Friday, September 25, 2009

Musical Chairs in the Plane

I am still in Greensboro. Since I had some free time, I thought I would post this.

This happened on our way to Greensboro, North Carolina.

We had booked our flight from San Francisco. It was an A 321 (Air Bus). The plane was fully booked. Whenever I pay for myself, I travel by “cattle class” only. Thank you Mr. Shashi Tharoor for coining that phrase. We could not sit together. My wife’s seat was 7B. My seat was 8B.

In an A 321, there are 3 seats in each row. A is window seat. B is center seat. C is aisle seat. The best is aisle seat. Window seat is second best. Center seat is the worst. We both had the worst seat.

As soon as we entered the plane, my wife sat in 7B. I went to the next row. There was a good-looking girl sitting in 8A. There was a guy sitting in 8C. Now I have to sit between them. The guy was already flirting with that girl. As soon as I approached them, the guy told me he would be glad to sit in the center seat and I can have the aisle seat. It was a win-win situation. I got the aisle seat for me. He has an uninterrupted 5 hours of flirting with that girl and get cozy.

However, man proposes and God disposes. (That good-looking girl must have been a frequent flyer with lot of points to her credit. She must have asked to be upgraded to executive class.) After a few minutes, the airhostess comes and tells the girl that she has been upgraded to executive class. She picks up her stuff and leaves saying goodbye to that guy. Now I took pity on that guy and asked him if he wants his aisle seat back. He said no and he would be happy to sit in the window seat.

However, the airlines think otherwise. Since the girl in 8A has moved to executive class, now that seat is “officially” vacant. After a few minutes, a big fat guy has been allotted that seat and comes and sits in that seat. Now our friend is in the middle seat. I asked him one more time if he wanted his original aisle seat back. Now he is embarrassed to take back what he gave me originally. He said no and I can sit in the aisle seat.

While this is happening in my row, in row 7, a guy came and sat in 7C, the aisle seat. I asked him if he would like to exchange to 8C. He said he would be happy to. Therefore, I took 7C and he took 8C. Now my wife and I were sitting side by side in 7C and 7B.

The poor guy, who gave up his aisle seat in 8C for me so that he can flirt with that good looking girl, ended up sitting in the center seat 8B, between 2 fat guys.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And Now The Award Goes To....

I received this Beautiful Blogger award from Neha.

Thank you Neha. I am honored. I would also like to thank you for being the spokesperson and recommending my blog to other readers.

Now, I would like to pass on this award to:

Insignia – She has no idea that I consider her as my blog guru. I got my inspiration to write my own blog only after reading her posts. To this Ekalavya, she is like Dronacharya. I hope this Insigniacharya does not ask my typing fingers to be cut and given to her as guru dakshina.

Renu - She is one of my favorite blogger. She writes on different subjects and is not afraid to voice her opinions.

Shruti - She is a down to earth blogger. I like her writing style.

I am off to Greensboro, North Carolina, for a week. See ya’ll when I return.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Serena Williams

Serena Williams’ behavior at the semi final of the U.S. Open brings disgrace to the entire sports community. Almost at the match point, a lineswoman called foot fault. Serena was so incensed that she began a tirade against that woman.

According to CBS, approaching the lineswoman who made the call, Serena said “I’m going to shove this (bad word) ball down your (bad word) throat”. A review of the tape showed that Serena did not make a foot fault. However, her behavior cannot be excused. Even Mr. Nice Guy John McEnroe said that was too much. A tennis player with a star status, Billie Jean King criticized Serena.

It does not matter what the circumstances are. No player should be allowed to engage in this type of behavior and not face the consequences. This includes some cricket players also.

I am not saying questioning the umpire is wrong. The limit should not be crossed. Many professional American baseball coaches argue with the umpires. The most famous for this was the late Billy Martin. He was the coach, at different times, for Oakland A’s and New York Yankees. He said once: I do not go and argue with the umpire thinking he will change his decision. I argue with him so that next time he wants to call against my team, he will think twice. I also never use any foul language.

Serena did not argue with that lineswoman. She made a verbal assault. What did the tennis association do? They fined Serena $10,000. This is nothing for her. What they should do is to ban her from professional tennis for at least one year. That will send a message to all those unruly players.

Some call questioning a decision of the umpire shows a determination. We all should have the determination to win. But verbal assault is not a sign of determination to win.

Also some athletes loathe opponent’s victory. Here is a page from the history book.

4th test match India vs. New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi which began on March 19, 1965. On the last day, almost at the closing time, India started to bat for the second innings. India needed 70 runs to win. After about a few overs, the drinks came on to the field. This is a good chance for the New Zealanders to “waste” precious time and thus end the test in a draw. Do you know what the New Zealand Captain John Reid did? He told the drinks people to get off the field and continued the match without a drinks break. India won by 7 wickets. New Zealand 262 and 272. India 465/8 declared and 73/3. John Reid wanted to fight the Indians till the last ball is bowled but in an honorable way. He should be a role model for other cricketers.

For those who are interested, here are some more details of that test. Venkatragavan took 12 wickets (8 in the first innings and 4 in the second innings). Nawab of Pataudi and Dilip Sardesai hit centuries in the first innings. The winning run was hit by Dilip Sardesai.

The End.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random Thoughts about Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Thinking about marriage, I remember some of the strange incidents that took place long time ago. These were told to me by my parents. Only word of mouth. So, there could have been some exaggerations along the way. But they are real incidents that occurred.. These are not my runaway imaginations.

This happened in Mumbai, I was told. In those days there was a 3 year waiting list to get a vespa scooter. In a particular marriage, part of the dowry deal was the bride’s father should give the groom a vespa scooter on the marriage day. The marriage day came and the bride’s father could not deliver the vespa scooter because of the waiting list. He said he has the money and will give the money. This was not acceptable to the groom side. They argued and argued and argued in front of so many guests. Finally, the bride told the groom he has 10 minutes to decide. That 10 minutes came and gone. The groom was not willing unless a vespa scooter was produced. The bride took the mike and told the gathering as to what is happening and asked if any of the guests is willing to marry her that very minute. One of the groom’s friends came forward. Bingo. They both got married immediately.

Among Tamilians, there is this meeting called Pen Parkum Padalam. The groom and his family visit the bride and her family for the first time to officially “see” the girl. If both sides approve the boy and the girl, then the negotiations for dowry, engagement function date, and marriage date discussions will begin.

This also happened in Mumbai. My much older second cousin was living with his parents in Mumbai. His family arranged to meet officially one Sunday, a prospective bride and her family (Pen Parkum Padalam). My second cousin was very much excited and curious to see how the girl looks like. He did not want to wait for one week. His desire overcame his judgment. Therefore, he goes to the girl’s house in Mattunga the previous Sunday and knocks the door. Girl’s dad opens the door. He tells the girl’s dad that he is the boy’s uncle, leaving for Madras in a couple of days, and therefore could not come next Sunday with the family to officially see the girl. He wanted to see the girl earlier. The girl comes, falls on his feet for blessings, and after some time the “uncle” leaves the girl’s house.

Next Sunday, he along with his parents goes to the girl’s house. Everyone was shocked in the girl’s house. They asked the boy why he came last week posing as the boy’s uncle. He told the truth. Finally, everything worked out well. They both got married and lived happily.

This happened in a village in Tamilnadu. On a Pen Parkum Padalam, the prospective groom’s father asked his son privately if he liked the girl. The boy told his father that he liked the girl but she has very small breasts. The boy’s father got so angry at his son and he started to beat him in front of every one with his chappal. He told his son to fall on the feet of the prospective bride and ask for forgiveness. The boy got so afraid and he started to fall on the feet of the girl. The girl and her family did not know what was happening. They knew something was wrong. Otherwise the boy’s father would not beat him with the chappal. The girl went crying to the other room. Now the boy’s father asked his son to fall on the feet of the girl’s parents and ask for forgiveness. The boy did. Then, in an angry tone, the boy’s father explained everything.

He then begged the girl’s parents to go ahead and finalize this marriage. He wanted this particular girl as his daughter in law. He would forego the usual dowry and he will bear all the expenses for the marriage. The girl’s parents politely but firmly said NO.

Another story my parents told me happened long time ago in a remote village in Tamilnadu.

The bride’s side was short of 5 sovereigns of gold on the marriage day. Any how the marriage took place. That night, they have to consummate the marriage. The girl was waiting in the bedroom. The groom side will not allow him to go to the bedroom unless the 5 sovereigns are given to them. After about 30 minutes, the bride’s father got angry. He then told the groom if he does not go to the bedroom within 5 minutes to consummate the marriage, he would send his household servant to do the job. The groom ran to the bedroom. Ha ha ha. Funny.

If you know any funny story like this, please tell us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Random Thoughts about Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

After reading Varsha Shrote’s blog, The Big Fat South-Indian Wedding, I was reminiscing about marriages in India and various customs.

She attended a Tamil wedding. Even in Tamil weddings, there are different customs and practices, particularly between Brahmins and non-Brahmins.

For example, in a Tamil Brahmin marriage, when the groom ties the THAALI (MANGALSUTRA) to the bride’s neck, she will be sitting on the lap of his father. The bride will be wearing a 9 yards saree (madisaar). The groom will be standing in front of them and tie the knot.

In a Tamil non-Brahmin marriage, the groom and the bride will be sitting on the floor side by side and the groom will turn around towards her and tie the THAALI. The bride will be wearing a 6 yard saree.

It is a happy occasion for all. It is actually a happy social gathering. However, all the mantras are recited in Sanskrit. Neither the groom nor the bride or for that matter no one assembled in the hall knows the meaning of these mantras. At the time of tying the knot, the following sloka is mechanically recited without understanding what it means:

Maangalyam thanthunaanaena mama jeevitha haethunaa /
kanttae bathnaami supahae sanjeeva sarasa satham.

The meaning is: "This yellow rope is managala suthram. This will help my longevity. I shall now tie this rope in your neck. I pray you live happily for a hundred years.

In Tamilnadu, it is legal to marry certain relatives. For example, I can marry:

My sister’s daughter. My father’s sister’s daughter. My mother’s brother’s daughter.

If I have to say in a cruel uneducated village language, I have the first “right” to marry her. About 35 years ago, 60% of marriages in Tamilnadu were among close relatives like the above. In some villages, there have been riots and murders when the bride’s father looked for a groom outside of the immediate relatives, when one was available within the relatives. Even today, marriages between relatives are common in Tamilnadu.

Yes, every one knows that it is unhealthy. Children may born handicapped. But family tradition takes precedence.

In Northern India, these cousins are considered sisters/brothers. When I was unmarried, I told a North Indian friend of mine that I may end up marrying (arranged marriage) my mother’s brother’s daughter. He got furious and stopped talking to me for a month. He thought I was about to commit some sort of incest. For those who are interested, I did not marry any of my relatives. My wife is an outsider.

Addressing this type of cousin as “brother” or “sister” is very common in North India. Even some close family friends are addressed as “relatives”.

This reminds me of an anecdote. My wife’s brother is married to a Punjabi girl. They lived in New Delhi. When we visited them, they took us to his father-in-law’s home. The father-in-law told my wife that he is going to see his “mathaji” next block and if she wants to accompany him to meet her. My wife said OK and accompanied him. In the next block, they both went to an old lady’s house. He fell on her feet for blessings. So did my wife. He introduced her to my wife that this is his “mathaji”. When we came home, my wife asked her brother as to why he did not tell her before hand that Kiran’s (her brother’s wife) grand mother is living nearby. Then her brother and Kiran have to explain the whole situation that this old lady was a close family friend and not her father’s real mother. Until the explanation, my wife really believed that her manni’s (elder brother’s wife) grand mother lived nearby.

Here is another one. While on the same visit to New Delhi, after a few days, a couple visited my brother-in-law and his wife. They were introduced to us. When they were leaving, the gentleman said that he was glad that his sister is living in USA. I immediately asked him where she is living in USA. He then pointed out to my wife and said I meant this sister of mine.

Since this blog is getting a longer, I will call this Part 1 and stop. Stay tuned for Part 2. More interesting anecdotes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Today is 9/11. The whole world knows what happened on 9/11/2001. 19 hijackers took command of 4 commercial airlines and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Total of 2,993 people died, of many nationalities.

I was deputed by my company in USA to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at that time. My mom called me from New Jersey; she was living with my brother there at that time. She had some of the harshest words for the hijackers. Two hours after that conversation, I got a call from my brother in New Jersey. My mom passed away. She died in her sleep.

I could not believe what I heard from my brother. Just now she was ferocious about the hijackers. Now she is gone.

Life goes on. I have to arrange for our journey to USA. They were not allowing any planes to land in USA, especially a plane from Saudi Arabia.

I asked my brother to keep the body in the morg until I arrive in New Jersey. With great effort I reserved a British Airways flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Heathrow Airport in London.

Heathrow Airport was so crowded that you cannot even stand. More crowded than the Ranganathan Street in T.Nagar in Chennai. We stayed at the airport for 24 hours. Fortunately, I had the death certificate of my mother, which my brother faxed me before I left Riyadh.

The first flight they allowed into USA was a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Newark, New Jersey. I showed the death certificate of my mom to the reservation person. She mistook that as if my mom died on the 9/11 tragedy. I did not say a word and kept quiet. She not only gave me and my wife a confirmed reservation but also upgraded us to business class.

Reached Newark, New Jersey. Attended my mom’s funeral. Then returned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Return journey was also on a 747 by British Airways. It can carry 355 passengers. There were a total of 6 passengers on board.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

US Politics vs Indian Politics

About a few minutes ago, I was watching “live” President Barrack Obama’s address to the Joint Session of U.S. Congress.

Two of his sentences made me think. His praising the opposition party leaders Senator John McCain and former President George W. Bush.

“…..for those Americans who can't get insurance today because they have pre-existing medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage that will protect you against financial ruin if you become seriously ill. This was a good idea when Senator John McCain proposed it in the campaign, it's a good idea now, and we should embrace it”.

Senator John McCain of Republican Party contested against Senator Barack Obama and lost the Presidential election.

“…..So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctor’s focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It's a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today”.

Bush was President of USA and belongs to Republic Party, now the opposition party.

About 2 hours ago, I was reading an Indian newspaper in the web. The news was: Miss Jayalalitha called Karunanidhi’s government as a minority government (because he rules Tamilnadu with the help of Congress Party). Therefore, Karunanidhi told the press he is going to address her as Mrs. Jayalalitha from now on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today is a special day. This is the last set of repeating single digit dates that we will see for almost another hundred years. The next one is scheduled for January 1, 2101. There is nothing special about this date. But people who are interested in meaning of numbers attribute importance to this date.

Many people in India consider 9 as a lucky number. So this day will be a lucky day for many Indians.

Here is a joke. On September 8, 2009, one guy dreamt he bet on horse number 9 on the 9th race on 09/09/09. The next day he went to the race course and bet on that horse. The result: That horse came in at the 9th place.

Palm Beach County in Miami is offering a one-day wedding special for $99.99 (Marriage Lincese Fee) on 09/09/09. It will otherwise cost around $150.00.

Apple is going to announce something big on 09/09/09.

Focus features is releasing their new film titled “9” on 09/09/09.

President Barrack addresses joint session of U.S. Congress with an emphasis on healthcare reform.

In order to bring awareness of global warming, Chennai Mayor Subramanian is arranging to switch off all the lights for 9 minutes at 9 PM on 09/09/09. All Chennai residents: You are forewarned and lock all the doors.

Mathematically 9 is a special number. The sum of the two-digits resulting from nine multiplied by any other single-digit number will equal nine. So 9x4=36, 3+6=9.

September 9 also happens to be the 252nd day of the year. 2+5+2=9.

Some have predicted 999 is worse than 666 and therefore the world will end on this day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One of the Biggest BS

Venkat and Sakthi loved each other. Due to some unfortunate circumstances they could not marry each other. Venkat marries Kanchana. Sakthi marries Nakulan. Kanchana and her family and Nakulan and his family know about the past love affair between Venkat and Sakthi.

After the marriage, Venkat and Sakthi secretly meet very often and that too in shady locations. At one time, they booked a room in a lodge and met there. A bad guy takes pictures of both of them together and sends via cell phone to every one.

Nakulan and his family ask Sakthi several times as to what is happening. She says there is nothing going on between her and Venkat and she will tell the reason for those meetings at a later suitable time. One day Nakulan visits Sakthi in her office and she was not at work. Gone to see Venkat. Nakulan’s family pleaded with Sakthi to tell them what is happening. Sakthi refused to tell. So they threw her out of the house in the middle of the night.

Sakthi goes to her mother’s home. Her mother begged her to tell what is happening. All Sakthi would say “believe me amma”. Her mother asked if she is willing to destroy her married life for whatever reason she is meeting secretly Venkat. All Sakthi would say is when the time comes she will explain everything.

Sakthi’s mother is crying day and night that her daughter’s life is doomed. Sakthi’s mother goes to Nakulan’s house asking for a pardon for her daughter. Nakulan grabs her by the neck and throw her out of the house. Sakthi came to know this. But still will not tell anyone why she is secretly meeting her ex-lover Venkat.

In the mean time, Venkat’s wife Kanchana also got suspicious. But Venkat told her that the pictures were not original and they were altered pictures. Venkat’s father-in-law and mother-in-law were furious at Venkat and Sakthi. Venkat’s father-in-law met Sakthi and told her to stop it. She said we are not doing anything wrong. But what are you both doing? I will tell when the time comes.

Another day Nakulan visited his wife Sakthi in the office. There he saw Sakthi and Venkat in a cozy conversation in a private room. Nakulan goes there and asks both of them what is happening. They both said nothing is happening and they will tell when the time comes. Then Nakulan manhandled Venkat and others have to come and break the fight. Nakulan is getting ready to send a divorce notice to Sakthi.

Why Sakthi will not tell anyone what is happening. Not even her husband. Not even her own mother. For whatever she is doing she is prepared to lose her husband and married life.

Finally the answer came. Venkat and Sakthi were arranging for Venkat’s sister’s wedding. The sister ran away from home with her boy friend. Venkat and Sakthi “promised” her they won’t tell any one until the marriage ceremony is over.

My foot. One of the biggest BS. The above is from a TV serial. The director thinks the audiences are idiots. May be we are. Otherwise, why are we watching these serials.

This Humane Award was presented to me by Nazish Rahman. I am honored and pleased.

I will pass this award to the following 5 bloggers:



Varsha Shrote



to everyone who want to have it, so you are requested to :
1. Accept and post the award on your blog.
2. Link to the person from whom you received it.
3. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.
4. Let them know they’ve been

Friday, September 4, 2009


I was thinking of another subject for my next post. But I got tagged again by Insigniaji. This one seems to be quite light. So here I am:

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4 – “Sell to Open AAPL at Sep strike 175 for $1.40”. It is my options trading note book. AAPL is symbol for Apple, Inc. I do only covered call option. I do not go near naked call option.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & catch air? – Oooh. I just gave a big left hook to my land line telephone and it fell down.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? – I have been watching for the last 15 minutes on CNBC a program called “Squawk on the Street”. This is a pre-market business show just before the stock market opens.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is? – 6:15 AM

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time? – 6:17 AM

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? – I can hear 3 things. Voice from the TV, Washing Machine sound, and my wife yelling from upstairs: Yane ivvalavu seekram ezhunthutale? Coffee kondu varatuma? (Why did you get up so early? Should I bring Coffee for you?)

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? – At 7 PM last night. Took the garbage can outside. Today is the garbage pickup day.

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at? - My email.

9. What are you wearing?- Jeans and T-shirt.

10. When did you last laugh? – Last night. My wife was telling me what they do in villages to recoup the health faster for the women who gave birth recently. ROFL.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in? – A big painting presented to me by my staff in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the time of my transfer back to USA.

12. Seen anything weird lately? – Oh yes. Last Sunday, at the Livermore Hindu Temple. Some (not all) young men and women came to the temple wearing sleeveless t-shirt and shorts. They looked like they were going to a pool party. Disgusting. Will they go to a church or a mosque like that? Young men and women born and/or raised here in USA come with pant and shirt (man) and saree/salwar kameez (woman). Only some FOBs (Fresh Off the Boat) come in shorts.

13. What do you think of this quiz? - I thought this was going to be easy. But it is not. Makes me tell about me and what I think, more than what I want other people to know about me.

14. What is the last film you saw? – The Time Traveler’s Wife, starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. It is one of those gooey romantic mind-benders.

15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy? - A brand new home in Dublin, California, with a bedroom for guests downstairs.

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno! - I had a life threatening operation 3 years ago.

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do? - Want to eliminate graft and corruption.

18. Do you like to Dance? - Yeah, give me a couple of glasses of Merlot and I can go until early hours of the morning.

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? - We have 2 kids. First is a boy and then a girl. Girl’s name is Jambakam. We and her friends call her Jammu. She does not like the name Jambakam because in her opinion it is too long and does not sound modern.

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him? - His name is Ganesan. We call him Raja. His friends call him Gan.

21. Would you ever consider living abroad? – Lived in USA for most part of my life. Yes, will love to live in India for sometime.

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates? – Hey, Welcome back. I have noticed you enjoyed your life to full extent. I am jealous of you.

Since the people I know have already been tagged on this questionnaire, I am not tagging any one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

H1N1 Home Made Herbal Remedy

Chef Jacob Kumar Sahay has come out with a home made H1N1 home made herbal remedy that, he claims, will prevent this disease. I thought I would share it with all of the blogger friends, for whatever it is worth.


Star Anise Seed – 4
Garlic – 10 cloves
Small Onion – 50 grams
Tulsi Leaves – ¼ cup
Turmeric – ¾ teaspoon
Clove – 10
Neem (Margosa) Leaves – 10
Sesame Oil – 150 ml
Salt – as needed

Grind smoothly all of the above except Sesame Oil and salt, like a thick paste.

Place kadai over stove top. Pour Sesame Oil. When it becomes hot, put the ground masala... Let it cook for a few minutes. Then add the salt and stir occasionally. When the oil comes up, it is done. Turn off the stove.

You can eat it with white rice. You can refrigerate and use upto 10 days. It will definitely have the medicinal taste. Do not expect exotic or rich taste.

Star Anise Seed has “shikimic acid” used in preventing swine flu.

Garlic has “Allicium Sulphide” used in preventing swine flu.

Tulsi leaves are used to prevent and cure many illnesses. They are also immune system boosters.

Turmeric is an antibacterial agent.

Clove has “Omega-3 Fatty Acid” which attacks swine flue virus.

Neem leaves have medicinal value. The Sanskrit name for neem tree is “arishtha” which means reliever of sickness.

Hope ya’ll never get sick. (I used the world ya’ll just for fun. I don’t live in South. I live in California.)