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Dateline Egypt

15 Apr

Have been in Cairo since last Sunday on some work. Interesting place. Posts on this soon.

The Fight (of a different kind) on the Flight

6 Apr

Mohan’s post on flying takes me back to 1999 when I was on a trip to Delhi on an Indian Airlines flight. I was in the middle seat, a colleague in the Aisle and the subject of this writeup.. a complete stranger, was in the Window seat.

So as the passengers settle in, the Air Hostess walks through the plane handing out the customary Orange Juice cartons to all the passengers. These are ones with the straw attached to it. One is supposed to punch a hole using the straw and drink it. Unfortunately for the guy next to me, the “punch hole” was aligned wrong and he was finding it very difficult to punch his straw in.

As time progressed, a “battle” was ensuing between him and the carton. He’d wait for a while and then try to “surprise” the carton by suddenly trying to insert the straw. Being unsuccessful, he’d wait for some more time and then try again. Soon it was getting personal. He was swearing at the carton under his breath. He refused to give the carton back to the Air Hostess as the plane taxied, and waited untile takeoff before resuming his battle.

Soon he had succeeded in punching a small opening, but not large enough to drink out of… As he tried more, the juice started leaking out onto his hands. My colleague and I who were watching quietly told him to ask for another one but by now it was a question of ego. He had taken out his keys and was trying to poke the carton. By this time, there was more stuff outside the carton than the inside. Now the swearwords were targeting the Carton’s mother…

Fortunately by now, the opening was large enough for him to drink out of. He gave both of us a triumphant look and took a large swig at his carton (no he didnt use the straw) and banged the carton on the tray table with a look that said.. “That’ll teach you to mess with me..”

Another Victory for Mankind 🙂

Dual citizenship – a window of opportunism?

29 Jan

Murali seems to have had a good trip to Europe. Obviously the trip was even more thought provoking based on his observation below. Again I wan’t to reiterate that this should not be construed as us tagging everybody. This was just one incident. Here is his experience.

The young chap who was sitting across the aisle with his parents on the flight to Mumbai was obviously a second-generation Indian born and brought up in the US. His accent, his clothes, his mannerisms were all a dead give-away. He was an adolescent who was probably on the verge of having his first shave, any day soon. He was, as with kids his age very conscious about his clothes and accessories. What was most interesting though was the Lance Armstrong type wrist band that he was wearing. No, it was not the Lance Armstrong yellow band, but a silicone band with the India Flag and the word India boldly and smartly embossed around the circumference. Obviously India and being an Indian is in fashion!

A few hours later it was time to fill in the immigration card and sure enough I had guessed right. Out came the American passports with a great flourish and the details were filled in. Obviously for a former Indian, being an American citizen is still in fashion. But it is time to hedge one’s bets – after all India is a happening place. We have to ensure that we stay connected to our roots. Yes, slowly but surely, the “Indian” tag is getting an aspiration value attached to it.

This got me thinking about this concept of dual citizenship. WHY? Why are we allowing it? Do we want to help people who unable to make up their minds about whether they are Americans or Indians? Are we facilitating this mercenary mind-set of those who deserted ship midway? Weren’t these the cop-outs who gave up on their birth-country when the times were rough? Why do they want back in now? More importantly why do we want them back in?

Don’t get me wrong. One must acknowledge that much of India’s upswing owes a lot to the great Indian Diaspora. We are benefiting strongly from the pioneering work, and brand name built by many of our brethren who have toiled, lived and prospered in the first world. We should be grateful to them and without a doubt these honorable folks have done us proud. I have the greatest respect for all of them in all aspects – all the people who have lived there on work-permits, green cards and converted citizenships. The only people that are difficult to have any respect for are NOT those that took up a different citizenship, BUT those that want their Indian citizenship back. These are true opportunists, who have no concept of allegiance to the country.

We should not allow the Indian citizenship to be de-valued. It is difficult to understand the concept of “dual-citizenship”. Maybe it is a new world where the word “citizen” has a new meaning. Maybe I am old-fashioned in my thinking and not “in” with it. Yes, that must be the case. When we were alighting, another kid in the same age group and similar profile accosted the kid with the bracelet. He thought the bracelet was cool and it was obviously an object of envy. India’s pride!

Back from Mysore

26 Jan

Spent the last 2 days in Mysore (a family function). Unfortunately could not visit all the places I wanted to. But I did some nice things.. walked around Karanji Lake, visited Chamundi Hills, walked on Sayaji Rao road just for old times sake. Caught up with a lot of childhood friends and their families. It was so cool.

In all the modern day madness, Mysore still retains its old world charm. Having said that, I think the roads are better than in Bangalore. Amazing thing is, you can still get from one end of town to the other in under 10 minutes.

Managed to sneak in a visit to Ramya for their set Dose.

The drive from Bangalore to Mysore was great as well. The road is wonderful and a pleasure to drive on.

Bill Gates in Raichur

5 Jan

Was in Raichur last week for a day. As we were driving, I suddenly saw a signboard that made me stop the car and take a picture. Check out Gates Infotech right above Kubera Bar and Restaurant.

This Globalization is something else isn’t it?

gatesacademy.jpg

Where the $%^* is my car?

27 Dec

Aditya’s post about frequent travel reminds me about an incident that my Uncle Ravi had some years ago.

So, he has travel to New York from Boston. He drives to the Airport in Boston only to find out that all flights are delayed because of a snowstorm. Now this being a critical meeting and all, he decides to drive to New York.

He reaches New York well in time for his meeting, finishes it, and by force of habit, jumps into a cab, heads for the airport and takes a flight back to Boston.

On reaching Boston, he tries to locate his car and cannot find it. The Airport police actually take him around the parking lot, tier by tier. Its only about half an hour into this that he realizes that his car is actually parked in New York !!! Of course the cops aren’t very amused.

He spends the night at a hotel (instead of going home), catches the first flight to New York and drives his car back to Boston.

[Guest Post] You know you travel too much when…

23 Dec

…you’ve calculated the mean and median for how long it takes you to get from your apartment door to the other side of airport security (27 minutes) so you can sneak in an extra fifteen minutes of sleep on Monday morning.

…it takes you exactly 12 minutes to pack for 4 days of travel.

…you have, by trial and error, figured out the optimal algorithm for putting winter coat, blazer, laptop, laptop bag, bag of liquids, suitcase and shoes on the security belt to facilitate efficient collection on the other side.

…you know when the algorithm is going to break because of someone in front of you.

…the flight attendants greet you like a long lost friend.

…you have your hands full with a suitcase, a cup of coffee, laptop bag but still stop to grab a newspaper when handing your boarding pass to the agent at the gate (a precarious balancing act to be sure).

…you know the “regulars” on the Monday morning shuttle by sight, and when one of them doesn’t show up, you wonder why.

…you can guess how long the line for taxis will be when you arrive (9:15 is a shorter line than 9:25).

…you can figure if a cab driver is the “talker” type or the “silent” type the moment you get into a taxi cab.

…the people at the hotel know you by name, and remember to tell you that the ice cream bar that you like is available in their little mini-market today.

…you know which treadmill in the hotel gym is the smoother one.

…you’re convinced that beds at the Courtyard Marriott are a lot more comfortable than the one at home.