Mumbai Skyline

Mumbai calling 2011

I booked my tickets to come to Mumbai last month, when my plans for a trip to the USA and Canada fell apart due to my crazy work schedule.

My past two trips have been on British Airways, but this time I booked tickets for our very own Jet Airways. I booked a cab to the airport and reached Heathrow Terminal 4 with time to spare. I must admit that I missed the awesomeness of Terminal 5.

The flight was very comfortable, though I did feel the service was all over the place. The flight was a good 10 hours with minimal turbulence and I did catch up on some sleep and three movies, viz. The Lincoln Lawyer, Rio and Pay Check.

I prefer landing at Mumbai Airport over any other airport in India because of the really quick immigration counters. During my last trip to Bangalore Airport, I spent a good amount of time waiting to get through immigration and then had to wait for my baggage. This time it was only the wait for the baggage that I had to handle. What can be improved is the pre-paid taxi desk at which I had to wait nearly 20 minutes.

Now, I need to book tickets for my trip to Mumbai in December. And, the prices are already over the roof!

Mumbai Skyline

I began my trip in Mumbai by going for Sunday mass in my church. It sure has been a while… Sunday continued to be a very quiet day with me spending the rest of the day at home.

August 15 is the Feast of Annunciation of Mother Mary as well as India’s Independence Day which we love to celebrate :) The day began quietly with mass in the morning and lunch at home. Mom and me went over to my Grandmas place. I also met up with Cloreisha after a long long time at Mocha Mojo in Bandra. Mocha’s definitely has a whole new atmosphere now that hookahs have been banned in Mumbai. Another stupid rule after the “no serving alcohol to persons below 25″. I am waiting for Starbucks to set up shop in Mumbai.

Dinner was back at my Grandma’s place, who is always enthusiastic to order in! So, I had my first taste of Indian Chinese cuisine after a long time.

I celebrated my 29th birthday on August 16. This time it was a lot different from the years before. Last year, I had a very sad birthday stuck at work till 2am. This time was a lot different. I brought in the day with true geek style by redesigning this blog. I have a bit more website and WordPress work to do in the next two weeks.

Birthday lunch was with Ramya at Global Fusion in Bandra which is a place I will definitely recommend. The prices are a bit on the higher side and the place only has buffet. But, the food was really amazing and the ambience is pretty good.

Next stop was to buy me lots of really cool gifts at Shopper’s Stop. I was definitely disappointed because I didn’t find anything good at the sale. Managed a pair of jeans and some good Adidas deo, but the place was rather dry. I plan on visiting the one at Irla to see if I can find something good.

Spent the rest of the day at my Grandma’s place followed by dinner at home. A quiet, uneventful day to celebrate my birthday.

Yesterday and today have been quiet days with some bank work that didn’t happen and an internet connection that didn’t work and lots and lots of rains!

Back to Bangalore

At long last my vacation back home draws to a close. This time I had the opportunity of a much longer vacation since I had to take my core leave. Consequently I spent a good 18-19 days home :)

One stark difference about Mumbai and Bangalore airport is the security checks. Bangalore airport is a lot stricter (They didn’t allow me to carry my bottle of water past the security point!). For a change, am actually taking a good lot back to Bangalore and so had to improvise by carrying a bigger suitcase which I checked in.

At the check-in counter I was told that the flight will be delayed by yet another 20 minutes. This was in addition to the rescheduled 35 minutes. I usually reach the airport well in time, and so this meant a wait of over two hours :(

The two hours wait just got extended further when the flight actually took off post 9.20pm. The original booking was for 7.35pm. Go Air flight to Bangalore has been rescheduled to 8.10pm, so even then it meant a delay of well over an hour!

Had already rescheduled the Airlift cab that I had booked for 10pm to 11pm.

The last time I flew to Bangalore I noticed the well lit, extremely beautiful Mumbai skyline. I was a bit disappointed this time since I got a perfect view of the wing of the airplane mainly!

Grabbed dinner on the plane, since the next time I eat is for breakfast tomorrow.

Just had to pick up the one bag that I had checked in and rushed to get the cab. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it on time and had to take the 12am cab which got me home by 1.30am

I resume work in another few hours. A new day in the new year! Will just take the bike in to work tomorrow. Am hoping it is a short day!

Once again, I wish you a happy and prosperous new year. Keep on reading and if you haven’t already, do subscribe.

Cuckoo clock

For my Goan friends…

Our friend from Moira, Juze Bostiaum, appeared on Kaun Banega Crorepati, the famous ‘Amitabh Bachchan’ hosted show. Juze had miraculously reached the end of the rounds by saying all his Rosaries & Novenas & had already won Rs. 50 lacs.

“You’ve done very well so far,” said Amitabh, “but for Rs. 1 crore, you’ve only got one lifeline left – Phone a Friend. Everything’s riding on this question… will you go for it ?”

“Sure,” said Juze. “Aum ek last chance, marta!”

“OK ….. The QUESTION is ….. Which of the following birds does NOT build its own nest ? a) Robin,(b) Sparrow,(c) Cuckoo, or(d) Crow”?

“Heje maayinchem caazar … I not knowing dat,” said Juze, “so better use my last life line, and phone to my friend, Pedru Pochok (actual name: Pedro Pacheco) from Mumbai. He’s East Indian, but a Bandra boy, & born & brought up in Mumbai, so he’s too smart-a real shaana buggar.”

Juze called up his friend in Mumbai, told him the circumstances and repeated the question to him.

“Arree Baba Anton !” cried Pedru, “Sarko Endo Mure Tu, Simple it is .. it’s a cuckoo.”

“Ah-vois, sure mure Pedru ?” asked Juze.

“Arre Baba, hundred percent sure re ! Pakka !”

Juze hung up the phone and told Amitabh Bachan, “I tell Cookoo.”

“Is that your final answer ?” asked Amitabh.

“Sarkem sure, Sir !”

There was a long, long pause, then Amitabh Bachan screamed, “Cuckoo is the correct answer ! Juze, you’ve won Rs..1 Crore ! !”

The next night, Juze threw a big party for all the people from Moira, at the Moira Club. Pedru was specially flown in from Mumbai, as the Chief Guest.

Time for speeches …

Juze takes the mike and asks Pedru, “Saang mure, Pedru ? Foo told you ? How you know cuckoo isn’t building its own nest ?

Says Pedru, “You’re sarko bondo re, Juze. Everybody knows a cuckoo lives in a clock! ”

Cuckoo clock

Clipart from Clipartheaven.com

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

The second half of my vacation

The last few days were spent meeting people.

Met Sneha on Wednesday for dinner. Dinner was at the Happy Singh, which is a part of Pop Tates. Decent enough joint, but the long island iced tea was ice tea!

I met up with Ramya for tea on Thursday at Crepe Station in Lokhandwala which has recently opened. IMO, while the place is decent and the food too, it is over priced. So, you need to pick and choose what you would like to eat. The conversation resolved around blogging, writing, education and a bit of food.

Paid a visit to the Airtel “relationship center” in Bandra. The relationship center is a real joke because for any support you need to call up the customer. For all users of Airtel, make sure you check your bills carefully. I was billed Rs. 100 for downloading two games which I never did and more, don’t even know to download from where. This isn’t the first time I have seen Airtel incorrectly bill users. Had to yell at the customer care dude who promised that it would be rectified in 24 hours. I am totally clueless as to which planet this 24 hours belongs to. I have decided to discontinue this account. I’m not sure which is worse, Airtel or Reliance! At least Reliance didn’t try to bill me incorrectly!

We also went over to the Vodafone center, which in my opinion is a much better service. I guess that is what differentiates a multinational company than a company run by a bunch of greedy Indians. I guess this is one of the things that pisses me off about my country. If this was the US or UK, you could take the company to court and win! Out here, you don’t have the years of your life to do that.

Caught the late night show of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past at PVR in Phoenix Mills.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

I stayed over at her place and we returned home the next day. I spent the last few hours at home getting an haircut and a shave. Set off for the airport to catch the Go Air flight to Bangalore.

The flight was perfectly on time, unlike on my journey to Mumbai. Mumbai looks really beautiful from the air and even better at night. The new Bandra-Worli sealink has beautified the landscape and it was my first view of the link.

If you haven’t seen Mumbai from the air, then check out some beautiful pictures of the same. But at night, it is even more beautiful. I could see the entire shape of South Mumbai. The journey was comfortable except for the occasional bit of turbulence that we faced.

The Airlift that I had booked was already at the airport. I had to wait a while for the remaining passengers and we headed back. Reached home in about an hour. Did a bit of blogging and then went off to sleep.

And, Monday, work began as usual!

However, Monday was a bit eventful. Vincent managed to get the road tax for my bike done on Saturday and so we set out on our bikes to the Bajaj Service Center which is in HSR Layout. They did a good job on the bike and it is running beautifully! We both headed home after work at about 12am and I froze in the cold. Didn’t have my jacket, but I also realized that I need to pick up a thicker jacket.

Yesterday, I was the only person in my cab so I reached home rather quickly :)

Back to Bangalore

Having spent rather exhausting three days in Mumbai, I met up with Sneha, Akshat and Neha for pizzas at the Pizza Hut in Powai.

Was surprised to see a whole new menu on offer. There have been several good additions to the menu, but there have been equally bad ones. Going to check if the menu has been updated in Bangalore as well.

I headed off home soon after dinner. Friday and Saturday both turned out to be extremely rainy days. However, the newspapers claim that it rained everywhere except the lakes!

Began packing for returning to Bangalore this morning. It doesn’t take much time when you have minimal dumping to do. Got a rickshaw to the airport. Asked for the row number 6 seat in the airplane, since it was the same row with ample leg space on my journey to Mumbai. Wasn’t disappointed and one of the cabin crew turned out to be the same one on my flight to Mumbai! Decided to grab some grub in the plane itself, since it is cheaper to eat there than at the airport.

The journey was rather peaceful, with minor turbulence. I caught one of the A/C buses from the airport that dropped me off at Koramangala 1st block, where I caught a rick home. Have finally settled in. It’s work day from tomorrow, which means reduced updates out here!