Remember that feeling of wonder when you looked at an airplane fly over your head?
Remember spreading your arms and running across the open field of green, trying to chase it?

(I feel the wind in my hair...)

Remember the look of excitement on your face when mum handed you an ice candy?

Remember giving her a tight kiss after the candy and giggling over the orange mark you left behind on her cheek?
(I still feel the tight squeeze of her hug)

Remember walking hand in hand to school with your friends?
Remember holding their hand while being scolded together by the teacher for not doing homework?

(I still thank him for doing mine coz I fell ill)

Remember singing in tune to the National anthem?
Remember singing out of tune to the school hymns?

(...and to the morning prayers and every poem they taught)

Remember sharing tiffin at recess?

Remember showing off your tiffin box full of maggi?

(then crying over it when it fell down)

Remember the towel around your neck and superman in your heart?
Remember being a fireman, a tarzan and a G.I.Joe wrapped in one?

(I was batman too! :)

Remember your first crush on tv or from school?

Remember your parents going "awww..." and your friends going "hawww..."

(I still blush when I think of her)

Remember waking up for school in the morning and not noon?

Remember feeling all grown up wearing full pants to school?

(leather shoes and your first pocket money...)

Remember using ink pens because they improved handwriting?

Remember lauging over the ink blotches all over your friends face, not knowing you had more on your own?

(I yet cannot write without blotting paper)

Remember getting embarrassed when you hear a couple say "I love you" to each other?

Remember giggling over it with your friends?
(thinking of saying it to a girl at the same time)

Remember feeling proud of your first bicycle?
Remember learning to ride and you never knew when dad let go?

Remember crying over it because he did?
(then realizing you had learnt to ride a bicycle!)

Remember the joy of laughing in the rain?

Remember coming home dripping wet?

(I still do that when I can)


Woh school ki seedi woh pyaar bhari baatein

Woh syllabus ki tension woh exam ki raatein,

Canteen ki party woh b'day ki laatein,

ruthna manana woh bunk mulakate,

Library mein woh sona
woh music
woh movie woh cards ki magic,

Proposal ki planning mein raat ka gujarna,

Fir class k peehche ki seat pe sona

Library mein jakar chehro ko padna

Betuki bato ko seriously lena,

Woh matlab ki batein hasi mein udana,

Na woh din hai na raate na gussa na baatein,

Agar Kuch Hai To Bas "YAADEIN HI YAADEIN"......

The music’s up full volume and you have your favourite rock band screaming their heads off. You’re heart’s thumping to the beat and there’s a small bead of sweat trickling down your forehead even though the air conditioner is on. You step lightly on the gas pedal and hear your beast rev lightly. Your left hand is placed lightly on the gear shift and right hand grips the steering wheel. You look at the timer on the signal as it slowly counts down to zero.


You step on the gas with all you have as your car roars to life and speeds down the now empty road. You look to your sides and see the other drivers coming up to speed and you step on the accelerator harder, pushing your car to go even faster. Your heartbeat races as you see the speedometer rise rapidly up the scale.

80…90…100…faster! Faster! they’re gaining… 100…110..

You glance at your rear view mirror and see a white Mercedes speed effortlessly towards you, doing maybe a 150 or a 180 kmph, you don’t quite know, and at that moment you don’t care. All you know is that you can’t let that sonofagun overtake you. Up ahead you see the near-empty road stretch out and you know that you have a wide berth to speed, but the problem is, so does he. With a powerful beauty that he has, there’s no chance your measly Toyota can beat him, but you try anyway.
120…140…160…you can feel the rush of adrenaline kick in. You love speed. You know you were born for this. You know that even with such a beast at his command, he cannot beat you.

Sounded familiar? This wasn’t anything out of a movie or even a piece of fiction. Maybe some of you can even relate to this. I do. And no, this wasn’t even a street race of any sorts. It happened to me and what more, it was just a simple drive from one traffic signal to the freeway here in Mumbai, something that happened this evening as I was driving through town. I’d met up with some friends and gone for a quick drive on palm beach road. It was an empty road and smooth enough. It’s actually one of the best maintained roads that side of town. Even so, high speeds are extremely risky. But the rush of blood to your head, the adrenaline pumping through your blood, the exhileration of knowing the power of the machine at your’s addictive. It’s worse than a drug. A drug kills you slowly. This one, it can kill you in an instant and you, sadly will feel every bit of it. And to top it all, it grips you the instant you step behind the wheel. I love it. I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed or be sorry about. But yes, this is the need for speed. And it needs to be controlled. After I returned home, I spoke to a friend of mine, lets call her Ms.B. Well, I told Ms.B about this incident and she, being the sensible good friend, went ballistic! We had a huge discussion on this and as usual, both had our own opinions, although yours truly, being in the wrong(well, ever so slightly anyway :grin: ), had not much to argue about.

Anyway, it finally boiled down to two things. First, no matter how much you may think you are in control when you drive a car, fact remains that you’re only 50% in control. The rest is up to the other drivers, the road itself, and of course, lady luck. If you’re alone in the car(or on your bike), it’s not like you should take risks then, but if that’s the case then you’re solely responsible for your life and no one else’s. But if you have passengers in the car, you’re responsible for more than your own life. And the responsibility of life? How big a deal is that! I mean, just imagine, you’re in God’s place. You control whether that person is safe or not. In that situation, is it really appropriate to race, to speed, to travel at speeds of a hundred and twenty, knowing fully well, if something goes wrong, it’s not just you that will get hurt. And not just that, and here we come to the second thing - Even if you’re alone, and you end up injured from an accident, think of your loved ones. What of them? YOU know you’re alright mentally and will recover physically, but do they? Won’t they be scared out of their minds.

Few questions that ran across our minds:

Is it really “cool” to rev cars, to have pimped up rides and race them even in traffic congested areas? Guess not. Is it so macho, so “masculine” to race and speed on open roads? Again no.

Well, it was an enlightening discussion. She managed to make her point very very clear(trust me, even my mom can’t manage be so clear) and that, funnily brought me to make a promise to myself that I shall not speed excessively, which I normally tend to do. So for that, thank you so much Ms.B! Owe you a big one!

Slowly I opened my eyes. I could faintly hear songbirds singing in faraway trees, welcoming the glorious sun with their melody. I wiped the little beads of perspiration from my brow which came from an especially humid night. I sat up in my bed and took in a deep breath. Wait...what was that smell? Was it... No, it can't be...Not so soon! It was the smell of wet earth! How could I not recognize it? It meant it had rained last night!.. I jumped out of bed and ran to the window.

All around me, I could see the fresh sparkle of dew glistening in the morning light, the leaves newly washed and blossoming in their resplendent glory. As I took in the beautiful scenery that spread out in front of me, I heard excited chirps. First, softly; Then it grew louder and louder till I could hear nothing else. I couldn't believe my ears! Sparrows, hundreds of them, filling up the trees and chirping their hearts out. It was quite the sight for me. I had thought that sparrows were dying out in Mumbai and here I was, sitting in sparrow haven! After a while as the chirps softened a little, the songbirds picked up where the sparrows left off. It was a musical rhapsody like no other. I just stood at the window enraptured by the unusual orchestra and drifted off. The songbirds evoked so many emotions within me and I stood, drowning in the ever changing moods of their song. One sang of his lost mate, of their everlasting love, of how much his soul longed for its partner and of how much he missed their bond. Another sang of the new day, welcoming the good things to come and wishing the bad away with a beautiful melody that not even the most skilled of musicians can reproduce. It was a perfect blend of emotions. And as I closed my eyes, stretched out my arms and drew in another deep breath, a small smile danced on my lips and knew that it was the perfect start to a day.

Is it me or are the trains getting more and more crowded by the day? For the past one month I've taken to travelling by train to and from work, mainly because the time taken to go from Chembur to Churchgate by road is approximately the same amount of time I take to drive down to Pune. Why you ask? Simple, our dear authorities at the Municipal Corporation have happily decided to commence "infrastructural developments" right before the rain Gods start their own infra-dev. Anyway, back to point, the trains...Have you ever seen a tin full of sardines?
How many people are there in Mumbai anyway? Judging by the way trains are packed, half of the city must be empty by noon since everyone's gone to work. And the stench, Oh So Lovely! For once in your lifetime try sniffing the armpits of fifty different persons at one go. God only knows how dogs survive, sniffing each others' butts just to say hello(and they don't even wash after a potty break!) Remember the tin of sardines up there? Add a few rotten ones and I rest my case.

Talking about trains, I left late from work today. Took the last train home and what an amazing ride it was. The wide empty roads of South Mumbai at night coupled with the cool weather from the pre-monsoon showers and an extra large plate of bhurji pav (scrambled eggs with bread loaves for the unfortunate ones who haven't experienced this culinary delight) made for an amazing night journey. And you get all sorts of weird people travelling, with you. One of them definitely has to be the quintessential drunkard, teetering on the edge of tripping over his own pants and stinking of desi daaru -

Drunk Guy: bhaisaahab, kidhar ki gaadi hai?
Me : Arre bhai, Mumbai ki hi hai.(Killer PJ ne?)
DG(even worse) : Thoda daaru hai kya?
Me : Khatam ho gaya.
Hearing this, Drunk Guy then starts abusing the hell out of me while I stand and laugh shamelessly at him.
DG : Tum c*#@%& hai...tum daru kyon nahi rakha mere liye? Tumko sharam nahi hai? Akele nai peene ka!
By now, every single person in the compartment is in splits!
He suddenly remembers there are others in the compartment too, so he turns to every one of them and asks for "daaru" Not finding any after a long exchange of questions and abuses, he finally sits down and passes out scratching his crotch.

Sometime back, three friends, Vipul, Aditya and of course myself came together and decided to start something of an NGO that deals with helping out the animals and natural endowments of our beautiful city of Mumbai and beyond. Since we all shared a common love for nature and animals it was a no brainer that we definitely wanted to do something about it.

Reactive critics and inactive onlookers are the very reason why most of us Mumbaikars have never even been to the Borivali National Park and the Byculla zoo is turning into a mid-city Marine drive with more and more couples being seen making out behind a tree. Come on people! Look around! There are so many wonderful animals that you can learn of...or is there? Most of these animals are undernourished and are but a shadow of their awesome wild counterparts. The lion's literally a pussy and the hyena's forgotten to laugh. Quite a lot of them are caged in smaller areas than is required for them to comfortably move about. Some visitors harass the poor caged animals simply to see them react.
At one such instance, I overheard two twenty-something year olds saying to each other, "Arre dude, bandar kuch kar hi nahi raha hai. Ek patthar phek na. Dekhte hain kya hota hai."
Translated, "Hey dude, the monkeys aren't doing anything. Try throwing a stone in. Lets see what happens."

Is that really the state of our society? These two weren't even the street-urchin-turned-wannabe kind either. Two well-to-do educated adults talking that way, is that even rational on their part? Are they actually THAT bored in life that they'll hurt a trapped underfed creature just to see it move? I mean what the F@¤$!
Few weeks back, a juvenile hippo died at the same zoo because proper and timely veterinarian treatment was not administered. The only thing that I saw was a small article somewhere and it's mention on the radio, which seems to be the only medium that's proactive today.

Someone needs to stand up, rather, all of us need to stand up and take notice of everyone we live with and share our space with, and that includes animals, wait, ESPECIALLY ANIMALS. With our NGO Species Foundation, we aim to do exactly the same. We shall be working towards social awareness with regards to the fauna around us as well as some of the majestic creatures that we have access to experience only if we take notice. Our main audience will be college students since they're the most responsive to such things and are more proactive.

Species has yet to be registered, but of course, for it to work I'll need all the support I can get. There's gonna be loads of activities we'll be conducting as part of our awareness program that'll include weekend hikes or overnight trips to wildlife reserves. Anyone who wishes to join us is definitely welcome.

So guys, please help me out by spreading the word, if possible, joining in the effort and doing your little bit to save the wild.