Saturday, December 31, 2011

Startle Rattle and Battle

My aunt arrived in Mumbai en route to Paris to attend my sister's childbirth in 2001.  We discussed about various relatives and exchanged information regarding their status and whereabouts.  After a sumptuous dinner we hit the sack hoping to get up next morning and go for some shopping and sight seeing in Mumbai.  Alas our sleep was broken by a telephonic ring tone.  My aunt received the bad news that her son-in-law was no more.

Aunt was in agony that by hook or crook she wanted to be at her daughters side to pacify her.  She had lost her husband in a tragic railway accident while travelling to coastal Andhra at night.  He was trying to board a moving train and was caught between the platform and train gap.  He was killed in this tragic circumstances.  The cops had identified his body with the help of the identity card in his wallet.  They requested the family member to come over and collect the body.

Meanwhile we ran out of option to send my aunt quickly to Chennai.  The midnight air India flight was a blessing in disguise.  When we reached the airport the plane was still 3 hours from take off.  The Air India counter clerk was rude and asked us to come after half an hour, despite explaining the tragic circumstances.  We waited outside consoling our Aunt.  After half an hour we again approached the counter clerk, he asked us to wait some more time.

This infuriated me and I uttered they want to make money out of the tragedy also.  This got the clerk's attention and he was furious.  He thought i was accusing him of  trying to make money by expecting bribe.  I was worried whether the fares would be hiked up.  Than I clarified that he was trying to make money for the airline concerned.  He was kind enough to explain that this is unlike private airlines.  The midnight flights are heavily discounted.  At last the misunderstanding was sorted out.  He issued a flight ticket for Rs 2200 which was much lesser than Rs 3600 which is the normal fare.  We paid for the ticket through credit card and ensured that my aunt boarded the flight at 3 am.  She was thankful that we sponsored her ticket to Chennai in the hour of crisis.  We got of the clutch of being targeted by the airline official for accusing them of making money.  Thus quick witted think got me out of a sticky situation.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Where is the Party Tonight ?

I remember in early 1980's New Parties was full of fun with booze and dance flowing freely among the youths. The crowd which used to gather in and around the pubs in Brigade and M.G. Road was limited and manageable  We used to park our vehicles discreetly, so that we can get away quickly get back home after the new year countdown is over and greeting the friends is over.  Hotel Imperial used to be famous for parties with their famous Kebbabs.  Booze was never officially served over there, we are supposed to bring in our own bottle and serve ourselves.

Cops used to enjoy the revellers antics and celebrations.  It was never a crime to booze and ride or drive.  But one of the new year we had a tragic news that our common friend passed away in a bike accident, after that at least i decided that i will never drink and venture out in general.  All the New Year celebrations either used to before on 30th instant and used to encourage others too be along with their family members on New Year Eve.

The situation had changed so drastically in Bangalore that the crowd swell at Brigade and M.G.Road was tremendous, i happened to out in 2008, and to my surprise i found all the roads leading to bridges were closed by the cops.  It was the fear that 2 wheeler riders might have an accident on the flyovers which are mostly curvy in design.  Further the cops have started fining heavily if anybody is caught drinking and driving.  It is not worth paying the fines and getting humiliated on a new year day.  Some of the pubs and bars have drop arrangements too on paying the price to overcome this factor.

Timings for the bars have been relaxed this year upto 1 AM, which is a good sign.  Even the metro trains are supposed to up and running upto 1 AM.  In Mumbai too the bars will be open upto 5 am officially, and by that time the local train is ready to drop one to their sub urban home.  We never used to feel the pinch of partying in Mumbai particularly with the fantastic sub-urban train service linked with auto facility at the station.

Hopefully Bangalore will witness better celebration this year.  The weather too seems to be chilled out due to cyclonic effect on the Bay of  Bengal. Guys have a blast during this new year whether at home or outside.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.