Paper-line – A Short and Sweet Activity

Most of us have fond memories of our first job. Even if we have spent a considerable amount of time in the corporate set up, we will still remember the first work assignment we took as a youngster. Whether it was in a Coffee shop, a promotional event in a Mall or just the two-months training we took by promising to work longer in a call-centre.

A little before these types of job, some boys take up distributing papers or milk-line to start doing something. Or at least in the eyes of their lower-middle-class parents. Newspaper distribution is an activity which is short and at the same time sweet in nature.

Paper-line - A Short and Sweet Activity, newspaper boy jobsThis is one of the rare jobs which do not require you to take bath or wear a particular attire. You can just wake-up, wash your face, do brush if possible and come for the job.

The first thing you do when you reach the workplace (mostly a roadside stall) is to arrange the papers in the order of distribution. And also putting supplements in the main paper (e. g. Bombay Times needs to be put in the main Times Of India). Now, three papers in this building, two in that building and one on the ground floor, that’s how you go about your business.

Features of Paper-line work

  • Considering the cramped spaces and buildings very close to each other, you have to be good at remembering the homes where you have to distribute papers.
  • Some boys getting involved in paper distribution are so thin that the weight of their paper-line appears unmanageable. However, we still get to see these chaps doing the job diligently.
  • On Sundays, you have a leverage to distribute papers without any hurry since people receiving them are a working class which have off and will wake up little late than usual.
  • But on weekdays, your employer receives a lot of complaints. Either it can be of not receiving the paper on time or sometimes not even receiving it.
  • As part of keeping the boys happy (retention policy), they are served snacks on Sundays. Although a very short (half an hour to one hour) task, Diwali bonus is also part of the overall benefits of the job.
  • Sunday is also a happy day for all the paper-line boys because this is the only activity they have to honour on that day.
  • If you are doing the work religiously, you are given additional responsibility to manage the stall, prepare monthly invoices and collect the payment from homes.

Paper-line - A Short and Sweet Activity, newspaper boy jobs

  • One of the disadvantages of Newspaper distribution field is that you hardly get any holiday.
  • The salary you get for a paper line depends on the number of papers you distribute. It was 200 to 300 rupees per month 15 years back. You are paid somewhere around 1000 to 1200 rupees now.
  • Once all the papers are distributed, it feels like the job well done. The breathing speed reduces, sweat covers the almost entire body. Left-hand pains a bit but soon it comes back to normal.

Thank You!

At the Tea stall…

We had just finished cracking a joke, I interrupted everyone’s laugh and said “Chalo Chai Maarte Hai”. It seems my smoke addict friend was just waiting for this small announcement, he joined me by saying “Mujhe bhi Cigarette ki talab lagi hai” and added “Aaj chai ke paise tu dega”. Few other younger guys in the group do not disagree with anything, the number got increased to five. Remaining two decided to accompany us rather than staying in the area. It was one of the unwinding weekend activity to visit the regular tea stall since this is the only time we get to spend with each other. Apart from playing cricket, tea stall is our second favoured place to frequent with the bunch of nuts.

While entering the stall, my smoke addict friend removed money from the wallet, requested the youngest guy in the group to bring three small Gold Flakes (popularly known as chota) from the nearby paan shop. It is always the duty of the youngest person to do these type of chores in most groups. There is a saying in smokers circle “The Chota gold flake is the Garibi ka sathi whereas the Gold Flake lights is the Amiri ka shauk. The first week of the month is all about Lights and remaining three weeks; we manage with Chota 😉

I ordered chaiwaala “5 me 7 special cutting bhatt, aur please last time ke jaisa thanda chai mat dena”. Another friend mumbled “Ye bhatt ka chai abhi pahele jaisa nahi raha, humlog ko dusra adda dhundna padega”. Since we were the regular visitors, Bhatt used to take our warning seriously sometimes. He started the gas, kept the utensil on it, mixed the already made chai with extra milk, ginger and started doing the most liked part any chaiwaala does. He was mixing all the chai-patti stuck on the corner of the utensil with the tea. Did some chai throw practice in the utensil itself somewhat similar to the fielder who starts warming up with the ball by passing it from his right hand to left hand and so on.

We started smoking, our friends who only came to have tea, moved to the opposite side. The discussion started about the last week’s goof up we made during the match. Everybody started blaming me for the catch I dropped and how it led to we losing the match. They even started teasing me with past records of me spilling the catch at important junctures and started laughing loudly over it. The discussion switched to the fight occurred between the two groups recently. Few people highlighted whose mistake it was in the fight. We reached at the end of the smoke session, this is where the smokers put all their efforts by taking a long breath whilst the smoke is perilously close to the filter side to enjoy the last puff of the cigarette. By this time, tea got a lot colder to consume the remaining part at one go. “Achcha tha Bhatt aaj chai”, paid him the money and we were on our way back.

On another day I asked chaiwaala how he goes about running the tapri. This is what he had to say “Subah 5 baje dukaan kholte hai, nahi toh 5:30 tak toh kholna hi hai, dopahar ko 12 tak public aate rehti hai, bahot kaam rehta hai. 12 se 3 aaram karne milta hai aur baad me wapas 3 se 10 kaam rehta hai. Sabko lagta hai sirf chai banaake dena rehta hai par waise nahi hai, dukan kholne me aur band karne me bahot kaam karna padhta hai” (he was referring to pre and post business hours work). He then went on with his business as usual by placing the tobacco in the mouth which he made while conversing with me.


Local Trains – The Facilitator

Ask any regular local train traveller about catching a train, they will say they have to hurry up most times. Half the time due to traffic on their way to the station or sometimes for cashing on the offer to catch earlier local which got delayed a bit. Local trains have their own distinct features such as if eight to 10 people are hurriedly coming down the adjacent bridge, you know there is a train arriving. Climbing a crowded bridge takes as much time as the train takes to reach from one station to another.

Swiftness of Local Trains –

Being one of the busiest commuter rail networks, one moment you are near the Arabian Sea, in the next one hour you will be in the lake city of Thane. The frequency, connectivity, efficient signal system make the railways most preferred option by the commuters.

Dilemma of Catching a Fast or Slow Local –

People stand upstairs on the bridge in dilemma of catching a fast or slow local. Boarding a fast train means adjusting with a huge crowd, guaranteed standing journey with dhakka-mukki and not to mention chances of an altercation. Slow trains are like the consistent batsman who score runs at the strike rate of 80, few don’t prefer them however lot of people opt for little more sanity while travelling.

Local Trains Bring People Together –

Just as we have school friends, college friends, office friends. Likewise, in Mumbai, we also have train friends. Strangers become good friends over the train they catch together every morning.

Watching the train run at consistent speed, we feel positive about reaching the destination on time. If you are standing in-between the little space of the two parallel four-seaters, it’s your responsibility to put bags of incoming passengers on the luggage stand above your head. It’s also not unethical/improper to stand on the door if you have kept little space for others to board the train 😉

The Harbour, Central and Western Line Routes –

Panvel to VT, Badlapur to VT or Virar to Churchgate. These are not just local routes, for lakhs of people, this is life. Most of the jobs of the maximum city are situated in town or in suburbs. Every morning people leave their home for catching an Up direction local.

Dadar Public Bridge –

Dadar Public Bridge is the testimony to the fact that we live in one of the busiest city in the world. Not a single minute go when we don’t find central line people rushing to catch western line train and vice-versa. At any point, you will see 500-600 people using this bridge.

Taking the Thing called Life Lightly –

No matter how long the train has halted on a particular station, there will always be people trying to board the train when it starts to depart. What’s more unfortunate is few youngsters make it a habit to board the train when it is leaving the station. As a matter of fact, around 11 to 15 people lose their lives daily due to train accidents.

From the world famous dabbawaalas who cater food to people around the city, college-going public to the people who struggled and made it big in their field will have a story to tell about local trains.

I ended my train journey by alighting from the train which hasn’t even stopped properly. A middle-aged person in white shirt put his hand in my way, he signalled me to show the ticket, upon verifying he allowed me to leave 🙂

Cricket from Maidans…

It’s that day of the week for which every cricket loving young Indian boy, not to exaggerate, literally live their life for, Sunday! As always the only thing we want to compulsorily do is to play Cricket. We had discussed yesterday evening to reach Maidan on time, however, everyone knows there are few mavericks, no matter how many huddles we do, they won’t appear on time. We had taken best of three, six over per side matches with (naive mistake of using with rather than against) our regular opponent.

Playing Cricket on Maidans is not as simple as it looks, starting from the critical selection process to the batting order, everything (almost everything) has a scope for debate. It is also the hot favorite topic for discussion that evening and the next Saturday until the new Sunday’s achievements and mistakes come up.

Let’s get on with the Match –IMG_6603[1]

Since Cricket from Maidans is mostly a very short affair of around four to six overs per side compared to actual internationals which either has 50 overs, 20 overs or the five-day Test Matches. You have to get going from ball one, lack of pavilion or space for the batting team makes thing noisier for the batsmen on the crease since all your team-mates stand beside the leg umpire and you get a lot of required/unnecessary inputs from them.

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The ball used is depended on the size of the ground. If we are playing on a big ground, we go for Tennis ball which is the most popular form of cricket played in most of the Maidans of Mumbai. If it is played between the spaces of parallel buildings, a good-shot ball is used in the best interest of uncles, aunties  and their home windows, more importantly for the safety of everyone. In rain, red or white rubber balls are used since they carry well even if it’s very muddy.

Potential at the exhibition

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Although this form of Cricket doesn’t yield anything significant monetarily, in fact, most of the times, you have to contribute to play tournaments, to buy the bat, to maintain the wicket (pitch) but these aspects don’t stop anyone from doing their best on the field. To be honest, Maidans will give you bowlers who can bowl longer and consistent line & length spells than few of the best international bowlers we have, batsmen whose Technic will give run for the money to good international players and fielders who will give everything to take the catch and save runs without bothering about the field which is filled with red soil and rocks in equal proportion.

Batting Team umpire sometimes a hurdle in completing the Match –

Yeah! Matches do get abandoned due to various reason in Maidans, one of them being umpire from the batting Team. The close run-outs and nicks are the most controversial things occur on the field. It sometimes gets extremely heated that the only option left is to draw the game and have bitterness until next one week, however, the good part is everyone gathers coming Sunday again and we start playing with & against each-other forgetting what happened last week.

The Caretakers –

Nimbu-Paani and Poha are our go-to refreshments in Maidan. Sarbatwaala, the person making Vada-Pav on the small wooden stall, and the Mavshi who brings Poha are the people everyone run towards whenever we feel hungry or weary. They don’t even bother asking for money when we are busy with the game.

Someone fielding at long-on for the opposite side of the ground facing you at cover will clap for a drive you executed effortlessly or say “Well Bowled, Well Bowled” if you have beaten the batsman, they may not necessarily know you however whenever anything worth appreciating happens boys don’t leave a chance to acknowledge it…

Match going down to the wire – 

The series was well poised at 1 all, in the final match we needed seven runs from three balls with only one wicket in hand. Our well-set batsman was on non-strike, at the striker end the batsmen was not someone who would come with us to play regularly, he had only came today by force. He was struggling to get bat on ball, everyone went up to him and asked somehow to connect the ball with bat or body and get off the strike and he successfully did that. Now 6 needed off 2, our set batsman was on strike, he hit the next ball in the air and thankfully it landed safely, by the time fielder collect and threw, they had run two.

Four needed of one delivery, keeper adjusted the field a bit. Bowler took his run up slowly thinking where to pitch the ball, he lands the ball at good length area, batsmen mistimes it however to our luck ball just passed the bowler from his right and by the time it reached long on they had already on their way to the second run. But two wasn’t enough, the flat throw came from long-on and it felt we will fall one run short however ball just bounced in front of bowler and went above his head, fielder from cover was already backing up but ball bounced once again before reaching him in the area which was slightly uneven and to our cheer it deviated from him and they ran another run to tie the game and everyone from our side sprinted towards both the batsmen in delight.

From definite losing position, we tied the game and series was drawn.Street cricket image

Not only in Maidans, we will keep playing cricket in smallest of streets and will always remain innocent nuisance to the residents. This game will remain the biggest source of joy for the people like us.

It will add to the blog if you want to put down your own Cricket from Maidan moments below in the comment field.

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Joie de Vivre in Goa!

When someone takes the name of Goa, immediately mind starts making an imaginary picture about it. From Alcohol at a low rate to meeting foreigners at the beach, from Sea food to Pubs, from churches to easy going police machinery.

1) Reaching Goa is itself a joy…

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If you are from Mumbai, Bengaluru or any other neighboring states of Goa, take a train (flights reach Goa before you reach Andheri to Powai). Although it comes with the package of unhygienic bathrooms, consumes a lot of time and tires you out but train journey will give you moments which you will remember for a long period of time. Also, you get free Konkan Darshan on the way; there are more tunnels than halts.

2) Fall in Love with Tiny Roads of Goa…

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What struck me about Goa are its tiny roads. You will hardly find any highways or wide roads throughout Goa. On the one side of the road, you will see a church and few shops and on another side, you will see coconut trees and you are passing in between. It’s unique in a sense you don’t get these type of roads in most parts of India.

3) The Beaches…

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The waves on the beach arrive like the Tiger you see charging at you in the commercials. Most of the beaches water is very aggressive, blue and clear and you will enjoy playing with it. The most amusing part of bathing at beaches happen when the people manning warn you not to enter deep into the water and everyone immediately obeys them however as soon as they leave, everyone goes deeper into the sea with a huge roar.

4) Exploring Goa on Bike (Activa) –

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This is the most common scene you will see in the streets of Goa. 7-8 youths clueless about the way but ecstatically riding their Activa at 60 kmph. Apart from enjoying beer and flirting with waves on the beach, this is the third most cherished activity people do when they come here.

5) The Museum, Forts and Lighthouse

Agauda Fort

The Archaeological Museum in South Goa displays paintings of governors, wooden sculptures, postal stamps which belong to the Portuguese era in Goa. Agauda Fort attracts a lot of crowd and lighthouse gives you the 360° degree view.

6) About Tito’s Pub and DELTINROYALE

Titos

Titos

The way to the most famous pub of Goa is known as Tito’s Lane. One wouldn’t mind opening a small shop nearby and settle there for life 😉 jokes apart, at night, Tito’s lane witnesses’ most beautiful ladies of India and Abroad. Stag entry to this pub will eat up 2.5k of your entire budget. The DELTINROYALE Casino is the most famous Casino on the Ship you can mark in your to-visit list. The normal entry to this Casino is around 3k and VIP entry is 5k, they provide you 1k chips to play in the casino. There is unlimited food, drink, and DJ to enjoy the entire night in the Ship.

DELTINROYALE

7) What not to do in Goa…

Although Goa is highly safe still there are don’ts which you need to follow otherwise you will invite trouble. E g do not go to a pub which offers disco and alcohol at the cheap rate, do not buy too many packed items and always avail goods and services from good reference.

8) Something for people who don’t like crowd…

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Many of the Goa beaches (mainly Bagha and Calangute) are highly crowded and not many people are comfortable facing crowd. Goa also has beaches which are as enticing as few of the most famous once but they don’t attract crowd due to various reasons. Candolim, Morjim, Arambol are the few names you can visit and have a quite rendezvous.

The Geography of Goa is such that it will continue to attract tourist for many more years to come 🙂

Matheran! Hill-Station For Everyone

Any Hill-Station has obvious features such as trekking, accessibility; favorable climate etc. Matheran! along with these features has one very good reason to visit. You can always nonchalantly pack your bag, leave home in whatever clothes you are, catch a local train and take off to Matheran without worrying about Pre-reserved travel tickets, stay, food etc. You can easily reach this Hill-Station in maximum three hours’ time from whichever corner of Mumbai, Thane or Navi-Mumbai you are.

1) A walk covered with Trees, accompanied by horses and invigilated by Monkeys!!!

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The Matheran’s entrance is a true reflection of what actually it will present. You will find yourself covered with trees, in the company of horses and observed by Monkeys. The Photography starts from “Welcome to Matheran” entrance. A lot of people take photos and selfies on the toy train railway track, underneath different trees or with Maxwell’s, ABD’s and Gayle’s (yes, Many Horses are named after cricketers).

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2) You can romance in Public but eating is prohibited!

It’s partially correct, you can have a little romantic time with your loved one through the walk and no one will bother but if you try to eat chips or Peanuts openly then you will be threatened to sacrifice the stuff by a group of Monkeys. Even they like your snacks. After all, they are our ancestor!

3) Hotels of Matheran and nearby Market…

matheran market

Apart from the hills and favorable climate, Matheran also offers good accommodation around the Matheran railway station. You can choose from a variety of low budget homes, reasonable hotels or ultra-luxury resorts with all the amenities as per your budget. Matheran market is a decent shopping destination. You can get good leather footwear for men and women, a lot of accessories shops to impress your lady love and many other fun-fair type stores. Not to worry, there is one (only) booze ki Dukaan as well.

4) Points to cover

Matheran sunset

There are around 35 Points in Matheran to cover. At 5 PM in the evening, you will find people asking for the way to Sunset Point, you can follow them. Sunset Point gives you the view to see Sun getting red and set in the V of the hills; it’s worth witnessing and capturing site. There are many other Points such as Panorama, Echo, Charlotte Lake and Malang Point. Honeymoon Point can accommodate only two people or beg a pardon a couple at a time 

5) Morning wake up alarm

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This is very subtle as well as a unique package of Matheran. You will wake up from the noise created at your hotel’s rooftop by a group of monkeys hovering around. It adds to the freshness and enhances your love for this place called Matheran!

6) Eyes-eyes Meet-meet

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The pretty girl you saw at one Point, chances are, you will get to see her on few other points as well. And if your outing is hilarious enough, she will be on the same train as you returning home and stares will continue until the last moment…

7) Miscellaneous features

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Entire Matheran stretch is worth exploring through a walk. People of Matheran are very helpful in giving you advice regarding the stay, ways to different points etc. No Automobile vehicle zone is the USP of Matheran. It takes you to the textbook village where Ghoda-gadi is the only medium of movement. Very low mobile network or no network at some places means you can actually enjoy the surrounding without dividing your attention. To get best out of Matheran, it is advisable to visit in winter though Matheran won’t disappoint you at any time of the year.

Please do add comments or suggestions you feel will help others explore Matheran better.

Thank You!

Tabres