Monday, November 28, 2016

First drive on a Royal enfield Bullet classic 500 chrome graphite

The odometer reading on my bike was 8.3Km when the bike was handed over to me at the warehouse. The distance to my home was approximately 5 Km and it had to be done in thick traffic. I still had to get to the petrol bunk to fill up. Sonny was in the pillion seat. I had not driven a bike in the last 8-10 years. That too, now, I get to ride a bike so heavy, I was afraid I would be mocked all over the road. Anyhow, maintaining composure, started the bike with sonny on the pillion and made my way towards the petrol bunk. Reached the bunk and gave the 2 litres coupon received from the showroom and then told the boy to fill another 10 litres. Knowing that the fuel capacity was 12.5 litres. It has been my style that I would top up my vehicle well before reserve situation. But better sense prevailed and then asked him to top up with only 5 litres.

The drive home was very tiresome. Plenty of traffic. Reached home did the quintessential ode to God and asking his best wishes for a safe journey the entire life of the vehicle for the rider, pillion and all the other people and living things on the road. Here the priest was about to apply vermilion on the engine casing. I stopped him on time. The crank case and the cylinder were already so hot, one touch and the priest would have summoned the worst demons on to me and to my bike. While taking a turn, I really struggled to get the bike moving to turn 180 degrees. It was now time to rest the heavy slugger and its driver.

Woke up the next day and was still in two minds as to whether take the bike to work or not. Lot of work had to be done. The car had to be moved from its original position. There is one more bike which also had to be moved which unfortunately will be locked. At the last moment decided to bite the bullet and did all the above things to bring out the 500cc. Pulled up the choke lever and hit the electric start button. The engine chugged to life immediately. Waited for a minute or so and then off I went on my first real drive of the 500cc. The morning drive was awesome. The cold breeze, a rare vehicle here and there. Maintained a consistent 40-50 Kmph to maintain the ride in. The bike vibrates like crazy. The mirrors only tell you that you have a vehicle at your back. It is difficult to find out which vehicle is it.

The seating position is awesome. Sitting upright gives a princely air about the bike. It is difficult to drive at 60 Kmph in the 5th gear. The vehicle Will be nudging you to rev the engine but I remembered the limitations of the ride in and maintained the designated speed. The handle could have been bent a little towards the rider. The front disc brakes are excellent. The suspension is good enough. I did not feel the potholes much. It handles bad roads with aplomb. The major problem I faced is the rear brake lever. The foot has to go a long way down to use the brake. I think I should have raised the lever a notch and also reduced the total throw of the foot lever. This I will take up when I am free in the day. But, the rear brake pedal is a pain in the A*&. The driving position is completely destroyed when using the rear brake. I despise the total rear brake package.

The drive, is unique, one of a kind. The torque is available to you in all the gears. Perfect city bike once you get the hang of the bike and optimized the location and travel of the rear brake, of course. Reaching the neutral gear is something to be practised. Just in one day's drive my accuracy is nearly 60%. That is good going(patting myself). Don't change the gears when the bike is in stationary condition. hold on the clutch lever or switch of the engine in the same condition. Don't worry, you cannot move the bike that easily to change the gears all by yourself and also in the busy traffic where there will not be any place to do so. The thump, the vibration, I never knew that shortcomings in technology also could be used as USP and this bike is a mirror to this. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive in the mornings as well as traffic in the evening. The glances you get as you rev your engine, priceless and add to it the chrome. Now I know why people are so keen in going to Valhalla. Now I know the relation between chrome Valhalla. Now I know why chrome is sprayed on half lifes. Now I know why George miller is so adamant that he will not feature an electric car in his Mad Max series. Now...... I ............Know.........

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Part 4: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

So, waited for five days and called the evening of the fifth day. The sales rep hangs me up for a minute and then tells me that everything is in order. All the documents are ready. The registration number is already stickered on the bike and it is ready to be delivered. Now, if everything was ready why was I not informed. What will the showroom do with a bike which has already been sold? I don't know. Anyhow told him that I would be taking my delivery the next day.

Reached the showroom the next day evening. Not a single smile from anybody. No smile from the front desk lady, No smile from the sales rep, Nothing, Nada. Went to the sales rep he showed me to one more guy who is to show me the warehouse. I did not know anything about a warehouse all these days. I had to travel to Jayanagar to see the different shades of bikes and here right next to the show room is a warehouse. Was led to the warehouse where a short tube cylinder was being fitted on a standard bullet. Had to wait for 15-20 minutes for the job to complete. The sales guy left me there to fend for myself and went back to the showroom. The warehouse guy started cleaning my bike with some polish which made the chrome glow. He gave me a quick intro to the bike. It was so quick, I don't remember anything. He was in no mood to stay in the warehouse. He just wanted to rush out for something else. He handed over the keys to me and wished me happy biking. A coupon was given for 2 litres of petrol at a specified petrol bunk.

The bike is so heavy, even a small tilt to either side, you will be on the ground in no time with the bike over you and let me tell you, you will need at least 3-4 people to save you from that position. I sat on  the bike and pushed the bike out of its centre stand position and i felt a slight swerve to the left and thought that definitely it is going to fall down. But held on to the bike and pressed the self start button, the engine came roaring to life. It vibrates like crazy. RE should be definitely looking at twin cylinders and reduce the vibrations. The rear brake pedal positioning is not one of the best. It has to be depressed a bit more than normal bikes. The front disks are alright. The torque, the pull, the adrenaline rush is incomparable. Sitting and driving your dream bike, un-paralleled. People tell dream big. My thing would be dream real.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Part 3: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

Got a call from dealer telling that the bike is ready for delivery and that I have to reach before 5.30 PM for taking delivery. Rushed from work and by the time I reached the house wifey was ready and sonny super excited. Went to the showroom where I was led to the ground floor of the office which doubled up as a store room for spares. I though now, we would be discussing the spare required for the bike. I was taken to a lady crouched over a CRT monitor with its display so washed out, I was unable to see anything. Now the lady at the counter asked my previous bills. Without seeing them she asked my mobile number(which was already mentioned in the bill). It was told to her, but she was not hearing and started rummaging through a pile of papers. She then got agitated and told me that she would tell the phone number from the pile and I have to tell her if any of them belonged to me. So, now, the customer's name is not required. You are just a number. A coupon for fuel worth INR 200/- and some other documents were given and was asked to sign and the lady did not explain what they are but just indicated the place where I was supposed to sign. Then she told my vehicle still doesn't have a number. The insurance copy is in the "Head office". There I lost my cool. The first day I met the sales rep I had very clearly told that I would not take the delivery of my vehicle until all the formalities are completed. In this time of Information technology, I am being told that the insurance hard copy is in the "Head office", totally government office terminology. Thank god, RE is not a government operated unit, otherwise god save the customer. She got agitated with my argument and told that I am unable to understand the things going on. We both had an argument, in the mean time I realized I am arguing with a lady, which is wrong on my part.

Went to the first floor furious and asked the sales rep, what really is happening. My voice pitch is a little on the higher side and even little above normal talk would sound quite loud. The sales rep was silent to all the things I was asking. In the midst of it, there was a middle aged lady, who appears to run the place or is the wife of the man running the place. She wanted to show who is the boss. Customer is just a beggar standing at her door and asking for food in exchange for money, but still a beggar, This is exactly her attitude towards the customer. You open your mouth to talk, you will be shut down with a flurry of words related or un-related, the same with everybody in the showroom. I don't know how, but everybody is the same. All men and women are equal here. There is no disparity with respect to the mental thinking, a rare occurrence in this individualistic society. Now she started asking questions and I started to answer all the things mentioned in the previous posts were asked and replied for. Then, the most startling revelation. She told that it will take 4 days to get a registration number form RTO. I have purchased and have been a party to other purchases of vehicles, but never did I feel so puny as a customer. Your total helplessness is bought to the fore in a magnified manner. All this while you are worried about your bike. You are worried whether there would be any sabotage on your bike. You, Now I, should be very very worried................

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are we humans any more?

People fighting over borders, religion, caste, color, race, position and what not. All the possible classifications even things like fat, thin, short can bring out bitter fights. Add to this the economic position of the individuals. Since the day purpose of human life changed from livelihood to hoarding to finding that USP of one human has over another. Since the day people forgot their whole capability by people bringing in division of labor, there has been no perfect man. People produce components without knowing what the end product is. What is the joy in that. Even the livelihood of people has these reflections. People run around small incremental aspects which will never give that ultimate happiness, the feeling of seeing and feeling the one. Even spirituality has been borught down to steps, of course since that feeling of joining the one results from a continium of thoughts and acts, people rarely feel it. Whoever felt it can never describe a continium of thoughts and feelings. You can always discretely descrbe the steps to reach there. But, what about the things which are in between which was lost in the incapability of human speech. Which is again a half hearted attempt. Improvements have rarely happened in this most important aspect of human nature.

Human race is unique in differntiationg components of its own. It is very difficult to find a parallel in other animals. We are evolving to lead a lonely life among lesser people. If there are people above we tend to grow in a manner to enslave the people above or be enslaved by the same. All th while doing it alone. Why has conscience taken a back seat. In fact i am hearing that particular word rarely. What had to be in abundance has become a rarity. The entire human race is behind rare things and wants it to be abundant. The rich desist the poor, the poor have so much anger within them, what is going to happen is anybody's guess. People are becoming plasticky. They can fake good manners like pros. Now again we come to the most important, Good and Bad. What is good and bad. The context keeps changing every day. Mass opinion can change anything to each other. The concept of democracy being utilized at its worst. What am I writing about. Is it good, is it bad, should it be written, Should it be read, should it be hated. What should w do? What are we going to do? What will be our fate. Wil we ever do what we are supposed to do in this multiverse. Are we doing exactly what is to be done. Is fate a reality? Are we in a simulation? Cant we control anything? Why have the oracles of the world failed in making us understand this world? Why do people who have seen and felt the one unable to communicate the same to everybody? When are we going to stop killing our own. When are we going to know what is really good and bad. When are we going to know that there is nothing like good and bad. Is morality a requirement? Why do humans dislike anarchy. Are they afraid it is going to bring harmony henceforth. Why do we love order so much and hate anybody who breaks this order. Why dont we understand the order of the person who is breaking it. Oh my.... Oh my......... What am I doing in all this, What am I TO do in all this..........The same question is also to you.........

Part 2: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

Please read the previouse post. This is a continutation of that one. A week passed without any information from the dealer. I then called the dealer regarding the status of my order. He told me that I have to come and pay the cash. The countdown to me getting my bike would start from the day I made the complete payment. The next sunday we went to the showroom for making payment. I also bought up the exchange of my old bike. Last week we had given the complete details of my old bike, but, the sales rep starts asking information from scratch. They dont remember anything. In the digital age all information is still on paper. You tell your order Number(Here there are two order numbers. One for internal usage with the dealer and one from Royal enfield. The dealer is not concerned with teh RE order number.). You want to know something, keep the dealer's order number ready and ofcourse, the date also. Otherwise they will make you wait on your phone for infinity. This applies for physical visits also. He asked when will be ready to exchange the bike. We told now. Then again a flurry of calls and couldnt tell the information about my old bike which he had noted down and handed over the phone to me. I asked the buyer when can he come? He told he will be at the showroom in 1/2 hour. I told I will be waiting for him here, at the showroom. Now the buyer changed his timing to two hours from now. The sale did take place on that very day. Please ask when will the actual transfer take place and take all the information regarding the buyer. He confirmed that the transfer of ownership will happen within 15 days. But, anyhow, you should be following him regarding the transfer of ownership.

As this was happening, I couldnt help myself but observe lot of comments on my order copy. I requested the sales person to let me have a look. He handed it over to me with a lot of regret. The previous week, i told the sales rep to take it cool and dont do it in a hurried manner. He didnt understand my intent and scribbled on the order "Customer wants to buy the vehicle slowly". That clears why I did not get any call in the previous week. Once the old bike was sold, I left the showroom and walked to my home. But, I left my helmet in the showroom. I found it out the next day and I was surprised that nobody from the showroom called to inform me regarding my helmet. Totally cheap. Wifey called the showroom the next day and luckily, they agreed that they indeed have a unclaimed helmet.

Another week, nothing happens. Then I start getting enormous number of calls while at work. The second day, the person calls me in the evening and I pickup the call. It is a verfication call from  a third party regarding the details provided for bike insurance. While he was explaining me the terms and conditions, I came to know that the insurance offered to me by the showroom chap is not the comprehensive one(Bumper to bumper). He told that he would call the dealer and the deaeler would in turn call me within 10 minutes. Nothing happened. The third party called me to ask whether I recieved any call from the dealer. That full day I did not recieve any call. Then, worried that I would be the owner of the bike, I went to the showroom for clarification. I did not see any repentance from any of the staff for not informing me regarding the type of insurance being given to me. Paid the little extra money to get comprehensive coverage and as instructed by wifey got my helmet. I saw my bike standing in the showroom being used as an exhibit and the sales person is not telling me that this is my bike. He told me that my bike would be of the same color and that it will take another 3 days for the delivery of my bike. Next day again a plethora of calls from the insurance third party during working hours.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Part 1: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

It has always been a dream to own a Bullet. Since the first time I rode a bullet while I was around 20 years of age, the feel stuck with me. It has been with me ever since. I always turned around on hearing the thump. For various people it is just awe or a longing. For me it has been a long wait to own my very own bullet. And then there came an opportunity to to buy one at my work place itself. One of the colleagues wanted to sell his classic 500 black. Was given a test drive at the end of the day. Looked at the bike and was very clear that it was not maintained well. Lots of loose wires taped all along and I did not like the look on my colleague's face while he was showing it to me. I just saw it in his eyes. It is like snatching away a kid's favorite toy by wringing it out of his hands. Immediately gave up the idea of buying it. But the other people around were forcing me to buy it. Then I understood that he owed money and he was in urgent need of it. I just told every body of them that the bike would definitely be sold and truly, within that week, the bike was sold.

Discussion was going on in the home with wifey and my son about owning one. I already owned a Bajaj pulsar 150 Dtsi and I definitely loved it. My son, as is obvious is a KTM kinda bike fanboy. But, everybody agreed on one thing, that is a new bike is to be bought. After a lot of discussion and convincing it was decided unanimously to go for a bullet. But the biggest question was which style.

Next day visited HSR enterprises on Dr. Rajkumar road. For bike enthusiasts, This road plays host to all the bike manufacturers in India. If you start from one end of the road and reach the end of it, you would have visited the showrooms of all the manufacturers of bikes in India. This road also has all the service centers of their respective brands. So, now you know.

After entering into the showroom, there was not a single smiling face. It was as though royal enfield motors had gone bankrupt and all the people working in the showroom will be relieved of their duties that very day. There was one color of every variant on display. Wifey initially liked the Thunderbird, but seeing the amount of time I spent at the classic version, she also changed her mind. Now, we asked whether we could see the other color variants. And, you know what we were shown, Lo and Behold, the website of Royal enfield on a 15" Laptop. We wanted bike that big and we are being shown the variants on a puny laptop. Maybe this worked out before the present Internet generation, but at this time, this strategy, is totally lacklustre.

Wifey insisted that we have to see how the classic chrome looks in other color variants. So we went to the jayanagar showroom. Here the staff were a lot better. The sales rep took us to a cellar where plenty of bullets were stocked and explained the pros and cons of all the variants and the properties of various paints being used. Here we decided that the graphite variant was less flashy and was subdued though there was a generous amount of chrome.

Decided on the Bullet classic 500 chrome edition, the graphite variant. Was asked to pay an advance of INR 5,000/- which was done immediately. Now, the sales tech asked me when would i like to buy the bike and what would be the mode of payment I clearly told him I would pay by cash/cheque. Then immediately he started to make a flurry of phone calls to various people regarding the availability of the bike in that color. I interrupted him after about 3 calls and told him that I am not having the time to listen to all this enquiry thingy and requested him to call me once he found out that a bike is available. I told him to take his own time and not continue the flurry of calls. Here, I would like to make a note. There is no concept of checking up the inventory at various showrooms. They don't have a centralized inventory. Bikes are hand made, that doesn't mean that sales also have to be done the old fashioned way, that too, after royal enfield gave profit among all the endeavours of Eicher. The more interesting thing would be what the sales rep wrote on his copy of my advance receipt. This will be revealed, if you still have the time and patience. All this happened on 23/10


And I am not alone. See a post on Team BHP regarding the same.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The evolution of reading

 Disclaimer: All the information provided is to be consumed(if) with no reponsibility attributable to me. Reader discretion is adviced regarding all the issues mentioned in the post.

If there is one hobby which is universal across the world and the most followed hobby, it would be Reading. Now reading is a very broad word. It can mean reading a newspaper from the first word to the last word without much of internal processing. It can be reading a weekly, nonthly or yearly magazine with a little bit of processing. It could be reading a novel visualizing all the characters and the plot so as to stay in that realm for a finite time. It could be reading for gaining new knowledge, upgrading knowledge, assimilating knowledge and maybe for a few create fresh knowledge. The latter one takes the maximum amount of internal processing. Now all this is available to the common man after the gutenberg printing revolution. This revolution has created readers over the continium of minimum processing to max processing of the brain by the readers. Books were everywhere. All the knowledge accumulated till then in varied forms of storage reached the common man on paper. The most cost effective form of sharing and recieiving knowledge. Books had their own charm. The process of buying a book itself is one of the most satisfying excercise of human life. The collection of books in anybody's house speaks volumes about the individual. Again here individuality of hyman race stands out. There are no two similar individuals who read or write books. The fingerprints are vastly different when it comes to consumption and creation of books.

In the intial era of book printing, the contents were normally textual form, augmented by a very few illustrations, if and when requireed. Maybe an illustration for every chapter. This trend was later turned around with text taking the second precedence over the visual content. The creater wants to talk to the reader in a more visual realm and in exact terms of his vision. The textual realm allows for every reader to have his own visual realm, albeit with minor or major differences based on the invlolvement of the reader and the description of the writer. But with visuals taking precedence over text, the reader has to be in the realm of the writer. These books we now call them, comics, graphic novels. I dont find much difference between a comic and a graphic novel(Since this is a pure text post, the readers are welcome to choose their own visual realm for differences between the two).

With technology picking up great pace, computers taking over majority of the mundane human tasks, creating and reading content have also changed over the decade. The big change for content consumption have been mobiles, tablets and most importantly e-readers. Here, when i say e-readers I am talking about devices which work on reflected light. The other classes of devices work on backlight. The human eye is trained for reflected light. It is not designed for long hours staring of light originating. The eyes adore the beauty of te moon than the sun which the former just reflects. We see things through reflected light. We differentiate objects based the amount of light that is reflected, its wavelenghts and intenskty. We tend to look away from direct sources of light. It is no secret that people found it tiring to read on LCD/LED screens powering the phones and tablets. The skim reading or just going through and article augured well for these devices. But continous reading possible with a physical book i impossible with these devices.

Enter the e-reader. The most important innovation in the present digital world for bookworms. The ereaders have all the technologies available on modern computer devices with a reflective display. The human eyes love reflective displays. If you want to read a physical book you need to have a light source somewhere in the room. If your are reading in broad daylight, the physical book is much more easy to read. The same tech is used in an ereader. If your are in the dark, you cannot read from the ereader. Yes, there have been work arounds by putting LED's on the edges of the ereader screen to assist in reading at night but, there is still a certain amount of direct light which hits your eye with thes devices but, it is a good start. I stil love reading with a bed lamp than an ereader weith LEDs on the side.

Now let us see what these ereaders can do

1. They can hold enormous amounts of books
2. Bookmarking is as easy as exiting the book and chosing a new one to read
3. Add annotations
4. Check for meaning of word which the author has intentionally used to more understand his point of view
5. Battery life of nearly a month on one single charge
6. Buying books on your couch, on your train or bus journey
7. and much more

Let us complete it with what an ereader cant do

1. Give u the arom of a new book or the bliss of opening an old book
2. The joy of reaching the right page where we left off and forgotten to bookmark it
3. The joy of hinting a friend writing on the specific page regarding some history or a deja-vu
4. No question of battery life
5. The joy and the fulfilness of buying a physical book after a tiring journey of the bookstore just to realize that the first book you saw while entering was the book you want to buy
6. The vanishing individual's book shelf
7. The infinite sharing of books

The most hated aspect of all ereaders is the incorporation of DRM, wherein the books are tied to you and you are in no way entitled to share it with your friends and family, mitigating free will. One more thing i hated was their size. You are not able to read a magazine or a graphic novel or a comic in its true size. The most bacic problem is they dont display pdfs in their full glory. If the ereader does support pdfs, the problem is that the format doesnt flow and adjust to the screen like epups format. Normally all pdfs are genereated based on an 4 size sheet which is what printed magazines come out in. Trying to read it on a regular ereader would involve pinching and zooming complicated by thre refresh rates of the e-ink reflective tech screens.

Since the advent of ereaders I always wanted a device capable of dishing out pdfs and graphic intensive books. This prompted me to consider a 10" tablet. But, the issue here is that they are backlit. Yes, the colors are beautiful, but, your eyes get tire very easily. In the beginning of the year there was a lot of interest for producing ereaders with larger screens prompted by the company supplying majority of hte e-ink type of devices. Their 13.3" e-ink display prompted all this sudden interest. Sony came out with a device with an exhorbitant cost and capable of reading only pdfs. This was clearly aimed at the enterprise market and I believe it was(is ?) mostly made to order.

A chinese complany showed interest in making one with the same screen. They have already shipped the first batch of their devices and it is called the Boox Max. This is one company which is serious in their e-reader offerings, They have all kind of sizes with the latest being 13.3". They have an all metal eraeder, a 9.5", 6" and I think many more. The 13.3" got my fancy and I followed it up since their announcment. There is a german website which is taking pre-orders for the second batch of Boox Max if your are interested. The tech spec is on their website. I would just like to add that on the software side there are some glitches. There are occasional freezes. The company has promised updates to the android version as well as its bundled applications.  But, reading on it is a breeze. it has re-kindled the reading in me. The greyscale display puts me right back to the gutenberg era. Reading comics and graphic novels is an experience. Reading an epub format file with plenty of books available on the guternberg project, it is perfect. The text is crisp, the display size is perfect. The battery life for such a huge device is definitely good. Did I forget to tell it has the Android play store, wifi, bluetooth, audio jack. Another downer is that you have to interact with the device only with the stylus provided. There are buttons for page turns, but the interaction with the device is only throught the stylus provided. That is ok since you will not be pinching and zooming at all. Once u open a book it is only with the next page and the previous page.

The product page : Boox Max
User discussion forum: Mobilleread
Pre-order Boox Max:  Ereader-store
Wiki: Boox wiki 


Happy reading.