B.C. to D.C.
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: between the Popeye's, the liquor store, the funeral home, and the strip club
Bikes: 1992 Miyata Nine 14; 1971 Raleigh Super Course fixie conversion; 2006 Jamis Nova (853 version); 2001 Diamondback Topanga (SS conversion); 1956 Rudge Sports; 1971 Raleigh Competition (processing); 199? Schwinn World Sport (processing)
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on the brakes--I assume v-brakes?--I would guess it's a tension issue with the springs, most likely they are maladjusted. you can address this by unscrewing the allen bolt fixing the brake arm to the canti boss. there should be a set of three holes within which the end of the brake spring can fit, and you can then move each springs to a different hole to increase the tension. Alternately, your brake pads could just be really worn down causing the arms to come out of the range of tension for the brake. Or, your wheel could just be mis-seated or out of true, especially if you've monkeyed around with spoke tension and/or didn't destress the wheel before remounting. when the bike's stationary, pick up the fork and spin the wheel. you should be able to tell which it is very quickly.
because your brake arms should have tension setting them out from the wheel, no amount of misloading, tilting or rocking, aside from really hard jolts (even then...) should cause them to sway.
on the spokes--it is normal for the non-drive side spokes to be looser than the drive side spokes. this is what creates dish. If your wheel is centered in the frame, I wouldn't worry too much, especially if you are currently not breaking any spokes. when you were mashing on the pedals, are you sure it was the rim flexing and not just the pannier weight pulling the bike from side to side? When my wheels flex, they usually stay that way.
since you obviously have internet access, the repair section of parktool.com or sheldonbrown.com is your friend. There are also several shops in mumbai I found via google. call around and see if anyone has experience with the style of brake you have. Bikes really aren't that different, and a good mechanic should be able to suss things out pretty quickly, or work with you to fix your ailments.