Category Archives: Bamboo’s Guide To…

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


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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.
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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.


Call Centres – Bamboo’s Guide to Shutting Them Up.

About a month ago I was expecting a fairly important call (for me, a call to decide a drinking venue is fairly important) and when my phone did eventually ring, it wasn’t the caller I expected. Instead of hearing a friend’s burly voice say – “Yes, we’re going to Janata” I got a poorly enunciated, grammatically inept and spectacularly vernacular voice say – “Good evening Mr. Munmunwala [sic] I am calling from the [sic] Tata AIG. We hao spesial (have special) offer for health insurance. We are offer [sic] insurance at premium of rupe……………..” and so on. Undoubtedly I was fairly agitated. A) Because I was expecting better news than a “spesial” offer for Health Insurance, and B) Because over the past few years I have grown to hate these calls almost as much as I hate the way George Bush used to say “Nucular”.

It’s a terror any cell phone owning Bombayite has to deal with on a very regular basis, and while initially they were rather polite and understanding when you say you’re not interested, they’ve grown to become a quite obnoxious breed of phone spammers. Now, even though you say you aren’t interested, they just keep rambling on and sometimes even start arguing. How this helps their purpose I do not know, but what I do know is how to annoy people, and finally I’ve been able to put my skills to good use to get rid of these telephonic parasites.

1. Just say NO – It used to work in the past and every now and then it still does, when they ask if you’re interested in a certain offer/course/program just say NO and hang up. It’s succinct, polite and pretty obvious. But it rarely works these days so you have to get creative with it. I often say NO before the person at the other end can even finish the sentence. I sometimes even pick up the phone and say NO instead of saying ‘hello’ if it’s a number I recognise as that of a call whore. If they refuse to accept a simple NO you can try a series of NO’s, ranging in number from 3 to 45. Just keep saying NO until they submit and hang up. If even that doesn’t work then you can try the Hitler:

2. Lead them on – I think it’s been established already that I’m quite sadistic and rather rude at times and THAT coupled with a fair amount of free time makes me a call whore’s worst nightmare. After realising that being polite and giving them time to rope in gullible customers has started to lose its effectiveness, I decided to do the exact opposite. When I get a call requesting 5 minutes to discuss health insurance, home loans or other such things that I have as much interest in as I do in a book about 15th Century door knobs, I respond with “Oh thank God! I really need *offer* please tell me everything about it”. I then go on to affirm my attention in all the minute details with a well timed “Hmm” every 10 seconds as I proceed to get along with doing whatever I was doing. After about half an hour of mindless dribble when the call whores asks “so sir, are you interested?” I reply with a steady and firm “NO” that hits them in the face like body odour and then hang up. That should teach them not to fuck with a sadist like me. If you don’t have the resilience to hold your phone to you ear and “hmm” every 10 seconds you can choose to just put your phone on your desk and move on. The phone whore will realise you are a right ol’ dick when after 5 minutes of poorly framed sentences they go “Sir….sir….are you there….hello…..SIR?”

3. Confuse the crap out of them – Although leading them on is pretty fun, it’s pretty time consuming and sometimes if I’m in a hurry and a simple NO isn’t working, I just confuse the crap out of them. For example, if someone calls me offering health insurance where a premium of Rs. 10,000 will give me returns of 2 Lakh in 10 years. I ask “What will the returns be in 7 years if I paid a premium of Rs. 25,450 but made 4 claims in the first 3 years, two of which were pertaining to an accident where I’ve injured the lowest bone in my lumbar vertebrae while playing PlayStation, one claim where I banged my head on an uncommonly large fridge handle and one claim for when I broke my chin with my own elbow while wrestling with a large bear.” This works if you say it fast enough and don’t stop to listen to the interrupting call whore who is now probably ‘googling’ everything you just said only to find out that it is physically impossible to break your chin with your own elbow. If it doesn’t work then you can follow up with questions like “does it cover self-inflicted war injuries, tissue damage caused by excessive masturbation or aromatherapy to cure my depression caused by the death of my imaginary friend”

4. Get back at someone you don’t like – A friend and I used to quite enjoy ruining each others’ lives so sometimes, rather than hanging up, I would tell them I know someone else who is interested and give them said friend’s name and number so that they can dance on his last nerve rather than mine. I found this to be specially entertaining when said friend was sitting right next to me. I also found it to be very entertaining when once, a call whore asked what said friend’s profession was and got overly excited when I told him my friend made movies. I think his exact words were “Sir, actually you hao done me a big favour because actually I am also looking to get into filum industry”. More recently my friend and I have called a truce though, so now I just tell them I have a friend called “Sanjeo” who is interested and give them the landline number to my old house.

5. Do the Jerry – I was inspired by a 5 second act of absolute brilliance in an episode of Seinfeld and have been aching to try it but somehow every time I pick up a call from a call centre my muscles tense, my teeth clench and I envision a man pounding little kittens with a sledgehammer in my mind so I do not have the patience to do the Jerry. If you do not have such bizarre reactions to a call whore then you could try this:

6. Be absolutely disgusting – I’ve tried all of the above methods to get rid of a call whore and they have had varying success rates. Fortunately for me, and for you, I discovered a perfect, fail proof way of freaking the shit out of an unsuspecting caller, scaring them into hanging up. Here’s what happened.

Call Whore: “Good evening Sir, I’m calling from HDFC Bank, we are offering a special home loan, do you have 5 minutes to spare”

Me: “Can I ask you a question?”

CW: “Yes sir”

Me: “Have you ever stuck you finger in your bum and then licked it?”

CW: *Hangs up*

It’s a shame that someone would have to resort to such vulgarity to get rid of a telemarketer but if that’s what it takes, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ve also come up with other similar tastelessly indecent questions in case they get accustomed to the original. Like “have you ever thought of your Grandma while masturbating?” or “Would you wear *opposite sex’s* underwear and pose for photos if I gave you 100 bucks?”

Of course you don’t have to be so sordid with them as I found out when I asked one of them “How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. The smarty replies with “I don’t know but I can find out for you” to which I replied, “Ok, call me when you do”

Disclaimer: These tips and tricks have proven to work for me in the past but knowing that most call centers record all calls for “training purposes” it is quite possible that they will have your name, number and exact words on tape. Following any or all of the above tips could result in you getting abused by an angry man who’s had a bad day at work in Malad or Goregaon or worst case scenario you could get arrested for harassment or indecency. Read and execute at your own risk.


Fashion – Bamboo’s Guide to not looking like a retard.

Clothes were invented with the sole purpose of covering your privates and maybe some more skin that could be considered indecently exposed. Today, The inventors of clothes – Mr. Paul T. Shirt, Dr. Frank Pant, Sheep, Silk worms and of course Mowgli must be turning in their graves, repeatedly, as clothes are invented and reinvented to look like “Abstract art” (read “crap”). There’s a flurry of stupid quotes, ghastly designs, eye-watering colours and Borat’s mankini which when combined with a bad haircut can make a person look like their parents were siblings.

I have to admit, I’m not the most fashion savvy guy myself. Given the opportunity, I’d wear shorts, a t-shirt and slippers to pretty much any occasion and my haircut for the past 4 years has been a standard No. 2 trim. But it doesn’t take good fashion sense to know what makes you look stupid, just a mirror and some very opinionated friends should do it. If you’ve ever caught someone pointing and laughing at you as you walk past them, you either had gunk stuck in your teeth or you need these tips to help you look less like a jackass.

1. The hairdo – This one’s pretty simple. Next time you walk into the parlour, the barber’s shop or even just happen to fall into the sidewalk barber’s chair, just tell him you want a haircut that does not look like this Hill Billy Special.

Then there are the emo kids with their funky gel soaked, horse blinders hairstyle. The Polish Lowland Sheepdogs called, they want their hairdo back.

Also worth noting is that while it’s generally safe to try and ape a celebrities hairdo, like the Rachel, sometimes even the most popular of celebrities isn’t immune to the colloquial cock-up. Unfortunately Cher learned that the hard way.

2. Quotes are a no-no – For some reason having derogatory, insulting or just generally stupid quotes on your t-shirt is quite popular. Nothing yells out “I have the IQ of a goldfish” like a t-shit that reads “If you are rich, I am single” and everytime someone buys a t-shirt that says “Same, Same but Different” a tank runs over a litter of puppies. Instead of wearing t-shirts with quotes you might as well get a forehead tattoo that says “Please slap me”.

Think of it this way; have you ever seen Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp wear a t-shirt that says “Chick Magnet”? No you haven’t. Coz they’ve all already been bought by fat chick-repellant douchebags like this fella.

Women are guilty of committing crimes far worse because most women’s quote t-shirts imply with negligible subtlety that they’re desperate. Here’s an example of a t-shirt a woman smarter than a bar stool should never wear.

And obviously, this girl has serious daddy issues.

3. You got RIPPED-off – I gave up on finding a decent pair of jeans about 6 years ago because when I’m going to buy clothes I don’t want to waste money on something that’s been gnawed at by badgers. Yes, the whole ripped knees and faded jeans fashion was made popular by rock stars, and everybody wants to be a rock star, but rock stars perform on stage, they have musical talent, you on the other hand look like a street-bum when you’re walking to the bus stop or waiting in line at McDonald’s. Why anybody would spend 2000 thousand bucks on a pair of jeans that could have been picked out of a garbage bin is beyond me. If you are still hell bent on getting clothes with holes in them then I have a handy pair of gloves that I would gladly glove-slap you with for a fairly affordable price.

4. You’re not a plumber – That’s right, you’re not a plumber so pull your pants up and get a belt. We don’t want to see your checkered boxers, nor do we have any interest in your plumber’s crack/ass cleavage; especially when we’re sipping on coffee or grabbing a bite at a café. If you’re not bent over under a sink or in the toilet and your ass crack is peeping out the top of your pants, you’re a dickhead.

5. Don’t be gay – I have nothing against gay people. I do however,  have something against gay people that dress like this.

Please don’t be like him.

 

 

Disclaimer: These tips have been framed based on my personal experiences in order to ensure that you can look less like a retard. Decent clothes shouldn’t be so hard to find but yet somehow a whole lot of idiots get it wrong. Following any or all of the above points could result in you not fitting in with your hipster friends or being ostracized from the Twilight fan club. Which in fact, would be good for you.


Gymnasiums – Bamboo’s guide to working out the right way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah yes, the gym. The gym is quickly usurping the coveted position of social watering hole. Most of my friends go to the gym, some even actually work out, and it’s pretty evident from the rising sales of jockey vests and whey proteins that gyms are here to stay. Unfortunately, the amount of weight you can lift is directly proportional to amount your IQ reduces so most, if not all, bicep inflated fools out there are exactly that – fools. And I’m not making this stuff up, it’s well documented.

I have to admit, I’m not the fittest guy around. I can run a fair bit and maybe manage to lift heavy luggage but the gym and I don’t have a very healthy relationship. Not to say that I wouldn’t like to flaunt a set of six pack abs or thighs the size of a small European country, I just feel that the investment of effort and the expenditure of energy and money are too easily wiped out by a butter chicken and butter naan meal. I did work out at one point of time, back when I was in Australia, but I quickly realized that it was more fun to sit around and watch people than actually exercise myself. I’ve made acute observations of standard gym behaviour, starting with which gym to use and ending at the drive home. Therefore and without much ado, I present to you some musings and some advice on how to enroll, behave and workout when you decide to ride the growing wave that is gyming.

1. Signing up – If I’m correct, there are 5 gyms within walking distance of my house. This could mean that I live in a gym junkie’s paradise, where testosterone flows like the Mississippi or it means that there are so many gyms out there that choosing one is a workout in itself. The best way to choose the gym for you is to first identify what exactly you are going to do there. If you’re going to stand around and gawk at pretty women in tight clothes, then join an expensive gym because everyone knows – beauty is directly proportional to the size of daddy’s bank account (once again, this is well documented). If you’re going to actually workout then there are some amazing features that gyms offer that you should look out for. Open 24 hours is surely the deal sealer. You probably do not intend to workout after a heavy night of drinking or an exhausting late night meeting but just knowing that your gym is open between 11 pm and 6 am will surely be comforting. You might also want to consider a gym that boasts 100 treadmills, each with its own TV screen because those 15-20 minutes you spend jogging are definitely worth the extra Rs. 10,000 you throw in for membership. There’s also the issue of proximity. You need to find the gym that is at the optimal distance to flaunt your newly pumped gluteus maximus for the perfect amount of time. A 2 minute walk is too close, because then the only people staring at your butt will be the postman and the dude that walks your neighbours dog. A 20 minute drive away is too far because you probably won’t get home in time to flood your veins with all the protein milkshakes and hernia pills you need to take. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the larger the amount you spend for signing up the better because only then will you feel guilty enough to go to the gym everyday.

2. The gym clothes – Now that you’ve got yourself a membership, you need to equip yourself with all the necessary apparel and accessories associated with the gym. You don’t want to walk into the gym in a pair of tracks and an old t-shirt because everything with eyes in there is going to judge you. If you are fat and hairy you need to get yourself a tight fitting vest that accentuates your back hair and spare tires, otherwise you will not look like you’re serious about losing weight. If you’re overly skinny and of unassuming stature you need a headband and/or wristbands for the same effect. Average sized men need to spend at least 10,000 bucks on Nike or Adidas shoes and another ten grand on Puma trainers, a set of gloves you will never use, a chic drink bottle with a nozzle that makes drinking water an exhausting task and a supporter to protect the marbles. It’s much easier for women – if you’re attractive then get yourself some tight clothes and if you’re unattractive then get yourself some tight clothes. All gym goers must also have the mandatory upper arm iPod strap without which entry into any gymnasium is prohibited.

3. The Scope – So now you’re in the gym, looking good and ready for your workout. First you need to loosen up a little, do some stretching exercises. Men must assume the most socially awkward position to stretch; women must assume the most sexually arousing one. Stretching exercises are not meant to warm up the muscles or loosen up the joints. The sole purpose of stretches is so that you can pretend to be busy while you scope around the floor for hotties, notties and potties. You can observe man-mountains lifting your bodyweight plus some more on the bench press and think to yourself – “soon I’ll be able to do that” (‘that’ refers to ‘lifting heavy weights’ if you’re a guy, and ‘the guy himself’ if you’re a girl) or you can sneak a peek at what kind of weights people your own size are lifting so you get an idea of where you fit in. I spent the entire first month scoping out the toilet so you might want to get that out of the way as well.

4. The workout – In the four odd months that I frequented the gym, I learned a very valuable lesson. Your muscle growth does not depend on the exercises you do or the amount of weight you lift. Your muscle development actually depends on three other criteria – your looks, your sounds and your patches. In order to expedite your bulking, you need to stand in front of the mirror and make the most vague, distorted and downright ugly expressions. Whether it’s your ‘constipated look’, your ‘I-might-be-mentally-challenged look’ or your ‘I’m-going-to-rip-your-arm-off-and-slap-you-with-your-own-hand look’ you need to convince everybody else in the gym that you are going to turn your reflection into four kinds of fucked up. Try turning red in the face for added effect. You also need to supplement your freakishly Neanderthalesque look with the appropriate sounds. Most people have the usual heavy breathing with the occasional yelp, generally heard when you unexpectedly stub your toe, stuff that’s now the norm, but there are a few eccentric ones as well. You can try the surprising-squeaker – a high pitched screech that will drive all dogs within a 50 metres radius into a frenzy. There’s the “my-dog-died” over-exaggerated groaning that you would hear only in Rocky movies and you might come across the “I-shat-my-pants” abrupt scream because, well, you shat your pants. Along with your expression and sounds you also need patches. Sweat patches that is, the bigger your patches, the bigger your muscles. I’m a naturally sweaty guy so a 2 minute run on the treadmill and I’d look I’ve just jumped out of the shower but you might now be that blessed. Try sitting in a hot room before you get to the gym or just slyly pouring water all over yourself.

5. The Break – Of course you have to take a break between sets of exercises and this is the time that you are most vulnerable. If you’ve just finished a set you can’t just wait around doing nothing, you still have to look busy. In my gyming days, I used to pretend to read the exercise posters which were conveniently located next to the window so I could get some fresh air. But you might not be so lucky. You can try pretending to fill up your drink bottle, pretending to have issues with your shoes or some other obscure piece of clothing, pretending to go to the loo or just pretending to look for your gym buddy who’s suddenly gone missing. The key is pretending….and looking busy. Of course if you actually do have a gym buddy then you can just make idle chit chat like “how bout that hottie in the red pants” or “Dude, your face looks like yoda when you’re working out”.

6. The Cooldown – So now you’ve finished your workout. You look like a bulimic he-man and you need to cool down so your muscles don’t go and do their own thing. What this essentially means is that you have to do the same exercises you did but with far lower weights for a far shorter period of time. This is both good and bad. The good part is, if you do it right, you can make it look like you’re bloody strong but if you do it wrong, Grandpa on the gym cycle will be telling everyone about how his grandson, aged 13, can lift more than you. Whatever exercise you’re doing you need to make it look like a breeze without anyone knowing that you’re actually exercising with the weight equivalent of a Chihuahua. Try having a causal conversation with someone hot so that all eyes are on the hottie and not on your weights. Try cooling down using weight machines so that the weights are hard to make out and if there’s someone waiting for you to finish then make sure to increase the set weight by a minimum of 20 kilos when you get up. You can also risk no cooldown at all to protect your reputation but there is the possibility that your muscles go into a spasm and you start kicking yourself in the face in the middle of the night.

7. The Exit – The return home is a vital part of your gyming experience. To the layperson the gym is like a factory line which assembles hot people so whether you see them or not, there are always a few eyes fixed at the gym exit waiting to get a glimpse of some eye candy. When leaving never make the mistake of looking like someone’s driven a road roller repeatedly over your body. It makes you look like a tit. If I wanted to seem someone walk like they’ve been riding a saddle-less horse for 4 days straight I’ll watch an old western. What you need to do is march out, chest inflated, nose in the clouds, as if you are the offspring of Superman and Jennifer Love Hewitt. You need to have an air of “I’m the shit coz I just lifted a baby elephant in there” about yourself. Then there’s the rest of the journey home. If you’re walking then you must continue to walk the way you exited the gym, all the way home, at a steady pace so that pedestrians and drivers have just enough time to notice your bulky shoulder muscles before they get distracted by your naturally formed v-neck sweat patch on your chest. If you’re driving then obviously you must have the windows down. One arm out the window, cruising along sipping on a Gatorade, and you must keep your headband or wristband on. Otherwise no body will know you’ve been to the gym.

Disclaimer: These guidelines have been framed based on my personal experiences in order to ensure that you can have a safe and comfortable gym experience. The gym has the inexplicable ability of turning well-mannered gentlemen and elegant ladies into right ol’ dickheads 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.


Mumbai Local – Bamboo’s Guide to Getting there on Time

 

 

When I successfully completed my XII standard I thought my disastrous affair with Mumbai’s local trains had come to an abrupt but welcome end. It is truly unfortunate that 5 years on, the leech that is the local train has clawed its way back into my life. With a schedule to keep and by sheer compulsion, I’m forced to deal with this abomination on a twice daily basis.

It’s peculiar how humans have the tendency to emulate lower intelligence creatures when put into certain situations. The trains are one of those situations where even the nicest, Dalai Lama-esque person could suddenly turn into a nuisance and an embarrassment to the human race and just as swiftly change back to his crimson robe wearing ways once he disembarks. In general, most people turn into rats on the train – they’re selfish, repugnant and you will get a fatal disease when bitten by one of them. While fending off such rodents on my commute to and from work, I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks that could make your next local train journey just a little less uncomfortable and just a little more awkward for your immediate neighbours.

1. The Elbow Rule – The train is a bean bag and its passengers are the beans; that makes you a bean too. If you’ve ever looked inside a bean bag you would have noticed that none of the beans have any personal space, they’re all just squanched up together and it’s the same in the train. The elbow rule advises that when walking on the platform and boarding or alighting a train, you should jostle with your palms joined at the belly and your elbows extended outwards making sure you prod or poke as many people as possible. This will ensure that you are not able to listen to the thoughts of the man pressed up against you and that you do not smell of another man’s sweat when you disembark the train.

2. The Goalkeeper Rule – The goal keeper rule is similar to The Elbow Rule (See point 1) but it is more effective for ascending and descending staircases at the station. The rule basically states that just like a goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation, you must make yourself look as big as possible when climbing steps in order to not have another mans bum in your face and to be able to see your own feet. Making yourself big involves walking with your shoulders as broad as possible, taking wide steps, and keeping your arms away from your body. Taking this rule to the extreme by flapping your arms violently, stomping and making gargling sounds will give the other commuters the impression that you are mental and thereby earn you a lot more space. It is not advisable to follow this rule on the train or on the platform as you could easily be thrown onto the tracks by a disgruntled traveller.

3. The Oil Spill – One morning I was on an unsurprisingly overcrowded train and when I debarked I found my white shirt was tainted by patches. The usual sweat patches on the armpits and back and a baffling one on my forearm. Then I realized that it wasn’t a sweat patch but rather an oil patch from the stubby little fellow in front of me whose head looked like America would raid it for oil next. I like to call them the Oil Spills. Watch out for these guys if you do not want weird patches on your clothes. An easy trick when you encounter an Oil Spill is to piss then off to the extent where they choose to rear their coconut oil harbouring head elsewhere, this can be achieved by jostling, kneeing, kicking and burping. Be warned though, should the Oil Spill get aggravated, he could explode into a ball of flames.

4. The Easy Peasy don’t you Sneezy Law – This one’s pretty simple. Everyone on the train is devoid of morals, principles, values and brains in general, so it is advisable to not piss anyone off. Entry onto the train is not height selective so it is possible that you may be caught behind a shorter person who is not an Oil Spill (See point 3) and whose hair is doing a thing of its own. A wayward hair from such a head could find its way to your nostrils and induce a sneeze. Sneezing on someone could piss said person off so try not doing it.

5. The Ledis Law – Trains have a dedicated compartment for ladies or as they are referred to in train jargon – Ledis log, but sometimes the stray lady does find her way into the general compartment. When faced with such a situation common sense would suggest that you treat the lady respectfully and avoid any awkward and unsocial behaviour. Common sense however is not very prominent in train brains so ignore yours. Ledis log have a reserved place on the train, hell they even have a whole special train for themselves, but they’ve failed to take advantage of it so treat the lady as you would anyone else. More often than not she’s going to be rough around the edges and might even be more vulgar than most men. To determine this – check for a basket of fish on her head, fish ladies are sewage mouthed.

6. The Ben Affleck – Every white Caucasian male is Ben Affleck (for reference watch Role Models). You might find a tourist Ben Affleck or hippy Ben Affleck in the train with you. This guy is your test dummy, oblivious to train etiquette and rodent behaviour, you can use this object as a barrier or as cushioning. Lean, prod, push and pull, these fools had no clue what they were in for when they boarded the train so give them the lot.

7. The Quadbod Doorway (intuitive) rule – There is an unspoken understanding between regular train commuters that a one-time traveller will never be able to comprehend. For instance, did you know it is kosher for one overhead handle to be held by three different individuals at the same time, irrespective of the intensity of pain caused due to fingers being crushed? Similarly, the Quadbod Doorway rule, as the name suggests, states that the doorway in any train – overcrowded or otherwise, must be occupied by four bodies; no more and no less. Even if there are only nine people in the bogey, four must be in each of the doorways. Defying this rule is not punishable by law but it is advised to comply with it if you do not wish to attract unwanted attention.

8. The Khar to Dadar Super Slow – This is not a rule or law or guideline to follow. It is a warning. There exist a handful of unstated tourist special local trains. Like the 8:31 am Churchgate slow that I sometimes board, the tourist special Super Slow trains make it a point to stop at every station for 5 minutes and an additional stop for 10 minutes between two stations for the local train enthusiasts to inhale that uniquely disgusting odour of a smooth, nostril infiltrating blend of faeces and sewage that lines the entire network. This along with the opportunity to take in the sight of slum dwellers laying shit bricks on the track and washing their clothes in Mumbai’s flush water that is the Mahim Creek fuses the Mumbai local’s role as a commuter’s transport and a tour guide. If you are going to use the local trains regularly, identify these undisclosed Super Slows and avoid availing of their service to increase your life expectancy by around 15 years.

9. The Baby Bag manoeuvre – For those who carry backpacks on the train the baby bag manoeuvre is an essential technique to ensure your baggage does not get broken into and stays with you through your local train journey. While wearing your backpack on your front side might be frowned upon by fashionistas, it is the only way you can keep an eye on it when you are one of 400 passengers in a bogey designed to fit only 50. Mastering the slick, seamlessly smooth transition from back to front and timing it to perfection could result in you retaining your fashion respect as well as your bag. Look out for the numerous instances of this manoeuvre, often synchronised to the second at any busy station.

10. The Will He Won’t He Game for the overly sadistic – This is a special game I came up with while I waited at Dadar platform one day. It has a few requirements and it could have very dire consequences if you are not subtle enough in your actions. The main requirement is to be possibly the most sadistic person in the world, to be over the age of 18 and to have a wee bit of free time. The game is simple; you stand at a platform of your choice, at a station of your choice – preferably a crowded one. Wait for a train to arrive and stand close to the door giving people the impression that you want to board it. Now as the train comes to a halt you start pushing and pulling people all around you pretending like you are struggling to get into the train, but actually you are in the exact same place. Do this and prevent people behind you from boarding the train just for a few laughs and once the train is on its way you can leave the station and drive back home in the comfort of your devil-mobile. You can also play this game whilst on the train, preventing people from disembarking or boarding the train. Be aware that there is the possibility of getting the crap beaten out of you, being forcefully pushed onto the train or being trampled by a stampede of exiting travellers.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: These rules, laws and guidelines have been framed based on my personal experiences in order to ensure that you can have a safe and comfortable journey on the Mumbai local train. The train has the inexplicable ability of turning well-mannered gentlemen and elegant ladies into right ol’ dickheads 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.


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