Thursday, 16 February 2017

Air taxi

Air taxis

Recently I read that Air taxis will be introduced in Dubai shortly. These taxis will have pre-defined paths and will be controlled by ground controllers. The day is not far when pilot controlled air taxis will also be introduced. And I dread that day, if this happens in India.

A certain high profile individual who likes his drinks, in excess of his metabolic abilities, has just left a high end resto bar. He can hardly walk in a straight line and has to be supported by the bar bouncers, who escort him to his latest acquisition, an air car. It's his good fortune that his pilot is accompanying him. “Let's go, Bosco, let's go home”, so saying he sits in the back seat. The air car takes off and soon the air car is flying just above the skyscrapers of the sleeping metropolis. Soon, the Richie rich boy, enamoured by the sights of the beautiful city commands the pilot to hand over the tiller to him. The pilot hesitates and tries to convince him, not to steer the air car but to no avail. Finally, he is, but, an employee who needs his job desperately. He hands over the controls to his master. With a twinkle in his eyes, Richie rich takes control of the tiller and takes the air car higher. It's a very late hour and at this hour there are only a few other air cars in the skies. There should not be any problem, thinks the pilot. Just as this thought enters the pilot’s mind, the alcohol works its magic. It leaves the safe confines of Richie’s stomach, fights against the liver’s de-toxifying abilities, enters the small intestines and percolates into the blood stream. Within minutes, it reaches the heart and brain and Richie starts swaying, loses control over the tiller, the air car loses height rapidly, crashing through a skyscraper window, the impact killing three occupants of the house instantly, while two survive, albeit with injuries. They see the famous personality stumbling out and going into the back seat of the air car…However there is minimum damage to the air car itself, and Richie and his pilot escape under the cover of darkness.

20 years have passed since that accident happened. Richie is more famous now. And he has successfully fought all court battles. His well paid lawyers argued that, in the era of air cars, people sleeping near windows were being careless and irresponsible. And more decisively, they proved that the victims had died a natural death before the air car crashed into their bedroom.
May God bless India and India never sees these air cars…

Yatindra Tawde

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Tinder like app, perhaps

A Tinder like app, perhaps

Everyone knows what Tinder is. It is the most popular dating app across many countries. So what is this tinder like app. Let's find out…

Sam is sitting on a chair in an airy room having many computers. There are many men and women, all wearing white overcoats, exuding scientist vibes. Samantha is sitting in a neighbouring room, which is also populated by similar men and women. Both of them are taking part in a research and are supposed to remain silent and these men and women study them, or rather they are studying their reactions to various stimuli. For the last few days, the subject of research has been the same. And today is the day, every one of those men and women have been waiting for.

Sam is sitting in front of a screen. A man standing beside him is showing him photos of different females on the screen. The other men and women are either watching him carefully, studying the gamut of emotions on his eyes and face, or they are studying monitors, connected to sensors attached to to his torso near his chest, to his temples. Whenever Sam likes what he sees, his grins broadly or laughs hysterically, his big eyes bulging out of their sockets. Sometimes he also claps with exaggerated swaying of his arms. And when he doesn't like what he sees, he bends his head downwards or he covers his eyes with his huge palms. Similarly, in the other room, Samantha displays same gamut of emotions. She is being shown various photos of males on her screen.

What these scientists are testing is an app, similar to Tinder, with a difference. They know, how visuals of attractive women or men affect the individual of the opposite sex, who is watching. But here, the study is focused on a different species. Sam and Samantha are Chimps,, and by studying their response to the visual stimuli, these researchers have been able to prove, that the human cousins are also similarly affected. This research will help the researchers to develop an app to link up, like minded chimps, to reduce their loneliness.

And for those interested,  Sam and Samantha displayed  the most enthusiastic grunting and clapping on being shown each other's photos, and they now live happily ever after, in those hallowed dwellings, of the research lab. Instead of ‘Rab ne bana di jodi’ , it is ‘Lab ne bana di jodi’.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The sewers of India

The sewers of India
Recently I had been out of Mumbai and happened to return by train in the morning. And I realised that the Swach Bharat Abhiyan is a total failure in the railway premises and I don't mean the railway stations which are quite clean nowadays. I am talking about the railway lines which continue to attract all types of grime and are  downright filthy. Can the Railways do something about it since the railway land is being used as a community toilet by a lot of dis-advantaged people who have either not heard about the Abhiyan or perhaps the government is not ready to build toilets for these people. Or worse still, the people enjoy the open air breeze better than the stuffy insides of a built up toilet. Now imagine a foreigner passing through these railway lines….
Charles is returning by the night train from Goa to Mumbai which reaches Mumbai in the morning. He is from Britain and has loved his stay in Goa. He had gone to Goa by the day train from Mumbai and had just loved to sit by the door and watched the green fields, rivulets and assorted trees rushing by. He had looked forward to the return journey to Mumbai but alas! He did not get the day train ticket and had to travel by the night train. But he decided that, with the first rays of the morning sun he would sit by the train door once again to enjoy the early morning fresh breeze and watch the fields go by. After enjoying a good night sleep, on waking up, he eagerly made his way towards the door. After all, the 2AC bogey windows are quite opaque, hardly giving any glimpse of the outside world. On opening the bogey door, expecting the first whiff of the early morning breeze, his olfactory senses were assaulted by the pungent smell of decaying matter. Charles got a jolly good jolt but he still had hope. Hope that the vistas would open, that he would get to see at least some of the green fields seen in the first journey, but instead of green fields, he saw mounds of trash mixed with plastic bags reaching to the top of the wall along the lines. He could not imagine why, the people of India consider the railway property as trash bin. But then he saw rows and rows of metal rails and cement sleepers lying unused, stacked one upon the other. He then understood that the railway land is not respected by the railways itself. He expected to see some animals like cows and buffaloes but he could see only pigs and swines enjoying the filthy settings. And then suddenly he saw people sitting by the rails; at first he did not understand what they were doing in the dim morning light. And then suddenly it dawned on him, and he made a dash for the cozy interior of the train, his expectations to see great natural settings, fully crushed, since he had just seen innumerable men answering the call of nature. He made a promise to himself, never to look out of a train in Mumbai, especially during the morning “peak” time.
The Swach Bharat Abhiyan is being correctly targeted in the city and village surroundings, but the Railway ministry needs to join in, to rid its surroundings of, the highest incidence of filth, found anywhere in India.
Yatindra Tawde

Otonamaki- an experience

Otonamaki – An experience

I had heard a lot about Otonamaki. For the uninitiated, Otonamaki is adult wrapping made famous in Japan. It is similar to the wrapping of new borns and involves wrapping of adults in a huge piece of cloth for about 20 minutes. It is said to reduce body aches, making your joints more flexible and gives you a secure feeling. Or so said the Japanese.

So when I heard that Otonamaki has been introduced in India, I decided to try it. I think I work, worse than the Japanese (or so I like to think), I really needed to de-stress. The Otonamaki studio opened in a mall near us and became an instant attraction for the denizens of Thane. Everyone made a beeline for the mall in the weekend and I too joined the serpentine queue outside the studio. After all I really wanted to treat my tired joints to this elixir of a therapy. After waiting patiently for two hours I was standing before the peacock blue clad Japanese receptionist. I was wearing very comfortable track suit since I had seen some Japanese Otonamaki YouTube videos. The receptionist looked at me from head to toe, and asked in shuddh Hindi, “kahiye, main apki kya seva kar sakti hun?”. Surprised with her Hindi diction, I blurted out “Otonamaki!”. Giving me the sweetest smile she said, “padhariye”, and I was escorted inside. It was quite dark inside, the passage lined with candles. As my eyes adjusted to the candlelight, I entered a room where I saw, there was one other customer, a portly man , with his round stomach accentuated by the tight t-shirt he was wearing. He was a funny sight. There were four Japanese males , typically slim and trim, wearing pure white cotton pyjamas and loose shirt. Myself and the portly gentleman, were asked to sit on the cotton filled mats, facing each other, on separate pieces of clean white cotton cloths. I was sitting comfortably, with my legs crossed, and we were asked to close our eyes and breathe deeply. Then one of the attendants proceeded to explain the process of Otonamaki to make us feel comfortable.

“Okayyy, now we will start” said the attendant in his nasal, Japanese accent. “Open your eyes now”. Two attendants were standing near me and two near the portly man. One attendant lifted the cloth from behind me, took it over my head, and handed over two corners to the attendant sitting in front of me. He proceeded to tie a knot, in front of my nose. Then he held both my hands and crossed and placed them on my chest. Then he asked me to slowly lower myself on my back. Then he asked me to lift my legs, bend them at the knees and push them towards my stomach. Suddenly a thunder was heard in the room, a thunder usually related to heavy eating, I could visualise the portly man put through the same contortions of the body as myself. Then the other end of the white cloth was wrapped around and tied up and I found myself locked inside. This was to be my situation for the next 15-20 minutes. After an eternity, which was actually only 5 minutes, I could hear the portly man screaming to be let free, but in a very calm voice, the attendant was dissuading him in firm tones. The attendants then asked us to rock ourselves on our backs, which I did. After 10 minutes I started feeling claustrophobic since I could see nothing but the white cloth around me. Believe me it was a very frightening experience. After 15 minutes, both of us were let out of our white prison, but the portly gentleman was frozen in that embryonic pose. How I wished to have my mobile camera to click a unique photo. I helped to straighten him and both of us stumbled out of the Otonamaki studio. I don't know whether we were walking straight or not, but I could see some people chuckling as we went past them.

I don't know about stress relief, but next day I had to skip office to help recover my joints from the circus performance of the previous day. Hats off to the Japanese for having thought of putting non-flexible adults into baby pyrotechnics. After that experience, I never stepped back into that Otona whatever maki studio again. Last heard, the studio had closed down due to zilch patronage from non flexible Indians.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Otonamaki – Adult wrapping

The Japanese are going truly crazy. Their workaholism combined with their lonely lives is driving them nuts. Everyone is very much aware how we Indians tightly wrap our new borns. It is done to give them warmth and security during their early days. While the hands and torso are wrapped snugly, not too tightly, the legs are wrapped relatively loose. It also makes a new born feel more secure since it has just left its mothers womb. Similarly, the new born babies in Japan are also swaddled in cloth. This is known as Ohinamaki.

One day some marketing savvy guy or gal in Japan came out with the idea that, if adults are wrapped similarly, it will also give a similar secure feeling to them. And one must give credit to the Japanese for thinking of the most original names for any new idea they bring about-so the adult swaddling is creatively named Otonamaki. But wrapping style of Otonamaki is quite different from that of Ohinamaki. While the new borns are wrapped with the hands to the sides and then crossed over their stomach while the legs are kept relatively loose, in Otonamaki, the hands and legs are kept in the embryonic position and then wrapped in a huge white cloth. These adults remain in this claustrophobic position for at least 20 minutes and there are many Japanese who swear by its therapeutic properties. It is said that the hip, shoulder and leg muscles become more relaxed and flexible after undergoing this therapy. However, at the same time, there are many who feel that this is a very creepy practice but  we will not know the truth about it, unless Otonamaki is introduced in India.

Yatindra Tawde

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Breath Control

Breath control

Feature phones had physical buttons. The smartphones came with their on-screen buttons. I remember that when I first saw a smartphone, I think it was the Samsung Galaxy, I was mighty impressed that it did not have any physical buttons for a keyboard. Then came voice control for commands and the phone started reading out the in-coming messages, and gesture control of basic functions. This was followed by finger print recognition technology. Every one is aware about the forthcoming attractions like a foldable screen and the keypad being displayed on your hand, where you touch your own hand within the keypad area, and the respective characters appear on the screen. I also understand that the biggest smartphone manufacturers are working on direct brain control of the smartphone, but how will they stop the brain waves from interfering, I am eager to see. But recently I read somewhere about yet another control mechanism and I was zapped.

It involves blowing air on the phone screen for various functionalities. For example, one short air blow from your mouth opens the number key pad, when you are typing, two short blows deletes a word, three short blows deletes a sentence whereas a one long air blow puts the phone off.

If this is converted to reality, I can foresee the Yoga classes getting more enrolments. After all, Yoga does teach you the best methods of breath control. And when the application of breath control becomes a very critical part of operating that extension of a human being, which is a smartphone, then Yoga wins hands down.

An Airport lounge…people sitting at various corners, their heads bent over their smartphones, some of them walking, staring at their screens, while a few are in that odd posture, which has become very prevalent in today's world. Its that well known posture, where the phone is held with the shoulder raised and kept in place by tilting their neck and applying pressure with the face, and the mouth chattering away to glory. And every now and then, the people are blowing on their respective smartphones, making their already bacteria filled screens, more crowded with exotic bacteria.
Yatindra Tawde

A gift wrapped present

A gift wrapped present

February 14th is approaching. For knowing couples,I don't have to elaborate on what is this day known for.  A saint named Valentinus made this day his own. Actually it was a Christian feast day in the good old days. And one day, some extra smart businessman saw great business opportunity on this day. This day, first became associated with romantic love since the 14th century and by the 18th century, lovers were expressing their love for each other by exchanging flowers, chocolates, et al. And so it went on for many more years, the festival of the European continent slowly making its presence felt in the Americas and Asia. And then the madness started. The Retail revolution, helped by massive advertising and mouth watering sales pitching, made this day, a favourite for all romantic couples across continents. Now there are all signs of this day degenerating into comic chaos.

Sometime in the near future…

Suresh and Rina are a couple in love. They are a working couple hardly finding time for each other. So they take extra efforts to keep each other in good spirits by periodically gifting the most unique gifts. Once Rina had gifted a turtle to Suresh since he is very fond of wild animals. Suresh had decided then and there to search for a similar exotic gift for Rina. And the day was not very far off when couples gift each other to express their love for each other. So 14th Feb approaches and Suresh goes to the nearest Mall to look for exotic gifts for Rina. The extra friendly Mall attendant shows various gift articles to Suresh but Suresh is not satisfied and he asks for more unique gifts. Exasperated, the Mall attendant then takes Suresh to an inner room with the promise of a gift like no other. On an inside rack, there are various beautifully designed paper mache small boxes. The attendant opens one …inside it, a beautiful shiny brown specimen of the oldest species on Earth with its wings encrusted with gold dust, six diamond rings adorning it, the eyes boldly meeting Suresh's. It's love at first sight for Suresh and he parts with a hefty amount to possess it.

14th Feb! Both Suresh and Rina are excited with expectations. Suresh has pre-booked the best seat in the coffee shop of the newest Five Star hotel in town. Both reach the venue on time, hand in hand. The concierge at the hotel gives them a warm welcome and they are chaperoned to their seating place. Suresh orders for the best wine in the house and some mouth watering Italian spread. The next 2 hours are very well spent in small talk and some PDA. Finally the moment arrives for which Suresh has been waiting. First off the blocks is Rina. She gifts him the most rugged faux leather mobile cover for his premium smartphone. He is very happy. Suresh then takes out the beautiful paper mache box, gift wrapped to perfection. He asks Rina to open it there itself. She unwraps the gift and opens the box…a screech escapes her mouth. All eyes in the room are on them, expecting the worst. Tears are flowing from Rina’s eyes, but these are tears of real joy. After all, gold and diamonds do have such effect on the female species…so what if they come riding on a live….cockroach!!

Thinking that this is the trend, I too gifted a similar specimen to my wife. But this fellow was little too hyperactive, he jumped from the box, straight on my wife's shoulder. She too screeched,  but this screech was one of sheer terror. She dusted off the critter from her shoulder with her flailing hands, grabbed the nearest available newspaper roll, and found  her mark. The next few minutes were spent in retrieving whatever gold dust and miniature diamonds as possible, from the floor. She did not talk to me for the next few days!!

Well, I hear this cockroach gifting fever has started in New York, and as all things American, bound to spread to the rest of the world.

Yatindra Tawde

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...