Monthly Archives: January 2010

Another milestone

Thanks to all readers – 300 visits and counting…


Bombay Greens in the Fort

Update for January 28, 2010

Charles was on his patrol duty with this company walking through the Bombay Greens. He had started from the docks and was heading towards the Oval, via the recently inaugurated Train Terminus. The sun was hot and Charles put on his sola topee shouting out instructions to his sepoy to get his buggy. The buggy was led by 2 well bred black horses and as Charles stepped in, he ordered the troops to follow him into the Greens. The Bombay Greens was within the walled city of Bombay, with restricted access to Englishmen and their friends, the Parsees. Though it was close to the docks, it was not a place where many people traversed. The green overgrowth, the likelihood of serpents and such other native creatures forced the residents of Bombay to use the circuitous Fort Main road that ran from the docks to the railway terminus and onwards to Treasury Square, the High court, the Watson hotel and ended at the Esplanade. But this morning, the police chief, Charles Forjett chose to pass right through the Bombay Greens. He got his reluctant troops to clear the overgrown vegetation en route and came upon an oasis of coconut palms, and other trees, right at the centre of Bombay Greens. The tranquil atmosphere, the verdant cover and proximity to the rest of the Bombay Fort made him take an unusual decision. He spoke of it while sipping his whisky that evening at the bungalow of the Governor, Sir Elphinstone. He was worried that the Greens, if left unkempt, could become a “dumpyard of rotting coconuts” or a “haven for goons and thuggees” smuggling in from the dockyard. He wanted the governor’s permission to convert the Greens into a garden where his bands would play each evening (“to keep the thuggees and serpents at bay”) and the ladies could go for short nature walks within the city. To ensure further safety of the Garden, he would require the Chief Engineer’s help to construct buildings overlooking it. With not so distant and unpleasant memories of a subdued mutiny, the Governor was most eager to civilize as much of the Fort as he could. This was the start of the creation of the Horniman Circle, that continues to survive over 150 years after its creation. The area around the Circle was cleared for a cobblestone road and little stables were constructed on bylanes so that the citizens of the city could ride in comfortably and enjoy the swaying palm trees and the birds sing in the morning, and seat themselves on stone benches as they listened to English tunes played by the police brass band each evening. The green cover remained, but large parts of the garden were cleared for flower beds, walking paths, little canopied sit-outs and the much used Band Box.

For those unfamiliar with D Street – it is within what was once referred to as Bombay Greens during the walled city days of the Fort district of Bombay. It is just a street away from the green Horniman Circle. There are no bands that play these days, but the green cover remains and one often hears screeching bats in the evening, or cooing koels in the morning, and if one ventured within, don’t be surprised to catch 2 squirrels quarreling for the nuts strewn by a generous walker in the park. The D Boyz, at times take the road that circles the Circle before getting into office. It was one such day today, as they went to work after breathing in fresh green air and the listening in to the twittering of morning birds. The SENSEX reacted to their senses and opened Green and stayed green all morning. Then the local administration got to work digging some part of the road around the Circle, causing traffic woes and snarls. The Boyz looked out of their windows and reacted with snarled faces pushing the SENSEX into negative territory. Fortunately, a sensible traffic cop got into play and tried to manage the crowds that gathered on the street, as more traffic focused onto the Bank Central building at the edge of the Circle. Preparation for a function tomorrow caused quite a stir in this side of D Street and the tremors were felt by the Boyz as well. They in turn tried to protect the unstable and volatile SENSEX that finally tamed at a lame 17 points up to end at 16306 (rather flat).

The Horniman Circle is now open to all, and at times is the venue for some performing arts. But the imposing building opposite the circle hosts more events because of its sweeping steps that serve as seats; and is also many a times, used in movie climaxes to showcase perhaps a police encounter. The walls of the Fort have long fallen, and few people remember the gentlemen who planned some of the nicer parts of the city. Try and take a walking tour of present day Fort, and many untold stories will spring to life.

Cheers ………

Thermodynamics and D Street

Update for 27 January 2010

 Most of the cooling appliances are designed keeping the laws of thermodynamics in mind. So a refrigerator that comprises of a compressor, copper pipes that run into a couple of meters long, filled with highly volatile compounds has the cooling chamber at the top of the insulated refrigerator box, which usually doubles up as the freezer compartment. As the freezer cools and freezes over its contents and surroundings, it also moves with the laws of physics, cooling the air within the fridge that starts its quick descent down into the rest of the refrigerator. This simple technique ensures that although the cooling exchange occurs at the top, it effectively cools everything within the confined spaces as it descends into the vegetable tray section. This principle is amply demonstrated in the room cooling appliances as well, as the air conditioning vent that blows cool air into the room is usually placed at a height within the room. It thus cools the room as the cool air leaves the vent and following the laws of thermodynamics, settles down closer to the floor pushing the warmer air upwards to effectively get cooled by the airconditioner and keeping this cycle on till the entire room is cooled.  And to prevent freeze-overs, on occasions when this cycle goes on till someone switches off the appliance, a smart inventor created the thermostat, so that at a desired temperature that is calibrated and chosen, the system shuts off and restarts when the temperatures get warmer.

The freeze-over that much of Europe and America experienced earlier this month found its way onto D Street today. The cool breeze blew in through vents that the D Boyz did not anticipate; and they were left staring at the SENSEX falling down about 150 points in the morning. And as they got busy with the day, they did know how to control the cold winds that continued to blow in. They tried covering the vents with some newspapers, but that only helped for a little while when the SENSEX moved up 50 points (still in the cold red zone); but the cold was too much to handle and thereafter the SENSEX kept plunging depths that the D Boyz could not salvage. At 350 points down, someone thought they had figured out how to control the temperature of the wind-blower and saw it work twice – but like they say, some of these devices should not be tampered with by inexperienced service-men – and so it failed and the SENSEX plumbed to depths of 540 points, before being finally placed at 490 points down at 16289. Thanks to someone using a simple technique more effective than a thermostat – a switch that could be turned off! The D Boyz are freezing, and out in the icy cold of D Street – scampering to the Tibetan woolen goods stalls in nearby Fort and swearing that they would be prepared for a freeze-over.

Interestingly, people who live in Mumbai and Chennai and other tropical seaside towns will not understand what a freeze-over is. So a converse theory could help them understand – have you sat in a closed car or taxi on a hot afternoon – and you suddenly see beads of sweat flow down your temples – that is the hot air trapped in the upper parts of the car/taxi that gets you into a sweat. Just as the cool air descends downwards, it displaces warmer air that rises higher. A neat trick to get the vehicle cooler is to lower the window to let the hot air move out and up and once you feel less sweaty, you can roll it up if your car/taxi is air conditioned – and if not, then the best idea is to keep it open!


East Coast Road

Update for 25 January 2010

For a Chennai resident, a visit to Mamallapuram (also known as Mahabalipuram or Mahabs), is part of tradition. Way back in the seventies, people went to Mahabs to visit the rock caves, rock temple and the beach. Later on, it was with a stopover at the Crocodile farm and the snake park outside to view reptiles, really close. Then came the attractions influenced by the Tamil Film Industry – of garish arches, and even more garish statues placed on the beach to attract the passersby and entice them into a world of make-believe moviedom. The elite crowd would take a detour to a quieter part of the seashore close to Mahabs to spend some private time at a famous five-star hotel, or saunter into the “arts village” to buy some paintings or pottery at a steal. I haven’t been there recently, but I understand that the road trip is fabulous, and numerous water-parks, and other such resorts have sprung up along the way. I hope the green casuarina groves are intact  – they lent a cool charm to the hot and humid travel, and were a beautiful foreground colour to the deep blue sea beyond. The interesting part of the rock cut caves and temples at Mahabs, was once very interestingly described by a local guide. He spoke little English and figuring out that most of us in the college picnic crowd did not understand his Tamil, he tried his best at translation – “First there were seven temples; then the sea comes in; and then it goes out; and now there is only 1 temple”. I found it fascinating on how he described the ravages of time, tide and erosion in a single sentence that summed up his entire tour. We did not enter the remaining temple, but the pagoda like structure stood in defiance facing the sea amidst the yellow sands and teeming crowds that mulled around. The beach was no better than the famed Marina at Chennai – it had its share of street food (or rather beach food) vendors; other knickknack peddlers; and the little stores that lined the street outside the rock-cuts, had a colourful feel to them. Enchanting, and inviting travelers to buy something to take back home.

The D Boyz looked like in no mood to work today – cannot blame them as they are stuck between a weekend and a National Holiday. So they opened their text-books for guidance and picked on “Range Bound” as the mantra of the day. Although their start was faulty – almost 150 points down, they tried to scale various pagoda peaks during the day, with only one that was in the green (just after 2 pm), just like the fabled seven pagodas of Mahabs. They finally succumbed to some profit erosion to finally end their day and the SENSEX at a loss of 79 points at 16780. Some people felt that it was because the jeeps taken to the Mahabs & Mamallapuram picnic party was not up to the mark, while others Held Cold Looks for some technology company that missed its targets, too. But all said and done, the Boyz shut shop at D Street for the day to prepare for the Republic Day celebrations at their housing complex grounds – their kids would sing songs, while the older people would try to sound patriotic and jingoistic, and the D Boyz and their wives would then head out to the newest restaurant in town for a sumptuous, unhurried lunch.

There is also an interesting lighthouse atop a rocky hill at Mahabs which attracts many. The view of the surroundings from this vantage point is quite nice in this part of the year, when you can see lots of green and quite a few ponds with glistening fresh water. And if it is cloudy, the heat is subdued and the climb is less arduous. In any case, there is always one or more tender coconut water vendors ready to quench your thirst!

Cheers and Happy Republic Day to all Indians….

TV Soap Operas

Update for week ended 22 January 2010

Most of the Indian TV soaps or serials, as they are called, start each day with a “recap” of the previous day. So they show you what a 25 minute episode showed in about 25 seconds or slightly more. So, a small question, why did they take 25 minutes in the first place, if they could manage with fewer seconds. The answer lies in marketing, sponsorship, channel preferences, etc; and of course, the now famous “startled mugshots” of all the characters in the serial (all means all – including the faithful servant with a red towel around the neck, and the devious aunt who makes a special appearance every 100 episodes) supported by jazzy special effects – like the flash in the pan flicker in slow motion, accompanied by the most annoying music clangs repeated for every much shot  – all of these of course multiplied at least three times!!! And because there are so many of these flashy moments in each episode, the viewers are presumably so startled by the end of it, that they need to keep track of the storyline when they catch the next episode, so the recaps do the trick. This routine is slightly different in the south of India – where the TV producers are more musical and love their dance routines. So each episode begins with the 9 ½ minute long theme song of the serial, which showcases not only the central character of the serial, but also her wardrobe as she slips in and out of at least 65 different saris (for naughty readers, the slipping out and in are not televised) with cameras whizzing from right to left, top to bottom, diagonal to diagonal, circle overhead shots, all accompanied to the thundering music that actually gets the viewers into a tizzy. And let us not forget that apart from the serial characters, there will be at least half a century of background dancers gyrating in the background, foreground, in temples, in courtyards, by the sea, in a house, practically everywhere. And after this there will be the _______? – No! Not the Recap, but a commercial break. The recap is scheduled after that! Indian TV viewing can be monotonous, yet so creative!!

The D Street Boyz are TV addicts – they watch business channels during the day and Soap Opera Channels in the evening and night. So it is not surprising that they started today using one of the Indian TV Serial tactic of a Recap. So they re-enacted yesterday’s SENSEX drop down of 400 odd points this morning. This actually took slightly longer than in most TV serials, north Indian, west Indian, east Indian or south Indian – one hour or slightly under that. Then they started their work for the day – digesting news updates about various corporate performances, the economic climate in Asia, Europe, some African American venting his spleen against the American Banking system, and other such serious business. Sometimes it cheered, so they pushed the SENSEX up, while sometimes depressed, so did the opposite. The only issue was that the D Boyz could not decide whether they should sound grave or rise from it. This flip and flop continued for the rest of the day until someone rang the closing bell – they were caught 191 points down and the SENSEX was at 16859. The week when they enjoyed the Mumbai Marathon, browsed through a furniture store, saluted the brave girl child (or children) and then became little kids sliding down a garden slide ended when they decided to do a TV Soap skit in office. 700 points down this week, takes it to the lowpoint of the year thus far. But as they say, life has its ups and downs and what are a few points up and another few down?

Apart from the surreal twists and turns of Indian Soaps, there is another rule that comes in handy to resurrect many “dying” serials (pun intended). That of killing the protagonist or her spouse or lover; and after the viewers have cried their tear-ducts dry and filled every bucket in the house, the Serial makers will add a twist to the story and arrange the re-entry of the same actor/character to get back the eyeballs!

So for those who are sad at the downturn in the SENSEX, don’t forget that the D Boyz are big TV Soap Fans!

Have a nice weekend…. Cheers….

The Disappearing Children’s Parks that are making a comeback

Update as of 21 January 2010

Children’s parks in Indian cities have always been the last places where children go to play. It is usually found in places that are difficult to access, closed during the daytime, have very little grass cover to protect the delicate skin of children when they stumble and fall while in play, don’t have any meaningful play equipments, except iron frames of what they should be – for e.g. a rectangular iron frame that could pass off for a football goalpost, minus the net, though it actually should have had swings on it; or short iron stumps in the ground with some dangling pieces of wood or iron bars across its top – which in its heydays would have been a see-saw. The practically barren pieces of land are most often infested with pests like mosquitoes and flies and vermin or meeting grounds for stray dogs and their feline foes, and in their midst you could find a few human couples cosying up under umbrellas or dupattas, Indian scarves for women. Amongst this neglected part of civic life, I was surprised to find an island within the island city of Mumbai which is actually child-friendly. This is a little attempt, with corporate sponsorship and patronage, of course, at converting a barren piece of land near the seashore into a lively place for children to have a whale of a time. The entry is restricted to ticket holders only and security guards frisk through bags carried in to ensure that no eatables are taken in; a bid to keep the place clean and safe. The green oasis is very child friendly and caters to different age groups in separate sections of the park. The developers have obviously kept the theme simple and ensured that all sections only have simple playthings that let the children be themselves. No electronics, or fancy gaming zones, no noisy inter-galactic wars or racing motor-bikes on video screens; just pure unadulterated fun that children love. To keep the spirit of adventure alive, they have a few deviations though, like the nature trail that showcases some exotic plants and a marauding rhinoceros that chases a hunter up a palm tree (a very creative exhibit); and a shark that has just been caught and slung on a pole for all to see, its razor-sharp teeth stained red; a result of a battle that ensued before it was caught; and cute little hippos that peek out of the lawn; or a lazy crocodile that warns the park visitors to keep off the grass. A fantastic place to take the kids to and a great place for the grown-ups too; this is a place that will make you want to become a child again; even if it is to stand on the raised platform for your turn to go on the simple slide.

The D Boyz behaved like little children today, waiting for their turn on the crowded Slide on D Street. So they stayed on the platform, but were fidgety moving forward and taking the SENSEX along at 100 points below till it was their turn to sit and slide down. That happened at around 12:30 pm and thereafter, they just went sliding down and squealed and shrieked and made all the noise they could. And it was a long slide that took the SENSEX down to almost 440 points down until at the end, like all slide rides, one slips off and then slowly stands up to dust off one’s backside and move aside; so the SENSEX also dusted off its backside and regained composure at 423 points down – closing at 17051. Some people said that the SENSEX moved down because the slide was made by a Chinese manufacturer; while others argued that some Large & Tired company did not have good news; while a third suggested that the local Bhelwala, popular Mumbai snack vendor, had spiced up the snacks outside the park enticing everyone to step out for a quick bite. Whatever the reason, it was just another day for the D Boyz at the park and they went back to their childhood and enjoyed the games and slides. They will bounce back tomorrow and forget their fall, just as little children do.

Following this example, another park opened up in Central Mumbai, this too by the seaside. Although, the monsoon tides did damage the compound walls and some play equipment mid-2009, the garden still looks spiffy and attractive. Some changes in cityscapes, like these ones, are always welcome, so what if they are crowded or have an entry fee.


A Little Salute

Update as of 20 January 2010

They belong to very different cultural backgrounds, although they have more than one thing in common, the Bengali language they speak and the cruel fate that they spoke against and won! Yes, we are talking of Rekha, Sunita and Afsana who led commonplace lives until they turned 11 years old. And then societal pressure and vulnerability almost snuffed out their innocent childhood, when they were to be married; but the girls protested that they wanted to continue studying. Their defiance could have been crushed by over-zealous “protectors of culture”, but for the strong girls and their supportive families, they continued to study and not be burdened with domesticity that succeeds child-marriage. Rekha, Sunita and Afsana are not part of a TV serial cast, nor are they names from folk-tales of yore; they are girls living in present day West Bengal and will be felicitated at the Republic Day function early next week. These plucky eleven year olds may not grow up to be eminent doctors or engineers or professors, but will definitely mark a difference in the communities they live in. Unlike them, there still exist villages in modern India where parents who earn a measly 100 rupees a day, and have half a dozen mouths to feed, will spend all of it before half the day is over. Then they will either starve or hunt for scraps to meet any hungry requests and if nothing materializes, they often resort to borrowing money against some of their assets (in most cases it is their daughters). The daughters will be pawned off for marriage, against which they collect the required 11 rupees on which they will be levied gargantuan interest of upto 57 paise per day. These numbers may seem paltry to many, but just do the maths – it is over 1800% p.a.

The D Boyz started their day with 100 points in favour of the SENSEX, but somehow could not hold onto it. They lost all the money by 12 noon and thereafter had to keep looking around for some way to prop up the sagging SENSEX. They went to Banks to help them (most of them did, though one did not say Yes); they even used their metal bowls to seek alms (some aluminium company share prices moved up to help the SENSEX); but the oil spill did them in as they slipped and finally ended 11.57 points down at 17474.

Yes, we live in 2 Indias, one where children still fear social evils while striving to survive; while others live in palaces with hundreds of staff to help them with their everday chore; and one day they meet. Just for a few moments, when the Lady of the Palace tries to “emancipate” the women of the country and give little awards to the children. Then the children return to their villages and towns and go on with their lives, cherishing their moment in the sun atop caparisoned elephants and keep the newspaper cuttings of their stories and pictures in their little trunk boxes. Their battle is not yet won, they fight one everyday.

Today, I dedicate this piece to all the Rekhas, Sunitas and Afasanas of India. Salute to you.

Browsing the Furniture Store

Update as of 19 January 2010

I walked into the furniture cum lifestyle store; the well laid out décor was pleasing to the eye and the unobtrusive salespeople was a welcome departure from most of the newly mushrooming culture of lifetstyle stores that displayed and perhaps sold you products that you did not want, or products that you desired, but way beyond your budget, only because of the exotic or exclusive tag attached to it. I was not shopping, but the show-window was attractive enough to get my attention, moreover, I had some time to kill before the missus arrived for our round of weekend grocery shopping. The elegant store had an eclectic mix of furniture in wood, nothing ornate or extremely raw, but smart and attractive. The centre-piece of the store drew me to it not only due to its location, but also the colour schemes. The bed was of good quality wood, lightly burnished with its grains visible. The dull polish on the walnut wood frame brought out the intricate natural patterns that gave a sort of medieval look to an otherwise new piece of furniture. The high headpost aided that assessment. The lack of a footpost made the design interesting and the bed spread was the clincher. It was made of a soft satin with a smart flowery pattern – almost entirely scarlet, but with hints of brown and green just to break the monotony, yet not taking away from the appeal of the red. The edges were sewn to a flouncy border that literally cascaded down the bed to sweep the floor with its fall. This was made of a lighter material, perhaps a georgette or chiffon (I am not sure of it, since I have done little fabric shopping lately), and the elegant frills that bunched up neatly only enhanced the attractive piece. It was inviting – almost enticing me to take a closer look.

The D street mood during all morning and early parts of the afternoon was that of contemplation. The D Boyz, seemed to be waiting for something; they did see some red action in Asia and sprinkled some red flakes onto D Street – keeping the SENSEX red, but just marginally and flattish. But when Europe opened, and the D Boyz slipped on what could perhaps be described as a chiffon slope and ended 155 points down at 17486 – down 0.88%. some people blamed the heavy wallets with Indian currency of the IT Boyz on D Street for this, but strangely, today was the day when the rupee actually lost some strength against the dollar; and even international oil prices touched new lows of this year (so what if we are not even 20 days into it). But Boyz will be Boyz; quite unpredictable.

After admiring the furniture, I was readying to leave the store, when the smart store manager asked me to pen down my comments on the store in their guestbook. I quickly completed it, when she handed me a complimentary bar of what I thought was a chocolate. On exiting the store, I unwrapped the bar to be faced with a piece of processed Swiss cheese. Now that was strange! I had not yet read about the proposed merger of a British chocolate major and a Swiss food giant famous for its cheeses and salad dressing!


D Street on a Run

Update for January 18, 2010

I almost thought that I would not make it in time for the run. No, I did not wake up late, nor was I delayed in my morning ablutions. The taxi-drivers behaved normally, they refused to ply me to the nearest railway station in the morning with no particular excuse. Typical Black and yellow taxi driver behaviour! So I started my walk to the station that was 1.5 kms from home. That was the dampener at the start, and then when I reached the large assembly ground, I was surprised to see that all participants were still waiting outside the holding area, not being let in. That was dampener #2. Then the dampener #3 – the literal herding of all the crowds through the narrow bamboo turnstiles, with friskers who looked like bouncers at a local night-club, while I felt like a cow forced through a cattle dip – narrow walkway with bamboo sides and forced to go through only in one way. And after a 25 minute wait, the crowds surged ahead as we hit the road to the staring point of the Dream Run. The dream run was a 7 km circuit that started from the VT station and passed famous highlights of South Mumbai until it found its way to the waterfront Marine Drive before returning back through the narrow Princess Street and finally to the Assembly Ground. The initial euphoria and loud chants had all of us pumped up to start running, but the  sheer number of people in the run made it difficult to even brisk-walk without bumping into another. But the energy was amazing, with everyone trying to edge past the other to get ahead and then have clear way to finally jog, sprint or run as one chose. Within the first kilometer, I faced my first hurdle, a posse of policemen in full uniform, standing in a circle, bang in the middle of the road that we had to run on. I was initially worried that it could perhaps be some danger or some hurt person, but as I neared the cops, I just saw that some Police Commissioner was have a morning meeting with his team and such a strange place to have it. Perhaps, the TV cameras nearby attracted them. I shouted out, asking them to clear the road, and started my jog – not too fast. (I gather that the police did clear the road thereafter, since some of my fellow runners who followed, did not see them). Thereafter, the mid morning sun was crisp, the air slightly sultry, but the enthusiastic crowd just cheered us on and we kept pounding the streets all the way onto the Marine Drive. The calm bay and the mild breeze were welcome and the low flying airforce helicopter with a TV crew added to the excitement. It was also nice to see friends cheering us, even as many strangers clapped to egg us on. The final stretch over a flyover and onto the Princess street was the most picturesque – as one ran up the slope, and reached the top, one could see the sea of runners below making their way to the flyover, and then as you ran forward, you could see the dropping slope which hastened your step and got you close to your goal of the finish line. At the finish line, I stopped and grabbed a few bottles of water to sip and stretched my muscles. I was feeling on top of the world – no records, nor trophies, but personal satisfaction.

The Dream Run of 17 January, found its way onto D Street today. So the D Boyz who initially started off on a false note, with one or two speed-breakers, broke through the clutter and other Asian market trends and stayed on course of a strong SENSEX day. There were moments during the day when energy levels sagged, and refreshments sought, but that did not deter the Boyz from reaching their goal of staying green and ending up 86 points (0.5% up) at 17641. The rupee too followed suit and gained 0.33% today, against the dollar.

There were around 20,000 people at the dream run yesterday, and all had some messages to convey; some came to celebrate their little victories, while others were in a thanksgiving mood, some wanted to raise awareness, while a few wanted to make a statement. Whatever, their cause; everyone came to run and also have some fun.


Adventure Sports for Townspeople

Update for week ended 15 January 2010

I looked at the gurgling river and the rope that was strung across it from one bank to another. Now this was not my idea of a river crossing. I was not a naïve urbanite who would assume that one used a bridge to cross a river, while on an adventure trail. I just thought it would be a gurgling stream that ran fast like a river, and I would roll up my trouser legs, take off my shoes and socks, and then gingerly find my way across the water trying to avoid slippery stones that are still visible on the riverbed. But this was a shocker. The trail conductor and my guide for this event, Ronny, quite sternly asked me to empty my pockets, take off my watch, and get ready to be strapped onto the looped belt that would then get hooked onto the rope. He was giving out instructions, as if by rote, to the bunch of once enthusiastic adventurers. I looked mortified at the prospect of being hung by a cord to the rope and then having to use my palms to thrust me towards the other bank. The rope was at least 30 feet above the roaring river. But I had signed up for this, so I sighed and said my silent prayers. The start was on high ground on the left bank and then Ronny shouted out his instructions like an army general – I just followed it. He thrusted me towards the river and in a jiffy I was on my way, trying to control my body from swaying too much, holding the rope with both my hands and wrapping it with my feet crossed together. I looked like a human hammock strung under the rope and my body weight added to the sag. I started my move in earnest and after some time and practice actually got hold of the momentum and moved along briskly almost hugging the rope. As I was reaching the right bank, I inquisitively tried to raise my head and turn around to see my path, when the unexpected occurred. Ronny gave a yank to the rope and I lost balance, which caused the rope to sway so much that I lost my grip, and all of a sudden I was plunging down 30 feet in a free fall like situation. I screamed, knowing fully well that it would be of no use, and then whoosh! I almost drowned in the water, as I was dunked into it. It shocked me into jumping up and grabbing the rope. But the sag and tension stayed and I was left hanging below the rope and almost touching the water below, when Ronny’s aids from the right bank held out their hands to pull me out to safety.

After 2 days of upswing at D Street, the D Boyz were looking forward to their weekend and did not want to try anything adventurous. But like they say, not all things in life occur as planned. So when the Boyz got onto the Street this morning, they were surprised to see the rope strung across for them to “street cross” to get to office. So they started from a height in the hope that this would get them across faster, by sheer momentum and G Force, but their path was tricky, jumpy at times. So they kept oscillating quite a bit, until towards the end, their enthusiasm to get to safety, got into some sort of scramble, pushing a few D BOyz and their SENSEX down about 60 points, before normalcy was restored. But I hear that about 30 D Boyz were injured today, pushing the SENSEX down as many points to 17554. For a week’s perspective, today’s D Boyz antics on D Street could be replayed and you would get a flat performance for the week. I am not sure what IT was, but the IT elements on the SENSEX did very well, while river banks took the toll of being plundered.  But as they say, sometimes when the Big Boyz lie flat, the small and medium ones actually get active and outshine. (Small and MidCap Index up 2.5 – 3% while SENSEX up only 0.5%). 

Drenched and petrified, I was led to the local camp, and given a cup of hot tea to calm my nerves and also warm me up. I did not have much time to savour the sights of this sylvan wooded river-bank amidst the silence of nature and the roar of the river. My next adventure was rock climbing. I wish I had stayed back in Mumbai to run the Marathon instead. At least the terrain was familiar and the weather more comfortable.

Cheers and wishing all fellow Marathoners a good dream run on Sunday……… Catch you there.