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November 15, 2017

Question on childrens day

Filed under: daughter, family, personal — neosurya @ 09:58

I spent time at my kids school during children’s day. My wife and I picked up my daughter and headed over to my younger ones school. There was community lunch at the younger ones school. All kids were supposed to get items from their homes and have a shared lunch with parents and kids in the class.

When we got to the school, we went over to the classroom and laid out the biriyani we had made. We started helping the teacher set-up the tables, arrange the items kids had brought. About 6-7 children sat together in groups. I took charge of one group, and started putting their items together.

After some fun time, a kid asked me – “You know, my father is a big man in a big office. He could not come here. Do you not have a job? Is that why you could come?” I smiled at the kid and walked to a different part of the room. The question jarred me. It was not like I did not have a job, or disliked what I did at work. I had the luxury, and the expertise of managing my work life balance very well. I can say that among wage earners, I am probably in the top 5-10 percentile in the country. I had tremendous job satisfaction, and great freedom at work. But this statement still rubbed me very wrongly. I wanted to leave, and even urged my wife that I wanted to sit in the car. It took at least a few minutes for me to control my ego.

There were about 40 kids, one teacher, and 6 other adults in the class. I and my wife were the only couple among those adults. The lack of participation by parents did not miss out on the children. Many students had accepted it to be natural. This child went ahead and became inquisitive. I wondered if I was giving my children wrong expectations about life.

I tend to look at life in a holistic manner. I do not compartmentalize life as a job, a car, a house, or a title.

When I was younger, I was taught:
Life is not just a bicycle.
Life is not just a TV serial.
Life is not just a restaurant outing.
Life is not just your anger.

This was done purportedly to make me focus on studies and ensure a better future. This teaching has helped me, and now I realize.

Life is not my ego.
Life is not my job.
Life is not my house.
Life is not my car.

Someday, I will internalize:
Life is not this body.

Life is a sequence of sunrises and sunsets, tied together with strings of beautiful and painful experiences.

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November 10, 2017

My house will be done this month.

Filed under: environment, family, personal — neosurya @ 17:46
I was in a bank to make the first withdrawal from a home loan. The manager knew my father and had heard that I was trying hard to keep the loan to about 10 lakhs. The manager was saying – sir, for your profile you would get a lot more. I said that it is not right for a Brahmin to take a loan. The elderly manager started lecturing me on responsibilities towards parents, wife, and children.
I lamented to him – my dharma was destroyed when I opened a fixed deposit. My dharma is to give whatever knowledge I have for free and expect alms in return. If family could be content with that, so be it. If my family is not satisfied by the alms, it means someone else is not doing their dharma. He was taken aback, and could not hide the mix of emotions on his face. He probably had a longer chat with other staff about my mental health.
Some feel that the house will be an asset for me. I am not sure. I feel that my incompetence has made me build a house in the city. For someone who tried very hard to not build inside the city, my behavior was quite odd. When I saw that the house was to be built despite my opposition, I participated enthusiastically in the planning. I am thankful that those who wanted the house have helped in keeping the costs down. I am writing my thoughts down. I do not want to backtrack later on.
Meanwhile, an older thought: Attack.

September 24, 2016

Unreal maya

Filed under: personal, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 19:10

Modern food:        unreal (Processed, packaged, ready to eat)
Modern wind:         unreal (Fan, AC, Central AC)
Modern medicine:    unreal (Allopathy)
Modern entertainment:    unreal (When was the last time you say a life performance?)
Modern relations:    unreal (Facebook, instagram, linkedin)

In modern times, we really have proved that world is unreal (maya) 🙂

Bodies move in a steely frame of concrete and metal.
Confident that this is their world.
Nary a sweat needs to be shed to grow a grain.
Food boxes overflow within an arms reach.
Juices and water found in brilliant bottles.
The wind always blows cold and comfortable.
Not a germ in sight, every cough and fever cured.
Lest we worry, there is jest a-plenty.
Switch the tube, switch again, titillate your brain.
And to speak of friends, we have very many.
Everyone within a link, no risk of infamy.

We know beyond these walls lurks another.
Where hard work involves sweat and dirt.
Food grows, and not everything is available all year.
Where wind blows cold, hot and truthfully is all over.
No medicines just leave and roots.
Germs are everywhere, eating us sometimes but mostly eating each other.
You have to work to even laugh or cry.
It involves real labor, not a room or box
Friends you have, but enemies you have too.
Links are a few, but they have to be near you.

Yes, this concrete and metal is not real.
But, we are already born within.
Yes, this concrete and metal is temporary.
But, it is so easy to stay within.
Yes, the truth may be better.
But, we know only to stay within.

April 16, 2015

Awesome money spinning methods or Skimming of customers

Filed under: India, law, market, personal, social change — neosurya @ 12:00

Interesting call with my mobile phone service provider:

Me: I got this internet usage bill for Rs 700 for March and Rs 300 for Feb. What is this?

Rep: Sir, 2G internet usage sir.

Me: I use a Nokia 1616, it cannot have internet usage. —- For the new-gen folks who have only seen smartphones, this phone has buttons, 255-colors screen, you get the drift —-

Rep: Yes sir, my system shows you are using Nokia 1616 as we speak. But sir data is switched on in the phone.

Me: How can a Nokia 1616 use 400 MB of data?

Rep: I dont know sir. Maybe some app is running.

Me: Look, can you please disable 2G service on this connection?

Rep: No sir, 2G comes free with every mobile phone connection.

Me: Dude, Rs 700 a month is not free. And you tell me you will not switch it off?

Rep: You will have to move to a different service provider. Our company will by default provide you with 2G enabled connection only. — In other words, we paid a lot of money to TRAI to license this shit. Money has to be recovered from somehwhere. —

Me: OK. — Facepalm —

Rep: For the charges, you will have to visit our store. — A polite way of saying, You will have to go there and shout —

Me: OK. Thanks.

—————————————End of call————————————-

One of my friends used to work for a leading mobile service provider. One strategy to get more money was to call unsuspecting customers to install ring-tones, or other “value added services”, but not inform them that these services would have a costly monthly subscription, or that these services would be delivered over 2G. Maybe we fell prey to one such scheme. Maybe there was indeed some app on the phone that is accessing data. I dont know.

I did not like the business practice of cashing in on users not being able to switch off services. But, a lot of modern services run that way. Individuals who create such plans and schemes also make the most amount of money in corporate orgs. Of course, technical people make money. But it is peanuts compared to the money made by such planners.

Makes me retch. But who knows how I would behave if I wanted to buy the good things money can get, and I had only an MBA and a sales job to get me there?

May 12, 2011

Seven bikes and 24 punctures.

Filed under: cycle, cycling, personal, travel — neosurya @ 18:00

On Sunday, seven colleagues from work set out on a biking trip. I had planned a mostly tarmac route going from Koramangala to Sarjapur to Chikka Tirupathi and back. But destiny had other plans for us.

5:45 AM: Vishwa calls saying that they have started for veloinvillage to pick up bikes.

6:00 AM: I get there on my trusty Kona. Ravi has already given them the bikes and are all gung-ho to start on the trip. They have some huge bags to carry: Maaza, carrots, apples, a bunch of towels. I was only carrying my puncture kit, two liters of water and a dozen granola bars. It seemed puny in comparison to the kitchen and a bit of the wardrobe that was going to load their heavy shoulders. I put one of the bags on my front rack, and the rest is carried by others. I think that there is no need for so much food/beverage/toiletries. I was to be proven wrong; food was to be extremely important on this ride.

6:15 AM: We are off. Santosh is lost. Santosh was riding a KHS 500 from Koramangala, gladly loaned to us by Mayank. A few frantic calls reveal that he is opposite the “commandants house”. We advise that he not venture further in said area, and return to Sarjapur road. He swears that he is not lost, Vishwa and Guru stay back for him and the rest ride toward Decathlon.

6:45 AM: Two of us have just crossed Decathlon, and stop for others to catch up. A guy in bike gear comes out of Decathlon, possibly on his routine ride. He stops by us, asks us – “Would you like to ride?”. A quick discussion reveals that he does off-road riding, and takes newbies on rides every Saturday and Sunday morning starting at 6:30 AM from decathlon. I am excited: “Sounds cool, let me ask my buddies.” By the time we wait for others to catch up, I find out that he is Eugene who works for Decathlon.

7:05 AM: Eugene takes us on a detour just a few KMs after Decathlon. Within minutes we hit very beautiful, tree covered kaccha/pakka roads. The next couple hours are best told in pictures:

9:00 AM: We stop for breakfast.

9:45 AM: We enter a forested area, as seen in the 5th image above. Everyone is super-excited, but Eugene has a puncture. As his bike is getting fixed, juntaa gather around for a photo-op. The fomas is bandied around, with everyone exclaiming how nicely the slick tires have held out.

9:47 AM: We find another puncture.

9:47:35 AM: Two more bikes have a flat. The count ends at 7 bikes having a flat. Only myself and Aravind (Eugene’s colleague from Decathlon) are flat-free.

10:30 AM: It is evident that the punctures are many, and the puncture fixers only two (myself and Eugene). Others quickly obtain a crash course on fixing punctures. Spirits are high; everyone is helping out fix the flats, doing photo ops and generally enjoying the experience. Maaza and bread pastry is passed around.

12:00 noon: By this time, even people are deflated. We did not carry kits to handle humans :-/. We have fixed ~24 punctures, and both myself and Eugene start  running out of tube patches. There are multiple flats on some of the wheels and there are mistakes when some people put the tube back without removing thorns. Even Eugene “Master-ji” who has so far refused food and drink is close to swearing and takes it out on a bread pastry. 🙂

Eugene and the bread pastry

12:30 PM: We conclude that most tyres are OK, but do not risk riding them through the shrub. Jokes are made about the fomas, which is the most punctured of the lot. We push our bikes through the thorny shrubs for about 2 KMs and make it to the village of  Sarjapur. By the time we reach Sarjapur, a few more flats occur. We find a cycle repair shop, and hand him over our tired tires.

1:30 PM: A vehicle is hired to carry the bikes and ppl back to BLR. Three of us ride back to BLR, and most make it home by around 2:30/3:00 PM.

By the end of it, we had ridden for about 40 Kms. Not bad for a first ride !!! The bike ride is a big discussion at workplace, and everyone wants to go again !!! Many thanks to Vishwa who helped do most of the planning, and to Eugene, whom we met at the right time :).

October 3, 2010

123 Kms of cycling and some social work

Filed under: personal, social change, travel — neosurya @ 19:29

On 2nd Oct, I and KP rode to the village of Tekulodu to visit proto-village, a project on village development (Pics here). Kalyan and a bunch of his friends are planning some pretty amazing work in this border village, and I wanted to see it first hand. Also, this was my first long cycle ride. Thanks to Mayank who helped me get a good bike. There was no way I could have done it on my Thunder MTB. Also thanks to my wife and kids, who had to stay back at a friends place at IISc.

The distance was approximately123 Kms (googlemaps) which we covered in about 6 hours:

4:30 AM: Met KP at Sanjay Nagar flyover.

5:20 AM: Crossed BIAL flyover.

6:00 AM: Stopped for a 10-min break at Jain temple.

6:50 AM: Saw the photo of a dosa outside a restaurant, decided to drive through Chikballapur in search of an eating place.

7:00 AM: Stopped at “Hotel Brindavan Garden”

9:46 AM: Crossed the AP check post. By this time, KP was ahead of me by about a kilometer or so. As I rode under an overpass at Bagepalli, KP yelled from the bridge – he was having a Sprite and wanted me to pull over. I continued yelling: “Cant stop now man, my body will refuse to get back onto this saddle.”

10:00 AM: Caught up with Kalyan who was riding from Hindupur toward the NH-7 – Lepakshi junction.Chatted for a while and started off for Tekulodu.

10:45 AM: Reached Tekulodu.

The regular hydration, and chikkis kept us in great shape. We were stretching all through the route and took a couple of minutes break every hour or so. We were energetic enough to walk through the village. There was one problem though – my left shoulder was aching, and I had pins and needles on my left palm. The shoulder pain went off after some stretching, but the pins and needles on my palm refused to go away till the next day.

We dropped by the house of one Harish, a youth from the village who was to be the host for the afternoon. The kids in the village were totally ga-ga over our bikes. In about a few minutes there were about 20 of them asking us all sorts of questions. Several of them rode our bikes.
Bikers !!!

We walked over to the primary school where a celebration about the ICDS program was on the way. Kalyan also spoke for a few minutes.

 

ICDS program

ICDS program

 

We had a long walk, where Harish (a youth from the village) showed us around the place. Kalyan and I discussed various problems going from water all the way to ecological housing. All the while, KP was getting popular with the kids:

 

KP getting popular with kids.

KP getting popular with kids.

 

We had lunch at Harish’s place. KP had to leave in the evening, and I stayed back for an SHG meeting. Most women of the village participated in the meeting. We discussed the flouride problem in their water. Kalyan described possible solutions, and recommended that they should plan on having a purification plant installed by Nov. end. He had already spoken to a firm in Ahmedabad, and went over the pricing details.

It was almost 10:00 PM by the time we ate our dinner. We climbed onto the terrace of a house that was still under construction, and settled down for the night – the bedding was sparse: a straw mat, a pillow, and a bed sheet. Nani, the Panchayat president’s son accompanied me and Kalyan. What a night – the sky was so clear that we could almost see the milky way.

A nice way to spend a national holiday, I thought. I and Kalyan left for Hindupur on Sunday morning. After breakfast at Kalyan’s place, I took the APSRTC bus from Hindupur bus stand to Mekhri circle.

May 5, 2010

Travel by Air India and comparison with Lufthansa.

Filed under: personal, travel — neosurya @ 11:34

We recently traveled by Air India flight from Delhi to Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt to LAX by Lufthansa. This was our first flight by Air India. So, how was it – Good interiors. Crowded staff. Good food.

Interiors: The flight interior was refreshingly different from any of the international flights that I have taken in recent days. It was definitely Maharaja interiors, with almost everyone having great legroom, and a personal entertainment system.

Staff: The ground staff were friendly, they were going out of their way to help people with children and elderly passengers. The staff in flight were weird – there were at least 2 flight attendants who were not doing anything except instruct other flight attendants what to do. I could be mistaken, but the body language and behavior of these folks was paternalistic even toward passengers.I even overheard one flight attendant lecturing a passenger: “You should not ring the bell too often, I know my duties and I will respond when possible.”

Food: Good, typical North Indian fare.

Our onward flight from Frankfurt to LAX was on Lufthansa. The experience on Lufthansa is usually very German – no-nonsense, no frills, just travel. It is like other things German, like their engineering – dull, but will get the job done. Interiors were composed of plain vanilla seats, no personal entertainment, legroom enough to survive the trip without complaints. Service was OK – one attendant was particularly rude, but you do end up finding a bad apple on most flights. Food – taste OK, quantity enough to make you survive, but you would search for a restaurant the moment you land.

So, the comparison:

Food: Both are on par.

Ground Staff: Air India is slightly better on this one.

Air crew: Air India is so bad that it would make passengers never take another Air India flight again. Lufthansa is also bad, but it is bearable.

Interiors: Air India better.

December 12, 2009

English – sucks.

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , — neosurya @ 12:41

My family takes tuition for our maid servant’s six year old son. I say family because it is not always me, I sometimes get delayed from work or am too tired/incapable of taking a class. The following interaction took place recently between me and Yonna (My maid-servants’ son).

Me: Spell Boxes

Yonna: B – O – X – E – S

Me: Good, now Spell Ball

Yonna: B – O – L – L

Me (thinking: Hrishikesh Mukherjee was right in his movie Bawarchee… English does have stupid pronunciation. My meager knowledge  of Natural Language Processing had also reaffirmed this. I should tell him to learn another Indian language, and give up on this filthy English. Oh bother, if this dude has to grow up and write a blog, his best bet would be to learn the damn Queens language. Anyhow, how can I explain the current discrepancy in spelling; I dislike teaching anything by rote. Should I give him the logical reasoning of how pronunciation and spelling of English varies based on the following and preceding alphabets? That could be too heavy at this tender age, certain “realizations” like the imperfection of English lingo should be reached much later. Rote learning has to do for now.)

Me: Yonna, You have to concentrate on the spelling – “Ball” is written as B-A-L-L and pronounced as “boll”. It is a rule in English. Now write B-A-L-L five times.

(Yonna writes the spelling five times)

Me: Spell “Son”

Yonna: S – U- N

I and Yonna are now looking at each other. Me – wondering what to say since we finished “days of the week” just yesterday, where I had taught him the spelling for “Sunday, Monday et. al.”. He is looking at me with a mix of trepidation and indignation – I haven’t yet said good, and he knows that could mean there is a mistake; he wants to remind me of yesterday’s lesson but is too scared to correct the teacher. I just shrug.

Me: English chaala kashtamaina language (Telugu for English is a very difficult language). Son is spelled as S-O-N, but when it comes with day, it becomes S-U-N. Remember this, and now write S-O-N five times.

Yonna: Ok. saar.

BTW, Yonna is in Nursery and has to learn English and Kannada at school. He speaks a sprinkle of Telugu and Tamil.

For those of the more academic bend of mind, the phenomena of a disconnect between pronunciation and spelling is formally known as “deep orthography” and has quite a bit of interest in pedagogical and academic circles [1, 2, 3]. There have been arguments to support this spelling [1], oppose this spelling, and commercial solutions are available to learn deep orthographies [1].

August 8, 2009

A diary entry from May 2001.

Filed under: personal — neosurya @ 10:03

I was going through some of my old files and came upon this diary entry.

Life – and Quality

My exams were just over – Four years of hard work was finally going to make some sense – or maybe prove that it was a futile, but necessary effort in career building. A lot of my friends realized that there was something in life that had gone unnoticed in life all these years, though some never even knew what. Now was the time to rekindle that lost heat – felt many of my chums.

It was a day like any other – I had a normal, effortless work schedule, and nothing much to drive home happened during the day. Then there was a call from a friend – she was asking me for some help WRT some project work of some of our erstwhile classmates – who, sadly got left behind in this rat race. Well, in a very casual manner she told me of how her career veered off the normal course a person of our degree had to follow – She had started a Night School, was going to be a correspondent for a leading Mumbai daily. She was an engineer just like me – but had chosen a career that was something many would feel certainly not cut out for an engineer. Yes, It was very surprising – but considering her repute (no pun). The course she would plot for herself should have been more obvious. That was the first thing that prompted me to think over the kinds of careers/lives that were being opted for by the people of my generation. I am not saying that we should change our lines – It is not an easy task – and not everyone can do it. ANd many are very, very able at what they are doing right now and that is the best thing for them.

But, Looking around me I found a mad rush to do something that seemingly did something great with a capital G, and brought money with a capital?? $$?? Many were going thru a schedule that left little or no space for things that are more humane. Satisfaction no longer meant what we wanted to do. It was more like adjusting to Careers that paid bucks and believing that it was the thing we always needed. Yeah, there is nothing wrong with it – Except, if everyone has (wants) money, who is goanna be there to look up to him or her and laugh (or cry)?

Lots said – but then, I thought did I have any examples of people who did something different? Didn’t have to wait long for that one – A friend had just bought a guitar, which he strummed pretty well. I was encouraged to restart playing my violin for pleasure. I had developed a very good interest in the instrument during my 10th Std. I wanted to continue – but the race to have a career had me too busy and held up. Well, It was just that I had felt it not too important then. Even now, its’ just going to be a hobby – I am pretty confident of my incapacity to continue. I am too much unpredictable to do that – But on other counts one may never know.

Since I had restarted it, I was concerned with taking it with me to my stay at US for my study. I hoped that if I have time – I could practice. Wanting myself to be perfect – I had to take advice from someone who knew violins well about how to take good care of it. 6 years with my violin had taught me not much – well I wasn’t with it for too long anyway.

My friend and me went to one pehchaan of his. Uncle was not too well, was recovering from a hip fracture. After some initial sweet talk, we got down to the question – who plays the violin – he asked and then, as a passionate child who had been away from his toy for a few days – he touched the violin – Maybe practice makes a man more than perfect on his instrument – it makes him fall in love with it. The notes, which he played, were great. Simply overwhelming – That kind of stuff was sure to unwind anyone from the grimace of this tiring world. It was simply too good for someone who played with very little formal training.

Here was a man who was at the ripe time of his career – and he had a great life. The only thing he feels not present is the ability to share things with an audience – But that is human nature -you believe that life means more and more, whereas it just means something that is enough. He was not earning too much, but it was more than sufficient. His job was a very involved one – but certainly not over killing him. It left enough time for a few smiles and diversions. I then wondered – everyone, including me, who had to make careers out of ourselves – were embarking upon a journey that had work, work and more work. None of the youth were realizing quality in life as it stands now. Maybe, we have to reconsider what we were going to do. Don’t ever say you don’t like the way you are. Just say that there is something more required – but not money.

The night changed my outlook – Don’t know weather it will last too long. I have always been drawn very strongly to a few things only. But consistent performance was something else – I worked regularly in other departments, but I don’t know how music slowly went away. I guess I am like that only. Just like the youth of these days – I wasn’t able to take myself away from my career. It was not that I didn’t like music – Liked it a lot. Am just like the other guys – When I hear a beautiful guitar, violin or anything else -I feel very nice and compelled to learn it. But like the other youth, I always feel that it is something out of reach.

From now, I will at least remember that my effort can bear some fruit, and not end up as a dust covered violin case. There is life beyond work and career – In fact there is no career if you are just working. I know many people who slog it out in the boardrooms of firms that pay them well, but take the life out of them. They can only resort to passive entertainment and nothing else -wonder what will happen to their post-retirement. Such is the life these days – we have only so much time in our hands – feel people that they leave many things for a later time. Maybe they will try to do it after they are through with their life??

That is the dilemma we face these days. We know that there is something missing out in the scheme of things in our life – but where do we search for it? Do we even make a decent effort to do the search? Three youth – Me, and my 2 friends had decided now that our life and career will not be bound to a monotonous routine. Such a living is no life at all. After all, how many of our needs can we satisfy? There are bound to be some things left behind. And emotional satisfaction is not going to be one of them. Try not to ignore when something in you cries out in an impulse for something. Grab the time from somewhere and search – It may, if not change your life, considerably improve its’ quality.

July 21, 2009

Palm meadows in a desert.

Filed under: bangalore, personal — Tags: , — neosurya @ 15:07

Several gated communities exist, but probably one stands out…Palm Meadows. See this blog post describing the same. I saw an absolutely amazing comment in the above blog by Gan Sharma. The full thing can be read here, it makes for amazing reading, and resonates well with my thoughts. A few excerpts:

….

I have always wondered and asked people in India – what makes them laugh and smile so much sitting where they are! You can enjoy India if you go with a sensitive mind. Imagine this – you live in a 30 apartment building, all 30 have cars, children, friends, outing, et all of best life; you laugh and return boisterously every night at 12 o clock – and the security man has to watch all of you 12 hours a day, with not an Indian dime in his pocket, does not know when his next tea will come from, his total take home of $ 72 a month vanishing in 7 days flat; he cannot touch with his money, what you can afford to throw, he has an orbit of rice and sambhar day in and day out. Can you be sensitive to him or do you habitually sermonize on how these incompetent security people sleep in duty? You will enjoy India if you are able to sensitive to lives. Otherwise, my advise will be, don’t go. Enjoy South of France. Remember one thing, no one is waiting with bated breath in India, they have their little lives to battle with.

….It will help your psychology very much if you remember simply this fact – India is not living there to make your life comfortable. India has 1 billion people and majority is poor. India is trying hard to make lives of that majority better and is striving for the same. Every year there is improvement there. India is busy with itself, making its life better, its life tolerable; your comforts and Palm Meadows are immaterial to India. The main point is, can you make yourselves comfortable in what is India? It is a place where abject poverty interacts with Palm Meadows residents; the poverty goes back to T.V. and sees serials where people laugh and eat and do things which seems out of reach eternally for them. In an aggressive country, probably Palm Meadows residents routinely will get their throats cut; in India maids short change them for 2 dollars. I was amazed when a Palm Meadows resident was passionately out pouring about how a patch of grass has not grown properly due to bad maintenance and the unfairness of the same.

This is a good place to address the issue of a maid cheating; firstly, I have not been exposed to blatant theft; yes they try to make little money here and there – they have to survive. Mostly maids cheat, because we have no long term commitment to their lives; because we will pay a Rs. 2000/- bill at Pizza Hut or Baskin Robins, but negotiate the salary with the maid. If I approach a maid with a mentality that I am here to make one Indian family live well, you will see a long term relationship. None of us would have survived their lives, believe me and kept up the ethical and moral standards they have kept. The beauty of India is that moral and ethical standards are indirectly proportional to the social status. Why does a driver change jobs with no commitment? Because there is no commitment from the employer; what they pay is an immaterial small sum to the driver; his downsides of losing the job are not enormous. If he get a 40% raise with the neighbor, what is wrong in shifting? You did it in your career, didn’t you?

In India you will live happily and comfortably, if you treat all your servants and maids as you treat them in New York. We expatriate Indians want to have the cake and eat it too. We want the service and commitment levels of the advanced societies at the costs of ‘old’ India. A driver gets Rs. 6000/- – exorbitant and prohibitive? It is US$ 120 for the whole month of 12 hour duty for God’s sake!

I have a home in India and my maid has a key. Trust them; also give them long term solutions to their miserable lives, see how comfortable you are! It makes perfect business sense for you to pay the school fees for one year for your drivers’ child. Do it and see how loyal he is. Saying I am there for a short time is an excuse. You get committed to the country; the country gets committed to you. Otherwise, please you are there as an extravagant attachment, India is busy with its life. Approach your trip from this mental get up and I guarantee you a comfortable and lovely stay. What these small people need is not even what your money w ill do in their unsafe lives; the reality – a generous person like you is such an enormous comfort; such a lovable safety net. Like belief in God, it is not important whether you live up to that belief or not – you are a great psychological comfort; remember this, you will enjoy India.

….Food is the best part of India; you have food and food and food at unbelievable prices. You can go to any level you want, idli dosa camps to vegetarian authentic Italian joints – bars, wow, you can’t get enough. But what is lacking again? There is no great entertainment and places to go to daily inside the city, like what you have in each city in the West; you have to go to eating joints and bars with company, you can go to movies, some malls. Having said that, this is not entirely true too; do you have interest in traditional visiting places, culture, history, temples, and authentic food, you have enough to do. You can go short distances to great places. Socializing in India can occupy your whole life time.

….

Cheers friends. Finally, this issue of whether I will be happy in India is not an external question, it is an internal one. I have to be happy where ever I am. If I am completely happy in where I am now, why should I be asking questions about returning to India? Go to India from a happy position of being happy where you are and go to India to be happy. Happiness is in the mind. Really!

Found a very relevant post in the blog by “BIOME environmental solutions pvt ltd“; the whole post is here, excerpt below:

What if you and I came from a village with no education and had to live on the streets for 15 days before even some one gave us a job to wash vessels ? And what if you and I couldn’t open a bank account because there is no document to evidence your and my existence – Proof of residence and Ration card and what not ?

And what do they do for us ? They build our walls, the roof above our heads, they ensure we get our water and our shit is taken away from our toilets. They clean our houses everyday, cook for us and throw our garbage out. They do all the “little” things without which our lives would be an insanitary mess, out on the streets……and then would our abstractions mean anything? I mean to us, would they mean anything to us?

Yeah, that supreme abstraction that we pride ourselves with, our work ethic, our “professionalism”. So we haggle with plumbers, masons, well diggers, maids, the works – to be cheap. We often trouble them for their payments because we think they are “cheats”. We pay less because they were not professional, they didn’t use the right tools. We are absolutely pissed off if while a project is ongoing the plumber suddenly has to go home to Chittoor for an emergency or when he suddenly has lost control of his labourers – “Hey that’s not professional!!. My garden will get flooded !”

When will we ever come out of the cosy shell of our abstractions – abstractions such as values, ethics, merit – that we define and define only in our own social context – Never asking ourselves what they would mean to us if we were different.

You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known
You know Something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

– Bob Dylan

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