Showing posts from February, 2008

Auto's in Davos

When our dear friends in Switzerland sent us this photo with the cryptic note that said it all, I decided to check it out. Some time back I had written about Indian Autorickshaws in the UK. Well they were recently to Davos, where the World Economic forum is held every year, an occasion where the big wigs of politics and business meet to discuss all kinds of things. Don’t ask me more, I don’t know, nor have I been to such lofty meetings.

Our friend said - It was fun to see our good old autos ....(albeit) freezing in the snow.

So what was it all about? Dipankar Sarkar explains - Not that anyone is complaining. From the moment you enter Zurich - the international airport nearest to Davos - India is ever-present on the horizon. A large advertisement, written entirely in Hindi, greets the visitors at Zurich airport reminding them it is perhaps time to learn Hindi. The advertiser is Swissair. Standing along the snowy main street of Davos, the Promenade, are two black-and-yellow three-wheeler …

Chapatti club and ‘Desi’ bacteria

It is always difficult when you keep moving from one place to another. Bereft of friends, you struggle through the first years, trying to maintain perspective. You then end up comparing the places you left with the place you arrived at and almost always find that the other side of the shore was greener. You also hunt around for friendly faces, the Indian in the crowd….and in South califonia, it is tough…with most Mexicans having faces somewhat similar to South Indians.

But the good thing is food, there are nice spices in hot Mexican food and you start to enjoy the fish tacos and all the other tasty items from the Mexican menu..

Soon you locate the neighborhood Indian grocer; you finally find that version or make of Greek yoghurt that is close to OK, you figure out the best brands in Atta and rice. Having got the kitchen in some order, and the mistress of the house settled with not many complaints, you then start to hunt for the restaurants. Within a year you would have covered all the I…

Chase, Gardner & L’amour

I am not so sure that children and teenagers read so much these days, can’t blame them though, with so much of TV and outside activities, where is the time? Not only that, the amount of studying they have to do to keep on top of things is making their life, unfortunately hectic.

But well, it was quite a difference some 20-25 years ago when we were teenagers, there was hardly anything on TV, in fact TV was not really available in Kerala until the early 1980’s. All we had to pass time (roaming around or outdoor games) other than radio were books, be it during a train or bus journey or while grounded at home. For some, like my friend Venu and me, reading was a passion. We read all kinds of stuff, magazines, novels; newspapers and a visit to the college library or the British council (which provided free membership at TVM) provided tons of material.

There were the all kinds of reads – like thrillers on one hand and heavy stuff on the other. I was more inclined towards the faster reads. Only…

Mehaboob - that forgotten singer

For quite some time I searched around for information on the Malayalam singer Mehaboob, but only a little could be dredged. It was finally a brilliant, thought provoking and sentimental article by novelist Vennala Mohan in last years ‘Manorama Onappathippu’ that gave me much insight to this lovable person. Thanks a lot to blogger Abraham Tharakan for directing me to Mohan’s article. That is the real stuff – the article to read, I am writing this only for the benefit of those cannot find it and those who can’t read Malayalam.

This is about Mehaboob, a singer great with his voice, but unfortunately weak in character. It is about a singer of yesteryears, whose talents I alluded to in my earlier blogs on trains and Mammad kaka’s coat. Sometimes you get drawn to a certain person, you can’t necessarily explain why, but it could very well be that it was because he was an underdog, one who was seemingly wronged, one who never received recognition that was always due to him.

There was a time whe…

The AIR signature tune

I have no doubts that some of you, once upon a long time ago, listening to the radio at the break of dawn, have heard this tune. It was a time when the lady of the house would be up, starting up the activities at home, after her bath, with wet hair hanging loosely tied, slightly damp sari with the one end tucked into her hip, getting the coffee & breakfast ready, the wood fire in the kitchen up and going nicely, smoke tendrils creeping up the chimney, clinking sounds of various brass & steel utensils in the background, while the man of the house and his father would be shaking themselves out of their beds, the younger anxiously ready to face life, the elder cursing his arthritic creaking bones and the various indignities of life as one gets older. Through this all, the child of the house would be fast asleep under his thin blanket, dreaming of animate & inanimate things; the boy had at least another two hours to dream before he started off for school.

The younger man would …

The kidney that traveled…

There is much talk on about the kidney racket in Delhi. Well for the last two decades, India has been a destination for either legal medical tourism or illegal transplants. There have been far too many cases in Villivakkam (AKA Kidney village) Madras and other places, it is just that all this has become a bit high profile now and is reported worldwide. India is news these days because a lot of people have directly or indirectly invested and got involved and interested in India. So the press takes the story straight to the front pages, be it Harbajan calling Symonds something or Carla Bruni not coming to spend the day with Sarkosy at Agra…The Nano car got good and bad publicity, the cricket affair got into Time magazine…

But well, this story takes you back to some 12 years ago, in Turkey. I had just arrived in Istanbul to start up a new division in our organization out there and had to make a high profile visit to one of the biggest customers. It was to a public sector organization in A…