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30 March 2012

My Planned trip to USA

I am travelling to USA this weekend...
Despite being in IT industry in the area of ERP Consultancy for the last 11 years, this is my first visit to USA. I plan to be there for about 4 weeks.
I have visited many countries in the last 5 years. The countries visited include UK, Bangladesh, China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Oman and Colombia.
I have piled up around 200000 flying miles over the last 5 years. I hold a Silver Card from Air France.
Some of these trips have been for as low as a week and some as long as two years.
None of the trips have raised the kind of hype in my family as the US trip.
I am a Tamil Brahmin, popularly known as 'Tambram'.
We Tambrams travel a lot. We travel to different states in India and different countries in the world in search of education / employment. We are omnipresent.
You drop a stone in any part of the world and the chances are that it will fall on a Tambram.
For all our peregrination tendencies or wanderlusts, Travel to US evokes a primordial passion among Tambrams that none of the other countries can evoke.
US is the guiding post, the proverbial holy grail for Tambrams. You are not considered a professional till you have been to US.
Almost all the Tambram families have someone or other in the US. The guy could be a leading Scientist in NASA or she could be a leading Gynacologist with John Hopkins (we are known in India for our intellect).
As soon as I informed my mother that I have got a visa to travel to US, she was ecstatic. She was on the phone in a jiffy and in 30 minutes all our relatives had known about my impending trip to US.
Within 30 minutes calls started coming dime a dozen. My uncle wanted me to at least call my cousin, if possible visit him. My aunt wanted to know if I can take some sweets to her granddaughter in the US.
I tried pointing out that I was going to be located in the northeast of US and her daughter was living in the southwest of US. I told them that the time difference between east and west was 3 hours !!
Another uncle called me to inform me the places that I should visit in US. "Dont miss Niagara Falls", he told me. That is an advice that I am going to take.
The advises to the new Tambram visitor concludes when one of the relatives call him and inform him as to where in US he can get 'Curd Rice'. That is the mother of all advises.
For Tambram, going to US may be important, but eating 'Curd Rice' in US? That is the holy grail....

25 March 2012

Italians Kidnapped by Maoists in Odisha....

I am sure all of you have read the news item about two Italians, Bosusco Paulo and Claudio Colangelo, having been kidnapped by Maoists in Kandhamal district in Odisha. This district is notorious for Maoist infestation and even Indians are scared of travelling to these places.
These two guys illegally went into the jungles and got kidnapped by the Maoists (as expected). Now Italian government is putting pressure on the Government of India to get these guys released from Maoists.
I presume that ultimately Maoists will release these guys. In the process will win some brownie points with the media and government and help internationalize the Maoist problem.
Finally, after achieving their public relations goals, probably they will release these Italians. In fact they have released one of them, Claudio Colangelo as of today.
I find it frustrating that these Westerners who travel to our country do not follow the basic security precautions. It seems that this guy, Claudio Colangelo, was determined to ignore all the warning signs. He wanted to go into the deep jungles of Odisha and approached many travel agencies. All of them refused to take the trip citing Maoist threats. Finally he went with an illegal travel agent Paolo, who agreed to take him
You can read the story here
Over the last 4 years I have extensively traveled across the world. Before I go to any country, I go thru travel advisories put up by various travel sites about what to do and what not to do in that country. The travel advisories are very specific about which areas to avoid when you are visiting a new country.
For example, when I was visiting Colombia, I was asked not to got to the some parts of Colombia because those areas are infested with rebels and Government forces are engaged in continual fight with the rebels.
I am sure such travel advisories exist about India and they specifically mention about Maoist threats in parts of Odisha.
What does it say to you about the security status when most of the travel agents (who are always looking to make more Foreign Currency revenue) refuse to take you to some parts of their state? Shouldn't you be smart enough to know that probably the public wisdom is correct and that you should avoid these places?
If I were the Italian Tourist, I would avoid such places.
No, not these silly Italians. They want to prove that they are superior and they can go to dangerous areas and come out 'victorious'. So they violate the law, uses an illegal travel agent and get kidnapped by the Maoists.
Do they have any idea of what they have done? What are the possible implications of their hasty, thoughtless and hare-brained action. Probably the travel agent who took them to the jungles will get arrested and spent his life in Jail. The Italian Diplomats will have to work overtime and answer many questions from their probing Indian counterparts.
And finally these 'courageous westerners' will have to spent nights and days in Odisha Jungles, being bitten by mosquitoes and relieving themselves in the God's universe....
Some would say that justice is delivered to these silly guys...

07 March 2012

Shortest Motivational Anecdote

Novelist Sinclair Lewis was supposed to deliver an hour-long lecture to a group of college students who planned to be writers. Lewis opened his talk with a question:

"How many of you really intend to be writers?"

All hands went up.

"IN that case," said Lewis, "my advice to you is to go home and write."

With that, he left.

02 March 2012

Very good blog...

I was checking out a few blogs from, and I came across this very good blog.
The blog is maintained by Usha Vaidyanathan from Bangalore.
This blog has a very pleasing, easy on the eye and well laid-out template. The first impression is that the blog is being maintained by a very meticulous person who know where everything should be and also how every element of the blog should look and feel like.
Great presentation...
The quality of articles were also impressive. The last update is in March 2011
Check it out...

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