Top 5 Ways To Distinguish Non-Mumbaikars on Locals

Hey people! This is the ninth post of a new weekly series called “Saturday Top 5”. I guess the title is self-explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis due to a great response,this will be a regular series. Here’s the last post of the series (LINK). Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series

Mumbai locals are the lifeline of this magnificent city. No one can survive without them. But unlike most other things in the city, the Mumbai Locals are less accepting then this overflowing pot of mixing culture. You see, there are multiple unspoken rules and regulations which are too sacred to be broken. Yet some people do it daily. We call them Non-Mumbaikars because it is simply impossible for a Mumbaikar to not know these things. So call them Dilli ke launde or too cool for the humidity Bangaloreans, sorry Bengalurueans, I point out 5 ways to catch these odd ones out in the pool.


1.They never know which station is on which side


Dead giveaway. A Mumbaikar always knows which station is on which side and accordingly plans his relative position inside the compartment. I mean which idiot will get on a train at Goregaon during peak hours and then try to reach the seats, knowing that he or she has to get down at Andheri? Hint: The idiot calls Pani puri “Gol Gappe” and complains about humidity.


2. They get on a 8.17 Fast and ask “Aaj bheed zzyada hai na?”


Yes. These people exist. They climb aboard a 8:17 Virar Fast and ask in slightly suffocated(trust me, given the sweaty armpits, the awkward Statue of Liberty like positions and the desperate scramble for holding on to anything while the train moves, “slightly” is a blessing) “Aaj bheed zzyada hai na?”. Only a non-Mumbaikar is capable of this. This and trying to get off at Andheri on a Virar Fast.


3. Their bags are on their backs and not on their front, baby carrying style


Who doesn’t do this? Everyone knows that bags on front is the most efficient way of protecting your valuables from getting damaged or stolen. Plus you can use them as battering rams when you bulldoze through the crowd to scramble on to the train. This point does come with a caveat though. I like to call it the ” Experienced Uncle Variable”. A passenger may carry his backpack on his back if his EUV value is over 20 according to the following formula:
EUV= (Number of stations traveled daily X Number of years of regular local use)/The class of your compartment

For example a person who has been commuting from Kandivali to Andheri for the past 10 years in a second class compartment has an EUV of 25( 5*10/2). So this guy can carry a bag on his back, he has earned it over the years. I bet he’ll have train buddies on his usual train and route who’ll actually even pull him,and his bag in.

4.They get paranoid about not being able to get down


If these poor souls somehow manage to get on the train,they somehow are paranoid about not being able to get down.They start sweating and panicking on seeing the crowd.They start chanting prayers and curses,both with equal fervour. A true Bambai wala never bothers with all this. He puts on his earphones,awkardly paws around for his phone in his pocket,desperately trying to not touch the person around him’s ass, but never sweats about not being able to get down. Abbey funda simple hai. One station before you get down,ask the guy in front of you if he’ll get down at that particular station or not. If he isn’t, just push ahead towards the door bro! If he is,do it anyway 😛


5.They never get off or on to a moving train


Lastly, one of the key differences. Non Mumbaikars are absolutely terrified of getting or off a moving train. Absolutely petrified. “Pagal hai kya!” is their reaction.They wait for the train to come to a complete hault while the entire compartment pushes past them and get off. In fact by the time the train stops,half the people have already got in and most of the people who wanted to alight have done so already. Again a simple law will guarantee safety in such matters. All you have to do is get down in the direction in which the train is moving and keep running for a few steps. Same for climbing aboard.


Well folks, that’s it for this time. Sorry if this post didn’t live up to your expectations, a better one shall be up next week.

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Bye Bye Bombay

This is not an ode to the city I love, neither is this a farewell letter. Before you read further, let me tell you, I’m now into my last week in Mumbai. Well, at least for the next 5 years, I’ll be living in Delhi to study law. I don’t know why I am writing this. Hell I don’t know what this is. Take it as my rambling if thy shalt will.

It’s a funny feeling. Moving. The verb, the word but mostly the feeling. It’s not just that you’ll be leaving behind a life that you’ve carefully built. But you’ll be leaving it behind for something new, something unfamiliar.18 years of my life, my friends, my love, my city, and my way of living, everything, gone. It’s a huge thing because of many reasons. In life, we never realise it, but it is always what that is around us builds us. Bombay, the city I was born in, the city I lived my childhood in, the city I hit teenage in, the city in which I turned 18,the city that was always my solace, the city that taught me life, the city that punished me, the city that nurtured me. Bombay was always there for me. I’ll specially miss sitting by Marine Drive or Worli Seaface,enjoying my timeout from life, staring blankly at the sea. If you haven’t already done that, do it. Just for a few minutes. Stare into the vastness and the far far away expanse. Think of nothing. Just stare. I proudly say that the city always was my first love. Today, with just a few days left before my flight to Delhi, I have no words to say to it. There is so much to do, so much to say, yet no time. I feel like I’m being torn away from it, piece by piece. A few days ago, I saw this picture which put my turbulence in words.

Mumbai is a city. Bombay is an emotion.

It is true folks. I’m leaving Mumbai but the Bombay shall always be in me, and right now, it is bubbling up via this post, and I am unabashed when I say I don’t want to bottle it up.

People always yearn for security. That’s the entire point of our life. To lead a secure life. For a just emancipated adult, my parents were my umbrella, my armour and my everything. I remember those tiny fleeting moments when they were there for me. Trust me; they are the ones you remember and not the major ones. In Delhi, I’ll be alone. Yes, we live in the 21st century, so we have phones, SMSes, BBM, Whatsapp, e-mails, letters, Skype and all those other mediums which reduce the distance between people. But the problem is that they can never remove the distance, only reduce it. However close I may feel, the brutal cold truth would be that I am thousands of kilometres away in Delhi while they’ll be in Mumbai, and not with me physically. That’s just something I’ll have to deal with, accept and move on.

Friends. Dost. The word rings like a hollow bell. They complete you. Always do. Suddenly, they won’t be a phone call away. I won’t be running into them at Kandivali station. No sir .I admit I have never been the friend I could have been, but they have and that makes all the difference in the world. Honestly I’m scared. What happens from here? Where does life take us? We still stay the same way? Things change? Ugh, this is mind numbing. It has always been this way; we have always been a call away. Not anymore. I won’t be able to give them a call and pop over to their place. They won’t be able to give me a call and meet me at the McDonald’s near Andheri and Kandivali stations(which they know are my second favourite place in the world to meet, after the stations themselves). We might drift apart, partly because of me, partly because of them. I’ll make new friends and they’ll make new ones as well. But all I hope for is a status quo. No change. Stability is nice

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sum up all the emotions I’m feeling in one post and relax, I don’t intend to write a second post on this. All I wanted to do was put my emotions and rather on a broader outlook, almost every Mumbaikar who is leaving Bombay ‘s feelings into a post, because I understand how hard it is to articulate them.

The heart is a fickle thing and it hates change. But at the end of the day, the clock ticks on, the date changes, the world sleeps and awakes anew, and so shall I, with a hope, and only that hope to lead me on.

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Top 5 idiots on Mumbai’s Roads

Hey people this is the sixth post of a new weekly series called “Saturday Top 5”. I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis due to a great response,this will be a regular series . Here’s the last post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series

Well I recently turned 18 and along with the fact that I have a choice to choose which person loots my constituency for the next 5 years, I started with driving lessons. Now as a kid,I always made fun of Learners, making the L sign on my forehead as they nervously drove by,shouting “Loser Loser”(before you let your imagination run,I did this when I was 6,not 16.Well except that once )

But the biggest shock that hits you when you get behind those wheels,is the quality of drivers on our roads.It’s as if the traffic rules are like India’s football team i.e. existent and working on paper only. Even among this wide set of douchebags, I bring to you 5 of the biggest idiots you’re bound to find on India’s roads:

1.The sabzi buying aunty

She’s every driver’s nightmare. The typical Indian aunty who can scare the wits out of anyone anywhere and the biggest enemy of vegetable vendors. She can be found strolling on the middle of SV road(near fruit and vegetable markets mostly) with 3 bags of purchases and 4 bags of the free dhania she siphoned off from a poor soul whom she ironically calls Bhaiyaji. Oh! How can I forget? She loves doing this when the signal is green because crossing the street when the signal is red, is too mainstream. *sigh*

2.The slant parking wala
This is one person who takes Juhi Chawla’s “Taedha hai par mera hai” too seriously. They’re infamous for blocking narrow streets by parking their vehicle in weird positions. Diagonally with the road is their favourite. That’s not even the worst part. They take their own sweet time to do anything may it be sipping the last few drops of tea to reversing their car with the mandatory grouch as if they’re doing a favour to the world by returning back to sanity.

3. The giggling girls

Now you have this gaggle of girls who always walk in groups (or as I call it, the vixens travel in a pack). They’re lost in their own world of gossip and other useless nonsense. But I kinda get it. I mean who cares about the freaking huge car that is honking at you for the past 5 minutes when you’re regaling in mock horror at how Geeta wore a revealing dress at Samita’s party while you secretly want to ask where your co-gossiper got her nails done but won’t because it is not courteous. It’s a tough job being a gossipy girl,believe you me

4.The “always in a hurry” uncle

There’s always this guy who’s in a rush. Seriously. Mostly found having a laptop bag slung over one shoulder even when the bag is empty, because they want to show the world that they have a bag which can carry a laptop. These idiots don’t walk, but rather sprint. They keep bumping into cars even at snail-like speeds of 10 KM/hr. (I say this out of a pure observation and not my particular hatred towards a community in particular, but 99% of the time, he’ll be Gujju)
5. The douche with a kickass car

Everyone knows this one rich,overspoilt brat who owns that dream car you drool over.These idiots tend to assume that the law is in their pocket and the streets are what colloquially are known as, his/her’s “baap ka maal“. They drive without any regard for anyone else on the road at speeds which would make Usain Bolt blush.They are primarily responsible for 90% of the explicits you shout at the road and 100% of your Mom’s “aaj kal ki generation…” lectures.

Well people that’s all for now.Auf Weidersehen!

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Top 5 Weirdos Aboard A Mumbai Local

Hey people this is the sixth post of a new weekly series called “Saturday Top 5”. I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis due to a great response,this will be a regular series . Here’s the last post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series

If you are from Mumbai(No Thane is not in Mumbai but for this post, yeah whatever), you must have traveled on those ultra modern trains which zip from one end of the city to the other without the nonsense of being traffucked on the road. Well this is the description we give to our friends who are non-Mumbaikars. Here’s a scoop on the inside tale, as I state the description of the top 5 weird idiots I found on a Mumbai Local

1. The kewl uncle

He’s that middle aged guy with a lot of hair who owns a high end smart phone and a huge tablet which he whips out even on a jam-packed Virar fast to play Subway Surfers. Never mind the fact that he sucks at it. In all probability, he’ll definitely be Gujju, with flashy formals who “oohs” and “aahs” at every jump

2.The kewl kid


Now this is the chutiya who’ll be wearing fake Beats Audio Headphones, the size of Khali’s head. Mostly in either a Che Guevara t-shirt or some cheesy pathetic lines like “I’m a stud. Problem?” They’ll play some downright disastrous music and/or talk to their friends over the phone, abusing in mostly Marathi

3.The newspaper uncle

Now this is that one guy who carries newspapers. Tons of newspapers. He’ll probably be a person who boards from Virar,Churchgate or Borivali. He’ll carry even vernacular newspapers, just to hold his title of “Newspaper man” even though he can’t read them. If you’re lucky enough that the person is carrying a sensible newspaper with content in a language you understand (No, Mumbai Mirror doesn’t count), you can try sneaking in a few peaks but be prepared for some dirty looks

4.The virgin

Every day, every hour, every train has a person who’s losing his train virginity. He’ll awkwardly paw about the compartment before he prematurely ejaculates from the compartment onto a station he never intended to get down at. These people can be recognised by their appalled expressions on climbing a Virar Fast at 6.13 PM and some extremely stupid questions like “Andheri ke baad kaunse station hai?” Or “Charni Road kis side aata hai?” Or “This seat is meant for 3 people.Char already baithen hain.WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ADJUST?” .Oh I completely forgot the classic case where they fall asleep and wake up in exotic new lands which they haven’t even heard of like “Daisar”
5.The survivors of Corporate War
Now these are those smartasses who give the term corporate-whores a new spin altogether. They board the train as if they own it, conclude deals worth lakhs over phone calls with funny sounding Gujju accents( Try this for some entertainment- “Aye bhai!Hoon snakes par boliyo ne trann lakh” which translates to Hey Dude! I said 3 lakhs over snacks!)

They complain about the weird smells on the train. They complain about the people aboard the trains. They complain about the frequent pauses the train takes. But those idiots will never sell off that Rolex they wear to buy a car for travelling. Sigh
That’s all for now. If you liked it, so go mad with the sharing!

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Featured in DNA Mumbai Edition

It’s my great pleasure to tell all of you that The Standing Coin has been featured in DNA,Mumbai Edition on Page 4 on 18th April 2013(LINK). Here’s the link to the PDF copy(http://www.4shared.com/office/uamu5IV5/18042013-md-main-4.html). Also here is the actual review as well

The first thing that intrigued me about Sidhharth Gupta’s blog was the name: “The Standing Coin.” What would ‘the standing coin’ mean? The blog is a potpourri of stories that range from traditional book reviews and poems to opinions about movies and commentaries by a modern teenager on the political system, and a few dandy snaps in “The other side of the camera”.

From all the poems, the one that stands out is “The Sunset of Daybreak” that describes life through these natural events of sunset and daybreak. In the story “Who am I? : An Indian teen’s identity crisis”, SidG brings out the perplexities that an Indian teen goes through over her/his identity on account of the multiple rifts and divides in our society. 

In another, (“Its okay to be confused”) he delves into the career choices a teen has to make, from a range of stereotypes and the baggage that comes along. 


He criticises the “hard-working Indian politician”, who is eager to serve his constituents in “What a joke Indian Politics is”. Unlike many who constantly point a finger at a particular family for ‘creating’ dynasties, SidG points out the other numerous dynasties that also exist in the country but are missed out occasionally. (“Mere baap ka hai dynasty politics”)
The Standing Coin covers nearly every facet that a young modern-day blogger could scribe. It is exhilarating and breaks out of the ‘what the youth wants’ stamp, with a valid retort by someone who is young. As SidG puts it: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in a nation where nearly 58% of the population is under 30, and can be legally elected with a minimum age of 25, 41 is classified ‘YOUNG’.” 
The blog will definitely beguile the au courant, blooming section, giving them an insight into something that they should unquestionably gather on, that is our country’s structure of governance, contemporary and approaching.
Vishakha Wadhwani

The Standing Coin Featured in DNA Mumbai Edition Page 4 on 18th April 2013

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Dongri to Dubai By S Hussain Zaidi-A Review

Okay first thing first. To truly enjoy this book, whenever you’re picking up this book for the first time, hum the theme of Once Upon A Time In Mumbai and then you’ll be ready. Ready for something really awesome.
To an average Mumbaikar and to a certain extent, to an average Indian, the names Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mastan, Chota Shakeel, Chota Rajan, Vardhan etc are fear-inspiring. Most of us are really not aware as to why this effect happens, and that is what this book deals with. In the bluntest of terms, it is the history text book which all schools should make compulsory.
Dongri to Dubai is a 378 paged book which simply demands to be read with precision.  Dealing with a delicate matter such as the history of Mumbai’s dreaded mafia is tough, but Zaidi’s experience and deep networks are clearly evident as he takes you through the rise of crime in Mumbai. Starting with the very first instance of accosting in Dongri, the book details the rise of the different gangs and syndicates in the six decade history of mafia in Mumbai.
The X-factor of this book is that the coherent, clear and concurrent narration along with hardcore facts, actual conversations and personal incidents (Hussain’s  work as a crime journalist yields rich dividends for the reader) help in establishing already suspected theories. For example, it’s a popular theory that Bollywood was and most probably controlled by the underworld. Exactly how this power is wielded has always been shrouded behind grim nods and clinks of wine glasses. Dongri to Dubai offers the eyes of an observant unbiased journalist to understand that.

Also, Zaidi has masterfully exploited the explicit need of “flow” in historic narratives. Most books dealing with such narrative themes fail in this regard, but not this one.  Each gang, each leader, each police officer i.e each involved member is established with his or her intent, purpose and motive.

Lastly, this may be a strictly personal observation, but the book is very informative. At least it was to me. I cannot speak for the entire crowd, but most people are painfully dumb when it comes to knowledge about the deep underbelly of Mumbai. Although it is deeply entrenched in our life, and finds nuances in our daily life, most Mumbaikar’s knowledge about the Mafia is left rotting in unknowing reverence and fear. For example we all know Dawood’s brother was assasinanted in Prabha Devi years ago by a rival mafia gang. But why? How? Most are unable to answer those questions. Dongri to Dubai equips you with that.

So this book goes without a saying, into the must-read category. I have always believed that the best way to learn something is by converting it into an example or story. This book weaves the non-fictional account of Mumbai (then Bombay)’s mafia into an extremely detailed narrative which reads just like fiction. So go and read this one!
Like: Informative, Chillingly accurate and detailed, Well laid out, Interestingly well linked theories
Dislike:  None, this book is perfect
Click here to buy from Amazon or Flipkart

The Bankster By Ravi Subramanian-A Review

Intricate detailing is what makes a thriller what it is. The Bankster is beyond the usual suspense thriller. Veering with multiple scenarios playing at our simultaneously, it makes for a fabulous read, especially in India’s emerging culture which is exponentially rising into the corporate lifestyle. The subtle, yet commonly gossiped about fact that powerful corporate houses run the nation is well weaved into the plot as Mr. Subramanian takes you on a simple, yet enthralling ride

This 358 paged novel is Ravi’s fifth novel with the banking world as its set (however, I confess to not having read the other four before). But, with all honesty, I regret not having read them as this book was simply wonderful. Dealing with three different parallels at the same time, Subramanian slowly unravels a web of mystery linking a covert CIA agent, an anti-nuclear power plant protest in India and a series of death of a certain bank’s employees. Most authors writing thrillers fail to clearly link these sets in a convincing manner, often disappointing readers. However, The Bankster pretty much clearly exhibits the links and demonstrates their entanglement.

The nucleus of this book is its radical, coherent yet brutally simple analogy to different current situations. Ravi brilliantly has drawn some of the world’s most familiar happenings into an elaborate piece of fiction to expound some thoughts which gets you thinking. The familiarity between the Kundankulam nuclear power plant protests and the fictitious protests in the book is point blank and obvious but does explore a delicate side of the world of International relations by sly hints. Also, by dumbing down complex banking strategies and terms, Ravi has eased the burden on a common reader. This is a problem rarely addressed by authors and often becomes a stigma. I quote one of my friends who supposedly read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code with one eye on the book and the other on the Google search results of the various terms thrown at her. At face value, The Bankster is both easy on your mind as well as Internet bills.

Moving on to the book’s Achilles’ heel, we arrive at something which is debatable Although the book slowly lays out the detailed plot and the mystery breaks free perfectly with logical arguments, the method, to me was a bit unrealistic. To me, a media personnel deciphering extravagant clues and connecting the dots, that too within a fixed time period of 48 hours is a bit tough to accept. Although Ravi seeks to augment this fact by detailing Karan (the media guy)’s character with investigative training and a natural flair for deciphering cases, it still remains tough to accept. Another counter to this can be Karan’s support team consisting of some trusted colleagues and his girlfriend, I would like to iterate that their contribution pales in comparison to Karan’s as he clearly steals the limelight.

Overall, this book is a masterpiece and simply un-putdown-able. Ravi draws you into the world of GB2 and controls your emotions like a puppet master. When I picked up the book, the first thing that leaped out was a line out of the Wall Street Journal saying “Meet the John Grisham of banking”. Suffice to say, I second it.

The Standing Coin Rating: 7.5/10

Like: Easy to read, Draws the reader’s attention into a detailed world, Radical new theories

Dislike: Single character essaying the role of a super intelligent hero comes across as unrealistic

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