A Nightmare!

It’s the Christmas season and as usual, I was excited as the vacation came close. This year, 21st Dec, which is a Friday was also a holiday and then 25th is Tuesday. And if you take 2 days off on 24thand 26th, you’ll get nearly one week vacation. I started thinking about the travel to my hometown in Kerala even before 2-3 months due to the huge rush. Then my sister told me, there is a travel agency near her place and she can reserve a ticket for me. I said ok. So she booked the ticket around 2months ago. They noted the date, destination and number of seats required and all. But they didn’t give us the actual ticket and said, they will give it later and added, don’t worry, you will be able to go home safe and sound. Ok, we thought. And as the dates neared, we asked them. They gave the ticket, not in the bus we asked for. Also not to the destination we asked for. We had a big fight over that with the travel agency and finally got the ticket the day before my travel. I didn’t want to take any chances. So I went to the bus office [which is from where I board the bus] and I asked them about the ticket. They were not even aware about this ticket and asked me from where I got this ticket. I told them about the travel agency and they told they don’t have a ticket for this date. It was seat number 9 and after some argument, they changed it to 20 and added if I am lucky there won’t be any double reservation [Again the time of the bus on the ticket was incorrect]. I called my sister and she again had a big fight with the travel agency. In the end, they said that some how they will get me home either in that bus or some other bus.

On the day of my travel, I reached the bus office by 5:30. Fortunately, when the bus came, only 2 persons were already there and seat number 20 was free. I thanked God. I was hoping that it will be a good journey, and the bus was almost on time, 6:30pm. The bus took off and reached another travel agency, and some people boarded the bus and there came one man who asked me whether my ticket is for seat no: 20. I said yes. I was getting tensed. He went out. Then there came a person for ticket checking. He checked my ticket and didn’t tell me anything. I was relaxed. The man who asked me, got a seat in the back. So that was the double reservation. After some time, there came another lady, who asked me the same. Oh my god! It was the second person who had a ticket with seat number 20. She also went outside and she got the back seat only. I think, only because, I boarded the bus first, I retained the seat. This happened with almost every seat and at almost every travel agency we stopped and by the time the bus reached Bangalore city limits, it was 8:30pm, 2hours late than it should be. I hoped all the problems were over. But the main one was yet to come, the Bus itself. It definitely is not an air bus or too old to be recognized as one. The ordinary KSRTC buses are better I think. Every time we hit a gutter, almost everyone in the bus wakes up. Someone was even thrown out of the seat once. That was one of the worst journey’s I ever had in my whole life time. Everyone was cursing all the time. There was nothing much to do. And finally, I am supposed to reach at my place by 6am, but I reached by 9am [mainly because of the initial delay] not safe and sound, but with body pain and sleepy eyes. It really was a nightmare.

Now I have some questions and suggestions,
Is it so difficult to organize a journey and the tickets?
Is there anyone to complain about these exploits by the travel agencies especially during festival seasons?
What is there to be done to make sure the buses start a journey and reach the destination at the right time in the case of Bangalore to Kerala journey?

And my suggestions are,
Never take the A-1 bus, with registration KA-41 2552. You will be in hell. The travels from where the bus started was Choice Travels, opposite to Bata shop and near MAS restaurant. Those travel people seem nice anyway.
I am sure atleast some of my readers have similar experiences with buses. But there was a time, when I enjoyed these travels very much, only before 3years when every thing worked fine.

Rediscovering an Old Friend

The title is rather misleading I think, ‘cos it’s actually six friends. I will start with some history. Back by the end of the 90’s, computers are a very rare commodity in our place. I’ve only seen a PC in some of the educational institutions. Fortunately, one of my cousins had a computer. I used to visit him once in a while mainly to get my hands on his computer and play some games. During one of my visits, he showed me a game. It was known as the commandos. The game graphics was really stunning and the feeling was like participating in a war. More real than the movies and the then popular TV games. I couldn’t understand many details then, still I loved that game. Coming back from there, every day I wanted to play that game.

Later I figured out one of my friends had a computer, a Pentium 150MHz with 16MB of RAM and all. He stayed near to my place. I somehow managed to get a demo version of the game commandos. We found ourselves in front of the PC 24x7, till we finished the 2 missions which were there with the demo in 2 days. That was when I befriended those six guys I mentioned earlier. Tiny, Duke, Fins, Inferno, Tread, & Spooky. And when I finished my schooling and pre-degree, I bought my own PC, [my dad bought it for me]. The first thing I wanted to do was getting as many games as possible and guess what, Commandos: Beyond the Call of the Duty was the first game I have ever purchased. Rs500/- was not a small amount for me at that time. You can guess what happened next, I dedicated all my effort in finishing the game. I wrote all these just to show my personal relation with the game.

I had experienced only the first version of commandos and its expansion package back then. Recently I was in search of some games and I stumbled up on the old CDs of mine. I loaded them to my laptop, and I didn’t even realize then that I was holding my breath while the game loaded. Just like old times. All those feelings were coming back to me. The excitement, the adrenaline pumping, the satisfaction when you hear Tiny saying ‘Consider it done Boss’ or the Sapper’s ‘Affirmative Sir’, overall, it was amazing. Then I did some Googling to find out what happened to the game and I found out there are 3 other versions after the first one. With in 2-3 days, I was playing the first missions of Commandos 2: Men of Courage.

I stay alone these days, but when you play that game for some time, you won’t even feel the surroundings, let alone loneliness. I usually found myself thinking about different possibilities of how to kill a guard or how to plant some bombs near the AA [anti-aircraft] guns, even when I am doing something, like eating or even talking to someone over the phone.

My Friends
[*Spooky was away when I took this photo]

A Scene from the Field
[*They sent this over to me]

May be I am a game freak or something. But these six men, they really mean something to me. They are not just my friends [for those who have no idea about the game, I am talking about] they are the members of an elite commando unit which was formed by the allied troops during the Second World War. Incapable of resisting the overwhelming advance of the German army, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, France are brushed aside within a matter of months. Britain has become the only refuge in the face of the unstoppable advance of the Third Reich. A plan is approved for the creation of a special group of elite men in order to turn the tide of the war. Experts in hand to hand combat, in handling all types of weapons and explosives, one of the best, the most highly trained men, only men of courage. Their mission, to become the bank guard of the allied troops, the spearhead of the counter offensive that must lead to the defeat of the Third Reich, the Commandos are those.

So, better be careful next time you think about challenging me, I’ve got some powerful men at my control, more precisely, some ‘influential’ friends.

Great McDonald!

I and my sister were doing some shopping that day. I was the one who suggested that we eat from McDonalds [TOTAL mall, Madiwala, Bangalore]. We ordered some burgers and two drinks and were eating them soon, when I noticed the cup they gave us. Please have a look.

Yeah, ‘2004 Athens Olympics Official Sponsor’. I was puzzled to see that. I double checked to see whether I am mistaken. But it is clearly year 2007 now and what’s printed in the cup was year 2004. [I have that cup with me when I am writing this]
I was thoughtful for some time and I decided to take some photos. There is only one ‘most appropriate’ explanation which occurred to me. They made so many cups for that Olympics that they were well over the requirement or people didn't choose McDonalds as their 'food partner'. Anyway, many of these cups [and who know what else] were left over. Later they simply ‘dumped’ them to third world countries like India. I seriously doubt whether they will use these cups in US. They may or may not face some legal issues. Besides, why do they want to do that when there is a better alternative? You can use the up-to-date items in countries like US and simply dump these things to countries like India, where no matter what they give, people will eat it happily.
I am not blaming anyone here. Those cups may not be of any harm to any one. Even after 3-4years after, nothing will happen to cups. It is not a food item. And McDonalds have every right to do whatever they want to do with what they produce. But, when they do that, if they think no one will care about it and nothing is going to change, it is wrong. Atleast I can write some articles like this or someone else like me will do it [I hope].
Before writing this, I googled to check whether something turns up related to this and here is what I got.'s-sponsor_W0QQitemZ130181418444QQcmdZViewItem
In the second link, a similar item is listed as souvenir. May be we can collect these cups and sell them to earn some extra money.