Author Archives: Kushal "Bamboo" Mamoowala

Monsoon – Bamboo’s guide to making the most of it


As I type, I can only imagine the expansive number of people sitting by their window – watching trickles of rain glide down the glass, wasting away precious minutes of lying in bed and doing nothing on a Sunday. It’s one of those things that you can only do during the monsoons, that and deliberately poking people in the head with your umbrella; which is fun until someone tries to pry your umbrella out of your hands and bludgeon you with it. Comparatively, wasting away precious sleep-minutes seems rather stupid but a lot safer.

The general reaction to the monsoon has developed quite a regular pattern over the years. It’s a noticeable trend in the papers, the news, at AA sessions and parliament.

It starts with “Oh hey!! The rains are here, let’s all go frolic and be merry and forget we have our phones in our pockets.”

Joy soon transitions into “Oh crap, it’s raining again and I forgot the cheap-ass zip-lock bag I bought to keep my phone in. I think I’m going to cry now.”

At some point, disappointment turns to submissiveness – “Ah well, my cow just floated away in the floods but it’s OK, I’ll just drink pig’s milk for a few months”

And eventually, it always ends up in rage “Damn you rain, I’ve lost my favourite pair of shoes, 3 cell phones, an old friend, and 8 weekends of drinking till I drop to you, kindly fuck off NOW!”

Clearly we’re not very good learners. So, as the dispenser of free and mostly useless knowledge, I have penned some of my #FTR (Fuck The Rain) rules for you. Some are for your safety, others are to help you out when you’re in a sticky situation and one or two are for your entertainment but they might cost you a few ounces of self-respect and dignity.

1. Stop freakin’ whining – This one’s pretty straight forward. We’ve all gathered you have a love hate relationship with the rain. The love is when it isn’t raining for 9 months of the year and the hate is when it’s actually here. We also know that you are very vocal about how the rain ruined your new shoes, jeans, gadgets, undies or other such pointless shit. Get over it and stop whining. Your tweet about the rain is not going to hurt its feelings. Instead, just make like Pamela Anderson and put plastic everywhere, it’ll keep you dry and a little less annoying.

2. Everything is a weapon – Now along with all the romance, wet T-shirt contests and well disguised man holes, the rain also brings with it a whole lot of chaos. People in the streets forget they’re people. And people who forget they’re people deserve to be beaten so use your anti-rain equipment as arms and beat the shit out of people. Poke, prod and jostle with your umbrellas. Open those badasses up and make an eight-point eye poker – An octo-ocular destroyer. Use your raincoat (why do you still have a raincoat?) as a distraction – people with raincoats are always presumed to be a little daft and are overlooked, avoid being overlooked by spear-tackling the Monsoon-protection fashion police.

3. The Sharing is caring rule – It’s an old saying and for good reason…because it’s bloody true. You share shit with people all the time – food, drinks, shitty stories that go nowhere; they owe you something in return and this is when you should claim it. If we can pack 800 people into a train compartment for 10, why the hell can’t we shove 6 people under an umbrella for one? Hell, raincoats are pretty loose, you have the right to sneak into someone’s when they’re not looking too!

4. The natural repellent – Obviously, Rule No. 3 is for you, under the assumption that you’re a hygienic, mentally stable, normal adult but it’s a jungle out there and you never know when someone who doesn’t comply to those criteria might use Rule No. 3 with you. So, here’s how you repel unhygienic, mentally unstable or abnormal kids and/or adults from getting to close. You jump. It’s not hard, just find a big puddle, make like a kangaroo and hop in! There’s nothing more fulfilling than watching a judgmental middle-aged aunty scurry off with mud stains on her stark white clothes. Just pray she wasn’t on her way to a funeral and you’ll be fine.

5. Pedestrians could use a shower – This one’s specific to drivers, and maybe kleptomaniacs. If you’ve ever been through a market, a train, McDonald’s or more recently, Starbucks, you’d have noticed that there are shit loads of people there….and some of them stink. Well, maybe monsoons are just nature’s way of saying “Hey you dirty pigs, here, have a free shower!” If you’re in your car, presume all  pedestrians to be smelly and drive through every puddle or pot hole you see. They’ll hate you for it, probably curse you, your parents, and your existence for it, but in the long run, you’ll sleep easy knowing you gave some dude a free bath. If you are one of those pedestrians, there’s no reason you can’t help some your odoriferous counterparts out. Just grab their umbrella and make a run for it!

6. You could use a shower too – In extension to Rule No. 5, I hate to break it to you but you smell a little too sometimes. Just do us all a favour and frolic a little, please.

7. Are you an idiot? – Having said all that I have said, it’s time to face the truth. It’s rain. It’s water falling through the sky. It’s not a disease or an old man in the sauna, it’s just H2O, if it gets on you it’s not going to ruin your life or leave you scarred, you’ll get a little wet and if you’re wearing white, your nipples will show. No harm done. Deal with it.

8. You’re still pretty fucked – Oh, I might as well mention now that all the above rules are only regarding “rain”. As in precipitation, baarish, water falling through the sky. If you live in Bombay, you know that water once fallen, nowhere goes. If that happens, you’re going to be stuck in flooded streets, markets, malls, homes, etc. etc. and all hell will probably break lose. In such cases, this guide won’t do you any good, you’ll probably get more help from a guide to dealing with the Zombie Apocalypse.

Disclaimer: These guidelines have been framed based on my personal experiences in order to ensure that you can have a dry and wholesome monsoon experience. The rains have the inexplicable ability of turning a lazy evening drive and coffee by the sea into a swim for survival so it is good to have a few helpers in dealing with them. Following any or all of the above points could result in a severe bashing in of your face, head, groin area or any other body part for that matter. Read and execute at your own risk.

Zomato – Bamboo’s Guide to the app that gets you fat.

It has been quite long since my last blog post, too long really, and frankly the best explanation I can give is that I’m retardedly lazy. There, I said it. My to-do list had contained “work”, “Eat”, “Drink”, “Hang out”, “Sleep” and “Write Blog post” and sadly, Write Blog Post is right at the end.

Anyways, that’s all going to change now because as you can see, you are reading a new blog post. I’m going to be frank – and I will be writing a blog post dedicated to this soon – I’m writing this post purely because it is for a contest. Yes, I am a contest whore. I have entered several contests to win several expensive, inexpensive, useful and pointless things, and this is a continuation of that. In fact, testimony to my laziness would be the fact that I’ve not blogged even for 2 contests recently. That’s how lazy I am.

But, back to the point, this post is about an app – Zomato. It’s pretty handy I must say, and while I am writing this post for a Zomato contest, I might’ve written the same thing even without any incentive, maybe on Day 34 of being stranded on an island and having nothing to do. The first 33 days would consist of Panic – eat leaves – try and start a fire – eat more leaves – pass out from boredom.

Let me give you a brief background on Zomato – It is a website that is dedicated to making tech-savvy fatties even fatter by bringing to them a listing of almost every restaurant in India’s metros and tier 2 cities. The Zomato app gives you all of this on your smartphone so that wherever you are, you can check out expensive places serving delicious food that you are missing out on, while you sit and much wadapav at the side of the road.

The good –

1. Its existence – The biggest boon to smartphone users that enjoy food, like me, is the existence of the Zomato app, purely because it gives me access to the names and details of almost every restaurant and bar in Mumbai.  This is fantastic because now when I want to make a reservation at  a restaurant or find somewhere to eat, I don’t have to use JustDial to get the names and numbers in exchange for my contact number, e-mail address, marital status, annual income, dog’s name, passport number and SMSs with details of 40 other restaurants that I do not give a monkey about. Therefore, well done Zomato for being Zomato.

2. Added features – Now you might say it’s easy to create a database of all the restaurants in Mumbai, but what really works for the Zomato app is those smaller, added in-app features – like calling the restaurant directly, sharing a specific restaurants details, directions via google maps, and offers. It’s these things that make Zomato’s app a one-stop-shop for your night out rather than a reference point that you keep going back to. You can favourite places and add places to your wishlist too but that stuff is sorta peripheral. The best user experience is when you can do everything you need to without exiting the app and that’s just what Zomato’s app gives you.

3.  The search – One of the greatest things that Zomato could have ever done is modify their search functionality. Instead of giving you the option to just search for restaurant names, you can even search for cuisines, specific dishes or even just general areas. An extension to the search for “dish” feature would be the availability of a restaurant’s menu. When you look at the listing of a particular restaurant, you also have an option to view the menu, which is fantastic really. The good folks at Zomato have gone and scanned page after page of kabillion restaurants and created an e-menu of sorts for users to enjoy. The obvious perk is that you can see what food is on offer and how much your meal might end up costing. It could also be used to plan your entire meal before you even get to the restaurant but the best part is, and I actually did this once, being able to go through menu after menu in search of a particular dish you are craving. These days everyone wants to go all funky with their dish names with shit like “Flaming flying chicken”, “Try-me-please potatoes” and “Do-it-doggystyle beef” so finding that stew you’ve been craving is quite hard. Instead, going through the menu and finding “Meat swimming in broth” as the name of the chicken stew you’re yearning for actually helped me fulfill my craving.

The bad –

1. The Delay – I’m not a food connoisseur and nor am I a regular eater-outer (stop snigger!), but I do enjoy visiting a new restaurant every now and then. Of course, there are several online resources, and the black-hole that is twitter, to learn about new places and how good they are but somehow, I find Zomato a little more reliable. The problem is that information on the Zomato app isn’t updated fast enough. For instance, a new Japanese restaurant opened up in town and I wanted to know what the menu had to offer. The Zomato app did have a listing for the place but sadly, there was no menu yet. Pity really. As a frequent user of the app, I’ve learnt that it takes 2-3 weeks before the menu of new restaurants is up.


2. The Categories – Here’s where I have a real beef with the app. When you ask your friend to suggest a good place to eat at, the first question he or she will ask is “What’s your budget?” The Zomato app takes care of that with a “Cost for 2” listing. The second most likely question is “Who are you going with?” which is where Zomato fails. One might be able to judge the quality of a place based on the cost for 2 and the price of items on the menu but it’s not the best way to tell if it’s suitable for the occasion. I might be looking for a real nice fine-dining restaurant to visit with my family one day, and the next I might want a romantic place to go with my girlfriend. On the third day I might be looking for a shady hole-in-the-wall bar to visit with friends. What the app could use is an innovative, unique categorizing system by which you can tell what place is suitable for what occasion. Yes, there are user reviews that you can read through to judge, but remember how I said I’m lazy at the start of this post. I’d really love it if Zomato had a list of categories that read “Anniversary”, “Family Night Out”, “Big night out with friends”, “Cheap but good”, “Cheap and shit” and maybe “Only if you’re broke”.

3. The Ratings – The third and most vital flaw is the rating system. The app suffers from a disorder I like to call “Imdb Syndrome”. Imdb is one of the internet’s biggest movie databases and offers info on almost every movie in the world. The problem is, a movie rating is decided solely by “user votes” which means if 10,000 horny men in Bhopal give a Bhojpuri movie a rating of 9/10 because it has an erotic scene with the heroine sucking on a cucumber, said Bhopuri movie will have a higher rating than The Dark Knight Rises which will have a lower average rating from around 1 million people. The same holds true for Zomato and I have the perfect example for it too. See below, Hawaiian Shack vs Kofuku. One is a shady college students’ pub, the other a fine dining Japanese restaurant. Given a choice (and money), every teenage college student will prefer to eat at Kofuku, yet Hawaiian shack has a better rating. Another thing that affects this is number of votes. It takes at least a 100 votes to get a good, reasonable rating to go by. Ideally, Zomato should be reviewing the places and rating them themselves. Maybe one day.

The Future –

As a purveyor of pointless advice, I am going to give Zomato something different, actual usable advice. Only because I like the app. I enjoy using my smartphone for doing everything. I hate talking to strangers on the phone, especially when it comes to ordering food or drinks or making a reservation, which is where I hope one day, the app can save me some rage. Some day in the future, I’d like to run the Zomato app, find a new restaurant that I want to eat at, make a reservation for a table and then set a reminder to leave for said dining appointment – all through the app. In plain words, Zomato should add an option to make reservations and order take-out/delivery through the app itself.

There you go. My first blog post contest entry. Look forward to lots more of these because well, who doesn’t like winning stuff? Also, soon, one day, I will write a blog post about why I have become a contest whore, maybe on Day 35 of being stranded on an island and having nothing to do, just after I finish my Zomato app post which I have done for no reason at all, instead of for a contest.

Disclaimer: This post has been written to help you get fat and enjoy all the wonderful food India has to offer. That is not to say that I promote fatness, the act of getting fat or fat people in general. Use the app if you want to find places to eat at, don’t use the app if your thumb is so big with fat that you always press two buttons in the elevator instead of just one. Also, this is a contest entry. Reading it will not get you anything but writing a post like this one might. Share this and help me win things fatty.

Freddy’s back and he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for

We’ve all noticed Freddy’s fairly prolonged absence recently and it’s because he was away on a rather secretive mission. The details of the mission are still unknown but Freddy, being the icredibly awesome guy that he is, remembered his fans and sent us a postcard recently, with a photo to go with it.

“I have been off on a very personal expedition, in search of answers to some of the more perplexing questions that Life and the Universe have thrown at me” writes Freddy. “I will not delve into the details of these questions” he continues, “for some of them can have fairly drastic and in some cases even fatal effects on the not-so-awesome people of the World. In a nutshell, I have looked inwards and outwards to find what it is that drives a person to be awesome. If it is the love and adulation, the pride, the free tee shirts and hats, the respect of the people or the complimentary foot massages from some of my masseuse fans. Whatever it is, I have looked far and wide, but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

Along with the postcard, we also received this photo. What to make of it? we do not know, but we’re assuming it is Freddy looking into some sort of well of awesomeness to find answers. We hope he finds what he is looking for soon.


Freddy travels through time

You may have noticed that Freddy has been missing for the past couple of days. This is because Freddy was travelling through time and space, working on his research report on the evolution of Awesomeness – A report that aims to detail the changing definitions of Awesome over time, since the origin of man. Some of Freddy’s trips have been quite successful while others have resulted in some unexpected mishaps. Yesterday Freddy aimed to travel to the dark ages but a glitch in the time vortex sent him all the way back to the Cretaceous Period where he encountered herds of carnivorous dinosaurs. He returned to the present a few moments later with a Velociraptor that he befriended and taught to fetch. The Velociraptor soon died of Meningitis.

The project has been quite successful however, with Freddy discovering that an Awesome man in the stone ages was one who could drag, back to his cave, more than 7 women at a time after the bi-weekly pool party at the local swamp where women got high by licking toads and men got their fix by punching each other in the knee-caps. Awesome women were ones who had more than 3 inches of armpit hair. Since those prehistoric times, the definition of Awesome got refined with the invention of the wheel, the development of meaningful communication and the discovery that silent farts smell more than loud ones. Then came the time of Jesus where the definition of awesome changed drastically with Christ’s greatest ever party trick – turning water into wine. After his crucifixion there was a long period of non-awesomeness as no one could replicate Christ’s Alcoholchemy. As the memory faded, awesome was redefined to suit non-Jesus like men. There was a time when conquering lands was considered awesome, there was a time when inventing things was awesome, there was also a time when running around naked was awesome. It is for these reasons that Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Shivaji, Kermit the frog and Yogi bear have all been awesome.

We asked Freddy if we could join him on his next time-travelling expedition but he said it was too dangerous. Instead, he offered to let us shoot him while he initiated the time-travelling process, saying that the visual display of a time-travelling vortex was so brilliantly therapeutic that it is believed to be the only known cure for Elephantiasis, Religious belief and a broken heart. We caught this shot just as the particles of time flared up to disintegrate Freddy into a million pieces, transport him through the fabric of time and reassemble him at Woodstock 1969.

Freddy time travelling

Freddy imitates the King

Freddy’s return from Egypt was celebrated widely by all of the desk-dwellers for his absence had left a gaping hole in the aura of awesome that the desk always lives under. People came from far and wide to meet and greet and bask in the awesomeness of Freddy and he obliged, for obliging such wishes is what awesome people do. Freddy has unparalleled culinary skills, skills that he acquired when he travelled back in time – to Italy in an age where the Italians were eating daal chawal, and created what we now recognize as Italian cuisine. He spent 30 days and 20 nights (for he spent 10 nights making a boat for a boat party with a few immaculate Italian women, which incidentally is how yachts were created) brainstorming with an Italian cook, trying to create a new flavour. They ended up creating what we now know as Pollo Arabiata. It is these unparalled culinary skills that Freddy used to make his visitors a sumptuous meal after which everybody partied.

The party of course was pretty much everyone gawking at Freddy busting moves like a light-sleeping dad busts a sloppy teenager trying to sneak out of the house. The night was fantastic, legendary even and at the peak of it all, Freddy made a tribute to the best pigment-transplanted, plastic nosed popstar (and there is only one of those), Michael Jackson. He thrusted his hips and groped his groin and in one swift motion, went from air-banging into what is now recognized as the longest ever moonwalk, lasting for 27 minutes and covering 38 metres.


Freddy sees some Mummies

It should come as no surprise that Freddy’s speech at ASSHOLE in Lebanon was a great success. Freddy has never given a bad speech. Once Freddy was giving a speech at a Harvard graduation ceremony and had an allergic reaction to the lack of awesomeness in the chief guest. The allergy caused his tongue to swell up and his throat to contract, making him sound like Elmer Fudd’s twin sister. Even after this set back, Freddy battled on with his speech for another 40 minutes and finished to a standing ovation and a stern chiding of the Chief guest.

After his speech at ASSHOLE, Freddy decided to do a little sight seeing. He started off on foot, strolling through the busy streets of Beirut, but Freddy’s not the average tourist. His mind functions at such a high workrate that he didn’t have to stop for photos or for food. He was just legging it for the whole day and, next thing you know, he’d strolled cross-continent, across the Suez Canal and into Egypt. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’; well there’s a similar, lesser known saying ‘When in Egypt, do whatever the hell you feel like’ and Freddy felt like walking like an Egyptian.


Freddy goes to Lebanon

As Freddy is such a go getter, he partakes in many adventurous activities like snowboarding, paragliding, stone pelting, bowling and cow tipping just to name a few. He also enjoys taking in scenic beauty while solving complex problems relating to astro-chemistry and immuno-physics to keep in touch with the scientist within. We were scheduled to shoot with Freddy today as part of the Adventures of Freddy but just as we were setting up he realised he was late for his speech on the effects of MDMA on massage therapists at the Asian Social Science and Health Organization, in Lebanon or ASSHOLE as it is often abbreviated. We managed to catch this fleeting shot of Freddy as he jetted off.

Freddy on the run

%d bloggers like this: