Green Flag in Mumbai

I hope that this will be my last post / tweet on my recent India trip.

When the flight was about to takeoff from Mumbai, one could spot quite a few Pakistani flags fluttering in the slums nearby. Nothing legally wrong in flying the flag of another country. Just that Pakistan is not one another country and happening as it does in Mumbai, it was very disturbing. Not sure if I am being crazy about a perfectly normal thing.

Good Freebie

During my trip to India last week, I got an opportunity to visit Chettinad Hospitals in Kelambakkam, Chennai to donate a unit of blood. The said hospital is set in a sprawling campus with well laid out lawns and what not. One need not be an Einstein to realise that the place is much beyond the reach of common people.

The patient who required the blood was a 12-year old girl, who had a serious heart ailment and required to be operated on the same day. The father of the girl is a construction worker and it was very apparent that he could not afford the costs that would be demanded by the hospital. While talking with him, I was worried if he knew about the cost factor in that hospital and was thinking how best to ask if he need any help apart from the blood donation. It was then, he told me that he was referred to this hospital by a neighbourhood doctor who told him about the ‘CM Kalaignar’s Health Insurance Scheme‘ for life saving treatments. Although he had to spend money on tests and medicinces, bulk of the costs will be absorbed under the scheme.

Unlike the free tellys to everyone, this is one freebie scheme that is worth it.

200*

49.3 And now, Tendulkar’s batting on 199…

Langeveldt to Tendulkar, 1 run, 85.4 mph, single to reach the first double-hundred in ODIs, streered behind point, takes off his helmet and waves to the crowd, which is on its feet, so are his team-mates in the dressing room, a fan’s blowing a conch, Tendulkar’s soaking all the adulation and after a brief moment, gets back to his crease to face the next delivery.

What an innings.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, take a bow Sir Here is a Shashtaanga Namaskaram for you, Sir!

Trip to India – Some Observations – Part 2

* All the traffic signals can be dismantled in Chennai and thrown away. No one gives a damn for the red signal.

* Why wouldn’t anyone doing anything about the unmanned level crossing at Tambaram Sanatorium. With so many tracks and thousands of people crossing without a bit of care, that is a major disaster waiting to happen.

* None of the 24-hour pharmacies in Mylapore, Mandaveli area are open at 4:30 am. I had to travel all the way up to Malar Hospitals in Adyar and wake up the pharmacist to buy some cotton wool, plasters and bandage cloth.

* No amount of people management experience can give you the experience to manage the wagging tongues of the relatives at a wedding.

* The price of Kesar Badam Milk hasn’t risen much in the last 12 years. In 1998, it was Rs.10 a bottle. Now, it is Rs.15.

* Lots of changes to the traffic system (one-way routes) in Luz Corner in Mylapore. In the absence of proper direction signs, outsiders to the city are going to be very confused.

* There is a real need for low-floor buses in Mumbai Airport to transfer the passengers between the terminals (domestic and international). I made a suggestion to the powers that be and got a quick acknowledgement saying that they will look into this.

* Lord Venkatachalapathy seems to be the most popular god in the gift shops. At least, 40% of the gifts that my sister received on her wedding were variants of the above god. When I got married in 2003, it was wall clocks all the way. I received as many as 20 of them.

* It was very different to be asked ‘Are you Anirud’s father?’.

* Apart from the wedding, meeting up with the only reader one of the regular readers of this blog was the next best part of the trip.

* Finally, felt at home when we touched down at LHR.

Trip to India – Some Observations – Part 1

Back home to UK after a super hectic 10 day trip to Chennai, India.

* ‘Dining Street’ restaurant in LHR Terminal 4 is real bad. They took us 40 minutes to get our order of baked beans on toast. Saved few more potential customers from the misery by telling them of the above.

* Jet Airways is good. Wouldn’t mind flying with them again.

* I am continued to be impressed by Mumbai Airport. I know how it was in early 2000s and how it is now. This is one of the places where one can witness the magic of privatisation.

* Lemon Tea that is being sold in Domestic Terminal @ Mumbai is obnoxiously expensive as well as pathetic.

* When we landed in Chennai airport, some people were pointing their mobile phone cameras and clicking photographs. It was then I noticed that actress Tamanna was walking right behind us. She looks pretty much like how she appears in movies.

* In this short trip, I managed to donate a unit of blood for a 12 year old girl fighting for her life. When my sister was getting married in 48 hours, spending 4 hours for anything else was out of question, but this one gave me immense satisfaction.

* I travelled in OMR for the first time and I am not at all impressed.

* Chennai weather was very, very pleasant in the one week I stayed there.

…. More later. Need to catch up on sleep.

Facebook Politics

Look at the following tweet from the Conservative Party.

“Our Facebook page has more people than Labour and the Lib Dems combined. Join and show your support at http://www.facebook.com/conservatives”

I am tempted to ask ‘idhula enna perumai‘ (Whats there to feel proud about?) like Thengai Srinivasan did during the interview scene in the movie ‘Thillumullu’, but those that matter do not know Tamil.

If Tories think that their Facebook page is an indicator of their popularity, they are grossly wrong. I, follow the pages of all the parties but will be voting only for one. There are millions like me – neutral voters, who weigh in all the options before choosing the right evil. Orkut / Facebook profiles, Tweets won’t turn into votes. Only real substance will. In some places, real substance means good policies. In some others, it is Colour TV.

UK General Elections

UK General Elections

With UK general elections less than 100 days ago, let me dabble a bit into politics.

Few months ago, it was very apparent that people were more than fed up with New Labour and are ready to dump them. David Cameron appeared all set to occupy 10 Downing Street with ease. It could still be the end result, but there are questions about how easy the ride will be for Cameron and his mates? Apart from having technically come out of recession, nothing has changed much in the recent times. But, whoever I talk to ask the question – how are Tories any different?

In my opinion, Tories seem to be concentrating a lot on attacking Labour without explaining what they would do when they are voted to power. Unless, they address this question convincingly, there is every danger of the verdict returning a hung parliament which is worser than either of these two parties. I see that Tories are encouraging people to ask questions through their website and it looks like someone would be answering them. I have submitted quite a few to know if these guys are worthy of my vote.

Dress up to shop

Last week, there was a seemingly insignificant news item about a Tesco supermarket in Cardiff asking people not to shop in their pyjamas or barefoot. On reading that, the very first thing that came up in my mind was about how many people are going to protest this decision of Tesco saying that it affected their rights to dress, civil liberties etc. For a news as trivial as this, BBC included this as a discussion point in their ‘Have your Say’ forums. Belying my expectations, there were hundreds of entries in the above forum supporting the stand taken by Tesco (it was only in one particular shop). Seems that there are quite a few who are offended, embarassed and what not by those wandering around the shop in night wear. People are even concerned and embarassed about others shopping in bare back. Don’t understand why. Perhaps, I am missing something.

As the notice at Tesco specifically says, ‘..no nightwear is allowed’, I am curious as how they define night wear? I wear shorts and a T-shirt while going to bed. So, would I not be allowed to shop in Tesco wearing those? Will try my luck if ever I get anywhere near Cardiff. ;-)) As for the notice itself, when people are happy to oblige the dress code imposed by pubs and restaurants, why should Tesco be any different? After all, no one compels any one to visit Tesco.