Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mystery Woman

(Courtesy: Yahoo)

Nothing mysterious about me.

You guys never watch anything other than cricket, so how would you know who I am?

Therefore I decided to lead the Indian Olympic contingent during the parade of nations…so you can get some shock therapy and education that there are other sporting events in this world worth watching.

Now that I’ve got your attention, go watch the Olympics. The Summer Olympics only happens once every four years.

See you at the Closing Ceremony.


Indian Jane Doe

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Etiquette for XXX Olympiad

Puleeeze. I am not a pervert. In Roman numeral XXX means 30 (not triple X-rated). The 30th Summer Olympics, which is officially known as Games of the XXX Olympiad, is beginning tomorrow in London, England.

Britain’s tourism agency has issued guidelines on the etiquette of dealing with thousands of foreign visitors who will come to attend the games. The advice that is being given by the tourism agency is for those who are likely to work with tourists arriving from foreign countries. This includes people such as hotel staff, taxi drivers, etc.

Here are some of the guidelines: (My own interpretation is given in brackets)

For Brazilians – Don’t ask personal questions (Sir, Did you bring your mistress with you?)

For people from the Middle East – Never be bossy with them. They are not used to being told what they can’t do. (Sir, please don’t strap that bomb on your chest while you are in my taxi. I am just making a request, Sir.)

For the Polish – They don’t like be stereotyped as drunks. (Would you like a tall glass of Vodka with your breakfast, Sir?)

For the French – They are very picky in restaurants. (No Sir, we don’t have escargot here and no croissants as well. However we do have FRENCH fries and FRENCH bread.)

For the Argentineans – They don’t like jokes about their clothing or weight. (Sir, please use the stairs when you are going up to your hotel room. Our elevators have a weight limit. Also, please remember that only wearing underwear and black business socks is not appropriate attire at our swimming pools.)

For Indians - They are in general, an impatient lot, and like to be quickly attended to. The more affluent they are, the more demanding and brusque they tend to be. They also don't like being touched by strangers and may be suspicious about the quality of British food. (I don’t vant to stand in queue. I vant my dal and rice immediately. Don’t touch me. My mommy will be mad. I have to call her and explain to her vhy you touched me. I don’t like Yorkshire pudding. I hate subghetti also. All I vant is 2 idlis and 3 buckets of sambar.)

China and Hong Kong – Winking or pointing with an index finger is rude. They don’t like to talk about failure, poverty, or death. They are unimpressed by the landmarks that are only a few hundred years old. (Thank you Sir, for building HUGE and impressive Olympic buildings in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics. I hear that they are unused and failing miserably. Welcome to London. We (pointing to my chest) won’t make the same mistake as you. (pointing with index finger) wink, wink)

Mexicans – Don’t discuss poverty, immigration or earthquakes. They prefer to talk about history and art. (Sir, I would like to hear about the history of East Los Angeles. Sir, do you personally know Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio?)

Canadians – They will be annoyed about being mistaken for an American. (Sir, I will never mistake you for an American. So far you have spoken 4 sentences and all of them ended with “eh”. My name is John Doe, eh. You are also here for the Olympics, eh. I like pizza, eh. Buckingham Palace is beautiful, eh.)

Americans – They are so informal to the point of being very direct. They won’t hesitate about complaining. (Now that we are in London, I want some real American food. Where can I get a burrito or some pizza? Why is everyone a foreigner in London? How come the bartenders never look at you and acknowledge your presence? London hotels charge $300 a night but why is there an additional charge for WiFi? I am going to enjoy this vacation…even if it’s going to kill me.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Muttom Beach

During our last trip to India, we visited Muttom Beach. This beach is located between Kanyakumari and Nagarcoil. I wrote the following comments in one of Neha’s posts:

"We have been to many beaches all over the world and had a great time (Santa Cruz California, Miami Florida, Marina Beach in Chennai, Lankavi and Penang in Malaysia, Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Venice Italy). Enjoyed all of them. The best so far? During our last trip to India, we visited Muttom Beach in Tamilnadu. Virgin Beach. No publicity yet. No crowd. Were there alone. Had a great time."

Beautiful landscape and high rocks slope downwards into the sea.
Everyone says sunset is beautiful in Kanyakumari. Sunset watching is more beautiful in Muttom. Kanyakumari is crowded. In Muttom you can watch the sunset alone and leisurely.

Century old Light House

Enjoy the sunset

Leisurely relax in these benches

The rocks

Serene beach

Beautiful sand

The entire Tamil movie, Kadalora Kavidhaigal, was shot here.

One word of caution. Please avoid climbing on the rocks. They are slippery.

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Avenues for Security Check

The whole world now knows that a heavily armed lone gunman in Aurora, Colorado, went to the opening show of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. And, as soon as the movie started, he opened fire in the dark at the audience. In just a few minutes, he shot more than 70 people. 12 killed and 59 wounded (many of them critically). The newspaper reports say he was a PhD student. Huh!

Within minutes, after a 911 call, 200 police officers surrounded the area and he was captured alive. They are interrogating him. President Obama has ordered the U.S. Flags to fly half mast for 5 days throughout the world, as a mark of respect for the victims.

My question is where security checks would crop up again.

Before 9/11, we can go up to the gate in the airport to see off our relatives/friends. I even remember going inside a plane to talk to my wife for a minute when she was going on vacation to India. Can we go near the departure gate now? No way. So many kinds of security checks. Remove your belt. Remove your gold. Separately place your laptop. Remove your shoes. In some cases, remove your underwear (after the underwear bomber).

We recently visited India. We took train from New Delhi to Chennai. There was a security check at the New Delhi Railway Station. We had to hassle to get our baggage to board our train.

After this movie incident, should we create a thorough security check for the following places? Thorough means like airport or military style and personnel from anti terrorist squad doing their job.

Movie Theaters?

Offices? Government and Private?

Temples? Popular and not so popular.





And, Finally

Your own home? Noooo. Not there.

These are only a passive thinking. We will forget this in a day or two. Because this tragedy did not happen in our home.

Anyone want to see this movie, The Dark Knight Rises? Come on down. The ticket is on me. Let us enjoy the movie and dinner after that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cute vs Handsome

Recently a blogger friend wrote a fictional story. In that fictional story, a few college girls were going gaga over a guy and thought he was cute. After reading that, I started to think about it.

As for as I know, you call a girl “cute”. And, call a guy “handsome”. Is it OK to call a guy “cute”? It is a social norm that men are handsome and women are beautiful and pretty and cute.

Let us take the easier one first. We should never call a woman handsome. Agreed?

I asked my friends and relatives about this. A little unscientific survey. Here are some of their answers:

Cute if you (man) have a childish look or if you are small in height.

Depends. Some cute can mean real hot.

A girl will call a guy cute when he is really cute; I mean a girl will find someone/something cute when she can play with it. No romantic intention.

If a guy is not that handsome, you say cute so that you don’t hurt his feeling.

Cute means she finds you hot and attractive.

Cute means someone who has child like looks. Like Lionel Messi is cute, Tom Cruise is cute. It doesn't mean hot or not so good looking.

Cute means you are attractive but not her type.

If I say a guy is cute, I mean he’s good looking and I find him attractive. Handsome is an old word to describe an old man. I would say my grandfather is handsome.

If an old lady calls a young man cute, it is motherly affection.

When a guy is cute, it's like he's more sensitive and sweet, and attractive in the way that he has this way of making you smile and saying romantic things.

Puppies are cute and babies in diapers are cute. They are small and attractive and fun to be with and you want one. So a guy can be cute to a girl.

The result: Split decision. Looks like “cute” is an acceptable word to describe an attractive hot guy.

My apologies to Revathi for trying to correct her.

What y'all think?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Submarine Ride

The whole of last year, I took a kind of sabbatical leave from blogs. I published only 2 posts in 2011. Lots of stuff I wanted to write was left behind. I am just catching up.

Last November, we went to Honolulu to attend a Tamil wedding. That in itself is a different hilarious story. In Honolulu, there are these usual attractions like Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor Memorial, Battleship USS Missouri, and Polynesian Cultural Center. I will write a post on these soon.

In addition to the above “must see”, we wanted to go on a submarine ride. We thought it will be an opportunity of a life time for us. This submarine has a seating capacity of 48 passengers. We went on a 45 minutes ride and enjoyed every minute of it. We felt comfortable and safe throughout the ride. A different experience.

This is the ferry that took us to the submarine

View of Honolulu from the ocean

Submarine surfaces

Passengers waiting on the deck

Looking out in the ocean 100 feet under water

Almost touching the ground


Sunken plane

Sunken ship

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Signature Confusion

Lot of news items nowadays from India about Pranab Mukherjee’s signature not matching in two different documents. I am not going to go into that.

I am talking about how banks in India reject a check for not exactly matching with the original signature given to the bank when that person opened the account. He/She may have opened that account many years ago. Therefore, a slight variation over the years is very much possible.

I know banks want the signatures to match exactly so that they are assured that it is YOU who have signed your own check and not someone else.

Here is a funny incident that happened a few years ago.

My brother and his family were living in New Delhi. Safdarjang Enclave. We were visiting India and stayed in New Delhi. My brother wanted to cash a check and he asked me to come with him to the bank. I went with him. Apparently, the bank manager (also a Tamil guy) knows my brother very well. The following conversation took place when he wanted to cash his check.

Ennappa Rajendra, soukyama? (How are you Rajendra, Are you ok?)


Appa soukyama? Ippa udambu thevalama? (How is your dad? Is he OK now healthwise?)


Anna Americavulendhu vararnu sonniyay. Vandhootara? (You said your elder brother is coming from America. Did he arrive?)

Vandhootar. Ivardhan en anna. (Yes, he has arrived. He (pointing to me) is my elder brother).

My brother gave his check for cashing. The bank manager checked his signature with the original given sometime ago. And then he said:

Rajendra, signature tally aagala. Innoru thadava sign pannu. (Rajendra, your signature does not match. Please sign one more time.)

My brother signed and he got the cash.

I was thinking to myself. Signature tallying is to make sure someone do not forge the signature of someone else and get cash. Here the bank manager knows my brother very well, knows what is happening in his family (like father not keeping good health, elder brother visiting from America). My brother himself is presenting in person the check to the bank manager. Still he does not trust my brother's signature and wanted him to sign again.

I give up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Visit to Amritsar

One of my life long ambition was to visit Amritsar. I wanted to see the 3 main attractions there. Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, and Wagah Border military ceremony. This past January we visited Amritsar and had a memorable time. We enjoyed every minute.

Jallianwala Bagh Memorial
On a Punjabi New Year day, April 13, 1919, British General Dyer ordered the shooting on innocent Indians assembled for a meeting. About 400 people died and 1200 wounded.


Actual Memorial

Bullet Marks

Many died jumping in this well during escape

The Wagah Border Ceremony
This border separates India and Pakistan.  This side is Amritsar. That side is Lahore.  Every evening both the armies do military exercise.  At the end, both the countries flags are lowered simultaneously. The ceremony ends with both sides shaking hands with each other.

The Gate and the Pakistani Side

Sitting area for Indian citizens

Indian Army

Ceremony over for the day

Golden Temple
This is the holiest shrine in Sikhism. Words cannot describe its beauty. You have to go there to see it to experience.

The Temple

Main Entrance

Architectural Beauty

Streets of Amritsar