Monday, September 14, 2015

Spam Mails

When we receive useless mails in the “spam” section of our emails, what do we do? We just delete them. I also do the same most of the times. But sometimes, when I am really pissed off, I reply them. Yes, I really reply for that spam email. But, till date, I have not got any reply.

Here are a few spam emails I replied:

Your loan for $1000 ready.
I thought I applied for a loan of $100 million. Please check my application.

Your credit card application approved for $2500,
My application was for $250 million, Please revisit my application.

Did you see my picture? You want to see me?
No because you are so ugly you scare the roaches away.

We will give you cash for your ideas.
I have developed a new method to boil water. How much money I can get?

You can save thousands a year and refinance now – if your home loan is $525,000 or less.
Oh Gosh. I just missed. My home loan is $526,000.

Anything Extraordinary is approximately to Afflict You.
I don’ want approximately. I want exact. Otherwise, get lost.

Your recent application was received and may be available for a larger amount than previously requested!
When did I request? Give me the details.

My name is Angela Howard, I live in your city. Just to tell you if you are looking for opportunity or career Click HERE.
Opportunity for what?

Do you already have a insurance for you or your family?
If you guess correctly, I will send you $1.

Have you ever replied to any spam mail?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Birthright Citizenship

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens. It states all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of United States. This amendment was ratified on July 28, 1868. It was intended to include former slaves (as equal citizens) who had just been freed after the civil war. 

But the present day reality is anyone born in the United States is automatically becomes a U.S. citizen, under this 14th Amendment. This includes people who are in USA illegally and also people who come to USA just to have a baby and return home with a US Citizen. 

This has become a major political issue in the upcoming Presidential election. Mr. Donald Trump says 14th Amendment is unconstitutional and those kids and their parents have to be deported. He is supported by many Americans on this issue. 

These babies are called “Anchor Babies”. There are about 400,000 anchor babies born each year in USA. Since most of the parents are illegal immigrants, they don’t have any money. The government is paying for everything for these families – from hospital delivery charges to k-12 education to breakfast and lunch program to English as 2nd language education. 

There are about 4 million illegal immigrant anchor babies in USA. Mr. Trump wants all these babies and their parents deported to their countries. He says birthright citizenship is “out of date”. 

But the question is is it possible? Is it practical? to deport that many number of people. 

Just FYI: A person born in India on or after 1 July 1987 is a citizen of India if either parent was a citizen of India at the time of the birth. Those born in India on or after 3 December 2004 are considered citizens of India only if both of their parents are citizens of India or if one parent is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of their birth. 

With Trump leading the polls, there is never a dull moment.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Donald Trump

Next U.S. Presidential Election is on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, to replace Barrack Obama He cannot stand for reelection because he can be President only for 2 terms. 

The members of the 2 political parties (Republicans and Democrats) are already in full swing to decide who is going to be their party’s candidate. There are 17 people are in the field for Republican Party including Donald Trump and Bobby Jindal. There are 3 in the Democratic Party including Hillary Clinton. 

In India, if there is an election, the candidate to represent the party and contest will be decided by the respective party headquarters/leaders. It is not like that in USA. The people will have to elect the candidate to contest the general election. The Chairman of the Party or the senior most leaders have no say in who will be elected to contest the election. 

                                                                  Donald Trump

One of the 17 Republican candidates for the Republican Party nomination is Mr. Donald Trump. He is not a career politician. He is a businessman and a billionaire. Every Republican Party leader including the Chairman of that party hates Mr. Trump. They all wish he goes away. But the American people love him. Therefore, he is number one in the polls among these 17 candidates. Therefore, the leadership of the Republican Party cannot ignore him. 

Why the Republican leadership hate him? Since he is not a career politician, he does not give “politically correct” speech. He does not sugar coat. He is very blunt and tells the audience what is really on his mind. He said nasty things about illegal immigrants from Mexico. Other Republican contestants do not want to touch the immigration subject for the fear of losing Mexican/Spanish votes.  He also dissed other Republican leaders.

Mr. Trump has declared that if he is not treated with respect by the fellow Republicans, he will run for the President of USA as an independent candidate (if he did not get the nomination). This has created fear/terror among all the Republican leaders. If Mr. Trump runs as an Independent candidate, it is absolutely certain Republicans will lose and Hillary Clinton will easily win. 

Last Thursday, a Republican supporting television network (Fox News) arranged a debate among these 17 candidates. At the start of the debate, it was very clear that the whole program was staged to destroy Mr. Trump. Here are the first few questions of the debate – addressed only to Mr. Trump: 

Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person. 

Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” 

When someone hits at Mr. Trump, he always hits back with more force. The second question was asked by a lady television moderator during the debate. Now Mr. Trump is going after her with nasty comments about her. 

I am an independent and do not belong/support any party. But here is my issue. These questions are fine if you are “interviewing” a candidate. But this was not an interview. This was a “debate” with several candidates participating. Did the moderators ask any personal questions to other candidates? No. National issues like Economy, Immigration, Defense, Foreign Policy must have been the topics. 

Still 14 months left before the election. More fun/entertainment is yet to come.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Smartest People

Business Insider magazine has named the following 19 people as the “smartest” people in the world.

Paul Allen – IQ 160 
Stephen Hawking – IQ 160 
Robert Byrne – IQ 160 
Judith Polgar – IQ 170 
Andrew Wiles – IQ 170 
Jacob Barnett – IQ 170 
Benjamin Netanyahu – IQ 180 
Bobby Fischer – IQ 180 
John Sununu – IQ 180 
James Woods – IQ 180 
Marilyn vos Savant – IQ 186 
Garry Kasparov – IQ 190 
Philip Emeagwali – IQ 190 
Christopher Langan – IQ 195 
Kim Ung-Yong – IQ 210 
Christopher Hirata – IQ 225 
Terrence Tao – IQ 230 
William James Sidis – IQ 275 

Bonus: Sharon Stone – IQ 154 

Please do not check with Google or Yahoo. Of the above 19 “smartest” people in the world, how many can you immediately recognize? I can recognize only 5.

Benjamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister of Israel 
Bobby Fischer – Chess Player 
John Sununu – Chief of Staff for President Bush 
Garry Kasparov – Chess Player 
Sharon Stone – Movie Actress 

If one has high IQ, is he/she really smart? I think not. My opinion IQ tests only measure how well you take IQ tests. May be they are genius. 

Just because you can knock off your opponent’s “king” piece with your “knight” piece, that makes you the smartest person in the world? 

My grandmother was the best “Aadu Puli Aattam” (Lambs and Tigers Game) player. No one in our village or the surrounding 18 villages can beat her.  If this game was played at the international level, my grandma would have been the undisputed champion of the world. That makes her the smartest person in the world? Here is the wikipedia for the Aadu Puli Aattam. 

Often people with extremely high IQs have poor social skills. So how smart can someone really be if they have issues interacting with humans? People with average or even low IQs often have a better grasp of basic social cues. 

Even if you call them “smart”, in my opinion, they are only book smart and not street smart. 

What do you think?

Friday, July 10, 2015

What is the problem with Greece?

Mismanagement. The following are some of the things that contribute to their current crises – My opinin. 

Outrageous pension system. Too many government employees. People can retire at the age of 50 with 95% of their last pay drawn as monthly pension. 

No proper system to collect income tax. More than 80% of the people do not bother to pay income tax. Government does nothing about it. 

Most of the retail sales are in cash. Therefore, very few sales tax amount is collected. 

Concession for needy and poor are exploited. For example, there are special discounts for blind people. Many citizens, including taxi drivers, have a certificate that they are blind. 

People ignore toll taxes. The employees who are employed to collect them do not bother to collect. 

The government borrows money they cannot pay back. 

Borrow more money in order to pay that loan back. 

They are in the European Union and use Euro as their currency. Therefore, they cannot print money to meet their expenses. (Printing too much money will lead to inflation and the money will become useless and no value.) 

Laid back Mediterranean culture. 

Socialist Government.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Quote Challenge Post #3

This is a challenge post.  According to this challenge: 

Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. 

Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them. 

Thank the blogger, who nominated you. 

I am tagged by our blogger friend Ph_, owner of the blog, Cascading Thoughts. Thanks a lot Ph_ for tagging me. 

Here is my third quote: 

''There is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country, and some men are stationed in the Antarctic, and some are stationed in San Francisco. It's very hard in military or in personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair.'' 

Late U.S. President John F. Kennedy 

Some people dine regularly at the Kitcho Restaurant in Kyoto, Japan. Cost: Around $600 per person without drinks. They have no problem swiping their credit cards. 

Look at this poor old pensioner in Athens, Greece. The Government is broke and the banks are closed. People are starving because they cannot withdraw money from the bank to pay for food.

                                          Life is very unfair (Image Courtesy: Yahoo)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quote Challenge Post #2

This is a challenge post. According to this challenge: 

Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. 

Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them. 

Thank the blogger, who nominated you. 

I am tagged by our blogger friend Ph_, owner of the blog, Cascading Thoughts. Thanks a lot Ph_ for tagging me. 

Here is my second quote: 

"You shouldn't commit suicide because you're afraid of death.” 

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the people of Greece, urging them to vote “yes” on the upcoming referendum on Greece debt crises. 

I am not nominating anyone.

PS: I am not posting on consecutive days.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quote Challenge Post #1

This is a challenge post. According to this challenge: 

O. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. 

O. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them. 

O. Thank the blogger, who nominated you. 

I am tagged by our blogger friend Ph_, owner of the blog, Cascading Thoughts. Thanks a lot Ph_ for tagging me. 

Here is my first quote: This is from the book Love Story written by Eric Segal. 

“Love means never having to say you're sorry.” 

Apologies are not necessary in a loving relationship.  Absolutely true.

I am not nominating anyone.

Monday, June 22, 2015

John Ross (JR) Ewing's Punch Lines

In my previous post, Dallas Vacation, I had mentioned that I will write a post listing some of JR’s (television character in the Dallas TV Serial) punch lines that I like. A few of those punch lines were already mentioned by a reader while writing his comments. I am not going to repeat them. These are the ones I like:

                                                           John Ross (JR) Ewing
Good Morning JR. 
That remains to be seen. 

Like my daddy always said: if you can’t get in the front door, just go around to the back. 

Anything worth having is worth going for – all the way. 

You’re becoming a pretty poor excuse for a wife. 

I wouldn’t give you the dust off my car. 

A conscience is like a boat or a car. If you feel you need one, rent it. 

Contracts were made to be broken, but a handshake is the law of God. 

Never interfere with a man who’s correcting his wife. 

Never tell the truth when a good lie will do it. 

All that matters is winnin’. 

Revenge is the single most satisfying feeling in the world. 

Lots of men have tried to run roughshod over me – you can visit them in the cemetery. 

And finally, my personal all time favorite: 

JR: Call our lawyer now and ask him this question. 
Bobby: JR, it is 2 am in the morning and he is sleeping. 
JR: Wake him up. For the money we are paying, he should be sleeping on our front porch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dallas Vacation

We decided to visit Dallas on the Memorial Day Weekend. Though we are living here for a long time, we never been to Dallas. Unfortunately, we chose the wrong time. It is the season for torrential rain, lightning, thunderstorm, and Tornado. Our host warned us about the weather condition but insisted we visit them. So we went. 

For people who live in USA for many years, when we mention “Dallas”, 3 things come to their mind ahead of anything else. 

President Kennedy’s assassination spot.
Dallas – Long running American prime time television serial – 1978 to 1991 and 2012 to 2014. Dallas Cowboys Football Team. (American Football and not soccer) 

So, in spite of bad weather, we visited these three places. 

It was 12:30 pm in Dealey Plaza, Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963, the young 46 year old, President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy was assassinated, He was fatally shot while traveling in a presidential motorcade along with his wife, and the Texas Governor, and his wife. Not just the people in USA but the whole world wept. He was genuinely mourned by millions of Indians. 

Retired Indian Army Colonel Anil Athale wrote: 

Many of my generation remember vividly how then American President John F Kennedy had become one of the most popular figures in India -- so much so that most paan shops, (the true barometer of public opinion in India) routinely had Kennedy's photograph alongside the familiar one of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. 

Col. Athale’s article titled “The Untold Story: How Kennedy came to India's aid in 1962”. Here is the link. 

The 6th floor of Dealey Plaza (from where the shots were fired) has now been turned into a Kennedy Museum.


                                                   Few seconds before his death

                                            Presidential motorcade came on this road

                                            Exact location where the bullet hit Kennedy

View from the 7th floor window of the Dealey Plaza from where he was shot.
The white car in the photo is the exact place the Kennedy's motorcade was.

Then we visited Southfork Ranch. This is where part of Dallas episodes were shot. It is located near Plano, Texas. Now this Ranch is a big tourist attraction, made famous because of the TV Serial Dallas. The ranch is about 200 square miles. The mansion in the ranch is about 5,900 square feet. 

The main character is John Ross “J.R.” Ewing, Jr. This character was portrayed by actor Larry Hagman. According to Wikipedia, JR is depicted as a covetous, egocentric, manipulative and amoral oil baron with psychopathic tendencies, who is constantly plotting subterfuges to plunder his foes and their wealth. He was a big wheeler-dealer. 

JR is considered one of television’s most popular characters. JR’s punch lines in the series (ala Rajni Kanth punch lines in the movies) are very famous in USA. Stay tuned for a separate post on that.

                                                          John Ross (JR) Ewing

                                                             Ewing Family Mansion

                                                   Ewing Family Wedding Chappell

                                                                JR's Dining Table

                                                                  JR's Jacuzzi

                               Epitaph on JR's Tombstone: The Only Deal He Ever Lost

Finally we visited the Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium. I am so happy this stadium is named as AT&T Stadium, named after the telecommunication giant AT&T. Yayyy. Go AT&T Go. AT&T pays about $20 million a year to the team for the naming rights. 

Unfortunately, the day we visited was bad weather. The stadium was closed for the tourists. So took a picture from outside. Dallas Cowboys is nicknamed as America’s Team. I am not that fond of Dallas Cowboys. (I am going to hear a nasty comment from a certain Dallas Cowboys fan.) When we have San Francisco 49ers who needs Dallas Cowboys.

In order to be fair, I have to mention Cowboys appeared in 8 Super Bowls, won 5, and lost 3. 49ers appeared in 6 Super Bowls, won 5, and lost 1.

Some people think Dallas is part of South. Some don’t. It is debatable whether Dallas belongs to South or not. But their pronunciation is very different from other parts of USA. For example: 

Retell the story - It is not pronounced Retell the story. It is pronounced “retail” the story. Cambridge – It is not pronounced “Came-bridge”. It is pronounced “cam-bridge”.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Body Camera

We read every day so many atrocities committed by the Indian police while in their custody. 

Fake encounters. 
Sexual torture of women. 
Physical torture of both men and women. 
Physical abuse of young boys and girls. 
Forced confessions. 
Alleged suicide in the police station. 
Using vulgar language during interrogation. 
Using brutal physical force during arrest. 
And, so many more.  

What do we do? Read the news and move on. Most of the culprits are never found guilty. 

How can we stop this? Here is the latest being implemented in every police station in USA. All interactions between the police and the citizens will be recorded. Therefore, all the police officers will be wearing a body video camera.

                                                             (Courtesy: Yahoo)

Police personnel wearing body cams should be made compulsory in India also. There are lot of advantages. First of all, police will realize their behavior is going to be scrutinized as well as the citizens behavior. Politicians cannot threaten police personnel. 

This will save the police from being wrongly accused. Police will think twice before touching the culprit. People will have “trust” in the police. There will be less citizen complaints. 

This will also stop the practice of senior police officers using constables as their drivers and household servants. And, stop them stealing from the street vendors. Stop them from taking bribes from the motor cycle/car/truck drivers. 

One thing we should be careful. We should not give the police the capability to turn on and turn off the body camera at their discretion. It should be “turned on” when they check in for duty at the station and “turned off” at the station only at the end of their duty. 

It is easier to implement in India than USA. In India, police is managed by the state governments. Therefore, one directive from the state government will be covering the entire state police. In USA, police is managed by the city governments. Therefore, each city has to make its own rule. 

If any social activist in India wants to promote a campaign (thru Facebook) to make all police personnel wear bodycam while on duty, I am available to help him/her.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crazy Incidents At Work Place

I was never a king. But I have walked with kings. So I know a few things about how these senior executives (Vice Presidents and above) behave. I am not talking about the new companies like Google or Facebook. I am talking about name brand conservative companies that are more than almost 100 years old. Easily recognized around the world. 

I enjoyed them very much because I was not the affected party. I was only a spectator in their meetings. 

There was one Vice President. In his monthly meetings, there will be present 8 General Managers reporting to him, and the VP’s personal staff. Personal staff included one Staff Director (division level), 2 district managers, and 4 second levels. So his audience will be 15 people. 12 men and 3 women. 

Meeting will start at 8 am. The VP will come and everyone will say “Good Morning”. He will look around the table. Make eye contact with all the 15 individuals. And then say ”Good Morning Ladies”. It is their thalai ezhuthu (fate) to laugh. 

Another Senior VP. In one of his staff meetings, one General Manger would not stop talking about a particular subject. The SVP told him the discussion is over and we should move on to the next subject. The General Manager wanted to continue. The SVP said I will give you one minute to say whatever you want to say. He said “and that one minute starts now”. He then closed his eyes, closed his ears tightly with both hands, and at the end of one minute he said: The discussion is over. We will move to the next subject. 

The following one I liked very much. I think about this incident once in a while and smile. I have told this to my relatives and friends several times. 

There was a young Senior Vice President. At that time he was only 32 years old. His subordinates, several general managers were in their 50s. One day he was explaining why we should undertake a particular project. One General Manager said that was not a convincing reason. The SVP said he will explain in a different way and explained. The GM said I am not convinced. The SVP took a different approach and explained. The GM said I am still not convinced. 

I could see the anger in the young SVP’s face. He said: OK, I will give you another reason and that will convince you. He raised his right hand up above his head and said “in the company’s organization chart, my name is here”. He lowered his left hand around his knee and said “in the company’s organization chart, your name is here”. Are you convinced now? 

The GM replied: Yes boss, I am convinced.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Love Story

Can Mani Ratnam make a movie like this? 

Ilayaraja is 32 years old. His lover Kalaiselvi is 24 years old. They have been lovers for the past 10 years. Kalaiselvi’s parents were against this marriage. Therefore, they have threatened both the boy and the girl. The lovers did not listen. 

Meantime, Kalaiselvi’s parents decided to fix a marriage for her daughter with some other guy. When the lovers heard this, they complained to the police. Police summoned parents of both parties and told them these two are majors (adults) and advised them for amicable settlement. Kalaiselvi’s parents did not agree. 

Ilayaraja took the girl to his parents’ home. They were to be married in a few days in front of his relatives and friends. 

On the early morning of the marriage, the bride’s (Kalaiselvi) relatives came with swords and other weapons and beat the heck out of Kalaiselvi and left. She lay in a pool of blood with multiple wounds. 

She was admitted to a hospital in Tanjore. She is in the ICU with multiple wounds. Her life is in danger. The groom does not want to lose/separate from her. He tied the holy knot thali (mangal sutra) at the exact auspicious time, 10:30 am, in the ICU. 

This is not a fiction Happened last week in Tanjore District in Tamilnadu. Please see the picture below:

                                                              (Courtesy: Dinamalar)

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Silver Tongued" Srinivasa Sastri

Today is the death anniversary of “Silver Tongued” Srinivasa Sastri. 

He was born in Valangaiman near Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu on September 22, 1869 and passed away on April 17, 1946.  He was born to a poor gurukkal (temple priest).  After graduation he became a school teacher. 

Mr. Sastri joined the Indian National Congress but resigned protesting against the non-cooperation movement. Even though policywise he was against Mr. M. K. Gandhi, they both were personal friends.   Mr. Gandhi addressed him as his elder brother.

He participated in many international conferences on behalf of India. Mr. Sastri became world famous because of his command over English language and oratorical skills. Whenever he visited U.K., many people consulted him on English spellings and pronunciations. 

His mastery over English language was recognized by King George V and and Winston Churchill. Lord Balfour remarked that listening to Srinivasa Sastri made him realize the heights to which the English language could rise. 

The British conferred upon Sastri the appellation "Silver Tongued Orator of the British Empire".

Mr. Gandhi sent him the first copy of his newspaper “Harijan” for review. Mr. Sastri sent that back after correcting 27 mistakes. It is said that the British Prime Minister Lloyd George postponed his cabinet meeting for a few hours so he could listen Mr. Sastri speak.  Prime Minister George said he was shy to speak his own mother tongue after listening to the chaste delivery of Sastri.

The best tribute for him came from “I forgot his name now”. It is: 

Ranjit Singh showed the British how to play cricket and Srinivasa Sastri showed the British how to speak English.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Puerto Vallarta

We stayed in Puerto Vallarta only for 4 days. Two days were spent on functions related to the marriage. That left us only 2 days for sightseeing. There were so many things to see but short of time. So we looked up the website and found the “top 10 things to do” in Puerto Vallarta. We decided on the first 3 and visited them. They are: 

The Malecon (Board Walk) 
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish 
The Romantic Zone 

The Malecon (Board Walk) is a 2 mile walk along the beach. Only pedestrians are allowed. No car No bike. Beautiful scenery. It is the most popular and fun place to visit. We enjoyed the ocean, the beautiful statues along the way. Lots and lots of shops for drinking and eating. 

Here are a few photos:

                                                          Puerto Vallarta's Finest

We then visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. We went there at noon time and there was a mid day mass going on. It was all in Spanish and we did not understand a thing. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Parish is the symbol of the city. It is a very popular church in Mexico. Since there are too many tourists visiting, the brochure says “don’t forget to be respectful”. While there, we were very respectful. Did not even click our camera during the mass. Donated some money when the plates were passed. 

Here are a few photos: 

Romantic Zone is the Old Puerto Vallarta City (ala Old Delhi and New Delhi).This is the busiest part of town. The streets are smaller, there are more shops, cafes, bars and restaurants per square foot than anywhere else in town. 

Here are a few photos.

                                                                Sign in a Restaurant       

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Puerto Vallarta - The Wedding

Last weekend was the wedding. We left San Francisco on Friday for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and returned on Tuesday. Saturday evening was Mehandi. Sunday was wedding and reception.  (There was Mehandi for men also.  Until that day, I thought Mehandi was only for ladies/girls.  No, I did not have Mehandi on me.)

Here, I have to praise the Bride and the Groom. They both paid for the room charges at the Westin Hotel for us. (May be they paid for all the guests. I don’t know).  Paying for one couple at a 5 star hotel for 4 nights will cost an arm and a leg.  The marriage function was only for 2 days. But we wanted to stay for extra 2 days for sightseeing purpose. It is very nice of them to pay for all 4 days

This was a pleasant surprise for us.  We never expected this.  We were prepared to pay for all 4 days.

These two made all the physical arrangements themselves and paid all the expenses for their wedding.

Here are some photos from the marriage. I purposely did not show any face.

                             Sunday Brunch (between breakfast and lunch) served here

                     Wedding Mandapam (near the water) - photo taken during day time

                          Wedding Mandapam at night - photo taken during dinner time

Dinnner Buffet

                               Several make shift arrangements for dinner at the beach

Dance Dance Dance

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Math

I just read in the newspaper that a bride in India cancelled her wedding  with the groom because he was not able to answer a simple math question.  Apparently, she asked him what is 15 plus 6.  Looks like he answered 17.

I think the bride acted hastily.  The groom would have received an A for this answer in USA.

I wrote this following post in August 2013.  I wanted to re-publish this.

Please look at this clip from You Tube.  Amanda August, a curriculum coordinator in Chicago, tells a class that getting the right answer in math does not matter as long as kids can explain the reasoning they used to get that wrong answer.

She says the answer for 3 x 4 is 12.  But if a kid comes with an answer of 11 and can explain and tell how he/she arrived at that answer, it is acceptable.

When I saw this video, I could not believe my eyes.  Where this country is going?
These are the future engineers and scientists who will be building our planes, submarines, and nuclear bombs?

I go to Safeway (a grocery store).  I pay for my groceries.  The counter girl gives me change.  It should be $8 but she gives me $7 only.  Here is your change Sir.  But this is the wrong amount. This is how I arrived $7.  Gives me a logical explanation.  It is still wrong, stupid.

Hope these teachers accept this "new math" for calculating their pension at the time of their retirement.

So, it is ok to kill someone as long as your can explain logically how you did it and why you did it.

This is a real story.  A colleague at my office told me that India is located very close to USA.  I asked him if he really knows where India is.  His reply: Indiana is in USA and therefore India must be closer to USA.  He gave the right explanation alright.

No wonder all the American jobs are outsourced to India and other countries.

PS:  I have read comments on this news from various Indian newspapers.  Most of the comments support the bride. Me too, to some extent.  What if the groom had asked this question and the bride gave the wrong answer and the groom called off the wedding, what will be comments from the public be? Supportive of the groom? Me think not.  What do you say?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Destination Wedding

I am sure most of you would have heard about “Destination Wedding”.  A destination wedding is when the bride and groom select an exotic (strange) place for the wedding ceremony.  That too to have a traditional wedding based on their religion/community.

Take for example a Tamil Brahmin bride and groom who live in Chennai, who have never visited any place outside of Tamilnadu, select Agartala for their wedding ceremony.  They also want to have the wedding in a Tamil Brahmin style.

If the bride and groom spend their own money, it is fine.  But many brides want the parents to pay for the wedding and also make the arrangements.

What a logistics nightmare!

In my above example, the parents have to make arrangements in Agartala for the wedding hall, arrange Tamil Brahmin cooks for the feast, arrange a Tamil Brahmin punditji, and transport so many wedding related stuff from Chennai to Agartala. It will be financially and physically exhausting for the bride’s parents.

And the bride and groom expect all the invitees to attend also.  Not all have enough money to pay for the train/plane tickets, pay for the hotel stay, and give a wedding gift also.

It has become a fashion among NRI girls who are living in USA.  Couple of years ago, the daughter of a friend of ours had her wedding ceremony in Hawaii.  It is pleasing to hear “our wedding is in Hawaii”.  But the nightmare that was experienced by her parents cannot be described in words. (The mehandi function was on a chartered boat in the middle of the  Pacific Ocean).

Why I am writing this?  In about 10 days, we are going to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  It is a famous beach resort in Mexico.  We have to attend this wedding.  The bride is Tamil Brahmin and the groom is Gujrati.

One good thing in this wedding is the bride and groom make all the physical  arrangements. They also pay for their wedding costs.

No, they are not paying for our airfare.  We pay ourselves.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Customer Service

Arrived in San Francisco safely, but with lots of drama.  The flying was smooth and enjoyable.  No problem with that.  The drama was at the Chennai airport.  Here is what happened.

Our flight (British Airways) was on Sunday, March 1, 4:00 am.  They never made any announcement until 6:00 am.  At that moment, the pilot and the BA (British Airways) Airport Manager came and informed us that there were some engine trouble in the plane and they had to bring the parts from London.  It was going to be a long wait.   They announced that all the passengers will be booked in hotels and they will work on alternative arrangements for each passenger.

We were allotted the Hilton Hotel.  My wife and I were put in the Hilton’s car.  We checked into the Hilton Hotel.  We were told the breakfast, lunch, and dinner are at the expense of BA.

We checked into the room.  Nice room.  We had breakfast at the Hilton’s restaurant.  My wife had pain in her legs.  Therefore, we decided to order room service for lunch and dinner.

At 4 pm we got a call from BA.  They said they will send us to San Francisco via Etihad Airways.  I told them that Etihad Airways is a crappy airlines and I want some other airlines.  They called me within 5 minutes and said they made arrangements for us with Emirates Airlines and we were very happy.  The flight was to leave at 3:30 am on Monday (via Dubai).

We were getting ready to leave for the airport from Hilton at midnight.  At 11 pm we got a call from BA stating that Emirates have cancelled our reservations and they will make some other arrangements.  I waited until 11:30 pm. Since then I called BA at least 25 times and no answer from them.  I never received cancellation notice either from BA or Emirates.

I then called Emirates at 11:50 pm.  They said our reservation is confirmed and no one cancelled them.  They asked us to come to the Airport to board the flight. 

We then vacated the room and the Hilton reception had a surprise for us.  They presented me with a huge bill for lunch and dinner.  I asked them the reason. They said that breakfast, lunch, and dinner are free only if eaten in the restaurant.  The “free” does not cover lunch/dinner room service. Neither BA nor Hilton informed us the room service is not covered by “free”.  I therefore paid the bill.  I am in the process of sending a claim to BA.

Another problem starts here.

We arrive at the Chennai airport.  We go to the Emirates Business Class counter.  They were very nice and courteous.   I said we have 5 baggages to be checked.  The girl in the counter said: “Sir, you are allowed only 4 baggages”.  I said I did not book our tickets in Emirates.  I booked in British Airways and their policy for business class passengers is 3 baggages each – for me and my wife.  In such situations, the receiving airlines should honor the baggage policies of the sending airlines.

(Side bar.  BA is one of the worst airlines in the world on customer service.  I still booked our tickets with them because they allow 3 baggages (70 pounds each) per business class passenger whereas other airlines allow only 2 baggages per passenger.)

I told her I will go to the BA office and solve this. Went there, explained to the customer rep there, and she referred me to her supervisor.  The BA supervisor came with me to the Emirates counter and talked to the Emirates supervisor.  He finally came to me and said:  Sir, you are allowed only 4 baggages.  You will have to pay for the 5th one.  I told him You (BA) will be paying for the 5th one and not me.  He again talked to the Emirates supervisor and finally said he will issue a “voucher” and Emirates supervisor agreed to that. 

I was appalled at the BA Supervisor (who should know their baggage policy) telling me that I am allowed only 4 baggages.

From Dubai to San Francisco, we flew on a A380-800 Airbus Plane.  Until now, we have never flown in this type of aircraft before.  This is the largest passenger aircraft.  Double Decker.  More than 800 passengers on all economy flight.   More than 500 passengers on a flight that has 3 classes - First, Business, and Economy.  Flying time Dubai to San Francisco is 16 hours.  Enjoyed very much.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Don’t Cry For Me, Chennai

Don’t cry for me, Chennai
The truth is I never left you in my heart
Now it is time to say
Do Svidaniya

We may have settled in California
Our kids born and brought up there
Owning a home in the Bay Area
So many friends and family there

Temporary residence in Chennai
The past six months
Many things I will miss
A few things I won’t

OD’d on cricket in TV
OD’d on several Indian cuisines
OD’d on travel within India
OD’d on Tamil movies in theaters

OD’d on Obama                                 
OD’d on all his drama
OD’d on Modi Kurta
OD’d on Thodi Raaga

Experienced the Chennai weather
All the 3 beautiful seasons
Hot, Hottest, and

Don’t cry for me, Chennai
The truth is I never left you in my heart
Now it is time to say
Do Svidaniya

PS: Leaving for California on March 1.

PPS: The title of this post is inspired from the song “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Very Inspiring Blogger Award" and Tag.

Ankita has awarded me the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”.  Thanks a lot Ankita for deciding that I deserve this award.  As per the rules, I have to write 7 facts about me.

I started my own blog on June 8, 2009.  Since then I have won a few awards.  Almost all of them asked me to tell something about me.  Whatever I can tell publicly about me, I already wrote about them.  A while ago, in accepting an award I had asked my wife, son, and daughter to tell the readers something about me.  I published them without editing.  I am going to select 6 of them from their list and the 7th one is my own which has not been published so far.

These 6 are from my family:

Highly Intelligent and full of confidence which borders on cocky/arrogance.

Excellent parallel parker of cars.

Horrible at drawing.  Will never be mistaken as an artist.

Never volunteer to help anyone.  But if they ask for help, will help to his full ability.

He chose his college based on the fact that it was coed and on the beach.

Highly kept secret in the family. Excellent gourmet cook.

The final fact (7th one) is written by me.  Here it is:

I have met Lt.Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. for a few seconds.  Did not shake his hands.  He came to my office to collect something.  He was in full military uniform.  I can see his name tag on his chest.  Still, I asked him to show his Identification Card,  He said “sure”.  Took out his ID from his wallet and handed it over to me.  I looked at it.  Gave it to him back saying “Thanks”. He took it back saying “you’re welcome”. I handed over the package. He left.  The whole episode took only 20 seconds.

You may wonder who this Lt.Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. is.  He is the U.S. Air Force Pilot who actually pressed the button and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

I am not tagging any one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Republic Day Parade

Now that the 2015 Republic Day is over and Obama has gone home, we all can take our eyes off the television set. Thank God. 

It was a pleasure watching the entire parade and pageantry on television. This is the first time for me since I am in Chennai now. I was glued to the television set. 

Here are a couple of my personal observations: 

Every television station hyped Obama’s visit. Way too much excitement. 

I think there is mixed opinion about Mr. Modi’s suit with his own name stripes. I am interested to know what you all think. I personally think it looked ridiculous on him. He is a smart and stylish dresser. I don’t know who gave him this idea. Now he does not have to carry a business card. 

I would have been more pleased if his suit had the words “Made in India” instead of his name.

                                                             (Courtesy: Google)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Checking Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a long term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.  It is estimated there are more than 400 million people with diabetes condition in the world.

Doctors ask the diabetes patients to check often their sugar levels.  Many patients have to check their sugar level several times a day.  The results help the patients and doctors to manage the sugar level.

How do we check the sugar level?  There are diabetic test meters available. You prick your finger with a small sharp needle and put a drop of blood on the test strip.   Then you put the test strip in the meter and it shows the sugar level.

Putting a needle in your finger is painful.  Lot of diabetes people do not check their sugar level because they cannot withstand the pain – prick your finger with a needle several times a day (for many people).  This results in their not controlling the sugar level effectively.

Now we have a potential solution for this.  There is a company called Freedom Meditech in USA.  They have developed a non-invasive, ophthalmic-based product to detect and manage diabetes.  It is called I-SugarX.  The I-SugarX is a handheld, ocular glucose measurement device that is intended to provide people with diabetes a convenient, pain-free, and bloodless way to monitor daily glycemic control.  It will monitor changing levels of glucose in the fluids of the eye.

Freedom Meditech will be applying for FDA  (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approval for this product soon.

Last year, they got FDA approval for another product and it is already in the Market.  It is called CLEARPATH DS-120.   It is a non-invasive medical device used to detect ocular degradations that may cause blindness, cataract or other chronic disease due to elevated fluorescence in the lens of the eye measured against age related fluorescence.

I think in a few years this I-SugarX will be a welcome device for all those who are in need of checking their sugar level.  It is non-invasive and painless.  We all can throw away the needles and the strips.

(Per U.S. Law, I have to disclose here that I own shares in this Company.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Saw this Tamil movie (Pisasu) on the New Year Eve.  The English meaning for this word is “devil”.  Will tell you my impression at first.  Very different kind of movie.  Director Mysskin has raised this movie to a world standard.

The hero (Naga) tries to save a girl (Prayaga) who was involved in a car accident.  But the girl dies in the hospital.  She then becomes a pisasu (devil) and moves into the hero’s flat.  Why she moved into his flat? What happens at the end? That is the story.

Naga needs a good barber.  We could never see his full face throughout the film.

Superb acting by Radha Ravi who comes as Prayaga’s father.

Editing was done very efficiently and the movie ends in 114 minutes.

A few scenes were copied from Hollywood movies.  For example, the bedroom scene is from the movie Paranormal Activity.

It is a supernatural movie but does not scare anyone.