The Jan Shatabdi Experience

jan shatabdi new delhi chandigarh

I have had prior experience of travelling in the Chandigarh-New Delhi Jan Shatabdi Express train. Both the times the train was more than two hours behind schedule. It is not a big deal for the Indian Railways but for a 4-5 hour journey even a delay of half an hour makes a difference, to the passengers of course and not the Railways. I prefer the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express which has been by far the most comfortable experience while travelling from New Delhi to Chandigarh and vice versa. It’s the next best thing to travelling in your own car. Taking the aerial route isn’t always a good choice except for when you’ve got to get there quick because of both cost as well as the location of the airport (and mostly it’s present state). So Jan Shatabdi is like super ultra cheap mode to travel from New Delhi to Chandigarh. A seat in the second sitting class costs Rs. 107 which is even cheaper than a bus ride for the same trip. Apart from the cost things aren’t on the greener side for obvious reasons.
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New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express

The very first time I boarded a train, it was the Chandigarh-Kalka Shatabdi Express to New Delhi, I thought Indian Railways is so awesome. Of course it gave me the wrong impression. I loved the three hour ride to the capital city filled with the munchies that were served on the journey. Even the passengers back then were quite polite and kept silent most of the times. The food that they used to serve was of excellent quality, the coaches the very clean, the seats were comfortable.

new delhi kalka shatabdi express train photo
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Attending WordCamp India in Delhi

attend wordcamp india schedule venue register WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything related to WordPress. India’s first ever WordCamp is happening right here in Delhi on 21-22 February 2009. The conference is being organized by Delhi Bloggers Bloc and Blog Design Studio. Currently the conference is in the planning phase. Matt Mullenweg, the WordPress creator, is coming all the way from US to attend the WordCamp here in Delhi. There’s also a surprise guest as mentioned by the organizers on Twitter recently.

In case you’re interested in volunteering for the event or delivering a presentation/keynote on WordPress, kindly get in touch with the concerned people;

Mayank Gupta – +91-9910786431, me (at) mayank.info
Twilight Fairy – +91-9811511719, twilightfairy at gmail dot com

It’s a must for every WordPress enthusiast. I’m gonna make sure I don’t miss this event! If you’re in and around Delhi NCR and you’d also like to attend the event, please do get in touch (use the comments area below).

Republic of Chicken

review republic of chicken delhi

Being a true Punjabi and a true chicken lover (these two things always go together) I’ve had a tough time finding good quality chicken in and around Delhi ever since I moved here. Both cooked and raw chicken and it’s products aren’t just worth it unless you’re eating from a well known place. You can’t always find a perfect partner to go to that popular place for chicken around Delhi so what do you do when you’re stuck alone and crave for a good Chicken?

Earlier I had been relying on the local butcher shop for raw chicken. The chicken he sends out is all fake. It tastes like rubber. Chicken must be juicy and tender for that delicious experience. Recently I checked out the newly opened Republic of Chicken outlet at Alaknanda. The best part is that it’s not too far away from the place where I live and they offer home delivery too which is fantastic.
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More Than Paranthas

more than paranthas at crown plaza faridabad

It was my first time at More Than Paranthas. A lot of people at college recommended the place. So me and my roomie Ankur decided to check it out. We went for dinner so we missed those great combo meal deals they have for lunch. The place is decent. We ordered Chicken Tikka Paranthas and Murg Methi Malai. The paranthas were totally worth the money. The chicken was too creamy to our expectations. The service is great there. On the whole, a great place if you’re terribly hungry. Don’t miss out their combo meal deals during lunch!

Hell on Earth: Riding an Auto-rickshaw!

over loaded auto rikshaw in faridabad

While at Delhi I had the opinion that it was the auto-rikshaws there which were like little monsters on three wheels. And then I moved to Faridabad and my opinion crashed like a typical Microsoft Operating system does. A ride on one of these auto-rikshaws in Faridabad is a ride through hell. If you think the ones in Delhi were unsafe and rash, you haven’t been on something like this in Faridabad. Let me explain the whole ride.

The first part is the most difficult one. Trying to convince an auto-rikshaw driver to take you to your destination is harder than convincing your girlfriend. You can either give out a lot of smiling Gandhis to these guys or you take the cheaper option of sharing the ride with others. You’re screwed either way.

The ride begins once there are more people sitting than the auto-rikshaw can actually accommodate. Picture this. There are two people on the left side of the driver and two on the right. That’s five on a seat which is supposed to be for one guy. The driver is sandwiched between these passengers and just manages to steer through the insane city traffic. Behind the cockpit, the scene isn’t any better. While three people are sitting on the seats, three more are sitting opposite to them. No not on any cushion but on hard steel. Yes it’s painful and cruel to the poor asses. Everyone sitting inside stinks. And they really stink badly. At first you wonder it’s coming from the outside and then you take a look at the guy next to you. His face is self explanatory. His expressions go like, “Yes dude, that’s me. I stink”.

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Independence Day!

blue line bus in delhi

What is the best way to celebrate Independence Day? Get out and taste the real India! In my case it was more of a necessity. The day started with me and Ankur (my roomie) waking up late in the morning. We realized we had slept for 12 hours and that was enough. We left for the Delhi-Faridabad border otherwise better known as the Badarpur border. We took a ride on a thing that resembled a space shuttle and had three tyres. Well it did make a sound like one of those NASA powered useless space shuttles they send on other planets. So we arrive at the Badarpur border. Finding a bus that could take us to the bus station was not another Google search. The correct buses weren’t ready to leave and others were filled with a crap load of people. Finally we found one. Trust me, one ride on one of these blue line buses and you won’t wanna sing Saare Jahaan Se Acha again. On the way we saw the Red Fort, the Indian flag, Delhi Zoo, crowded ITO etc. It took us more than one hour to reach to the Kashmere Gate ISBT. We rushed towards the Mc Donalds outlet there. We both had a nice meal there. We were supposed to catch a Deluxe bus to Chandigarh. Deluxe means it’s a little less dirty than other buses and a little less crappy too. We didn’t know there were others who’d want to get on that bus too and they were there early to buy the tickets. Standing in that queue was out of the way. We took the Punjab Roadways bus which looked like an aircraft all ready to take off. Yes Punjab Roadways buses are very close to being an actual aircraft. The journey wasn’t close to being called smooth but it was fine. After all what we’ve been through the past 24 hours, how bad could it get is what we had in mind.

Back home it feels so good. Especially being back on the Internet. I’m hungry. Hungry for broadband. I’ll be on a feast for the next few days at least!

PVR Cinemas at Centra Mall Chandigarh

pvr cinemas at centra mall chandigarh review

I finally tried out the newly opened PVR Cinemas at Centra Mall Chandigarh also known as PVR Centra. I went for the first day first show of Sex And the City. The mall is yet to begin with full operations. As of now only PVR Cinemas has opened it’s doors. Everyone and even the newspapers have been talking a lot about the parking issues at the Centra Mall. Personally I didn’t experience any parking problem. Although they have a limited space inside the two level basement parking which is bound to choke during peak hours. Enough of that now! Coming back to PVR. The staff at their box office is pretty friendly. Since I already booked my tickets online last night, they had my tickets ready for me. I mean they had already got them printed and the whole process was quick. The PVR Cinemas are located on the fourth floor. There are escalators but still the fourth floor seems to high up. PVR Centra has four screens. The security was pretty tight. They even wanted me to show them my cell phone was actually a cell phone by activating the display. Even if I was supposed to carry say a digicam inside, you won’t make out if it’s a cell phone or a digicam by that! The interiors are pretty well done. The cinema hall was not even 20% of it’s capacity. People here only like Super hero movies or what? PVR Centra failed the popcorn test. They even failed the Pepsi test. My drink had everything but bubbles. Guys I need the fizz! Everyone buys cola for fizz and not ice with water thrown inside a disposable glass labelled as ‘Large’. I didn’t dare to try the Burgers, Hot Dogs they kept showing on the screen during the interval. This is usual PVR stuff. Also I must mention the leg space isn’t any good either. PVR has some sort of a scam running up their site. They show the last row seats i.e the Prime ones as sold out each time. None of those seats were occupied by any one. They looked comfy to me! I don’t understand what these people have in mind. So the movie ends and I came back home. Not entirely happy with PVR Centra. Not entirely mad at them as well. I’ll give you another try people. Make me happy.

Related: Check out our latest movie reviews before you watch a movie!

Barista LavAzza

barista lavazza at sector 35 chandigarh

I hate these so called Coffee joints. They are all part of a huge scam. The coffee isn’t worth the money they charge. The Barista LavAzza outlet at Sector 35 is the worst. I have never liked the coffee there. It tastes like crap! Cafe Coffee Day is just around the corner and they have a decent service. Last week I ordered two smoothies with ice-cream at Barista. The dude insisted I have it with ice-cream. Fifteen minutes and I was still waiting for my smoothies to arrive. The dude comes up to me and tells me his blender isn’t working. What the heck? I say it’s fine. I’ll wait. Another ten minutes passed by. What do I see next? The helper walks in with two bricks of Verka ice-cream. Verka ice-cream? Are they trying to kill me or what? So he ran out of ice-cream and made an excuse. Poor blender, sorry I cursed you. The smoothies arrive just two minutes after the ice-cream purchased from a nearby store and brought in. They taste like crap. So finally I have decided to quit trying and giving these folks a chance. I don’t like Cafe Coffee Day too much either but they are better than these morons. In fact the Cafe Coffee Day outlet at Sector 11 is one of the best I’ve been to. Great service. The coffee tastes good too!

Shopping at Sector 17, Chandigarh!

shopping for clothes apparal at united colors of benetton

It’s called the Sales and Discounts season here. A lot of people shop during this season. I normally go shopping when I run out of clothes. The flashy discounts have a blinding effect. Sales and discounts are a scam people! A lot of people, and when I say a lot of people I really mean it, have recently complained to me that I only wear shirts. That’s when I realized I had only shirts with me! God! What have I turned myself into? So I had to go shopping for some t-shirts. Guys go for shopping when they really have to i.e when they need something. Girls go shopping when they are upset or happy, have to kill time, received salary, change of fashion, end of week and probably any thing that sounds a reason to them. The Sales and heavy discounts are to clear up the old stock so that stores can get rid of them and make way for the new collection. I seriously feel this thing called a new collection is a scam too. So I went to shop at Sector 17, Chandigarh today. It’s my favourite place to shop. You get to choose from a variety of International brands here. Levis, Reebok, Lee Cooper, Puma, Nike, Adidas you name it, they have it! People can go crazy with their shopping at times. The Benetton store put up a sale from 9PM to 11PM for a 50% discount on any item. People just went nuts. They picked up anything that they could get their hand on. There was a huge line-up at billing counter. I couldn’t find anything there. But I did manage to get my hands on some nice offers. Here’s what I bought:

2 Reebok t-shirts
1 Puma t-shirt
1 Puma Cargo Pants
1 Levi’s t-shirt

This may not be too much of a shopping for a girl but it is for me! I finally have some t-shirts people. I am going to wear one tomorrow. I think I’ll get a snap of myself wearing a t-shirt up on Orkut and Facebook tomorrow! I am Tee-Man!