Monthly Archives: June 2014

1st-blog-anniversary

Today is the 1st anniversary of my Blog and I completed 12 month, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,765 hours, 525,949 minutes and 31,560,000 seconds. The journey till now has been an exciting one. This day, last year when I started writing I had not expected I will or can write so much. Till date 66 posts with 4996 views, 39 followers and 271 comments really make me feel happy. I really appreciate all my readers and followers for making this adventure so gratifying.

Thank you for your invaluable support and all the comments and views expressed by you. I would love to hear more and more from you all. Special thanks to 2 people; PC who always tell me that I can write well and Shweta who inspired me to start blogging & always been helpful in need.

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Low cost flying-is it relevant

Today as I entered the flight for Bengaluru here is the conversation between 2 guys; one ahead of me (I will tag him as dude 1) and another already in his seat (tagged as dude 2).

As the dude 1 approaches near dude 2 …

Dude 2 – hey hi. how’s you ? where are you upto?

Me thinking – obviously to Bangalore as this flight is non stop to Bangalore.

Dude 1 – for office work and smiles.

Dude 2 – oh ok. but how come you in low-cost airline ?

Again me thinking – huh ? Low cost? Ok I did not mention I was traveling in Indigo. But the fare amount is almost the same as other airliners.

Dude 1 – with a smiling face, moving ahead said to dude 1 catch you later and have a nice day ahead.

The point “low-cost airline” is still in my mind. How did that guy differentiate and concluded that indigo is a low-cost airline. Although I am not that “high” frequent flyer but when ever I have traveled I did not find much difference in fares of so-called “low-cost” airlines (mainly SpiceJet, Indigo or Go Air or Jetkonnect). The fares are pretty much or rather almost at par with other airlines (Jet Airways or Air India).

I am aware that Indigo, SpiceJet, Go Air do run promos and offers flying on low-cost but they have fixed destinations and specific dates to fly. Even Jet Airways also runs such promos.

Ok at some point I do buy the idea of “low cost” airline but in one way or other these low cost airlines ends up with the price of normal airlines. Low cost airlines charge you for booking some premium seats, also charges for food served during the flight and no loyalty points too. Whereas other airlines do not charge anything for seat booking and serves food at no cost and not to forget the bonus miles you can collect which helps you to redeem at later stage.

I know you must be thinking that I am promoting some airlines or rather trying to sell their products. Nothing like that sort. I travel and have been traveling in all sort of airlines till now.

My point is, there is hardly any difference in fares in any airlines (unless you are traveling in odd or wee hours) Or it is that a new aviation company has just launched its service. My take for low-cost flying should be really “low” (say half the price). Staying in country like India and city like Mumbai one might never get to fly in really a low-cost fare.

All in all am having a good flight while I am penning down my thoughts.

Weekend trip – Malshej ghat

IMG_3250Last weekend was a memorable weekend. I along with family and my college friends had been to Malshej Ghat for over night stay at MTDC Resort (MTDC – Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Govt. of India). I know it’s still not raining and this is not the best time to visit Malshej Ghat but then also we had fun time. The booking for the resort was done more than a month back and that time we did not knew whether it will rain or not during our trip. It was a pure gamble we played to book the place in advance. One way it was a win situation that it did not rain and we were able to enjoy the climate. But the intention to enjoy the natural waterfalls in the ghat was left unfilled.

Our journey started Saturday morning and it took us almost 4 hours including a small haltIMG_3267 for refreshment to reach Malshej ghat. As the ghat section started the climate was getting better and cooler. On reaching the peak of the mountain the wind was blowing at full strength. Darks clouds were seen all around and the hope for rains was always alive within us.

On check-in the MTDC Resort (this was my first time here) I found the place very beautiful. The houses, garden, children playing area and parking all very nicely structured. Frankly I never had expected such a warm welcome from MTDC (as earlier I have been to MTDC Karla and it is a disgusting place to stay).

                                  IMG_3268 IMG_3053The garden and playing area added to the joy for all our kids. For 2 days they enjoyed fully with swings, slides, see-saw and many such activities. Saturday evening we all also played Kho-Kho (an Indian traditional game).

Sunday morning was all foggy with heavy winds. The fog was so thickly dense that the visibility was hardly few meters (see below attach pics which will give an idea of the climate). Fresh air with almost zero pollution mixed in it and the heavy wind blowing was a refreshing moment. The feeling was a mesmerizing one and will remain within me for a long long time.

Over all a nice weekend break from the routine work which was much needed for me to get unwind.

Thanks to the lovely romantic weather who never left us all through 2 days and also did not let us miss the rains :). And not to forget the MTDC Resort which is quiet neat, clean and decent place to visit.

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Cardholder

img_2918_1Yesterday I happened to meet one of my friend and I noticed wallet full of cards with her. I was surprise that she possessed so many cards. See the picture which I have clicked (posted with her permission). My inquisitive to know more made me asked her why she carries so many cards with her. The response was actually a valid one.

The logic is as follows :-

  • Credit Card – we (almost all of us) have minimum of 2 credit cards.
  • ATM/Debit cards – again 2 nos. since one salaried account and other a normal account.
  • PAN card – now a days very much important and mandate requirement at many places.
  • AADHAR card – which I suppose is a flop scheme of government, but since one already has applied and got it then better to keep it.
  • Voting card – used for election purpose and which is a pride to have one with us.
  • Driving license – again depends if you have separate 2 and 4 wheelers license.
  • Club / Retail membership cards – this is if you are a member of some club or any retail outlet.

So if you start counting or already must have counted then the minimum cards one can posses is 1 dozen 🙂 .

I have noticed with many of my friends that it’s a benefit to have many different bank credit cards. Reasons are many; some cards are used for getting offers on flight bookings, some cards give better offers on booking movie tickets, some other cards help to earn more points than other cards, some cards don’t charge you any tax while using to refill fuel in the car, some cards give discounts on online shopping and the list goes on and on …. Point to be noted here is that not one card will give 2 or more benefits at a time. So one has to apply different cards to avail all the above facilities.

Possessing so many cards is not an issue but maintaining them is a headache. Each will have different payment due date and remembering all of them is a big task. Also not to forget the online frauds on credit and debit cards. I personally have been a victim of the same and I am thankful that the fraud amount was not a huge one.

I personally also did check myself on the number of cards I do posses and yes my friend was right. It is just that I carry few of them in my wallet, few others in my credit card pouch and rest of them I have kept at home as I think there is no need for me to carry all of them on daily basis.

I am sure after reading my post, you will surely be checking the number of cards you have with you and will be smiling on the total count :).

High passing percentage – good or bad ?

Yesterday S.S.C (Secondary School Certificate) exam results were declared and the passing percentage ratio was quiet impressive. Heartiest congratulations to all the students who have cleared with flying colors.

The passing percentage of Maharashtra state this year is 88.32% better then last year and of Mumbai is 88.84% dipped a little compare to last year. The passing figures are increasing year by year which is a good sign. It clearly shows that today’s generation kids are more intelligent than us.

Each year the overall percentage is getting higher and higher. This means more number of students will start their college phase. One thing which is bothering me is where is this heading to? Today more and more number of students are getting above 90% and hence the demand in college cut-off percentage has increased. Earlier in 90’s the overall passing percentage of Maharashtra state board was always used to be in-between 50-60% whereas lately this has reach sky-high.

Maybe the Education board wants most of the students to pass out and don’t want to see anyone getting depressed or commit suicide for not clearing out. Actually this is a good gesture but if you look on the other than side more the passing percentage means more difficulties for the students to get admission in their choice of college. This year the cut-off percentage will definitely increase as compare to last year in all the colleges.

My worries are :-

  • Do we have enough number of colleges to accommodate all the passing students?
  • This year’s high cut off percentage in colleges will set bench mark for next year admission and hence current students who are pursuing SSC will have to strive more to get more marks.
  • Aiming for more marks means taking more stress for students.
  • Adding to their woes, is expectations from parents and others. I am sure most of the parents expect that their child should get a minimum of 90%.

Year by year the pressure is building up on students to get 90+ % marks and students are left with no choice with them except to take more pressure of studies.

I personally feel that this is leading nowhere and maybe the Education board has a need to revise their strategy.

What are your views on this?

Cycling after 20 years…

happy_cyclistRecently, a new hobby or rather a new liking has caught me and I am urged to go for it. From last week, I started cycling. Yes am cycling after almost 20 long years. My brother recently bought a cycle for himself and I being big brother took advantage of it and making the use of it tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-006.

I remember, I had a BSA SLR green color cycle in my school days when I was in IX std. Although I hardly use to travel to school on bicycle as I already had walking friends (as we all use to have fun thru and fro walking) and also the distance between home and school was just 10-12 minutes.

Ok so back to cycling trek…. from last week onwards, once I drop my daughter for her school bus I have some spare time with me to leave for office. And so I decided to go cycling. Initially, I was little reluctant as to whether my body will support me as now I am 20 more years older than my last ride on BSA SLR where I use to even goto Marve beach and Aksa beach on cycle (which is approx 7-8 kms one way). But I decided to go against all the odds and thought that there is no harm in trying for couple of days. I pulled up my socks and put on my shoes and left for the ride early morning (7 am is the time I start).

First day no doubt was little tiring and I just had a very short distance ride and was back home. Even the same continued for day 2 and 3. I will slowly start increasing the ride distance after every few days. To track myself I even have downloaded an app on my iPhone which measures the distance covered, the time for the total ride along with how many calories did I let go from my body. The app is a great help to me.

My early days when I was young, I use to take my cycle where ever I go and I do remember we all friends use to go on long rides early mornings during vacation time.

This is just the starting of my 2nd stint of new joy ride and I am thoroughly enjoying the mornings along with fresh air. Hoping I will continue this habit of mine for a longer period and also hoping to keep myself fit and healthy. Fingers crossed tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-108 .

Local train travelling woes..

Today morning, I was little late and caught one train later than my usual train for office and had a hottest with large volume of sweating travel till date to office. Yes the train which I traveled was an old train. Old in the sense the manufacturing of the coaches were old. I am sure those who are regular traveler of western railway will surely understand the difference between old racks and new racks train.

Now a days the Sun God has started showing it’s more brightness and as a result the heat wave is on the rise tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-081. And not to forget staying in Mumbai means getting complimentary sweating along with the heat. And to add to all these today the train I traveled in had the fans off. Yes; the full train fans were off (as I can see the second class compartment fans too). Luckily I got a window seat and was bit lucky to enjoy the warm breeze while the train is in motion. But the conditions of others who are standing on the gangway or passages were horrible. As it is the local trains in the morning hours are fully crowded and one can hardly get some inches of space to stand.

It as like a bundle deal railways had offered us today. Fans not working and the train were not cleaned at all. It seems this particular train was lying in train shed and had been removed out from it after ages. Seats were dirty, windows were fully covered with mud and yes the fans too had layers of mud on it. Being the first day of the week and facing such horrible traveling experience made me think I should go straight to the Deputy General in charge of Western Railway and make him travel in the same train from Churchgate to Borivali.

Damn how can one travel in such conditions. Fans not working, coaches not cleaned…. grrrrr tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-123 … not an expected way to start my day. And did I hear Western railway is starting with AC trains? God, it sounds so funny, the railway authorities can’t even manage to keep the regular trains clean and maintain them properly and they are dreaming of running AC coaches. I really wonder what will be the condition if the AC’s stops working in the AC trains and there are no windows which can let the outside air come in. Why can’t the railway authorities specially the Mumbai Suburban railway take care and pay proper attention to such things. We as a citizen at least expect to have neat and clean coaches with fans working and proper ventilation.

Hoping I will not be greeted with such bad traveling experience in future.