The fateful day is here. After almost 13 years in this city, the time has come to say goodbye and move on.
I got married while living here, we had our kid here, bought our own apartment here; till a few months ago, I thought I would live here forever. However, the deteriorating air quality year-on-year and the complete apathy of the government decided otherwise.
For years, I watched the air quality go worse, for years I saw people turn a blind eye to it and eventually it became clear that this problem won’t be solved in the near future (or maybe ever).
I will miss
Spending my weekend at Ambience mall, perhaps my favourite place in the city. I still remember the first time I went there to buy formal shoes for my first job here (the job didn’t involve formal wear).
Having breakfast at McDonalds while soaking the winter sun at MGF metropolitan mall.
The (few) friends I had here and drinking beer with them at one of the many craft breweries.
The wide highways, flyovers and underpasses and sparse traffic.
The ease of getting things done and solving problems by throwing money at them. Apps and online services for literally everything.
Extremely fast same-day and next-day Amazon delivery.
I will not miss
The horrid air quality between November and January every year and the grey/brown skies.
The constant and relentless pitch of hindutva in every aspect of your life.
Kids as young as 12 driving cars with impunity.
People who cut in queue (in person or in their cars).
I almost never order anything from Flipkart, because, as the title says, Flipkart sucks balls. It sucks balls in so many ways that one blog post won’t do justice to its ball sucking. So, in this post, I will focus on their sucky logistics.
Recently, I needed to buy something that I couldn’t find in stock anywhere (including Brick and Mortar stores & Amazon). Having exhausted all options, I checked Flipkart & surprisingly they had one in stock. The delivery date was a week away, but I had no other option, so I bought one anyway.
To my surprise, they were quite fast shipping the item (from a place called Malur near Bengaluru). Within a few hours, the item was already packed and shipped.
Could it be, that in the last few years, Flipkart has improved so much? Let’s see what happens next.
Soon enough, Flipkart showed its true colours. They waited 1 full day to ship the item out of Malur. The item then took 2 full days to reach Farukhnagar, which is a place near Gurgaon.
One more full day to move the item the few kilometres between Farukhnagar & Gurgaon.
Still, I think, the item has reached Gurgaon 2 days before the delivery date, so I should get it delivered the same or at least the next day. But it turns out, I am a fool for thinking that. The item just sits at this facility (doing nothing) for 2 more days before being sent out for delivery.
Even on the last day, the package left for delivery at 10 in the morning and was actually delivered only by 8:00 PM.
Compared to other eTail services like Amazon or even regular courier services, Flipkart is just plain bad. I can see 3 possible reasons for such slow shipping
They are living in some 1900s time loop when such slow shipping was acceptable.
They lack the capability for faster shipping.
They deliberately delay delivering the item early.
I doubt it is Point number 2 because I have used the worst courier services including this one and none of them were this bad. So, it must be the last reason, in which case, I don’t understand why they don’t try to monetise their faster shipping capabilities? I would have gladly paid extra to get my item delivered in 3 days instead of 7, but there’s no express shipping option either.
This experience proved to me, that after many years, Flipkart is still at the same level as services like Snapdeal and PayTM Mall. Absolute garbage!
I have a long relationship with beer and our relationship has evolved over all these years.
I clearly remember my first beer (or any alcoholic beverage for that matter) which was at Orchid Lake resort next to the pristine Umiam Lake in Meghalaya. I was around 12 years old at that time & was going to Shillong with my uncle and his friend for the day from Guwahati & had stopped at that resort for lunch. My uncle and his friend ordered beer for themselves and offered me some. My first reaction was that it was bitter. I obviously kept that information to myself & commented that it was very tasty so as to not embarrass myself as less of a “man” in the presence of 2 adults.
I had beer a few more times with that uncle over the next few years but didn’t enjoy any of it.
When I went off to college at Nagpur, I was suddenly exposed to a whole plethora of alcoholic beverages. Beer was reserved for those hot summer days when we didn’t have electricity or had an exam the following day & didn’t want to get too drunk.
I remember one evening when Sood Sahib was feeling a bit low. I suggested that we drink some beer & his spirits lifted immediately. We bought beers from a store and some policemen tried stopping us on the way, but we somehow escaped, got soaked in the rain, reached home, dried up and enjoyed our beers.
I also remembering going to Urvashi with Neeraj after our gym sessions to drink beer with Tandoori chicken to aid our workout recovery. Beer also accompanied our jam sessions on numerous occasions.
My first major incident with beer was when I bought what I thought was “Haywards 5000” from a seedy store in Nagpur, went home and drank it alone. My roommate came home from college later to find me passed out with my head shaved. Later, when I regained consciousness, he also reported some strange behaviour from me but I would refrain from going too deep into those details. Later everything explained itself when we saw that the beer I had was actually a “Haryana 5000”.
When I moved to Gurgaon, I was exposed to a new world of freshly brewed beer also known as “artisanal beer” or “craft beer”. We used to go to Rockman’s Beer Island at Ambience Mall very frequently to drink fresh brewed beer poured out for us from taps.
We used to order barrels of this stuff and get hopelessly drunk. I remember one incident when we went to Beer Island with Soniel’s German colleagues, everyone got sloshed on beer and they ran away without paying for anything and we were stuck with the bill.
Another incident with beer I remember is when I had something called “Beer Buster” at an office party. It was beer mixed with Tabasco sauce and I had litres of it. When I came back home, I couldn’t sleep because the Tabasco was burning in my chest and stomach all night.
One of my best beer experiences was during my Beer trip to Bengaluru. We went to a place called Biergarten which was a huge open air pub surrounded by beautiful palm trees. The weather and the colour of the sky were unlike anything in Gurgaon. Even the washrooms had a killer view.
Not until the lockdown, when I was forced to stay without any beer for months did I learn the true value of beer (among other things). When the lockdown did open and I rushed to the nearest beer shop to buy some, I decided that I would start treating beer with more respect from then on. Yes, I would savour my beer more and learn to enjoy it.
I started drinking beer slowly, appreciating the textures and flavours and enjoying the taste rather than aiming to get hopelessly drunk.
When I drink alone at home, I never drink more than 1 or 2 cans at a time and I make sure I enjoy every sip. When drinking out with friends (rare), all these rules go out of the window, though.
3 cheers to beer and here’s to many more years of friendship.
The first few weeks of the lockdown felt awesome. No need to go to work & lot of time freed up from the daily commute. I spent most of this time drinking and lying around. However, eventually the lying around became quite tiring physically.
Things were so bad, I went through most days with less than 200 steps. The less I moved, the more tired I felt. Eventually, I was always tired and even getting out of the bed seemed a huge challenge. I knew I needed some exercise. I tried Darebee’s daily workout for a few days, but I didn’t find it motivating and couldn’t sustain it long enough. What I needed was to go out and run, but with the lockdown, that was out of the question.
By the end of the lockdown, I was so eager to go out and run that when we were allowed to go out, I started running immediately and fortunately, was able to maintain the habit over many months.
My energy levels came back up, I felt much better after the workouts, I could focus more at work and I slept better. I also started watching my diet and limiting what I eat on weekdays.
Some other quantifiable gains over these 3 months of daily running
Weight came down from 70.4kgs to 64.5kgs
Body fat % came down from 14.5 to 11.7
VO2 Max went up from 39.3 to 46.8
Resting heart rate went down from 65 to 55
It’s not that I am fanatic about running. Since I can spare only 15-20 minutes daily between meetings, I run only 2km each time. But I do this with consistent pace and do it regularly without skipping days. Whenever I feel like skipping a day, I think about how lucky I am to be able to go out at all.
I hope I am able to keep up the cadence, at least till the air quality here goes to shit, like it does each year and going out becomes impossible.
I love rains, and have written about it many times before. My favourite type of rain is one which goes on for hours & it makes me nostalgic & pensive. Unfortunately, in Gurgaon, such rain is rare; it almost never rains for more than an hour at stretch. (Which is good in a sense, because of the waterlogging that follows soon).
I love the sound of rain the background and I love how the rain drops stick to the windows.
Don’t you love the sight of raindrops clinging to leaves?
Even the Air Quality has improved drastically.
Unfortunately, the rain has already stopped by the time I finished writing this post and soon, it will be hot and humid.
Today is Day 33 of the lockdown. In these 33 days I haven’t gone out of my apartment complex gate once. And it is starting to affect me in some weird and unexpected ways.
I do not miss socialising at all. In fact, I welcome this time away from unnecessary socialising.
I am having very vivid dreams and remembering them for a change. Normally I hardly have dreams and don’t remember them later.
I miss going to Ambience Mall, drinking coffee ☕️ at Barista, eating at Pizza 🍕 Express and just roaming around the mall. It is unlikely malls will open even after the lockdown is relaxed and I am not sure how the mall or the business inside will survive this.
I miss drinking fresh beer 🍻 at pubs. Again, not sure when this will happen again.
I miss eating out at restaurants. My thoughts especially drift towards Toninos at Two Horizon Center on Golf Course road
I miss driving my car 🚗 , while listening to BBC World Service.
I miss ordering stuff from Amazon, waiting for the delivery and unboxing the items.
I miss going to the park and walking🚶♂️ around.
I miss going to the nursery to buy new plants 🌱 and fertiliser.
I miss going to Galleria, sitting opposite the fountain and sipping Coca Cola.
As per the current situation, restrictions should start lifting in 11 more days, but I have a feeling that’s not going to be the case and things won’t start going back to normal for a long time.
Today is day 16 of my lockdown (Day 11 of the official government lockdown).
During this time, I haven’t used my car, gone out of my apartment complex, or seen many human beings (which is good). I have gone out of my flat less than 5 times, to collect essentials, which are now being delivered at the society gate.
On the bright side, the air is clean, weather is starting to heat up and the flowers are blooming.
On the negative side, I am definitely getting some cabin fever now and my allergies have flared up. Hope for all this to go back to relatively normal soon.
It is impossible to go anywhere in Gurgaon (Sorry, Gurugram) without stumbling across such idiots. What a pathetic fool!
This one has a Mercedes Benz logo on his Nissan Sunny. Immediately reminded me of people who put Apple logos on their non-Apple laptops.
I do not understand what people achieve with all this. Maybe there are even bigger fools out there who actually believe that it is a Mercedes/MacBook.
On closer inspection, it turns out this guy is a McDonald Drive through VIP. I don’t even know what that means. In a drive through queue, when this guy comes along, they remove all the other cars and let him get his Vegeterian burger first?
There’s a word used in and around Delhi and most of North India. The word is “Lafandar”. It basically refers to a class of teenagers (but could also extend to people in their 30s) who have a lot of free time, whose fathers have a lot of money and whose favourite past time is driving around the streets from evening till late night in their pimped our cars. Also, they do not contribute to society in any way, except by occasionally crushing pedestrians under their cars, keeping this country’s burgeoning population in check.
You can easily spot them at a distance; they are the ones driving aggressively, changing lanes unnecessarily and cutting others off.
Till a few years ago, a vast majority of these “Lafandars” were driving Suzuki Swifts. It never made much sense to me, as the Swift is a middle class car and not a show-off worthy car.
Now that the swift has fallen out of style, most of these people are now driving Hyundai Cretas.
When you spot a Creta at a distance, you can be reasonably sure that if you drive too close to it or overtake it, the owner will cut you off; hence it is best to keep some distance between you and them.