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Showing posts from November, 2006

VK Krishna Menon (1896-1974) – An undiplomatic diplomat

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It is not often that you come across people who create an impact on you, especially so if they are long gone and belonged to an era before your teens. I discovered one such person a week back. While his name is familiar to all, most today won’t know of his tremendous influence in geopolitics.

I studied in a Sainik school and one of the first things I picked up was that the whole concept of Sainik schools came from Mr VK Krishna Menon. I used to wonder about this great guy now & then, but never really bothered to figure out. Yes, conversation sometimes brought up his name, over the years, about associations of his with Jawaharlal Nehru and so on; eventually I thought it could be a good idea to dredge some stuff on this person. There was a lot of information available, but mostly polarized in support or against him. I have not read his biographies, understood his ideology or digested his famous 8-9 hour UN lecture on Kashmir, but my study will go on, for he is such a fascinating per…

What's in a name? TURKEY

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I am musing over this a couple of days before thanksgiving in USA, a day when thousands of Turkeys will be killed, roasted, stuffed and eaten with gusto…

When I was working in the Middle east, I realized that Arabs called Indians ‘Hindi’, since we are people from Hindustan (India is Hindi to Arabs but then, for Indians, Hindi is a language). ‘Aye Hindi…taaal…’. was the way they would call out to get our attention..

When we moved to work at Istanbul-Turkey, I realized that India was Hindistan (mind you, Hindistan not Hindustan) for them and Indians were ‘Hintli’. But I soon found out while eating food at the canteen or in hotels that there was another word they used, this was ‘Hindi’ meaning the bird we know as Turkey. Chicken was ‘Pilic/tavuk’ and Turkey was ‘Hindi’. Hey! Now the language becomes a bird which is also a country!

So there I was, in Turkey, an Indian wondering why the Turks call what we call Turkey the bird as Hindi – what Arabs mean to be Indians and which is instead a la…

Burma Bazar - In the early 80's

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It has been ages since I ventured to that corner of Chennai. At the Parry’s corner (called so since EID parry were headquartered there) in erstwhile Madras, during the early 80’s, there existed a long strip of ramshackle ‘hole in the wall’ shops where all kinds of smuggled (or more correctly (!!) stated these days as ‘grey market’ goods) were displayed and sold. The customs department had very high customs tariff’s on imported equipment and there were strict limits on what one could bring into the country and to what meager value. This promoted smuggling and the Burma bazaar catered to those who wanted that CASIO calculator or Yamaha music keyboard or a Panasonic Two in one and were willing to pay a bit more of a price..

I used to work in Madras then, right at Parry’s corner at the Bombay Mutual building. It was a great period that, with few college friends living in the nearby YMCA, I would bus down from Triplicane…great lunches at Hari Nivas…and sometimes real funny encounters & …

Bull on the run

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People here complain of cattle roaming the streets of big towns and cities in India, it is quite surprising for these chaps to see us tolerate all that and then they wonder how India also produces the numerous bright minds they now work with on a daily basis..
To counter that there are these amazing stories here of women giving birth one fine day without even knowing they were pregnant...details in the linked report http://www.washingtontimes.com/upi/20061102-032621-3404r.htm

But this made me guffaw...if you have been to New jersey, you will know what I mean, just imagine the police officers running after the bull for 10 hours...our 'mattukaran' should have been summoned for the situation...

BYW The bull apparently escaped from the slaughterhouse to give itself the 10 hour jaunt. No idea what happened after it got caught..

For those who want details, visit these links
http://www.wnbc.com/news/10231409/detail.html?subid=10101421 http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2626025