Joy of Giving : What did you give last?

Last week Teach for India celebrated the Joy of Giving week. There were free hugs campaigns in Pune and problem solving free marches around the city (2nd october- TFI fellows along with volunteers went around the city talking to people asking what problems they see in the country and what are the steps they have taken or plan to take in order to eradicate them). Being in Bangalore I could not be a part of the campaign but does that mean I should stop giving? Of course the answer is NO.

Joy of giving week reminds me the thought of giving. We often give gifts to our loved ones, we give money/food/clothes to beggars/needy ones, we give …. probably lots of things to people but what is that that cannot be measured in terms of money? I thought for some time that what is that I have given to the society that doesn’t involve monetary transactions? What is that which I gave or wish to give in future for nothing in reward? What is that which I gave and made me happy, just that feeling of happiness? Yes, I came up with an answer, it was ‘Knowledge’.

As a student and even now as a professional, there is one thing which I don’t stop giving or sharing and that is knowledge. Educate somebody about something, spread what you know and preach what you practice. There are some things which we can learn only from our peers, and education is one of them. Everybody reads the same text books but still someone knows more, someone less. Why not share our knowledge and make the world a better place by giving everybody the power of information. I have often seen people hiding their knowledge or not sharing what they know, reason being they fear their friend might overtake in the particular field/subject. How can someone overtake you if you told him/her how to take the first steps? And even if he does, you should feel happy about it, and that too for two reasons. First is, someone listened to what you had to say and has actually implemented what you were trying to convey, how many of us do that? And secondly because if he knows more than you some days later, you can learn all those new things from him and that too in a much lesser time than you would have originally spent. So its always good to ‘give’ and the joy of giving can never supercede any other joy.

Now let me know (in the comments section) what is that you’ve given or plan to give in future which would give you ‘Joy of Giving’.

What is a brand ?

Of late I have been asked by quite a few people about branding and what are the steps to become a brand but today I was asked a good question, What is a Brand or better put Define a Brand.

Wikipedia says : A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as “cultural accessories and personal philosophies”.

FreeDictionary.com says :

    A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
    A product line so identified: a popular brand of soap.
    A distinctive category; a particular kind

apart from a 100 other definitions.

Let’s talk practical : Shahrukh Khan is a brand, Farhan Akhtar is not; Harsha Bhogle is a brand, Arun Lal is not; Michael Jackson is a brand (yes, he still is), Rakhi Sawant is NOT. Even though I did write about her sometime back and that too in relation to branding, but she never was and can never be.

Shahrukh Khan
In terms of product value, I will say they are brands because the first thing is that THEY SELL. Any Shahrukh film just sells, even though the promos have not been good, even though the film is crap, even though it may have no other superstar in it, what matters is it sells. Same does not hold for Farhan Akhtar.

If Harsha Bhogle is on air, everyone listens to him, his name sells there. The same is not true in the case of an Arun Lal or a Rameez Raja, even though they are seen commentating on all channels and are all over the place, people may listen but do not respect their commentary.

Brand Michael Jackson
Brand Michael Jackson

An MJ album used to sell without even people listening his songs, they just bought. His shows were a sellout because people knew its M-I-C-H-A-E-L J-A-C-K-S-O-N who’s performing. However old he grew, his shows were always a sellout. He was a household name, even my dad knows his name, even though he never heard a single song of him. On the contrary, even though Rakhi Sawant is a household name, but is her show watched on each and every person ? Though people like me watched a few of her tv appearances, but did we watch it because of Rakhi? No is the answer, and what’s more is that more people switched channels when they saw her on air.

So who is a brand ? Let me tell what does not define it. Any person/product/company which catches the eye of the people simply is NOT termed a brand. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Something which fades away with time is NOT one. Negative publicity does NOT make one.

A brand is something/someone/product or company which :

    is famous (the primary condition)
    has earned respect in the society (society may be a variable term here, but constitutes of people who do not know or are NOT associated with the brand personally)
    has value (the product is good or the person has excelled professionally or the company has done exceptionally good business)
    which sells outright (does not need much of marketing)
    raises eyeballs every now and then, with positive actions or sometimes even with neutral ones
    no of people who love the brand >>> no of people who hate it (yes you ought-to/must have those who hate you)
    does not become news for negative reasons

May be you can add more points ? I put what I could recall of but I guess you may have much more to add, looking forward to discuss and learn more from you people.

The Internet is NOT Free !

Time and again I face this question or rather answer from reputed people that,

Things will happen after all the Internet is FREE

Ideally these people are rated very high in the business circles because of the success they have had in their various sectors but achieving success in one field does not make you a champion in all the other fields automatically. But how much does Sachin Tendulkar knows about the technicalities of the Ferrari F-50 Spider ? Probably next to nothing and that’s what my answer is to all those people who feel that “Internet Is FREE”.

Recently we have been meeting a lot of people, some of them high profile businessmen, some IIM-Grads and some of them who have non-Internet startups. Though most of them quite senior to me but some of them also also fall in or near my age group. Initially I thought that people in the age group > 45 do not understand the power of internet and hence they say. But when I saw that people even on the other side of the above mentioned age group not understanding the situation I had alarm bells ringing in my head that clearly said ‘this is not going to be easy’, in fact “it’s going to be very tough”.

I guess you are still wondering what that blog post topic means. Let’s get to it straightaway. Ok the internet for you is free in office, maybe at home you spend some 800 INR and get that connection working and since then you assume that it’s free.

Let me ask a very basic question, When we start our machines, what is that we do? Open our mailboxes, open some social networking sites, search for something which we require, a restaurant or a new mobile or some place or some person or anything of our interest. Now let’s say that there was no Orkut, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blogs and no Google. Then what do you do? No don’t say, if no Google then I use a Yahoo or a Bing. My question is if there was no website where you would find the information, what worth would the internet be to YOU ? If there is no content to read or browse then what do we do ? If there is no facebook or orkut then how do I stay in touch with my friends ? Obviously I can’t call everyone ! So no content results equals to no internet. Now even if you spend 800 bucks on that connection you won’t have anything to do over the internet if there’s nothing to read or see.

My point is that the Content is King, not internet. Internet might be free but it’s the content that costs. Any blog post that has been written, it requires time and effort to be written. And what I am trying to explain is that time and effort equals Money in the real world. The day labnol or mashable or chrisbrogan stop earning money from their blogs, why would they do it ? Why would starbucks do a twitter or a facebook campaign for their patrons ? Why would someone bother to answer a bad review for a Dell that a customer made on their website or somewhere else for that matter. All these things require time and effort to be put in and obviously TIME and EFFORT are equivalent to MONEY if spoken in the Layman Businessman’s language. So how could you term the Internet Free if it has no value without the CONTENT.

Well those are my views let me know what you feel, would love to engage in discussions.

How a bad Advertisement timing can spoil your Brand Value

I recently came across an advertisement in The Economic Times, a national daily newspaper arguably read by each and every businessman across the country. The ad started with the words :

Kind Attention CMD’s, CEO’s, COO’s and top management

Following the address, it had information regarding the program which was succeeded with a 2 line statement about advertiser’s background. Now I guess we can imagine how much information can be dispensed in a 3″x4″ ad. And hence as a result of which the ads are always suffixed with a website link, an email id and a contact no, assuming the advertiser and the addressed people have enough technology exposure. You must be thinking so what’s wrong in this ? Nothing ! Absolutely correct.
The website has a single page and that page contains nothing more than a 1 paragraph information of the company. There are 4 other links on the website, one of which links to a related external site, good enough. But out of the other 3 links, 2 do not work. The last one says “News”. Hoping that this will have information at least about the ad, I clicked that link. And guess did I see.

This post has been deleted.

I assume that, okay, the website might be having some problems so I pick up my phone to call on the given number. You can’t believe what reply I got,

Please check the number you have dialed !!!

What my first reaction was, I probably cannot write here.  Still assuming that IT’S OKAY,  there might be a printing mistake, I gathered  some courage and clicked on the only link that was working (the linking to an external site). That website, though functional,  also did not have any info about the advertisement. Somhow I found a landline contact no and I had full confidence that atleast this should be working. Alas! it was not to be. No, the numbers were correct, but none of them was recieved. I dialled both the numbers but to no avail.

Harms caused by bad timing
Harms caused by bad timing

Can you imagine what sort of impression would this sort of campaign do. It’s done more damage than you can imagine. The website’s not ready, has no information, the news section says post deleted, the mobile numbers don’t exist and nobody is bothered or responsible enough to recieve the landline calls. Waaaoow ! I am impressed. And in case you forgot, then I may remind you that the post was addressed to CEO’S, COO’S and CMD’S. No, I am not anyone of those, but yes I do own an organization or rather a startup I should say and the advertiser is connected to me due to previous background.

Things they lost from all this :

Trust :   Confidence :   Loyalty :   Growth/Business (for a short term and with some concerned people at least) : and the most important BRAND VALUE, if they had any.

Lesson to be learnt : If your soldiers aren’t ready, don’t FIRE !

This is a perfect example why you should synchronize your advertising and marketing/branding campaigns. Probably they should have waited at least till the date the website is ready. Since a bad impression lasts longer in the human brain, I guess next time such or may be any ad from the same organization, wouldn’t be treated trustworthy or would get the response it expects.

By the way, after all this, I didn’t bother to try the email id.

How to create your Brand-The Rakhi Sawant way

Update : I have intentionally put this update at the top. I have got a lot of people who have made comments on this article, no don’t look at the comments section, but to me personally on mail and calls, that they were not happy with this article. Let me be clear; I thoughtfully chose a topic which had a clear sarcasm in it. Rakhi Sawant is a gossip material and that’s what this article is meant to. In NO WAY do I promote the methodologies adopted by her to promote herself . The reading should be treated as things NOT TO BE DONE if you are a marketing or a branding person. For others the post is a pure fun to read.

I know I may be hated by the readers by writing about it, but believe it or not we can learn a lot of things from the Drama Queen.

All, ohk probably most, of us want to be a brand and become famous but are not able to do so. We have the skills but seeing this recent talk of the town I guess we have a point or two to learn.

First and the foremost thing is that talent alone is not the sole criteria, its publicity that plays a major role that will make you famous. Skill is a necessary condition but it is definitely not the sufficient condition. In my previous post I wrote about marketing your talent. Yes, that’s a very important point but I want to take your eyes to the tactic that Rakhi has used and used it better than enyone else. Get media publicity the WRONG way. Hardly people knew that the girl who did a couple of music videos and few movie item songs was Rakhi Sawant. But now, she’s a household name. Sometimes we have enough talent but don’t get the right/enough opportunities to show it. She made use of every opportunity. If I am not wrong, she shot into fame with the Mika Kiss Scandal. Got publicity on all those news channels who have more masala than news and eventually got more dance offers from movies and got a few TV reality show appearances as well.  Mission Accomplished I would say.

Result : Gets famous in a day all of a sudden, rules news channels for a week or so and in some cases gains public sympathy as well as anyone who cries on screen can easily get some emotional Indians sympathise her.

Second, if you can’t win, cry Cheating ! Everyone admitted that she was a good dancer, but when she was ousted on public voting in a reality show, she cried foul over the organizers claiming that the “votes were tampered”.

Result: Even though people like me who didn’t watch the show came to know about her and her dancing skills as it was again on all the masala-cum-news channels. Dancing skills proven, she starts getting more dancing offers in films, shows and no wonder her bank balance skyrocketed. Ofcourse she was famous by now !

Then comes third step and rather a mindblowing one. As people have a short memory and tend to forget things quickly, she comes with an ulmitate move, setting up a Swayamvar for herself. Marrying a person on a reality show! Who would think of that ? Are you Nuts , was my first reaction when I first heard of the show. Man, can you believe it ?  I don’t know whether it was all framed or real but bottomline is that the show managed to even get NRI’s to fight the others to marry her.  And guess what, the NRI wins ! Not sure whether the marriage will actually take place or not and the fact is who cares.

Result : Purpose of the show is solved. The show gets high TRP’s, especially because there were no cricket matches around the time of show being aired. Initially I also refrained from the show, but once when I saw it, I just couldn’t stop laughing. It was meant to be serious and emotional but it turned out to be absolutely foolish and idiotically funny and which was why even I watched it. But what surprised me more was that when I got back to work, logged into twitter, there were people who were updating about the show. News results all over the place. Ofcourse the masala-news channels had BREAKING NEWS. HAHA, I guess these news channels would run outta money if they don’t show this stuff. Everyone watched the show for various reasons and talking about her as well. Positive or negative but the point is SHE GOT PUBLICITY. I wonder what will up in those newspapers, but I guess being in Bangalore I can assume they won’t give her more than a small 5th or 6th page column.

Whatever ways she adopts, bottomline is she gets famous each time and does not let people forget her. Quoting a friend who just updated his facebook status which reads :

Rakhi sawant is a real celebrity , Hilton beware rakhi is coming, A real drama queen at it’s best on NDTV imagine ! don’t miss it

Update 1 : Latest news is that she even made it to the twitter trending topics.  http://bit.ly/12VWH1

Update 2 : Over 15 million watched ‘faisle ki raat’  http://bit.ly/1YfZ31

Things we can learn from Rock On!

Some times even movies can teach us a lot. Probably everyone of us has seen the movie ROCK ON, here are some things which I thought we can learn from it.

1. Talent must be MARKETED, if properly shown to relevant people, it can reach new levels and set new benchmarks. (Joe, a great guitarist, does not want to tell people and give auditions)  If people don’t see your talent, how will they value it ?

Arjun RampalRock On
Market Yourself

2. What we’ve learnt must be shared with others and must not end if we end, it must go on. A true leader always always creates a 100 more leaders (Joe and KD started a business of nurturing new talent) .

Rock On Arjun Rampal_Promote new talent
Promote new talent

3. We all make mistakes but the point is do we learn from our mistakes and move on keeping in mind that we won’t make the same mistake again. (Joe realized that Aditya was not wrong, it was the situation and the circumstances that made him feel so,  which he understood and came back).

Rock On_Magik reunited for that second chance
Magik reunited for that second chance

4. Life does not offer a second chance to everyone, but if that chance is given do we grab it with both hands ? I guess most of us let that chance go ! (Magik grabbed that chance and performed once again on stage, and I don’t need to say that it did remarkably well).

5. Money is not the only criteria to be successful and happy in life. (Aditya is very successful and has everything in life what an ideal person would want to, but was Aditya happy living that life? All of us know the answer, there are other things in life that are important in life to keep us happy.

Rock On Farhan Akhtar_Criteria for success - Money?
Criteria for success – Money?

6. You must set your priorities right, there are a 100 different things to do for everyone at an given point of time, it’s WE who have to take that correct decision based on the importance. (Rob could have met that producer whom Anu Malik wanted to meet him, but he knew his priorities – Magik).

Rock On Magik compromise_Learn to Compromise
Learn to Compromise

7. We all have to make compromises in life at some stage, we should LEARN do that, sometimes a successful compromise can take us a long journey (Had Magik completed their first album according to the director’s needs, the album being a HIT, they would have dictated terms from the next album, unfortunately, they DIDN’T) .

Rock On Farhan and Arjun_Learn to forgive
Learn to forgive

8. Sometimes even our “bestest” friends do something bad to us, but they don’t do it intentionally, we should find out the reasons, and best part is FORGIVE them. No point in carrying a heavy heart all through your life. Needless to say, your friend should be worth the forgiveness.

Rock On Farhan, Arjun, Purab_Friends Forever
Friends Forever

9. Best friends are forever, no matter how good or bad the times we face, real friends will always be at your side.

10. When resources are less and we really need something. that’s the time when we have be INNOVATIVE (Magik really needed the money and Aditya was innovative enough to sing old songs with Rock Touch).

Rock On Dandiya_Learn to innovate
Learn to innovate

Last but the most important point, Live your Dreams ! Someone has correctly said

Dreams are not those which you see while asleep, but they DON’T let you sleep

In order to ROCK ON, you must have a Dream !

Rock On Dreams_Live your dreams
Live your dreams

Well, those are the things I learnt, it’s not an exhaustive list, probably you can something more. Drop in your learnings in the comments section. Highly appreciated.

The future of SLAM BOOKS

Yesterday at a friend’s place I happened to come across a small tiny piece of notebook which most or rather I should say all of us would have come across at some point of life. Farewell time in schools or colleges is when these notebooks come out and then get filled in a weeks time, probably faster than any other notebook in a students life. If you’ve not guessed uptil now then I must tell you that I am talking about the Slam Book. Our favourite book which all of us get filled or fill for someone else when we leave our institutions or in better words when we leave our friends.

The ages old Slam Book
The ages old Slam Book

Yesterday when I came across another such book after quite a long time and as I went through an empty page just reading the questions I realized that what would be the future of these slam books. Lets see what would the questions turn out to be :

Name would be : Profile Name, Orkut Name, Facebook Name.

Instead of Address, there would be options like, twitter link, linkedin profile link, orkut link, facebook link and not to forget the email id. Maybe there would be added columns of telephone number.

Friends would be replaced by the number of orkut friends or better with the way twitter is growing, it would be “twitter followers”.

“Favourite phrase” would become “favourite tweet”.

“Favourite place” would become “favourite URL/link/website”.

“Favourite relative” would become “favourite orkut friend”.

“Hobbies” would get changed to “favourite applications used on orkut/facebook“.

“Favourite game” would look like “favourite gaming site”.

And last but not the least, the question we all look forward to :

“Lines for you”  would be replaced by “Testimonial” or maybe “Recommendation”.

And yes not to forget, I must say “my cool autograph” would look something like “my signature” and would have our fav one liners and our entire contact info, like most of us have on gmail.

Looks nice to me and would be more interesting is that really becomes a reality.

Originally posted here

Top 6 reasons to fire your employees in the IT slowdown

Are you the owner of an IT firm who does not have enough projects and are thinking of laying-off your employees, but can’t figure out the reasons to show them the door ! Read on to find out the top reasons which you can use to fire them.

Get Fired


Reason 1. You send too many mails. Reportedly India’s top firms are firing employees who send too many mails and believe it or not they say it’s “disciplinary action”.

Reason 2. You tapped that cigarette smoke on the floor. How dare you do that? Even though you are in the smoking zone, you cannot drop the ash on the floor. Any guys listening? beware.

Reason 3. You did not take the BUS-PASS. You cannot afford to do that my dear employee. Yes that’s true as well. Heard of a top-notch IT company firing its employees because he did not take the bus pass and was traveling in the company bus. Man, what a BIGG mistake was that. I am glad I did that just for 10 days and wasn’t caught. Phew! a narrow escape I guess.


Reason 4. Ask them to join the BPO. If there’s anyone who rates the sector which created hundreds of thousands of jobs in India then it’s an IT professional. So what better way to say bye-bye to them than asking them to join the BPO. Its like you don’t ask them to quit but still they will do it and your purpose will be solved.


Reason 5. Organize unnecessary tests. After so many years of studying and clearing those exams, one imagines that once we get into job we imagine and expect that we won’t have to face them again. But thanks to recession companies have started organizing tests and asking people especially on bench to take them and what’s worse is that if you don’t clear them, you will be FIRED.

Reason 6. If somehow you escaped from the above conditions even then you are not safe because this reason is something which will definitely fire you. IF YOU ARE FOUND STRETCHING YOURSELF (STRETCHING HANDS TO EASY OUT, READ AS “ANGDAYI “ IN HINDI) IN THE TEST, YOU WILL BE FIRED. This is something India’s top IT firm has implemented in its training center recently.

They are just looking for reasons, how impracticable they may seem, companies are least bothered. All they want is to see the staff off because they can’t bear them anymore.

Recently I met an employee in one of those firms and I’ll end with what he had to say, “They are just looking for reasons, even if you shit in a wrong manner, you will be shown the door”.

Originally posted here

My first blogger meet, that too in Bangalore

Indiblogger meet
Indiblogger meet

Though its been time now but I finally find time to blog about this. After thinking for so many days and missing out on a few events, I finally found time to go to the Indibloggers bloggers meet held at the Microsoft office on the last day of february.

Bangalore, though is not a much happening place but for those who have a presence in the online world, this place is not that bad either. Regular blogger meets/camps take place which is what i love. 3 of them i’ve heard about , 2 out of which been able to attend. Also came across a writers group meet, though I coudnt go even there.

My first meet courtesy the Indiblogger community was a good one. Though it was held at a place which is a hated place in my dictionary, still target being something else I went there. Although my image of the  Microsoft (read as M$ from now) even became more downgraded. Supposedly a bloggers meet it became a M$ Product presentation for most of us there.

It started well with the group introducing themselves and then trying to introduce everyone. We were given a timer of 1 minute and had to complete in that. Though some people had enough to say and made their presence felt in that minute, I finished off in a flash and had nothing much to say. It lasted only a few seconds, dont know why but I didnt gather enough confidence even though it was an informal meet I just cudn’t pull up the confidence. Anyways, had some interesting things to hear during that period.

The meet would have been awesome had the second session been held at the last, the windows 7 presentation. Bah !  As soon as it started people started leaving the room and as it went on and on it was really turn off. Normally I am not one of those who get out in the middle of a presentation as being a presentor I can feel how that person might feel, but even I couldnt control and got up to ask anwin that “how long is going to last and what is next on the agenda, because this is not what i have come here for!!”. Only thing he could tell me was there are no more sessions like this and there are there because they are paying for pizzas. Huh. Nothing much to say I sat down again and had to listen to one of the most arrogant presentors I have ever seen. Sorry fot that but can’t help it. Infact, there were two guys, 1 of whom I got a chance to interact with during the pizza time, actually told that even he had ubuntu on his laptop, though a dual boot machine.What an irony !

Anyways after the pizzas the meet continued and we had some brainstorming where everybody sat close and discussed about  blogging, twitting and all those things which regular bloggers talk about. I was a bit unhappy because the main topic that everything revolved was about how to earn from blog. I, on a personal front, dont blog for money. Its all about sharing experiences and things like that. Probably most people who came there were not there for money as well, but again it was the M$ guy who started all that shit and being the presentor previously, took advantage and had a substantial presence on the discussions. he even asked foolish questions as to “why should i use twitter??” Well answer to him is, as i could not say this there- “M$ guys can never think of sharing knowledge, what they want is to know how to earn the $$”. Probably now I am clear why M$ is the most hated company in the world as well. Apart from a few contacts and nice people and ofcourse a list of blogs of those who attended the list I found …

Phew, my summary of the blog meet turned out to be against a company, sorry for that but thats how I am, I write my experience and what I felt. Hopefully wont go to a meet that involves the M$ thing.

Till then cheers.

P.S. Pics of the meet here.

Original post

The ride of my life…courtesy Yo-Bikes

It was a bright sunny day and I was busy sleeping when Rahul gave me a wake up call and for the thrid sunday in a row promised to meet in the evening. The last two sundays he had kept me waiting on and on so this time I was in my usual ghar wala attire, calmly watching Guru, for the fifth time, with my parents when suddenly I heard the doorbell. It was five in the evening and I was almost shocked to see Rahul at my gate. The shock was because of two things, primarily because he was there, finally, and secondly because he was complete one hour before time. Anyways, I welcomed him with as much surprise as with happiness.

He even made a call to Maddy, who had to accompany us, from my house trying to prove that he should be on time at his place unless Amit, who was to meet us nearby, delayed us. After having tea etc when we thought of moving, you could hear cries of Oh Rahul……as he had lost the keys again, not a big deal for him as he was quite accustomed to it. Fortunately or unfortunately, he had left the keys in his bike itself, as we figured out later. I had the least of hints of which bike he had got. It was when we were searching for the keys then he told me that he had got a Yo-Bike. On enquiring, I was told that it was a battery operated two wheeler. “Yaar, fir ye to ye badi risky hai yar”, was the first thing I uttered on hearing. Then he went on detailing its qualities, “it gets full charged in a night’s span and then runs for 75 kilometres at a stretch, and in Kanpur you can’t drive more than that in a day, so its good enough and not at all risky”. “Hmm, in that case thik hai”, I said. “Aur han tum daro mat kyonki main abhi bhi usse charge par laga kar aaya hu”, he said proudly.
When I reached downstairs, I broke out into an ocean of laughter as I saw the bike. The manufacturers had forgot mentioning that it was meant for a single person only. I was still wondering how could it carry 160 kgs, as Rahul went on in continuation singing praises for the bike. He confirmed this as he told me that, he and his father had made a ride on it for quite a long distance the previous night, right from Panki to Barra, Kanpurites can figure the distance, crossing even a bridge. He asked me to sit to which I responded “Abe start to karo ” and when he said “abe start hai, baitho”, he had me in total amazement. There was absolutely no noise. Anyways as I sat, he pulled the accelerator and the bike infact the Yo-Bike moved, leaving me completely bedazzled. It attained a speed of 35 kph in no time but when its speed stopped increasing I put up the question up for Rahul and he emphatically answered “Are ye iski max speed hai”. And all I could say was “Waaaaaaaaah”.

Then we met Amit and I thought of moving onto his bike, a new Discover, but Rahul asked me to be with him instead. I fulfilled his wish and by the time we reached Maddy’s place I said only one thing to him, “Rahul, ye bike lane ki himmat tum hi kar sakte ho”, and I seriously meant that. We picked up Maddy from his place and then went to where Rahul had promised us to take, since a month, the Mascar Ghats. Maddy and Amit had never been there, so Rahul asked them to follow him, much to their embarassment. It was my second visit to the place, the first being on the previous night itself with Prateek and Yasharth, my school friends. We spent some time there and then planned to go to mall road, hardly 2 km from the ghats to have something, as Rahul was proudly said “maine tum logo ko apni placement treat nahi di hai to aaj wahi samjho”, but I had never thought that it would take half an hour to travel such a petite distance.

As soon as we made our way back, at the first turn itself, the bike started to slow down. I got a hint straightaway and I
started shouting on the road itself “Abe marva diya yaar”. I asked him to switch the light off which increased the speed by a small but considerable amount. I straightaway started firing ……. on Rahul and he again made a proud statement “abe yar battery khatam bhi ho jaye to ye dus ki speed se chalti rehti hai”, another false promise which he had made in the bike’s praise. We asked Amit to reach the mall road and wait for us. Barely had we travelled one kilometer when I saw a cycle-wallah overtaking us and glaring us right from behind till the time he completely crossed us and in the mean time all I did was….. Laugh like hell. And Rahul, the proud driver had only one sentence on his mouth, “Abe Sahai mat haso be” and said it so sarcastically that anyone’s heart could have melted. Then we had a race with a cycle rickshaw carrying three passengers, and you won’t believe it, we won ! A little further and we started hearing voices which said, “There should be more battery, there should be more battery”, coming from the bike itself. And then it happened, the rickshaw we had defeated earlier, was now overtaking us and this time the three guys travelling on it were laughing like hell. I accompanied them and this time even Rahul didn’t have any other option but to ….. L.A.U.G.H. And we burst into a huge roar of laughter on the road itself.

The battery had virtually died when we reached phoolbagh and now I got off the bike and started walking along side Rahul, yeah he was driving and me walking. I guess you can understand at what rocket speed Rahul must be driving. He was doing for what he’s well known in hostel, driving in SLOW MOTION (his nickname in hostel). We reached a restaurant, me reaching first, hehe, not because of his speed but because he had to wait at the red light where, I must appreciate the guy for his guts, he emphatically explanied the qualities of Yo-Byke to onlookers who couldn’t resist asking him “yar tumhari bike me engine kahan hai ?”

We had a great treat from Rahul at the restaurant, the only good thing that had happened that evening. And then we decided to move. First it was decided to place his bike at a nearby place, Amit’s relative’s home, but on realizing the parking there did not have a charging point we had no option but to take it along. Rahul confidently said it would reach Maddy’s place easily, another false statement Rahul had made that night. So it was decided that Rahul should leave with Amit and me and Maddy would drive his bike to Maddy’s home. We were just being Rahul’s good friend at that moment. While they left in a flash, it took us almost half an hour to cover a distance of just over a kilometre and reach bada chauraha. It was there we realized that it was counting its last breadths and refused to move. First we thought of charging it at some place but, as expected, no shopkeeper allowed us to do so, even at the cost of cold-drinks that too two in number. Then I recalled one more quality Rahul had banked upon. “Abe charging point, petrol pump se zyada asaan hota hai dhundna, har paan ki dukaan par hota hai”, to which I had only replied in “abe paan wale kab se bijli ka bill bharne lage? welcome to Kanpur beta, yaha katiya se kaam chalta hai aur mujhe nahi lagta ki koi tumhe charge karne dega”.
Now with no one allowing to do so, I made a call to a friend hoping to charge at his place, but later we realized that it wasn’t a viable option either as there was no point in dragging the bike and then charging for merely half an hour, as it was already 9.30 by then. So first it was decided that I should leave while Maddy would himself drive as far it would go and then load it on a rickshaw to his place. But then suddenly his mood changed and he made a call to load it there itself. We booked a cycle rickshaw in twenty five rupees after some bargain and after explaining that the bike was actually not more than a cycle as it did not have an engine or petrol tank or anything of that sort. At first he laughed but then agreed to go. We loaded the immaculate Yo-Bike on the rickshaw and then both of us climbed on it from behind. People travelling by rickshaws must have imagined by now how the scene would be. On the way we were stared by many people crossing by which only led to Rahul getting all the abuses he deserved for his karnama that night, but it was when another rickshaw, carrying a couple of laughing guys passed, that Maddy uttered, “Abe has kya rahe ho, jab tumhara bhi Rahul Gupta jaisa koi dost hoga tab samjhoge”.