Sunday, December 25, 2016

Transgender Bathroom

President Obama has sent a notification to all the States that public* schools should allow transgender students to use bathrooms (restrooms) matching their gender identity. In other words if a boy thinks he is a girl in his mind he should be allowed to use the girls bathroom. And vice versa. The officials say a student's gender identity as the student's sex for the purpose of enforcing this guidance.
It is only a “guidance” and not a “law”. In other words if you do not comply with the guidance, funding for your school will be cut off.
Mr. Obama wants to make sure transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment. Many states are objecting to this. But LGBT groups praised this announcement. What if a creep posing as a transgender enters a girls bathroom?
Someone has filed a case in the Supreme Court and it has taken up this case for hearing,
President Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon.
President Obama put a man in the girls bathroom.
* In USA, public schools mean government schools that operate from money received from the government,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

First Impression – Part 2 of 2

Time rolls by. He had finished college and now has a good job in New Delhi. Lost touch with his college friend after graduation. 2 years gone. On a Sunday afternoon, he was walking in Connaught Place. Is this a fate or is this a fate? Who he saw in Connaught Place by chance on that day? The same college friend. And, they started meeting each other frequently.
He was going on vacation to Chennai. His friend gave him a package and asked him to deliver to his family. So, one day, he visited his friend’s family. This time he did not go in a bullock cart. He went in a rented car. Not wearing a lungi with no chappals. Decent pant and a dress shirt.
Ding Dong. Who opens the door? That most beautiful girl. He asked: Remember me? She replied: How will I forget. Neengathan andha lungi katna retta mattu vandikaran (You are that lungi wearing double oxen bullock cart driver).
He: Is your mom home?
She: Mom has gone to the hospital. She will be back in a few hours.
He: No one home except you?
She: The servant maid and the errand boy are here. And, our 4 Alsatian (German Shepherd)
He: I will come back after 2 hours
She: Please stay here. I want to talk to you.
He: What????
She: Remember you said I was wasting my time doing English lit?
He: It was an off the cuff remark. Hope you did not take it seriously.
She: After you left, my brother told me how intelligent you are. But in your village outfit on that day, I thought you were an uneducated villager. I took your comment seriously. I thought about what you said and changed my major.
He: (a guilty) What????
She: Yes, I changed my major to “this subject”. I was also impressed you were the first guy who never gave a damn about my beauty. All the boys I have come across used to agree with me all the time because of my beauty and how rich our family was.
He: Your brother told me also about how good Bharathnatyam dancer you are, and a great violinist. I did not give a damn for them either.
She: Unga thimir appidiyey irukku (You still have the same arrogance)
He: I was born with it.
And the two hours went by like two seconds.  Almost the entire conversation was a  non stop talk talk talk. The 4 German shepherds (one sitting on her right side, one on her left side, and two near her feet) constantly looking at him.  Looked like any wrong move from him, they were prepared to clobber him. The last 15 minutes were shared silence. They fell for each other.
They were happily married a year later.
Years later, they were travelling frequently in first class across USA and Europe and Asia. On one occasion, in the comfort of first class, a glass of double scotch on the rocks in his hand, 35,000 feet above ground, he asked her: why are you silent? What are you thinking?
She: How the world turns! That maatu vandikaran (bullock cart driver) is now travelling in first class in a jumbo jet.
He: How about the girl who married that maatu vandikaran? She should be in a village fetching water from the river 2 miles away. She is also comfortably seated in a first class cabin sipping orange juice.
She: I was born with luck.
He: Our fate is intertwined
Epilogue: KK wrote: Does the girl know about this story being written and posted on the internet for the world to see? If yes, what does she think about it?
No, she does not know. She passed away in a freak accident 10 months ago. If she was alive and informed about this post, she would have said: Don’t you have any other topic to write about for your blog?
Aval avan uyirin uyir (She was his life’s life)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

First Impression? Part 1 of 2

He was a big city (Chennai) college student. He spent his summer vacation with his uncle and his family in a remote village in Tamil Nadu. He used to spend every summer vacation in that village. That village had no electricity. Only hurricane lights. No phones. You have to cross a river to enter the village. There was no bridge and therefore cars could not come to that village. His uncle in that village was a big land owner.
On that day he took his bicycle and went to the nearby small town to the post office. There, by chance, he saw his college friend from Chennai. They both were surprised. The friend said his mother is a government doctor and she had been transferred to this small town a few days ago. The friend asked him to come to his home sometime. He said he would.
A few days later, his aunty asked him to go to the nearby small town and get vegetables. So he took the family bullock cart and went to that small town. Even though he was a big city boy and studying in a college, he knew how to drive a bullock cart. He came in front of his friend’s home and parked the bullocks there.
His friend greeted him. They both went inside. Then came the most beautiful girl with coffee in her hands for her brother and this guy. Tall, lean, very long hair, skin color almost European. Her face could launch a thousand ships.
The friend introduced both of them. Since it was a village and he was driving a bullock cart, this big city boy was wearing a lungi and a banian and no chappals. And, at that time, she thought he was an uneducated villager. Her brother introduced him just as a friend and no other details. At that time he did not know his college friend had a sister. If he had known, he would have dressed kind of reasonably.
Here is how their conversation went – all in Tamil.
He: Hello
She: Hello
He: What are you doing?
She: Studying in college
He: Which college?
She: (she tells the name of the college)
He: What major?
(Now she is surprised this villager even knows something about college major)
She: English lit
He: You are wasting your time studying English lit
She had the shock of her life time. This uneducated country brute tells me I am wasting my time. Since she was so beautiful she was used to boys going after her and agreeing with whatever she says, this was the first time she experienced that someone did not care or even notice her beauty and said she is wasting her time. She stared at him angrily for 10 seconds and left without saying a word.
And then?
Stay tuned until next week

Saturday, November 26, 2016

More Election Drama

Trump won the electoral college votes. So he was declared the winner. Hillary won the popular votes. Still she accepted and conceded defeat.
During the election debates, Trump said if elected he would investigate Hillary’s email server problem and the Clinton Foundation and put her in jail. After winning the election Trump said he will not investigate Clinton and he has other important things to do.
And now comes the drama. An independent candidate who also ran for President of the United States, Jill Stein, has started a process for recounting the votes in 3 States – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. All 3 states were won by Trump by a narrow margin. It will cost her money to do that. She has appealed to the “Trump haters” and raised about $7 million.
What is her reason to ask for a recount? She said she suspects the voting machines were hacked. I have never heard a more ridiculous thing in a long time. I am not a computer expert. Some of my readers are computer experts. So please tell me if I am wrong. Voting machines are not connected to the internet. If so, how is it possible to “hack”?
At first, Hillary Clinton said she will have nothing to do with the recount. Now her campaign says it will take part in the recount effort.
So what I suspect will happen? Trump is not a good guy. He is a vicious guy. I have a feeling he is going to re-open the Clinton investigation – email server and Clinton Foundation. (For those who are not familiar with the US Presidential powers, let me say one thing. In the US, when a President is elected, they are electing a “dictator” for a 4 year term. He/she is that powerful.)
There is already a rumor going around that about 3 million non-citizen illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton, majority of them in California. May be Trump supporters want to have a recount in every state in this country.
Pure entertainment if you are not personally involved. At least, this will be resolved in a few days/weeks. Unlike India.
Mr. P. Chidambaram contested the Lok Sabha election in 2009. His opponent was declared the winner. After 30 minutes, the election authorities changed the results declaring Mr. Chidambaram as the winner. The votes that were tabulated to Mr. Chidambaram was given to his opponent and vice versa. The authorities said that the computer operator made an error in posting. The opponent claimed his votes were illegally transferred to the credit of Mr. Chidambaram, thereby tilting the result in Chidambaram's favor.
The opponent filed a case in the court. Mr. Chidambaram became Finance Minister. New Lok Sabha elections came in 2014. Now it is 2016, almost 2017. That 2009 election case is still going on in the courts.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

POTUS Election - Electoral College

There are 231,566,622 eligible voters in the United States. 135,135,298 voters cast their ballots in this year’s presidential election.
Hillary Clinton received 63,390,669 votes. Donald Trump received 61,820,845 votes. That means Hillary Clinton received 1.5 million more popular votes than Trump. So logic says since Clinton received more popular votes, she should be declared as the winner. Right?
Wrong.  United States always does things differently. Just like Rajnikanth’s “en vazhi thani vazhi” (my path is a unique/separate path).
U.S. President is not elected by popular votes. There is something called “Electoral College Vote”. Total number of electoral college votes are 538. Whoever gets 270 electoral college votes will be declared the winner. Electoral College Votes are distributed to each state based on their population. In fact it is the number of Senators plus the number of House of Representatives for each state. Since California is the most populous state, it gets 55 votes. New York 29. Texas 38. Florida 29. Montana 3. North Dakota 3. And so on and so forth.
In a given state, if a candidate wins the popular vote, he/she gets all the electoral college votes. It is winner take all. Even if the candidate wins by one popular vote, he/she gets all the electoral college votes.
For example, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in California. Therefore, she got all the 55 electoral college votes. Same way, Trump won the popular vote in Florida. So he got all the 29 electoral college votes. Under this counting rule, Trump has 290 electoral college votes against a needed 270 votes. Therefore, he is declared as the winner. Hillary has got only 228 electoral college votes. (Two states have not declared results. Too close to call.)
How come Clinton won the popular vote and did not win the electoral college vote? It is because which ever states Clinton won, she won by a huge margin of popular votes. Which ever states Trump won, he  won by a narrow margin of popular votes.  But Trump won more states than Clinton.
Therefore popular vote does not matter in electing the President of the United States. It is the electoral college votes that count. And, there are 540 electoral college voters.
OK. How these electoral college voters are selected? Before the start of the election, each candidate will give a list of names of electoral college voters of their choice (from their own party) for each state. (In some states, it is thru intra-party election.). It is a package deal. When you vote for a candidate for President, you automatically vote for his /her choice of Vice President and his/her choice of electoral college voters.
They will assemble on December 19 and vote for the candidate to be President of the United States.  Usually, they don’t change their votes.  All of Trump’s electoral college votes will vote for Trump.  Same for Clinton.
A funny thing is happening this year.  Die hard Clinton fanatics are asking Trump’s electoral college voters not to vote for him on December 19.   I think this is their desperate attempt.  You fought hard.  You lost. Just let it go and get ready for 2020.  When Obama was elected in 2008, many white people did not like that.  But they never asked Obama’s electoral college voters not to vote for him.
Many people,  including Mr. Trump, do not like this electoral college system.  Unless they make a constitutional amendment, it is here to stay.  It is not that easy to make a constitutional amendment in the United States.
Why the founding fathers established an electoral college system to pick the President of the United States as opposed to a direct popular vote?  That is another long confusing story.  My head swirls.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

U.S. Presidential Election

Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. Here are my observations.
Let me tell you this to start with. I am not a supporter of Trump. Both candidates are not qualified. I thought Trump is better of the two evils. So I wanted him to win.
In US, all the television networks (Except Fox News) are left wing liberals. Same goes for all the newspapers. Therefore, they behaved like a propaganda machine for Hillary Clinton. Whenever there is bad news about Hillary, they downplayed it. Good news about her, they gave prominent headlines. Same way, good news about Trump, they downplayed it. Bad news about him, they gave prominent headlines.
The only network supporting Trump, Fox News, behaved like his propaganda machine.
I read 4 newspapers a day. When I read an article, I give more importance to the comments rather than the article. Nowadays American journalists do not report the news. They write their own opinion and push their hidden agenda. Comments reflect what the general public really thinks.
Whatever Trump said during his campaign are all election year political rhetoric. He cannot implement all he said he would do. There are checks and balances. The U.S. Senate will not allow him to do whatever he wants.
The most unlucky is Hillary Clinton. She lost the chance to become the first female President of the United States of America. Her Email server problem is still looming over her head. Another problem is with the Clinton Foundation. Mr. Trump, during the campaign, has said he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her, if elected.
But President Obama, before leaving the office on January 20, 2017, with a stroke of a pen, can pardon Hillary Clinton, for any crimes committed by her related to her emails and her foundation.
Will Obama pardon Hillary Clinton?  I think he will.
In my opinion, Hillary should have picked Sanders as her Vice President. That pair would have won very easily. The current Vice President, Joe Biden, was asked to compete among the democrats to be their nominee for President. But Biden blinked and did not enter the race. If Biden was the democratic candidate in lieu of Hillary, I think Trump would have (I am quoting an Indian term here) lost his deposit.
Looks like Richard Verma, US Ambassador to India, will be packing his bags soon and go back to USA.
PS: Counting the votes in a Presidential election is very complicated. Even most of the Americans do not understand this.  This topic will be my next post.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Arrogant or Ignorant

I was checking on some of my older posts and happened to read the following:

“I saw in Chennai that many North Indian workers speak Tamil or try to speak Tamil with sincere effort. However, a few of these North Indian workers insist on speaking Hindi only. If this is their attitude towards language they will not survive in the working world for very long.”

I’m going to chalk this one up to the IGNORANT category.

California Love – somebody please cue up the Tupac and Doctor Dre song.

California is the place I have lived at for most of my entire adult life. California is a state in the USA and I have lived in an area known as the San Francisco Bay Area (which is part of California).

Whenever anyone asks a person from the San Francisco Bay Area, “Hey, where are you from?” The response will simply say “I’m from the Bay Area”. The person who asked the question should automatically assume this person is from the San Francisco Bay Area based on that response.

That attitude and answer makes people from Green Bay, Wisconsin…and Tampa Bay, Florida…well…jealous. You see they also consider themselves as “Bay Area” people. However, it’s widely accepted that when someone says they’re from the Bay Area…that means the San Francisco Bay Area. Not Green BAY or Tampa BAY.

I’ll chalk this one up to the ARROGANT category.

And oh by the way…if you ask me where I’m from…you know my answer, “I’m from the Bay Area.” Yep, guilty as charged. ARROGANT SG is here. I admit it.

Oh it doesn’t end there for CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ – somebody please cue up The Mamas and The Papas song.

When a resident of California is travelling in a foreign country, a person may ask…”Excuse me. Where are you from?” A Californian will never respond by saying “I’m from the USA.” He/She will answer, “I’m from California.

” Huh? What? Exsqueeze Me?

Is California not part of the USA? Can’t you just say America or the US? NOPE! You see we’re from California. And you Mr. Foreigner…who I’m talking to at a bazaar in Egypt or you Mrs. Foreigner…sitting in a café 50 miles outside of Istanbul, I know you’ve heard of California. I know you know California. So I’m responding with the name of my state.

In fact…who doesn’t know California? Everyone does…right? WRONG!

Gonna have to chalk this one up to the ARROGANT category.

Once again, me too, guilty as charged. ARROGANT SG has arrived in your nation, and if you don’t know what a California is or where a California is…well that’s your problem pal.

On a sidenote…did you notice how I snuck in 50 “miles” outside of Istanbul. Yeah right, like the metric system followers know what the hell a mile is. We are the only industrialized country that refuse to adopt to metric system.

So now please tell all of your friends and relatives, when they visit a foreign country. Please represent your state. 100 kilometers outside of Nairobi. Hey, where are you from? I am from Uttarakhand.

PS: I have a very intelligent blogger friend from Uttarakhand and she is a travel enthusiast.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Ready to go out
Tie my shoes and take my car keys
I shout “L, I am going out”
You smile and say “Drive Safely”
Now I make the same shout
No response, you are silent
What language is your silence?

Our car comes out of garage
Garage door closes via the remote
I shout “L, saathyaach saathyaach”*
You smile and say “I heard you”.
Now I make the same shout
No response, you are silent
What language is your silence?

I come home excited
Put my feet on the coffee table
I shout “L, you know what happened today”
You drop everything and say “Give me a 3 beer version”**
Now I make the same shout
No response, you are silent
What language is your silence?

*”Saathyaach” means “closed” in Tamil.
**”3 beer version” means “very detailed description”.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I never heard of a word called “apostasy” until now. When I first read that word, I thought it is something similar to apostrophe. But in that article I was reading, apostasy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. I thought they are cruel.
While studying in school, I was taught apostrophe is a punctuation mark. How can they give such a big punishment to someone for using/not using/not properly using apostrophe. My English teacher, Arunachalam Iyer, was strict but not that strict.
I realized something was wrong in my thinking. So I googled that word.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary says apostasy is either renunciation of a religious faith OR abandonment of a previous loyalty (Defection).
I like the idea of some punishment for apostasy when it comes to abandonment of a previous loyalty (Defection).
What kind of punishment should be given for people who abandon their citizenship of a country and get citizenship of another country?
Punishment for people who abandon their political party affiliation? This is apostasy, right?
Punishment for people who abandon their loyalty to a particular cricket team? True apostasy.
People who change their homes after living there for a minimum of 10 years. Must be punished.
Same goes for jobs also. Change jobs after 10 years with the same company. It is pure apostasy. But if the company fires you, it is not apostasy.
I am not even going to talk about people changing their spouses after a long married life.
What if someone marries/keeps more than one spouse (without divorcing the first spouse)? In Tamil, they call it "Chinna Veedu" (the small house).  Is it apostasy? We need some big name lawyers mentioned in Renu’s post.
What do you think?
PS: This is a tongue-in-cheek attempted humor post. Not for any serious discussion.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


I love the San Francisco 49ers. They are the American Football team based in San Francisco. I do not love them just because they won 5 Super Bowls (Championship), I loved them even when they were 1 win and 15 losses.
But things are not going good for them nowadays. They have a Quarterback. He is the team leader. His name is Colin Kaepernick. All of a sudden it dawn on him that there is racial oppression in USA.
So what is he going to do about it? Before the start of every game, the national anthem will be played. Colin decided not to stand up when national anthem is played. He said he will sit down in the bench. Actually during last week’s game, he was kneeling (when everyone else is standing with their right hand over to their heart).
He made the following statement:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The 49er management said: We recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of national anthem.
President Obama said Kaepernick is exercising his constitutional right on National Anthem.
This is disgusting.
Just a request for Kaepernick. I respect your opinion but don’t disrespect the flag.
Another request for Kaepernick. If you don’t like it here, then move where you like. No one is stopping you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Child Prodigies

In my last post, I wrote I was in Seattle for 2 weeks. During my stay there I visited a street festival. I saw a band playing there for the visitors. The band had 2 singers, 3 guitar players, one base guitar player, one drummer, and one keyboard player. They were all youngsters.
Of the 3 guitar players, 2 of them were kids of Indian origin. Their ages are 12 and 9 both born in the USA. These 2 brothers call themselves The Skinnivasans (their last name is Srinivasan so it is a play on their last name). It is not an understatement if I say they are child prodigies. In fact, on that day they stole the show. Here are 2 samples of their performance.

My Sharona
Sweet Child O' Mine

In the near future, I expect these "Skinnivasan" brothers will become famous within the USA and at the international level. Then I will have to pay them to watch them play guitar.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trees and Rain

A post by our blogger friend Rajesh (Destination Infinity) titled “Do We Care For Trees?” prompted me to write this post.
I was in Seattle recently for 2 weeks. Lot of people complain it always rains in and around Seattle. Same time, people in India (especially South) complain there is not enough rain.
I found out one of the reason for more rain in and around Seattle is the vast amount of trees that create a noticeable amount of transpiration.  But it is not the only reason.  It is also due to Pacific West Coast (maritime) Climate.  More trees also help tremendously.

Please see below the photos of a few streets in the suburb of Seattle. You cannot even see the houses/shops behind these trees. So many trees in all the streets.


In India, we not only not plant new trees, we also cut the existing trees. Those miss the cutting are not cared for properly.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Plantain Bajji

Few minutes ago, I was reading the Yahoo News.  One of the news was Republican Candidate for U.S. President, Donald Trump today visited Mexico at the invitation of the Mexican President.  They had a private meeting.
We all know Trump wants to deport millions of illegal immigrants back to  Mexico.  He also wants to build a loonnngggg wall on the border to prevent illegals crossing into USA and have Mexico pay for building it.
Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, did not like this meeting.
Here are their (Donald Trump and Vicente Fox) pictures as appeared in the Yahoo News.
For no reason, I thought Trump looked like a day old vazhaikkai bajji (plantain bajji) and Fox looked like freshly made vazhaikkai bajji.
The time is 7 45 pm.  May be I am hungry.  Will eat dinner now.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rio Summer Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics is now underway in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The previous one in 2012 was in London, England. At that time, Britain’s tourism agency had issued guidelines on the etiquette of dealing with thousands of foreign visitors who would come to attend the games. The advice that were given by the tourism agency was for those who were likely to work with tourists arriving from foreign countries. This includes people such as hotel staff, taxi drivers, etc.
I think most of the guidelines issued by them are still applicable to Rio Olympics also.
I am reposting some of the guidelines: (My own interpretation is given in brackets)
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 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 Feijoada. 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 Rio. We (pointing to my chest) won’t make the same mistake as you. (pointing with index finger) wink, wink)
For 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?)
For  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 3 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.)
For Americans – They are so informal to the point of being very direct. They won’t hesitate about complaining. (Now that we are in Rio, I want some real American food. Where can I get a burrito or some pizza? Why is everyone a foreigner in Rio? I am going to enjoy this vacation…even if it’s going to kill me.)

Monday, August 1, 2016

350th Post

This is my 350th post.
I could have written this 350th post two years ago. But I took leave of absence in 2011 and 2012. I wish I had not taken that leave of absence. The reason is the person to whom I want to dedicate this post is not in this world any more. She passed away a few months ago in a freak accident.
She is the love of my life. She was my number one fan and my severe critic. She would give her comments only after I have published any post. She did not even want to read the post before publishing. She said she wanted to be my commenter and not my editor.
I started this blog in June 2009. I got my first award from a fellow blogger and friend, Neha, in September 2009. My wife was so happy as if I have won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. She wanted me to call Neha in India immediately and thank her personally. I told her it is very common to get these awards from fellow bloggers and it is midnight in Mumbai and I do not know the phone number of Neha.
Anyway, this post is dedicated to Lalitha.
May she rest in peace.
Nenjam Marappadhillai
Adhu Ninaivai Ishakkavillai
Heart does not forget
It did not lose the memories

Friday, July 22, 2016


Just returned (Friday, July 22) home after watching Kabali (Tamil) in a theater in Dublin, California. The following is not a review. Just my impressions.
I went for a matinee show. Today being a working day, there were only about 30 people. I am told it is house full for Saturday and Sunday.
For the first 5 minutes all conversation were in Malay. For a moment I thought I bought a ticket for the Malay language version. But the credit titles were in Tamil. So I was relieved.
Even now I do not know what the story is. All I understand is it is one gang versus another gang in Malaysia. Good gang vs. bad gang. But they are all gangs.
There was no big fanfare when they introduced Rajni Kanth in the movie. I was kind of disappointed.
This movie will be loved by hard core Rajni Kanth fans. The fans love the way Rajni Kanth walks. So they show him just walk so many times. The fans love his laugh.  So the Director makes him laugh in several scenes - some for no reason.
Superb acting by Radhika Apte. Especially, when she meets her husband and daughter in Pondicherry.
The song “Vaanam Paarthen” is pleasing to the ears.
The usual Rajni kanth punch dialogues are there:
There is a reason for Gandhi going shirtless and Ambedkar wearing a suit and a tie.
If you have a fear, don’t show outside.
In Malaysia Tamil, Sarakku means pombala samacharam (women matter). In Tamil Nadu, Sarakku means thanni (liquor)
More than 500 people are shot “dead” in the movie from beginning to end. Are there no police in Malaysia to arrest anyone?
Rajni Kanth does not have that “oomph” any more. He looks old.

Disappointed.  May be because of over-hype prior to release.
Tamilians are always Tamilians wherever they live. There were 3 guys and a lady in the audience. The lady was constantly recording portions of the movie at various times in her cell phone. I wanted to tell her to stop taping illegally. But I controlled myself. They were 3 guys and I am only one. I can handle one on one. But against 3 of them? Better sense prevailed and I kept quite. 

Kabali Daa
First Half Veruppu Daa (Frustrating)
Second Half Kaduppu Daa (Frowning)

(* this is just for fun,  playing with rhyming words for humor)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some People, Like This

Last week I was reading Ms. Kala Ravi’s blog for the first time. Excellent Blog. The post I read in her blog made me remember an incident that happened to me in real life.
An acquaintance of mine (please note not a friend) requested me to get a job for his niece in my company. The main reason for my agreeing is the fact that my wife was a friend of his wife. Strong recommendation (translation: Pressure) from the spouse.
The niece, fresh out of college, is a bright and intelligent person. I talked to a few people and, bingo, she got hired.
This idiot, the acquaintance, who requested me to arrange a job for his niece, thanked me. Let us call him Andrew. Andrew invited me for lunch to express his gratitude. I told him it is not necessary. But he insisted. So, I agreed to go for lunch with him in a restaurant.
He comes to my office. We both go to a nearby restaurant. Food was ok. Conversation boring.  At the end of the lunch, the bill came. He was searching his pocket. Looks like he forgot his wallet. He does not have his credit card or cash. He told me to wait in the restaurant and he will go to the bank and cash his check and come back and pay the bill.
I asked him how long will it take. He said it will take 45 minutes. Can you imagine me sitting in a restaurant for 45 minutes after the waiter gave the bill to pay, while he has gone to get money from the bank!
I offered to pay the bill myself as I have to rush back to my office. He agreed. I paid the bill thru my credit card. We come out of the restaurant.
He wished me good bye and said “Thanks for the nice lunch”. He was very casual as if I invited him for lunch. Guy has no shame.
Never heard from him again about this incident.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


"Recognition is a secret weapon that every leader really needs to use," said former CEO of Yum! Brands David Novak. He also said 80% of people feel they are not recognized by their supervisor for what they do, and 60% say they value recognition as much as money.
Recognition is not just a nice thing to do. It is also a communication tool to tell the people the actions and behavior you want to see.
Here are a few pointers.
Recognition should be immediate. On the spot.
It should be public in front of the peers.
Cash is not the effective recognition. It is temporary and intangible. It should be something people will remember. For example:
All expenses paid 3 day and 2 night package for 2 in a resort. Two tickets to a soccer or a cricket match or a musical concert. Two movie tickets on the opening day for a new movie. Have a Wall of Fame and place the employee’s photo and name. Decorate his/her office/cubicle.  Something along these lines.
If you are a manager, do you recognize your employees? If so, how?
If you are an employee, does your company have an “immediate” recognition program? If so, what kind of recognition?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Security in General

Just read in an Indian newspaper that the Trichy Airport will be closed for visitors until July 7. It is as a result of a terrorist attack in an airport in Istanbul, Turkey.
I am wondering if these government guys “room potta yosipanga?”. The English translation is “do they reserve a room and meet there to think like this?” It is a metaphor for idiotic thinking.
I can understand if they tighten the airport security. I can understand if they close the airport for visitors PERMANENTLY. What is the benefit of closing the airport for visitors for a week or 10 days only? Did the terrorists tell them “hey, we will be in Trichy until July 7 and then we are moving on”.
The reason for writing this post is I am still angry at what happened two years ago.
Two years ago we visited Madurai. Photography is allowed inside the Meenakshi Amman Temple for a fee. But we could not take any photo inside the Temple and Aayiram Kaal Mandapam (Hall of Thousand Pillars) because the week before our visit, there was some bomb blast in Hyderabad. Therefore, they prohibited any camera inside the Temple temporarily for 10 days. If they banned cameras permanently I can live with it. I do not understand the logic of temporarily banning cameras inside this Temple for 10 days as a result of a bomb blast in Hyderabad.
There is a saying in Tamil “Kumbakonathil idi idithaal Kutralathil mazhai peyyum”. In my English translation, I will change the names of the cities for better understanding. Here goes: If there is a thunder in Ahmedabad, it will rain in Allahabad. Same way – Bomb blast in Hyderabad, ban cameras for just 10 days in Madurai. That too, only during our visit.
These government officers, mostly IAS cadre, room pottu yosippanga.

I just give up.

Monday, June 6, 2016


In the airline industry there was only one class to start with. It was a regular class. Then came two. Economy and Executive. Then came three. Economy, Business, First Class. Then they added one more. Premium Economy. Now they are thinking of adding one more class. Economy-minus. I do not know the facilities available in that class. But they are thinking on the following lines:
Smallest seats.
No Itinerary change or refunds.
No free carry-on bag.
Meals, snacks, soda, water, and entertainment are extra.
No advance seat assignment.
Since my job is to give unsolicited advice to the airlines, here are my suggestions:
To get into the plane, you have to climb a rope hung from the back door.
Pay for the use of toilets.
If you don’t want to use toilet, you can buy a diaper at a discount. No you cannot bring your own diaper from home. At the end of the flight you have to pay for disposal. Disposing solid waste will cost more than the liquid.
Rent a chair to sit in the plane. No you cannot bring your own chair.
If you want to sleep on the floor, that will be extra.
Discount if you are a standing passenger holding on to the upper rails.
Seat belts will cost extra. But it is mandatory.
Price will be based on the weight of the passenger.
Next, we are thinking of cargo class. Put the passengers in the cargo area.
You have to pay extra for us to rip your baggage handle.
Want to sit together with your family/friends, pay extra. (We have hired additional staff to look into family travel and group travel and made sure they are allotted seats in different rows.) (You see, we are creating job opportunities for useless undergraduates.)
And, lastly but not the leastly, pay extra to recline your seat back. The exact fee depends upon how much recline degree you want. Assuming a 5 degree reclining in an economy seat, you will have to pay $5 for each degree to a total of $25 for a full 5 degree reclining. Each plane will have a Reclining Engineer to measure the angle and charge the passenger. (You see, we are creating job opportunities for engineering undergraduates.)
If you have any ideas, please let me know and I will pass them along to the airline industry.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Muhammad Ali

Boxing great Muhammad Ali passed away.

May he rest in peace.

PS: I took Rajesh's suggestion and here are a few points I know of Mr. Ali:

Born Cassius Clay and converted to Islam.

3 times heavyweight champion of the world.

Eloquent, Colorful, Controversial and Brilliant.

He was known as “The Greatest”.

Refused induction into the U.S. Army because he stated he was a conscientious objector.

Had Parkinson’s disease due to repeated blows to his head.

He is famous for his quotes. The following 3 are my personal favorites:

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

I don't have to be what you want me to be.

If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rich People

We all have heard about how rich people live their lives. It is on both extremes. For Example:

Rich people live in a multi million dollar mansions with all amenities and big show off like private planes, private screening room at their mansion, etc. 

On the other hand, some rich people live a simple life. Billionaire Warren Buffett still lives in the home he bought in 1958 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. 

There are other crazy things rich people do. For example: 

Professional Basket Ball Star DeShawn Stevenson has installed an ATM machine in his kitchen so he does not have to drive to a nearby ATM machine. (He also charges $4.50 transaction fee if his friends want to use that machine.) 

One rich guy has built an emergency room in his home to avoid the lines in the hospital. 

Recently I read an article, rich Indians who get married, take a photographer with them when they go for their honeymoon. How great it is. Three is Company. Looks like a one upmanship among the rich people. 

I have a few questions. Will the honeymoon album contain photos of outdoor shooting only or will it include indoor shooting also? Will they take with them only a photographer or will they take makeup artists and stylists also? If they end up in a divorce, will they engage a professional photographer for their divorce party? 

I have a feeling that people who take a professional photographer with them on their honeymoon are “new” money. “Old” money may not do this. (New money means people who became rich recently and old money means people who are rich for generations.) 

I found out there are honeymoon photographers available locally in romantic locations like Paris and Hawaii. Newly married can use these photographers if they are not that much filthy rich. 

If you know any crazy things rich people do, please let me know. I will add it here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Capt. Mahendra Nath Mulla

This is a repeat of a post I wrote on May 15, 2010.

Today is Navy Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla’s birthday. He was born on May 15, 1926 in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. If he was alive today, he would be celebrating his 90th birthday.

He was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1948. During the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War (or as someone might call “Bangladesh Liberation War”) he was Commander of INS Khukri. The ship had 18 officers and 176 sailors. His responsibility was to locate and destroy a Pakistani submarine in the Arabian Sea. On the December 9, 1971 night, INS Khukri was hit by torpedoes fired by a Pakistani submarine and sank.
Captain Mulla was calm and quiet. He asked his crew to abandon the ship. He organized the evacuation of the ship’s crew in an orderly manner. There was no confusion and no panic due to the Captain's calm transmitting itself to his men. All the crew members were evacuated from the ship.
Finally his turn to leave the ship. There is an old tradition. Captains don’t abandon their ships. The ship was about to fully go under the water. The evacuated crew begged and cried for him to abandon the ship. He smiled at them. But refused to abandon his ship. He waved at them. Lighted a cigarette. Took a chair and sat on the ship’s bridge. Within a few minutes, Captain Mulla was gone under the water along with his ship, INS Khukri.
His action and behavior and the example he set have been in keeping with highest tradition of the Indian Military. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra posthumously for displaying conspicuous gallantry and dedication to duty.
Let us remember Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla today.
I personally think Capt. Mulla should have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Trump, the Presumptive Nominee

Whether any one likes or not, Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee to contest for the post of the President of the United States.  He will become the official nominee during their convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21, 2016.  All  his opponents have crashed out.

In India, the political parties give “ticket” to the contestants to run for any office. They always give tickets to their friends, sons, daughters, in laws, sons and daughters of their friends, etc. But in USA, those who want to contest must be elected by the people to contest. That is called Primary Election.

In USA, it does not matter if the party leaders are against you. You can get the nomination to contest if the people vote for you. That is what’s happening with Donald Trump. He may be a bad choice. But that is the choice people have made. They have to live with it.

A side note: The President of the United States gets daily morning briefings from the CIA as to what is happening in different parts of the world. Both the candidates (Republican and Democrat) also will get the daily CIA briefing.  The reason: One of them will succeed as the POTUS  (President of the United States). The leadership in both parties hate Donald Trump so much that there is a talk of not giving the daily CIA briefing to him.

Comes to my mind that Mr. Modi was refused a US visa. Once he was elected Prime Minister, USA was practically begging him to visit USA. Same way, if and when Donald Trump is elected as the President of the United States, CIA will be sleeping on his front porch all night to give him daily morning briefing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dr. Bennet Omalu

What is a concussion? It is an injury to the brain resulting from an impact to the head. This brain damage happened to many professional American football players. 

                                                             (Courtesy: Yahoo)

Dr. Bennet Omalu was a Neuropathologist in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA. An American football player suddenly died. Dr. Omalu did the autopsy. He decided that the player died as a result of severe brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head while playing football. Dr. Omalu called it Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). 

Dr.Omalu published a paper on his findings but the NFL (National Football League) would not accept that. NFL is a powerful organization. Finally, he persuaded the NFL Commissioner to allow him to give a presentation on the subject. However, he was not allowed to do the presentation. His colleague had to give the presentation. 

Dr. Omalu was subjected to lot of pressures in his efforts. But, he stood up to the powerful and the mighty for his cause. Meantime, the NFL Players Association agreed with him. Finally the NFL was forced to take concussion issue more seriously. 

He is now the Chief Medical Examiner for the San Joaquin County (District)  in California. His struggle was made into a movie titled “Concussion” in 2015, starring Will Smith (as Dr. Omalu) and Alec Baldwin. 

I did not know all these details until the movie came out. Two years ago, we met Dr. Bennet Omalu and his wife Prema in a get together at a friend’s home. Bennet and Prema are very nice couple. We (me and my wife) like them.

They are from Nigeria. We were curious. Asked the wife the reason for the Indian name Prema. She said her great grand mother was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. She said she is named after her.

Monday, April 18, 2016


It was our marriage day. She sat there with her face staring the floor. I stood up to tie the Thali (mangal sutra) on her neck. The sastrigal (priest) asked us to look at each other before tying the Thali.
She looked at me. I looked at her. Our eyes met. She smiled. I smiled. Why did we smile?
Is this the mischief of our youth? Is this the seed for our love? Is this the bridge to unite our soul? Who knows?
Later years, I used to ask her why did she smile on that day at that moment. She will put an end to that conversation by asking me why did I smile on that day at that moment.
Her smile never left her.
PS: This is not my original. This is an English translation from a book written by a famous Tamil author about his wife. I liked this and so I thought I would share with my friends. But the feeling of the writer/the emotion of the writer cannot be felt in a translation.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


You all might have read that an Air India pilot refused to fly the plane without his favorite female co-pilot. Nothing wrong with that. She must be doing an amazing job at the cockpit. At least, she will keep the pilot awake. 

Since I have nothing else to do, I was wondering other professionals also can demand their favorite person for doing their jobs. Here are a few:

Surgeon refused to do the surgery without his favorite female nurse. 

Principal refused to open the school without his favorite female teacher. 

Restaurant waiter refused to serve the customer without his favorite female cleaner. 

Minister refused to attend the Assembly without his favorite female MLA. 

Bus driver refused to drive the bus without his favorite female conductor. 

Temple pujari refused to perform the puja without his favorite female devotee. 

Classical singer refused to perform without his favorite female violinist. 

General refused to give command to his troops without his favorite female aide-de-camp. 

Sales manager refused to sell anything in the store without his favorite sales girl. 

Female dancer refused to perform without her favorite male accompanist. 

Female news reporter refused to cover the news without her favorite cameraman. 

Female anchor person refused to give the news without her favorite male partner.

If you can think of something, please let me know. I will add to the above list.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Is This A Dream?

She passed away a few months ago. He was in bed but could not sleep. Tossing and turning. Finally went to sleep. He had a dream. Here are the details of that dream. 

She was talking to someone on the phone. He asked her: What are you doing. You are supposed to have died. If you talk to your friend, she will know you are not dead and she will tell everyone.

She replied my friend does not know I am dead. He asked how long we can hide that. When the truth comes out what will be telling our children. What we will tell the people who came for the cremation. What we will tell the people who came for the 13th day function. They all will think we put on a big hoax. 

She said children will be very happy to see me alive. And, I do not care about others. 

He said let’s move to an unknown place like Finland where no one knows us. And, we will not contact anyone. She agreed but said we will tell our children only where we are living. 

Dream ended. He woke up. Searched for her in the home. She was not there. 

PS: This is not a fiction. Real dream.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Page from the Past

I was reading an Indian web newspaper the other day. I was glad to read that the passengers traveling only on domestic sector on an international route do not have to declare the customs declaration form. For example, if a passenger is traveling from Delhi to Chennai only on a plane that goes form Delhi to Chennai to Colombo, he/she need not fill up Indian Customs Declaration Form.
That reminded me of something that happened a while ago.
At that time we were living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My company sent me there from USA on an overseas assignment. For the weekend, we were going from Riyadh to Chennai via Mumbai. We landed in Mumbai and took another flight from Mumbai to Chennai. That flight’s final destination was Singapore (I think).
We were traveling in executive class. After the plane took off from Mumbai, the flight steward took orders for our drinks. I ordered a scotch and soda. He asked what the madam would like to have. I asked him to ask the madam directly. My wife said she would like to have orange juice. (I have no idea why he cannot ask her directly.)
There was another passenger. He also ordered scotch and soda. But the flight steward told him he cannot give him alcoholic drink because he is flying only on a domestic sector (Mumbai to Chennai). The flight steward explained – in order to get an alcoholic drink a passenger should have arrived from a foreign country or must be going to a foreign country. So no drink for the other passenger.
I am not the guy to let an opportunity like this to go away. I called the flight steward. I told him “madam” has changed her mind. She would also like to have a scotch and soda in addition to her orange juice. The flight steward was puzzled.
He brought an orange juice and a scotch for her and a scotch for me. I took the scotch from my wife’s tray and gave to the fellow “domestic” passenger and said “enjoy the drink”.
The flight steward was witnessing this. He said nothing.
My thought is either give alcoholic drinks to everyone or do not give to anyone until the flight is cleared of all domestic passengers.  What do you say?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Karuveppilai (Kadi Patta)

There is a plant used in Indian cooking. In Tamil it is called Karuveppilai. In Hindi, it is is called Kadi Patta. In English, it is called Curry Leaves.
We use that in almost all our dishes – Sambar, Rasam, Kootu, Curry(poriyal), subji, chutney, thugaiyal, etc. etc. Those leaves produce aromatic smell. It has lot of medicinal values.
People normally think it is a waste to eat curry leaves. When we start to eat, the first thing we do is to take out the curry leaves from the plate and throw it out.
So we use it to enhance the flavor and taste of our food. But we throw it out once we think its purpose is served. Is it not happening in our every day life?
Political parties have alliances for election. Once the election is over, the bigger party gets rid of its smaller partners. These smaller parties have alliances with a different party in the next election. That different party does the same once the election is over.
Many people use friends the same way. They reach out to us only when they need something. After that, they discard us. Don’t we want to avoid that kind of friends? Yes. Once we realize that someone is using us we should put our foot down and say “no more”. We have to trust our guts. We should realize why someone is always smiling and flattering us.
But at same time, we should be helpful if someone is in real trouble.
It is kind of difficult to avoid people if they are family.
What do you think?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Shooting the Breeze

In April 2013 I wrote a post about Mr. Sri Srinivasan and Ms. Kamala Harris. I would like to rehash here for the benefit of our new readers.

Kamala Devi Harris is California’s Attorney General. She will be running for Senator from California in the coming general election. She is favored to win and become a Senator.
She is the daughter of Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, a breast cancer specialist, who emigrated from Chennai, India. Her dad is Dr. Donald Harris, a professor at Stanford University. When she was young, Kamala Harris learned Bharathnatyam and Carnatic Music. She understands Tamil. Ms. Harris is 52 years old.

Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan (Sri Srinivasan) is a United States Circuit Court Judge. He is a potential candidate to be nominated as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He is likely to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away recently. Mr. Srinivasan is 49 years old and from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. He was born in Chandigarh.
Within the next 25 years, Kamala Harris has the potential to become President of the United States. And, Sri Srinivasan is likely to become the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Here is my day dreaming. When Kamala Harris takes the oath of office of the President of United States, it will be administered by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sri Srinivasan.
Since they both know Tamil and their mother tongue is Tamil, why not take the oath in Tamil instead of English.
I showed a draft of this to a friend of mine. That friend asked me who is going to translate what they say in Tamil. I replied: That is not my problem.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Customer Request

Many companies give top priority to customer satisfaction.  One of the best customer satisfaction is to absolutely follow customer’s request and direction.  That is what a delivery company did.
All photos and info - Courtesy Yahoo.
See the Customer’s request:
Please put under doormat.

See how the delivery company complied:
Customer is always right!