Tag Archives: Gurgaon

Beer, my friend

I have a long relationship with beer and our relationship has evolved over all these years.

A mug of “Child” beer

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.

Sood Sahib Enjoying and Appreciating Beer

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.

Beer plus Laser

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.

Neeraj at Beer island

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.

Biergarten, Bengaluru

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.

First Craft Beer after Unlock

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 Lockdown finally got me running

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.

Schedule

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.

Rains in Gurgaon

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).

Rains

I love the sound of rain the background and I love how the rain drops stick to the windows.

Rains in Gurgaon
Rain Drops on Windows

Don’t you love the sight of raindrops clinging to leaves?

Even the Air Quality has improved drastically.

Air Quality

Unfortunately, the rain has already stopped by the time I finished writing this post and soon, it will be hot and humid.

Lockdown Day 54 – Freedom!

Last week, the lockdown rules were slightly relaxed in Gurgaon and it is now allowed to go out and do some things. Freedom at last!

I had been waiting to see my ENT, so I used this chance to step out of my apartment for the first time in almost 2 months.

It was a surreal experience driving after so many days; I had a continuous feeling of guilt, as if I was doing something wrong.

I returned back home soon enough, but at least it gave me a chance to stock on some beverages. There were very limited brands available, but I wasn’t complaining.

Lockdown Day 33

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.

Lockdown Day 16

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.

Lockdown
Rare View

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.

Pathetic Fool-2

It is impossible to go anywhere in Gurgaon (Sorry, Gurugram) without stumbling across such idiots. What a pathetic fool!

German Engineering

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.

McDonald Drive thru VIP

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?

Hyundai Creta is the new Suzuki Swift

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.

Pathetic Freeloaders

What won’t people do for free stuff? Fisher and Paykel had an exhibition at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon where they had a chef make food using their products. People who sat for the demonstration would get this food for free.

Losers
More Losers

We saw this scene when we reached the mall and after more than an hour later, while walking by, we saw the same group of people sitting there, licking free ice cream. Surprisingly, it was not people from the lower class who were wasting their time for free ice cream, bit rather well to do people. Pathetic. Bonus: Another (or the same) set of losers getting photos clicked in front of Valentine’s day decorations

The Pros and Cons of living in Gurgaon

I have been living in Gurgaon for almost 4 years now and I am yet to get used to this city. Without wasting any further time, here’re the Pros and Cons of living here
Pros:-
1. The city is great to look at. When you cross the toll plaza from Delhi, you’re immediately confronted by the huge Ambience Mall on the left, following which there are huge office buildings and complexes on both sides of the road. It is evident that the builders have gone out of their way to impress visitors.

2. The availability of goods and services is good. Whether it be grocery, movies, electronics, computers, there are plenty of malls/markets to choose from. Most of them are open 7 days a week and you probably won’t have to go far looking for something wherever you stay.
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Image Courtesy: wikitravel.org

3. The city is well connected to Delhi through Delhi Metro and through the upcoming Airport Express line. The railway station is an hour away on the metro. Connaught place is 50 mins away. South Delhi is half an hour away.

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Image Courtesy: hindu.com

4. The airport is very close by. 15-40 mins depending on where you stay
5. Good career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job and have a particular company in mind, chances are, they have their offices in Gurgaon.

6. Excellent microbreweries. At last count, there were 6 microbreweries in Gurgaon, making their own beer and all of them are very good.

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Beer Island

7. Heaven for drunkards. There are wine shops every 500 metres in this city and most of them are illegally open through the night. Most of them also have an adjoining eating joint.

Cons:-


1. Roads are pathetic. The only nice road to drive on is NH8; however, you do have to get off the highway to get somewhere and that is when you realize that the highway is just a facade, the rest of the city roads are pathetic.

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Image Courtesy: 4.bp.blogspot.com

2. The city has witnessed unchecked growth, resulting which, there’s not enough electricity and water to feed all the malls, offices and residential complexes. Daily 4-5 hour power cuts are normal both in the summers and in the winters.
3. The roads/traffic conditions are not biker friendly. The only good road (NH8) does not allow motorcycles to ply on it. This creates a nightmare scenario for bikers, especially during peak traffic hours.
4. There are not many good scenic places/picnic spots to visit nearby compared to the other cities I have lived in.
5. Property rates/rents are through the roof. You have to be very rich to live in a nice locality. Still, you won’t get water or electricity
6. Most people are uncultured/uneducated. People drunk on the street, fighting, abusing is a common sight at night. Road rage is rampant and crime is common
All in all, I would prefer staying in Gurgaon than many places in India, but some major improvements are long overdue.