Train Tales – On Reservation

Open the door for the woman, offer a seat to an old man standing… Acts of chivalry???? Or as some people put it an attempt to impress the world. 

What should you do when you hold a reserved Window Seat ticket on the train and a women comes and starts eyeing the seat? Do you give it to her or do you ask her if she has a reserved ticket and if not that she should get into the unreserved compartment or the ladies compartment. But unfortunately some people who don’t hold reserved tickets are allowed to board a reserved compartment and some of them even demand to be allowed to sit. 

I wonder if we will be able to kick some sense into some of these people who demand that they be allowed to sit according to their whims and fancies. 

There will come a day when reserved compartments will only seat people with reserved tickets. Not railway workers/officials or paan chewing men or seat demanding women. Indian Railways has a long way to go.  


Of Window Seats and Passing Greenery

Ever since my childhood I always loved the corner seat right beside the window be it in the car, train or pretty much any form of transport. Who does not love the feel of the wind on the face? If you don’t you are weird, trust me real weird because even the Dogs love it. 

So my seat of choice when booking my ticket on the Indian Railways App is the Window seat. I love sitting there watching water bodies, patches of greenery and houses of all hues and colours pass by. 

I have been noticing that a lot of these green patches of land have now turned brown. No not with the shit that people love to take near railway tracks but by land developers who are fast converting these pieces of agricultural lands into potential disaster zones. These pieces of land have no proper drainage facilities and each plot when constructed on will have its own bore well. So the way I look at it, we folks DESTROY TO DEVELOP. 

The Greenery is slowly Passing Away. 

High Five! 

Up until recently I did not realize the physical power that kids can have. Was playing with a 15month old kid. I taught him to High Five and then to Low Five and we practiced for a while. Then the kid called me and asked me to pick him up. He hardly lets anyone other than his parents to pick him up and I was excited because it seemed like he really liked me because I was teaching him new stuff. 

So I picked him and BAM!!!! he high fived my bald head and God that hurt. But he was so proud of how he had high fived my head. I then had to sit him down and teach him high fives were to be done palm to palm and not palm to head. 

I think he got it right. Otherwise my Brother-in-law is getting high fived on his head each time he picks up his son.  

Stop making Films

I am now appealing to all the directors to stop directing movies, actors need to stop acting the film industry should stop telling stories. Religious and Political outfits should consider banning the history of this country from being taught so that children will not be able learn the bad person that Tipu or his father Haider was. Why have these so called Hindu outfits not erased the sights and signs that Tipu ever existed? Why ask Rajni not to act as Tipu? 

Reason is because everyone has a mouth and sometimes it runs of and tells stupid things, stupid stupid mouth. I wonder what these people tell their children about the history of this country which has a great medley of cultures? It is worrying to find tolerance becoming rare these days.

Yes, atrocities were committed by a great many rulers just like atrocities are being committed by a great many rulers today and these atrocities will continue in the future too let there be no doubt about that. But it is what history writes about a reign or the governance by a ruler that the ruler comes off as a good or bad person. 

I wish some one had stopped that ex-thief Valmiki from writing the Ramayan and that thumbikai azhwar from writing the Mahabharat.

A creator creates what the society lets him create. That definitely would hurt creators around the world and also the supreme creator. 

Dear political outfits please stop twisting the history of this country. And also stop getting in the way of creativity. 

The Fort

This is a fort, well I know it is hard to believe. I don’t remember the name of this fort here. But it is somewhere in the Ladakh area. 

If you know of this place ping me on twitter @aravindkumar or drop me an email

A 10 x 10 Run to celebrate 2014

This has been a long pending post. The last quarter usually is an energy Sapper. But this year it is going to be special. Have been meaning to post this for a while now.

The Year End is always a landmark for most mortals. We look forward to the promises that the New Year brings. After the Wipro Chennai Marathon on December 7th this year I decided to keep running and take a days break every week. I would try and run for 25 days in December and the last 10 days I would attempt a 10 kms for 10 days challenge. I did not want to plan for the next day. I had no target time, no target pace. I wanted to do easy run-walk routines and complete the 10km each day. I was trying to KISS (Keep it Simple Silly)

The first five days of the run was nothing special to write about. I just ran, I walked, I took in the sights I was generally happy about how each day was passing by. I have always taken pride in my patience but on the 6th day as I was running with my cousin past Chetpet Bridge I realized I was running out of patience. It was like I wanted the run to end quickly. Ajay and me kept talking and we walked most of the way that day. I am so glad that I had company and who better than a cousin who I had not met in years.

On the 7th day God rested but I had bitten into a Chilli by registering for a Run conducted by a popular Radio Channel in the City and I was running along with another cousin Vikram. Again we pretty much walked the stretch and man, what interesting conversations we had. Towards the end of the run somewhere near the Kanagi Statue a boy who was standing on the side nudged into our conversation. He started talking about how he wanted to cycle and how he could not afford these huge registration fees for Marathons. His father was a tailor. He was studying to be an engineer. But he also wanted to train to be a runner. I was trying to tell him about the Marina Minnals and he kept cutting me off with his stories of how he had proposed to a girl and how he could now lift two water cans and run and how he only had Rs. 200 in his bank account. My Cousin Vikram shot off like his pants were on fire he simply could not bear the conversation I was trying to have with the engineering college kid. I finally managed to tell him about the running group and how he could go train with them. Once that was conveyed I shot off to catch up with my cousin. The two of us burst out laughing and without a care for the world. Maybe not my best run

The 8th day was when I started feeling pain in my shins. I was running with the Tower Twisters group and somewhere near Kilpauk cemetry the pain had become unbearable. I was resting and someone ran past me so I decided to try and run past them and I did but had to stop immediately because of the pain in the shins commanded me to. The person was a lady and she kept running and I was like “Asingapatan Autokaran”. Day 8 was weird because someone asked me for directions to Kelly’s while I was running on Taylors Road. It was a guy, somehow it did not feel right so I turned back and ran back to BV and down 6th Avenue and finished my run.

The 9th day was the “Breaking Point” of my entire 10×10 experience. I decided to run at the Marina starting from Gandhi Statue to RBI and back. I did not have any severe aches or pain till then and the minute I started running my shins decided to speak up. It was windy and it had started raining I had my umbrella and I was in my run – walk mode. I had run-walked upto the statue of Subash Chandra Bose and it was there that I wanted to turn back and end the whole challenge. It was a battle between my mind and body. The mind won and I turned back in the direction of Fort St. George I was going to fight my way to the fort. As I was finishing my 8th km somewhere near Labour statue my shins quietened dow down and I was free to run again. I am still trying to figure out what happened at the 8th km. I had run past my “Breaking Point”. It was the most challenging.

On the 10th day I was running with the Tower Twisters and Clement a runner and a longtime blogger friend had offered to run with me. We ran and I did lag behind at some places but I managed to finish my 10k. As we ran back to BV I was wondering if I felt any different. I hardly felt any pain it had disappeared somewhere at the 5th km. But strangely I did not feel any sense of elation. Somehow it did not feel like “The End”

The 10×10 is a mind and body challenge. Sometimes you will probably have to give up the run and sometimes the pain. Make sure you have been running consistently and also improving your overall strength before you take up this challenge. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself. If you think you are upto it and you are looking for company feel free to get in touch with me at my email address Would be glad to run with you.

Food Tales: Let’s Chaat

If you are a not a lover of chaat (not Chat) then I would request you to stop reading at this point and move on to other blog posts of mine.

I am glad you are a chaat lover. Are you part of an elite crowd that eats chaat anywhere, even in roadside shops?
My affair with the chaat started when I was in school. I would be taken by amma to Ajnabee in Fountain Plaza and I would order the Bhel Puri everytime. It was my favourite chaat. Well I would rather say it was the only chaat that I had ever tasted until then. The Bhel Puri is such an amazing food item. It is not just a snack it can be a meal by itself. It has chopped vegetables, some chutney, puffed rice, and it gives out lot of joy. Have you ever wondered where that sound comes from when they make the bhel puri, it is from the bhel which gives out such happy noises from the vessel. For some reason I did not consider the Pav Bhaji to be part of the Chaat family. Ok I will come back to the Pav Bhaji in a bit.

It was only while I was in college that I discovered the variety that chaat offered. Dahi Papdi, Dahi Balle, Dahi Puri, Sev Puri, Raj Kachori, Katori Chaat, Samosa Channa, Kachori with mint and tamarind chutney and the list goes on… I would save up money and go eat in Gangotree usually on Saturdays with a few friends (Harsh, Pintoo) mostly for the chat but also for the bird-watching opportunities it presented. The other place we frequented usually on Wednesdays after bunking college was Bombay Lassi, off Ellis Road (Behind Devi Theatre). 1 Samosa, 1 Kachori and one glass Lassi and of course this was usually after fighting to get hold of Rs. 10 ticket at Devi.

After College I managed to go to Delhi for higher studies or “Delhi Return MBA boy” as my cousin calls me. It was only in Delhi that I managed to taste Aloo Tikki, Gol Gappas (It is just Pani Pooris but Delhiites swear that the two are different like the sun and the moon) and now entered Channa Batura into my view. The CB in Khan Market and Chandni Chowk are bleddy out of the world and it is not the same stuff we get in New Woodlands Hotel in Chennai. Also in Delhi they have this thing of adding Chaat Masala to everything. Fruits with Chaat masala, Chaat with Chaat Masala, Nimbu Paani with Chaat Masala, Orange juice with chaat masala. They seemed to be in love with the Chaat which made them Chaaty…

With all the weight loss diet available today online, huge misunderstanding and belief popped up about what to eat and what avoind eating, which foods makes you gain weight and which ones actually help in losing weight. Huge 5 foods to never eat conversation popped up among diet community and is pretty much controversial. After reading a few case studies, I believe that there are indeed foods that make you gain fat and one must avoid eating them. Basically they make your blood sugar levels rising and the same problem is one of the many reasons why people can’t lose weight. Simple said, take your time and make a nice online research.

In the mean time I had been tasting Pav Bhaji in Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore to name a few places but nothing appealed to my senses. When I was in Mumbai in 2008 I tried the Pav Bhaji at Chowpatty Beach and it was the most sinful, taste bud tickling, lustful Paav Bhaji that I had ever tasted. No wonder the people of Mumbai are in love with it. I think it has something to do with the speed with which people live the life in Mumbai.

I don’t eat at Gangotree anymore because of the unhygienic way in which the food is kept lying around. Even the roadside Paani Poori guy keeps better hygiene. Shree Mithai is what I am left with in the city and it is not the greatest chaat that I have eaten.

Ofcourse the greatest chaat you get in Chennai is in Mint street. So many roadside vendors and such great taste. What is your favourite chaat and where do you get your chaat fix in your city?

Happy Chaating!!!

Oh! Pakistan, My Child…

God is a funny fellow and sometimes even the most devout are forced to wonder if there could ever be a Supreme Being.

This post I write for the school children of Pakistan who were massacred in Peshawar.

Dear Children,

Why were you born in Pakistan? Why did you listen to your parents and go to school? Why did you have to be mass massacred. Even goats are slaughtered one at a time. But truly it is all your fault. See Children, you are were young and you committed a lot of mistakes and you had to be killed for all your mistakes. So the Taliban decided to punish you little children for the mistakes that you commited in school and at home. Some of you had refused to do your home-work, some of you back-answered your teachers, some made spelling mistakes and some did not show respect to your fellow students.

It was all your fault. The Taliban was just making an example of you children.

I hope and wish that the Taliban corrects all the children in Pakistan. But I wonder what happens when they have no more children to correct. Will they correct the civilians? What after the civilians? The Government? The Army? How many more people will be made examples of? Will Pakistan, a once fine country cease to exist as you have known it? How can the Taliban’s blood thirst be satiated? How much more blood will appease these demons?

I am so sorry little children I don’t think anyone has the answers to these questions. I definitely do not. I live so very far away from your country. Our cultures are hardly common, our religions are not the same, The children I see here make a lot of mistakes just like you, you children were so happy with the kind of happiness that comes only with childhood. But you are gone and I can’t seem to accept it.

Even though I have questioned the existence of a supreme power, I will still pray to him and ask him to take care of you children. But remember children forgive the Taliban for they know not what they do.

May Your Souls Rest in Peace,

Just Another Indian


The Wipro Chennai Marathon 2014

The biggest Marathon in Chennai and I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. So after the Dusk 2 Dawn Night Marathon I had a fortnight to run The Wipro Chennai Marathon ’14 and I was definitely looking forward to it. Running a 10k is just like your regular morning run but it is the crowd which makes all the difference. You are either running with the crowd or running away from the crowd. I belong to the second type only difference being I was far behind the crowd. (No, I am not the Marathon Mama)

I am a newbie run-walker (Will definitely let you folks know when I graduate to being a full time runner.) and was excited to run the Napiers Bridge – Tharamani route. A car drive later I found myself at the start point doing some stretches with some folks from Tower Twisters and Sprinter Navin. I had vowed to start late and avoid the crowd and thats precisely what Mr. GP. Kamath(K) and me ended up doing. K and me crossed the start line at around 7:15am and we continued running together until the 4km mark where I stopped for some rest and water. The Marina stretch had taken it’s toll on my sweat glands and for some reason my legs felt like stone. It usually does till I am 3kms into any run. But here I was resting at the 4km mark and it was still hard as stone. I was looking forward to the Santhome-Greenways Road stretch which is relatively well shaded and would help me cool down.

Funnel a crowd into a bottle neck and they behave like sweaty wild people. Precisely what happened at the 4km water point. People were jostling to get water and gatorade and fruits. I understand why they do it but I hate it. Sweaty people hitting against you when your legs are not co-operating is definitely not my idea of fun on a Sunday morning run. But I had expected much worse crowds. I think that was the only hydration point which was all bottled up with too much sweat and adrenaline. Mr. K did not stop at this point and I asked him to carry on because I knew I was slowing him down.

The next incident happened at the MRC hydration point. It was my biggest and only irritant during the entire run. One of the onlookers on the side of the road was all pumped up and was cheering us on and I was jogging during that point. The bugger literally brought his hands in front of my face and clapped twice I slapped away his hand and continued, though I wanted to slap him too. Bugger if I ever catch him doing that in future I probably might.

Kept running down Greenways Road and when I was running past Dr. MGR Janaki College a policeman was cheering on all the runners. Certainly a happy policeman. Wish we had more such friendly policemen in Madras. But when I saw that policeman cheering on the runners it felt great and it was with that really great feeling I ran over the bridge and finished at the Central Polytechnic Grounds.

But wait, I got the medal but I felt no emotional connect to the run. No joy of having completed a 10k. I realized I was feeling lightheaded and exhausted. Managed to get to the food and down the juice and I surely felt a lot better. After meeting some of the folks from the tower twisters I was headed back home.

It was a good route but the 7am start sure brought in it’s own set of pros and cons. The view of the sunrise from Napier’s Bridge was amazing but the same sun was being cursed by me 30 minutes later. 🙂 Well I should have probably cursed the organizers for scheduling a 7am start for the 10k run. But It was a good run which was well organized and I brought back some lovely memories and one not so lovely memory and of course the beautiful medal. Will be back to run at the TWCM15 even if they start the 10k at 12 noon. Anything for Running and Chennai.

P.S.: The Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) does a terrific job in re-routing traffic and helping us run safe. A big thanks to them.

Dusk to Dawn Chennai Night Marathon 2014

If I had told myself last December that I would be running in the second half of 2014 I would have definitely laughed at myself. I don’t remember running ever. Even as a kid. I would never run to field while playing street cricket. So invariably I was made the umpire every time I played.

In fact when I started to run in August I did not aim to run even a 5k. But after the Heritage Run I decided that I could run walk and complete any number of kms. My only worry was ending the race last. Clement Williams a blogger friend had been running with this group called Tower Twisters and one day I decided to go run with them. When I started running with the group I could hardly run. Infact I was the guy everyone left behind when they ran. It felt good to be left behind primarily because I preferred running alone. I wanted to do my own thing. Run at my own pace.

In the mean time I had registered for the 10k at Dusk to Dawn and I just wanted to finish it. So in November I ran in the night to Metallica’s ONE in loop. I did finish that run in 93 mins while acknowledging claps from some people who I had met while running with the tower twisters. I finished the run looking at the skies and when I finished and had the medal around my neck I had to literally hold back my tears It was a feeling I am still trying to comprehend. It was not joy, it was not sadness it was something beyond that. It was like a connection with a higher power.

While theTerry Fox Run had me running for a cause, The Heritage Run got me running for Madras. It was at the Dusk to Dawn that I realized that I need to keep running.

I went to the booth where they were giving out the munchies (pun unintended) and I told the droopy eyed fellow manning that stall that I did not want food but 3 bottles of water. I downed all three and headed home, heated up the food that Nandy had ordered for me and went to sleep. It was a lovely night. No one finished last and I had finished a 10k run with a group of about 7000 people.

But it was not until next morning when I figured out what chaffing was.

A Billion Reasons not to Shop when the sale is on.

For those of you who think that a sale is genuine here is why you never, NEVER, EVER buy during a sale or offer.

What is the motive of a business? To let customers save on bucks. If that is your answer then please think again. Any business is here to make a profit. Ok let’s forget the business for a while. What is the purpose of an individual living in this world? The real reason for an individual living in this world is benefit or profit.

When you were born your parents and family benefited with the cute smiles you gave away. How did you benefit? They cleaned after you and fed you so you could repeat the cute smiles. If you got grumpy your parents were not happy because they did not benefit.

Then you grew up and went to school, the school benefited by the fees you pay them, You benefited by making great friends, learning absolutely nothing and getting whacked by your teachers.

Then you go to college and you benefited by looking and teasing girls and they in turn benefit with all the attention and sometimes they demand that the police give you some extra attention.

Then you get married. Well, this is one point in life where the woman is benefited and the man is at a loss, especially with words. But come, on you were mean to girls before that.

So when an individual life is all about benefit then a business is all about profit. So there is no business out there which will not want you sell at lower profits. No Not even Saravana Stores.

So my dear thondargaley, when some business announces a sale please be aware that the tag prices could be raised and then discounted, the business is trying to push old stock, the place is pushing damaged stock.

By the way all those offers from Pizza places offering Buy one Get one free or some brilliant offer of Garlic bread and pizza and Coke and dessert is probably the company pushing old stock real quick.

CAVEAT EMPTOR… If you actually expected me to give you a billion reasons not to shop during a sale, Well, Stop handling money.

Flipkart naamam Vaazhga, Amazon Naamam Vaazhga, Vaazhga e-Shopping, Valarga Tamilagam, Valarga Tamil Makkal.

Also I love this video clip… simply brilliant!!!