Where have I been? Out of the darkness

I realize that I haven’t updated my blog in a long long time.. Over 6 to 10 months.. This is not good. When I first started this blog many years ago.. my objective was to inform and entertain., Somewhere along the way.. I got distracted and lost my way.

So here we are at the end of 2018 and I need to get back to my roots. I will make it my point to put up posts that are entertaining and informative.. My new focus will be to talk about things that surround me in my day to day life that amuse me and at times, just tick me off.

2018 has been an year of re-awakening for me.. It’s been over 3 year since my divorce. So I’m going to tell the blogging world some stuff that I’ve been going through for the past 3

For the past 3 years I lived in survival mode. I was living in Red Bank, NJ in a small 1 bedroom and was putting my life back together financially and emotionally. To say that the past 3 years have been humbling, is an understatement. I thought highly of myself as a homeowner, parent, and husband. I was proud of my achievements (I think a bit arrogant).  I had this swagger and this led to my downfall in all areas of these areas.

With the divorce, I had to sell my marital home,  adjust my parenting style and as a divorced father, I had to realize that the divorce was not caused just by her but I had to accept ownership of my contributions,

What made me to come to this revelation? Well it’s a combination of multiple things.. Introspection, my friends, long walks, Tennis (yes this is and will continue to be my passion), therapy and having to do a hard reset to almost every facet of my life.  Financially, the monetary devastation the divorce brought to me, taught me  that  money comes and goes, but relationships last for ever.

Without my friends, I would have never see the light at the end of the tunnel. My two closest friends, stood by me as my emotional ups and down took a toll on them as well. Yet both of my friends were always there for me. Whenever I wanted, all I had to do was call them and they were there. Be it on the tennis court or just having me over and allowing me to vent my frustrations at my situation.

My two girls (whom I’ve written about on this blog many many times), showed me what unconditional love is. The divorce affected each of them quite differently. One was matter of fact accepting and the other the divorce affected her deeply. Yet regardless, they showed me the love and support that only children can give to you. They were there for me whenever I needed them. Even as I at times was emotionally unavailable for them, they were always there for me.

I had to figure out a balance and between my issues with the divorce to being a loving parent to my girls.

My dysfunctional life at work was consistent..

  • To have your ex-wife working in the same physical work location and seeing her almost every day, brought out much emotion.  Almost every emotion I experienced, was not positive (anger, disdain, contempt, sadness, dread, and many many more..) . It took me 2+ year to come to grips that the daily dysfunction enabled me to compartmentalize my thoughts.  I was able to separate my emotions and come to a level of acceptance that this dysfunction will always be a part of my for as long as both of us work in the same physical location
  • My best friend is the boss of my ex-wife and kudos to him, our friendship was strained as he saw both me and my ex-wife every day and he was thrust into the firing zone. What amazes me is that P he maintained a balance to have an employee that was his best friend’s ex-wife. I’m not sure I could have handled this dysfunction.

So where am I today?

  • I became a homeowner at the beginning of this year and continued to regain my financial health.
  • I’m focused on my mental and physical well being. I’m learning to appreciate the little things in life and above all enjoy myself..

Where am I going?

  • I love writing and it’s therapy for me to write Dad’s Taxi. I need to go back to my roots and write about things that express my life.
  • When I look at the state of my blog, it needs a revamp and will be doing this over the next few month.

 

 

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Wiping your IPhone Clean

Wanna wipe your phone clean this CNET article shows how to do it step by step.

Well, I’m Baack! I’ve been off line for a few months.. with the craziness of work and the fact that my life is just as crazier than usual.. that’s an update for another post!

Are you buying a new iPhone X and want to wipe all the data from your old phone?  Well I came across this CNET article that might be usable to you.

With the iPhone X availibility now down to just a few days: Yes, Dad is itching to  get an iPhone X, yet we all know how the best laid plans can be put on hold.

Yes even if you are a DROID or a Window’s phone you can use the CNET article to clear your phone, so you can become one of the iPhone cult followers… like I am..

I excerpted the intructions below from the site above.. so I’m not taking any accolades for my kownledge or ability to do the instructions below.. I am also not responsible if anything goes wrong when you follow the excerpted instructions below!

Apple devices that support iOS 5 or later include hardware encryption when you set a passcode. If you perform a wipe using the method below, the encryption key is also overwritten, which makes it very difficult for anyone who wants to recover the data.

Step 1: Before starting the reset process, make sure to unpair devices like the Apple Watch ($429.00 at Apple). Then, turn off Find My iPhone ($849.00 at Apple). For iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone. Enter your Apple ID password if prompted. For iOS 10.3 or later, go to Settings > Your name > iCloud > Find My iPhone.

Step 2: Turn off and sign out of other services including iMessage and the App Store. Go to Settings > Messages > toggle the iMessage option. For your Apple ID, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > tap your Apple ID email address and then tap Sign Out.

For added peace of mind you may also want to sign out individually from any other linked services and apps, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Step 3: Sign out of iCloud completely. Head to Settings > iCloud and find Sign Out at the bottom of the page. For iOS 10.3 and later, Settings > Your name > Sign Out. For iOS 7 devices, choose Delete Account.

Note: if you delete all your data manually without signing out of iCloud, it will also delete the content from iCloud as well — which is something you definitely don’t want.

Step 4: Start the wipe process. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Confirm the selection.

Step 5: Remove the serial number of the device from your Apple account profile at appleid.apple.com.

#Rogue Potus Staff – Chaos in the White House

Since the elections of last year.. I’ve been trying to weed through the news to truly get a crazy/chaotic/dysfunctional picture on the inside of #potus45 #realdonaldtrump White House.  The chaos that exists is real and you should be afraid.. be very afraid of the man of the man with sitting in the global office.. Yet I digress..

CNN is all Trump all the time.. it’s gotten so annoying that I dread turning on CNN because all I see is a bunch of “talking heads” showcasing the chaos, the daily outrages of #postus45 and the adventures of his miscreants that he has surrounded himself with.

All I see are these crazies that have power have been put there by us (by vote – #potus45) and by selection.. by #potus45. What is the common denominator here?

The rotating door for press secretary, chief of staff, may not yet have finished.. but the dizzying speed at which this happening on a daily basis, make me sick to my stomach. I truly wonder how are we going to finish 4 year of this?

Some questions/isssues/rants/raves that keep racing through my mind on a daily basis:

  • Will we come out this unscathed? Will there be a future for our kids?
  • Will I survive this turmoil and be able to retire in peace in the next 10 years or so?
  • Will there be a place that I can live that is safe from nuclear war?
  • Will we ever regain respect (our country) in the eyes of the global community?
  • Will there be another gloabal war? North Korea, Russia keep racing through my mind!
  • Who is running this train and when can I get off? The dysfunction at the WH has become so contagious.. I can’t stand to look at the Senate with anything but disdain and disgust. How hard can it be to be bi-partisan?
  • When will the #trumpies get buyers remorse and finally realize that what they bought into is just outrageous.
  • Why am I so obsessed with #roguepotusstaff
    • My mantra has become #resist and #persist
    • The tweets from this handle showcase everything I talked about above and if you don’t get anything out of this post.. make sure u follow @roguepotusstaff
  • I’ve also gotten hooked on watching “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.. I have to tell you, this 1/2 hour of zen really helps me to calibrate the noise that I see and puts into perspective!

Now that I’ve vented.. I can go back to my normal real life chaos that’s pretty much stabilized to the point of numbness. Dad’s taxi is still operational.. but my kids just do enough to amuse me.

 

 

India Trip – No Power Cells in Bags!

I haven’t written for a while, but here’s the last chapter in my India follies.

Of course this also involves Airplanes and my ongoing battle with the rules of flight in India. It seems the rules for what you can and cannot have in your checked baggage differs when you come from US and when you got to US using Air India. Going from US, they don’t care what you have in your checked in bags.. and this is important as you will soon see.

Coming from Mumbai is a totally different story.. You can’t have ANY external power packs in your checked in bags! Of course you don’t know this till AFTER you come to the airport!

Mumbai airport is a very modern and beautiful airport. Unless of course you are flying with Air India! Air India is a government owned airline of India and with that comes the perils of dealing with anything that is government related in India. Incompetence!

My daughter and I got to the airport early so we could check in before the crowds.. Wrong! Air India will not allow you to check in unless it’s 2 hours before the flight. God forbid you come 3 hours earlier.. you are out of luck.. you need to be there 2 hours before flight time.. This is to ensure you hit the long lines and crowds!

We got there 3 hours early and there were no lines.. so naturally we tried to check in.. but we were told in no certain terms to come back when in an hour when it was two hours before boarding.. Don’t ask.. I asked why and the person behind the counter said, that it’s the rules and they follow the rules!

So my daughter and I walked away and sat nearby.. So can you guess what happened when it was 2 hours before boarding? The checkin line snaked around the terminal!

After we got to the counter (about an hour later).. they found one of my bags was overweight by 4 lbs.. so they tell me to go the “payment counter” to pay overweight fees. I just shook my head and went to the counter.. and you can guess what happened next!

Nobody there! The person on duty had apparently gone on break or something and nobody else could do his job.. Anyway, the guy shows up about 20 mins later and by this time, I’m furious.. He gives me some lame excuse.. saying he had to step away on an “urgent issue”.. So I pay my punishment fee ($100) and check in..

While I check in I notice a sign which says that no power packs are allowed in checked bags.. I of course didn’t think I had any in my bag! Wrong again!

We check in and walk towards the gate.. and this is when the fun begins!

They call my name at the gate and take me to a soldier who tells me that there is a problem with my baggage. Of course by this time.. I’ve passed through multiple security checks and they wouldn’t let me out of the secured area with the soldier.. after a few minutes of discussion.. they did let me out..

The soldier takes me a few levels down into the bowels of the airport.. and I’m getting more and more nervous.. When I get to the security room, they tell me that they found 6 (yes 6) power packs and it’s not allowed! They bring my bag and tell me to open it.. of course this is as good time as any for my keys to NOT work with the locks. I tell them to break the locks and they tell me “No sir, we cannot do that, that is not allowed!”.

I finally got my bag opened and by this time I’m surrounded  by multiple army soldiers! I’m sweating profusely by this time.. I find 1, 2, 3 and tell them can I go now? They say no.. there are 6 and they want all of them found in the bag!.. So everything comes out of my packed bag and we find all 6 power cells. I even tell them.. they can confiscate them and they say to me: “No Sir, we cannot do that.. that is not allowed. You need to take your power cells as part of your carry on baggage”.

By this time, my exasperation level is beyond exhaustion.. I say “whatever, just give me something to carry the power cells in” and they oblige.. Keep in mind by this time the time is approaching departure and my daughter is on board and I’m in the bowels of the airport.. Fun right?

So the soldier escorts me back to my gate and I have to go through security a third time and finally get on the plane.. Picture this.. me sweating profusely and my daughter asking me “what happened Dad, they were announcing that the flight was delayed due to a baggage issue with a passenger”.. Can you guess who that was? Me!

We finally take off and by this time I’m just drained of all my life. I vowed that I will never fly Air India again.. to save a few hundred dollars.

Lesson to be learned here: Don’t assume that you know the rules of baggage when it comes to travel to India.. and listen carefully to the rules!

So basically, overtime I traveled in India by air, I had different issues.. I guess I just need to stay local!

India Trip – Don’t Lose that Boarding Pass!

I took a few weeks off from my India trip blog, but before I forget.. this one is good and I’ll remember this for a long time!

When we were returning from Goa to Mumbai by Air.. this is an amusing (it wasn’t funny when it happened – trust me)…

I passed through security final security check point and my carry on bag was pulled aside for “questionable content”.. I had some small scissors in a case as part of my overnight stuff. Remember this is has been in my bag since we came to India and it was not flagged in ANY security check points neither in US nor on the flight TO Goa..

So I said to the security guy.. go ahead and take the scissors.. as I had forgotten that I even had them. They removed the offending item and I was on my way.. with my carry on bag.. Of course this is where the fun begins.

I met my daughter and we were getting some snacks pre-flight and I ask her whether she has my boarding pass and she of course says “NO dad.. you have your own pass!”. Of course I did not have it! I had left it behind at the security check point.. and in being flustered at the bag check.. I had left for the gate w/o the boarding pass.

We went to the gate and asked for a duplicate pass and of course.. the gate agent said “We cannot print  you a new pass, you will have to go BACK and get a new pass at the checkin gates”.. Panic sets in.. Keep in mind this airport is ultra modern with all the amenities you want except #IndigoAir cannot print boarding passes at their gates!

The agent tells me to go back to security check point and see if the boarding pass was pulled aside.. I race back to security and of course it’s not there.. The security officials send me to the customer security desk.. monitored by the military.. I go over to the security desk and explain to them my situation (and the officer was very very patient and helpful I must say)… he was aghast that the gate agent asked me to go back through security to get another duplicate from the check in gate agent at the front of the airport!

After I tell him my sad stupid mistake.. he asks me to go back to the gate and get the gate agent.. so I race back to the gate and ask the gate agent to come to the security desk.. so now we both go back to the security desk and she says again.. “Customer must get new boarding pass from check in desk at front of the airport”.. The army officer goes ballistic and says.. “No.. he is the customer.. you go to the front and get him a duplicate”.. After a few minutes of back and forth… the gate agent finally agrees to have a duplicate boarding pass sent back through security  gate.. so I can board my flight!

This wait was about 15 minutes.. whereas the gate agent said they would print the duplicate and be here in 2 to 5 minutes.. Well of course this was not the case.. So here I am sweating profusely at my stupidity for losing my boarding pass after security check.. as well a quite bit embarrassed. By this time my daughter is texting me as our boarding time is approaching for our flight to Mumbai is approaching…

Finally the Indigo Air customer service agent comes and gives me my duplicate boarding pass.. I snatch it and make a beeline to the gate. Can you guess what happens next???

My daughter and I are boarding at the gate and the gate agent (a new gate agent).. says “Sir you cannot board.. Your boarding pass is not security stamped!”.. So the gate agent tells me to “run back to security and get the boarding pass security stamped.. Let me lay out this scenario.. the distance from the gate to the security check point is at least 1/10 of a mile..

So now my daughter boards and I sprint back to the security check.. I ask the military official to stamp the boarding pass.. and he just looks at me in disbelief and and refuses to stamp my pass.. By this time.. I’m sweating profusely and my NY attitude is surfacing with multiple choice words about to be expounded by my vocabulary..

Luckily the security desk guy (again.. I must say this officer was totally amazing!).. sees my distress and comes over and tells the other guy to stamp the pass.. I guess he had rank.. so the security reluctantly stamps the boarding pass.. and I race back to the gate to board the flight finally!

Now lessons to be learned here:

  • Never ever assume that security in Indian Airports is consistent
  • Never ever let go of your boarding pass when you pass through security check in India.. Of course.. there is NO cellphone boarding passes.. so you are always dealing with paper!
  • Remain calm.. always say to yourself —> “This is India and you are wrong.. as they are just following their directions”.. this will absolutely nullify any anger and panic you are feeling
  • Security at Airports is very very tight… If you don’t pass through multiple security check points with the same information.. something is very very wrong.. The terrorism threat in India is taken very very seriously!
  • Stay Calm! After all you are the one at fault. even if what is the norm in America.. you cannot expect this level of normalcy in India.. even if technologically India has really surpassed America (i.e. Dual Sims Phone are the norm in India.. we don’t have ANY Dual sims phone in US!)
  • Remember that even though technology is superior in India.. they are still living in the paper world with process!
  • Always, Always, Always.. make sure your carry on bags don’t contain anything that may cause you grief.. Well how would  I know that my cuticle scissors that I’ve been taking everywhere would be flagged at this airport??

After I got on the plane.. I did a silent prayer and told my daughter of the whole episode.. She of course was laughing so hard that tears were coming out.. Well what more can you expect??

So my next post will talk about what happened with Air India on the way back to India. Again.. totally my fault.. but who knows what is can happen when in India..

Big Fat Indian Wedding in Mumbai

When I say I was overwhelmed by the wedding in December, it is an understatement. After we settled in, there was constant activity at my cousins house for the wedding preparations. Every day there was activity, more family visiting, more ceremonies, more rehearsals for the the festivities (Pre-wedding and wedding).

For 5 days we didn’t even leave the general vicinity of the house we were staying in. Shopping, eating, shopping, eating, dance rehearsals, wedding preparations and daily evening festivities were the order of the week. For these days passed so quickly, that I felt like I was living in a different world. So this was what it meant to have a real Indian wedding!

We were fortunate that we had purchased a cell phone with totally “free” service so we could communicate with the outside world. Keep in mind as a foreigner this kind of purchase has to be done by a native. For approximately $80 I got a phone which had dual Sims and unlimited data, voice and text messaging. Outstanding!

We were able to get currency exchange at the local market (thankfully), so we were able to spend cash freely. Keep in mind, the de-monitization issues were still visible everywhere. No money at ATMs and getting change when you do spend money was not easy.

With every day wedding activities and shopping, by end of day, we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Keep in mind of the first day or so we were both having jet lag issues, so sleep was a commodity!

Anyway.. we survived and back to the wedding preparations:

The love within the family for each other and their togetherness was absolutely genuine. What I realized is that family is family no matter if you are in India or outside the country. First and second generation cousins who had never met each other were spending hours upon hours and days together and enjoying each others company! Every day was a blast! When you have a large family like mine (I have like 17 first cousins), and of course these cousins have their kids!

Generation 1 (me and my cousins) and Generation 2 (the kids of my cousins) were so amazing and so in tune with what needed to get done for the wedding. There were three major event preparations happening simultaneously.

  1. My aunt’s 80th birthday celebration and the wedding preparations. Two nights before the wedding was my Aunt’s 80th birthday celebration. This was  a dual event as in addition the the birthday celebration, there were simultaneous Henna being applied to all the women and girls that were part of the wedding celebration!
  2. Dance Rehearsals for the Dance party (Sangeet) the day before the wedding ‘
  3. Wedding preparations (including all Hindu religious pooja’s  and food preparations on a daily basis

All of the above was going on in the same house we were staying!

My Aunt’s birthday celebration was a huge success. She had no idea about the party and she was absolutely overjoyed. For me it back fond memories of my mother and how great it would have been to see her here enjoying her younger sister’s 80th birthday party!

The night before the wedding was the Sangeet (singing and dances) celebration at a hotel near to where we stayed. OMG, the preparations, the dance rehearsals (your’s truly did perform a dance – which we will not discuss further), and the performances at this event were a sight to be seen. Let’s just say the alcohol was flowing and and everyone was having a great time!

The next day was the wedding! This wedding was an all day affair that included wedding and reception. There must have easily been a combined of about 500 to 750 people at both events. Of course my cousins and our huge family out staged everyone at the wedding and reception. We are absolutely a loud bunch of people! Someone called me their ring leader,  yet I do resemble that remark!

To see a wedding like this is kind of overwhelming! To see cousins and family you have not seen in years is such a joy and you get a sense of belonging. This is something I absolutely feel at times here. I really don’t have any close relatives that are in NJ and my cousin in California is quite a distance away.

Pre-wedding  shopping that my daughter and I did was endless. My daughter and I had to buy our wedding outfits and even though it was pretty straight forward, the choices were amazing. As I had said in my other posting, everything was just a taxi ride away at the local market area in Vile Parle East. Even after converting into dollars the purchases were a tremendous bargain!

By the time we got home from the wedding reception, we were exhausted!

The day after the wedding, my daughter and I took a taxi tour of Mumbai.. This was amazing! The crowds, traffic and the sights and sound of Mumbai was visual and audio overload! Let me leave details on this for another post!

The wedding celebration my daughter and I experienced, is something that neither one of us will forget for a long long time. It was exhilarating to spend time with family and to see the love that my family showed towards each other was something I have NEVER experienced.

To say that this wedding was “A big fat Indian Wedding” is an understatement, but from what I understand, most weddings in India are like this!

 

 

 

 

 

India Trip- Mumbai Airport

When we went to India, we arrived in Mumbai Airport (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport). This airport is really impressive. Be prepared to walk, this is truly an impressive airport.

When I came here 6 years ago, the airport used to be called Sahar Airport, and it was un-impressive. The design and architecture of this airport now is very impressive. The airport is spacious  and comfortable but let me warn you.. you will walk and walk and walk a substantial distance from the gate to the Immigration area.  I estimated that I had to walk at least a 1/4 of a mile..

Immigration is where the fun starts.

If you don’t know what you are doing (and I’m one of those people), you are guaranteed to go to the wrong lines. In India, you have Indian Nationals, OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) and Visa Holders (me!).

Each of the above has a separate line and you can easily spend an hour on each of these lines as I had to do on two of the lines. The OCI Line for my daughter and the Visa line for me. Of course her line was pretty efficient, but the fun was on my line. I was redirected to the “special” line for Visa Holders.

BTW, you should make sure you print out your e-Visa as this paperwork is absolutely essential.. Otherwise you will not be able to enter India! We almost lost this paper copy of my e-Visa in Newark, as it fell out of our passport folder.. Luckily, I picked it up from the floor at Newark Airport!

In each of the visa lines, there are plenty of stations for visa processing, BUT only a few are  actually manned.. Maybe this was a slow work day?

On my e-visa line, after waiting 45 minutes for the 2 manned stations, I finally got to the counter. My visa was in order.. but of course, they wanted to take retinal scans as well as fingerprint me. Security is a great thing when things work well. I realized quickly that the fingerprint scanner was not working well at all. I was asked to put wax on my fingers to get a better read.. of course the container that the agent gave me didn’t have any wax!

After about 10 minutes of sweat (mine), somehow, I was stamped on my paper e-Visa and allowed to enter India! Both hands were fingerprinted and a retinal scan was done as well.

To get to your baggage, you nave to exit thru the Duty Free Shop. Onward to Baggage Claim!

We get our bags, and I decide to get some local currency.. Bad Idea! Remember the word de-monitization. There were limits on how much US Currency I could convert. I could only convert $40.

Finally we get out and we need to two floor up to get our ride.. Elevators  are a commodity. It took us about 45 minutes as we had to wait among my fellow traveler’s as we patiently waited for the two elevators.

In retrospect, I was really impressed with the size and comfort level of the airport. The inefficiency of the immigration lines need to be addressed. When you see this airport you see the efforts that the Indian Government has made in making the Airport comfortable.

Just make sure you are wearing your walking shoes!

 

India 2017- A Trip in Review

First in a series of posts on my Big fat Indian Wedding in India and random thoughts of my trip to India in December of 2016

In the last month of 2016, My daughter and I went to India for the first time in o
ver6 years. We went for an Indian wedding and to say we had the time of our lives would be an understament.

India
India 

To see India as a native is also an experience that was eye opening. There is no country that is more diverse and has sense of pride than India. This country is a super power and you see this everywhere!

As many of my readers know, my writing is infused with a sense of humor. Over the next few postings, I’ll convey to you my views on what I saw during my vacation in Mumbai, Goa, Pune and back to Mumbai. Many of my opinions will invoke responses (hopefully). Much of what I saw and my thoughts should be just considered my views and treated with the humor and realism, I try to inject into my postings.

When I go to India, I am a foreigner.

  • I’m what they refer to as an IBCD (Indian Born confused Desi (slang term for a person of Indian Origin)). This year when I went to India with my beautiful 24 year old daughter, I went with an open mind and went without the normal prejudices I bring to the table when I visit India.

My experience in India was amazing! The changes in the lifestyle of the people that call India home (regardless of whether they live there or are NRI’s like myself), has progressed tremendously.

Some ramblings to start:

  • Be prepared to walk – When you get off the plane, the huge rebuilt terminals are just that.. huge and spacious.. your walk from your plane to immigration and customs will be at least 10 to 20 minutes. The vastness of the international airport in India is a sight to behold. The same holds true for the aiport in Goa.  What you experience in these terminals is for another posting.
  • Your Dollar goes further – If you are coming from United States, you are already at an advantage as you are getting a favorable return on currency. One dollar equals $67 Rupees. This number might make you feel rich, but the fact is that even with this favorable returns on currency exchange, it is quite expensive to get around (be it by taxi or other mode of transportation).
  • Currency and De-Monitization: 2016 was the year of demonitization of the 500 and 1000 rupee note.. this made getting money via ATM, via currency exchange an adventure. Empty ATM machines and Limitations on how much you can exchange for currency for me was quite restrictive. At the airport, I could only exchange $40 for local currency!
  • Change Anyone? Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand and change. Due to de-monitization and the basics how things run in India.. Don’t expect to get change easily.. So everytime you get change for currency you are using for payments, treasure it. You will need it!
  • Rules of the Road: There are none.Forget the concept of normalacy and organized traffic patterns  when it comes to automotive traffic and travel. The law of the land is “If u are in a car, Look Forward only, and lane indications are just for sake of having them“.  Remember that when you cross the streets.. you need to always look “right-left-right” and if you are an NRI, for the first few days, you are always looking the wrong direction when crossing ANY street!
  • Traffic is a mess, but rarely do you see any car that has dents or has been damaged due to an accident. The patience and skills that drivers in India show is amazing.. I have to applaud the patience of every single driver that is in a car, motorcycle, scooter, bus, taxi, rickshaw… and any other vehicle that is on the road!
  • Technology in India is at par with what we see in the US. In certain thing we have been left in the dust. Can you get a dual Sim phone in the US for less than $80?
  • Travel is divided into multiple categories: Pedestrian, Car, Public Transport, or Taxi (can be rickshaw, or taxi). Yes there is even Uber in most cities in India!
  • Travel Light: You can literally go to India with a carry on and get everything you need within 24 hours! With Malls and markets readily available buying d Clothes is not a big deal.. be they Indian or western (for me that’s Jeans, shorts and short sleeves).. So my suggestion is pack light and leave lots of room for souvenirs and clothes that you MUST buy!
  • Family is family – For me I met I attended my first real “Big Fat Indian Wedding”. The size of my family is huge and to meet them in one fell swoop is not only overwhelming, it’s touching. Considering I have 17 first cousins and each of them have a few kids, the family in attendance at the wedding was huge!
  • Curb your apppetite – With India comes food. You get the best variety of food in the world. Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian. If you are looking for beef you are out of luck! Cows are sacred in Hindu religion, so you will not get any beef (or at least I didn’t find any) in Mumbai). Friendly advice… if your stomach is weak, make sure you take enough meds to settle your stomach, otherwise you will be making constant trips to the bathroom.. Most of these will not be pleasant as you will be running there! I was lucky.. I only had only 24 hours of this unpleasantness, but the symptoms were around constantly!
  • Security – India is very secure. With all the threats of terrorism, you will see plenty of armed military from the time you land to the time you leave. You will not feel insecure when it comes to this. At times this is overwhelming, but you will see that this is absolutely necessary with the world we live in.

There is so much more that I can write about my trip. I’ll use the next few postings over the next few days to give you my spin on my trip. 

 

Facebook and Birthday

Lesson learned today.. Need to figure out a way to hide my birthday on Facebook. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the greetings I get from my dear friends and family, but.. I just feel older!

BTW.. lesson to be learned here, if you change your birthday multiple times on Facebook to prevent identity theft, you will be blocked from changes on this. You will have to call Facebook support to get them to change it for you.. Oh Well.. such is life..

I think it’s so touching that so many of my friends and family even notice my birthday on their feeds!

Holidays in India

Going for my va

Dad is going to India next week after 7 years.. Last time I went.. I got terribly sick and this lasted for almost 6 months. Lesson to be learned here is NEVER EVER drink milk products in small restaurants!

Even as I love food, I know this time, I have to watch what I eat and be very careful.

I’ll be partaking in a real Indian wedding in Mumbai. Yes, Indian weddings are not just one day of celebrations, it’s a culmination of a week long celebration with hundreds and at time thousands of your friends/relatives!

I’ll be blogging while I’m there with unique perspective on what changes I’ve seen over the past 7 years. I’ll try to make it interesting.. I’m trying to figure out how to do video blogging, but am struggling right now.. As a techie, I should know how to do this, but am still struggling with the right venue for the video blog..

I was thinking of Facebook Live, but that’s just too “Public”.

Any suggestions?