Monday, October 30, 2006

Random Thoughts on a Monday Morning

A couple of random pieces for today, got to keep blogging, to avoid mental clogging, you know.

I would like to rename the 8.28 local from CBD Belapur (where I live) to Victoria Terminus (now CST, something) as the “Meatpacking Express.” Meat, meat and lots of it, soft, supple, sweaty, and hot. Honestly, there are so many chubby bodies so close and tightly packed like I have seen in frozen chicken factories. And they are all in their own worlds. I am new to commuting by train these days as I work in Andheri, and feel the three years I spent working in New Bombay, close to home was heaven. And the trains are so packed – an index of India’s population problem, I guess – that people are standing between your legs. As you sit down, people stand in the space between two seats where you are seated. And this is the first class compartment I am talking about, not the cattle-class compartment.

And everyone around me are pretty stressed on this Monday morning. One man is chanting a Mantra under his breath, his lips moving regularly, and he seems so stressed that his chanting is coming out in bursts of breath that hit my cheek. Another is reading a spiral bound office manual, something about “Capital Charge for Credit Risk” and it seems he understands such stuff. Reinforces my belief that anything can be learnt if you keep at it long enough.

Then I see this advertisement about airline tickets for Rs 499 and wonder why I have not been able to get my hands on one despite trying hard enough. Now this is a case for Advertising Standards Council (ASCI) which I headed as Executive Secretary not long ago (Yeah, another one of my fifteen odd jobs. I am the original rolling stone). The claim is false and whatever tickets are offered are cornered by staff or cohorts of the airlines. A fraud to fuel the greed of these competitive airlines. Advertisements are getting bolder in their claims and it seems ASCI is not doing enough.

There is something called surrogate advertising that advertisers use to get over the ban on liquor advertising. They would manufacture a few batches of mineral water and give it the same name as the whiskey they manufacture. The advertisement would tom-tom the mineral water while everyone knows it is the whiskey advertisement. Nowadays they do not even bother to be so smart aleck. I saw a couple of giant Seagrams hoardings at Vashi that openly flouted the ASCI code and it seems nobody is bothered.

Now back to the Meatpacking Express. If you even touch a man on the back in the process of getting out of this giant flesh train, you get murderous looks. The process of getting out of these trains is as difficult as childbirth, or what I have seen of it. First there are the induced spasms by everyone pushing towards the door, and then there is the actual ejection on the to the platform and the cries of relief and arguments about who pushed whom. I go through this everyday and it is a merry circus, I must say.


vadakkan said...

interesting blog. I am one of those Bombay expats and love to hear anything and everything about Bombay. Its like keeping in touch with an old friend. :)

John said...

Hi Vadakkan,

Thanks for your comment. Yeah I write especially for people like you. So do visit more often.