Marathon on Oct 15. This weeks mileage is now 32km(7+6+19). Next week I should be able to do well over 40kms.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Slow recovery..

Continuing with my mid-week incident, I needed three days to recover from the thigh strain I suffered after my adventurous sprint. The sprint caused much more damage than what a competitive half Marathon would have caused. Let me explain what that means - when i run 20+kms the only thing that gets strained my calves and not my thighs, its only during a full marathon that I suffer any kind of thigh strain. So that would give you an idea about the effort I must have put in to cause the strain.

I did manage to run 6kms in the morning today, just to get in better shape for my Sunday run. I hope to start early tomorrow, well before 7am and I hope to do something close to 20kms, only if my the thigh strain does not restart.

Another interesting incident (pleasant one this time!!), was something that made me feel like a mini celebrity. I was returning home after a late evening function at Bandra yesterday night, I was dropped at a kalanagar junction by a friend. I took a Auto rickshaw (Tuk-tuk) from there and as soon as I got the driver had a continuous grin on his face. He mentioned that he had seen me a number of times running in Deonar, during mornings and evening and he had a lot of questions for me - why I was running, was I running twice a day, what was I upto, How was I able to do it, etc.... It felt really good being recognized (for a change), as I was formally dressed that night, compared to my singlet and shorts during my runs!! I enjoyed my share of fame for a few minutes.

Coming back to the theft incident, I am exploring the option of taking back my complaint. Based on what I have studied at law school I don't think it will be possible as a criminal offence is against an individual as well as the state. The state being an interested party, I might not be allowed to take back my complaint, though this is possible in a civil case. Am still hunting for the right answers to sort out this issue. If its not possible for me to take back my complaint according to due process of law, I hope to take the case to its logical conclusion.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Saga continues...

Today was my second visit to the cop station. I had gone there to collect a copy of the FIR, as I needed some proof with me, saying that the police were in possession of my mobile phone (as evidence in the case). The concerned cop could not give me a copy yesterday and had asked me to pick it up today. I could not get it today, as he had forwarded it for further processing & that took longer than he expected. So I will have to go again to pick it up, tonight or maybe tomorrow.

But the scary bit was what he had to tell me after saying that I will have to come again. He mentioned that the case would take a long time (1-2 years) and the only way for me to get quick possession of my mobile phone is to make an application in a court located at Kurla, a central suburb of Bombay. And for this I would need to hire a lawyer, to make the application (along with a copy of the FIR).

Now this is something that I was not prepared for!! Its going to be a tough job making the application by myself, getting a date from magistrate to present myself and then pleading to him, to instruct the police to hand over the phone to me. The time, energy and resources required for executing this assignment is daunting, I almost feel like just writing off my phone. It would be easier for me to wait for the case to complete over the next 1-2years (or whatever duration, even though the phone would be almost worthless by then....) and treat whatever I get off it at that time as a bonus.

All this leads me to the conclusion that the Indian judicial system is not conducive for protecting the interests of individuals, who come forward to uphold the legal system.

It would be wonderful if someone could help me find an easier method to sort out this problem. Even if you can't your thoughts and opinions are welcome....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hot pursuit..

I have never run this fast ever, it was the fastest 100meters sprint.... Let me explain the background.

I was returning home after work at around 8.30pm. My residence is in a lane which is about 700meters off the highway. This lane is usually not adequately lit during the nights, today was one such day. As usual I was using my phone (to SMS) while walking in this lane (I was walking at the edge of the road, facing the traffic), a group of three were walking towards me (I did not notice them) and one of them decide to snatch my phone. As soon as I realised that they had snatched my phone, I decided to chase them (luckily my nap sack was comfortably placed on both my shoulders & I was wearing my new new balance shoes while returning home, as I needed to get used to them as they were pinching me). I happened to catch one of them (the guy who snatched my phone) and bystanders managed to get hold of the second one. And soon it was a huge bunch of people who where all set to beat the hell out of the thief. Luckily a plain clothed policeman was nearby and he controlled the situation. He then arranged for a police van, which took me along with the the two thieves to the cop station. Here I had to register by complaint - FIR (First information report) and the two guys were booked for stealing in a public place.

I tried to protect the thief from the crowd and thought that he would be safer in the hands of the police. Now I will have to wait for quite some time before I get possession of my mobile phone, as its evidence in the case. Also I will have to make an appearance, if the case goes to court. The thieves confessed to their crime in front of the police, but that is not admissible in court, as it was not made in front of a magistrate.

Guess I will now have to visit the Cheeta Camp police station at Anushakti Nagar a few times, to keep a track of the case and obtain possession of my mobile phone.

I did manage to run today for 7kms and completed it in a little over 42minutes. I don't think I will be able to run tomorrow as I will not be able to catch sufficient sleep tonight.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I ran 17.5kms today, it is really tough running in this weather (very hot and humid). I did the distance in 1hr 57mins, which included having to walk for close to 1.5kms as I was exhausted after the first 10kms. Guess its more physical and mental fatigue, thanks to the hot weather, which is taking a huge toll. I hope to start a lot earlier for my next sunday run (7am instead of 8am) and going forward, I hope to do atleast a half marathon on all sundays going forward. My this weeks tally is now upto (7+7+5+17.5) 36.5km.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Had some good rest during the first three days of the week. I had a bad sore throat and cold. I ran on Thursday and Friday (morning and night), did 19kms over the two days (7+7+5). Today was my first night run after the football world cup and I also got to wear my reflective vest for the first time. That reminds me, I need to do my 4am, 20km in September, as soon as I can get back in shape for my Delhi Half marathon. I hope to do 15-20kms this Sunday.

The ugly side of Ganesh chaturthi festival...

All political parties using (mis-using) the Ganesh Chaturthi festival for their petty political gains....

Ganesh Visarjan (immersion) pictures....

Finally the long over due Ganesh Visarjan pictures, taken on the 10day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival... These pictures have been taken at the Girgaon choupaty(Beach) on Wednesday September 7, 2006.

the above exclusive pictures have been supplied by Atul Bandekar

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weekly mileage

I did manage to do the 8km run in the evening, in a little over 50minutes. Which takes my this weeks mileage to 38kms (6.5+6.5+6.5+10.5+8). Hope to keep it at above the 40kms per week mark in each of the forthcoming weeks. Plan to take a break on Monday and Tuesday, looking forward to some well deserved rest.

Bombay & Delhi reaching 10million handphone mark

I had a tough 10.5km run in the morning today, on a very humid day, making running very difficult. I did it in reasonable time of 1 hr 2mins. I hope to compensate for the distance by running again in the evening, do maybe 8km or so. My shin seem to be doing reasonably fine, have been running for four continuous days without much discomfort, but its still a long way from getting back to normal. If I am able to run and complete the evening run with reasonable comfort, that would be a very good sign.

According to today's report in Times of India, Delhi should be reaching the 10million mark by October 2006, followed by Bombay in December. And 10million hand phones in Delhi with a population of 15million is a very good number (as 4.5million of them are under the age of 10years), especially in a developing country like India. This should bring about the second revolution in the mobile space in Delhi and Bombay, as it would be increasingly difficult to ramp up the numbers after reaching 100% penetration (and I don't think there are too many of us with multiple mobile phones!!). This should force the mobile service providers to focus more on improving the value added service offerings & making the mobile experience truly reach the potential its really capable of. Their hunt for numbers and continuous reduction in price, has I believe reached rock bottom, you can no longer build numbers or revenues using pricing alone in these two cities. Looking forward to a promising future in the mobile space in Bombay.....

Friday, September 01, 2006

A family taking their Ganpati to Dadar choupaty (beech) for immersion.

One of the housing societies in Matunga taking their Ganesha for viserjan(immersion)

I had a comfortable 6km run and did it in exactly the same time as yesterday, in 33 minutes. Hope to run tomorrow as well, and then on Sunday. Sunday run is going to be the real test for my shin. Hope the leg muscle strengthening exercises will bear