“Number 33 negative!”

The woman declared and slipped a piece of paper through the narrow slit on the polythene sheet that separated the two makeshift cabins. The sheet must have been a clear, transparent sheet at one point. Now it’s murky. It is now a canvas painted with disinfectant sprays and dust. A few tears, a few ink spots. The sheet has clearly withered a lot. Yet it is there, standing tall, with a promise to protect the ones around it. Although the promise is kind of vague, the sheet is giving its best.

“Number 33. Manash Baruah!” the man yelled from the cabin.

“Hi, yes. Sorry.”

The man passed him the slip and signaled that he can leave. Antigen negative.

The taxi was waiting at the exit of the airport. He pulled his bags till the taxi and apologized profusely for the flight delay.

Finally he is at Jorhat. It’s time to execute the plan he has been hatching. Time is the essence. He must not fret. The only constraint now is the round-the-clock curfew. Still the medical shops are open. A ray of hope.

He particularly found it difficult to execute the plan in Pune. A father’s love for his daughter sometimes comes as a barrier. He also has a few friends here who have medical shops. He reiterated the plan within his mind. He made a mental note of the challenges: unavailability of alcohol, restricted people movement, and very few shops are open.

Something must be worked out.

His mother’s first death anniversary is still a week away. He needs to first fix the medicines for his father. The father has not been taking his medications regularly. He pulled down a translucent plastic bag from the top of his father’s wardrobe. As he opened that Pandora’s box, he saw at least a dozen strips of antidepressants. His eyes lit up. Will these do, or will Xanax + Nitrosun + alcohol a better bet? He considered briefly.

He has already done his homework. Taking about 100 mg of Nitrazepam would give him a fair amount of boost. As he continue and the concentration grows in his blood, he would feel the high, and enough madness to punch anyone on the face, until they die. As the ‘nitro’ works its magic, he’ll unleash the lethal combination of alcohol and Alprazolam in his blood. He still needs to work out the exact minimum quantities. He will then bump up those numbers just to be sure. He doesn’t want to end up in a limbo.

He searched the old table drawers for his father’s prescription writing pads. He used to scribble prescriptions on these pads in his childhood. He found one pad.

Dr. Sukanta Baruah. MBBS. Assam Medical College. Regn no…

Sadly, the pages look too old to write any prescription on it.

Time to act. He called his sister.

“Dad must have thrown the medicines you had given. Do one thing, get a few signed blank prescriptions when you come. I’ll ask Bubu to fill these when needed and get Dad’s medicines. It’s very difficult to get otherwise.”

“But why blank, I can write the prescription without a date.”

“OK fine. Then get your prescription pad and the stamp. Maybe you can write a tablet for me too. I’m not sleeping well of late and this backache is killing me.”

The next day she arrived. He eyed her bag.

After a round of tea and laughter, she excused herself to freshen up and rest. He stealthily opened her bag. His legs shook as he tore a few blank pages off her pad and stamped them.

Dr. Sumon Baruah. MBBS, MD, DM. Assistant professor, Assam Medical College. Regn no….

He folded the pages and kept them in his bag. Operation mukti commences.

This post does not promote self harm in any manner. If you are suffering, you are not alone. Reach out and seek help!


Kind of an obituary

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Let’s start with that.

Yet, I have not seen a more hopelessly hopeful creature than human. Maybe that’s what keeps us going in this trauma fest called life. We go with an astounding glee from one trough to another, riding the crests in between. What is life, if not a sine wave!

On a fine September morning of 2019, as I was driving to my office, I summoned Google through the Bluetooth to call my mom. They had gone to visit my sister, and I thought it’d be only ideal to talk to the family and hear all the fun they are having. Nice start to the day, eh?

My dad answered the call. Said, mom suddenly fell down while going to the bathroom early morning as she couldn’t move her legs. What happened? Why? We don’t know yet. She is being admitted to the nearest ICU.

What followed next was frantically trying to take her to places across the North and the West (India) for better diagnosis and treatment. While her diagnostic test images were shared with experts around the globe (thanks to my brother in law), we scrambled to get the best treatment she deserved.

Long story short, she was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer in the brain and what I witnessed in the next 11 months attending her directly or indirectly in hospitals until she passed away on 5th Aug 2020, is something that I probably will never be able to articulate to anyone. She also completed a road trip in an ambulance from Pune to Jorhat (Assam) in the peak of Covid (July 2020) . Strong woman, my mother.

I already had some exposure to the medicinal world thanks to my father (a doctor), but that whole episode of being with Maa taught me a lot about some disease symptoms, human bodily functions, advances of medical science, medicines, futility of “immunity booster” etc. (PS: Stop popping vitamin pills to increase your immunity, unless you have its deficiency. Popping more vitamins will not help you; might even do worse.)

I could not even grieve her passing the way I probably should have (remember Albert Camus’ “The Stranger”?). I was numb. What happened to my father amidst all this is another story. In short, it’s all a ‘mess’ I still don’t know the solution to (it’s mid-June 2021).

Then I had some more personal setbacks as well, and by the end of 2020, I was totally a wreck. Probably my work was the only thing that was keeping me “sane”.

It took me months to vent things out. It took other triggers and whole lot. Then just before my birthday in April 2021, finally I found my mojo. Though there were still many distressing things to address. I was in sort of a crest. At least, I thought so.

So what do you do when you find yourself in a happier place? Yeah, you find another reason for suffering!

Chapter 2:

Whoever knows my wife knows that she is a huge dog person. She has always had a dog at her home. Getting one for our home after we got married 9 years ago was the only sensible thing to do. She has waited for more than 9 years! By the end of April 2021, I thought things were somewhat getting back in track and probably it’s the best time to get a dog for us to at least distract ourselves and help improve our lives.

When there’s will, there’s a way.

One fine May afternoon, I popped the question. Wife agreed, and there we were: making toys for the puppy even before he arrived, ordering every cute dog things from Amazon and what not. Then we went to the best nearby breeder to get our almost-2-months old Shih Tzu puppy (please keep your judgements to yourself about buying a puppy from a breeder). Happy, playful, and a non-fussy eater. What else could we want!

My 6.5 year old daughter also drew a digital card for him:

Pretty fun ride, actually. We got Neo home on Friday, 28th May 2021. Of course I had to name my first pet dog as Neo. He was special. He was the “chosen one” 🙂 #MatrixFan

Very slyly I asked what he wanted – and he chose the Red

As I said, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

After one evening of thorough playing and making us fall head over heels for him, he refused to get up the next morning. I sensed, he might be sleeping bit too much. A bit later, I had the next horror waiting for me – he was having seizures and frothing through his mouth. Now, had he been a human, I would have known that I should administer him probably some anti-convulsant. But I was novice.

So I rushed him to the nearest vet. I saw Neo getting seizures on the vet clinic’s bed and frothing. Probes were put around him. Monitors were set. I was again staring at the sine waves and other gadgets on the monitor, trying to make a sense of the prognosis; the chances of his survival.

But the doctor said, the puppy “might” have distemper, and so we need to get him to the breeder instead of treating him, because it was a “raw deal”.

I did not know better. I had never dealt with puppies before, although I probably knew what should have been done for a human in that scenario. So we took him to another vet some 20+ KMs ahead (bearing many more seizures on the road) and that vet stopped the seizures by administering some dextrose drips and two shots of steroids (Dexa and Cortisol). He was suffering from hypoglycemia! That is nothing but a low blood sugar shock. And then I read that these puppies might get that due to over excitement and stuff.

For the next two days, we took him to the vet again for checkups and more medicine and food. His condition also changed almost like a sine wave, until he passed away 3 nights later. Maybe those seizure did irreparable damage to his tiny body of 500 gms. We did all we could; spent nights just touching his paws and looking at his tiny expressive eyes. He was not well, and we could not rest.

He passed away at 4:15 am on the 1st June 2021. We found a place for him and put a headstone with a promise to visit him on his birthdays, 6 days prior to mine.

I still don’t know if we could have saved him. If he would have survived had the first vet given some dextrose and steroids. I don’t know. Do I have blood in my hands? Probably I could never get answers to some of these questions.

I don’t even know how to end this post. I am at a particularly low spot in my life. We’ve been through shit, and I am still wading through a lot of that. I don’t know when the sun will rise for me. Or, will it ever?

To hell and back

It felt as if I had woken up from the deepest slumber. I gasped and looked around; but I could not see anything. I was engulfed in an eerie silence and a suffocating darkness.


My desperation echoed in the vast emptiness. 

“Is anybody there?”

I saw a faint light at a distance and started running towards it. Frantically.

I stopped short. In front of me was a room enclosed in glass, like one of those conference rooms we had at the office. The light emerged from frosted panes, shining like a halo in the darkness.

I meekly knocked on the door. 

“Come in,” answered a heavy voice. 

As I held out my hand to push the long flat steel handle on the door, the voice commanded, “Sanitize your hands!”

“But there is no sanitizer,” I murmured.

The voice laughed. “Some people just don’t get my sense of humour. Come in.”

I pushed open the door and saw a Morgan Freeman look-alike sitting behind a huge glass table, in a perfect white suit, eyes fixed on a MacBook Pro.

“Any problem, son?”

“Where am I? And who are you?”

He smiled and said, “Welcome to Hell! I am Yamraj’s assistant.”

The man got up from his chair and started walking towards me.

“You were caught in a road accident last night. You were driving drunk. Your friend Siddharth also died with you.”

“Horrible! Where is Sid?”

The man pulled a chair for me. He sat on the edge of the table.

“He went to heaven.”

“What the… but why? Don’t you keep a track of his sins?”

“It is management’s decision. You are not supposed to question management’s decision. You see, Chitragupta keeps track of your deeds on earth, then he has a meeting with my boss Yamraj, and finally I am given the list of people coming here. Nothing personal.”

“You could have done better, son. You know the golden rule- obey and oblige! Don’t question.”

He added the afterthought, while walking back to his chair.

“Stop son-ing me!” I was agitated. “This is not fair! Just because he believes everything blindly, does not wash away his sins! There must be some way! I cannot rot like this in hell!”

The Morgan Freeman smiled, “Oh really? Let’s look at your list then, shall we?”  He continued, browsing something on the laptop “Missing deadlines, lying on timesheets…”

“But I do get my work done. I was the employee of the quarter, if you have that record!” I retorted.

“Yeah. About getting work done.” He said, looking at me “What did you tell your wife yesterday that made her so upset?”

“What? The fritters are always either overcooked or undercooked?”

“I don’t expect anything better from you. But no, before that. Remember the big fight and why she cried the whole day?”

“That bookstagrammer sounds so pretentious? Yeah, I mean, if you like reading, then read. What’s the big hullabaloo called bookstagram? From where did this term come, anyway? I don’t get the point of seeking validation from the whole world when you can just sit quietly and read. What did I say wrong?”

“By that logic, what’s the point of living in a society, when you can live alone.”

“I mean, yeah, technically yes.”

“Well, technically, you are an imposter! Technically, you were not supposed to get married and start a family if you wanted to live alone. Technically, you were supposed to study when you got into college, not to skip classes and exams. We all know what you did there. And technically, you are not supposed to be arguing with me!”

“You are mixing up things. College is a different topic. Not fair. People do grow up. I have gone through so many background verifications. Please! And I do love my wife! Am I really an imposter?!”

“Your life is a textbook example of the cardinal sins. Oh, you do not believe in any of that, right? Is everything just a joke to you?”

“Everyone on earth commits some or the other sin. So have I. But otherwise I had been a good man throughout. I have never done bad to anyone. I was probably the most compassionate guy around! What about morality and all? I should be heard! This is injustice!”

“Being morally or whatever-the-way right does not work. Being diplomatic does. Being empathetic, being hypocritical does. By the way, that moral compass of yours is broken.” He continued “If you look at the list of people whom you have offended, you don’t particularly look like anything you have described yourself just now. I wish they had told you on your face, how obnoxious you are!”


“Stop reasoning, it’s too late. And I’d appreciate, if you do not waste any more time of mine. I need to send your assessment report to my boss. Be good. Be nice. Take the first door on the left and you will see the Hell Resources department. They’ll explain the policies and code of conduct here. Good luck!”

Just then I heard faint music somewhere. Yeah, somebody is playing Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive.

“Switch it off!”


“Your phone. Alarm. Switch it off.”

I saw the missus tucking herself in the comforter and rolling over to the other side of the bed.

“For God’s sake! Get some sleep. You are in quarantine!” she murmured.

Rhymes with a reason

Truth be told,
Some bitter and some old.
Rhymes be written,
Though you wish they’d rather be forgotten.
Castles will crumble,
And before long you’ll be in shambles.
It’s all about the choices that we make,
But at least I am not as fake.
Empathize and sympathize,
They just don’t synthesize.
Opinions are fed from one brain to another,
But I’ll keep fighting, because I’m the lone ranger.
Verbal diarrhea and mental constipation,
They’re just symptoms of your myopic vision.
Don’t look here for any meaning,
I’m just writing because my heart is paining.
This does not even make any sense,
In my defense, the whole world is a bit dense.
I might be out of luck,
But hey, does it look like I give a fuck?!

Valentine’s Day

14 Feb 2017: The morning started with a text from the bank that reminded me to buy an insurance policy from them to safeguard my loved ones, followed by a couple of restaurants, grocery shopping sites, cake shop, coffee shop, flower shop etc., all offering exclusive offers so that I can show some love to my loved ones on this Valentine’s day.

I feel obliged by their generosity and goodwill and hereby I want to thank them for keeping the true spirit of this day alive. Hope by the next year the liquor shop would also send me a text with some exclusive offers. It’d be a perfect day.


I knew that this day would come. Maybe this is how it happens. The oblivious you run straight into it – this phase of life. I reflected on many things, after I was hit hard by the realization. And the trigger for all these realizations was the fact that I now have a preference for a shampoo. I was astounded.

I was the guy who can’t tell a conditioner from a shampoo, who have even applied baby shampoo a couple of times. We even had conversations like,

: My hair feels different today!

: What did you apply?

: Shampoo! (Duh!)

: Which bottle? Show me.

: There..that one.

: That’s a conditioner! or That’s the baby’s! Can’t you read labels?!

From there it became: “Hey! I think we should get the other shampoo. I don’t like it that much. The previous one was better.”

That’s a significant change, you see.

These are just symptoms. So I went back and back and back to do a root-cause analysis. It took me all the way back to the morning a couple of years ago when I was wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt at home that read “Wild thing.” And this friend, who had stayed over after a house party, quipped – it should now read “Domesticated thing.” I think that’s the starting. The root-cause. I was in denial.

The change had started a few years ago. At least 3 years, I guess. Otherwise why on earth would I ever quit smoking?! My friends still don’t believe me when I say that I haven’t been smoking for 3 years. I don’t blame them. I used to joke – when I die, I should still have a packet of cigarettes under my pillow. Good old days! I was even thinking to quit alcohol this year. The missus went berserk- are you crazy! You are already boring enough. That’s the only thing that remains of the old person that you were.

No, she did not exactly said those words; but when I told her my intentions, she bought me a good drink instead. Some things are conveyed beyond words.

While all these things were happening with and around me, I was still searching within. Probing. Then I told myself one plausible cause of all this – I am now a father. We are now parents. We must get our shit stuff together. Was that a good euphemism? Damn it.

A flowchart about how not to get killed on the road

The incident that happened in Bihar earlier this month (Aditya incident) has again emphasized the need for our awareness about road-safety, which we, the ordinary Indians, lack terribly.

Let me borrow a line from George Orwell’s evergreen novel Animal Farm to illustrate the point that I am trying to make in this post:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Now, please don’t misquote me as equating anyone to animals. No, I am not. It’s just a catchphrase that is helpful for the ordinary Indians to remember as a survival trick. Because, you see, they (the aam aadmi) must remember where they belong. These ordinary people must not tread the path of the “more equal” people, if they want to remain alive. By the way, by “aam aadmi” I mean the ordinary people of India, as in, the aam junta; not the Aam Aadmi Party, they are a notch above the entire human race. The term “aam aadmi” is just a juxtaposition that the emperor Arvind Kejriwal used. If you are in a party, how can you be aam aadmi?! That’s brilliant wordplay. Clever chap, Kejriwal. IIT-ian, after all 😉

Coming to the point – the Aditya incident really troubled me initially. But as the pictures of both the cars emerged, I realized that it was a clear case of lack of awareness about road-safety. A Maruti Swift does not overtake a Range Rover. Never. Period. Can you imagine how much humiliation that might have caused to the guy driving the Range Rover? Besides, he is a “more equal” person. Taking a cue from that incident, I have compiled a few checks that an ordinary Indian must do while overtaking another car. This is for the people of/in Pune. Whenever you approach a private-owned car (taxis won’t kill you, they’ll just take your car’s bumper off), remember these points before you overtake.

Hope that helps. Live long and prosper.



Pune to Dapoli on a hot April weekend

She was just a week old in our family and we both – the missus and I – were dying to get to know her better. Yes, the car. Besides, we – the Assamese people – get overtly joyous around mid April, even  though we are not in Assam; thanks to the Bohag Bihu aka Rongali Bihu (rongali = joyous). We can’t help it, it’s in our blood. Incidentally, my birthday is around the same time as well. Until two years ago, it was a great occasion to tank up and be hung over the entire day. But the time has changed, and so have the priorities (from parties to diapers). So a weekend trip some place this time was what the missus opined. Cool.

Now, April is not particularly a great month to enjoy in Maharashtra. Unless you really enjoy sizzling at 40+ degree C. But hey, the resorts have ACs – pointed out the missus, while looking up Dapoli in TripAdvisor. Though I had presented some more elaborate plans, of  going to Alibaug, crossing over to Gateway of India, roaming around in Colaba, she refuted all by reminding me of our 1.5 year old daughter, Hiya, who will accompany us. Fair enough.

On Friday morning, I called up the second resort that came up in TripAdvisor search. It had a suite available that fulfilled all our requirements – AC, balcony, couch, TV, clean bathrooms, and food – at a relatively cheaper rate. Additionally, it even had a mini refrigerator and a little pantry area. Booked.

On Saturday morning, I quickly glanced at the route in Google map, made some notes in my mind, and we started pretty much in time. I opted for the Tamhini ghat route as I knew the route all the way till Mangao ST bus stand. (*ST= State Transport)

The route:

Chandni Chowk -> Paud -> Tamhini Ghat -> MIDC Road -> Mangaon ST bus stand (Mumbai – Goa road) -> Tol Phata -> Dapoli

Total distance was about 220 KMs that we covered in 5 hours (of which, we took 1 hour  just to cover 20 KMs in Pune until we reached Chandni Chowk.)

The road was mostly good, with a little rough patches here and there. But we really didn’t feel any bump. If you haven’t been on that route before, FYI – it’s quite a scenic route with good roads (as of April 11, 2016). The catch is to know when to take a left turn onto the MIDC Road. Till then, it is a pretty straight forward route. After the MIDC road, take left and go all the way to Mangao ST Stand on Mumbai-Goa highway. Take the highway for another couple of kilometers until you get Tol Phata (Not TOLL phata, there’s no toll booth. Instead you’ll see some “7-seater” autos) on your right. From there, I used GPS, but you’ll get signs after every kilometer.

The ride:

How can I miss that! It was a pleasant, smooth, planted drive throughout.


My ride: Standing tall, with Konkani red soil all over her.

I exposed the car for the first time to all sorts of conditions – city, village, good roads, bad roads, highway, hilly road, narrow road, beach sand, everything! And to my delight, she was more than happy to take that all. She was only about 250 KMs old when we started, but she behaved like an old friend throughout that 500 KMs that we traveled in that trip. It was like an instant bond; and a man spent some really enjoyable hours with his machine.


Apparently, the missus enjoyed it pretty much, too. “Wow! I like the rear seat.” was her first (and only) feedback.

 The resort:

Well well well… it was a good place to say the least. Better than expected, in fact. When we reached there, we were not sure whether to stay for one night or two nights; but after doing a quick survey of the room, I affirmed that we’ll extend our stay to two nights.

To my delight, the room/suite had two ACs, and a comfortable sofa cum bed (that acts as a recliner too) in the seating area that was directly under an AC. So my plans for day 2 (Sunday) was made – I’ll fill the refrigerator with beer cans and drink all that the entire day seating on the recliner under the AC, munching on Surmai fry. Life was good again.

The resort is clean and the people are good. However, room service takes hours. And, well, avoid bread toasts. We hadn’t eaten a more burnt toast before. If you are not very picky, this is not a bad place. The Konkan region is not known for great hospitality anyway. This place served us some rather tasty Surmai fry, chicken curry, neer dosa, rice etc. The food was a little costly though.

All that is OK, but how is Dapoli?

Yeah, I am coming to that. If you are going there just to get out of home, drive


Sunset at Karde beach.

and chill out, like we did, it is a good place. That is true for most of Konkani places I believe. Our resort was right at the middle of the small Dapoli town, behind ST bus stand. The beach was around 14 KMs from there. The road to the beach was initially not bad, but after a while it gets really narrow. Like, really really narrow. And buses run on that road. Good luck if you are driving and you get a bus in one of those narrow turns. And apart from the beach, we did not see anything interesting in Dapoli. There are some water sports facility available in the beach. We did not spot any eatery around. There was another beach nearby, but we decided to give it a miss.


The (Karde) beach is good to catch some breeze. Personally, I won’t swim there, thanks to the sands. The beach was pretty empty, and was like that of Diveagar. Hiya was enthralled to experience the sea for the first time.

Tip: If you are a pothead unlike me, it’ll be heavenly at the beach to say adios to such a hot day while looking at the sunset and feeling the breeze.





My Ciaz ZXI – Initial Ownership Review

Part 1: The deciding factor

I loved the Ciaz right when it was launched almost 1.5 years ago, so much so that in June 2015 I even came pretty close to buying one. But then I was not 100% convinced whether I should take the plunge or not. Probably for the first time in my life, I listened to reason and cancelled the plan of a new car. I gave my impatient soul one year’s time.

Our criteria were – it should be spacious, comfortable, adequately powerful, feature rich, and fuss-free ownership and after-sales support. And, to some extent, decent resale value. Though owning my Chevrolet (Spark) was a pleasant experience for me from the after-sales point of view, the resale value was terrible. From this point, our hunt began, for the car that suits us the most. Going by the elimination method, we first ruled out what we call “the pseudo cars”: It should either be a proper hatch-back, or a sedan, or an SUV. There was no place for a prefix of “compact”. No compact sedan, no compact SUV. Buzz off!

Immediately I started checking out the other options. And the most obvious were the Germans! I think no car lover wouldn’t drool over a Vento or a Rapid. They are a class apart. But at the end of the day, a Volkswagen or a Skoda badge comes with some degree of skepticism for an average Indian car buyer. The recent mess that VW is going through has also raised concerns about the dependability of world’s one of the most trusted automobile brands. There were even more concerns that people raised at various car forums. So the Germans had to go and I feel bad that I could not own one. I am sure, they would drive great and feel great. The next was obviously the segment leader – none other than the Honda City! I was almost certain of buying that, but the almost 1.5 Lakh premium over Ciaz and still missing some basic features had put me on the spot. At that time too, I was evaluating between the City and the Ciaz. The Jazz 2015 was the last option. Somehow I did not want to go the Hyundai way. So we had successfully narrowed down our search. That’s what I thought.

Then towards the end of October 2015, Maruti launched Baleno with much fanfare. And that changed all the equations I had in my mind. I liked the design, especially in the top-end variant, Alpha, that has the nice projector head lamps and the DRLs that distinguish the headlamps from those of the Swift. With all the bells and whistles, it fitted my bill perfectly. The next task was to convince the missus that it was a better idea than buying a sedan, which I did after some initial futile attempts. Hence the decision was made – we will buy the Baleno by the end of second quarter or in the third quarter of 2016 (calendar year).

Then in the Auto-Expo Feb 2016, Maruti showcased the Brezza after creating a lot of buzz in the market. I fell for it head over heels despite of the initial hatred for the compact SUVs. However, the missus was dead-against it and the Diesel-only policy was kind of a deal breaker for me. Though there were news that it’ll come in Petrol too, nothing was confirmed and official. I couldn’t wait anymore. I called up all the Nexa outlets in Pune to inquire about the Baleno. And to my horror, they had waiting period of 7 months for the hatch of my dreams! Who’ll wait that long for a car? Not me!


Then about a month passed and finally the Brezza was launched. Even Ford had slashed the Ecosport prices substantially and that had made it – the Ecoboost engine especially – a good contender. From what I heard, space in the rear seat was a constraint, the boot was not too large, city driveability might be an issue due to the turbo lag in the turbo-charged 1.0 Litre Ecoboost  engine, and personally I don’t like the dashboard with the plethora of buttons. Ecosport – nope!

Amids all this, Maruti advertised good exchange schemes and I stepped into a showroom to inquire about the offers and also to check out Brezza. After seeing it in flesh, Brezza was unanimously striked out of our consideration list. So we took a test drive of the Ciaz Petrol instead.

As it turned out, Ciaz’s on-paper “underpowered” engine (1400 CC) was, after all, not so underpowered. I liked how it pulled in the 3rd gear from 20 km/h with A/C and 3 adults on-board, and it had good throttle response to drive in the city. When I floored the throttle in the top gear, it did take a second or two to serve up the power. But I can certainly live with that, considering my 90% driving will be in the city. Overall, the cabin felt well put together and the A/C was a real chiller. I checked the doors closing and opening, they did not sound tin-like at all. So the build quality was good as well! Hence the decision was made – a Ciaz ZXI it is!

Part 2: Buying

Now the March-ending stuff. All these lucrative offers are valid only for the next 4 days. We walked out of the showroom with a promise to book the car next day, as we were getting a good deal on my old car (Chevrolet Spark, 3 years and 3 months, 18150 KMS).


The parting shot: While taking her to the Maruti True Value, for exchange.

But the next day the sales guy confirmed that there were no Silver Ciaz ZXI, as I wanted, and I should instead go for a color of his choice. He didn’t even know the features of the car and professionalism was something out of his vocabulary. So I shooed him away and thought to wait for a couple of months more, as per my initial plans. By the lunch time that day (Monday, March 28, 2016), just to calm the turbulence that was going in my head, I thought to check with another dealer – Chowgule. I’d heard good words about them from a trusted friend. The sales person was a delight to deal with. He came to my home the same evening, gave a test drive, and explained every details of the buying procedure. They also evaluated my Chevrolet Spark and agreed to offer the same deal that  I was getting from the other dealer. I wrote a cheque for the booking amount, and the deal was made. The next step was to reach his showroom by 11 next morning with a lot of documents!

The next day was, as expected, quite hectic. But this person helped me through everything. Even the loan was disbursed on the same day and the dealer promised to deliver the new car in 4 days. Exhausted by the day’s activities, I mourned my old car that I had to give away and prepared for the next 3 days without a car.

The wait seemed to be never-ending. Those were probably the longest three days  of my life!

I also had a lot of apprehensions about the new car since it was a quick delivery and I did not do any PDI. I could not even check the VIN to determine if the car was from an old stock. On the delivery day, the first thing I checked was the VIN code for the month and year of manufacture and the odometer. To my relief, the VIN manufacture code read – BG, denoting that it is a Feb 2016 made car. The odometer running was 30 KM. Splendid!

And here is a pic of my new car – my Silky Silver Ciaz ZXI. Probably I’ll call her Crystal, until I find a better name! 😉


At the time of delivery: Odometer reading: 30 KMs, fuel efficiency: 6.7 KMPL.

Today, odometer: 88.8 KMs, fuel efficiency: 11.8 KMPL. I am sure, it’ll go further up as I drive more.

Trivia: Ciaz is actually an acronym for Comfort, Intelligence, Attitude, and Zeal. 🙂


  • Projector head lamps and front fog lamps
  • 15″ alloy wheels
  • 2 air bags
  • ABS, EBD
  • Height adjustable driver seat
  • Height adjustable front seat belts
  • Smart key with remote boot release
  • Engine start/stop button
  • Automatic climate control A/C
  • Rear A/C vents
  • Steering mounted phone and Bluetooth controls
  • Automatic day/night IRVM
  • Electronically adjustable and foldable ORVMs with integrated blinkers
  • Driver-side auto up/down and pinch guard window
  • Speed sensing auto door lock
  • Rear parking sensors with camera
  • Rear sunshade
  • Arm-rest both in front and rear
  • Big boot of 510 L
  • A good-enough sound system with remote
  • Very comfortable part leather-part fabric seats
  • Footwell lamps, 2 reading lamps in the rear, map lamp, theater dimming effect, boot lamp
  • Push-open concealed storage below the center console

What I like:

  • Seating position: High and comfortable with good visibility. I am 6.1 foot and it matters a lot!
  • Chiller A/C. Not too noisy even at highest blower speed.
  • The wide range of features!
  • Easy handling and driveability in the city.
  • Fit and finish.
  • Comfort.
  • Fuel economy.
  • Unlike my previous car, no change in power when the A/C is turned on or off.
  • Light steering that weighs up well with speed. Maneuvering is fun.
  • Almost flat floor in the rear, no intrusion from the transmission tunnel.
  • Spacious seat and interior.

What I do not like:

  • The driver arm-rest is too far behind. I wish I could slide and adjust it.
  •  The dead-pedal is just a rubber pad on the floor, it should have been raised.
  • The windows do not close smoothly. It is powerful and rough.

I am yet to drive her in the night or take her to the highway. Eagerly waiting to get the best of her and soothe the soul with a good drive. That’s a long overdue!

So I went to Panchgani and learned to walk

No, not me. It’s my daughter. We three went to Panchgani to celebrate her first birthday, and this is how it all happened.

What’s the big deal, you’d ask. But in the Baruah household here, given the situations in the past almost 2 years, it was indeed a big deal. I tell you, becoming parents and then raising a kid is – to say the least – not easy. So the missus was contemplating about what to do for the little one’s first birthday. It was a special day indeed; again, it was the day when *ahem* I had popped the question 4 years ago. As you understand, this is a 2-in-1 occasion and this year it coincided with Durga Puja too. It indeed calls for a celebration, and I better don’t dare slugging.

While she was going over frocks and matching stuff for the baby, I suggested in an exaggerated enthusiasm – let’s go somewhere on her birthday; how about Goa? After 2 days, Goa was changed to Panchgani/Lonavla. Suggestion came from a friend – go to Panchgani and check out this hotel Ravine. I googled about the hotel and showed to the missus. Immaculate, perfect were the words. The problem started when I tried to book a room – no room was available. we were scheduled to leave on Wednesday morning, and I searched till 2 AM on Sunday night /Monday morning to look for a decent hotel that can fulfill my list of criteria (First vacation with the baby, after all!). Futile efforts. At 10 in the Monday morning, I called up Ravine just to confirm that there were no rooms. The reply came as expected. Then I was about to book a hotel that came close to fulfilling my criteria. And when I was about to enter my credit card details in the hotel booking section, came an email from Ravine – one room is available and I need to call them ASAP. So a room with a valley view at Ravine was ours for two nights and we were going out! Yahoo!

I was utterly anxious about the whole thing. I was certain that something or the other will go wrong. The biggest bet was the baby. With silent prayers in the head, we started our journey to Panchgani right at the planned time.

Google maps showed 2 hours 20 minutes, and we spent the first 1 hour only trying to get to the highway. The highway was a mixed bag. But I found it getting better as we progressed. Many patches were good enough to cross the three-figure mark on the speedometer of my hatchback, up to 110; I preferred to keep it in 80-90 range though, at least for the sleeping baby. The road in the return journey was much better and I drove mostly on three figures. Both the girls were on the rear, with sleepy eyes, and I was enjoying the drive. The randomized playlist in the stereo too played  nostalgic songs one after the other. It was like the whole universe conspired!

Hiya in Hotel RivaneThe trip proved to be beyond success and joy. Our baby slept through half the journey and she LOVED the place as soon as we entered. She went beyond herself. And yes, she learned to walk; not the 4-5 unsteady steps as she used to take at home. She was actually walking around the room blabbering things out of excitement. She did not cry a single time, she went wherever we took her without any fuss, she played with dogs and fishes, she did petty shopping with her mommy in Mahabaleshwar, and she ate and slept without any effort from us. It was like, a dream vacation! A happy baby makes parenting so much easier!

And that’s how it all came to an end – like all good things do. After 3 days / 2 nights and 300 KMS on the odometer, I was poorer by 12-13 thousands; but I earned a memory so rich and so valuable that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. So much so, I have vowed to rekindle that dying wanderer in me. With time, that shall be done too. Amen.