Friday, July 15, 2005

Corporate Training!

I handled my first training session today. I have been preparing the training material for over 3 weeks and today I had to handle a class of over 30 fresh recruits. My legs hurt from standing/walking around for 7 hours. Phew!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Another anti-American Indian?

Wasn't it some president of Coca Cola that said the biggest competitor to coke is not pepsi, but water? The Godfather said, monopoly is the most efficient form for corporations - they don't have to worry about competition, no cost cutting, more and more profits. looks like coca cola has been successful in eliminating competition wherever they go. This photo by Sharad Haksar has made them sue him as it is 'causing them damage.' They are also famous for their 'secret formula'. I guess their secret formula is all the groundwater where their plants are!







Die Cocacola!


There are also other photos that he has put up in his website - http://www.sharadhaksar.com, though they are in shockwave/flash. I remember installing flash in many computers, even in many browsing centres, and that is a huge pain.

These are brilliant!



More Photos

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Muddy Matheran

While by and large the trip to Matheran was peaceful, and fun, there were some incidents which almost gave me a headache. One of them was the 'debate' with two ├╝ber-capitalist guys. Both seemed to agree that my 'sources of information' are screwed up and I must read 'The Economist' to get my fundamentals right.
We argued for sometime about the differences between capitalism and libertarianism - I have contempt for that American word, which they copied from the French. Naturally, the next topic was anarchy. Now, they would not listen to me that Somalia is the only country with no government - they believed there were atleast four countries ruled by anarchy, an oxymoron right there!
The discussion turned to civil wars. I wonder, what war is ever civil? They seemed to think the civil war in Sri Lanka is not one but it is only terrorism. The Tamil minority there were never oppressed by the Sri Lankan Government, and it is not the 'Tamil people' who were fighting the government, but 'only some terrorists'. Wha?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Matheran - Day 2

[from Day 1]
We had to wake up very early in the morning – at 6 am, so that we had enough time to visit all the points. 6 am, my normal wakeup time seemed tooooo early this time. None of us took bath that day, we simply couldn’t. We then started walking up and down the rolling hill road. Our first stop was Charlotte Lake – which looked like an artificial lake made by damming up one of the sides. The water overflowing from the dam created a great waterfall downstream. All the waterfalls I had seen were from the bottom, and this was from the top! While we were admiring the beauty of the view from the falls, one of the moronic tourists threw a plastic peanut bag into the stream. We then walked to some of the view points there – Lord Point, and Lumley Seat, which had no railing to protect us in came someone fell down. We saw a phallic looking rock from there and we would be seeing that wherever we went.
We then walked back to Echo point, and Honeymoon point. There were another three moronic tourists relieving themselves, in a tourist spot! Our next stop was Louisa Point, one of those places where you want to build a cottage and allow no one else to come within 5 kilometres of! The scene was captivating. This is the place where the phallic rock is present. From here, we could see a Maratha fort in the distance, a British watchtower, and the first bungalow built in Matheran, and some other places. There was this guy with a telescope, fleecing tourists, as usual – he was showing ‘5 points for only Rs. 10’, of which two were of the paddy fields in the valley below and one was of the rock that was just metres away – Lion’s Head, which had featured in many Bollywood movies.

After spending almost an hour there, we started walking back to the station, and we had lunch at a Gujarati place. A few friends from the plains who just wanted to ride the toy train, up and down, joined us. They did not get tickets up hill, but they hitched a ride anyway, and caught up with us. An hour later, we went to the station to get tickets back down. Unfortunately, they were sold out just moments after we joined the queue. We thought we could ‘bribe’ the ticket collector and somehow get a ride. After half an hour of debating, he relented and let us one girl from the group to ride till the taxi stand. I was disappointed as this was the fourth toy-train that I had missed – the other three being the ones to Ooty, Darjeeling and Shimla, in that order. I and another guy then decided to ride a horse downhill, all by myself. Unfortunately, I got a grandpa horse that would not go more than a trot, how much ever I kicked it.
I thought our excitement was over once we reached the taxi stand, but then, there was some more left. The taxi we got was a rickety old Premier Padmini, whose doors had no handles, no levers inside to open the door or roll the windows, and had to be pushed to start. It sounded like the car was running on a motorcycle engine. After a few metres, the silencer broke and we dragged it till the plains where it broke completely and fell down. From Neral, we caught the train back to Dadar.

Matheran - Day 1

I went to Matheran for the weekend with some of my classmates. This was the first trip outside Bombay. Unlike the other hill stations in India, which have all been built by the British (except for Kodaikanal, built by the Americans), this seems to have been built by the Parsees living in India.
I started from my home in Andheri at around 4.30 pm on Saturday and went to Dadar station. We first went to Kalyan and got another train to Neral. There is a narrow gauge train from here to Matheran. Unfortunately, the train was cancelled that day due to fog and light rains. So, we took a taxi up the hill, at Rs. 50 per person. We reached the taxi stand within 15 minutes, and some sections of the road were steep. There were a few waterfalls along the way and people were wetting themselves under it. It brought back memories of trips to Gangtok and Darjeeling, where the ‘hills’ were much higher and the roads were very narrow. The view of the valley below was gorgeous, and there was this single Adivasi village down, below. The actual hill-station of Matheran was closed to traffic and only men and horses were permitted up, after paying Rs. 25 for adults and Rs. 10 for children as ‘capitation tax’. The sight of rickshaws pulling up old people and people with luggage appeared as an anachronism. We started walking up the dark, cobbled road through some light drizzle. One of the power cables had fall down and the area plunged into darkness from time to time. We saw a bunch of ‘youthful’ tourists walking down, which gave us an idea of the tourists we would see there.
After 30 minutes of walking, we reached the market place, and the place we stayed at was quite close by. The room was not all that great – we had concrete platforms instead of cots and a bed placed on it. There were 4 such ‘cots’ in a room and we had a 50% off-season discount – Rs. 550 for one room. Once you go up the hill, the cost of everything increases by Rs. 5.
We went to our rooms and went to this place ‘Hookahs and Tikka’ in the market for dinner. The place was not that great – tiny portion of food at more than the normal rates in the plains. Moreover, there was a blackout and there were gaslights into which thousands of insects created hara-kiri. After seeing the toilet facilities on the hills, I took some tissue papers from the restaurant, just in case, which proved immensely helpful on Sunday. Some of the guys went to get drinks – they got a bottle of vodka and came back to the room. Surprisingly, only three guys drank and we crashed soon after.
(continued...)