Friday, August 30, 2019
Escaro Royale - A true connection between a man's heart and his toe (ROPE Accredited)! - 30% flat discount coupon and more inside!
Saturday, October 28, 2017
And you think you know what all Macau offers!
Over the last several years I have lost count of my friends, colleagues and family members who have come to visit Macau just as a by-product of their trip to Hong Kong. It makes sense also as for a regular tourist it doesn't take more than 48-72 hours (and that too at a very relaxed pace) to thoroughly scan all the extravaganza Macau has to offer. Only those who would want to sinfully indulge in gambling wouldn't mind spending any more number of days in the ubiquetous casinos of Macau until either they go crazy with their bounty hunt or maybe have to put their house on sale!
For the third category of customers (and also for the ignorant ones from the first two) who constantly wish to set the bar higher in their wanderlust of exploring the lesser travelled path there is indeed a pleasant surprise in store. The very majestic Macau Tower houses one of the best names any well read and conscious thrill seeker would swear by and that is the Holy Grail of the industry viz. AJ Hackett!
So who exactly is AJ Hackett?
If you go to its official website https://www.ajhackett.com the welcome message profoundly screams into your eyes, "Everyday do something that reminds you you're still alive"! It also very proudly showcases The Eiffel Tower's image carrying a caption "Defying Gravity" and why not! It's at this place where all of this madness began three decades ago when the legendary Kiwi jumped from!! And that's how Bungee jumping was introduced to the world.
In the last 3 decades Hackett has done phenomenal job in lifting the standards of gravity based adventure sports across different parts of the world.
As Wikipedia would confirm, "On 17 December 2006, the Macau Tower started operating a proper bungee jump, which became the "Highest Commercial Bungee Jump In The World" according to the Guinness Book of Records. The Macau Tower Bungy has a "Guide cable" system that limits swing (the jump is very close to the structure of the tower itself) but does not have any effect on the speed of descent, so this still qualifies the jump for the World Record."
When I accidentally stumbled upon this piece of information nobody (I knew) else has ever remarked about, even in passing reference, my body and soul somehow got fixated to it. It was not on the cards and we had a packed schedule for our limited stay in Macau which got further hit by 24 hours as the level 8 typhoon warning in Hong Kong on the date of our travel to Macau meant we couldn't do anything else other than cursing mother nature for being at its annual worst!! I still had my fingers crossed for being able to make it to this extreme indulgence. It helped that not just Bungee but AJ Hackett also had Sky Walk on its menu which meant that it was going to be a thrill-some experience for the whole family, including for my six years old daughter!!
Sky Walk - The Preparations
The moment we landed on the 61st floor of the Macau Tower we knew that we were going to be in for something special as some pulsating music welcomed us. We were greeted by the ever so smiling crew members Tony and Jimmy who though didn't rush us through the motions still managed to make for quite a speedy ready reckoner cum "preparing yourself" set of activities like wearing proper shoes, harnessing, etc. They also provided us with the cute little cords to keep our glasses safe from accidentally falling off such heights. We were also provided with a locker to put all our stuff safely and let me tell you that I have never come across better quality lockers which you could just blindly trust with in your absence.
The fun begins!
What a joy it was for me to see my little one and her mommy getting as excited to walk on the edge of Macau Tower as I was! Our guide Jimmy was a very relaxed and happy go lucky guy who shooed away any stress and anxiety, if there was any of it left in us. What I couldn't help notice was the minutest detailing these guys have taken flawless care of to ensure that the safety of everyone involved in all of the activities through the entire duration is truly unmatched!
Basis our individual comfort Jimmy would ask us to pose at different places on the outer rim of the tower which was barely a metre in width. I obliged him by making for some of the craziest "thrill moments". At the end of it all of us had a sense of an amazing accomplishment and pride of doing what not many would ever even think about let alone eventually being able to do in their lives!
Macau Tower Skywalk - The Verdict
I would strongly recommend this activity for all the age groups. Trust me, whether you are with your family or friends you won't regret being part of this dare devilry which under the strictest of safety norms ensured by the AJ Hackett crew makes it a real "cake walk" and after the initial apprehensions / unease / scare / vertigo you can expect a truly exhilarating experience that you could expect to cherish for your life time. Just go for it and yeah, like very few other recommendations I have given with the undisputed money back guarantee this one unapologetically qualifies for the ROPE™ Acreditation! You just need to embark upon this 'walk' and if for whatever reason, of course other than your inherent fear, you feel that the AJ Hackett crew wasn't upto it to make it memorable for you do write in to me with all the relevant details and I shall oblige you with one third of the ticket price (yeah, from my own pocket!) you have paid for the activity. Like all good things in life this one also has a limited life and the offer is valid until 31st December 2017!
Bungee - how not to do it!!
I would always tell myself that I want to so very dearly do a bungee jumping before I die & four years ago in Pattaya I got this opportunity to jump from 50 metre. For all of my bravedo I knew it beforehand that it's not going to be easy by any stretch of imagination & it didn't help the way both of my legs got so tightly tied together. Before I could take the plunge the pain was getting increasingly unbearable for even my kind of tolerance. It certainly wasn't the best frame of mind if one is expected to jump unaided & with only that 'rope' as your saviour! Even before I could hold my breath to let the fresh air in & gather courage the trainer just pushed me from the platform! Here I first went down & then swung endlessly like a volatile pendulum for next few minutes. I must have screamed more in this activity alone more than all of what I did in my nearly three & a half decade of existence put together. To say it was a nasty & avoidable experience would be an understatement!
Bungee Jumping - The AJ Hackett Way!!
As they say, "keep the best for the last". After my first experience with this mind blowing adventure going bad it required lot of courage for me to be able to motivate myself into trying it again, especially for the top dollar it demands. But I didn't have to think about it too much after having seen the level of perfection AJ Hackett crew had put in my family's Sky Walk. In a flash I decided to just go for it, paid for my already discounted ticket and I promise you guys that it turned out to be the best decision of my life!
Sure, it doesn't come cheap but I am equally sure that for the kind of extra ordinary arrangements these guys have to put in, added with the fact that it could actually command a premium for it being the World's Highest Bungee Jumping one could and should definitely opt for this truly once in a lifetime opportunity.
The entire experience from the very moment you dress up in the gear & get introduced to the crew (assisting and motivating you in the most affable manner) till the time you actually jump from 233 metres above the ground level is beyond words.
You don't even get to realize when you are already on the 'platform' to do it and when the crew gently starts the countdown, " Five, four, three, two, one...." all of the slowly built up anticipation giving you goose bumps comes refreshingly true.
On hearing "Go", quite inexplicably, feeling is that as if you are just about to get into the heaven! Wow, incredible! Now the real dive. For the initial fraction of seconds you don't even realize that you are free falling at 200 Kmph! You feel like remaining in that stage of tranquility forever. Oh so beautiful breeze around & then you see the land down there while your photographer is busy capturing your excitement & frenzy. All of a sudden the fall is curtailed as the cord recoils to slowly allow a rebound & you wonder for how long did you actually free fall and why can't that duration be prolonged! You don't trust when your trainer later tells you it was around 4-5 seconds. You gradually get down in a nice sitting posture! Oh my God...how i wish time stopped its haughtiness then just for few more moments to allow this poor, deprived soul enhale "the life"!
See it for yourself in the award winning short film of the Millennium (featuring yours truly) - World's highest bungee jumping in Macau. Here's yours truly's leap of faith to kiss the death :)
https://youtu.be/dFhywVrGBYA (light version, easy to load)
https://YouTu.be/23L8NlyN_Nk (High resolution clip)
*Rits Original Platinum Endorsement (ROPE) is a unique and pioneering concept and it indicates that the object under author's critique has qualified for his personal guarantee which though doesn't come with any caveats yet claims under it have to necessarily pass the commonly used yardsticks to establish the merits of individual case(s). The author reserves sole and exclusive rights to reject claims lacking objective and/or subjective propriety. While he hopes that he won't ever have to go for it, should he feel the program getting abused the author further keeps the rights to terminate the ROPE qualification acredited to any and all of the products/services without any further notice. As such in common public interest enjoy it responsibly. Of course, to be eligible for this program one needs to let it be known to the service provider in advance that s/he is going for the same and the service provider should send an email to the author to this effect at least 24 hours ahead of the scheduled/booked activity.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Why is Malaysia Airlines such a crying shame?
I never thought of putting the title of any of my critique the way it is appearing here but then there are even fewer things in life that deserve this sort of absolute condemnation. And before anyone gets judgmental on my objectivity I take this opportunity to share a story I wrote just over a week ago which was in stark contrast to the one I have been made to pen just days later today!
Here you go.
This is not a safe harbour statement but guess you could now shun any preconceived notions about the author's intention and transparency.
At the outset you have a sense about Malaysia Airlines being not even a decently classy one in the business with the way their primitive loyalty section 'Enrich' navigates and frustrates you. It's far from the being an enriching experience.
The trick used by the airline to put itself in the league of full service carriers is its baggage allowance which is at par with the 'normal' full service carriers. But its claim to fame stops at just that and the first timers who got fooled into expecting a comparable experience are in for a rude shock from this cheap imposter!
In the last 72 hours I have forced myself into flying Malaysia Airlines four times on two trips viz. Singapore - Kuala Lumpur - Phuket and Phuket - Kuala Lumpur - Bali. Even as I am writing this text I am midway on the fourth of them which incidentally happens to be of the longest duration (of 3 hours 10 minutes) among all and as such I thought that it would eventually give me a reason to raise a toast to itself but alas, it was bound to be an out and out Doom's day experience with Malaysia Airlines.
God forbid, if you have mistakenly selected a meal for yourself after booking your tickets and later wish to change the same any time before flying I openly challenge you to try your luck with this. There's just no way on their portal to 'edit' this very innocuous passenger information which freezes your 'original' selection! They have an email ID firstname.lastname@example.org
mentioned on the official website for customer contact but when you write to it you get a delivery failure!
I don't want to write in great detail about the very ordinary ground handling experience in both the journeys having four flights but wish to highlight that should you wish to interact with an airline staff at the Kuala Lumpur airport during a transit they just don't exist there, at the base station of the airline and the 'contracted' people simply ask you to take a train to the 'other' building to be able to do so, even at the cost of missing your flight from 'here'!! What!!
In my maiden flight with Malaysia Airlines (from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur) we were served with just a glass of juice and nothing else. In the second (Kuala Lumpur to Phuket) we couldn't have our food as the 'mistakenly' selected food was served on us.
This morning came with the most unexpected surprises of my over 15 years of flying experience, including with the most basic, no-frills airlines world over. We were flying MH 787 from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur. At the last minute we were informed that the boarding gate has got changed and that we would have to rush three levels up. Alright, though not a pleasant one to expect it's not entirely a once in a lifetime bummer for a regular traveller.
After almost half an hour of delay the flight took off and when the seat belt sign went off I rushed to the toilet. I realized that both the loos didn't have a single drop of water! Holy Zeezus! When I complained about it to one of the flight stewards Zarak he nonchalantly said that I can't be asking him to help with that! Shocked, I asked him if it is the captain then I should directly go to? With a dismissive smirk he said, "Whatever"! By this time his colleague had joined and when I told him about the 'situation' and the attitudinal issue with his colleague Mr. Zarak had not only the audacity to give me another dismissive look but also to ask the other 'good' guy to snub me the way he did!
As an afterthought Zarak then went to save his skin to report to his in-flight boss, the captain Ng who took his sweet time and announced that he knew about the pressure system in the aircraft not working even before the take off but when it couldn't be fixed he thought that since it's not a security concern he could take off! Seriously? If Zarak behaved that Malaysia Airlines is owned by his own family and that he could get away with anything he does the captain overshadowed him in his underestimating himself. He had the discretionary authority to take off the aircraft with a carrying capacity of 175 passengers after a delay of 30 minutes with another 90 minutes in air expecting none of the passengers to use the toilet all this while. And yeah, he didn't even have the courtesy to admit this beforehand and allow passengers to make a decision on whether to fly or not! Of course, he could do so because in all likelihood he was under the instructions of his management to keep mum over the issue and don't even acknowledge it before someone 'forced' him to do so. Then midway he announced that if someone had any problem with a non functional water system in the lavatories he could divert the plane to Penang! Boy-o-boy!! Oh boy!! Are we playing hide and seek here? And to top it up, it happened at the very 'Den' of the airline. If not in Kuala Lumpur where else in the world would you expect Malaysia Airlines to have professionally and gracefully handle such a serious issue which in pure commercial interests it allowed to be brushed under the carpet!
Don't wish to even remotely sound cynical here (I always end up behaving on the contrary; I was forewarned by my friends and family members to not choose Malaysia Airlines) but with a crew and management as unconcerned and indifferent about its booked passengers' well being there shouldn't be any more surprise as to why it happened the way it did, when it did. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! It's an open and shut investigation.
In your own interest take an informed decision.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Singapore Airlines Review
The trip planning
At the outset I confess that I didn't have it planned and just one random glance on my newspaper on 12th July kicked off what now is turning out to be the most ambitious family vacation for us spreading over full 3 weeks and spanning 5 countries. Phew!!
That was an advertisement of Singapore Airlines offering some special fares to commemorate its 70th anniversary which somehow instantly motivated me to check if there was something for me and what I saw was truly incredible. All these years of being a global tourist I felt an etch about not being able to fly what I reckon is probably the best airlines when it comes to customer service. That was mainly due to the fact that I didn't have to transit through Singapore to explore any of the places I have visited (other than a solitary trip to Tioman Island in Malaysia which through several excitement and emotions and for which I would pen a separate piece).
That's when I found its fares to Hong Kong very lucrative I just couldn't resist the temptation and just went with my heart. After some immediate consultation with my wife I found that we could add Singapore, Phuket, Bali and Legoland Malaysia as well on this trip to make the most of it. That was some domino effect!
Check-in and ground services
12th October i.e., the D-Day came when it was a first for me to fly Airbus A-380 as well. What I had heard about the airline sounded bingo with the first check point itself when at the check-in my family was attended to quite hospitably and as my young daughter had hurt her ankle just the day before the supervisor smilingly brought a wheelchair for her and made her comfortable. All of our seven check-in baggages were handled with kid gloves and within moments we were issued our boarding passes to both Singapore (from Mumbai) and then onwards to Hong Kong.
Now the real servicing part with humane touch came to the fore when we were given two personnel with my daughter, first one to escort us to the immigration and the other one to be with us, hold your breath, until boarding the aircraft's gate!! It would be an understatement to say that it truly was a touching gesture.
Boarding - First impressions
Yeah, it ought to be a beast! I was thrilled like Alice in wonderland to see if it actually was true that I was finally inside the world's biggest passenger aircraft!
It was a neatly done up configuration which was very soothing to the eyes and didn't appear to create claustrophobic anxiety to the senses which was probably the only concern I had before chosing this mammoth jumbo jet. Even our economy class which had a 3X4X3 arrangement didn't look like was cluttered with the motive to make the most of it by the airline. Plenty of legroom was there for all of the seats. Overall great job in keeping the customer comfort as the cornerstone of its philosophy while designing the sitting plan.
Immediately after boarding the staff provided all the passengers with hot towels to freshen up and didn't mind when being asked for another one.
And here what I heard about was in full glory as all of the air hostesses were dressed in their oh-so elegantly designed "Singapore Girl" Avatar. If there ever was a Grammy to give to the airline industry for coming up with the most beautiful looking crew attire, this airline would win it hundred out of hundred times as I am sure it's going to be nearly impossible to design such a masterpiece by any other airline.
None of the air hostesses and the flight stewards had any plastic looks imposed on their faces as professional hazards. They kept an all pleasant vista and welcoming attitude through the whole length and duration of the flight.
The whole coordination among all the crew members looked like was on auto pilot with effortless ease. All of them knew what any customer probably needs and expects. And they did attend to all of their customers very patiently in an accommodative manner. Not that it's a regular feature among all of its rivals but it was a welcome sight to observe that there wasn't even a minor scuffle between any of the passengers and a crew member.
I was served my beer well but there came in a disappointing moment when I realized that the "Veg Indian Meal" I had prebooked for both of my wife and daughter wasn't available for me, and I couldn't find fault with the airline on that as it was my mistake to not have done so for myself! When I told one of the senior (in age) personnel that I won't be able to have anything for my food he felt deeply disturbed and later asked me our flight details for the Hong Kong to Singapore leg in a week's time to get it arranged for me then. That was quite thoughtful on his part.
Both the flights were on time both at the time of departure as well as for arrival. And I didn't see any last minute rush to keep the things this way. Again, it was handled with effortless ease.
If I were to point fingers at just one item which might be in need of some internal review it must be transit which could be done in a slightly more customer friendly manner. Not that it was bad but when it comes to inter-departmental rivalry to earn more brownie points from its customers transit team might just find itself wanting to get back on the drawing board to correct possibly the only chink in the airlines' armour.
I am looking forward to my next couple of flights on Singapore airlines and one on its subsidiary viz Scoot Airlines in next few days. As you would have realized by now that I have very little to complain about Singapore airlines' famed image but the only thing that I expect myself to be able to afford a Suite class journey of a lifetime for my family sooner than later. Amen!
Friday, December 30, 2016
Who is Bhim?
Is he the giant pandav you proudly are able to recollect n brag about in front of your kitty gang? Oh yeah, he is that of Mahabharata fame who probably was the first body builder India had ever produced! Man, how powerful he was to tear the mighty Jarasandh's humongous body in two pieces like you would pluck a flower in your backyard. Isn't he the same guy who also eventually killed the baddy Duryodhan? Hey you, I also know his wife's name was Hidimba. I mean his second wife whose son was the fearsome Ghatotkach.
Oh babes, what's going on out there? Did you care to check the spelling? It's bloody not our 'Bheem' but indeed their 'Bhim'!! For God's sake how could you all be so dumbs to not even care about our revered figures' purist names and act like a Pappu? You certainly don't deserve any sympathy from anyone. That's why it's named as such and is exclusively curated for its rightful recipients who have been subjugated by some random behenji for the last so many years on end.
Now just have a look at its virility as it slowly explodes in the hinterlands of her fiefdom in the coming weeks. It will help waking people up from their slumber and since it's their own 'Bhim' they would embrace him like they never did anyone else.
I told you earlier also and you made fun of me then just couple of months ago. Days ahead of the US polls I had humbly opined as under.
"I have a simple analogy to offer. People who voted for Brexit didn't know what they did. They were just impressed with the very thought of 'profiling'. The very same logic goes here as well. The Americans who would otherwise want to boast about their 'liberal' ethos in public would secretly vote for Trump!! Mark my words."
Today also I am telling you guys that the hetherto ubiquitous behenji might not be able to save her own deposit and her 'jamanat' might get 'zabt' leave alone her dreams of getting back to the centre stage.
Now you know who is 'Bhim'! Don't you? Start marking my words. If not for anything else then to just earn some quick bucks in the markets (it's another matter that I am an antithesis when it comes to use my own words in making moolah for myself)!
(C) Rits Original
Mumbai boys and girls! Ladies and gentlemen! Wherever you are in the town just don't miss the new year geity of Hiranandani Powai. It's to be seen to believe. I promise you won't have enough of it. You might have plans to usher the new year in tomorrow somewhere in the city n for tonight it might already be too late for an impromptu Dekko but just don't miss tomorrow evening before heading to your party circuit. It's mesmerizing to say the least. I recently went to Gold Coast in Australia n fell in love with its vigour but this time our own little Europe has beaten that blue. Come over guys and treat me for seducing you into getting an eye candy for yourselves you would remember for your life time. If you don't like the show bill is on this poor chap of course. That's the unapologetic n unconditional money-back guarantee from yours truly.
Come, fall in fun!
(C) Rits Original
Friday, November 11, 2016
Ah! Another year just passed by in a flash & there was little I could do about my greying all this while. Just a couple of years ago on this day when I was feeling peevish on one crucial technicality in my biodata changing for worse (as virtually all of my medico-legal rights / insurance premiums turned immensely costlier in the matter of few minutes as midnight struck) there came a truly unexpected notification. Voila! It was a wedding invitation from a close friend who had studied with me in my post graduation course almost a decade ago!! Goodness gracious me! My buddies are still getting married & that means I am not as old as the world would so desperately want me to feel. What an anti climax of sorts! Agreed that I was not the youngest of them all in my PG course (unlike my engineering days when i would get bullied just for being the youngest) I suddenly felt like a Nouveau Borne all over again!
Coming back to the significance of this momentous day in the history of mankind (pun intended) it indeed marked the birth of someone who would have the audacity to intrude into your thoughts every now & then. Yeah, along way, some of the casualties either humbly "requested" (just as they loved me too much to make me feel bad) to "unsubscribe" them from the list of my intellectual "victims" or they just so royally snubbed me in front of an August audience, forcing me to have a look at the mirror again (to get some real grounding).
Did any of it deter me from setting on to my next (mis)adventure? Dare I say, "not really". It only made me realize my innate strengths & weaknesses as a person first and as a writer later. With my head bowed unconditionally in front of all of "constructive" criticism I would get re-energized for my next fate-accompli just on sporadic encouragements (even from some unexpected quarters at times).
In between all of it I tried to understand all of those who I genuinely believe are doing me a great favour by complimenting my only passion (of writing & just writing) by devoting their so precious time over (reading) it and ocassionally sharing their feedback with me.
Here is presenting my understanding (evolved over a reasonable period of time) of all of my message "recipients".
To each his own! Some of the people have suggested that it becomes ritualistic to just observe a post from me & like it on FB without even reading it! How ordinary stuff? To those who seriously believe that social media (at times) is obligatory I have a humble submission. No one, I repeat, no one can force anyone else (from his/her social circles) on "liking" something, even out of courtesy if the wavelengths of the two don't match and resonance like phenomena is not created between them as a transmitter and a receiver.
I must have at least 500 people I am in regular touch with, both personally as well as professionally. I must be a fool if I were to expect them to be reading all of my stuff thrown upon them. They may not even notice it, forget about liking it or not. At the same time those who honour me by finding precious time from their lives to read my not so "easy on head" n at times irritating pieces just don't like it all the time as a "thumb rule". I don't expect them to do so either.
I have also realized that there are variety of people (among my fancied readers). Many just don't bother to have a look, not 'coz I have composed it & they hold a non-negotiable grudge against me but as they don't read ANYTHING which goes beyond few words & few of them are my best of friends.
A slightly lesser no. gets encouraged to take the plunge (may be basis past motivation about the way I might have narrated then) but then are forced to lose their trust midway as I might not have lived up to their expectation this time (this segment is my biggest concern & I just can't stop ridiculing myself enough for having broken their faith in me).
The third set is of "egoists" who secretly go through what I might have expressed but feel that they shouldn't give me any importance by publicly admitting that they DID read my piece. I know many of them & I just laugh it out in my own head.
Then the last segment which is that of naysayers who wouldn't care to spend one second on what they just happened to notice but would react immediately as a habit. (I would be surprised if even a single person who has ever "liked" any of my posts would have done it as a reflex action and/or out of sheer courtesy though the reverse is not incorrect). Many of them just compulsively mock & so brashly try to pull me down. I know that they do it out of either inferiority complex (since they know that not even in their wildest imagination would they be able to match up to me in this art) or superiority complex (since they feel better accomplished / privileged for whatever reasons).
I just DO NOT care about this last set and it simply doesn't bother me. No matter how hard I try to please them they would still be behaving obnoxiously so what's the point in wasting my time on them? I would rather concentrate on humbly acknowledging my "genuine" critics who know that I know their feedback. That's just good enough for me to keep going & even one such value input (regardless of it being positive or disturbing) does go a seriously long way in me burning the midnight oil on penning my next work (no pun intended).
In between all of it if someone comes up with a genuine appreciation comparing me with (n even finding me better than) a popular writer that sort of makes my day though I am careful to still take that with a pinch of salt. I have a long, long way to go before I fancy anything crazy. I know I just have to be cautious in figuring out who is my serious critic n who is just any other Tom, Dick or Harry. Period.
As for my style of writing I know that it definitely doesn't suit everyone's appetite & I have realized that I can't really help it either. It's my known handicap. I know that loss is entirely mine only as eventually I won't ever have as many admirers (if at all I could dare to call them) as any wanna be writer would fantacize about but that's that! As said already, as long as I have JUST ONE individual whose intellect (or the lack of it) GENUINELY matches with that of mine I stand vindicated.
I take this opportunity to tres pass into your lives once again and whether you like it or not I seek your blessings with folded hands. Please do not act stingy in showering them. Bouquet or brickbats, I shall gracefully accept them with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart. Thanks all of you, just for being there and for tolerating me all these years. Trust me guys, you have become only mentally stronger by doing so ;)
(C) Rits Original