Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flags at Half Mast?

At this time of national tragedy, is a cricket match of India vs Pakistan necessary?  Don’t they have any compassion?  Is money that much important?  For those people who bought tickets to watch these matches, will you go to the stadium if your sister was gang raped and murdered?
 
I am talking about the young girl who was gang raped and murdered by six hooligans.  May she rest in peace.
 
For a school shooting, the U.S. President ordered American flags throughout the world fly at half mast, as a mark of country’s mourning.
 
Is any Indian flag at half mast now?  I don’t know.  Please let me know if any Indian flag is flying at half mast for mourning the death of this innocent young girl.  Is Mukherjee busy snacking jhal muri?
 
Wait for a month.  On January 26, everything will be forgotten.  Mukherjee will come in an open carriage and Singh will come in an open jeep – both of them beaming and waving to the people.
 
(The words “President” and “Prime Minister” are purposely omitted.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

R.I.P.

Damini
 
Damini “passed away peacefully”.  This is the official statement from the Singapore hospital.
 
May our beloved Damini rest in peace.  Our heartfelt condolences to her family and her friend.  Hope he recovers soon.
 
No one can really feel the pain and suffering she endured on December 16.
 
Indian law does not permit death penalty for rapists.  I am told it is 10 years maximum.  I personally and strongly feel that these rapists should and must get the same treatment as Damini got from them.
 
How this is possible?
 
Governments can do lot of secret things.  For example, I think,  transporting Damini to Singapore is a political decision.  This is to minimize the problem in New Delhi when she dies.  When so many foreigners are coming to India for surgery and other treatments, what is the need to send her to Singapore?  India has one of the best medical experts in the world.
 
I have a suggestion as to how to punish the rapists.  Indian law will not allow death penalty.  But they can clandestinely transfer the rapists/jailed prisoners to a maximum security prison in USA.  Many sex starved hardened criminals are here.  These Indian rapists/prisoners will be raped and murdered in a few weeks of their arrival.  I would personally like to pay these US hardened criminals money if they insert and violently screw a foreign object inside their body before their death.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Small Experiment

Just heard Facebook will start a new service and charge $1.  What is that service?  This $1 will guarantee that messages you send to people who are not connected will receive your messages in their inbox and not in the “other” folder.  This is $1 per message.  Facebook says this is “only a small experiment”.
 
First of all, why should I want to pay $1 and send a message to an unknown stranger?  Or, why should I want to read a message send to me by an unknown stranger?  I think this is a stupid idea.
 
I think Facebook thinks it can re-write years of email use and behavior.  May be it will be successful.  There are lot of suckers in this world.
 
What happened to their slogan “it is free and always will be”?
 
There is a reason for this experiment.  If someone unfriended you, you can write to them directly and ask why.  You can pay $1 and continue to bug your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend.
 
Finally, how does the sender know that I actually read his message.  As always, I have a brilliant idea.  If an unknown stranger pays $1 to send a message to me, and if I open that message I should get 50 cents.  If I don’t open that message, Facebook can keep the $1.  They can keep $1 because they DID deliver this message to me.  Facebook can show in their report how many messages were sent and how many were opened.  This will encourage more people to send more messages and more people to open and read them.
 
What do you think?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is This Real?

A customer ordered an iPad from one of the biggest consumer electronics store in the world.  That store is Best Buy.  When the parcel was delivered, she was shocked to find she received 5 iPads.
 
She called Best Buy and she was told to keep all 5 of them.  This is Best Buy’s response to her:
 
" We, here at Best Buy, acknowledge that we obviously made a mistake, but in the spirit of the holidays, we encourage you to keep the additional iPads and give them to people in need – friends, family, a local school or charity.”
 
This news was reported by many news organizations. Lot of thoughts come to my mind.
 
Are they really this nice to their customers?
 
Is this a marketing ploy?
 
Cheap advertising?
 
Feel good story to perk up the holiday shopping season?
 
How can she register the extra 4 iPads without a sales receipt?
 
If they really made a mistake, what happened to the clerk who made the mistake?
 
Did the other 4 customers get empty boxes?
 
And finally, why this is not happening to me?  I could give the extra 4 iPads to the 4 blogging friends I adore.  Who are those 4?  You will know when I receive 4 iPads (for free) and ship them to you.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Price Difference

I was looking at the website for the Indian luxury train, The Golden Chariot.  I was surprised that there are different prices for Indian citizens and foreigners.  Here are the rates for a 7 night travel:
 
Double occupancy per person - Indian National – Rs.1,15,500/-
Double occupancy per person – Foreigners - $3,835 (Rs.2,07,022/-)
 
Even entrance fees to Taj Mahal is Rs.20/- for Indian citizens and Rs.250 for foreigners.
 
I have seen some brand name star hotels in India have different (higher) rates for foreigners.
 
Foreigners mean all foreigners whether they are from USA or from Liberia (the second poorest country in the world). Number one is Congo.
 
I am not complaining about India only.  This is prevalent in a few other countries.  I have first hand experience in Turkey and Egypt. Recently, a person complained that in Cairo, they charged a foreigner to pray in the mosque.
 
Foreigners are considered rich. If they can travel all the way from their country they must be rich.  But not all foreigners are rich.  There are lots of countries that are more poorer than India.
 
I think (I may be wrong) a lot of tourists to India are NRIs and Indian origin people.  Many of them can sneak in as Indian citizens because they can speak their mother tongue fluently.  I can speak a better Madras Bashai than any auto rickshaw driver in Chennai.
 
It is only the white people and people with African hairdo are the unlucky ones.
 
May be all countries should follow this practice.  For example, Disneyland charges $87 per person for one day admission.  They should charge $156 for foreigners.  I have used the same ratio as the Golden Chariot rate.  Not the outrageous ratio for Taj Mahal entrance fee.  This ratio would cost a foreigner $1,088 to enter Disneyland.  That is bad.
 
Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, is looking for ways to increase his company’s revenue.  Next time I have lunch with Bob I will mention this to him. HaHaHa.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Samaritan

Just read a news item. Very much want to share with y’all.
 
Erode is a small town in Tamil Nadu.  A gentleman is running a small vegetarian eatery there.  He parcels the mid-day meals and gives to 20 people every day for just one rupee each.  Why is he doing this?  This is what he said.  I will paraphrase:
 
There is a hospital near my eatery.  People from neighboring villages, who are sick, are admitted there as in-patients.  The food for patients is provided by the hospital.  But the hospital cannot provide food for those (relatives/friends) who are staying there and attending the patients.  Most of them are very poor.  They cannot afford to give Rs.25.00 that I generally charge for lunch.  Therefore, they skip the lunch and go hungry.
 
Since I am in the food business, I cannot be just a silent spectator to this.  Therefore, I have arranged with the hospital to give daily “tokens” to those poor relatives/friends so that they come here, give the token and one rupee and get the lunch.
 
Why he charges one rupee and why not give for free?
 
If I give them for free, their pride will be hurt.  That is why I am charging a nominal fee of one rupee.

Why parcel the food and give them as “take out” and why not let them eat in the restaurant?

I parcel the food with generous helping.  Each parcel has enough food for 2 or 3 persons.  Therefore, they can take the food parcel and share with someone else also.

Glad to see that even today there are people like him in this world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lucky December?

Next month, December 2012, will have 5 Saturdays. 5 Sundays, and 5 Mondays.  I am also informed that this is happening after 823 years.

Someone told me that this is considered very lucky month.   The Chinese call this the Money Bag.

Since I have nothing else to do, I did some research.  I found this combination (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) happened in December 2007 and will happen again in December 2018.

Therefore, this 823 year story is a big BS.

Also, there is this Doomsday phenomenon  for December 21, 2012.  Believers say this is as per Mayan Calendar.

Come to think of it, December 2012 is really going to be a lucky month.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Knee Taking

Football is a popular game in USA.  It is more famous here than cricket in India.  It is not soccer or rugby.  It is sometimes called American Football by non-Americans.  Every city in USA has organized football leagues for kids starting from the age of 5.  They are put into different levels by age and weight.  They play several games each year.  Parents, family, and friends of all players come to root their teams.  The grounds are so noicy, you would sometime mistake that there is an India-Pakistan cricket match going on there.

Then these kids play high school football representing their schools.  They then move on to college football.  A few talented and lucky players become professionals and make millions of dollars each year, playing only 16 regular games.

There is a custom in the kids level and high school level football games.  It is called “taking a knee” when a player is injured.  Does not matter if the injured player is your own team or opponent, They will kneel down until the player is removed from the field.
 
(Courtesy: Yahoo)
One coach said:

We take a knee and we pray for that player, that the injury is not serious or life-threatening

Sounds like a good practice that every kid in every sport should follow worldwide.

I asked a football expert.  He said:  Kids are asked to drop to one knee not so much out of respect but to keep them under control while the coach tends to the injury.

Always several explanations for every action.  At least, we will take the good ones.

PS: If someone thinks knee taking is demonstrating Christian belief, it can be changed somewhat to suit the local custom and beliefs.  It is the thought that counts, i.e. pray for the injured player whether he/she is on your team or your opponent’s team.

Monday, November 12, 2012

All In A Day (Haiku)

Left home for a drive
Wanted to go to a store
Buy some desi spice

Enjoying the ride
My auto stopped suddenly
Accident ahead
 
(Courtesy: Yahoo)

Cannot turn around
Waited, waited, and waited
Finally gave up

Cars started moving
Took the next return exit
Back home at long last

No idli batter
No coconut for chutney
Restaurant tonight

Other half loves this
No cooking no production
Restaurants we love

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time to Gloat

Whenever any Indian origin person becomes famous anywhere in the world, many Indians in India will celebrate and gloat. It does not matter if that person has nothing to do with India or never even visited India. For example:

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana State, USA.
Sunita Williams, American astronaut.

I do not want to go on and on with more names. Let me come to the point.

A young lady (age 31) has been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii. Her name is Tulsi Gabbard. I have already seen a few Indian television stations described her as the first ever Indian origin woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. I could not stop laughing. In a few days, they may even describe her as being born in a poor village in Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh.

She was born in Leloaloa, American Samoa, to Mike Gabbard and Carol Gabbard. Mrs. Gabbard embraced Hinduism and gave Hindu names to her children. Tulsi is not an Indian origin American.

Dr. Ami Bera is the likely winner from the 7th Congressional District in California to the U.S. House of Representatives. All votes have been counted and they have not declared the results yet because his lead is by 184 votes only. There may be a recount.

Bera’s parents immigrated to USA from Gujrat, India, 50 years ago. He is an Indian origin American. Now I am waiting to see how many people in India are going to claim that they knew Ami’s parents. Some would even claim they are Ami’s childhood friends. Ami was born and raised in USA.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Confusing U.S. Presidential Election

U.S. Presidential election is on November 6. It is very confusing how a person is elected U.S. President. It is not by popular vote. It is how many votes a person gets in “electoral college vote”.

What is an Electoral College vote?

There are 538 Electoral College votes. A candidate has to win 270 votes to win the election. Each state is allotted a number of Electoral College votes depending on the population. It is a winner takes all system*. If a candidate wins popular vote in a particular state, he/she takes all the Electoral College votes of that state. For example, California has 55 and Montana has 3 Electoral College votes. If a candidate wins California’s popular vote, he/she takes all 55 (even if the candidate won the popular vote by one vote only). Therefore, both candidates will concentrate in California and not in Montana.

USA has 50 states. Very very big country by area. It is so huge it has 6 different time zones. Theoretically, if someone puts in all efforts in only 12 states and win all these 12 states, he/she can become President. He/She can ignore the other 38 states. Here are the numbers (states and electoral college votes).

California 55
Texas 38
Florida 29
New York 29
Illinois 20
Pennsylvania 20
Ohio 18
Georgia 16
Michigan 16
Arizona 11
Indiana 11
Oregon 7
Total 270

Is there anyone who won the election but did not win the popular vote? Yes. Here they are:

John Quincy Adams in 1824
Rutherford Hayes in 1874
Benjamin Harrison in 1888
George W. Bush in 2000

Look for a surprise here. Total number of electoral college votes are 538. What if each candidate gets 279 votes and it is a draw? There is a solution in the US Constitution.

The President will be elected by the US House of Representatives.
The Vice President will be elected by the US Senate.

House majority is Republican and so Romney winner.
Senate majority is Democrat and so Biden winner.

That would be fun. Will see what happens on November 6.

PS: * The states of Maine and Nebraska do not have winner take all system. They have “proportional representation” system.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dog’s Thinking

“Be the kind of person your Dog thinks you are.”

I read this in Insignia’s email ID profile.

That prompted me to write this post. Not about what a dog thinks you are. About what a particular dog thinks who he is.

When Obama was elected President in 2008, he took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. The person to administer the oath was the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice John Roberts. There are only 35 words in the oath:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Justice Roberts has to say these 35 words without any notes (supposedly).

And, Mr. Obama has to repeat these words.

Murphy’s Law at work. Both Roberts and Obama made a few mistakes while reciting the oath.*

The news goes that Justice Roberts started to memorize by rehearsing these words several times in his home during the prior two weeks. In the living room, in the bathroom, in the dining table, etc. etc. The poor family dog was the recipient of his administering the oath several times.

That news leaked out much later. When a reporter asked about this to Mrs. Roberts, she said:

My husband repeated these 35 words so many times, our dog thinks he is the President of the United States.

Love this impromptu comment. Will they both (Obama and Roberts) meet the second time for the oath-taking ceremony? We will know on the night of November 6.

*PS: Some lawyers (as always) intervened and said there may be a legal challenge to this oath of office later. Therefore, Justice Roberts administered the oath of office to Obama for a second time at a private ceremony.

PPS: Hey Mr. Who Posted This. I can guess what your comment is going to be. Something to the effect Justice Roberts’s dog would do a better job. So, come out with something else that will surprise me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election

General Elections in USA are scheduled for Tuesday, November 6. This is the day when people will vote for all sorts of elected office. President, Vice President, Senate, House (ala MP), Governors, State Legislatures, Board of Directors (ward councillors) and so many other offices. Local elections are non-partisan.

I am glad Indian continent origin people are taking part in these elections. Not only people who became U.S. citizens are voting but quite a number of them are running also.  I am an independent and do not have any party affiliation. I live in a small town near San Francisco and the population is less than 3000. I can see so many sings:

Rajesh Dighe for Board of Directors

Tariq Khan for Board of Directors
(first name missing in his posters)

Jass Sangha for Delta College Trustee

Ricky Gill for U.S. Congress (ala MP). Interesting guy. The minimum age to run for Congress is 25. He became 25 years old only last month. If elected, he would be the youngest Congressman. His real first name is Ranjit. Changed to Ricky. Hey, if Piyush Jindal can change his name to Bobby Jindal, why not Ranjit to Ricky. He is an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi)(born in USA) and not a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat)(immigrant from India). Both his parents are doctors and very rich.


Ricky is very intelligent. He is contesting on behalf of Republican Party. He is running in a constituency where Democrats are in a heavy majority. So what did he do? The word “Republican” does not appear in any of his posters.

Where is the fun if we don’t have some controversy? One of the current Board of Directors for our town is Jass Singh. A group of citizens are dissatisfied with his performance. Therefore, this election day there will be a ballot to recall him. Yes, in USA, citizens can recall an elected official through ballot. There are lots of signs “Recall Jass Singh” and “We are with Jass Singh”.


I am confused. Jass Singh is a male and Jass Sangha is a female. Both have same Americanized first name.

Among the local candidates, I am thinking to vote for Rajesh Dighe. The reason: He does not have an Americanized first name.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Free

First, this is a tongue-in-cheek post.

People say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a price to pay. I disagree with that. There are a few things I/we can get for free.

Free cold and cough.

Free x-ray from the airport security agents.

Free advice from a lot of people.

Free lice available at most schools. Hey, it’s a pet, right?

Free emails known as spam.

Free sunshine.

Free portrait when you get booked after an arrest (mug shot).

Free smiles.

Free divorce just for asking.

Free concussion trying to break a fight.

Free Headache.

Free room and board. Thanks mom and dad.

Free room and board in the jail. Thanks Government.

Do you know anything else that comes free?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Water Water Water

We love water. If we had our way, we want to be beach bums.  Was looking at the Picasa albums of our previous vacations.  Thought I would share a few pictures we took during our vacations.  More later.  These are at random and not in any particular order.

Hanauma Bay, Honolulu, Hawaii

Mazatlan Beach, Mexico


Muttom Beach, Tamil Nadu, India


San Francisco Bay

Venice, Italy


Cabo San Lucas Beach, Mexico

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fad

American Heritage Dictionary gives the following meaning for the word “fad”.

A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze.

The blogging world also goes through some fad once in a while. It was “award” season. Every blogger was receiving an award and/or giving an award to some one else. Then came the “tagging” season. Every blogger was tagged and asked to answer so many questions. They in turn tagged some other bloggers.

Now the new fad is “contest”. Many companies feed for these contests to promote their products. Looks like several bloggers are entering these contests.

In addition, there is this online marathon of bloggers. They have a monthly theme. Looks many of the bloggers I follow are part of this marathon.

Following are a few recent contests/themes:

Del Monte Blogger Recipe
The Surf (SoakNoMore)
Melbourne
Snap a Deal
Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage
Hair Problem
The Lakme Diva
The Untold Story

I have read at least 15 posts about how beautiful Melbourne is. About 20 posts on pros and cons of love marriage vs. arranged marriage.  About 8 to 10 posts on others. I am not complaining. No one compelled me to read them. I read them because I want to read what my blogging friends write.

Until yesterday, when I hear “Untold Story” I am always reminded of a book (by that title) written by Lt. Gen. Brij Mohan Kaul of the Indian Army. This book dealt with the Indian military’s setback against the Chinese attack in 1962.

I used to read wonderful posts on their travel, personal experience, the issues they care about, and what is happening around their surrounding. They all have taken a back seat to writing about products these companies want to advertise in the name of contest and monthly marathon themes. I know some friends do not write exclusively for contests/themes only.

After reading several posts on a given subject, now I feel how my English professors would have felt after reading so many papers on Philip Pirrip (Pip) in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, year after year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

BUMPING

(Very sorry. By mistake, published  my draft version.  Here is the final version.)
 
Airline companies almost always overbook their flights whenever they can. Why? Because they know that statistically around 15% of the passengers who have confirmed reservations do not show up for their flights.

Airline companies know this and an empty seat is money lost so they overbook. Sometimes overbooking can backfire on airline companies…like whenever more passengers with confirmed reservations show up than anticipated and there aren’t enough seats on the plane for everyone.

Whenever this situation occurs, the airlines will make an announcement at the gate asking if any passengers would like to voluntarily give up their seat and take the next flight. The airline will offer incentives for the passenger(s) who volunteer for ‘bumping’.

Bumping (or getting bumped) is when you voluntarily give up your seat on the flight to take a later flight with the incentives.

The average incentive is a one class upgrade to business class or first class on the next available flight AND one free roundtrip ticket from anywhere to anywhere that the airline will fly domestically. A pretty good incentive.

Some airlines are cheapskates. They will start with a paltry $50 voucher to be used for future travel on their airline. However the passengers know better and no one will accept such a cheap offer.

I know a frequent commentor on this blog who volunteers for bumping all the time. I mean every…single…time he flies! When he checks in at the airport, he voluntarily tells the airline clerk “if you’re overbooked for this flight and need to bump someone, you can call me first”.

Why I am writing about this topic now?

The practice of bumping has come to educational institutions also. Now a famous university is paying students not to enroll. M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) admits 400 students into their MBA program every year. They usually send admission letters to more students than the actual seats that are available (i.e. overbooking or overaccepting). This is due to a few (accepted/admitted) students not showing up for various reasons such as getting admitted to another school, losing interest in pursuing an MBA, getting a job, etc.

This year more than 400 students showed up at MIT. Similar to airline companies offering incentives to passengers who want to be bumped, MIT is offering cash incentives to those students who are willing to wait until next year.

MIT started with low cheapskate offers (like certain airlines) and of course they had very few takers. Eventually, MIT got enough volunteers who were willing to enroll next year. MIT ended up offering $20,000 to each student. This money will be applied towards their tuition fees next year. The tuition cost for the MIT MBA program is $58,000 per year. A 34% discount is not bad. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who Would You Hire?

Quite a few years ago, on a very busy day, my boss asked me, in the last minute, to go to a HR training meeting. She was supposed to go. Since she was busy, she asked me to represent her. Since I had a very busy schedule that day I told her I will not go to that meeting. But she insisted I had to go. So I had no other alternative. Corporate world is not a democracy.

The title of the training session was Hiring Techniques. The instructor started with this question to every one: If you have an opportunity to hire someone, who will you hire? Lots of similar answers. Hire someone with great qualifications. Hire someone with a lot of experience. Hire someone with great potential. Etc. Etc.

My turn came. I was already in kaduppu because of my boss. (Kaduppu is a Tamil slang for angry and frustrated but could not do anything about it.) I said I would hire someone if he/she is like me.

Unwittingly, I gave the instructor an opportunity to open up a long discussion and exchange of views. He turned around and asked me why would I hire someone if he/she is like me. I started to blurb out words like similar skills, similar work habits, and similar personality would make me comfortable with that person.

The whole group started to discuss pros and cons. Here are a few opinion voiced by others in that training session:

Hire someone who is experienced in an area where you lack the skills.

Hire someone like you and he/she can take over for you in your absence.

Hire someone with a positive attitude.

Hire someone that you like, that is not like you. (shades of Rajni Kanth?) HuhHUhHUhHaaaaa.

Hire someone that can make your team better.

Hire someone who has a different point of view.

Hire someone like you so he/she can fit into your team.

Dear Blogging Friends,

What do you think? Would you hire someone who is like you? If not, who would you hire?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kids, nowadays

Kids, nowadays, are far more knowledgeable than the previous generation. I am not just talking about how they are computer game whiz. In addition to that, I am amazed at how they handle the situation.

Recently we visited a relative’s home. They have 2 boys. 7 year old and 5 year old. The older kid has a video game console, Xbox 360. He asked me if I would like to play a game called Mortal Combat vs DC Universe. And, I agreed to play with him. I also told the him I have never played that game before.

In this game, they take the old mortal combat heroes and make them compete against super heroes like Batman, Superman, Spider-man, etc.

The kid’s parent told me he is very good at playing this game. The kid explained to me “how” to play and the rules of the game.

OK the game starts. Within 2 minutes, I defeated him. Defeated him is a mild description. I just destroyed him. I just annihilated him. The kid did not get angry or disappointed. He was composed and smiling.

I asked the him why he did not get mad or angry or disappointed when I defeated him. He replied:

Because I let you win so you won’t be disappointed.

We played another 4 games. He destroyed me within 30 seconds in each game.

I am not talking about his skills. I am talking about his letting me win purposely the first game so I show continued interest. We used to do that to kids a few years ago. Nowadays, the kids are doing the same to us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My 200th Post

This is my 200th post. Long over due. I started writing in June 2009. I wrote 63 posts in 2009 and 117 posts in 2010. Then I took a kind of sabbatical in 2011. In that year, I wrote only 2.

I would like to thank all my friends for their continued support.

What prompted me to start my own blog? I want to thank 2 people for that.

I used to follow Insignia’s blog. I am following even now. Impressed with her writing skills. Bindu asked me to write a guest post for her blog. I did and it was well received. She encouraged me to create my own blog and start writing. She helped me with setting up my own blog. In essence, she was my technical advisor and blog guru. And, she still is.

The Cagey Bee/Who Posted This. He is the same person but writes comments with 2 pseudo names depending on the subject. He also encouraged me to start my own blog. I have been told by a few readers that they visit my blog only to read the comments from this guy. I wish I had this guy’s humorous writing skills. He is not a mystery person. Two fellow blogging friends have indeed met him in person. I have asked him to create his own blog and start writing posts. He said he is content with writing comments only.

Of all the posts I wrote so far, I personally like the following 12 in rank order.

Poor Judgement (Caution: Real Story, Very Tragic)

Since I have nothing to do, I have been monitoring the “live feed”. Even though no one writes a comment any more on this post, the most “read” post is “The Allan Bakke Case”.

Once again, thanks to you all for your continued support. Puleeze keep visiting my blog.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tag Time

Now it is tag time. Priyaa has tagged me. I have been asked to write a post on the following subjects:

Tell two moments in my life when I was both happy and sad (simultaneously).

Leaving India and coming to California. Happy to go to USA for a better career and better life. Looking forward to the American dream. At the same time, sad because of leaving family and friends. Not being able to see Kamal Haasan movies on the day of release. Missing Rava Dosa (with special chutney and a bucket of sambar) in Chennai restaurants.

Company transfer from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Utah. Happy that I got a big promotion, prestigious title, nice salary increase. Sad because we were leaving our home in California. That is the first home we ever bought in our life. My first debt to the bank. Special affection towards that home. We often look at that home drawing. Still wondering how the architect was able to design a comfortable 4 bedroom home in only 1590 square foot (single floor).

Tell two books I love and why.

“Love Story” by Erich Segal. It was also made into a successful movie in Hollywood starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw. Romantic drama ends in a tragedy. The famous line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was uttered twice in this book/movie. Very emotional. If you don’t drop a tear after reading this book or watching this movie, please let me know. I will refund you the cost of the book or cost of renting the DVD (including pop corn, nachos, and soda).

“Call me Hope” by Gretchen Olson. Story about an 11 year old girl named Hope. Book is about how Hope lives under the pressure of her abusive mother. We generally think child abuse means physically hurting a child. Even constant verbal abuse is also child abuse. This book touched my heart. We should never ever let any child go through this kind of abuse.

About a person I had met in my life at some point in my life but could never forget him/her.

When we were living in Salt Lake City, every year, we used to receive invitation to attend the Sundance International Film Festival in Park City, Utah. That place would be crowded with internationally known movie people – stars, producers, directors, etc. etc.

One year we saw the glamorous Hollywood movie star, Sally Field. She has won the Oscar Award for best actress 2 times. She was surrounded by several directors and producers. They were having a serious discussion about something in a round table.

We were excited to see Sally Field. We liked her in the movies Mrs. Doubtfire and Eye for an Eye. My wife wanted to take a picture with her. Without realizing she is talking to some people, I go straight to her and ask her if she can pose for a picture with my wife. She smiled and said: Sure. She asked the other people to hold on for a minute until I take the picture. She stands up, puts her arm around my wife, and smiles. Click. Picture taken. I say: Thank you. She replies: You are welcome. We leave and she goes back to the round table to continue their discussion.

Now I realize I did not take a picture with her. I go to her again and ask her if she can pose for a picture with me now. The same smile and says: Sure. Again asked others to hold on. Stands up, puts her arm around me, and smiles. My wife takes the picture. I say: Thank you so much Sally. She replies: Any time. Goes back to join the conversation with others.

Internationally famous movie star. Disturbed her twice when she was having a serious conversation with a few producers and directors. Never showed any irritation. Always smiling and eager to oblige a fan’s request. No haughtiness. Down to earth. Will always remember her.

Well! Now I am going to pass along this tag to the following friends:

Please write a post on the following:

2 cities you love and why?

2 profession (other than the one you are in now) you love and why?

Tell us how you spent the day yesterday – from the time you woke up till you went to bed.

Thanks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Page From the Past

This happened a few years ago. Even now, when I and LG (my wife) recall this incident, we laugh and laugh.

Her brother and his wife were visiting from India. Our ironing board started to give trouble. LG wanted me to buy a new one before their arrival. We all know I am the laziest person in the world. And before I could buy a new ironing board, they have arrived from India.

LG is a worrying type. Her visiting sister-in-law is used to making rude remarks. That does not bother me a bit. But it bothers LG a lot. LG was worried that the visiting lady would give some caustic remarks about our not keeping a working ironing board and how everything is “perfect” in her home in India, etc etc. You get the drift

The day after their arrival, I got a call from LG while I was in my office. She requested me to buy an ironing board before I come home, unpack it, and put it in the garage so that it will look like the ironing board has been there in working condition all the time. This should be done secretly without the visitors’ knowledge.

I took my afternoon off and drove home. On the way I stopped by a departmental store near our home to buy a new ironing board. While the sales clerk was explaining the difference between various brands of ironing boards and their prices, I heard a few Tamil voices from the next isle. After a few seconds, I realized it was my wife’s voice and her brother and his wife’s voices.

I was supposed to buy this without their knowledge. So, at that given moment, I did not know what to do. While the sales clerk was continuing his sales pitch, I started to leave. The sales clerk was surprised. The following conversation took place.

Why are you leaving Sir? You did not like any of these ironing boards?

I like them. I will come back later. Right now I have to leave urgently.

Why?

(If you want to lie, you should plan ahead. This was an impromptu incident.)

I heard my wife’s voice in the next aisle. She is with someone.

Sir, you don’t have to runaway because your wife is with someone. If she and that guy see you, they should be the ones running away from you.

Before he could finish, I was out of there.

Later I came to know LG drove the visitors to this departmental store without knowing I would also be there. Any how, I came back after 20 minutes and bought the ironing board. Unpacked it and put it in the garage. LG was happy. I told her the incident in the departmental store a few hours later. Even now, when we recall this incident, we laugh and laugh.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Greeting Gestures

There are many ways to greet people depending upon the country and culture.

Hand shake with one hand
Hand shake with both hands
Hug
Cheek kissing
Hand kissing

Quite a few world political leaders, when shaking hands, use both hands. Some either shake with both hands. Some others shake with one hand and the other hand touches the elbow or shoulder of the person they are greeting. People who greet like this are considered (rightly or wrongly) “born leaders”. In USA, whoever wants to become a “born leader” practice this habit. Hahaha.  A few sample pics:

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern

Bill Clinton and a Navajo Indian woman

Barack Obama and Man Mohan Singh

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev

I was thinking is it only the American and European leaders are born leaders? Then suddenly I got this fact, ala, Buddha enlightened sitting under the bodhi tree. Actually me and a few of my friends were sitting in a bar and discussing about it. So it was actually not under a bodhi tree. Not under a bar stool. On a bar stool.

Hindus also use both hands when greeting others. Hindus say “Namaste” folding both palms. It is a reverential salute. Does that make every Hindu a born leader? I don’t know.

May be the western leaders learned from Hindus this art of using both hands for greeting? What do you say?

(Pictures: Courtesy - Yahoo)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

We lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for 6 years. My company transferred me there.  How did I end up there?   One day my boss called me in his office and said:

“You have been in a ‘staff assignment’ for too long. I want you to go for a ‘line assignment’. I am going to transfer you as of next Monday. Do you want to work in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City?”  I asked him to give me 24 hours time. I discussed with my wife and kids and decided to go to Salt Lake City rather than Los Angeles.

I made the right decision.  Salt Lake City is a famous holy city in the USA.

Like Vatican for Roman Catholics, like Varanasi for Hindus, Salt Lake City is for Mormons. They consider themselves Christians. Their church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. It is also known as the LDS Temple. However, the Catholics and Protestants do not consider them as Christians.

Their living style is slightly different from others. Let me write about some of their religious lifestyle choices:

After the 18th birthday, everyone should serve the Temple for 2 years on a mission. The church will send them all over the world to represent their religion. They are called missionaries. This is mainly for the males. Females are encouraged to marry young, if not then go on a mission.

10% of their earnings (via income or otherwise) must go to the Temple every month as a donation. It is called tithing.

In the early days of the Mormon Church (1830 AD), the elders (Church leaders) encouraged polygamy. Even though it is not practiced now, some people secretly still practice this. However, most Mormon families have lots of kids. 6 children in a family is very common in this day and age.

They do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or soda.

They have to volunteer their services to the Church – just a few hours every week. Mormons must spend time with their family every Monday evening. This is called Family Night.

Many highly educated Mormons want to live and die in Salt Lake City. Therefore, they are even prepared to accept lower salaries to stay in SLC as opposed to leaving for bright lights of New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

Quite a few of the Americans consider Mormons as “weird”. However we had a great time in Salt Lake City. We enjoyed our stay, made a lot of friends and it’s a great place to raise kids.

FYI: In the forth coming US Presidential Election, the Republican Party candidate who is going to oppose President Obama is Mr. Mitt Romney. He is a Mormon. Mr. Romney is the first Mormon ever to be nominated as a Presidential candidate by either party. Will majority of the Americans vote for him? According to Gallup poll, 22% of the Americans are hesitant to support a Mormon in 2012.  Will he win?  I will let you know on the night of November 6, 2012.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Introduce Yourself

(Courtesy: Yahoo)

When you meet a stranger and want to start a conversation what do you do first. Introduce yourself. How do you do that?

Start the conversation with a casual greeting.

State your name. (If it is a work related meeting add your title with a firm handshake).

Listen carefully to the response from the other person.

Simple? Not so simple. Quite a few people, when starting a conversation, forget to state their names and start a conversation on a subject that is important to them. That immediately puts off the other person. He/She would just smile and move away.

A funny incident happened with me while we were living in Salt Lake City. My wife had to undergo an operation. She was in the operating room. I was sitting, reading a magazine, in the relative’s waiting room. There were about 25 people in that room.

A gentleman, wearing just a t-shirt and pant, sat next to me. Nice respectful appearance. I looked at him. He smiled. The following conversation took place.

Someone is undergoing operation today?

Yes, my wife.

Who is the surgeon?

Dr. xxxxxxxxxx

What kind of operation she is undergoing today?

I looked at him. He was smiling. I stood up, stared at him, and said the following words in a much louder voice so that everyone can hear in that room.

“That is none of your fxxxing business.”

The guy was so ashamed and embarrassed. He said:

“I am sorry. I should have introduced myself at first. My mistake. I am “so and so” and I am the Director of Patient Services for this hospital. If you tell me the name of the surgeon and why the patient is being operated upon, I can call the surgeon in the operating room and ask him about the progress. I can then let you know what is happening in the operating room and the progress they have made. That is my job in this hospital”.

What then? I told him I am sorry for blurting out bad word. He then immediately called the surgeon in the operating room and got the information. Everything ended well.

He repeatedly apologized for not introducing himself at the beginning.