The Noida Agra Expressway

This weekend A few weekends ago, I was in Agra for work. While going and coming back, I used the new Yamuna Expressway - the latest in the additions of expressways in India. Here are few quick comments.
  1. Boring scenery - compared to Mumbai Pune expressway, this one is really boring. For 150 odd kilometers, all you see is flat lands with an occasional green patch. Most of these flatlands are so similar to each other that you may think that you are going around in circles, in an infinite loop! And since the scenery is boring and there is nothing to do on the road, except hold the steering straight and stare at the road ahead. There is no pleasure in driving. If I was given an option, I would not go on this road for the drive atleast. But yes, if I need to goto Agra, this has to be the preferred route! 
  2. Lack of amenities along the way. There are three places where you stop to pay the toll. And when I went, late August, none of the three were operational. This means that there is no fuel along the way, nothing to eat, no place to pee and no place to throw garbage. Hopefully this would have changed by now by its definitely scary to not have anything, if you get stuck. Yes I did spot escort vehicles, patrol cars and ambulances but I am not sure if they would come when I called for them. 
  3. Bumpy roads. For an expressway, the roads are very bumpy. There are no potholes per se but the road is not flat. Imagine a roller coaster and flatten the crests. Its like that. Like a wave. I dunno why did they do it but I am sure there must have been some pressing need to do so!
  4. Too many stray dogs and other stray animals. Though they have fenced the entire stretch with barbed wires on either side but there are just too many stray animals on the expressway for comfort. I have no clue how they got in because they barbed wire seems taut and high enough for a dog to jump over but there are so many of them that you are forced to drive on the right lane, lest some animal comes in front of your vehicle suddenly.
Having mentioned all these things, it does take exactly two hours from Greater Noida to reach Agra and if someone asked me if I would recommend it, I would say Hell Yeah!

Seeking Contributors for Offbeat Mag

I dont think if I have ever posted something like this in the past but here it goes. 

I have started working on a side project (not to make money to be honest) where I would write, feature and highlight stories, anecdotes, people, incidents and things that are offbeat. I call the project Offbeat Magazine. It would be a web based community blog and it may eventually evolve into something great or may fizzle down into yet another piece of junk on the web. I am not sure. But I will give it an honest attempt.

For the same, I am seeking contributors, people who can help me identify offbeatness and other such quirks that I can feature on the magazine. And designers and photographers and writers and handymen. I am looking for anyone and everyone who can help me pull it off. And once upon a time, someone said something about standing on the shoulders of giants, I want to invite such giants and hope that they help me see further.

Would you want to be that giant?

To give you an idea, the first few set of articles that I am working on for OffbeatMag are...
  • How life has changed for a mango wo/man after s/he became a twitter celeb (I define twitter celeb with someone who's got more than 9999 followers). For the same I want to interview these guys and write an article. 
  • How poker is changing the way kids in engineering colleges are re-evaluating their career options. If you are tuned in the poker scene in India, you'd know what I mean. 
  • How people are re-defining the way they travel by hacking their way into premium lounges, getting free tickets and how international holidays is no longer a big deal.
Ocourse, all these articles have come from my understanding of the world around me. With more contributors, we can look at a broader horizon and hopefully cover more things. 

Thats it for the time being. Do you want to help? Get involved? Its easy! Just leave a comment on this post. Or write into me here.

Long Time!

Its been well over 15 days I think that I have written something. Not here, not on sandbox, not on that secret blog that I write for sgMS and not on Facebook. And no wonder its been taking a toll on me. Writing gives me extreme satisfaction and despite having a combined readership of zero (even I dont read what I have written), I get lot of contentment when I write.

Ofcourse writing is a tough job. Most days I cant write. And even when I write, I always have great beginnings but after a couple of dozen words, I am left high and dry. But writing is probably the best thing to have happened to me since sgMS. This one from Peanuts talks about how I feel about writing!
via This Isnt Happiness

When I started writing this, I dint know that I would carry on with it for so long and writing would become such a large part of my happiness. I mean I know for a fact that just a handful of people read this. And a even smaller fraction of those who read, actually care about what I write. Or why I write what I write. All ofcourse this blog essentially does, is to merely add to all the digital gibberish that us netizens produce every second that we spend on the Internet.

If I said that the net effect of this blog on humankind is actually negative, I wont be wrong. And yet this blog and process of writing is important to me. I can now relate to people who write diaries and I totally understand why are they so attached to the diaries. Ofcourse those diaries are logs of private affairs and other such non-public events for most people. Thankfully I dont really have any skeletons in my closet. Do I?  May be... may be not!

Anyways, before we move on, here is a song. And yes, there is a reason why I am putting it here. Can you guess?


And here is why I havent been writing for these many days.

Last few days have been quiet different what a typical day in life for me is. I am on a break from work. I mean not a real break, but I only work on things that no one else can work on in office and that too, from home. Time spent on meetings and travel has reduced considerably and that means my mind is lot more unoccupied and I have even more time on my hands. And like all idle men, I have no clue as to what could I do with all this time. I mean, I do have a million things that I could potentially work on, but if I do, the list of my vices would look really small!

Apart from this, I have moved to a different city and I have plans to explore yet another city before I am back to the grind. Thanks to my friends for letting me sleep on their floors and using the AC, which in my opinion is the best thing to have happened to mankind. Thankfully, I am being paid for this, so that takes care of grocery, travel and other such things. Thank you guys for that.

I am hoping to be back after Diwali btw, in case someone is curious. In the meanwhile I am spending less and less time online (read lesser interactions on twitter/fb), working towards developing new hobbies and trying to get fit. Oh, must mention, Rr gave me this amazing book by Rujuta Diwekar that talks about losing weight in a nice and easy manner. I like what she says in her book and I think I will try to follow her advice. Apart from fitness, Project rstlf continues to stay at the back of my head. And then there are all those confused thoughts that I dont know know who to share with and who to talk about. The world looks like a stupid place right now and the intent to work on it and fix it is getting stronger by the day. I remain hungry and some day I would fix it for sure. That nagging little voice at the back of my head keeps telling me that its almost time and good things are within reach.

Guess that's it for the update. There are so many more things that I want to talk about but this is not the forum. May be some other day. But yes, exciting times are ahead (I must have said this like a hazaar times since 1982) and there will be quite a few changes on how I spend my time and kind of things I write about. Sounds alien, coming from someone like me who has always been frivolous with life and all worldly matters. But guess its an age thing...

Stay tuned. And in the meanwhile, here is something that I will do as soon as I publish this post...
via This Isnt Happiness
Good night guys.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?