My review of my first Uber Cab ride in Mumbai
It was earlier this week, on
Tuesday to be precise, that my parents, who had come down to stay with us for
over a month, were leaving back to their village in Kerala. And as luck would
have it, Monday evening we all went out for a family dinner and while returning
my car broke down. Calling up the service centre to tow away the vehicle and
hitching up a bumpy ride in the kaali-peeli autorickshaws that ply by the
millions on the Mumbai roads, by the time we reached home, rather than enjoying
the fine-dining cuisine that we had, my elderly parents were exhausted to the
hilt.
As I was sitting on the bed,
wondering what to do to drop my parents to the railway station the next
morning, I was contemplating on calling up some friends and requesting them to
lend me their car for a day. Being a working day, when all of them travel to
work, and their cars already booked, I was perplexed.
That’s when my eyes lay on the
tiny little article on radio taxi services in a remote corner of the newspaper.
As I picked up the newspaper to read it, I had no clue as to which one to book
and how to ensure that I get a smooth and amazing ride for my parents. Many
names flashed before my eyes and to be honest, Uber did come across my mind and
I immediately discarded it having heard of only the negative sense after the
unfortunate incident involving one of their drivers in Delhi which had resulted
in the cab service being discontinued in the capital city.
However, it’s either common sense
or whether better sense, I am not aware, which prevailed upon me and I decided
to do a fast google search on the Uber cab service in my city. And lo and
behold, I found that it was as easy as anything.
Within seconds, I downloaded the
Uber App on my smart phone and registered myself. As I was doing it, my elder
daughter came across to the room and immediately suggested that if an existing
user gives me a reference code, I would get a Rs.600/- credit to my account.
She also immediately recollected that once she along with a few friends had
used this service and she had a promotion code available. Further ahead, my
tech-savvy daughter took over the reins and before I could blink my eyelids,
she had completed the process and registering me.
The next morning, a bit tensed as
I was, being a first time user, I panicked and booked a cab around an hour
before our scheduled departure. As I called the driver, whose vehicle number,
and his mobile contact was flashed on the App, I was warmly greeted by a good
morning and when I mentioned to him that I need to have the vehicle at my place
in an hour, the driver immediately intimated me that I need to book only around
15-20 minutes in advance. He was also gracious enough to guide me that I need
to cancel my booking immediately or else the system would debit the
cancellation charges to my account.
Some panicky moments thereafter
for me, as I realized that no cabs were available for booking when suddenly
this vehicle pooped up on my screen. I went ahead with the normal routine and
as I called the driver for providing him my exact co-ordinates, he informed me
that the vehicle would be at my doorstep in around 15 minutes. And surely there
it was there, dot in 15 minutes, the vehicle landed.
The look of the vehicle, the way
it was maintained itself, impressed me a lot and as the driver got down and
wished me, he ensured that he would help me load all the baggage conveniently
into the vehicle. And as we sat in the vehicle, the driver individually wished
each one of the passengers before politely asking me whether he can start the
journey by clicking on the GPS enabled phone loaded on to the dashboard.. (Yeah! Shiv was his name, driving an UberBlack). As I nodded in
agreement, and he did, an immediate message popped up on my phone indicating
the commencement of my journey.
The one gesture on the part of
the driver which touched my heart immediately before he started the vehicle was
something I can never forget. He turned back, looked at each of us, and folded
his hands in submission and apologized for the unfortunate incident in Delhi,
about which I had just mentioned earlier, and which had honestly made me a bit
jittery in choosing this service. As I shook my head in acceptance, he added,
“Thank you so much for showing your trust in Uber!”
I would have traded anything in
the world that day for that little gesture on the part of the company.
Nevertheless, the driver gave us some suggestions too. Being a slightly chilly
early morning, he suggested that we keep the heater on for a while before
switching on to the cooling air conditioner. After a while, when my Dad
suggested that he keeps the windows open, he obliged for sure, but within a few
kilometers, suggested again, that keeping the windows open would tire us out
and hence, it would be better to switch on the air conditioner.
Absolutely polite and decent,
throughout the entire journey, the driver made sure with his experience that we
maneuvered the morning city traffic well so that we reach our destination much
earlier than I had honestly anticipated. As he helped us get out our luggage,
he intimated me what the ride has cost me and immediately adding that the
amount that would be debited from my account would be 20% less, being the
promotional offer for the first ride.
As we disembarked, the driver
came out and again with folded hands, wished us a very happy and safe journey
and as he rode away leaving behind fond memories of our first ever Uber ride, I
instantly reached out for my mobile phone and give him the much deserved 5
stars ranking.
To sum, it up, it was an amazing
and wonderful experience and I am overwhelmed by the service of my first ever
luxury ride with Uber.
The Pros that I can sum up…
1.       Absolutely
easy and hassle free booking.
2.       Availability
within short time.
3.       No
hassles of any cash payment.
4.       Friendly
and polite staff.
5.       Absolutely
well maintained vehicle.
6.       Cheap
and affordable luxury travel.
7.       Immediate
intimation of the fare and its breakup over phone and email.
The Cons that I would be able to
conjure up with great difficulty would be…
(Hey! Mind you, these are not
drawbacks, but some features that I would like the company to incorporate in
their amazing service)
1.       Not
having the option to choose the vehicle you want (the vehicle that is nearest
to our location is to be booked).
2.       Availability
of the option to choose the kind of service that I want (when I booked, it
showed that only UberBlack was available and not UberX)
I would surely be recommending
the Uber service to all my friends and acquaintances and also shall be
soliciting their services many more times in days to come.  In a city full of potholes and traffic jams,
when we really need a comfortable ride, it becomes hard to find one and Uber is
surely destined to remedy that.
I would rank them on top when it
comes to ease and luxury where you just need to tap your smart phone a couple
to times to order a ride in a premium sedan and not even be bothered of change
and cash payments, where the fee is automatically charged to your prepaid
account.
Just a small bit of advice that I
have is when the Company terms the luxury ride as UberBlack, I would suggest
that it uses black colored sedans only to make the rider feel like a limousine
ride.

All in all, I would give the Uber
cab service in Mumbai a ranking of 10 on 10 (10/10).

So go ahead and indulge in a
super luxury ride, download the Uber APP today. For more details, check out
their website at https://www.uber.com or for
more specific Mumbai ride, directly go to https://www.uber.com/cities/mumbai
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How I would propose to my crush, my love, my wife, on this Valentine’s Day!
It’s over 20 years that I first
and ever proposed and fortunately or unfortunately got married to my
commitment. Yeah! When I say, unfortunately, it’s because I had planned of
several zany and uncanny ways to propose to her and unfortunately could get the
opportunity to use only one of them.
And believe me; it was quite
simple at that time. I had tried to be a bit poetic and viola! She fell for it.
It had taken me around a week to compile the lyrics of the sonnet dedicated to
her. And I had made sure that I included a wee bit of everything in the poem.
So it had my memories with her till then, the inside jokes, the turning points
in our relationship and of course, a few rhyming words. Or did it rhyme? I
honestly don’t know, but what was important that she felt me rhyming for her.
So there it was, I just could use
only one of the  various arms, I had saved up my armor and I was booked for ever.
Oh! How much I feel like redoing
it all over again, every single year. Yeah, I still do it. I try to say it with
flowers. The usual drill at unusual locales is what it comes to every year.
Sometimes below the pillow, the sometimes on the bed, sometimes in the bathtub
and sometimes even in her slippers, is how I have been surprising her.
Yeah, 20 years is a pretty long
time and our relationship has bonded over the years. And twenty years is quite
apt an occasion to re-do it all over again. And certainly the occasion which
gives me the opportunity for me to put one or more of the other zany ways to
use.
And so, here I am, going to
propose to my crush, my wife, my companion for 20 years, in the ups and downs
of my life, this Velentine’s day. And I am going to make it really special for
her and for me.
And as if Mother Nature is
helping me in my endeavor, it’s quite chillier than usual this year in my city.
Believe me, a chilly February is an absolutely amazing month to snuggle and coo
under the covers and get in to bed for an early night retreat.
I would need a bit of preparation
for the big event, and I would need a bit of a planning too. And I need to
ensure that my beloved goes out of home on the previous day to enable my stage
setting. And once I am through with it, I am ready to sweep her out of her feet
that night.
So here’s my plan. The moment I
kiss her my goodnight and switch off the lights (she is certainly going to
wonder, why I am in such a hurry to do so!), her eyes would fall on the
ceiling. And Lo and Viola!, it would be the letters, “Love you honey, will you
marry me again” perched up there. That’s what I had tirelessly put up there
with letters cut from glow-in-the-dark paper.
And that won’t be just there to
make her drool over me. The wonderful letters hand crafted by me would be
surrounded with lots and lots of stars. I would make it look like a clear and
starry night and we both lying down under the sky, she holding on to me and
staring at the constellation proposal up in the sky.
And as I see the nod of
acceptance in her eyes, and she speaks the proverbial words, “Yes, I would”, I
would put her down again, this time her head hitting something really hard on
her pillow, and there she would find the proposal ring, in a box, as beautiful
as her, as if the love fairy had listened to us and left it there.
And if you think you can dare to
play cupid, just visit http://cupidgames.closeup.in/ and dare to play the game.

This Blog Post is written for the Cupid Games 2015 activity
for Indiblogger at https://www.indiblogger.in/happyhours/cupid-games-2015
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The great Indian Litterbug – my humorous yet honest take on it.
I have grown up in a tiny township where we
had been taught the meaning and importance of cleanliness. Hence littering was
an absolute taboo for me, whether at home or in the township. So when I heard
of the word “litterbug”, the first thing that came to my mind was that of the
old Marvel Comics character. A little addicted to rock music at my childhood
days, I can relate this word to one of the Canadian Idie rock band.

It was very late in my life that I realized that
this word has a much higher connotation, that it means a person who litters in
public places. My experiences, having grown up in a clean environment was not
much till my work commitments made me shift base to this mahanagari called
Mumbai which I immediately on landing had assumed to be a giant litter-bag. A
city where you are allowed to throw anything anywhere, pee in public, spit at
almost anything (almost anything unless the authorities decide to fix up a
photograph of a deity there), dump your unwanted belongings at will.

I have the habit of going to the local park
for a morning walk, and this morning was hence, no different. Yeah, true, my
wife ridiculed me for my early morning misadventure, not because she did not want
to see her husband fit, but because, she remembered the park authorities
watering the plants and cleaning up the benches last evening for a new year
party our local society was throwing at the venture last night (oh! I forgot to
mention, she is an evening walker, probably quite oblivious to the theory of
the early riser or perhaps not interested in grabbing the worm). She was sure
that the kids who would have been playing in the park playground, the wings,
the slides and the bars would have left the tiny puddles of dirt on to the
walking track. Not that it made the walking track any unfit for use, but my
better half’s concern was that it would have made the track slippery and hence
slippery making it not a good idea for me at my rapidly progressing age to try
out my walking and jogging stunts today.

Refuting her concern, I did venture out; I did
find the park in shambles, absolutely ruined. But not ruined by the mud, the
water or the puddles. The park and the walking track was full. It was littered
with thrash. All I could see all around me were empty wrappers of wafers and
chips, smashed cans of aerated soft drinks.

My first instinct was to blame the kids, and that’s
what we generally do after getting into a certain age. I am sure, it’s those
spoilt brats who have been so generously throwing around the garbage from the
previous night party. All sorts of thoughts in my mind, what would these kids
grow up to be if they are so insensitive to nature and economy at this age,
what have been they taught at home. I had not even completed my array of
thoughts when what I saw suddenly startled me out of my false pride.
I saw a group of children, in their middle
school age, going around with garbage bags, picking up each item of thrash
lying around. They were so meticulous and particular in the way they were
engaged in their assignment that they would run around enthusiastically and
pick up every single piece of garbage lying around.
And as I was standing there stunned, admiring
the kids, a full grown adult just walked past me and threw an empty pack of
cigarettes followed by another one who opened a pack of “gutka”, emptied it
fully inside his mouth and shamelessly threw away the packet. As I was about to
react and call back the so called gentlemen, immediately following them, one of
the kids ran across, picked up the cigarette pack and the gutka pouch and
religiously put it in the garbage bag without any complaints, no reasoning, no
doubts in her mind as to why should I pick up your shit.

As I saw that sight, I realized that I am just
one of those stupid adults who leave no stone unturned in blaming kids for
everything, without actually realizing that we, the poorly behaved adults are
the ones who are responsible for creating the maximum damage to the
environment. Rather than realizing our own follies, how quick are we to judge
the children.
As I had seen the little girl selflessly pick
up the thrash thrown by the so called educated adult, I realized that with
hardly any experience in life and with the assumed terrible control of their
impulse, how better are they when compared to we adults who wait for every
opportunity to justify our selfish actions and don’t even think twice before
blaming others.

As my story of today morning ends, and I come
back to the subject of shameless public littering, I have honestly started
feeling that the litterbugs seem to be doing an enormous social service by
littering the roads. The people who are so shamelessly going around doing it as
their national right without any guilt are possibly assuming that they are
creating employment to the vulnerable poor social class. I start feeling that
they are under the impression that if they don’t litter, these poor scavengers
and sweepers would no more be hired by the civic authorities and their poor
families would starve.

An amazing point of view, my dear litterbugs,
if you stop this social service, the poor will suffer, their children will
starve to death and the growing number of migrants would not even have one full
square meal a day to eat. So please continue littering, my friends. 
This post is for the Great Indian Litterbug
activity for Indiblogger at https://www.indiblogger.in/happyhours/great-indian-litterbug
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