Tag Archives: Delhi

A dirty weekend with the Polaris Phoenix 200 ATV

Sick of grumpy bosses and commutes that make being waterboarded seem like fun? We just might have found the right antidote: Spending a dirty weekend with the Polaris Phoenix 200 ATV…

You’d have found this article in the February 2016 issue of Stuff India. Missed it on the stands? No worries; head over to our website to read the online version. Meanwhile, here’ s an excerpt to keep you entertained (for a few seconds at least):

“Going mad with the hectic pace of life? Dream about running away to a tropical island? Wait up! There’s a far easier way of getting rid of the city blues – by grabbing your pals and heading out to play in the dirt.

That’s exactly what we did when we woke up one weekend with a burning desire to be outdoors. We’d heard the Polaris ATV chaps had set up a few Experience Zones around Delhi, and guess what? There was a spanking new one on National Highway 1, near Sonepat. You can guess where we’re going with this…

VS - Stuff Feb 2016 - Polaris Phoenix 200There’s a dirt track laid out, designed by Polaris to ensure you get plenty of thrills without risking a nasty tumble. A long straight to build up speed, a few turns to slide around while pretending to be the baddie from a cheesy Hollywood flick, a slush-filled pit for powering through (with a big grin plastered all over your face), and a couple of ramps and bridges for a butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling. A recipe done right? We’d be inclined to agree…”


The car’s the star at Auto Expo 2016

With the world’s leading marques and a few hundred thousand visitors, Auto Expo might be the biggest mela since the 80s, when the brothers Ram and Shyam got separated and ended up on opposite sides of the law.

But don’t fret if you couldn’t battle your way through the crowds. Stuff India has all the skinny on all the cars that really set our pulses racing.

The car's always the star - Stuff India March 2016

This article was published in the March 2016 issue of Stuff India. Pick up a copy at the stands or head over to Stuff.tv/in to read the online version.

P.S My favourite?

“…The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

In a nutshell You don’t have to settle for copycats, now that the real deal’s here!

Claim to fame It’s the Jeep. Get it in full SRT trim and you’ll get to taste an insane 470hp from the 6.7L Hemi V8. Combine that with Quadra-Trac 4×4 and you get a continent- devouring monster!

Tech on the menu This bonafide, rock-crawlin’, mud-pluggin’ 4×4 has Launch Control, 8-speed auto, paddle shifters, an 8.4in touchscreen and a 0-100km/h time of 5.0 seconds. Yup, it could embarrass many a supercar

Best driven… Wherever you may want to roam (And don’t forget to put on some Metallica on the stereo and hang up a Stars-and-Stripes out of the window)

Status On our roads soon

Price tba …”

Summer Getaways

It’s awfully hot here in India (unless you’re one of the lucky few who lives in the Himalayan states). In fact, it’s so damned hot, it almost seems like  the sun’s trying to burn you to a cinder. Yup, it’s summer all right. Doesn’t a nice vacation sound good right about now?

That’s exactly why I wrote about the best summer getaways for the June issue of Stuff India Magazine. Catch some excerpts here or pick up a copy from the news stands.

Summer Getaways 0 Stuff India Magazine - June 2015

“…Kanatal / Landour, Uttarakhand
Kanatal’s lake might no longer exist, but it more than makes up with its refreshing lack of tourists, the miles of winding roads, the lovely weather even in the middle of summer, and enough little picnic spots for you to make every meal an al fresco experience. Walk through pine forests straight out of a fairytale, explore the lush Dhanaulti Eco Park, or drive over to nearby Landour, a beautiful little cantonment town adjoining
Mussoorie, for some piping-hot paranthas and Maggi…..

Vembanad Lake, Kerala
Luxury experiences don’t get better than a few days spent at Kerala’s largest lake. Take backwater cruises, spend the day in a spa, sample the local seafood, and don’t forget to carry your camera along when you visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, home to almost 200 species of birds. And when you think you’re as rejuvenated as can be, head over to Kochi to explore the old colonial quarter, and satisfy your geek lust with a quick stopover at the Indian Navy’s Maritime Museum…

…Great Lakes Trek, Jammu & Kashmir
The ‘golden’ meadow of Sonamarg might be overrun with tourists , but it guards a secret that makes it a worthwhile destination when all you want is some solitude. That’s ‘cos Sonamarg happens to be the jumping-off point for the famous Great Lakes Trek, a week-long experience which takes you over high-altitude meadows and mountain trails as you visit a bunch of placid Himalayan lakes…

…McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh
This little hippie haven’s quite famous for being home to a large Tibetan community, and offers a laid-back vibe most of the time (weekends can be packed, though). Check out the Dalai Lama’s monastery, take Tibetan food lessons, catch an art cinema night, or fuel up on beer and pizzas while you play a game of chess at a cafe in Dharamkot…”

India – Criminal Indifference

“A brutal crime shocks the nation, but even as public discontent grows, our ’leaders’ waffle and play the blame game. But we can’t pin all the blame on our self-serving politicians – it’s us, Indian citizens, which have allowed regressive ideas and criminal behaviour to flourish….”

My article on violence against women was published by Eurasia Review on 25 December 2012 and can be found at : OpEd: India – Criminal Indifference

India – Criminal Indifference

As the year ended, the nation was shaken to its core by the brutal rape of a young woman. The barbaric incident and the shocking details of the torture inflicted by the six depraved criminals may have left us distraught, but are we willing to change things? And where do we start? The system may have failed, as many say, but blaming the government solely would be futile – the rot goes deep into our society.

Govt & The Police: At Our Majesty’s Service

Our police system, largely unchanged since the colonial days, is still based on the concept of protecting the ruling classes, through brutality and fear. Ask any youth – especially a woman – of their experience with the men in khakhi, and the recollection will probably make them shudder.

The police may not have been around to protect the woman (whose injuries are so severe that she might never lead a normal life even if she survives) but was ready to attack peaceful protesters gathered in central Delhi – a VIP area reserved for our nation’s ruling classes. The police clamped down on protests, kicking and beating even old women and children, seemingly going out of their way to intimidate the press.

Ministers and political leaders, meanwhile, condemned the protesters – some still spouting regressive ideas that women should not be outside after nightfall, others asking the protesters to go home satisfied as the UPA chairperson had deigned to meet a handful – and played out their traditional roles of being indifferent to the realities of life in India. Then, closing down the Delhi Metro – the sole ‘safe’ means of public transport for women in India’s ‘rape capital’ – showed just how out-of-touch – and cruel – India’s rulers are. Meanwhile, it was alleged that police officials tried to intimidate the victim and her mother while a magistrate was recording her statement!

And then, how can we forget rape laws and the outdated justice system, which often puts the victim on trial. Blaming the rape on the woman, claiming she had ‘provoked’ a rapist, and subjecting her to unimaginably regressive tests and questioning is just unspeakably cruel. This is not what a civilised society does. And then there is the not-so-insignificant issue that most sexual assault gets fobbed off as ‘eve-teasing’ or ‘molestation’, terms that minimize the horror of sex crimes.

But can we expect a transformation? Not till we change. Safe in their Delhi fortresses, surrounded by armed guards, and living a life of luxury at the taxpayer’s expense, it’s unlikely our politicians will want any change in the system, as that would only reduce their grip over our nation. So, change must come from society, but sadly, the rot in the government emanates from the decay in Indian society.

Societal Shame

It’s a matter of shame that a nation which prides itself as a rising power still gives public space to arguments against individual choice and liberty. That we still allow self-proclaimed ‘defenders of our heritage’ to argue against safety and liberty for half our population, doesn’t show us as a modern democracy, but a feudal tyranny.

It’s nearly 70 years since we gained independence, yet we don’t want freedom to reach a large swathe of our population. Women have been killed for ‘disgracing Indian culture’, attacked over their attire, and assaulted for having the temerity to turn down a suitor. And then there’s female foeticide – the fact that even many ‘educated’ Indians prefer to deal with the ‘problem’ of women by preventing them from being born shows just how cruel we are. Violence against women doesn’t stop here. Our society almost seems to fear women, or rather, men fear a loss in power should women be allowed to take their place in society. So we ban them from talking to their friends, don’t allow them to carry cell phones, and if all else fails, yank them out of school. Continue reading India – Criminal Indifference

Article of Faith: The Death of Indian Democracy

It might be too soon to bemoan the death of Indian democracy, but that horrifying prospect doesn’t seem all that far off. Over the past year, several distressing incidents – that point to a drastic fall in tolerance – have taken place:

– One of India’s best-known painters is forced to die in exile after Hindu fundamentalists force him to leave the land of his birth.
– The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh makes even the possession of beef punishable by a seven-year prison term. Police are also given the authority to carry out raids on the mere suspicion of the presence of this ‘substance’.
– One of India’s most famous authors is stopped from delivering a video address at the Jaipur Lit Fest due to electoral compulsions and threats by Muslim fundamentalists.
– Some obscure Sikh group is all up in arms about Jay Leno’s joke connecting Mitt Romney and the Golden Temple, forcing the government to lodge a formal complaint.
– The government of India asks the BBC to apologise over the ‘insults’ to India in the Top Gear Christmas Special. (The only apology due from the BBC is for making this much-awaited show such a tame and tepid affair.)
– People wearing black clothes at a Rahul Gandhi rally are asked take off their black attire. This follows several incidents where Congress workers beat up protestors.
– The government – and the honourable Delhi High Court – warn that online services could be banned if ‘objectionable’ material was not removed.

Meanwhile, our leaders (and that’s in the worst-possible sense of the word) bicker and squabble in their bid for power and ascendancy. Unfortunately, most of them seem to think that the presence of regular elections is a symptom of good democratic health, everything else be damned. Continue reading Article of Faith: The Death of Indian Democracy

Death to all but Metal

Megadeth at NH7
The nightmares just weren’t stopping. No matter how much he tried to justify what he’d done, inside his skull was a voice screaming obscenities. Most nights he’d wake up feeling someone was crushing his chest with size 10 Doc Martens. But there he would be, in bed, his wife next to him. She’d tried her best to comfort Vince. But would she still do so if she knew he was the one? That the man she thought was the sweetest person around, was actually the one who had taken that fateful decision.
Continue reading Death to all but Metal

The Greatest Invention Ever

A paean to air conditioning

Some say Penicillin
Some say the Internet
Some say the Internal Combustion Engine
Some say 20-20 cricket

…All pale into insignificance
Alongside this man’s creation
A machine of heavenly provenance
That saved our souls from hellish perdition

Banishing the demons of summer
Bringing in a breeze so cool
Heaven’s just round the corner
And anyone who disagrees, is a fuckin’ tool