Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Indian Rulers in Vietnam

Here is the story. 

A small country like Vietnam beat the mighty USA to its knees in 1975. A reporter asked the Vietnamese leader how they were able to beat the mighty USA. The leader replied: During the War, we used to study the warfare tactics of Chhatrapati Shivaji. We were inspired by him. We used his war tactics against the US Forces and won. 

When the Vietnamese Foreign Minister visited India, she asked where Shivaji’s Samadhi is located. She was told it is in Raigadh. She immediately visited Raigadh, paid her tribute, picked up the soil around the Samadhi and put it in her brief case. 

She said this soil is the land of the braves. When I go to my country, I will mix it with the soil of my country. 

Don’t you think this makes all the Indians proud! 

The problem is I have heard the same story in another place. But there is a name change. Instead of Chhatrapati Shivaji, it was Rana Pratap Singh. 

This morning, I read the same story in a Tamil news magazine. The name mentioned is King Raja Raja Chola. The Vietnamese Foreign Minister visited his palace in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, and picked up the soil around his palace. 

Similar to ethnic jokes in India. Jokes are the same. But the name of the community will differ from time to time and place to place. 

I think using such hyperbole makes them feel good.

This is it for the year 2021.  (Advance) Happy New Year Greetings.

PS: Why leave out greatest Indian female empresses and queens?  Waiting to hear about Rani Lakshmibai, Razia Sultana, Rani Padmini, Ahilyabai Holkar, etc.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Work from Home

I think I was the first person to work from home (among my friends and acquaintances and family). May be some other person worked from home before me. I have not yet come across such a person. 

I wrote the following comment in Mr. Pradeep Nair’s blog post: Work - home balance.

Interesting blog post. Work From Home. Reminds me of an incident. This was early 90s. Before Cell phones. But desk top computers were there. This was before WFH was ever heard of. I was Executive Assistant to the Regional VP. He said since he is out of the office for 16 days in a month I should work from home. I had a phone and fax machine in my home. I “WFH” for 2 full years. I enjoyed. What was the disadvantage? My wife’s friends started this rumor. Lalitha’s husband lost his job and he is at home all the time. 

Why I am writing this post? I just read the following news item: 

Mr. Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com, terminated 900 employees via a zoom call. He said “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off”. He slammed the ex-workers for allegedly “stealing from our customers” by not being productive. He said at least 250 of those employees were working only 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system. 

There is a big controversy for the method he used to fire those employees. There are “for” and “against” arguments. I am not going into that. 

I am just thinking – those employees who work from home now (due to Covid-19 Pandemic) – Do they all work full 8 hours at home as they would in an office environment?

I have seen people go for shopping. Attend to personal business. Or, just take it easy and watch television. Or, take a nap in the afternoon. Or, some even go out of town with family and while the family is enjoying vacation, the employee "works" from there.

 All you have to do is to keep your laptop connected to your office system.

What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2021

Jeeva Samadhi

A friend of mine from India forwarded me a video clip of a Rama Bhakthar (Lord Rama’s devotee) coming out of a Jeeva Samadhi. He was buried alive for 11 days. 

As per Jacob Shivanand, Jeeva Samadhi means “becoming one” with the universal consciousness or merging with God or Divine or Light. 

This is too much for my pea-brain. 

Please watch this 6 minute video clip and let me know your opinion.




Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Small Talk

Two days ago, I attended an Indian wedding in North Carolina. It was a grand wedding. All went well. Everyone was very happy. Met a few relatives I have not seen in a long time.

The previous day before marriage day was “Vratham Day”*. (I don't know how to translate this in English)  I went there and sat in a chair. A smart and beautiful young lady approached me and said “breakfast is ready. I will take you to the breakfast table”. I said my name is R and I am the bride’s…. Even before I could finish, she said I know you are the bride’s paternal uncle. I was impressed she did her homework before having conversation with me. She said her name is S and she lives in Seattle. I said I used to live in Sammamish for a few years. She said she is familiar with that place. It was a short small talk. 

This young lady impressed me because she did not ask the usual intrusive questions Indians/NRIs ask when they meet someone for the first time. Within 2 minutes of meeting the following 2 questions will come up: 

Where did you go to college? 

Where do you work? 

If it is in India, with some people there will be another question – What is your salary. 

I think asking such intrusive questions upon first meeting are impolite. But why they still ask? Once, a professor at a famous university in USA told me that Indians are really inquisitive people. This is their habit of placing people in their social hierarchy. 

Some of the other intrusive questions (during small talk) I have heard: 

Why aren’t you married yet? 

When are you going to have a baby? 

How old are you? 

If you have heard/experienced any other intrusive questions, please let me know.

Vratham is a religious ceremony performed for both the bride and the groom.  For the bride, it is the tying of holy thread on her wrist to ward off all evil spirits.  Kind of protective armor for the bride.  For the groom, preparing himself as a new chapter in his life as a Grihasta (householder). (Courtesy: Vadhyar.com)


Friday, November 12, 2021

Power Trip

Is this a power trip? 

Wall Street Journal reporter wrote an article about Indian Bureaucracy. I think in the year 1990. I am not sure about the year. That reporter interviewed many Indian government employees. 

One of them was an Under Secretary in the Finance Ministry. This is what he told the Wall Street Journal reporter. I paraphrase: 

“I am an Under Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. I live in R. K. Puram (Rama Krishna Puram). I go to my office by bus. I don’t have money to buy anything after the 22nd of the month. I have to wait till I get paid on the 1st of the month. But I am proud, in my office, I can make J.R.D. Tata wait outside my office for 15 minutes."

Is this a power trip? What do you think? 

There are 2 words. I don’t know if they are Sanskrit words or Tamil words.  

Janma Saabalyam. Meaning Life Accomplishment/purpose. 

So, that Under Secretary attained his Janma Saabalyam by making JRD Tata wait outside his office for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 1, 2021

"Bubble" Fatigue

Jasprit Bumrah says India suffering “Bubble” fatigue. He said "sometimes you need a break. You miss your family. You've been on the road for six months”. 

Here are my thoughts: 

Why did you then play in IPL? 

Don’t you all travel with your families? 

Don’t you feel fatigue when playing IPL? Money gives you extra stamina? 

Take the “well-deserved” break immediately and go home forfeiting the remaining 3 matches.

Why are unfit players in the team? And, fit players left out. Bring on Deepak Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Shreyas Iyer in the playing eleven. (My personal opinion) 

Will fatigue still be there if there is another IPL immediately after this World Cup? 

Here are my final thoughts: 

Players get extra bonus for excellent performance. Likewise, they should be charged huge amount of money for nonperformance.  Example: Rs.10 lakh for a duck. Rs.5 lakh for under 25.  Rs.10 lakh for a zero wicket.

There is also “man of the match” award. There should be a “wimp of the match” award for the worst performer. Then only these “semi-gods” will learn.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Self Confidence?

Dictionary describes “Self Confidence” as “a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment”. 

NBA (National Basketball Association) of USA holds all-star game every year. 12 players from Eastern Conference teams and 12 players from Western Conference teams play an exhibition game. 

One of the side attractions is an individual 3-point shootout contest. 

Larry Bird was one of the great professional basketball players for the team Boston Celtics. In one year, before the 3-point shootout contest, he was curiously looking at all the other contestants. A reporter asked him what he is looking for. 

Larry replied: I am wondering who is going to come in second. 

Some people may think it was a trash talk. I feel it was an extreme self confidence 

Larry Bird came in first and won the 3-point shootout contest that year.


What is your opinion.  Is it self confidence or arrogance?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Babar Conquers India (again)

(The title for this blog post was suggested to me by my friend, Madhu Ramachandran.) 

India vs Pakistan = Pakistan won. Resounding loss for India. 

Run wise = It was kind of tight. India made 151 in 20 overs. Pakistan made 152 in 17.5 overs.

Wicket wise = It was one sided. India lost 7 wickets in 20 overs. Pakistan did not lose any wicket. In other words, India was unable to get even a single wicket. 

In fairness, India was kind of unlucky. To start with, they lost the coin toss and Pakistan chose to field first. Even though past performance is not a prediction for future, in Dubai, the team that opt to bowl first wins most of the time. Kohli was the only solid performer with 57 runs in 49 balls. 

India did not execute properly. They lost the first 3 wickets for only 31 runs. 

Pakistani bowlers were excellent. Pakistan went into the match as heavy underdogs. But they managed to beat India for the first time in a world cup match. Pakistani opening batsmen never allowed India to come back. They were more confident. Pakistanis will celebrate. And, remember this day for a very very long time. 

It is not the end of the world for India. This is just one game they lost. You lose a battle but you hope to win the war. But for tonight - All I had to say – to quote “Dandy” Don Meredith – Turn out the lights, the party is over.

PS: I was surprised Indian team took the knee in support of BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement!  The game was not played in USA,  The game was not against USA,  I would have appreciated if they took the knee in support of Dalits in India.

Friday, October 22, 2021

David Jude Johnson

David Jude Johnson was India’s fastest bowler. Perhaps the fastest bowler in the world. Have you heard of his name? I am afraid not. He clicked 150 plus on several occasions. He holds the record of 156.9 km/hour. He played for India only in 2 tests. Then he was dropped for no fault of him. 


Johnson played his first test for India against Australia in 1996. His second and last test for India against South Africa, also in 1996. 

At domestic level, Johnson played 28 matches at first class level and took 95 wickets. He even scored a century with his bat once. 

He was born in Karnataka. When he took 8 wickets in a game in Bangalore, he was inducted into the Swastic Union Cricket Club. He became a Karnataka Ranji Trophy player. Johnson bowled against such stalwarts like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Saurav Ganguly.

Johnson was called to play for India. But the selectors preferred Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath. At one time there were 7 Karnataka players in the Indian team. He became the unlucky person. 

There is always a rumor that Indian cricket always favor players from a certain community. Johnson being an Anglo Indian was not looked upon favorably. This is purely my personal opinion. 

He is now the under-16 coach for the South Zone. 

India did not use this fast bowler to its advantage. 

Source: Sportskeeda – Rahul Kargal – David Johnson: A tale of possibilities and harsh realities.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Thalaivi (Tamil Movie)

Saw the Tamil movie Thalaivi. This is a biopic about Jayalalithaa. This is not a review. Here are my thoughts after watching that movie. 

Kangana Ranaut playing the role of Jayalalithaa. In beauty, poise, and personality, she is no comparison to the original. If Jayalalithaa is a 10 Kangana Ranaut is a 2. Can’t they find any Tamil actress to play this role? 

Aravind Swamy as MJR (MGR). If MGR is a 10 Aravind Swamy is a 4. He looks like many people who come on TV as a “MGR look alike” and entertain the audience. 

The only good acting I saw was when Kangana Ranaut goes to a dilapidated school and cleans it. 

They show RNV as a villain. May be the Director thought every movie should have a hero, heroine, and a villain. So he chose RNV for a villain part. Thank God the Director did not make Karunanidhi as a comedian. As per Film News Anandan “R.M. Veerappan had an antipathy towards Jayalalithaa that had no basis at all.” 

There are many factual errors. Here are a few. 

The film shows Jayalalitha is trying to flirt with MJR and become his lover. Again, as per Film News Anandan “She was definitely not flirtatious or pushy in her behavior towards MGR or any producer.” The rumor goes that MGR kept Jayalalitha under his control all the time. 

Chief Minister Annadurai did not die of old age. He died at the age of 59 due to oral cancer.

Karunanidhi was not the Deputy Chief Minister at that time. He was elected as the Chief Minister in the last minute with the support of MGR. Nedunchezhian, the senior most leader in the party, was the prohibitive favorite to be become the Chief Minister. He was upset by Karunanidhi.

The Director introduces Sasikala as a videographer. She was never a videographer. She had a small store renting Tamil movie CDs. She used to go to Jayalalitha’s home to deliver the rentals. 

The movie shows the Madras/Delhi/Madras flights as Air India planes. Indian domestic flights (when Jayalalitha was Rajya Sabha Member) were operated by Indian Airlines and not by Air India. In 2007, the Indian Government announced the merger of these 2 airlines and completed the merger in 2011. 

As for as this movie is concerned, it is very difficult to believe this is a biopic about Jayalalitha. We can enjoy this movie if we forget this is a biopic. In order to make it good, they conveniently did not show any of her faults and arrogance. 

Not impressed with this movie.  In  order to be politically correct, Kangana Ranaut may win some national awards for portraying Jayalalitha.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Passport Problem (update)

In general, there is this six-month rule. 

However, It gets confusing. Each country has exceptions for certain countries. 

For example: 

An American passport holder – To enter United Kingdom - Passport Requirement: Must be valid for the duration of your stay and must have at least one blank page. 

But 

An Australian passport holder – To enter United Kingdom - Passport Requirement: Must be valid for at least six months. 

Therefore, please check (when you are making travel plans) with the airline and also with the Embassy/Consulate/High Commission of any country you may be wishing to travel.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Passport Problem

I just found out that no country will let you in (except your own) on a passport set to expire within six months of the date of arrival. So, international travelers, make sure your passport has a validity of more than six months when you are planning a foreign trip. 

My personal opinion is this is a ridiculous rule. A passport is supposed to be valid until the date of expiry. Why not I visit a country for 3 days if my passport is valid for another 5 months only? 

But again, rule is rule (however ridiculous it may be). 

You cannot fight the City Hall. (City Hall is a slang for government in general in North America)

Update:

There are some exceptions.  Will write about it in my next post.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Indian Ingenuity

A restaurant in Bangalore has come out with a “modern” idli. Instead of making it in a round shape in an idli steam plate, they made it on a stick with sambar and chutney as a dip.


Lot of people are for the new innovation and lot of people are against it. 

FOR: 

Very hygienic. Do not have to wash hands. Can save water. 

Does not matter what shape it is. When we eat, we always cut it into small pieces and eat it.

When there is a change, there will always be opposition. 

It is fine. But there should be a new name for it, like Kuchi Idli (Stick Idli). 

Lot of people will be employed in the idli stick making industry. 

AGAINST: 

In the name of bringing new ideas, we have already destroyed lot of traditional taste of many dishes. 

We are not innovative in any other category except food. 

Next, they will make medhu vada without the center hole. Also, they will make drumstick payasam. 

Idli should be round shaped only and cannot accept any other shape. 

To make the stick, lot of trees will be destroyed. 

Cannot beat that special feeling when we take a portion of the idli, dump it in sambar, put it in the mouth and then lick the fingers. 
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What is your opinion on this issue? Please comment. Thanks.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Nice Gesture

Once, (ex) President Obama was leaving the White House in a helicopter. 

Usually, a U.S. marine soldier will stand guard outside the helicopter. He will salute the President (Commander-in-Chief) when he boards the helicopter. 

This day, when Obama came to board the helicopter, the marine soldier saluted him. Obama is supposed to salute him back. But he ignored the marine soldier and boarded the helicopter. Once he was inside the helicopter, he immediately remembered he made a mistake by not saluting back to the marine soldier. 

What did Obama then do? 

He came down from the helicopter. Shook the marine’s hand and apologized and then boarded the helicopter. See this video clip.

 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Love is Blind

This is a true story.  It happened a long time ago.

There was an American in India employed there.  When he came back to San Francisco after his assignment he brought with him his cook.  (In those days it was very easy to sponsor a personal servant).  The cook, Jambunathan, was a Tamil guy and his English very poor.  In those days, there were not that many Indians in the Bay Area and that too Tamilians are almost nil.  Jambunathan was feeling lonely.

His American employer met the Indian Consul General and explained the situation.  I knew the Consul General very well.  One day he called and asked me to help Jambunathan adjust to life here and socialize with him.  I agreed.  One day this Jambunathan came to my house.  He was about 55 at that time.  His wife and 4 kids were living in Tamil Nadu.  He was so deferential he won’t even sit in front of me.  He brought sweets for my family.

He used to come to our home during holidays like Diwali, Pongal, Tamil New Year, etc.

One day he came to our home and started to cry.  He said he had a fight with his employer.  The employer said if he leaves his employment he has to go back to India and cannot stay in USA.  I asked if he has any papers.  Fortunately, he had his Indian Passport.  I looked at it. At the last page, I saw his Green Card number.  (The American employer conveniently took Jambunathan’s Green Card at the SFO Airport immigration.)

I told him the whole truth.  I said I will get a duplicate Green Card for him.  I went to the Immigration and Naturalization Office and got a form to fill out to request for a replacement Green Card for the lost one.  I received another Green Card within 10 days.  I gave it to Jambunathan and told him not to tell his employer. I also told him to keep it safe and this is his permission to stay in the USA for as long as he wants to.  He was very happy.

After a few months he came.  He said he found a job at the home of a millionaire in Los Angeles.  I wished him well.  He left.  Never saw him for another 3 years.

One day he came to my home unannounced.  I asked him where he is working now.  He was hesitant to tell me.  I asked him a few times.  He said “amma irukanga. Adhunala solla mudiyala” (Your wife is standing here and listening.  So, I hesitate to tell you).  I told my wife to go to the other room.

This is what he said in Tamil. I will paraphrase in English. 

“I was working with this millionaire in Los Angeles.  His daughter graduated from college and admitted to a reputed university in the Bay Area for her master’s degree. She is 23.  Her father bought a flat for her in the Bay Area so that she can live there and go to the university.  They also sent me to cook for her and take are of the flat.  That girl loved my cooking so much she started to love me.  Now we both live in the flat like husband and wife”.

I asked him if her parents knew this.  He said no.  I told him what he is doing is not right.  Even if she fell in love with you, you should have advised her properly because you are as old as her dad.

He left my home.   Never saw him afterwards.

PS: Name changed for privacy’s sake.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Something Strange

I had ordered a new credit card from a company called Capital One. Their credit cards are popular and it is a decent company. Here is the strange thing. 

I have not received the credit card yet. Once I receive the credit card I have to call Capital One and activate it. Then only I can use it to charge any expense. 

I was looking my online account for that card. There is a charge for $996.00 from a company called Agoda.com. I checked in the internet and it is a travel plan company. 

I called Capital One. They immediately cancelled the unreceived card. They also immediately gave me a credit for $996.00. I am very pleased with Capital One. 

They are sending me a new credit card. 

My question is how can someone get hold of my card and charge on it when I have not yet received it and activate. 

I thought someone stole my mail. But I received that card by mail this evening.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Biden's Watch

President Biden came to Dover Air Force Base to receive the 13 deceased U.S. military personnel.

These 13 U.S. military personnel were killed during the Kabul airport bombing. Their coffins draped in U.S. flag came to Dover Air Force Base. President Biden, as Commander In Chief, came to receive them. While coffins passed by him, Biden kept looking at his watch. 


Many people said this was a clear disrespect for the fallen soldiers. I do not think so. He could have had many other reasons. Here are some of them:

May be it was time to change his diapers. 

May be he was admiring his new watch he got for his birthday. 

May be he was hungry and late for his lunch.

May be he was checking how long he has to stand because his legs were hurting. 

May be he did not know where he was (Dementia?). 

May be he was bored. 

May be he was afraid he would miss his favorite TV show. 

May be he thought this was interfering with his nap time. 

Please let me know if you know any other reason. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Courier (2020 Film)

I just saw this movie on Amazon Prime. Directed by Dominic Cooke. Main actors are Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninedze. 

This is a true story made into a movie. Story involved around the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

A British intelligence M16 officer and an American Intelligence CIA officer had contact with a Colonel in the GRU (Russian Foreign Military Intelligence Agency). He agrees to share the top-secret documents in exchange for helping him to defect to USA with his family. 

The M16 and CIA wanted someone to be a courier who will secretly bring the documents passed on by this GRU Colonel from Moscow to London. Since the Soviets suspect anyone and everyone, these M16 and CIA officers decided to recruit an innocent salesman to be the courier. The salesman initially refuses and then agrees. 

He successfully brings back to London many secret documents given by this GRU Colonel during the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, the Soviet Union has a spy inside the CIA. They come to know that top secret information is being passed on to M16 and CIA. 

The GRU Colonel was supposed to go to London on a trade mission. He was ordered not to go in the last minute. M16 and CIA suspected that the cover of this innocent salesman had been blown. They asked the salesman to drop out of this mission and go home and resume his regular salesman work. 

M16 officer wanted to abandon the GRU Colonel saying it all happens in this business. But the salesman had sympathy for the GRU Colonel and he did not want to abandon him. He was supported by the CIA officer. 

Finally, they (CIA officer and the salesman) decided to go to Moscow and kidnap the GRU Colonel and his family to West Berlin. 

Did they succeed in this mission? Very interesting real life true story. Worth watching. (Please don't read Wikipedia about this movie.  It gives the ending of this story.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jeopardy

Jeopardy is an Emmy award winning quiz game show in USA. This show started in 1984 and, after 37 years, it is still one of the most popular shows in US Television history. 

I may be wrong. But in my personal opinion, if you want to be a contestant and win here, one has to have Ph.D. in every subject in the world. 

The host of the show, Alex Trebek, was even more popular than the show itself. He hosted this show from 1984 until his death last year. He is a Canadian. In 1998 Alex became a naturalized US citizen, 

As Katie Couric, American television journalist, said ’His omnipresence is very reassuring”. Alex Trebek is someone that people have really liked having in their living room every day for almost 35 years. 

Alex was such a popular personality, that after his death the producers of Jeopardy are finding it difficult to find a suitable replacement. So far, they have tried 16 people and still unable to select a replacement. 

Included among the 16 are: 

Anderson Cooper, CNN news 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN 

George Stephanopoulos, Senior advisor to President Clinton and now with ABC news 

Aaron Rodgers, American football player and a graduate from University of California, Berkeley 

Here is an episode of the Jeopardy hosted by Alex Trebek. Please watch.

 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Outstanding Athlete

Thank God the Olympics are over. We can rest for another 3 years. There was only one athlete that stood out for me. She is a female. She is not well built like female athletes from many countries. She is a tiny person (48 kg).


Her name is Sifan Hassan. She is an Ethiopian born Dutch middle and long distance runner.

Sifan won a bronze medal for 1500 meters, a gold medal for 5000 meters and another gold medal for 10000 meters. 

During one of the qualifying rounds (3 races) for 1500 meters, Sifan collided with another runner and fell down but still managed to win the bronze in the finals. She has to run twice (semi final and final) for her 5000 meter gold medal. 

After this, will any one think of running in the 10000 meter race. Sifan decided to participate. She won the gold in 10000 meters not just because of her stamina and endurance but also with her sheer determination.

 

After finishing the race, she fell down. Was crying for water for full 30 seconds. Finally, a medic came with a water bottle.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Etiquette for Olympiad

This blog post was originally published in July 2012 under the title "Etiquette for XXX Olympiad". But this blog post written during London Olympics will be good for Olympics in any city in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Why I Don't Like To Watch Tokyo Olympics

The following are the reasons: 

Time Difference:  USA is behind in time from Japan by 16 hours.  Whatever American television (NBC) shows as "live" I already know the results.  I knew Naomi Osaka lost her tennis match before their "live" broadcast.  I already knew the mighty unbeatable American basketball team lost to France.

American prejudice:  The network (NBC) thinks Americans want to watch only American athletes.  That is why they are losing the audience.  The American public wants to watch and learn about all the athletes.  For example, if in an event an American athlete comes in 5th place they will ignore all the other first 4 and starts to interview and tell the life history of the athlete that came is 5th.  His/her childhood, how did he/she trained, if he /she brought his/her significant other to the Olympics, and if they slept together before the event.

Unrecognizable events if an American is participant.  I watched an athletic event called "Slalom Canoe". I watched it for one hour.  (Side bar:  Even though I am  not an athlete, I have theoretical knowledge about many games and their rules. From Kho Kho to American Football)  I had no idea how this game Slalom Canoe is played and how they score points and how they win. They showed for a long time only because some Americans were the contestants.  Many Americans went back to sleep.

They will never show any event that Americans are not participating.  For example: Field Hockey. Badminton, Handball, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Trampoline.

Stay Tuned for my next week's blog post.  I will repost the blog post I wrote about spectators for the London Olympics in 2012.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Developed, But Is It?

I wrote before briefly about my uncle's remote village in Tamil Nadu.  There was no electricity.  There was no phone.  You have to cross a river to go to the village. There is no bridge and therefore you have to walk through the water to go to other other side.

Here are some more details.

There is a special street where only rich people live.  How many houses in that street?  Just one.  My uncle's house.  One has to cross that street to go to the other streets where poor people lived.  The unwritten rule is bullock carts can go thru that street from 6 am to 6 pm.  And, that too the people who are sitting in that bullock cart should get down and walk until crossing that street.  After 6 pm and until 6 am next morning,   no bullock cart can go thru that street because our family is sleeping in the middle of the street on our cots.  (There were only 3 weather patterns there.  Hot. Hottest, Murder)

My uncle had few servants.  They were  not allowed to come inside the house.  They came thru the side doors to clean the house, clean the dishes, milk the cows, and take the cattle and cows for grazing.

This was long time ago.

Now that village has electricity, bridge over the river, so many phones, high rise apartments, and even a high school.

Couple of years ago I went to India and visited that village where I used to go every summer vacation.

Unfortunately, my uncle's wife (aunt) died.  She was sick and not having good health.

Two incidents I noticed.

The daughter of my uncle's servant who used to milk the cows is now a prominent doctor in the nearby town.  My cousins called her to come and check up my aunt.  She immediately came to our village in a driver driven car.  She was hesitant to come into the house.  My cousins insisted she come inside the house and check my aunt.  The doctor came inside.  She was hesitant to touch my aunt,  Finally, she took out a silk cloth, put it around my aunt's wrist and checked her pulse.  Same thing with stethoscope.

With tears in her eyes, she said my aunt's life is only a few hours away.  And, she left.  I have never seen a doctor gets emotional in any country in the world about a patient.  I have lived in 5 countries.  (Doctors never show any emotion.)

My aunt passed way.  The next day my cousins were arranging a funeral for her.  

The body was inside the house.  There came a fancy car.  Who comes out of that car?  A prominent lawyer who is also the "Leader of the Bar" in the nearby town.  A few of his juniors were also with him.  Who is he?  He is the son of the servant who took care of the cattle and cows for grazing.

He came to pay his last respect to my aunt.  My cousins asked him to come inside the house to pay his respects.  He refused and stayed outside the house with his juniors.

Finally, the body came out.  The lawyer fell on the floor in the street in front of the body. Got up with tears in his eyes, got into the car and left. 

Are we developed or not?  You tell me.

PS: My wife used to make fun about these villages all the time. That remote village was my mom's where there was only one house in the agraharam.  But my dad's village, which was 3 miles away, had 24 houses in the agraharam.   My wife used to tell everyone that compared to my mom's village, my dad's village is New York City.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Unique in Sports

Cricket: The only game where the captain makes all the decision – after winning the toss whether to bat or bowl, who will bowl, when to change the bowler, how to rearrange the field, who to send to bat in which order, when to declare the innings. In other sports, captain is only for toss up.

Baseball: The catcher (ala wicket keeper) tells – via signal – the pitcher (ala bowler) what kind of ball to throw (ala bowl).

Volleyball: the libero (defensive specialist) is the player that wears a different color jersey from their teammates. The libero is a specially designated player that is allowed to replace any player in the back row without the need to substitute. They may never play in the front row. 

Soccer (Football): The goalie wears a different color jersey other than the rest of the team. 

American Football – The games go on no matter what – Rain or Shine or Snow or Thunderstorm or national mourning. Two days after President Kennedy was assassinated the NFL (National Football League) games went on as usual. The then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later said it was the biggest mistake of his career. 

Golf – It is the game where a golfer does not get a point on the opponent’s mistake.

Ice Hokey: It has 2 intermissions in each game.  A total of 3 periods, each with 20 minutes.

If you know any other sports which are unique, please let me know

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Looking Back

I read in the internet about the arrest of self-styled (fraud) Shiva Shankar Baba. Kudos to the police. My thoughts went a few years back. 

Our mother wanted to go see and get a darshan of this Baba in Chennai. She asked my younger brother to take her to see him. My brother refused by saying this guy is a fraud. (He used a rather derogatory word “Basxxrd”). But my mom insisted. Therefore, my brother took her to see this Baba in his ashram. 

At the ashram hundreds of people were waiting to have a darshan of this baba. My brother told our mom that he would wait outside and not come inside. He will take her home after the darshan is over.

While waiting outside, he saw a crowd nearby. He was curious. He went to find out what was the commotion. There was a couple with a dead body of their 14 year old girl. The taxi driver who was supposed to take them to the nearby village, put the body in the street and refused to drive. 

The driver wanted the agreed amount of Rs.2,000 then and there. The couple were crying. They said they have the money at home and will pay him after reaching the village. The driver refused. He said the parents would refuse to pay the money once he reached their village. 

There were more than 50 people in the crowd. No one was willing to help. 

My brother took out Rs.2,000 from his pocket. He gave it to the parents in front of the driver. Told them to give the money to the driver only after reaching their village. He gave his number to the parents and driver in case of any problem. 

My brother helped the parents put back the body in the car and they drove away. 

Our mom came out after the darshan.  My brother told our mom what happened while he was waiting outside. 

My mom said: It is the Baba who made you go outside and help that poor parents. 

My brother replied with a “facepalm”.

 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

A Page from the Past

Long time ago, we were living in San Francisco city (when it was livable). 

Went to Safeway (grocery store) to buy groceries. After purchasing, I was standing in the line to pay for them. There were about 8 people standing behind me. I recognized one of the guys. He was the Consul General of India. 

At that moment, the Store Manager came by. I knew him since I was a regular customer. I told him the Indian Consul General was standing in the line and point out him to the Store Manager. 

The Store Manager went to him and said: Sir, please come with me. I will open a special counter for you. You don’t have to stand in the line. 

The Indian Consul General replied: Thanks for your offer. I prefer standing in line like everyone else.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Loophole

Here are two examples of how people take advantage. 

According to Taiwan labor laws, newly married can get 8 days off for enjoying honeymoon. A Taiwanese couple took advantage of this and divorced and married each other 4 times within 37 days of their marriage. Therefore, they claimed 32 days off for honeymoon. 

His company disapproved his leave claims. He took the case to the Taipei city labor department. The labor department fined the company for violating the labor laws. 

They got married on April 6, 2020 and divorced on April 16. Got married one day later on April 17 and divorced again on April 28. Married again on April 29 and divorced on May 11. Married again on May 12.

Taiwanese Mayor said they are reevaluating the marriage-leave policy. 

I want to share a real-life story. The following anecdote is not a fiction. 

Long time ago, in our company, there was a girl who was a first line manager. Her supervisor was a second line manager. One day, this girl, the first line manager, filed a case within the company hierarchy alleging “sexual harassment” against her male second line manager. 

The company wanted to avoid this case going to a public litigation because it will be bad for the company’s image and PR purpose. So, the company decided to settle the case with her,

Meantime, the Second Level manager resigned his job. The first line manager, who complained, got an excellent cash compensation for her “suffering”. She also quit the company immediately. 

They both got married in a week.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are divorcing. In this grave pandemic situation, Newspapers  are obsessed with how their wealth ($143 Billion) will be divided between the two. I immediately thought of what Alexander the Great said when he was about to die.
 
On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes: 

The best doctors should carry his coffin. 

The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery. 

His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see. 

One of his generals asked him to explain the reasons. Here is what Alexander the Great has to say. 

I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal. 

I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth. 

I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed. 

While I was writing this post, the following landed in my inbox. HaHaHa



 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Poor Judgement

Last week I wrote about Senicide.  The following is a real life story.  Not a fiction.  I knew the characters personally.  Very tragic.

His name is Larry. An Anglo Saxon White guy. He was working in our company as a junior level manager. He was a bachelor, never married. He lived with his aged mother. He was not heterosexual. Unlike some others, he never advertised his sexual orientation as a gay person. But his mother and friends knew this and accepted that fact. Of course, he had a lover. His name is Charles.

I knew him well. But he was not a close friend of mine. We have been to his house one or two times. He, his mother, and his lover have come to our house once.

Larry loved his mother to death. He took care of her daily needs with love and affection. He would cook for her every day. Made sure she had her medications every day. Daily, Larry would take her mother for walking exercise. He took her on exotic vacation twice a year. In short, he took care of his mother as if he would take care of his own newborn baby.

He never drank. He never smoked.

One day, the fate struck. His doctor diagnosed he has AIDS. He was devastated. His mother was even more devastated. As months went by, his health deteriorated. Larry weighed 200 lbs. And, after 9 months he weighed only 130 lbs. He could not go to work. Therefore, he went on medical disability. He was unable to drive his car. His lover, Charles and another close friend, Sam (a straight guy) took care of the daily needs of Larry and his mother.

Larry was becoming depressed more and more every day. One day, he took several sleeping pills in order to commit suicide. However, Charles saw this and rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance. Doctors saved his life.

Many visitors came to see him at the hospital. All of them (except Sam) were unanimous in their scolding to Larry. “Why did you do this stupid thing? Your mother is very old. Who is going to take care of her if you die? If you die, your aged mother will become an orphan. Your mother is having health problems. You are going to aggravate her condition by committing suicide.”

Larry was discharged from the hospital 3 days later. Since Larry cannot take care of himself, Sam and Larry’s mother decided to admit him in a Care Home. Care Home is a home where they take care of sick people for a fee. He was there for a week. His mother was lonely at home. Sam went there every day to see how she was doing. She knew that her son was dying of AIDS. She decided to take Larry back home. Since Larry had suicidal tendencies, Sam was opposed to this idea. Sam and Larry’s mother approached the doctor in that Care Home. The doctor refused to talk to Sam. It is the law that doctors are supposed to talk only to family members, if the patient has one.

Larry and her mother talked to the Care Home doctor. No one knew the conversation. The doctor decided to release him from the Care Home and let Larry go home with his mother.

On a Thursday evening Larry called Sam about his car insurance. Sam said he will do the needful. On Friday evening Sam called Larry at his home. The phone was ringing and there was no answer. Sam decided to go to Larry’s house on Saturday. Larry’s neighbor called Sam on Saturday morning at 10 am. He said he knocked Larry’s door and there was no answer. The newspapers have not been picked up from the patio.

Since the neighbor had the extra key to Larry’s house, Sam asked him to open the door. After 10 minutes Larry’s neighbor called Sam and informed him that Larry and his mother are dead. There is blood all over the house. Sam asked the neighbor to call the police and rushed there.

To end this post, this is what happened. The visitors who came to see him in the hospital were scolding him as to what would happen to his aged mother if he committed suicide. This was a very poor judgement on the part of the visitors. Since Larry was already depressed and loved his mother, he was worried so much about the fate of his mother in case he should die naturally or commit suicide. He finally decided to kill his own mother, before taking his life, so that she would not suffer or become a helpless orphan after his death. So on Friday he took a claw hammer (a sharp V shaped at the end) and hit his mother forcefully in the back of her head several times. Blood was forced out of her head. There were blood marks on the ceiling, on the window screen, and on the side lamp shade. She died.

Larry then went to his room. Took a blade and cut the veins in his hands, legs, and neck. He also died 20 minutes later.

This is not a fiction. This is a true story. Larry and Sam worked in our Company. I have changed the real names to protect their privacy. Couple of days later Sam came to see me and told me the whole story. I said Larry made the wrong decision to kill his mother. Even if it was right in his mind, I told Sam, he could have put a bullet into her head as opposed to beating her forcefully in the back of her head several times. Sam just wept.

The lesson: When we visit someone who is very sick, we should say some encouraging words. We should not depress more a person who is already depressed.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Thalaikoothal

Thalaikoothal is a Tamil word.  English translation is Senicide.  Killing of elderly people by the relatives.  It is an involuntary euthanasia.  When an elderly person becomes very sick, the relatives (mostly children) perform Thalaikoothal so he/she dies peacefully.

Some do it so the elderly person does not suffer a lot.  Some others do it because they don’t have money to take care of them or for operation. Village people think it is mercy killing.

I was surprised to see this is being practiced in villages in Tamil Nadu. This is illegal but still practiced in Tamil Nadu.

I came to know about this when I was watching a Tamil documentary type movie in Amazon Prime.  The movie is titled Baaram (Burden). Watched it last night. Very disturbing.  Could not eat dinner.

They say there are 26 different methods to do Senicide.  Most popular is giving cold water massage on the head of the elderly person and then giving him coconut water.  This will reduce the body temperature sufficient enough to cause heart failure.  In Tamil language, Thalai means head.  I don't know what is the meaning of Koothal.

In this movie, the guy was injected with poison.

Wonder why the Indian Government is not going after the culprits.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Great Indian Kitchen

This is not  a movie review but my own thoughts

A friend suggested I see this Malayalam movie, The Great Indian Kitchen.  To put it mildly I was shocked and stunned.  Having lived my entire adult life in USA, I could not believe this was happening in an educated family in India.

Nimisha Sanjayan is a dancer and brought up in Bahrain.  She gets into an arranged marriage with a teacher in Kerala.  Her in law home is a patriarchal family.  She tries very hard to adjust and be submissive.  But they test her patience.

Don’t want to give the end of the story.

The movie is directed by Jeo Baby.

The actress Nimisha Sanjayan did not just act.  She becomes a real submissive housewife.  She tries to adjust to their whims and fancies.  But she can tolerate only so much.

She tolerates some of the disgusting things:

The husband and father in law eat and spit the waste all over the dining table.  She has to eat there after men finished eating.  But when they go to a restaurant, the husband shows good table manners.  The wife asks him about it.  The husband gets made and ask her to apologize.

The father in law is a cunning character.  He asks her not to cook rice in a gas stove.  He wants his rice cooked only in fire.  He does not like his clothes washed in a washing machine.  He asks the daughter in law to wash his clothes by hand.

I don’t even want to go about her sufferings during her monthly period time.  She should be away from everyone else.  In fact, it was suggested she should not sleep in a bed.  She should sleep on the floor.

The movie is not about the “great” Indian kitchen.  It is about the Indian domestic slavery.  It is about a wife who is a cook, cleaner, and a sex slave.

Excellent movie.  Everyone should watch this.  Orthodox patriarchal families should learn a lesson.