Modern Cab Tales : Season 1 Episode 3

(Quick rewind till now – We witnessed 3 passengers (Anaida, Akanksha and Anand) discussed a terror threat article in a share cab but forget a bag in the cab. The bag which belonged to Anand contained explosive but Anaida and Akanksha end up getting hurt. While driving to the hospital, the cab driver gets a call on his mobile and the voice sounded familiar, “Did the two women survive the blast?”)

[Few hours ago…]

“Tipsy where are you. Come on its time for your everyday stroll, else you will end up doing potty at home” says Anand. By now Tipsy would come running wagging his tail all excited to go out. But there was no sign of Tipsy.

“Ma, have you seen Tipsy?” Anand asks his mom. “Check under dad’s bed or under the sofa.” his mom replies casually. Anand first checks under his dad’s bed, still no sign. So he gets to the living room. He sees two well grown men with back packs and face masks sitting in the sofa along with Tipsy.

At first Anand thinks this is some prank but he quickly realizes the situation. And before he could move, the man squeezes tipsy’s face and turns it away. Within split seconds Tipsy falls to the ground. Anand has no time to react.

“We had to do this so that you won’t take our words lightly. We want you to listen to us very carefully.” said a man wearing a black face mask. The other one was wearing a yellow face mask. They were carrying big bags like the ones Amazon or Flipkart delivery boys would wear. So the apartment security would have thought they were delivering courier. Or they might have entered the premises by jumping over the compound wall from the east side where its lonely most of the time.

Anand is listening to them with fear and caution. The time struck 5 pm and he could see that his pet who was alive and vibrant for the last 8 years is lying motionless in his living room.

“We had to do this otherwise you will not understand our intensity and its after all a dog.” said the man wearing yellow mask. “Now tell us, are you expecting any further guests at this time? Who else stays with you in this house?” he further asked.

Anand gathered his voice and said “No we are not expecting anyone else. Just me, mom and dad.”

“Good. Now listen to us carefully. We want you to leave right now, take this small bag (he removed a small bag from one of his bigger bags) and reach Inorbit Mall before 7 pm. No tricks, no cops. Else we will first kill your parents and then will go on a killing rampage in the apartment. The metal detectors will not work today. Once you get through security, you will reach the food court, drop the bag there and come out. This way it will ensure there are maximum casualties. We will be watching the news. If the bomb does not go off in Inorbit Mall, we will kill your parents. Get back home once you are done.” said the man in the black mask.

Anand ensured his parents that he will return safely. He books a share cab. He is completely shocked. He is trying to think a way out of this situation. He cant go to Inorbit mall. He changes his destination to film-nagar. He thinks he will meet his friend there and discuss a solution out of this trap.

Immediately there is another booking for the cab. 2 women (Anaida and Akanksha) enter the cab. They keep talking for around 20 minutes and finally they inadvertently reveal that they are going to Inorbit mall. Almost like a chain reaction, Anand starts talking to them and tries to befriend them. What if the bag explodes before he enters the food court? He did not want to risk his life. He wants to give over the bag to the two women. So he comes up with a fake excuse.  Although this may sound selfish on his part, he was acting out of panic. He wanted to save his life first.

[Back to current time…]

I reply to Anand’s question “Yes they both are alive, I wont let them die!”

“But mark my words, even if these two women forgive you, I will never forgive nor will I forget your face!”

To be continued…….


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Fat Pigeon : Many Pubs inside a single Pub

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — )

I see a menu card has a picture of an animated pigeon and the tagline said “Fat bird found with tons of booze”. And it did have a lot of scope to give away those tons of booze too. 3 bars within 2 floors and hundreds of ‘Awesome people who deserve Awesome booze’.

Getting entry is a big challenge, that too on a Saturday night. There will be at least 50 people standing near the entry gate. Half of them waiting for their friends to join and the remaining half are undecided because they just got to know from the concierge that there are no tables available. 20 mins pass by and its almost 11 pm. The gate is partially closed. Reason ? “Sir, the club is jam packed. Sorry you may not even get place to stand.”

We still took our chances and reached the 4th floor.

The walkway from the lift to the main pub has a lot of ‘selfie clicking’ accessories. One of them interestingly looked like a standalone car door.

Before we enter the main pub on the 4th floor, to the left of the walkway, there is a mini hangout area with a bar and a few tables. Its for people who want to occasionally chat because they cant hear themselves inside the pub where dj is playing. Or for those who want to look at the mad crowd from a distance.

Turn right from the walkway and you enter the main pub where the dj is playing. The dj console is located on far end one floor above the bar. Its an exclusive DJ console with no crowd to disturb him, yet he can look at the crowd like a bird’s eye view.

The bartenders in the main bar are dressed up in causal t-shirt and jeans along with a black & white checked shirt. They look like friendly college going students. They are quite quick and helpful too. There is a huge bar in the middle of this main pub and these bartenders are inside the bar, of course. Outside the bar however are the awesome jam packed Hyderabad pub goers. We could also see some single women partying on their own, which is a rarity in this town.

From the main bar there is a door which leads to a cozy balcony area in the same floor and we see a few couples relishing their private time.

Come out of the main pub, turn left and you go back to the elevators and can go home. But wait there is something else on the right side. Climb a few steps and you would see a mini open air auditorium. There are a few tables here but people can also sit on the steps in this mini auditorium. Wait, are we still in a pub? Yes of course. They were screening Kung Fu Panda using a screen and a projector.

Now comes the biggest surprise of all. Far from the loud and madding crowd, the terrace has “live music” and a relaxing ambience. Unless you get caught in the rain, it’s quite serene under the open sky, having a good time with your loved ones and friends. This section has waiters and service. The terrace also has two big tables in the middle and the seating for these two tables alone is a bit different to the rest of the seats on terrace. Those two tables have a few cool huge-ass swings as seats! Ha.

We made new friends, spoke to absolute strangers and got to know their passions, future plans, work challenges and yet gulped a few bottles of beer, took groupies, exchanged numbers, bid goodbyes, transferred booze into plastic takeaway glasses and finally hit the road (booked cabs of course, remember no drink and drive!).

Even while coming down in the elevator, I met a “Spine Surgeon” and his wife who were looking curiously towards my t-shirt which has a bar like design and reads “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs”. I told them its the name of my book and that its about conversation starters. They said it sounds very interesting and that they will buy it ! That made my day!

To be honest, I have never seen such vibrant crowd in Hyderabad at least till now. My take is that these awesome people had always existed in Hyderabad but Fat Pigeon has achieved the “Himalayan” task of gathering all these (awesome people) under one roof!

Happy Pubbing Hyderabad !




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Modern Cab Tales : Season 1; Episode 2

Blog Series continued from Episode 1 :

(Quick rewind of Episode 1 – We witnessed 3 passengers (Anaida, Akanksha and Anand) discussed a terror threat article in a share cab. Post which they get dropped at their respective destinations. The next passenger notices a bag in the back seat of the cab and questions the cab driver.)

I immediately parked the car on the side.

“Please give me the bag, let me check with the previous riders.”

I suddenly remembered that while Anand was getting dropped, he took a minute and was speaking on the phone. It sounded as if he was expecting a friend but that friend was not arriving. So he requested Anaida “Hey, so I was supposed to handover this bag to my friend but she is going to Inorbit mall instead of coming here. Since you are also going there, could you handover this bag to her?”

“Hope there is no explosive in this bag?” teases Akanksha. She seemed to be the cautious one from the beginning. While Anaida was the naive and compassionate one.

“She is just kidding” says Anaida. “Sure, give us the bag. We will handover. Tell us how your friend looks. Ask her to wait near the Starbucks store.

“Ok done. Thanks a lot. I owe you one the next time we meet.” Says Anand

I think Anaida and Akanksha must have forgotten this bag because they got busy talking as usual. Let me call them and find out.

At the same time my mobile starts ringing. “Hello?”

“Hi, we forgot a bag in your cab”. The voice sounded familiar. “Oh yes maam, I was just about to call you. Let me return the bag to you in 2 minutes. Please wait at the entry so that I will just enter, drop the bag and get out immediately”

I requested my passenger his cooperation to return the bag. He readily agreed. So I make a U turn and return to Inorbit Mall.

As requested, Anaida was waiting at the entry. I drive to the left, make a stop, handover the bag and turn the car around to get out of the building. There is traffic on the exit gate. So I had to move ahead slowly to get out.

“Looks like an accident outside, exactly near the out gate.” said a fellow driver to my left. He was trying to get out too.

Through my rear view mirror, I was able to watch Anaida and Akanksha enter the mall. Exactly 20 seconds later the mall entry alarm goes off. There is panic everywhere all of a sudden. The male guards are rushing towards the female frisking counter. And before anyone realizes anything there is a mild explosion.

The glasses shattered for a 100 m radius. It was a mild explosive however the damage caused was severe.

I see Anaida running out of the mall entry along with a few others. She looks visibly shocked and maybe partially deaf.

I get out of my cab and run towards her. She is screaming “Akanksha, Akanksha”

Immediately an ambulance is heard in the distance. The mall had an ambulance on stand-by.  While I was trying to console Anaida, I could see that atleast 3 other people were severely injured near the entry point. Akanksha was unconscious on the ground.

Anaida was saying “Oh God, this was all my fault. Akanksha was right from the start. I was being a fool.”

I try to console Anaida. “Don’t worry about that, lets first try and save Akanksha now.”

The mall staff and the ambulance staff help out the 4 people, but unfortunately there was only one ambulance. Anaida wanted to go with Akanksha but she cannot go because there is no room for her in the Ambulance.

I offered Anaida a ride to the hospital. By then, the traffic cleared up to some extent near the out gate.

While driving to the hospital, I get a call on my mobile and the voice sounded familiar, “Did the two women survive the blast?”

To be continued…

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Modern Cab Tales : Season 1; Episode 1

Alright, this is one way of keeping my blogging habit on. I am using the Web/ TV series format of seasons and episodes. I call this “Blog Series”! I am the cab driver. I am going to tell you stories about my passengers. Hope this will interest you and make you a little bit more aware of what all happen during a cab ride.

So it was a Saturday night. I was driving a share/pool cab that night. I picked up a person in his thirties.

“Sir, can you give me your OTP?”

“5346” the man replied.

“Where are you going sir?”

“I am going to FilmNagar.” he said

Beep, beep, beep. I see there is another booking in close range. So I accept the booking. The navigator in my phone tells me I have to go back to the same spot where I picked this gentleman again.

So I wait for 5 minutes, I try calling the new customers on their phone. They ask me to wait for 2 minutes.

After 5 minutes 2 women probably in their late 20s, dressed in t-shirts and jeans walk towards my cab. Till now I forgot to turn on the a/c but suddenly i remembered and turned the a/c on.

Both women were talking in English. I was the English topper in my primary school. So I could understand what they were talking. I will name them Anaida and Akanksha just for your understanding. I started the cab and took off with the 3 passengers. The gentleman was not speaking at all. He was wearing his earphones and probably listening to songs.

Anaida said “Here’s where I will start ordering my food from” she pointed to a biryani hotel on the way.

Akanksha said “oh does he deliver food home?”

“Yes, he will. And it will be cheaper than the previous hotel.” said Anaida.

They went on speaking about random topics for about 20 minutes. They were not even taking a break. They were jumping from one topic to another. It looked like they were working as air-hostesses in a popular airline company but the salary they were earning was not that great. It also looked like they were living in an apartment and sharing it with another woman. Anaida and Akanksha looked tight from their conversation. One conversation caught my attention.

“Oh, by the way, our roommate needs to buy scotch brite (the vessels cleaning pad) this time. I bought it last time, now its her turn. I do have one with me but won’t let her use mine.” said Akanksha.

I was thinking, if I was getting bored with all this conversation, what was the situation of the third passenger who was sitting right next to them? Probably the songs were diverting him from the pain of this conversation.

After a few minutes, the women started talking about a mall they were going to.

“Oh that mall has a terror threat, see this whatsapp message I got” said the third person in the car. I will name him Anand for ease.

“Oh these days, they circulate all sorts of nonsense and fake news in whatsapp” says Akanksha.

“But see this is from a leading newspaper. So the threat may be real.” Anand said

“Its ok, we both will die for the country.” Anaida says

Anand says “But there are other ways to die for the country. Why die like this?”

“No no, we will die saving others”. Akanksha reassures.

What noble thought ! Then the three of them got lost in regular conversation, getting to know each other, what they do, where are they going etc. But this light-hearted courage stayed with me as I dropped the three passengers off at their required destinations and drove back to pick up the next customer.

“I live in a great country” I said to myself. I am the Modern Cab Driver!

But wait, this new customer who boarded the cab now taps me on my shoulder and asks me “Did the previous rider forget their bag?”

Whats in the bag? Who left it? Did they leave it on purpose?

To be continued…..






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“Telugu Medley Kings” of Hyderabad

By Varun Mannava (The Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — )
Capriccio (noun) a lively piece of music, typically one that is short and free in form.
True to the above meaning, Capricio, the Hyderabadi band which is gaining a lot of popularity, chooses some of the liveliest songs in Tollywood and generates short and free medleys out of it.
Ever thought of enjoying all songs that the band plays? Ever thought of being lively and involved through out the performance without taking a break (except when the band takes a break)? It happened to me last night. Capricio live performances at The Moonshine Project are magical! Let me tell you why!
Medley is IN these days and Capricio will exploit this format to the full extent. Medley simply means mixture of varied things, here it applies to tunes of course. Usually the band starts off with a popular song, they wont tell you which song it is, they will start singing the first song from the ‘charanam’ and then by the time you figure out what the song is they will jump off to another popular song’s ‘pallavi’. This format works wonders, and its here to stay.
Regional nostalgia
Let me be honest. We all love regional music. The nostalgia that regional music can create is not something English popular songs can create. Especially in a live band. Although it requires great talent to keep the crowd involved and glued to your performance, it requires some help from nostalgia and language too. Else one might just be reduced to passive listening and occasional involvement.
Freedom to perform
Emphasizing on the need to provide complete freedom to the artists, Hemender Reddy, co-owner of The Moonshine Project, says that his pub is the only place in Hyderabad that encourages bands to play regional tunes exclusively. Although upon requests the bands do play some bollywood and english tunes. Capricio debuted at The Moonshine Project in January and has been performing every Saturday with the same amount of freedom. “They find themselves at home here which is why they get even more creative” says Hemender.
Deep knowledge in Carnatic music
To be able to handle a Medley successfully, one needs to know the ingredients correctly. Capricio has researched extensively and chosen their tracks with great care and innovation. The handshake between one song to another song in every medley is amazingly smooth. For example they start off with “Urvasi Urvasi” move on to “Chiku buku chiku buku rail” and then jump into “Mudhinepalle” before moving on to some other song. They know they are teasing your brain but what they don’t know is the extent of fun you are having with each song change tailor-made to entertain. So you can help them by being expressive if you are having fun. Claps and the occasional whistles would suffice.
While Ganesh and Eknath are handling the vocals they are perfectly in sync. Ganesh usually does the high pitch very well. In fact so well that I am yet to come across another singer in Hyderabad who can match SPB’s or Shankar Mahadevan’s control on breath. When you hear him sing “Mitwaa” you will know what I mean. Eknath does the base singing pretty efficiently. Sai Teja on the rhythm keeps coordinating Pandu on the Piano. While Ganesh and Eknath are busy singing away, its Sai Teja and Pandu who seem to be having the real fun smiling and giggling away after key tunes matching.
Overall an evening well spent!
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Partying in Hyderabad vs. Partying in Gurgaon!

By Varun Mannava (The Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — )

Let me be quite frank. Gurgaon is the party capital of India. That’s the truth!

In my earlier blog post, I walked you all through on where and how to party in Gurgaon. I wrote this blog in early 2016 but its still valid. Not much has changed except that there is SOCIAL in Cyberhub now.  (

I moved to the city of Hyderabad in January, 2017. In the last 6 months I have been to enough places to have gathered enough experience to write about Hyderabadi pubs!

And it doesn’t look that great in comparison to Gurgaon!! Sorry to disappoint you folks. Let me elaborate.

Stag Entry : This is a big headache in Hyderabad. On a Friday or a Saturday night, the best pubs in Hyderabad follow a strict stag entry rule. Only exception is HyLife where stags are allowed after charging entry and cover charge.  Whereas in Gurgaon, most of the pubs allow stags with a cover charge, else if you know a manager in the pub. I will leave it to your opinion, but if you ask me I hate it. It’s not like men are going to get in and create a rampage. Do some basic profiling before letting stags in. Whatever it is, this has to change.

Band Culture : Hyderabad is currently catching up with Bengaluru and running high on Band performances. Its super cool. However I would like a balance of Band and DJ. In Gurgaon, most of the pubs start the band performances at 6.30 pm and by 10.30 pm the band hands over the baton to the DJ no matter how great the band is. If we are talking about very popular bands then they take over the whole night but on a normal weekend handing over to the DJ at 10.30 is the norm. Hyderabad needs to learn to balance the two.

Socializing : No matter how funny you are you are unlikely to make new friends in a pub unless you are either a performer in a band / actor in a movie. Ha. Trust me when I say this even though I am a conversation starter specialist myself. In the last 6 months I have just made one or two new friends in pubs. This is the major difference between Gurgaon and other cities. If you are funny and start a decent conversation, the women in Gurgaon will engage with you in a conversation. In Hyderabad, people go in groups and they stick to their groups. No new friends please! If this is what you wanted, why go to a pub? House party should do no?

Quick reviews of happening pubs in Hyderabad.

#1 Prost – This is high on ambiance but the brewed beer is not that great.

#2 Hylife – This has various levels of partying and I like their brewed beer the most in Hyderabad

#3 The Other Side – I have heard good things about this pub and its definitely in my list to visit.

#4 The Moonshine Project – This place has some creative gigs. It was the launch pad for a new band called Capricio apart from helping kick-start a regional concept band called Varnam  (

#5 FUBAR – This is an open mic bar. Cute.


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Karman Kaur, India’s rising Tennis star, has no plans to rest until she gets an Olympic Gold!

Hello world! Meet Karman Kaur Thandi (18 years old) who is training right now in Nice, France at Mouratoglou Tennis  Academy!

Karman’s highest ranking in ITF juniors (International Tennis Federation) was 32. She won the “WTA Future Stars” in 2014 which was held in Singapore.

She was kind enough to squeeze some time to answer my questions below.

(image courtesy – Facebook)

Karman Kaur tell us something about yourself, your schooling and college.

“I started playing tennis when I was 8 years old. My parents put me in this sport during the school vacations just as a hobby and for fitness. “

“I went to Ryan International School Vasant Kunj . Currently I am pursuing my degree first year at Jesus and Mary college ( Delhi University).”

As a child what did you dream of becoming?

“As a child I always used to dream of becoming a tennis player and be the best in that, which is to be number 1 in the world. “

Why Tennis?

“I chose tennis. When I was young I played many games. But I chose tennis because I really liked the game and enjoyed playing it. And my parents encouraged me to go further in the sport.”

What was the first tournament you won and how did you progress from there on?

“Two months after I had started playing tennis I took part in an ‘Under-10’ tournament in Delhi and won it. That was my first tournament victory. After that I stared played National level tournaments. I was number 1 in the country under-14, under-16, under-18. I gradually started playing international tournaments and now am playing in the international women’s circuit.”

You are currently ranked number 2 in AITA (All India Tennis Association) women’s rankings, tell us more about it.

“Yes right now I am no.2 in AITA women’s ranking. I didn’t play a lot of tournaments the last year however this year I plan to play more tournaments and improve my ranking.”

What is your next target, how do you plan to achieve it?

“My next target is to get my WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) ranking under top 300 by the end of the year. I am gonna work hard and give my best to achieve it.”

Tell us something about your interaction with international players or any other interesting personalities.

“When I won the 2014 WTA Future stars, I received the winner trophy from Li Na. I met all the top players there and the atmosphere was fascinating.

By interacting with top players like Li Na, Sania Mirza, Maria Sharapova I gathered a lot of motivation.”

What is your dream and your vision for Indian Tennis?

“My dream as an Indian tennis player is to reach Top 10 in the world and win a few Grand Slams.

And my vision for Indian Tennis is to win the Fed Cup and bring a gold home in Olympics! “



(image courtesy – Facebook)

On behalf of fellow tennis enthusiasts in India, I wish you very well in all your future pursuits! Hope your dreams come true soon!

–Varun Mannava (Tennis enthusiast, Self-published author)

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