Thursday, September 25, 2014


Never dreamt in a million years that my 300th post will be written from Chennai. 
My first post was on June 8, 2009 and I think this blog has come a long way since then.
The 300th post should have been written a long time ago, however I took a year off completely (in 2011) for personal reasons.
Lots of old time readers have dropped off in recent times. 
Some of the “old schoolers” still read and comment on my postings. 
Of course, also had the privilege of gaining some new readers along the way.
I would like to thank all my readers for your comments and words of encouragement. 
It’s you who give me the inspiration to keep writing posts.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Airport Welcome?

Our plane was arriving in Chennai at midnight.  Also, the forecast called for rains.  I don’t know about other airports.   In Chennai, people who come to receive arriving passengers have to stand in the street.  If it is raining, they will be standing in the rain.  They should give some adequate space inside the airport for people who come to receive the passengers.  Therefore, I have told our relatives (my wife’s brothers) not to come to the airport.
I always believed in CCC. Cash in the Bank, Credit Card, Computer.  I thought, with these three,  you can do anything in the world.  Before leaving California, I looked at the website and made arrangements from a reputed tourist cab company for a car (qualis) to pick us at the airport.  I gave my flight information. I told the company my flight is arriving at midnight and I should be out of the airport anywhere from 1 am to 1:30 am. I had 4 email correspondence and 2 telephone conversation.  I told them the driver should stand outside with a sign prominently displaying my name.  Everything was set.
We came out of the airport at exactly 1 am with 4 suitcases and 2 carry-ons.  No driver with my name.  We thought he was delayed.  We waited until 2 am.  No one showed up.  Wanted to call the tourist cab company.   But I don’t have an Indian cell phone.  I sweet talked to a lady standing nearby and dialed the tourist cab office from her cell phone. It was ringing and ringing and no one answered.
Now it is almost 2:30 am.  Almost deserted outside the airport with no one.   We decided to take some other taxi and go to our service apartment.  We arranged one from the airport taxi services.
The taxi came within 5 minutes.  All our luggage and we boarded the taxi.  I told the driver to go to T.Nagar.  His first response “enga irukunga adhu” (Where is it located?).  I was shocked. What will you think if a cab driver in Mumbai asks where is Marine Drive.  What will you think if a cab driver in New Delhi asks where is Connaught Place.  He has been in Chennai for the last 4 days only.  Looks like lot of young guys from all over Tamilnadu get a driver’s license and come to Chennai to drive taxi.  No guidance or mentor for them.  No one to give them training for a few days and show them various parts of the city.
I told him I know how to go to T.Nagar and will navigate him.  But in T.Nagar, we have to ask someone where the particular street is located.  There were people walking and standing in the streets at 3 am.  We asked couple of guys for direction and finally reached our service apartment.
PS: My wife asked me to call the tourist cab company and enquire why they did not show up at the airport.  I told her it is of no use.  I have learned what they would say in Chennai in such a situation.  “My driver was waiting for you since midnight for 4 hours.  You did not show up.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Arrived Safely

I and my wife left San Francisco on Sunday, August 31.  We had to change our plane in Hong Kong for our final destination.  The flying time was 14 hours but due to tail wind it was reduced to 13 hours.
How to spend 13 hours flying non-stop! Thank God for the business class.  The seat can slide into a flat bed at the press of a button.  Also, plenty of food and plenty of drinks.  But how many double scotch on the rocks one can drink?  How many glasses of merlot with the food.  Got to stop somewhere.  Surprised to find there were at least 10 Indian movies.  There were Briyani and Jilla from Tamil.  I do not remember about Hindi movies except Bagh Milka Bagh and Bullet Raja.
I saw 3 movies.  The Escape Plan (Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger), Briyani, and Jilla.  Both Tamil movies were boring.
It was a 2 hour wait at Hong Kong.  We boarded the plane for our final destination.  The flight was 4 hours and 40 minutes.  Lot of food and drinks.  I was not in a mood to watch any Tamil movie.  Therefore, decided to watch for the umpteenth time The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Time flew along with the plane. 
The flight manager, finally,  made the following announcement.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be landing in Ana (Anna) International Airport in Chenoy (Chennai) shortly.
Yes, our final destination is Chennai.  We came out of Immigration and Customs without any hassle.  Our luggage also arrived safely.
We came out of the airport.  The real fun stats now.  Stay tuned.