Feb 3, 2010

Save our tigers!

When the catchline from the Indian cricket captain says "Just 1411 left", it makes one sit up and wonder for a while. Once the ad was done, I rushed to the computer and checked out the website. I even joined the roar and noticed this morning that 31,000 people have since, joined the roar. All the action is at www.saveourtigers.com.

Is this another marketing gimmick to gather a huge database of emails and phone numbers? Is it some innovative branding effort to get into the hearts of people? The motive is beyond judgement, for if you have watched the tiger moving in the wild, you will know that any effort of educating humans about the threat of this mighty beast disappearing deserves an applause. With the forest reserves becoming picnic grounds and places to unwind with alcohol and cigarettes and the animal tracks being used to test the off road capabilities of that newly acquired SUV, I do not see much hope. What we can do? Stay away is what is recommended. Let the reserves heal themselves and flourish again. Let the tigers grow in numbers, in a fearless and unpolluted environment. I have done my days at Sambar Road at Jim Corbett and I miss the place but I am keeping away from planning future visits. I am doing my bit. Are you?

Jan 30, 2010

Land Ahoy!

I have been away from home (read Kolkata) for two years now. First, it was Mumbai and then Bengaluru. Time went by like a breeze on the personal front. There was work (after two years of doing my own thing between 2006 and 2008) and a little money too. Life took an all new meaning when there was money to be drawn from an ATM at the end of every month.

However, there were a few things that kept flashing ever so mildly at the back of my mind. Friends, family, the fact that my daughter was growing up with fairy tales of her grandparents and motorcycles haunted me as I churned out power point and excel files on my office desk between 9 to 6. I decided that it was time to head back to the only place that could be called home. By mid February, I hope to get on that plane and see Nitin's smiling face at the airport once I land. I have never been an ambitious person and I am happy going back to a lesser paying job as long as I have people who care around. Then again, the feasibility of Monoshock starting up is higher on the hallowed grounds of Kolkata.

I look forward to churning out those e magazines as much as some of you look forward to reading them. The power point and excel sheets will have priority, but then, so will friends, family and motorcycles!

See you soon people. The view from the east is better!
- Rahul

Dec 23, 2009

The VW Jacket Days

Last week, while on a trip to another city and some serious drinking there, I caught a bug. By the next morning, there was a frog in my throat and a few hours later, a fever came along. Once back in Bangalore, I searched through my old trunk, looking for something warm to wear and I found the old VW jacket.

As I was wearing it, reruns of the old days filled my mind's screen. Me, the VW Jacket and the Honda Hornet 250 made the picture complete. Monoshock ran as a website for a full two years and the blog is still online but there never was a story on the Hornet and me. There was a comparo though which featured the Hornet, written for BS Motoring but thats it. I never wanted to be seen as a guy who rode an import around town and had followers because of the 180 section rear and that seductive exhaust note. To me, Monoshock was a website for everyone, created and maintained by people who were like any other biker on the street. Lonely deep inside, sensitive, caring and a bit loony.

The Hornet is long gone and the zeal for the website has lost itself somewhere in the twists of this road called life. The VW Jacket still remains. Its on my shoulder as I write this. It still smells of the days gone by. The wife just came in and asked, "What are you doing wearing shorts and that jacket?"
"Just planning to take the Hornet out", I replied, transported to another day.
Poor Rahul, she would have thought as she walked out, must be going round the bend!

Dec 7, 2009

I saw the Harley Davidsons roll by!

Bangalore witnessed a great event lately. Great atleast for the bikers around. A bunch of men (as Ben would have put it) startled the city astride Harleys, the potato sound booming and bystanders gawking. Yes, I was one of them. Out on the road in the morning, running a small errand for the wife, I noticed these mighty metal monsters hogging up the road. It was a great feeling. Completely child like. I remembered the time when I had seen the P180 for the first time. And the time when I had brought home my very own Hornet 250. It was a humbling experience to watch engineered metal at its desirable best. I hear that the Harleys in India will be priced between four and fourteen lacs and I also hear that their market research claims there are enough buyers even at that price range!

Just awesome. If any one of you happen to buy one, lemme know so I can come over and ride one. No matter what I am told in that department, I need to feel it first hand!
- Rahul

Nov 30, 2009

Still Around

Almost a year has gone by since the last post. A year that was full of surprises, laughter, friends, struggle and hardships. The economic slowdown did little to uplift dampened spirits and emotions. I did go around though. Down the little green hills of Coorg and the cobblestone pathways of Pondy. I even drove up to Ooty and spent a whole afternoon gazing at the meadows from the verandah of the Ooty Gymkhana Club. A little bit of writing has happened too, albeit they are all notes. Some of them, have been penned down just to amuse myself. The hard drive has some new images as well, but they do not really fit anywhere on Monoshock!

To tell you the truth, I have carried my camera along to pretty destinations this year but, have often come back home without clicking a single picture. The biker in me, loves the "Midship" sticker on the new Yam. I think the new Zma sucks and Dubai was always over rated. But thats just me. Doing a round of the web, I see too much information on motorcycles. Tech Specs and user reviews pop up from the most unsuspecting links and everyone seems to be generally happy. There are also a few around who still email. Asking about a possible restart of the www.monoshock.in website. Thanks so much! Mean it from the bottom of my heart. I really have nothing to tell them right now.

Except that, I am still around!
- Rahul

Jan 19, 2009

Remembering an old friend!

The cellphone blurted out an alarm at 6 AM. It was a birthday reminder set for a few friends who mean the world to me. I looked up and saw it was Parikshit's birthday. (Doc to me). Memories flooded my mind's screen. That gentle genuine smile from behind the lid. The warm sparkling eyes. That fluid language straight from the midst of Freshwater East in the July 2007 edition of the Monoshock emag! I never endorse drinking or smoking but I raise my glass of rum for you tonight as I try and put my lonely self to sleep. Hope you had a great day, and continue to have many thousands more of them. Someday, we will be back again like the good old days doc.

Nov 11, 2008

The Shed

I had a chance to take a look at a decaying old factory from inside today. The walk to the shed was riddled with bush and snakes (heard the security staff swear by the 'Big Black One'). The top had blown off in places and the setting sun was peeking through one of those gaping holes in the metal and asbestos! I shudder when I think this was a place full of people at one time, manufacturing who knows what for who knows who... The image is with me to stay. I am happy for that. It makes a lovely desktop wallpaper. Fits widescreens too!

- Rahul

Bang galore for the buck!

I have been living in Bangalore for almost two months now on work and I still have not been able to figure out how the city moves. Call a Meru cab and 8 out of 10 ten times, the waiting time for a cab to arrive at your doorstep will be in the excess of two hours. The buses seem to go nowhere even when they are clogging up every possible street er, lane to be more precise. Then there are the double coach buses, joined by a vestibule that resembles some ancient space ship docking system from the children's books. Three wheelers are another story. The meters are completely warped. I remember having done what seemed to be 15 kays and this guy's meter read 24 kays. Negotiations from a guy who does not know the local language is mostly futile. Running a car with those petrol costs is unviable.

Biking is an option if you do not mind massive concrete carrying trucks and buses constantly sniffing your backside. Their motors hissing away barely inches from your rear numberplate. Hence my state of confusion. The office is about 3 kays from where I put up these days and with the cool breeze and clear blue sunny skies, I have been walking back and forth all these days to work. And each time, drooling at the P220 or an FZ that passes by, recklessly overtaking that dump truck from the left. Darn!

Nov 8, 2008

Quantum of Solace

When I was a kid, a quantum of solace came from watching my mother move around the house on her many chores. Wearing a gown that touched the ground. I sat back in the verandah, glass of milk in my hand and watched her move around the local friendly cows that mowed our lawn naturally every other day. A few more years went by and I stared at coloured posters of big bikes clung to the sides of the Kolkata metro railway station exits, almost never having the money to buy one for the wall in my room where the paint had flaked off. The laminated Kawasaki GPZ was one that stole my imagination and kept me awake many nights. Just its mental image!

Then there were girls. I could almost never take my eyes off a particular shade of skin on the upper arms and necks. I must have ogled shamelessly at millions. I guess I am a visually stimulated person to a large(r) extent. Now, irrespective of what I ride and where I go to, there are times when I find myself parked by the road side. For no no rhyme or reason. Just watching the crows flying home or little children going to school. Or trees, trying to make conversation in the distance. Their language of longing so unmistakable and yet, calm.
There is solace all around. And if it is not, its just a ten minutes ride away. Thats a promise!