With Sachin Tendulkar having turned 40 (the big 4 O) a few days ago and, numerous articles have been written about his remarkable career. I am a fan of this great cricketer but perhaps not a super-fan like many others who know every statistic and nitty gritty detail. Having lived in Bombay, I was able follow his career from early on due his records set in the Harris Sheild and Giles Shield tournaments. He made his debut back in 1989 at the young age of 16 years and 205 days against India's arch-rival Pakistan in Karachi and announced his retirement from ODI at the end of 2012.
As I was reminiscing about his career, I felt the desire to write something but any article on his stats, career, style and achievements had already been written. Perhaps it in the geek in me that felt I should write an article about how technological advancements in the 24 years since his international debut back, helped me follow his career. So here is my geeky look back at technology and the Tendulkar era.
Good Ol' SW Radio : It must have been a rainy monsoon night when I was lying in bed hoping that this scrawny 17-year old would get his first century of his career. Back in 1990, the cable TV revolution had yet to begin in India and we only had Doordarshan. The one way to catch up on scores was to wait for the newspaper in the morning or try and catch the BBC commentary on Short Wave radio. I had all kinds of wires hooked to my window grill to get the best signal. Tendulkar was on his first tour of England and India were in trouble having lost some early wickets in the final innings of the 2nd Test. Tendulkar had put up a brave fight and was inching towards his first hundred. As he got into the 80s and 90s, it was nerve wracking just listening to the commentary and I was hoping and praying that he would get his hundred. The moment finally arrived and this young lad got his first hundred (I get goose pimples thinking about it) and saved India from a defeat. It was probably a scratchy signal but it allowed me to experience his first 100. Who knew he had 99 more centuries ahead of him.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) : For the next 3-4 years, I was able to follow his career on TV and Radio and he had blossomed into a confident batsman and was an established member of the Indian cricket team. In 1993, I left the country and with that it became harder for me to follow him. At that time, I was introduced to the Internet, which was largely used in academic circles. On our Unix workstations, there used to be an application called the Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC had thousands of chat rooms where you could login and chat on topics related to that channel. One of the popular rooms was #cricket where folks discussed cricket. When there was a live game, volunteers would provide live commentary of the game or regular score updates. For the next couple of years, I followed Sachin's career watching text messages as I worked on my assignment. It still remained exciting just sitting there watching text scroll by with little to no visual description of the shot but still as exciting.
World Wide Web : Towards the end of my studies, the world wide web had started to get popular because of the graphical browser Mosaic (then went on to become Netscape). With the rapid growth of the web, scores and other details started to move to the Web and somewhere in 90s, cricinfo.com was born. Cricinfo has its roots in the #cricket IRC channel and it became the most popular cricket website. With all the browser innovation, watching cricket on the web became more engaging as one could see graphics, stats and other information. For most of the 90s and into the 2000s, I followed his career on the web. During that period, Sachin had become the World's leading batsmen and it was a pleasure following him, even though it was reading an auto-refreshing web page. (For a while, cricinfo also offered live audio commentary for a fee but it did not really take off)
Willow TV and YouTube : In the decade since I left my grad school, the world wide web had grown beyond anything I would have imagined. The web was now available to people in their homes, most had dial-up services but broadband was catching on in the US. In the era of broadband communications, was born Willow TV. Willow TV allowed users to watch live video on computers via the Internet. I could now watch Tendulkar play thousands of miles away and not have to leave anything to my imagination. In 15 years, I had gone from listening to a scratchy SW radio commentary to watching him live on streaming video. By 2010/2011, YouTube was a sensation and was now Willow TV and YouTube were streaming cricket in High Definition.
Smartphone : With the launch of the iPhone, smartphone innovation took off in 2007/2008. Smartphones became more than phones and became multi-function devices where you could even watch TV. Willow TV started offering a mobile app allowing me to watch my cricket games anywhere I was. Almost 25 years later, I find myself in bed again but I am watching a crystal clear HD picture of the Little Master play. Times have changed, technology has changed but I get the same chill every time he plays and gets close to a 100. Agonizing as it was, he finally got his 100th 100.
Sachin Tendulkar is a rare sportsman who is not only amazingly gifted and talented, but very humble. In almost 25 years, this man has achieved every possible feat in the sport while technology has allowed me to follow this great sportsman from a scratchy audio signal on a radio to a crystal clear High Definition picture. Which achievement is bigger, Tendulkar's or the progress of technology? I leave it to you to decide.
We were not done with our New Year's wishes, when we were confronted with the news that my 14 year old cousin had died from head injuries resulting from a bike accident in India. 14 years old, alive and bubbly one day and gone the next. Could a helmet have saved his life? Probably yes. One of my pet peeves is around the use of seat belts and helmets. There are so many people I come across every day who are so callous about their use (or non-use) of seat belts and helmets, its quite shameful. One of my earliest memories was the death of a friend, who died from head injuries at 18. The image of a dead body covered in a white cloth with blood stains on the head is an image that still gives me the goodbumps.
The bottom line is that seat belts and helmets save lives and I was fortunate enough to have first-hand experience where a seat belt saved my father's life. In 1990, there was a plane crash of an Airbus A320 in Bangalore, when an Indian Airlines flight crashed into a swamp just as it approached the runway. The plane caught fire and roughly 100 of the 130 people on board died. My father was on that flight and survived that crash. Yes, he was able to live only because of this little thing called the Seat Belt. The seat belt saved his life and he only got bruised because he hit hit face and legs with the seat in-front. He went on to live a normal life for another 8 years before he passed away. 8 years that made a huge difference to our family and 8 years that I am very thankful for.
I really find it strange when people refuse to wear seat belts especially for situations belows
This is such a common trend in India where many people remove their seat belts seconds after the plane touches the ground. This is one of the most dangerous times because if the plane hits the brakes, you will get tossed. Also, where are you going? Can you not wait till the plane stops? Is the seat belt so uncomfortable?
Another trend is to remove the seat belt the moment the "Wear Seat Belts" sign is taken off. There are cases where the plane can hit air pockets and drop several meters if if you are not wearing your belts, you can get tossed up and hit your head among other things.
Another common practice is for people sitting in the back seat not to wear seats. I don't understand why? I often get asked "Does that law in your state require you to wear a seat belt at the back?". If there is an accident at 70 miles an hour, everyone is in equal danger whether you are in the front or back. The same with helmets, if you are riding at the back, wear a helmet.
Not wearing helmets or seat belts for short distances. Many people think, "Oh, I am just going to the next street...what can happen"? .....well you never know.
If you are still not convinced, take a look at this video and do it for the ones who care for you. If this does not move you and convince you to wear a seat belt then probably not will.
Video is copyright by Susses Safer Roads
If reading this article helps you change you mind and wear a seat belt or helmet, I would feel like I made a difference. Please do wear your seat belt and helmets at all times. If not for yourself, do it for the ones who love you. Wearing your seat belt or helmet is one thing you can control while getting into a vehicle.
Internet commerce has been around for over a decade and Thanksgiving sales have been around for many years. So, one would have figured that a technology company like Best Buy would be prepared to handle a little something called a pre-sale for its Silver Rewards member. Wrrrrrrrooooooooonggggggg. On Monday, November 19th, just days before Black Friday in the US, Best Buy had a special pre-sale event for its Silver Rewards members. These are loyal members of Best Buy who spend at least $2000/year. These are your high spending VIP customers who you really wanted to impress with a good experience so they would come back on Black Friday and shop some more. Unfortunately for Best Buy, this pre-sale turned out to be quite a disaster especially for customers like me who may not want to shop on their site or even deal with their phone lines.
Best Buy had been hyping this sale over the past week with a number of emails about the upcoming pre-sale. They even had a preview on Sunday. With all the preview traffic and email, they should have had an idea of the amount of traffic to expect. The sale kicked off exactly at 11 AM EST. Thanks to the preview, I knew that I wanted to get 3 DVD sets of the Big Bang Theory (yes, I am a geek). I quickly found the items and started adding them to my shopping cart. I must have added 2 items reltively quickly but by the time I got to the 3rd item, the site had slowed down to a crawl. This was all within the first 5 minutes of the pre-sale event starting. I tried to Checkout but the system hung for a while and returned back with an empty cart. Within about 10 minutes the site had crashed and I got the "We were expecting Snow but we got a Blizzard" screen. Awwww, so cute, if this were my child's website but this is Best Buy. You should not only be expecting a Blizzard, you should expect Superstorm Sandy and be prepared for that. Bestbuy.com went down faster than any of the the Kardashian sisters.
They had provided a Silver Member hotline so I decided to call that. After navigating through the phone tree, I was put in the queue only to be rudely disconnected. Seems like the Blizzard hit the phone lines too. I tried calling back but never made it. At this point, I checked Twitter and the FB page and realized that there were many irate customers like me. I tried loading the page every few minutes but kept running into the same "Blizzard" message. About an hour later, the site came back up to some extent but I had trouble adding to my cart. Eventually, I was able to add my 3 DVDs and started checking out when it hit another snag with their tax software. Fortunately, it allowed me to make the payment. It took me about 90 minutes to complete something that I should have been able to do in 5 minutes. I am still unsure the DVDs will arrive in the mail in the next two weeks.
Best Buy is one of the few businesses in the US that sells electronics and has a retail front. In the last few years, with Circuit City and Comp USA shutting down, Best Buy probably survives only because consumers do not have too many options to go to a store and purchase electronic items. They are having a hard time making profits and should do anything to avoid a black-eye or turn away loyal customers. In the age of Cloud Computing and Big Data, is it that hard for a technology company to figure out capacity? After all they have trends for the last so many years on their big sale days.
In the age of social media, they should take advantage and do any damage control, but unfortunately that did not happen either. There was no apology on the Best Buy Facebook page, there was no email from Best Buy and neither a tweet. Ironically, they were promoting Rihanna's new album aptly titled Unapologetic. The reality must be that the Marketing team that handles social media, probably reports to another part of the company and have no idea of this disaster.
They have three days to prepare for Black Friday. If they have the same issues, Black Friday may well turn in Red 2012. Now I understand why folks start camping out 4-5 days in advance, they just don't trust bestbuy.com. I still think they are morons but now perhaps give them some benefit of the doubt.
*On a somewhat funny and related note, there was a headline today that Best Buy provided Romney technology for his campaign. #Winning
The new school year has just begun in the US and with a few weeks gone by, its time for their first round of evaluations. As a parent of child from the Indian sub-continent, the question that is asked most often by other Desi parents is "How is your kid doing academically?". Its not about how your child is doing overall, its mostly about the academic aspect. I fortunately, have been blessed with a child who demonstrates intelligence at a slightly higher level than most of the students in his school and attends some extra classes called the "Challenge Program". When other parents find that out, their first question is "Will you get him tested and pushed to a higher grade?". My reaction always has been and will continue to be a BIG No!.
As someone from the Indian subcontinent, I have found that a large number of my friends and colleagues have falsified birth certificates just so that they could attend school early. I never made much of it but now I wonder Why? What is the mad rush to get your child into school early? Should education be treated as a race? Is it really about intellectual maturity or is there more we should consider before pushing our child to a higher grade? All the questions spin in my head.
If you are parent, you would have realized that a child will change tremendously over the course of 1 year, especially at younger age. A child at 4 is much more mature than at 3 and even when they hit their teens, the maturity year over year is noticable. In my opinion, a child's maturity needs to be considered in the following 3 areas.
Physical Maturity - Physical maturity among young kids changes a lot over the period of 1 year. At age 4 and 5, kids learn to write, kick and throw a ball, swing a bat. Within the period of 1 year, you will see significant improvements in their physical ability. Kids will be bigger and stronger in the space of 1 year. According to the US CDC growth chart, an average boy will grow about 2 inches taller and 4 lbs heavier between the ages of 4 and 5. Why then would you want to push your child to a higher grade with kids that are physically more mature?
Emotional Maturity - Similar to physical maturity is emotional maturity. A child will show great improvement in their emotional maturity in the space of 1 year. A child at age 4 is more attached to their parents, tends to cry more for small reasons, has a hard time separating from their parents. As they reach age 5 & 6, the emotional maturity is much higher. Another aspect of emotional maturity is their ability to think before they act. Younger kids are typically more impulsive and do not have an understanding of their actions. Why then would you want to send your child early to school, when its unlikely they can adjust emotionally?
Intellectual Maturity - Last but not the least, the child must demonstrate intellectual maturity. Your child may be a prodigy in one or more areas, perhaps its reading, mathematics or something else. One needs to evaluate if the child is performing at a level higher than just their peers or performing at a level of the next grade. Keeping in mind that there are other kids in the higher grade that also have above average intelligence, your child could fit in the average group for that class. Would you like your child to be average in a higher grade or above average in his or her grade?
If you child is perhaps above average in their class, they may end up being just average in the next grade. In the long run, this may impact the child negatively. They could have been at the front of the pack in their assigned grade but may end of being in the middle of the pack in the grade above. If your child is showing higher levels of maturity in all the areas above and you truly believe that the child needs to move to a higher grade then you should speak to your school.
I am sure many parents may disagree with my views and thats fine. I do see value in pushing the child and driving that sense of competition. I have seen him push himself harder when he does activities (swimming in his case) with bigger kids but I also see him feel a bit down about it when he is unable to compete. He does go through ups and downs but its only in his swim school. I would much rather he undergoes those emotions in a controlled environment for a limited time during the week than to go through it every day at school. The worst thing I would want to ever hear from him is "I hate going to school".
With every passing year, I see so much growth in all levels of maturity in my child that I would never consider pushing him to a higher grade. While he demonstrates a higher intellectual maturity and could perhaps do well in a higher grade, he is very much on average in his physical and emotional maturity. At the end of the day, he is just a regular 6 year old. This reminds me of something someone said to me that always rings true - Learning is a Journey, Not a Race. My journey was slowing down but now that I have a little partner with me, I am back on that journey. Sometimes its down the same old roads, sometimes its down new roads but the journey still remains gratifying. Hope this journey never ends.
Growing up in India, Uruguay was a only country that we would come across during the World Cup and in World Cup related discussions. I never ever imagined that some day I would visit this little country in South America. For those who don't know where Uruguay is, its located on the Eastern coast of South America, just south of Brazil and north east of Argentina.
I had a weekend to spend in Montevideo, the country's capital, and I decided to visit some of the historical landmarks in the city. Montevideo is located on the Rio Del La Plata and has a very long and beautiful coastline. As I was driving through the city, I noticed a stretch of the coast line was named "Rambla Mahatma Gandhi". For a moment, I was in disbelief as to why this place had an "MG Road". It was late in the day and I decided to return to MG Road on the next day, which was a Sunday morning.
I woke up, had my breakfast, wore my Mahatama Gandhi T-shirt (which I happened to take on the trip) and asked the cab driver to drop me off at Rambla Mahatma Gandhi. I decided to take a walk from one end of MG Road to the other which was about 1-2 kilometers long.
Rambla Mahatma Gandhi hugs the coast of the River Plate and is very picturesque. Parts of the Rambla have beaches with people sun-bathing, playing volleyball and of course, futbol. There is a beautiful paved road where folks are exercising, walking their dogs or sitting an sipping Mate (local tea). It was a beatiful autumn day with mild temperatures and I took my time to soak in the glory of walking on MG Road. I have walked on a few MG Roads in my life but somehow felt proud walking on this one.
Halfway down the Rambla, I found a beautiful statue of Mahatma Gandi and it was an amazing feeling. I stood there in amazement thinking that this man from my country had some impact on a country this far away from India. I took a few pictures and asked a gentleman to take a couple of pictures of me with the statue. I am not the patriotic kind but it was just a wonderful feeling that is hard to put into words (getting goosepimples as I write this).
I returned to the hotel later that day but never figured out why the statue and road was named after Mahatma Gandhi. Parts of the coastline of Montevideo are named after countries like Peru and Argentina, leaders like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and other famous people like Charles De Gaulle and Thomas Edison. Later that day, I also found a Nehru St on the map but did not get a chance to visit it. Perhaps, if life takes me down there, I will make a visit to see it.
The 2012 London Olympics are being watched live by millions of viewers around the world but we in America are in a unique situation where NBC is showing most of the events on tape delay. While most Americans are unhappy with this situation are are tweeting with the hashtag #NBCFail, I would like to send a few Thank you notes to the wonderful staff at NBC.
Thank you for giving me the gift of time - With news updates, tweets, Facebook posts likely to update me of scores and results, I am able to get the valuable gift of time that I would have otherwise spent on these social applications. I wait until prime time and started tweeting about how great Phelps is doing. Most of my followers have left me because they think I am stupid.
Thank you for introducing me to new sports - While the rest of the planet was watching the men's 100m finals, we in America were lucky to be watching Show Jumping.
Thank you for teaching me how to control my anger - First you show the games on tape delay, then you show an ad telling us that the winner will on be on the Today show the next day before you show the results. Great programming.
Thank you for teaching my 6-year old new words like neutering - Thanks to the incessant replay of the same commercials, my 6 year old has picked up new words such as 'neutering'. I am sure his teacher would be proud of his improved vocabulary once he returns to school from his summer break.
Thank you for freeing up my evenings in the Fall - You ran so many ads of your Fall shows during the games that I know NBC will not be on in prime time this Fall. You will continue to be in last place this Fall.
PS: The Thank You notes concept is taken from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show, ironically on NBC
Whoever said "In life, death and taxes are inevitable" was probably a balding man in denial. As a man who is currently going through this process and watching his friends go through this, the balding process can be categorized into 7 stages. Why seven you ask? Having read many books by management gurus (or quacks), I learnt that 7 stages is more powerful than any other number. This blog post will get more validity because its a seven stage process. The seven stages are described below.
1. Denial - For most men, the balding process probably starts in their late 30s to late 40s. One tends to notice that they are losing their hair but most choose to live in denial. Perhaps, you can feel the barber gingerly cutting the hair on certain parts of your head, perhaps the water feels more in touch with the skin on your head or perhaps you can see your hair line receding in your pictures. You notice this with all your friends, but when it comes to you "Nah! It cannot be happening to me".
2. Slow Acceptance - Within a few months, its undeniable that its happening to you. The proof is more clear. The flash reflecting off your forehead in pictures is hard to deny that the balding process is well under way. Its a tough pill to swallow but you look around at your friends and that probably is the most comforting factor.
3. Cover up phase - Somewhere between the acceptance and the next phase, there is a phase of trying to cover up. This is typically achieved by wearing a cap to every event no matter how inappropriate it is. Its your brother's wedding day and everyone is wearing their best attire but you show up there with your Manchester United cap. That cap just becomes a part of you. Probably the worst prank anyone can play on you is to steal your hat.
4. Home Remedies - Once we have begun to accept that the balding process has started, its time to start some home remedies. These range from applying various types of oils, rubbing of lemon juice, followed by various types of massages. Heck, even rubbing beer is apparently a cure. Though I think many men will prefer drinking it and going bald than wasting it on their hair. If those natural remedies do not work, the market has various products like Rogaine to help.
5. Surgery, Wigs and Other Remedies - If those home remedies still does not stop the flow then many folks resort to expensive surgery or some medical options. You will always find a cure for baldness advertisement in any publication these days, be it surgery, wigs or some other procedure. Of course, Dr Batra is legendary in India, perhaps more for making you want to pull your hair out due to his SMS messages than having any success in growing your hair. If you are skeptical of these procedures, take a look at Harsha Bhogle who may be proof that there is some hope there.
6. Reluctant Acceptance - Once you have exhausted the home remedies and surgeries, one has no option but to accept this reality. You may still continue to wear that hat everywhere, but you tend to take it off occasionally. You look straight at the camera, not at some weird angles that appear to make it look like you have more hair. You feel better than all your friends are in the same boat and you reluctantly accept it.
7. Bald acceptance - The final stage is bold acceptance of the baldness (although I think in the age of political correctness, we should be called follically challenged). Once you have attained "Nirvana", you accept your pate and move on with life, probably never thinking of all the stages you went through to get here. To those men that go straight to the final stage, I salute you but for the rest of us mortals, hope springs eternal.
Ladies, Balding is probably the male equivalent of menopause, so yes, we do have our own mid-life issues.
Life Tip: Never complain about your greying problems to a balding man.
If you are here thinking that you can put together a website, put some Google Ads, sit back and earn millions of dollars, then you can end reading this article at this point. If on the other hand, you are willing to invest time and effort to create a website with valuable content, then perhaps this article will be of interest to you. I have been using Google Adsense on my website for close to 8 years now and having been earning some money with Adsense. Many readers ask me how much can I earn with Adsense. The truth is there is no right answer, it depends on a few factors and using some sample numbers, I will attempt to tell you how much you could earn.
I started using Adsense back in about 2004 not sure how much I would earn, if I would earn anything at all. I had very little traffic but enough to bring in some amount of money every month to continue using it and explore ways to bring in more revenue. There are essentially 3 factors that determine how much you would earn. Lets look at what the factors are
Ad click-through Rate - the percentage of ad click-throughs determines how many ads get clicked and result in payments to you. This can vary from site, based on the how your ads are placed, what can of advertisers choose to display on your site. The ad click-through percentage is typically not a huge number, its usually between 0.25% at the lowest and perhaps some really good sites may go above 5% but I suspect most sites end up between 1% and 3%. Here are some tips that could help improve your click through rate.
Website Content and keywords - The way Google Adsense and Adwords work is advertisers set a budget for keywords that they would like to compete for. When a user lands on your page and that page has the keywords that match, the Google systems create a real time auction and the highest bidders get to present the ads on your site. Certain industries and keywords are hotly contested and result in higher bids. e.g Keywords in the travel, real estate or legal drive some of highest bids but something like food or humor results in low bids. Google gives you (the publisher) a portion of that ad revenue (when the user clicks the ad). If Google gives you 70% and a real estate ad brings in $1, you will get 70c. However, if you get 10c for a cooking ad, you will make only 7c.
Most celebrities often get tattoos and also seem to be mystified by Eastern religions and such as Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism etc. Besides some elaborate artwork of snakes and dragons, I have also seem them having tattoos in Sanskrit or some east Asian languages. I set out to look for celebrities who have Sanskrit tattoos and was surprised to find quite a few of them. Its not surprising that the most popular Sanskrit tattoo is Om. Om (or Aum) is arguably the most famous symbol of Hindu culture in the west and that probably is why its is so popular.
Howard Stern has an Om tattoo on his hand.
Katy Perry - have got 'Anuugacchati Pravaha', meaning 'Go With The Flow' inked inside the right arm,
Russell Brand - also got the same tattoo as Katy Perry when they decided to get married in India in 2010.
Tommy Lee also has an Om Tattoo on his stomach.
Alyssa Milano also has a wrist tattoo of the Hindu syllable ‘Om’.
Sherilyn Fenn, a television star has an Om tattoo on her forearm
Angelina Jolie has a Sanskrit blessing in the Cambodian language, which she has said is to honor her first adopted son, Maddox.
David Beckham has the his wife Victoria's name tattooed on his arm.
Rihanna has a verse from the Bhagvad Gita tattoo on her hip.
Katy Perry and Russell Brand got matching Sanskrit tattoos, following their engagement. They both had a Sanskrit phrase inked on their bicep. The tattoo reads ‘Anuugacchati Pravaha’, which means “Go With The Flow”.
Jessica Alba has the Sanskrit word ‘Padma’ which means lotus, tattooed on her wrist. The meanign behind this is that the lotus grows primarily in the mud, but grows beautifully and is unaffected by its surroundings.
Kimberly Wyatt of Pussy Cat Dolls has a Sanskrit tattoo on the back of her neck, which says ‘let all the being be happy and let my actions contribute to their happiness’.
Gillian Anderson has a Sanskrit tattoo on her wrist which translates to ‘Every Day’.
If you know of any other celebrities with Indian tattoos, leave a comment.
Having lived outside India for many years, I have often seen many Indians complaining about discrimination and racism towards Indians in foreign countries. We rarely, if ever stop and think what a discriminatory society we are. From the age-old caste ssystem, to North Indians calling all South Indians Madrasis or calling Indians from North East India Chinky, we just discriminate. If I bring in religion, states, castes, regions the matter just gets too complicated. Even living in the US, I have heard Indians calling African Americans Kallu or call all East Asians Chnky. So perhaps, this ad below from Bharat Matrimony should really not surprise or shock me but it does. I have been seeing this ad on the South Asian channels and I am shocked that they have been running this ad on TV for so long. Take a look at it and see if you think its racist or not.
Still not convinced? Lets retry the same ad with a white American family and the son brings home a girl with tanned skin. Lovely old grandma goes, "How come he is dating that Brownie?". Our groom-to-be explains that his girlfriend has just returned from a vacation in Hawaii and so her skin is tanned. Everyone laughs and there is a huge sigh of relief. Cookies, Anyone?
Imagine this ad being shown on television here, there would be a huge uproar and social media would be going nuts. Unfortunately, this ad continues to play and its all fun and games. The least I would request is that if you are looking for a bride or groom, stay away from Bharat Matrimony and its related sites and use some other provider. Thanks for reading.
Football fans from India will recognize Uruguay because of their success in the last World Cup and their soccer stars Luis Suarez (at Liverpool) and Diego Forlan (Inter). For those who don't know where Uruguay is, its located on the Eastern coast of South America, just south of Brazil and east of Argentina.
Very few Indians probably make the trip to this country as its too far away and probably not a major tourist attraction. Most Indians who prefer the more popular destinations like the US, Europe, Australia and the Far East. Fortunately for me, the company I work for has an office in Montevideo, the capital and I get to visit this less visited country. Over the next few days, I will share my experiences of life in Montevideo from the eyes of someone from India. Let me see what things Desi I can find here. If you would like to take this journey, follow me on Twitter.
I will begin with Day 0, getting to Montevideo. I took a flight from the US and in most cases, the best way to get directly into Montevideo was from Miami via American Airlines. The flights to Montevideo are usually red-eye flights and the travel time is about 9-10 hours. Getting to the gate, I realized that Uruguayans, like Indians, like to shop a lot abroad because the cost of luxury goods is almost twice the price in their home country. There were lots of duty-free shopping bags waiting to be handed to the passengers as they boarded their flights.
Once you get into the plane, you realize that most of the US airlines reserve their older aircrafts to fly to these countries. Much like how flights to India are, where the European legs have newer planes but the leg to India is nothing more than a flying bus. They probably played a movie and turned off the entertainment for the rest of the flight. Fortunately the plane was quite empty and being tired and and sleepy, was able to stretch my feet and get a good nap.
After about a 10 hour flight, we arrived at the Carrasco International airport. I had imagined a much bigger airport like the size of Bangalore or Hyderabad perhaps but it was really small and has only 4 gates. The airport is really modern and highly rated. It was very clean, with clearly marked signs etc. I made it through immigration smoothly. With only 4 gates, not too many flights can arrive at the same time. My suitcase was really light because I just had my clothes, but the locals all had a couple of really heavy bags. I found out on my flight that many Latin Americans find it cheaper to fly to Miami and shop for goods there and many make a trip there just for the purpose of shopping. Kind of like Dubai and Singapore for many Indians.
I came outside to find my cab driver waiting for me. In speaking with him, I realized that I am in for some fun not knowing any Spanish except Uno, Dos, Tres (which may be from a Ricky Martin song?) and No Habla Espanol (I dont know Spanish). The driver knew no English but of course he knew where to go so I made it safely to the hotel. My team speaks excellent English but its seems like the locals do not know the language at all. Guess, my hands will have to do the talking.
The ride to the hotel was quite short so I got to the see just the outskirts of the city. My first impressions of this part of the city was Mumbai meets Bangalore (but from 25 years ago). Being on the coast, the weather is really humid and you can feel it everywhere. This, along with the sea-breeze reminded me of Mumbai. The bungalows and greenery reminded me of Bangalore.
Feeling a bit tired, I decided to take a short nap before venturing out for lunch and other adventures. More to follow tomorrow, stay tuned. So far, no sign of anything Indian here but I will be looking.