Mumbai is a tough place to live in (compared to Delhi - where I come from). There is never ending traffic jams, air so polluted that you cant breathe, roads and potholes that could put minefields to shame and so on and so forth. If I was to scribble it on paper, the list of rants against Mumbai, the trail could go to the moon and back and yet not get over.
But then this post is not about the rant list or the distance between earth and moon, but is about how I plan to game Mumbai and its travails while I am here. I mean I know that I am going to be here for some time, so I better get used to it and start gaming it. Gaming as in manipulating, scheming it to suit my purpose.
So the plan to game Mumbai is in nascent stages and shall evolve over a period of time. Right now I would talk about how to avoid traffic, that is probably my biggest crib against Mumbai.
And few assumptions. Unlike a lot of people I can control my time most of the times. I have the luxury of not going to office and hence I can control my time and meetings, except a few times when I am supposed to meet people. I realized that the gaming bit has to start with managing life around traffic. If I can do that one thing, my life would be so much sorted.
Here is the list that I shall take up seriously to avoid traffic in Mumbai.
- Avoid rush hours. Never never never (three times for emphasis) travel between 8 AM and 11 AM, and between 5 PM and 930 PM. Leave home at 11 and be back by 530. All the meetings, interviews, digging out, sniffing out, research and other work related chores must happen between 11 and 530. This is a good 6 and half hours and this is enough time for three, one hour long meetings. And the commute time to reach from one meeting to another. If I have to have to leave before 11 AM, leave before 8 and reach destination by 830 and wait. Numerous McDonalds across the city are open and they serve really good breakfast. If I am somehow left on the road after 530, I'd park myself at the nearest coffee shop for few hours and not waste time getting stuck in traffic. And while at the coffee shop, order the cheapest beverage - a bottle of water.
- Meet when absolutely necessary. No more socializing and making new contacts. Phone calls and emails work as well. If I have to travel to meet, club meetings as per locations, as much as possible. If not at the same place, stay within a particular locality. So one day I could have meetings at Bandra, the other day at Powai and then one at BKC and so on and so forth.
- Stay close to highways / stations. So, for example, an ideal place to meet is Oberoi Mall if I have to meet someone Goregaon.
- Use peak hours for self. The time between 530 and 930 could be an ideal time for a catnap. And socializing could happen post 930. This time can also be used for
gymmingswimming, reading, dinnering etc.
- No first thing in the mornings. If someone insist a meeting “first thing in the morning”, politely decline and schedule a “last thing on the previous evening” meeting.
- Spend time frugally. Always carry some reading material. In case I am getting stuck at a coffee shop without any inspiration to write or create, I would rather read, than idly surf the web or tweet away to glory.
- Maker hours. Use a tweaked version of maker hours. A concept I borrow from PG, maker hour is defined as a time where you don’t have any meetings. I actually do something in those maker hours rather than just push paper. So two days in a week (Monday and Thursday), I plan to use as maker hours. I would write for longer duration, update the blog, design and do things that I need to do on a computer. I am writing this post on a Saturday, the first half of which, I am using as Maker Hour.
Multi task. Get a car and a mobile phone headset and use the commute time to make phone calls and get work done on the phone. It could be a good idea to keep a list handy that would have all calls to be made during the day. Unless there is fire when the call flow would become unpredictable, this overall is a good idea. Not applicable for jobless me.
- Know my traffic. And shortcuts, back alleys, city etc. And use Google Maps for traffic predictions. It is fairly accurate and when I know that I am heading into an area with a lot of traffic, I can avoid it or take a detour.
Of course one may argue that I dont have to stay in Mumbai if I am peeved so much about traffic and I need to think so much about getting out off my house. I can just go live in Delhi, Bangalore etc if I have to. But then, despite all my cribs against Mumbai, there is no denying that there is something about Mumbai that brings me back over and over again.
Anyway, more on Gaming Mumbai in subsequent posts. May be a list of places in Mumbai where I could park myself without paying a lot of money while I am in transit.