Sunday, 2 March 2014

Interview with a taxi driver…..
I was waiting outside college looking for a taxi to get back home in Chembur. After a minute or so a taxi stopped, I got into the cab. He was thin, dark with a little moustache and a decent looking man. He looked like he was in his late 20’s. Then I thought why not interview him and get to know more about his life and how and why did he come to Mumbai. When I first approached to ask him that can I interview him, he became very conscious. After thinking for a minute he said ‘yes’. I decided to keep on writing whatever he says, but then I thought that it would be better if I don’t as he would become even more conscious and not give proper answers. Finally I started interviewing him with some basic questions…..

Where are you from?
I am from a village close to Bihar.

Why did u come to Bombay and since how many years are you into this profession?
I had come here to make my career in acting like Amitabh Bachan. I tried a lot to get into acting but none of them gave me a chance. Finally in the year 20005 I decided that there’s no point roaming the whole day and struggling and getting nothing out of it and decided to drive taxi to earn my living in a city like Mumbai. One has to earn, to live in a city like Mumbai. I am in Bombay since 1993 and I am into this profession since 2005. I had come to Mumbai with big dreams and aspirations and wanted my family also to come here after I was settled, but I guess nothing like that is going to happen in future.

How much do you earn and why didn’t you go back to your village after your dream of becoming an actor crashed (did not work out)?
I earn a maximum of Rs11, 000 per month out of which I have to send 5,000 to my family in Bihar and I end up spending Rs4, 000. I save only 3,000 and sometimes not even a 1,000. The reason I didn’t go back to my village is that there is no employment opportunity and if there is any the salary is pretty low.

What are your future plans, do you want to continue driving taxi?
Right now I have not planned anything for future. I believe in luck, if God has written something for me I’ll surely get that. I don’t plan anything, I believe in Karma. I’ll wait for a 3-4 years, till then if I don’t get a decent job I might go back to my village where I have a farm which is running quite well.

Are your married? If no will you marry a girl from Mumbai or from Bihar?
Blushing…… I am not yet married and plan not to marry for next 2-3 years at least as first I want to get settle in my life with a good job after which I’ll think about marriage. If I find a nice girl over here and that too from my community then I might as well marry a girl from Mumbai or else Bihar where my parents will find one for me.

Do you stay alone in Mumbai or with family?
No ma’am my family stays in Bihar. Over here I stay with my 3 friends, they are also into the same profession as I am (driving taxi).

Don’t you miss your family and who all are in your family?
I miss them a lot. I want to run away from this place, but can’t as I am earning for their healthy living. My family includes my mom, dad and a 15 year old sister.

Do you listen to radio? If yes then which radio station and song you like the most.
Yes, I love listening to radio as that’s the only thing that we can listen to and enjoy during our driving hours. I like to listen to all Bollywood updates about which actor is doing what movie and gossips about their break-ups and link-ups. I have also participated in different radio contests but haven’t won any…. Smiles.  All songs from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge are my favourite.

I got to know a lot about his life and his journey from Bihar to Mumbai. By the time I was done with many questions, my building had come. While I was getting out of the cab he asked me, Are u a journalist and will you put my interview in the paper? I smiled and answered no, it is for my college project….. but the day I become I would surely put this up. I thanked him and left. He was very kind and cooperative.

Obituary for my grandmother!

Obituary for my grandmother!

It has been seven years since she’s gone but still her essence is alive in my family. She’s gone but her memory will live on. She was my favourite - My grandmother. Her name was Krishna Khithani. My grandmother meant a lot to me. She was born on 18th February 1927 in Pakistan, got married at the age of 18. Due to partition ,my grandmother with her first son and husband had to shift to India. She passed in the year 2007. She was 80 when she passed away. My grandmother and I were very close to each other. I loved to sit with her and read or listen to her stories. I learned a lot of useful things from her, but most importantly the value of hard work. My grandmother had struggled a lot in her life. She was picture of strength and very brave women. She loved to spend time with friends and family. My grandmother deeply cared for her family and friends. She used to talk to each and every person she met. Losing my grandmother has been very painful for my family and me. I miss my grandmother a lot and the way she used to get angry at small things. Her memory will continue to live on forever in my heart.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

VJTI Students establish communication between deaf-mute and blind individuals

VJTI Students establish communication between deaf-mute and blind individuals

   In a pursuit to enable communication for the specially abled individuals, students from VJTI (Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute)Matunga in their ongoing  annual festival Technovanza exhibited Physically Challenged communication, a user friendly device facilitating communication between a deaf-mute and a visually impaired individual.

   Having tested the device with 20 individuals at Hellen Keller Institute for Deaf and Blind at Byculla, it functions on the basis of Bluetooth connection between a phone and an AVR board. Swadhin Thakkar, a second year involved in the project said, “We have developed an app for connection purpose, with the help of sound command a visually impaired individual can navigate to the app on a phone. Once connected, the visually impaired individual can record his message on the phone and the same message will seen on the board display.”  Thakkar further added that the message can be answered by the deaf-mute individual in terms of gestures which will be recognized by the board, in return the visually impaired individual will receive the reply in form of an audio. Undertaken by a team of four second year students at VJTI, the project has a found a spot in IIT Bombay’s top 10 in the technical fest.  With the motto of bringing Technology to the society, the students have come up with the concept of a robotic butler. “Today in an urbanized era wherein we want everything handy, the idea of a robotic butler seemed just right.” Said Shubhankar Potdar, a second year student and veteran of the robotic butler at VJTI .
    Among the other highlights of Technovanza scheduled from 28th December to 30th December,2013  includes a Rubik's cube image of APJ Abdul Kalam, a dye-sensitized cell, an unmanned railway cross, Robo wars and  an eye controlled wheel chair.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunset Margarita

Sunset Margarita

It was Wednesday afternoon; I had been to Bandra for shopping with my friends. After shopping, we decided to go to “5 Spice”, a restaurant in Bandra.  The ambiance of the place was quite soothing and nice but a little noisy atmosphere sometimes. The seats were quite uncomfortable; they should come up with nice seating arrangements.

So finally after a lot of discussion, we ordered ‘Flat Malaysian noodles’ and ‘Dragon chilly paneer’ for the main course and for the drink we ordered “Sunset Margarita.” Don’t go by the name sunset, it is nowhere related to sunset (Hahahaha). First we thought that it would be a normal moctail, but the moment it arrived it was way different than what we expected it to be. You usually get a straw to drink moctails, but this was different we got a spoon instead of a straw. It was made up of crushed ice with a unique combination of mango, peach and a dash of lime. It was served in a salt rimmed glass with a cherry o the top. It was a desert come drink. It was something that I had never seen or tasted before. The taste was too good, I loved it. The food was very spicy so the combination of the food and Sunset Margarita was quite well. “Sunset Margarita” is one of the finest drinks I have ever had. Other drinks included lemon mojito, juicy bird, watermelon booster and many more. Next time you visit 5 Spice “Sunset Margarita” is worth trying, it’s amazing (“Heaven on Earth”). The prices of all moctails are Rs250 and main course Rs300-400 per dish (veg).

I have been to 5 Spice (Bandra) many times. The only problem I think they lack is the ‘hygiene.’ The plates were not washed properly, but the food is worth having. However over the years the quality of food has been on a downhill. The only thing that remained consistent is the quantity. A portion of rice/noodles is easily sufficient for 3 people. Most of the gravies tend to be similar in taste and very oily. 5 Spice is slowly losing its charm and is turning out to be more like a Chinese food stall whose focus is more on quantity and not the quality of food. Day by day the quality is getting decreased but the quantity remains the same. The highlight of 5 Spice is the large proportion of every dish. The menu is extensive and a good place for not so expensive Chinese food. Good place to catch up with your friends. I would definitely come back and try other dishes from the huge list of items they have and will highly recommend it to all.

One tip: If you are hungry and less in pocket, go 5 Spice.

·         Food – 4/5
·         Ambience – 3/5
·         Service – 3/5
·         Seating arrangement – 2/5
·         Customer friendly – 2/5
·     Hygiene – 2/5
·         Price – 3/5
·         Quantity of food – 4/5
·         Quality of food – 2/5

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Dhoom 3 - movie review

             Dhoom 3 or Doom 3???
Movie review -                                 
Dhoom…. We enter the theatre to watch an amazing movie and what do we end up with – Not Dhoom but ‘Doom’! This movie doesn’t even match the Dhoom standards. Villain’s entry is in a Dhoom way, but the way the hero enters is very funny to watch and will make you laugh. Movie is just bearable because of its stunts, bikes and of course Aamir khan. The story is average but the stunts are amazingly shot and done. If we compare the previous two series of Dhoom, this is nothing in front of them. For me Aamir was the star in the movie and about the rest I would rather choose not to comment.

The story revolves around two boys – Sahir and Samar, who want to take revenge on their father’s death in Chicago. Sahir is brave, bold and intelligent, while Samar is innocent and just a shadow of Sahir and his father. According to Sahir and his father, Samar is a farista that God has sent and is just a shadow of Sahir. The two in order to destroy the person who is responsible for the death of their father, rob banks. At each robbery, Sahir leaves a message in Hindi and a clown mask, which leads the Chicago Police to bring in Jai and Ali. Finally the movie reaches the “show time”, where the Chor-Police game of Dhoom finally begins along with the first show of The Great Indian Circus.  As usual, though they solve the puzzle, with all circus stunts in bikes and all, they end up not catching the robbers. 

About the movie actors –
The role was not suiting Aamir, but I would definitely applaud him for the way he’s acted in the film with sheer perfection.

Katrina looks dazzling in the film though she is not to be seen much in the film except in 3 songs and three to four dialogues. Katrina was used in the movie as glamour prop. 

On the other hand Abhishek and Uday were average. Their chemistry is much similar to previous movie. All the dialogues said by them, try too hard to make the audience laugh. As usual Uday (Ali) is trying to stalk every single firang girl including the firang cop, which is boring now.

All in all Dhoom 3 was an average film, the story dragged in the second half. There isn’t enough joy in it, but Aamir with his amazing acting and stunts make it worth watching.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Reliance Retail, Big Bazaar woo kirana stores

Reliance Retail, Big Bazaar woo kirana stores

India’s top organized retailers including Future group and Reliance Retail are roping in local kirana-walas to expand operations and widen product reach, but small traders remain sceptical of their moves.

While Mukesh Ambani- led Reliance Retail has quietly speeded up expansion of its wholesale cash and carry stores, Kishore Biyani- promoted Future Group is running its Big Bazaar Direct Programme, under which a small grocery shop owner can become a franchisee for the big retailer.

Industry analysts say big organized retail stores may not be successful everywhere, especially in small catchment areas, and therefore, pushing products, especially higher margin private brands, through other channels such as local trade helps growth.
Small traders, however, are not too optimistic on being co-opted by the big boys.

 “Organized retailers are in the business for making profits and are least bothered of the small traders. They use predatory pricing tactics to ultimately wipe-off the smaller guys. Even their wholesale stores are nothing but retail in disguise, since they are giving membership to anyone, when it was only meant to be for traders, ”said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general, Confederation of All India Traders.

Reliance Retail, which opened its first wholesale store in 2011, has opened around 12 more such stores in the last 10 months, and the pace of expansion is expected to continue, according to a source close to the company.

Reliance Retail has 1 million partners signed up for its wholesale store business, and the company is organizing member meetings, especially involving small shop owners to understand their needs. Besides it is also converting some of its retail hypermarkets into wholesale stores.

Future Group has also roped in grocery shop owners to become franchisees for its “KB’s Fair Price” neighborhood stores.

“Big Bazaar Direct will help the company reach customers deeper into India, which may not be necessarily possible by expanding a physical supermarket,” said Vivek Biyani, director, Future Group.

-Article taken from HINDUSTAN TIMES, Friday, January 10, 2014. Page 12.