Quirky Observations

Busy doesn’t adequately describe my schedule of last fortnight. There was work related travel, general engagements at home and some more travel. During all this adventure, stress, crazy days, fun, excitement and exhaustion, I packed in lots of reading and of course my favorite, observing the buzz of life around me.

Yes, because of too much reading, there’s overdose of book reviews and my blog is looking like a book review blog. I am not too happy with that, because, I like varied stuff on my blog. But, the book reviews had to be done, after all a commitment is a commitment. Thought I faltered on some deadlines, I consoled myself with ‘better late than never’. Have you realized, giving such excuses/ explanations to self, are so comforting as they simply take away the pressure or guilt! Do you agree with that?

I am sure, we all have seen people keeping the transparent plastic sheet covering the seats of their brand new cars intact for quite some time. And the same goes for office chairs and even TV remotes.

But have you seen something like this…

WP_20160818_11_41_52_Pro This sight was a first for me. Have never seen anybody keeping the straps of a bag wrapped in a plastic covering.  What about you?

Do brand names matter? The brand manager in me firmly believes so, after all a brand helps customers know what to expect. A brand is the way the customers perceives the brand, the company and its ethos…

So what would you think when you come across this….


I saw this hotel in Abu Road, Rajasthan. I don’t know who coined the name for this hotel or what were they thinking? What do you think about this hotel’s brand name? What would be the owner’s thoughts while thinking of this as his hotel’s name? Let your quirky or logical reasoning flow in the comment section!

Travel Tales

After having woken up at an unearthly hour to catch the first flight of the day, I am now sitting in the airport lounge. With the breakfast done and out of the way, I am awaiting the departure of my second flight which is a few hours away. And I am doing what I love doing the most. Yes, observing the buzz of life around me.

Actually, it all started as soon as I made myself comfortable in my assigned seat in the aircraft. WP_20160528_00_13_14_ProI was looking out of the window and drinking in the beauty of the early morning when a strong aroma hit me. I looked around and saw a passenger in front of my seat opening her lunch box.

The lady was eating stuffed karela (bitter gourd) with parantha. The stuffing inside was secured with a thread, just as my mom does it and this made me smile and crave for food made by mom. Seeing her having breakfast at 6 am and that too before the flight taking off got me thinking. I think she must be a 6 am breakfast lover or must be believing in eating early in order to keep insulin and blood sugar levels regulated while kick-starting the metabolism. Wonder what would be her actual reason to do so though!


A couple with a 2 year old kid are sitting next to me in the lounge.  As I was chatting with the parents, I observed the kid’s hand. He was wearing a gold ring. I saw a kid wearing a gold ring with his name engraved on it for the first time. I mean, have seen kids made to wear gold chains, bangles, earrings from a young age. But seeing a kid with a ring was a first for me.



Saw the promotion of Rajinikath starrer Kabali on the Air Asia aircraft.  Air Asia is the official airline partner of one of the most awaited movies of the year, Kabali, and several of its planes will also feature in the film. It seems that in Kabali , Rajinikanth plays the role of a Malaysia-based don, and this seemed like a right brand boosting strategy for the Malaysian carrier, Air Asia to partner with this movie. Interesting!


Last week, during my travel by the Jaipur-Delhi Double Decker train, I came across yet another interesting sight. The cracked glass window of the train had this sticker…


I saw such a sticker for the first time, though I have seen innumerable damaged things in the trains.

This train journey reminds me of the scene I witnessed at the railway station before boarding the train. A family of 4 who were standing next to me were chatting and having a good time together. As soon as the train arrived on the platform, young man of the family began saying good-byes to his parents and sister. And suddenly, their laughter ceased as they saw him leave them. I watched them some more from my window seat in the train. Seeing the mother’s silent tears, made me teary eyed too. It’s always harder to be left behind than to be the one to go…

Hope they all meet soon again and have lots of reasons to smile and laugh again.  And I am thinking of me reaching back home too after five days on the road.

Linking this to Day 3 – Write Tribe Festival of Words #5


Padharo Mhare Des

We all need a timeout from time to time, to get away from pressures of work and mundane life at  home. From time to time, we all need to step away to recharge, relax and rejuvenate from the stresses of life.  And a vacation provides just that. The mere thought of exploring unknown places, trying out different dishes and cuisines, meeting new people, spending quality time with family and friends, gives a boost to the weary soul and mind!

Over the years, I have seen that visiting Jaipur is on the wish list of almost all the people I have met. As soon as somebody gets to know that we stay in the pink city of India, their eyes sparkle with excitement and animation which is followed by a barrage of questions and queries. I can so understand and relate to their fascination and admiration for Jaipur.

Jaipur, without a doubt is a perfect holiday destination. It has timeless appeal in its rich cultural heritage with majestic palaces and massive forts; vibrant colours and streets bustling with life; lip smacking food and colourful bazaars to shop till you drop. Friends and acquaintances ask me all the time about how, when and what to visit and do in Jaipur.  Let me plan a perfect vacation for you in Jaipur. Padharo Mhare Des…

How to Reach Jaipur

Jaipur, a tourist’s paradise is connected to major cities of the country with domestic flights from all Airlines operating on a regular basis. Jet Airways , SpiceJet, Air India, IndiGo, GoAir have daily flights to and from Jaipur. You may travel comfortably by numerous bus and train options too. And if you plan to self drive then the roads leading to Jaipur are well-connected by National Highways 8, 11 and 12. The Delhi-Jaipur National Highway offers a smooth ride (260 kilometres) with plenty of restaurants and amenities on the way.

Places to Visit in Jaipur

The major irresistible attractions of Jaipur are its palaces and forts which are resplendent of their royal heritage. City Palace with its the regal architecture, offers a stunning view of the Pink City while the Hawa Mahal and  Jal Mahal reflect the scientific bent of mind of the Kings and the craftsmanship of the artists.

Located on top of hills are the three forts, Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and NaharGarh Fort give the bird’s eye view of Jaipur city. They have extensive walls, watch towers, several temples and many citadels.

Photo: Christophe Biosvieux/Age Fotostock/Dinodia

Amer Fort : Image Source

Other historical places that must be visited are the Jantar Mantar Observatory, Isarlat (Swargasuli), Albert Hall Museum and the entire Walled city of Jaipur. Sight seeing of all these forts and palaces may take 2 entire days. Yes, there is so much to soak in and admire these rich historical heritage.

Temples like Govind Devji and Moti Doongari are pretty famous and auspicious. The deities here are  worshipped by the erstwhile royal family.

Dig into Authentic Rajasthani Food

Kachori : Image Source

A trip to Jaipur (or anywhere in Rajasthan) is not complete without digging into traditionalghewar.photo by cherian thomas and authentic Rajasthani food. Churned from the royal kitchens, Rajasthani cuisine reflect indigenous traditions.  So,  dal bati churma, laal maas, kachoris or ghevar are a must must eat at Jaipur.  And so are the pyaz ki kachouri from Rawat Mishthan Bandhar, Sahu ki Kachori at Chaura Rasta, Gulab Ji Ki Chai at Ganpati Plaza, Sharma Chaat at Johri Bazaar, Ramchandra ki Kulfi, Murli Paan Shop. Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar at Johri Bazaar offers some excellent local sweets and food.

Chokhi Dhani is an ethnic village resort that captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan and ensures a perfect Rajasthani experience.

Shop till You Drop

A paradise for shopaholics, the old bazaars of Jaipur offers some of the best shopping experiences. Jaipur is home to India’s largest and the most fabulous collection of jewellery of all types – precious stones and gems, semi-precious and handmade jewellery and you can find them at Johari Bazaar. Tripolia Bazaar is known for its lac jewellery, bangles, Bandini tie and dye fabrics with rich embroideries and designer carpets, brass ware and other traditional wares. Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar for colourful Rajasthani dresses and jootis and general street shopping. Shops at MI Road are known for antiques, blue pottery, gems and jewellery. Badi and Choti Chaupad and  Chandpole Bazaar offer some unique and traditional items to shop too.

Best Time to Visit

October to March is the best season to visit Jaipur. It’s the winter season and perfect time to spend outdoors. July to September is the monsoon period and is a good time if you wish to avoid the peak tourist season. April to June are particularly harsh with temperatures rising up to 48°C during the day but the mornings and evenings are pleasant.

A trip of 3-6 days is an ideal one to soak in the beauty and grandeur of Jaipur.

If you have some more time, then you can explore some weekend getaways near Jaipur too.

Padharo Mhare Des! Come, explore the wonders and sites and take a peek into into Jaipur’s royal history and heritage. So are you ready, with the packed bags!?!

Kuwait Travel Diary

How does it feel to see the stamps in your passport or hear a different language as you deplane from the aircraft or see people from a different culture milling around you as you pass through the immigration lines at the airport?

It seems like a beginning of an exciting adventure from the start. Right!

That’s how it happened for me, when I came to Kuwait one and a half day ago.

It’s my first visit to this country  and I am all set to soak anything and everything the place has to offer.

It is an official visit, but I will get plenty of time to explore the city… fingers crossed. I am so looking forward to it.  Here are a few things that I plan to do while in Kuwait.

Eat Local Food : Kuwait is non veg eater’s paradise. I am not a big fan of non-veg actually. Given a choice between veg and non-veg food, I’d pick veg, always. And here I am in this new country and meat has been on my plate for all the four meals up till now. And guess what, I am loving it. Yesterday we went to an Arabic joint and thanks to Fatayer Lahme  along with Fatayer Jibna and Fatayer Zaatar, I never knew that I had an adventurous palate. And I am looking forward to more such tempting and tasty adventures.

Fatayer Lahme and Fatayer Jibna

Fatayer Lahme and Fatayer Jibna

Fatayer Zaatar

Fatayer Zaatar

Soak in the Sights : Of course, wherever I look, a new things are coming in my line of vision.  City roads like our expressways, fast moving traffic, left side driving, virtually no two wheelers, beautiful buildings and houses, men is long thwabs and women in abayas (and I must add here that they all are so beautiful and fashionable!) are simply fascinating.

Pristine Blue Arabian Sea

Pristine Blue Arabian Sea

Learn : Though most people speak English and we have met quite a few Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in and around our hotel who are so happy to speak in Hindi with us, I am however keen to learn a few sentences and phrases in Arabic.

Like yesterday, we were in this market and I met this friendly old man. 


He asked me something in Arabic and I drew a blank. Another person translated it for me and we got chatting. And it was fun talking to him and in the process picked up a few Arabic words. It’s interesting that it is similar to Urdu which I am familiar with. For instance, a thank you is Shukriya in Urdu and Shukraan in Arabic. 

I can see that the customs and traditions of the people in Kuwait are truly unique. I don’t want to just observe these customs, I wish I could participate and be one of them as they follow them. I hope that gets ticked off from my wish list.

As I prepare for the unexpected and go with the flow in Kuwait, you have a great week ahead and keep watching this space for more updates and pictures from this sojourn of mine!


10 Tips for Traveling Solo

Solo Travel is a life changing experience. And it is on the rise, these days. More and more people are backpacking to explore and enjoy a destination on their own terms – without any distraction and without matching their schedule with others. Solo travel not only gives you the time to reflect but also is a rewarding and a liberating experience.

Solo Travel

For some, venturing out completely on their own can be intimidating. Worry not, with research and planning, you can have an experience like none other. Here’s how to make the most of your solo trip…

  • Plan in advance : Do some advance planning. You don’t need a detailed plan but you should know, for the first night at least, where you’re going to stay. Book your hotel before you leave. Carry the essentials with you when you head out for the day. Have the name of the place you’re staying on a piece of paper in the local language. Have a copy of your emergency contacts and your documents on you.
  • Pack light : Pack light so that you can manage your luggage by yourself with ease. One carry-on, a suitcase or backpack, should suffice whether you’re out for one week or three. Also keep your most important items like ID proof/passport, wallet, camera and phone in the same place.
  • Watch the world around you : Take the time to observe how people interact, and how things work. While sitting at a sidewalk cafe, on a park bench, or just killing time you can learn how to use public transit, whether to pay your bill at your table or at the counter, how to tip or how to hail a cab and much more.
  • Open up! : Learn how to talk to strangers. Smile and start a conversation. Be curious and ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions. Connect with other travelers. The common rooms and lounges of hostels / hotels are great places to meet short-term friends as well as pick up excellent travel advice.
  • Go out and enjoy yourself : Enjoy dining alone. Ask a local to order for you. Go out in the evenings. Go to concerts and the theatre. It’s all possible solo.street-381227_1280
  • Get off the beaten track : If you want to meet other travelers, go off the beaten path. Travelers who find each other where there are few tourists are more inclined to talk to each other. Plus, you will likely have something in common.
  • Go on organised tours : Break up long trips with organized tours. You’ll enjoy the company and a chance to let someone else take care of all the details.
  • Take your own photos : Learn to take your own photo. Your friends will be far more interested in your photos when you return if there are pictures of you amongst them.
  • Take advantage of useful apps on your phone : Download useful apps to your phone such as a GPS, a translator, a currency converter, some travel guides, online recharge and bill payment apps
  • Trust your instinct : Be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, leave.

Go on and empower yourself to travel solo with confidence to discover yourself as you discover the world!

Adapted from The Solo Traveler’s Handbook by Janice Waugh

Images Courtesy : Pixabay

One Night @ The Airport

*Long Post Alert*

“What will you do for so many hours, alone?”
“Why did you pick this set of flights?”

These questions made me go Aww and Argghh at the same time. 

These questions were asked by KG and my parents for I was taking a connecting flight from Pune to Jaipur via Delhi. They were overly concerned as I was landing at Delhi airport at 1 am and taking the next flight at 5.15 am. So, that would mean, being at the airport for about 4 hours which are certainly unearthly hours. While they worried and fretted, I was cool. I had 2 paperbacks in my back, 3 ebooks on my phone, a laptop with datacard to keep me busy during the night and a warm stole in case tiredness and sleep engulfed me.

Having slept during the 2 hour flight from Pune to Delhi, I was fresh and alert as I walked on the long travellator at the swanky Indira Gandhi International Airport T3 Terminal. It was 1.30 am.

A ‘Aha’ escaped my lips and some invisible strings pulled me in its direction. I ditched the travellator and walked with a purpose. There were big brands all around! (What were you thinking?) When I see shopping stores, there’s no stopping me. No, I don’t buy anything and everything in sight, I like to call myself a sensible shopper. But what I enjoy the most about shopping is the looking at the display at the stores, checking out new items and chatting with sales people. Of course, this I can do only when I am alone. KG has no patience for all this admiring stuff and not buying it. Aah! But I digressed.

I checked out some dresses and tops at Marks & Spencer, looked at the phone and laptop accessories and grilled a sales guy about Windows phones at Chroma. I also browsed through the various books and products of The Art of Living- The Divine Shop. Was not aware of their ayurvedic cosmetics, food and wellness products and walked past a lot of eateries and bar lounges, prayer room and other shops.

The next stop was Costa Coffee. Handling coffee in one hand and a plate of date and fig cake on another, a big bag on one shoulder and a heavy laptop bag on another, I was a sight. I looked around and saw plush chairs outside Starbucks counter. I cursed myself for not seeing Starbucks a few minutes earlier. Would have loved to see how they’d misspell my name and would they write my name on the cup even if I was the only customer then? Anyways, as I was digging into my cake, the guy at the Starbucks counter told me, “Outside food is not allowed!”. I smiled and told him, just this time and he agreed.

I looked around and wondered about the sales guys and girls working during the night shift. Some were busy on phones, some working on the PCs, may be making sales or stock reports, some were sitting and chatting in groups of twos or threes and some were simply dozing off.

Sufficiently charged with a good dose of caffeine, I moved further ahead and yet another wonderful sight came in front of me. It was Relay, the book store. With a spring in my step, I walked towards this store. And my grey cells reminded me of a long pending dream.

I love doing book spine poetry, you must have seen a few of them on this blog. For the uninitiated, a book spine poetry is arranging book titles to make a poem or a story. Since I started doing the book spine poetry, I wished I could create one in a book store as the book titles there simply outnumber the ones in my library cupboard. (Oh, I do have a pretty decent collection of books, though!) But, this dream never materialized for (1) I usually go to a book store for buying a last minute gift for someone (2) It is a time consuming process and in a busy store during the day time, if I went about looking at the titles in all sections and made piles of books, I am sure the store guys would call the security to throw me out. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I am sure, they’d not appreciate it.

An empty book store with a sleepy sales guy was a perfect opportunity to make my dream come true. As I gathered books and arranged them in a pile, added or removed a book, the sales guy at the counter woke up from his slumber and looked at me curiously. I explained and he liked the idea and read my incomplete story with book spines aloud. He looked around to add his inputs but gave up after a minute and went back to fiddling with his phone.

After craning my neck at a weird angle to read the book titles for half an hour or so, I came up with this book spine poetry.


Did you like it?

With a dream fulfilled, it was time to buy a book from the store.  After shopping online with decent discounts, buying a book at its MRP gave me heartburn. But had to buy something. So, I bought Mrs Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna.

It was 3.30 am! I had window shopped for about 2 hours! The boarding gates for my flight would have opened at 4. 30 am, so I thought of writing a blog post. But everything can’t go right, so neither the free wi-fi at the airport worked nor did my datacard. I had no other option but to read. Mrs Funnybones joined me and her company was  fun and funny.

As she regaled me with her stories, the travellator near me came to life. And with it came the clear, soft and smooth voice on the IVRS, which instructed repeatedly one and all to “Please hold the hand brake and mind your step. Kripya hand brake ko pakade hue savdhani se pair rakhiye.” This monologue played on a loop without a break and when it did stop after a while, seemed like an eternity though, I was chanting the same message in my head. Gosh!

But hey! Repeating things repeatedly though annoying but do register. So, I must carry on with my instructions to the 2 boys at home, “Wash your hands. Close the drawer. Don’t keep the wet towel on bed…”. Someday, it will register in their heads… yes, someday…

Soon, it was time to board the plane. And needless to say that I dozed off immediately after buckling my seat belt and woke up only when the aircraft landed with a thud at Jaipur airport.

That was indeed an eventful, exciting and an enjoyable experience of one night @ the airport!

Flying with a Cry-baby #MondayMusings

Last week, I took an early morning flight from Bangalore to Delhi for which I had to reach the airport at an unearthly hour. Sleep deprived and tired from the hectic work schedule, I reached the airport on time and requested the lady at the counter to give me a window seat. Thinking of catching up on my missed sleep during the two hour flight, I boarded the aircraft, only to see a young mother with a child occupying my seat. Sitting next to her was her old father (or father-in-law). Without a word I occupied the vacant aisle seat. Yes, it seemed silly to ask her to vacate the window seat for me.

I settled in my aisle seat and dozed off even before the flight took off from the ground, only to be jolted awake from sleep a few minutes later by the loud screams of my little co-passenger. The face of the lil baby was all red and his eyes all scrunched up but no tears trickled down his cheeks. The mother held him close, rocked him back and forth, and softly repeated some words in his ear, but the child refused to calm down and showed us all his super power of screaming really loudly. And as if one uncomfortable child on the flight was not enough, another one wailed from the back seats. By this time, I gave up on my plan to sleep during the flight.

I smiled at the mother and she smiled back with gratitude. I looked around and saw the other passengers having expressions ranging from disdain and irritation to anger and exasperation. And memories of a flight taken some 13 years ago flashed in front of me when a 45 day old baby shrieked and howled in my arms. There was absolutely no difference in the reactions of the passengers between these two incidents which spanned more than a decade.

We all know that babies do what they do when they want to do it. The babies don’t know how to deal with air pressure and the pain it causes or any uneasiness that they might be experiencing. The only way they know to express their pain is by crying. What’s new or different in that? I am sure every single person and their children have cried like that in a public space whether in a plane or a train or a store or a cinema hall or at a restaurant.

While at a restaurant or a store, one can still go out and distract the crying child in some way, but how does one do that while sitting in a aircraft when seat-belt sign is still on? The parents have limited ways  to manage the cranky child.

Oh, I know it can be very frustrating for the co-passengers, after all it is not their child, but show some empathy to the parent who is all stressed and even more frustrated. She is trying her level best to calm and soothe the baby.  

Imagine, how unnerving it would be to hear the exaggerated sighs and sense the irritation and stares from co-passengers while your baby is howling, wailing and shrieking his guts out in your arms. How guilt ridden you would be when you know that you and your child are annoying other passengers and some are even judging you for it.

I wish people know that they can’t have library-silent, no-wails-allowed flight. It should not be difficult to understand that a child being a child is not the parents’ fault, and to realize that making someone else feel bad will not make you feel better or improve your flight. So, instead of giving a death-stare to the mother and the child, show empathy, practice patience and put on your noise-cancelling headphones and simply deal with it minus the negative drama from your end. Deal?

Linking this to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings


Most Annoying Co-Travellers

cooltext468162920_thumb5Travel. Aah! The very word conjures such exotic imageries of majestic forts and palaces, impressive museums, serene resorts, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage, unique experiences and the much needed escape from the routine… But before you get to such dreamy locations one has to travel for miles and miles together… together with your inner self, family, friends and fellow co-passengers.

During my years of travel both for work and pleasure, before I reach my destination – exotic or otherwise, my trip usually turns out to be a long, very long trip. No, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a penchant for taking the longest possible routes, but it’s just that I have a penchant for attracting bad travel companions.

I have come across some really weird, annoying, pesky, cheeky, pain in the you-know-where, fellow travellers who make me wish /urge/implore/pray/crave for the journey to come to an end, soon, real soon. Wanna take a ride with me? Fasten your seatbelts as I take you on a ride that never ends…

  • The Chatterbots :  Travel alone may translate into quality Me-Time for some of us. It’s the time when you want to sit back and read or just watch the world pass by literally and figuratively or simply doze off. But can you do that in peace? Nope. Thanks to the chatterbots who have to tell you their opinions on the state of affairs of the country  or how Dhoni should lead or why Salman should never be jailed or simply dig information about you. Subtle and not so subtle cues that you are not interested does not reach them, at all. Last month, an elderly man cribbed for 3 hours non-stop, how his daughter-in-law, an oncologist in a leading hospital, is not a good mother! Sigh!
  • The Audio Numbs : These are the people who can not just keep it down… the  volume, I mean. They have to talk loudly and incessantly on their phones or listen to music without the earphones or play games on their devices with the gaming sounds at full blast. Once there was this guy who called almost all the contacts in his phone book during the 5 hour journey from Jaipur to Delhi. During these 5 hours, everybody in the bus got to know about his wily boss, loving and not so loving family members, his travel plans and recent parties and meetings with friends, cute antics of his children, gossip from his office… Aarghhh!
  • The Negligent : Some people believe that travel time is the time to let one’s hair down and no rules/regulations/word of caution or piece of mind should be ever exercised. This is especially true for their children. They should be allowed to behave uninhibitedly. So, the children are allowed to run up and down the aisles throughout the journey in flights and trains, often yelling and screaming in glee – even during the time when it’s time for people to sleep. Grrrrr…
  • The Seat Switchers : Yes, joy multiplies when you are traveling with family and friends. Sadly, some didn’t had the time to plan their trip well or in advance, so they have seats in different rows or coaches. No worries, they can always exchange seats with you. Now, as long as they are requesting and as long as they are ready to accept a firm no, it’s cool. But it gets a bit ugly when the seat switchers believe that they are entitled to a seat exchange. It does not matter to them that a side lower seat near the door of the train coach would not be considered as a good bargain by anybody who wants a peaceful journey. Humph!
  • The Armrest Hoggers : These people live life king-size, quite literally. They believe that they are sitting on the sofa of their living room when actually they are on the seat in a public transport. It does not enter their thick skin that they are encroaching your personal space and that you have shrunk yourself to the far end of the seat just to avoid an unpleasant conversation. Last time, I had to give an earful to somebody just because he could not contain his arms in his designated seat. Gah!
  • The Mannerless : Kicking seats from behind, putting their legs up on the top of your seat or the side window, throwing the empty chips packs or soda cans below the seats or keeping their slippers and shoes in the basket which is meant to keep water bottles or newspapers etc speaks of their mannerisms and upbringing.  Journey to the hills cause travel sickness in quite a few people. So, during one of my visit to Shimla, the conductor of the RSRTC Volvo bus distributed vomit bags to people who believed that they’d feel queasy. Despite the instructions of the conductor that each person will have to dispose off their bags personally, my co-passengers coolly left their liquidy bags in the basket of the seat ahead of them. How overly gross, insensitive, annoying that could be! EWWWWW!
  • The Super Active : As soon as the seatbelt sign is off, these people have to get up from their seats and roam around. They have to step on your feet every time they make their way past you and they are nonchalant about it. Aaah!
  • The Lovey Doveys : Public displays of affection can seem innocent to couples in love. But other co-passengers may see them very differently… Gawd!!
  • The No-Control-Over-Body-Processes: Snoring, drooling, sleep talking, flatulence… less said , the better! Gosh!
  • The Fighters : No, they dont fight for any cause, but love picking up fights, arguments with anybody and everybody. And if they are under the influence of alcohol and/or if their kith and kin are who’s who, God only can save you. Once, two guys in my train compartment, got into a verbal duel over a petty matter which turned ugly with both slapping and fist-fighting! Oops!

Have you travelled with some annoying co-travellers? What’s the worst behavior you’ve ever put up with co-travellers?

Tales of Taxi Travails

When the Radio Cabs came into our city, I must have been the happiest person. You know that I don’t drive!! With the arrival of Radio Cabs, I thought, KG could breath a sigh of relief as there’d be no more disturbing him from his work to pick and drop me all over the city. And of course, no haggling with the auto-wallahs who believe that going without the meter rate and charging exorbitant fare is their birth right.

The first cab service that I used was Metro Cabs. It used to charge an additional Rs 100 per ride. According to them our residential area is not within the city limits, which is not right as the city has grown far beyond that. Anyway, I didn’t mind the additional charge and was happy with the prompt service and cool comfort of the AC cab.

Then came, Meru Cabs, Ola Cabs, Taxi for Sure and now recently Uber, which I am yet to try out. They say, if there are more companies in the foray, it is great for the customer. Really?!

I travel for work quite a bit and use these cab services at all times of the day and night. Over a period of time, I tried the services of Meru, Ola and Taxi for Sure and I must say that I have had some really bad, sad and mad experiences with them.

Taxi cab sign

There have been so many instances when after receiving the cab/driver details 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time, the driver has said that he is off duty or is too far off from my location or simply refuses to pick up the call. Imagine the panicky situation when the driver does not take your call and you are frantically navigating the call to their office through the cheerful IVRS lady (Argggh!!) and the time they take to arrange for another cab and the time it takes for the new cabbie to reach you and all this when you have a early morning flight to catch and the husband is out of town!!

Recently, I had to catch a train at 4.40 pm. Since, I prefer to reach pretty early especially at Rlwy Stations/Airports to avoid any untoward incident like jams, one ways etc. So I booked a Meru Cab for 3 pm. At 2.30 pm, I got the message with cab details. I called up the driver, he asked for the directions, I explained it all to him and he said that he would take an hour to reach. I was shell shocked. An hour?! Yes, he was at the other end of the city. He advised me to book another cab. Very thoughtful of him! I called up the Customer Care and they shared the second driver’s details. It’s 2.50 pm by then. I called the second driver and he told me that he was sitting in the cab of the first driver and he wouldn’t be able to reach me as well. It was a true WTH moment! As I was painstakingly explaining my panic situation at the Customer Care, I kept getting calls from the first two drivers, asking me to cancel their bookings. In the mean time, the third driver gave me a heart attack when he informed me of his location. He was also at another end of the city. I was nearly losing it when the fourth driver detail that was shared with me was also a good 45 minutes away from me. It was 3.30 pm and I just couldn’t believe that I was still at home and was ping ponging between the Customer Care and the cab drivers.

I called up Metro Cabs and fortunately they had a cab near my location but it got stuck at a traffic jam just 3 kms away from my home. I heaved a sigh of relief when I boarded the train at 4.40 pm.  And was I glad that I had booked the cab for 3 pm and not 4 pm that day! In the mean time, the follow up calls from their HO about the cancellation, asking the same questions again and again continued,  as if it was my fault that I had booked and cancelled the booking four times!

Last month, the Taxi for Sure that I took narrowly missed a biker at the intersection during the early hours of the morning! And then one from Ola Cabs was just not able to understand the directions to our location, even the GPS in his car was unable to guide him and after struggling with him for 10 minutes over the phone, he informed that he was new to city.

Here’s another thing. You call up the Customer Care and request for a cab at let’s say 11 am. 8/10 times, the response I get is, “Sorry, all our cabs are booked for this slot. Would you like to book a cab for 10.30 am or 12 noon?!” I am yet to get insights on their style of operations when each of these cab companies have 200-800 strong fleet of cars at Jaipur city.

Another service that I use when outstation is Savaari. This is one service that oscillates between the two extremes. There’s no in-between for them. Either they have a flawless service or they do not turn up at all. This has happened with me twice this month!

Travel via taxis has evolved quite a lot in these past few years. GPS tracking, 24×7 Customer Call Centres, booking via phones, web and apps, bill receipts via email/SMS are great technological advancements. While one end of the chain is run by professionals, the other end has its roots in the the sector which is still unorganized. There is a need for the cab companies to address the problems at grass root level viz understanding of the local city locations by the Call Centre team as well as the drivers, non-availability of cabs at the time you need them, delays in reaching the location, rash driving to name a few.

Travel via Radio Cabs has made the commute easier for me within the city, there’s no doubt about that, but can it be without panic attacks and heart burns. I have more bad experiences to share than happy and satisfactory rides with the Cab Services. Here’s hoping that these are just some initial start-up problems and we will have smoothly operating cab services soon. Fingers crossed!

How have been your experiences with Radio Cabs?

Live from the Train

I am on my way from Jaipur to Delhi, traveling by the JaipurDelhi Sarai Rohilla AC Double Decker Express Train. Have traveled many times by this train but somehow my seat is always in the lower deck. Must try to book a ticket such that I get to travel in the upper deck too. I know that seats aren’t any different in the two sections, it is just that the view must be like seeing the world from top of the mountain, aah, well, just the upper deck! Silly desire!

I was struggling with my bags on the escalator and a young man made my day by helping me out. And a second ago, another man behind me on the escalator gave me an exasperated look as I wasted his few seconds! Life!!

The train has started at the right time and suddenly people around me are busy on the phones, all are giving  updates on the train status and then a quick bye. I think, some must be calling their spouses/mothers who would have gone back to sleep after seeing them off at the ungodly hour of 5 am and some must be harried in the kitchen preparing lunch boxes for kids or getting them ready!

This train takes you to Gurgaon in record 3.5 hours and it takes 4.5 hours to Delhi. And this is mostly used by daily commuters between Jaipur-Delhi. People around me are mostly office executives and almost all of them are working on their laptops and a few are reading newspapers. For a change, no wailing baby in the compartment!

The gentleman behind me is straining his neck and eyes to read what I am typing. I think the max that he can read is the post title because of its large font size. To read the post from that distance and with low screen brightness of my laptop , I guess, he would need super human vision.

A guy is drinking water from a Tupperware bottle. Wow! If I had given the same to KG, that would had been the last I would have seen of that bottle. Yes, we are responsible that way! On questioning (KG would read this as grilling !) about that Tupperware bottle, he would have answered flippantly, “Oh, it was just a water bottle!”  

An old lady near me is wearing her spectacles with the price tag still attached to the temple. Oh, wait!! She just removed her glasses and cleaned them and adjusted the price tag too!! I am very much intrigued now!


It’s an hour into the journey and most of the laptops have been shutdown and newspapers are resting in the seat pockets. Finally, tiredness has caught up, while some are dozing, a few are snoring too.

I think, I must catch a wink too, as I know the forecast for my day ahead is, “a terribly busy day beckons!”

So signing off for now, you have a great day! Cheers 🙂

Linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

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