Searching for that elusive Mango: An Educational experience

Having seen some good get ups from Mango on the grooming blogs that i’m prone to read i decided to visit the brand showroom. No mean feat that, considering that we live in the “back of the beyond” of Mumbai (read Navi Mumbai ), this elusive brand is yet to make its presence here and I would have to go to the “happening” Mumbai on the Western line 2 hours from my place . Searching on the much talked about “Google Maps” I found a show room on the fashion street “Linking Road”. Linking Road aka Vithalbhai Patel road, starts from Bandra, goes northward through Khar and ends at Santacruz. One Friday, bunking half day office and dragging a colleague of mine I decide to visit the shop. Having reached the Bandra portion of Linking Road and walking almost over a kilometer all the way to Khar Road from Bandra we were unable to locate the shop at the point as shown on the Google Maps (following the maps on my controversial Acer Mobile). The whole time my colleague kept saying why do you have to come the whole way here when there is a huge Mango shop at Thane. Since we were unable to find the shop on Linking Road, I decided going to Thane was worth a shot (despite my misgivings on why Mango would have a shop in Thane.) Searching on that map encyclopedia I realised that she was referring to the stationery named “Mango”!!!! So much for the Brand-name USP!!! She had to leave early that day and before giving up on the Khar Road store I thought I should search a little more and started walking ahead. Asking some females on the road I determined that there is a store somewhere on that road but it seemed pretty far from Khar. I also got into the hazardous position of having one female tell me that she was going that way and I could walk with her and was subjected to the recital of her complicated life.

Finding that the location on the Google maps wasn’t accurate I went to the site and searched for the store location, which turned out as I suspected much ahead of the place where we were searching for. So armed with the correct location I decided to set forth to SantaCurz the next weekend (A very determined shopper I am! ). The location indicator of the Google Maps being turned off by my hubby I had to find my way to the pin-pointed location by actually reading the road signage! Having got to the precise location I found a few brand show-rooms but no Mango. I found an aging security guard and asked him where the Mango Shop was (assuming it was near by and known to everybody). He gave me a weird look like I had come from some other planet and pointed me in the opposite direct from Khar (towards North of Santacruz) and told me to take the right from the next red light – “all the shops are there” he said. I still hadn’t lost faith in Google Maps and it made be believe that I had to go South while he told me to go North, however due to lack of any better option I walked north and took the directed right only to find that I was approaching the local market place where they would obviously be selling mangoes (if they had started making an appearance for the summer) Finally I asked a more HS female and learnt that the shop was further south – a mere 10 min walk.

  • Lesson 1: Google Map locations on mobile to be taken with a pinch of salt
  • Lesson 2: When looking for Branded shops never ask security guards
  • Lesson 3: It is still possible to find places by following road signage and asking people – the old fashioned way !!
  • Lesson 4: However be very very careful NOT to walk with anybody to the location you are searching for!
  • Lesson 5: The most valuable of all – Imprinted in my memory for a lifetime the location sequence from North to South: Andheri, Ville Parle, Santa Cruz, Khar Road, Bandra!! Don’t ask me which side the station come though!
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Keeper of the Keys

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“Keeper of the Keys” is a title which has been figuring very commonly in the field of popular entertainment. In the Matrix the title holder was THE most important character around which the whole movie revolved. In Harry Potter he’s the most trusted and loyal half-giant, who has his heart in the right place but is towards the lower scale intellect wise. I’ve also been forced to take up this title recently, and my attitude towards it is similar to a cross to be borne. KoK is an indispensable position and being indispensable means moving up the ladder or increasing one’s scope of work is not for you.

The Powai Duplicity

The portion of Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road which hugs the IIT Powai campus and the shores of Powai lake is a lovely four lane drive.

The visually appealing buildings at Hiranandani add to the splendour of the lake and make the drive the most picturesque in the whole of Mumbai. The four lane drive just invites you to step on the accelerator and zoom from the Eastern Express Highway to the Western Express Highway. When my office shifted to Sakinaka I was overjoyed at the thought that though the office is far I could reach it relatively easily through JVLR and have a picturesque drive to keep me engaged.
Imagine my shock when after a boring day in office I get into the bus hoping to reach home in an hour, find the whole of JVLR in front of Powai blocked by traffic. Sympathetic colleagues enlighten me > apparently when the construction of JVLR begun, the infrastructure company got permissions for the construction from all the stakeholders including the local railway dept. for expanding the bridge over the railway line. Once the work was underway and construction reached the part where they had to work on the bridge and needed the rail lines to be shut for a couple of days for the work to be complete, the railways refused to do so.
The lovely flyover which seemed like a smooth slide from Powai to the Eastern Express Highway now had a nasty bump in the middle – a single lane bridge over the railway track, which ensured that the evening rush hour traffic jammed right up till IIT Powai. However, by happy chance all issues were sorted and within one month of my joining office this bottleneck was removed and the 10 meter stretch over the railway line was made two lane.
I thought now at-least I can reach home within an hour, but it was not to be, the municipal corporation had other plans. They began a massive sewage (i think it was) infrastructure renovation and dug a huge chunk out of the Eastern Express Highway right at the junction where JVLR joins the highway, effectively converting the two lane road to a single lane road. Now the bottle neck has shifted a few 100 meters but was still just as effective in ensuring that vehicles took atleast half an hour to clear that spot. A few weeks back they returned all the earth back into the hole and nicely tarred it up enabling the two lane express highway to be fully functional again.
And there I was happily making plans to take the car to office now that I didn’t have any traffic jams to content with, when I was landed another solid blow. On my way to office one fine morning I in my sleepy haze notice that the bus is taking longer than usual to get past IIT Powai. I open a bleary eye to find out what the trouble is and see rows and rows of cars and buses ahead -each and every one of them moving at a snail’s pace. Thoroughly perplexed I scanned the roads ahead for some kind of blockage on the road, but as far as I could see there were only slowly inching vehicles. It took the bus a whole of one hour to get to the Saki Vihar Road, a distance which is usually covered in 20 mins including the bus stops. Alighting the bus and hailing an auto I asked the driver the reason for the jam – Two container trucks were parked on the road somewhere near Seepz effectively creating a single lane road. Sigh!!

Abandon Hope

A horrendous week for the mumbai commuters!!!

On all the days that I sit snoozing in my office the whole world goes about its business happily in the much celebrated public transport network of Mumbai. The one week when I have all my client visits the public transport system throws a tantrum!! Starting Monday… the auto-drivers are on strike …me happily contemplating travel in the AC bus find no autos to take me to the bus stop, miss my usual AC bus, end up taking a normal bus which takes twice as long, have to reschedule my meeting, realise that the autos in main Mumbai are also on strike, call up my boss to pick me up from bus stop to reach the client’s location …eventually reach the client location one hour late for a 5 minute meeting.

Next day’s meeting is at Worli, I am happy that I have to take the local train – no goof ups this time. I ensure that I leave the house early enough to allow time for standing in queue for the ticket (thanks to my sis whose gallivanting in Singapore with my Mumbai local smart card). I get the ticket (after waiting 20 min in queue while the card machine was happily blinking away) and get the train in good time to be able to reach Worli with 15 min to spare. I reach my cross over station – Thane and all hell breaks loose > Thane, usually a jam packed station is overflowing. Having given some attention to the loud speaker I gather that the signalling system has failed somewhere and all trains are behind schedule. Left with no other option I decide to head to the bus stand, where I learn there are no direct buses to Worli – I have to take a bus to Mulund Check Naka, the bus stop for which had a queue extending right into the railway station, and then get a bus from there. Luckily the bus frequency is high and i get one soon enough, reach Mulund check naka and enquire around for a bus to Dadar, get a number and fortunately that no. bus turns up within 5 mins. However the roads of Mulund were not build to hold the mass of human populace spilling out of the Thane station and all roads are clogged with slowly inching traffic. With only 15 minutes to my client meeting I abandon all hope to get there on time and call up my boss. He advices me to get to my office instead. Which I do by getting down from the current bus and waiting to catch a bus in the opposite direction, only to realise that all the buses which have to come from the other side are jammed on their way to the other side. Finally after a half hours walk I get an auto, (which thankfully were not on strike that day and if newspaper reports are to be believed, had a field day) the driver of which was kind enough to ensure that I got into a Sakinaka bus, the route of which I had no clue and was treated to the tour of Hiranandani, before reaching my office 2 hours after I got down from the bus to Worli.

BUS!

Unlike the normal buses where you can’t do more than hang on to your dear life, the AC buses provide a cocoon within which converge the lives of a multitude, leading to many amusing and not so amusing interactions …. .. a lady trying to make it to the door, asking the conductor where he was going to get down; two fresh-out-of-college employees sharing their worldly wisdom – how to drink and not get caught at home; a frail old lady in jeans and kurta, sits – after a young benefactor vacates his seat for her, with her her feet dangling 2 inches from the floor; another lady boldly asking for tickets and then realising that she left her purse at home; a conductor not letting go off the 3 Rs10/- notes which I held out though it was short of the full fare; a pregnant woman requesting but not getting place to sit in an overcrowded bus; and the rest of the crowd with their noise blocking ear-phones tightly fixed in place, in a world of their own – missing out on all the fun !!

Romantic Powai

The fresh new moon rose over the multi-colour lit high rise apartments at Powai. Moonlight washed over the rippling waters of the lake. The breeze that blew over the walkway around the lake ruffled the leaves and sent chills down ones spine… it was a true Mills & Boons moment when the hero walks over and surprises the heroine. Reality knocks … and quiet loudly .. it’s friday night and i’m leaving office at 8:30 pm, waiting at the Powai bus stop for a bus which most likely i missed in my enthusiasm to capture that lovely moon (on my mob :'() and my hubby is calling to find out if I would get dinner since he was in mourning that Rahul Dravid has retired.