Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Raindrops are back!

After a lot of teases every now and then for the last few months, it's finally here. Yesterday, on my way back home I wiped the first official raindrops of 2010, off my helmet visor. It was a wonderful feeling yet again. After a gruelling hot summer and an even hotter office, the cool wind carrying little raindrops feels good to the skin. When I left office a small drizzle wet my palms, but as I hit the highway the hot sun was back, reflecting off the shiny glass surface of the Wego's instrumentation. The drizzle felt like just another one of the rain god's teasers as I sighed inside my helmet. But as I rode closer to home things suddenly changed!

A sudden shower hit me. It was as if a south Indian movie director shouted 'Action' and the artificial rain showers were left loose on a bunch of dancers.
I wanted to take cover somewhere for I was least expecting such a downpour. After my iPhone went into coma last month I didn't want to risk losing my iPad and my laptop to the rain monster. But the sad state that we are in today, I couldn't find a single tree that could provide shelter. I quickly flung my bag off my back and onto the scooter's footboard to try and protect it from the rain. I stooped forward to give the bag some added protection, thus looking like some kind of a loser clerk that Shahrukh Khan would enact in a 'Rab ne bana di jodi' sequel. But the stooping didn't help much either. In fact the helmet's tapering chin channelized a stronger flow of water onto the bag that now sat between my calf muscles. However, the Wego's broad apron avoided too much water from reaching the base of the bag.

I somehow managed to reach home within ten minutes of the shower ambush. But that time was more than enough to soak me to the bone! I ran up the stairs to my apartment to take out all the gadgets and get them to dry out immediately. Fortunately for me, the water had just managed to dampen the covers of the iPad and the laptop - but a lil more riding in the rain could have got me into trouble. Looking at the state of the bag, I couldn't believe my luck though. Probably the cockroach I saved from drowning last morning gave me some blessings :P...

Anyway three things to remember from my experience today:

1. Always carry your gadgets in a waterproof bag and don't keep your laptop on standby mode all the time unless you desperately need to.
2. A cool (not cold) Oreo shake tastes better after getting drenched, than a hot coffee.
3. Don't be a stubborn ass and continue riding in the rain with vulnerable stuff inside the bag. If you can't find a tree, take shelter under a building! After all, its not everyday that you find cockroaches that bless you...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wish-list for 21st Dec. 2009 to 21st Dec 2010

If any of you noble souls are planning to gift me something for my birthday, then please refer to following items for the preferred gifts :) -
- Shoei Helmet
- Alpinestars 1-pc suit
- Engine performance kit for my R15
- DiRT2 + Assassin’s Creed I & II for PS3
- 1.5 Terabyte external hard drive or 500 GB portable drive (original, not Palika Bazaar)
- Apple Macbook (Pro/Air welcome!) (willing to give my Acer in a buy-back)
- 10-22mm Canon lens
- Any Canon full-frame D-SLR
- 32” LCD Monitor (Sony BRAVIA acceptable) (willing to give my 22” Viewsonic in a buy-back)
- Logitech G25 Steering Wheel
- 2003 Honda City V-TEC (willing to give my Palio in a buy-back)
- Nike+ Chip for my Nike+ Shoes
- Sony Si12 HD Handycam
- 1 year subscription to TATA Indicom 2 MbPS Unlimited connection
- Windows 7 Ultimate Retail (original)
- DRI clearance for my VFR800
- Treadmill (Yes! I promise to use it)
- Studio apartment at Lavasa
- One year membership of Solaris/Golds/Endurance
- TATA Xenon (207 DI will also do)
- Sponsored trackday at the Nurburgring/Laguna Seca/Suzuka

Monday, October 05, 2009

A boy, a doll and some tears...

Once I was walking around in a general store, when I saw a cashier hand this little boy some money back. The boy couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old. The Cashier said to the boy, 'I'm sorry, but you don't have enough money to buy this doll." Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him and said, ''Granny, are you sure I don't have enough money?'' The old lady replied, ''You know that you don't have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.'' Then she asked him to stay there for just 5 minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly. The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand. Finally, I walked toward him and I asked him who he wished to give that doll to. 'It's the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for Christmas…She was sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her', said the boy. I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her after all, and not to worry. But he replied to me sadly. 'No, Santa Claus can't bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my daddy so that he can give it to my sister when he goes there.' His eyes were so sad while saying this. 'My Sister has gone to be with God. Mommy says that Daddy is going to see God very soon too, so I thought that he could take the doll with him to give it to my sister.'' My heart nearly stopped. The little boy looked up at me and said: 'I told mommy to tell daddy not to go yet. I need him to wait until I come back from the mall.' Then he showed me a very nice photo of him where he was laughing. He then told me 'I want daddy to take my picture with him so that he won't forget me. I love my daddy and I wish he doesn't have to leave me, but mommy says that he has to go to be with my little sister.' Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly.

I quickly reached for my wallet and said to the boy. 'Suppose we check again, just in case you do have enough money for the doll?''
'OK' he said, 'I hope I do have enough.' I added some of my money to his, without him noticing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll and even some spare money. The little boy exclaimed, 'Thank you God for giving me enough money!' Then he looked at me and added , 'I prayed last night before I went to sleep for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll, so that daddy could give It to my sister. He heard me!'' 'I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my daddy, but I didn't dare to ask God for too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and a white rose. My mommy and daddy love white roses.' A few minutes later, the old lady returned and I left with my basket. I finished my shopping in a totally different state from when I started. I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind. Then I remembered a local newspaper article two days ago, which mentioned a drunk man in a car, who hit a bike being ridden by a young man with a little girl on the pillion seat. The little girl died right away, and the father was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-support machine, for the young man wouldn’t be able to recover from the coma. Was this the family of the little boy? Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the newspaper that the young man had passed away…I couldn't stop myself from buying a bunch of white roses and I went to the funeral home where the body of the young man was exposed for people to see and make last wishes before his burial. He was there, in his coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in his hand with the photo of his little boy and the doll placed over his chest. I left the place, teary-eyed, feeling that my life had been changed for ever. The love that the little boy had for his father and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine. And in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken all this away from him. Please DO NOT DRINK & DRIVE.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Swine Flu screening centers in PMC & PCMC areas

PMC has opened 15 swine flu screening centres to ease pressure on Naidu Hospital. Centres won’t collect swabs, only conduct check-ups, counselling


Karve Road
Erandvana Hospital, Contact: Dr Sarita Ganala (9764000939)
Mhatre Bridge
Late Anandibai Narhar Gadgil Hospital, Contact: Dr Jyotsana Khole (9422987953)
Ganj Peth
Late Balaji Rakhmaji Gaikwad Hospital, Contact: Dr Sandhya Bahule
Narayan Peth
Late Kalavatibai Mavale Hospital, Contact: Dr Nila Limaye (9881385015)
Lakshmi Road
Late Mamasaheb Badade Hospital, Contact: Dr Swati Joshi
Raviwar Peth
Hutatma Babu Genu Hospital, Contact: Dr Dinesh Bende (9421018878)
Koregaon Park
Late Bapusaheb Ganuji Kavade Hospital, Contact: Dr Jaya Bhondave (9922504428)
Ganesh Peth
Late Rohidas Kirad Hospital, Contact: Dr Chandrashekhar Gujar
Late Jayabai Nanasaheb Sutar MaternityHospital, Contact: Dr Shyam Satpute (9823217047)
Alandi Road
Siddharth Hospital, Contact: Dr Bhagwant Gagare (9423004811)
Late Shivshankar Pote Hospital, Contact: Dr Vidya Rajwade (9422520930)
Aundh Road
Late Baburao Genba Shavale Hospital, Contact: Dr Madhuri Gare (9823224789)
Late Damodar Ravji Galande Hospital, Contact: Dr Ujjwala Khristi (9730571404)
Shukrawar Peth
Dr Kotnis Health Centre, Contact: Dr Asmita Bhoi (9850992960)
Late Jangalrao Kondiba Amrale Hospital, Contact: Dr Aparna Gokhale (9823214103)


n Yashwantrao Chavan memorial hospital, Sant Tukaramnagar, Pimpri

n Jijamata hospital, Pimpri

n Municipal hospital, Bhosari

n Municipal hospital, Akurdi

n Municipal hospital, Sangvi

n Municipal hospital, Thergaon

n Municipal hospital, Yamunanagar, Nigdi

n Talera hospital, Chinchwad

Friday, August 07, 2009

The great Indian newspapers

The Times of India is read by people who think they run the country.
The Economic Times is read by people who think they own the country.
The Hindu is read by people who are not sure who's country it is.
The Indian Express is read by people who shouldn't run the country.
The Statesman is read by people who think they ought to run the country.
The Asian Age is read by people who think someone else should run the country..
The Hindustan Times is read by people who think Delhi is a country.
The Telegraph is read by people who think Bengal is the best country.
The Malayala Manorama is read by people who think Kerala is their country, and God's ... zimble !
The Mid-Day is read by people who can't think in this country.
The Pioneer is read by people who think the Brits ran this country better.
The Tribune is read by people who're more bothered about the country-side.
The Dainik Bhaskar is read by people in the country-side.
The Bombay Samachar is read by people who'd rather be in some other country.
The Saamna is read by semi-literates who think, tujhi aiee chi, everyone should fx%k off from country..
The Femina is read by the fat wives of the rich in this country.
The Stardust is read by people who care a shit who runs the country as long as ... .
The PuneTimes is read by some people who think the pub is their country.
The DNA is not read, but used to pack footwear by people going out of this country

Monday, October 06, 2008

Praveen and his Scale Models...

Praveen Sathaye is one of the heartiest bikers I have known so far. And apart from riding motorcycles, we share another common passion too - scale models! However I'm no where close to the humongous amount of scale models that he has. So here are some (pun intended) words on my friend and his scale model collection!
Praveen with his motorcycle scale model collection
Praveen's tryst with scale models began when he received his first toy car at the age of 9. Since then he has been actively collecting scale models, cars, bikes, aeroplanes, commercial vehicle et al. Initially getting them as gifts and prizes for birthdays and other occasions as well as for performing well in school and later on using his hard earned pocket money to add to his collection. The collection activity got serious with time and with the advent of proper scale models of motorcycles into India. Ever since these models have been launched in India Praveen has been painstakingly putting together his collection hunting for these models all over the country, sometimes taking help of his friends and family to acquire some of them. The collection today has more than 125 Bikes ranging from old vintage Harley Davidsons to the latest state of the art big superbikes too.

What he has been able to put together is a collection that would draw gasps of envy from any avid biker and that's why he keeps it pretty closely guarded in his house. The collection is broadly categorised as per continents and eras. His largest collection however is of the Japanese motorcycles, coming from the big FOUR Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki. The beauties from the far east also include a vintage Yamaha TZ racer , the burly V-max, Roadstars, TDM 800, to the latest R 1, and the small Kawasaki 600 ninja all through the family of zx 7, zx9, zx 12 to the ZX 14 heavyweight. This also includes the Nicest Bike manufacturer with Honda contributing in the form of a Blackbird, 3 versions of the CBR 600, 2 versions of the CBR 1000 RR and couple of low slung Valkyrie cruisers.

He also has the big four Japanese dirt bikes in the traditional motocross colours, Yamaha with blue, Honda in red , Suzuki in Yellow and Kawasaki in it trademark Kawasaki green.
With the Japs taken care of how far would the hot Italians and Germans be. Europe has also produced legendary bikes and this collection has quite a significant chunk of the same. Starting from the Ducati series ranging from 748 to the 100s Multistrada, Ducati itself accounts for about 14 o his bikes. Not to forget Cagiva, MV Agusta, KTM,and the massive Munch. British bikes are present in the form of the legendary 1960's Triumph Bonneville and some of the modern speed triples and Daytonas. The German marque BMW also has significant presence in the collection in the form of the Paris Dakar winner GS series of dual purpose bikes as well as the Funduro and the legendary Cruiser R 1200.

The Ducatis
Last but not least, How would a bike collection be deemed complete if it doesnt have the BIG FAT Cruisers. Yes, there are Harleys and tons of them. Starting from the 1940's Panheads to the 2005 Screaming eagle flagship model Road king. The fully loaded and massive Ultra glide to the fast drag racing inspired V-Rod. he has immense admiration for the Milwaukee manufacturer and definitely does dream of perhaps riding one such beast in metal n chrome at least once in his lifetime.

The Cruisers
Does he play with them or simulate a biking environment? Definitely yes, till some time back. he remembers many an occasion embarrassingly when he has been caught moving the bike on the floor making revving sounds while his parents have just stood there wondering what may have gone wrong with their grown up boy, a management graduate and a responsible family man. Yes Praveen is married and his better half has been responsible for a huge amount of his collection too. Not only does she permit him from diverting some amount of his earnings into the model collection but sometimes even goes out and buys the same for him.

Police Bikes
The way he has procured some of his models is also as exceptional perhaps as his collection. he picked up a scale model of the India Chief as he saw it in a shopping window on his way for a business meeting and landed up late for the same. Of course when he explained the reason and showed glimpses of his collection to his client, things took a different turn altogether. he also picked up the model of the Bajaj M 80 at a village fair on the outskirts of Mumbai, pretty strange place for such a thing as a detailed and authentic scale model.

Not Just bikes he also has paid attention to scooters too, be it the vintage Vespa from the 1950's, starring in the Gregory Peck movie Roman Holiday to the Yamaha T Max or Honda Silver Wing large scooters. he also has managed to land himself a LML Vespa Select, which he picked up from some narrow alley in pune. Concept Bikes also form a part of his collection, be it some designer stuff from Arlen Ness or orange County choppers or simple the Dodge Tomahawk, the largest displacement motorcycle concept.Some of the model bikes also come along with their tiny designer helmets also, which are on display alongside the bike. This Collection however is by no means just a random selection of motorcycles. Every bike that makes it to his collection has a legendary value. Take for instance the BMW R 1200 from the James Bond Movies, or the Hayabusa and Suzuki Bandit from the Indian Blockbuster Dhoom.

An ardent fan of motorcycling racing, he has his own Moto GP lineup.The Bikes lined up at the grid include the bikes of the likes of Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri, Casy Stoner, Carlos Checa, Sete Gibernau, Dani Pedrosa et al.

A personal visit to his home is what would reveal the massive scale of the collection, as one only notices cars and bikes neatly arranged all over the house. “I’m running out of space now, so I have to keep some stuff in boxes,” he says. Although his collection is absolutely priceless, his favourite is a small wooden bike model gifted to him by his 7 year old niece, who too identifies her uncle with model bikes. This entire collection is carefully marked out, maintained through a detailed excel sheet containing particulars of each bike. The records contain such details such as the year of purchase, the model, the model maker, place of purchase and so on. “I can remember exactly where any particular bike is kept, and can locate it within minutes' states says Sathaye, a management professional Praveen who otherwise pursues a career in management with an with an e-learning company.

The Yamahas
Even as he is aiming to complete a 1000 scale models in the near future, what does Praveen have in mind afterwards. Does he plan to exhibit these collectibles. Well, his plan is to open a Motorcycling Hall Of Fame with inspiration from his late father, (who was himself an enthusiastic biker), where in all these models shall be displayed each with a one pager detailing their history and significant contribution to the world of motorcycling.He also has a collection of all motorcycle movies, whether it is the legendary Che Guerra in Motorcycle Diaries or the rebellious biker gangs in Biker Boys or Torque.
The proposed Hall of Fame shall also have a small theatre, alongside where car and bike related movies will be screened.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why 'Rock On!!' is a must watch for bikers

Being a dyed-in-the-wool biker, all of you sometime, somewhere come across stories or movies or even incidents in your everyday life, where you can correlate them with your biking life. I’m no different and it happens to me a lot of times too. However, I somehow found the new bollywood flick, ‘Rock On’ to be one great story that a lot of bikers can correlate to.

The movie starts off with a rock band comprising of four members who have the spark and the zest of the early twenty-year olds. The four are passionate about ‘music’ and spend the better part of their time and money composing new tracks that portray their fervor. After a while they stumble upon a contest where their band, ‘Magik’ outperforms the competition to win a one-year contract with a music house and the chance to make their own music video. When this dream is about to be realized, the lead singer suddenly shoots up to fame and overshadows the rest of the groupies. As fate would have it, things start getting sour with ego clashes and self esteem coming into play. The band breaks apart and all the dreams of stardom are shattered. A decade later the members coincidently meet up again and decide to put to rest, all the unfortunate happenings that plagued them. The band comes back together and they plan to enter the same kinda competition that their band won a decade back. As liberty of cinema would portray, the band wins the competition again and their dream is realized – thus making for a happy end.

Now you may be thinking, that I will try and establish some kinda relation between rock music and biking. But no, I aint planning anything on those lines. The movie however has a much larger message for us bikers as well – if we decide to correlate that is. Just like the band members of Magik spent their early youth nurturing their passion, most of us bikers spend all our dough for the love of two wheels. From taking your girlfriend for a movie, to commuting everyday and from going for those weekend rides to being a part of some biker club – a bike becomes a part of our everyday life. Biking becomes such a big passion that we cant think of anything else. But a time finally comes when the college life ends and we are thrown into the world where making money becomes superlative. And just like the members of Magik, we too get on with materialistic needs and the passion is locked into the store room. For some it’s the job, for some its the differences between fellow bikers, for some it’s the lack of money and for some it’s the want of it. Whatever the reason, it’s the biker in you that suffers. You know down within, that you are making a compromise – living a life on terms dictated by your surroundings; forgetting the very basis of biking – freedom.

What the movie tells you though is that no matter what you choose to be your career or your way of life, there is always a way to keep your passion alive. As its rightly said, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. I agree, that earning your bread and butter and much more is an imperative need, but it is not so difficult to get into your gear and onto to the saddle of your bike. Spending time with your better half on the weekend is definitely necessary to keep the spark of our relation alive, but the relation will be complete only when you as a person will feel complete about yourself. It is important to meet up with friends and relatives whenever you find a holiday from your busy schedule. But biking is a passion which can be exploited whenever you find time – no matter what the clock shows, no matter what the weather man says. For all those fellow bikers who have drifted away from this passion, it’s my sincere request that you watch the movie; and I’m sure it will ignite the same ‘want’ to get back to your passion as what happened to the four band members in the movie. The passion that you nurtured throughout your youth still waits for you to come back. The bike that always stood by as your better half and your best friend will be elated to have you back on the saddle and controlling the leash. All that is expected of you, is to take control of your life, dictate your terms, forget about your work when you leave office and ride!