Archive for May, 2013

If India had a Parsee PM …

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Indian Thought, Light plus Weighty, Personalities |

This is courtesy Raymond J Patell

 If a Parsi were the PM there would be a “Ministry Of Dhansakh”. This would be known officially as the “Ministry Of Diplomacy” of course, serving up cauldrons of the good stuff to leaders of other countries. Naturally, once they were stuffed senseless, they would sign treaties that benefitted the country immensely.

All car & bike owners who didn’t maintain their cars and bikes in an untarnished and impeccable manner, would be summarily shot at dawn. Their vehicles would then be auctioned off, to find a home where they would be loved and taken care of, for the next hundred years.

Parliament would be home to some very un-parliamentary language. ‘Bhosri no’, ‘choothyo’, ‘bhangi’ and ‘lauro saalo’ would have to be explained to the translators of visiting dignitaries well in advance as being mere expressions of warmth and welcome. This would avoid anyone starting a nuclear war.

Additionally, the PM would have to undergo sensitivity training to avoid calling President Trump, ‘te kaaro saalo’.

Liquor companies would have to recalibrate their bottles, to account for Parsi Peg measures. Egg farmers would laugh all the way to the bank as the country discovered the glory of ‘everything par eeda’. Life Insurance companies would moan about skyrocketing cholesterol levels, but such is life.

The national airline would be handed back to the Tatas. This would mean Air India would have hot bawi airhostesses with names like Roxane and Persis, instead of the current matronly, grumpy brigade in the sky. Accompanying them would be gay bawa pursers with names like Ronnie and Tempton. In-flight magazines would also have to explain to foreigners flying on board that, ‘kem che madarchod?’ is but the Captain’s friendly welcome as you enter the aircraft.

The suburbs of most cities would be bombed, razed and rebuilt, like baugs. This would allow non-parsis the right to host inter baug games and give old men across the country, the right they had hitherto not enjoyed, to legitimately stare lasciviously at young girls thumping volleyballs across nets well into the night. The price of pacemakers would plummet, given their rising demand.

Our PM would know when to clap, if any symphony orchestra visited the country. He would also clap people into jail with a zero-tolerance attitude for corruption. The Army, Navy & Air Force Chiefs of Staff would have to deal with a boss who’d be even more finicky than them, about maintaining their tanks, ships & planes. Who knows how many Court Martials may occur for a spot of oil on a tarmac that ought not to have been there.

There’d be a permanent solution to Pakistan, Kashmir and Ayodhya. The first would be invaded and rejoined with India , the second won over through Dhansakh Diplomacy and the third would be the disputed site being handed over to Zoroastrian Priests, to keep the peace between the two main communities as an amicable solution.

China ’s attempts at building roads and train tracks near the Siachen border would be met with swift countermeasures. ACC and L&T would swing into action, to build a network of highways and tracks that would send the ‘cheena gadheros’ packing.

India would exert tremendous pressure upon Iran to behave itself in the Middle East . The Iranis of India would be commissioned to show the Iranis of Iran how to set up coffee shops around the world that served brun maska and sugary sweet tea, earning rich foreign exchange in return. This would get the mullahs very agitated, but the Brun Pao Spring would be irreversible. Embargos would be lifted (Obama would have to, else no more dhansakh) and Make My Trip would offer bumper low prices on Tempting Tehran package tours.

All terrorist negotiations would involve Parsi Mothers In Law. The terrorists would know when they were severely outclassed and give themselves up post haste. But that would only be in extreme circumstances. As a softer option, Shiamak Davar could be sent in with his troupe to gyrate to “Kajra Re”.

This mind-blowing experience would leave them separated from their Kalashnikovs – and even their sanity. Everyone in India would learn how to play the piano. This would foster harmony in the neighborhood, people would drop in for sing-a-longs every evening and copious amounts of beer would be drunk. You can’t riot against people you’ve been drunk with after all. 

A Parsi PM would hang out with the Queen back ‘home’ and convince her that the Kohinoor really ought to return back home to India . (Another fine example of Dhansakh Diplomacy at work.) A Parsi PM would laugh a lot, swear a lot, eat a lot, drink a lot and entertain like crazy. World leaders would swing by to India when they needed a good laugh. And good food. 

The Jam-E-Jamshed would have a higher circulation than the Times Of India. Everyone would want to know about what the PM said in his own community newspaper first. The Times Of India would promptly rebrand Bombay Times to Bawa Times and throw a launch party with Tanaz Godiwalla catering.

Trains would run, planes would fly, the environment would get cleaner, the cities greener. Smoking would be stubbed out, poverty would be rubbed out. The Judiciary would have incorruptible bawa judges.

In five years flat they’d expedite the zillions of cases that have clogged the courts. Any frivolous lawsuit would be dealt with a swift dismissal, any true plea for justice would be swiftly dispensed. The parallel system of goondagardi would lose its relevance as people would believe in the system and the State once again. 

A Parsi PM would crack the country up when he spoke in Hindi every Republic Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort, and would laugh the loudest himself when lampooned by the opposition.


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John Masters n ‘Bhowani Junction’

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Movies |

John Masters  –

John Masters was a British army officer and famed author. whose novels dealt with life in British India. 

John’s India connection went back to 1805 when his great-great grandfather had come to India with 8th Light Dragoons. His great grandfather was Head Master of La Martiniere in Calcutta and his grandfather served with the Indian police. 

His father served with 16 Rajput and three uncles served with 34 Sikh Pioneers, 104 and 119 Hyderabad Infantry.

He himself was 1933 batch at Sandhurst and commissioned in August 1934  joining 2/4 Gurkha Rifles.  He was Brigade Major in the Chindits to Joe Lentaigne.

He had to leave the Army around the end of the War when asked to do so by the then C in C Gen Claude Auchinleck, evidently for extra marital reasons. He became a celebrated author with his historical novels about India.  His observations about Indian life are to the point.

Khushwant Singh has said that Kipling knew India but Masters knew Indians.

The Movie

Masters wrote Bhowani Junction in 1954 and it was an instant hit. Set in 1946 it covered the life of an Anglo-Indian girl, Victoria Jones, in a rapidly changing India.  She has affairs with an Indian, Anglo-Indian and a Britisher when India is heading towards freedom and partition.

MGM made a Big Movie with the beautiful Ava Gardner and British born Stewart Granger as Colonel Rodney.

In early 1955, many scenes were filmed at Lahore railway station, Shalimar Gardens and Shah Almi market. The crew stayed at Falleti’s Hotel and Room 55 was the two room suite where Ava stayed. It was later named Ava Gardner suite.

Incidentally, Frank Sinatra, who was one of Ava’s husbands sang this song for his album ‘Come Fly With Me’ in 1958.

The film was completed in England and Hollywood.  First sneak previews caused uproar about many things in the movie including race.  Inter-racial relationship was taboo in Europe and the United States of the 1950s.

The Director, George Cukor cried about all the changes.  He said, “Listen, I made a good movie here. You are crucifying this movie and turning it into a goddamn Hollywood love story – and it’s going to be crap”.

If Bhowani Junction was released in its original form, it would likely have become an epic film in league with ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

It was still a Success.

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Become a Travel Warrior – Five Tips …

Posted on May 10, 2013. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Stuff, Searching for Success |

RULE @ 1 – UPGRADE EVERY THING – Status is more important than miles.

There are alternatives to flying on the same company 50 times a year to get to a certain status level that, trust me, will make your life a lot easier. Some credit cards, like American Express, give you access to lounges, even if you fly economy, and other advantages. So select one that provides those nice features, and use them.

Make sure to aggregate your Mileage and Rewards programs by alliance. Sign up to all of them. Also, sign up to all car rental loyalty programs. It takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it.

Store all your frequent flyer, and loyalty program numbers somewhere easily accessible. I use Evernote for that, and for many other things.

Once you’ve set up memberships to the appropriate programs, you can upgrade your status, get hotel discounts, and deals that are worth it if you travel a lot.

My favorite subscription service for this is Founders Card (use this link for 30% off). It enables you to upgrade your status tier on a bunch of airlines, car rental companies, and some hotel chains.

If you travel a lot, breezing through security is almost a necessity these days. Sign up for CLEAR (discount from Founders Card if you become a member), it’s now available in most airports, and it can save you as much as 20 minutes on a busy day.

If you travel in and out of the US, Global Entry is an absolute must. It’s a pain to sign up for, but it can save you hours clearing immigrations after you land Stateside. And added bonus, you don’t have to fill in the customs form every single time.


Having the right information available when you need it – ahead of other passengers can be really helpful, but more importantly it decreases your overall stress level. And lower stress levels mean less fatigue, and less jet lag side effects.

An absolute must-have is Tripit. Tripit will store all details of your trips, and update them with real time information on flight delays, driving directions to your hotel, weather conditions, and a lot more. But more importantly, it enables you to have one place where all your travel data is, and makes it accessible and updated from any of your devices. Getting data into Tripit is as easy as forwarding your booking confirmation via email to Once your trips are loaded, I strongly advise adding the Tripit iCal feed to all your devices’ calendars. No more manual calendar entry of all your trip details! Also add the iOS or Android app on your devices.

Want to get rid of the awful experience of showing up to the airport only to learn your flight has been delayed by two hours? Generally this happens when you’re late for the original departure time, and you rush like crazy to the airport only to be frustrated like there is no tomorrow. The app I use for that is FlightTrack. Good news is that it syncs with your Tripit data, so no need to input anything manually. It uses push notifications to inform you of any flight delays, gate number update, and arrival time based on near real time data provided by various airlines and airports systems. This is must have too.

Getting to and from the airport, and around in most cities where you don’t go for a car rental can be a painful experience. Plus for cabs you have to get cash in foreign currency and manage the hassle of receipts. To get rid of all of these issues, I use Uber a lot, available inmost cities now, and you get the added benefit of riding in style with only a slight price premium.

Use Evernote, snap a photo of your passport, and other ID cards so you have them handy with all your frequent flyer numbers, and other loyalty and status programs.

Make sure to install the app from the airline you’re about to fly with, and when available check-in from that app and use a mobile boarding pass instead of the paper version.

Finally, install the app from your mobile carrier on your phone, and buy an international data and voice plan before departure to avoid horrendous roaming charges.

Ok. So now you’re setup with all relevant programs, you’ve upgraded status where available, and you have all the tools you need on every single device. Let’s book that first trip!


Some of my friends and colleagues don’t pay attention to airline or hotel reservations, and blindly always book through the same airline because of the single mileage program they have decent status on. I find this truly bizarre. Why would people make an additional 2+ hours layover on an intercontinental flight, add 5 or 6 hours total travel time, and fly in planes that are forty years old just because they want to rack more points on their loyalty program. Completely irrational. Especially if you follow the tips above, and you now have a lot more airlines you can fly on with decent status.

Never rely blindly on a travel agency to book your trip. If you have to use one, do your own research on price, flight times, lowest number of connections, and more. I use both Kayak, and Hipmunk for this. Hipmunk has a neat sorting feature that let’s you sort various options by “agony” level. Seat selection is also key, look for your flight number on SeatGuru to ensure you get the best seat.

When you book a flight for business, try to at least keep a few hours of free time in your schedule if possible. Life is short, and if work takes you to great cities, take the time to discover them a bit. Even a good hour walk in a city is a great way to get a feel for history and culture.

About Hotels, most people choose chains they’re familiar with, like Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott. While some of these hotels can be really nice, you can miss an opportunity to discover hidden gems that will make your trip so much more pleasant. I like using Gogobot as it allows you to see recommendations made by people you know and trust, and who are more likely to have similar tastes as you.

Also, if you’re a foodie, you’ll find good restaurant recommendations for that business dinner or to unwind at after a busy day.


Cheap baggage does not survive a year, so you don’t end up saving in the long run. I really like Tumi for sturdiness and convenience. Use an international carry-on sized luggage, so you never have to check-in your bag.

NEVER check your bag! Put liquids and others in ziploc bags, and store them in external compartments so they’re easily accessible. If you pack a suit, and shirts, check out a video that shows you how to pack them to ensure you won’t have to iron them when you get to your hotel.

If you skip that step and your shirts are wrinkled when you reach your destination, unfold and hang all of them on hangers. Hang it in your hotel room’s bathroom and turn on all hot water faucets, close the door, and let the steam do it’s un-wrinkling magic (remember to open all sink/bath/shower drains —       Yes… it happened to me, and it wasn’t pretty :)).

Electronics: I travel with a MacBook Pro (will switch to an Air when Apple releases one with a retina display), an iPad, an iPhone, and an Android smartphone (remember, I’m a geek…).

But I also pack a Kensington international plug adapter, a Mophie juice pack, a PoweRocks external battery, a Verizon LTE MiFi Jetpack, a 10W iXCC dual charger, and Eastern Collective cables (they’re pricy at $20 a pop, but since I hate cables, these make me feel better about carrying so many of them), and a Parrot Zik noise canceling headset (the best by far). Always charge up your devices the day before your flight.


If you’re going somewhere with more than 3 hours time difference, try these tips to beat the effects of jet lag:

  • Before takeoff, set your watch to the destination time zone. Try to mentally project yourself to that time from that point on.
  • If you’re flying East, and you’re on a 10+ hours flight, try to avoid sleeping more than 3-4 hours on the plane, this will enable you to get a better first night’s sleep your at destination.
  • Avoid sleeping pills. You’re better off not sleeping at all on that flight.
  • Drink plenty of water. I mean, PLENTY of water. Whatever you’re drinking, it’s not enough. You need to keep yourself hydrated as altitude, and the dry air of the pressurized cabin dehydrate you fast.
  • Avoid the booze. One or two glasses of wine are ok, but avoid hard liquor at all cost.
  • Eat moderately, and pick the healthy options if available (avoid bread and processed foods if you can tolerate it). Focus on the nice dinner you’ll have later in the day at your destination.
  • Pick an in-flight movie that’s entertaining, but not one you’d feel bad if you miss the end of it by falling asleep.
  • When you get to your hotel, no matter what time! if it’s mid-afternoon or morning, jump in the shower (not the bath).
  • On the first few nights, I always take a dose of ZzzQuil (any Diphenhydramine light sleep aid will do) it used to be used as an antihistamine, so it’s not habit forming, and it doesn’t knock you out like real sleeping pills such as Ambien, and one of Melatonin 5mg.
  • Every morning, take a multivitamin. Most are completely inefficient, and never dissolve in your stomach — a good way to test the quality of your multivitamin brand is to drop one in a glass with a bit of vinegar in it. If it stays like a rock a few minutes in, switch to another brand. Good ones should dissolve fairly quickly. Gel caps always do.
  • Exercise every morning. Go for a run outside and discover the city you’re staying in, hit the gym, of if you really don’t have time, complete a 4 or 8 minute Tabata high intensity interval (HIIT) training in your room. This will boost your metabolism, and kick you into the right time zone much faster.
  • If you’re staying for more than a few days, eliminate the ZzzQuil or similar after night 2 or 3, but keep on taking Melatonin.
  • When you get back to your hotel room, avoid staying up until 2am doing emails (ok … I must confess I’m still working on that one).

On your flight home, assuming you’re flying West, repeat the above, and when you get home, avoid taking a nap or going to bed before 9:30-10pm. Fight the urge to sleep.

Use Zzzquil and Melatonin for 2-3 days if that works for you, exercise every morning, and you’ll be fine.

Also don’t forget to stop your international data and voice plan through the mobile app of your wireless carrier. Most prorate the plans, so it’s a relatively cheap thing to do.

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Israel: People Make a Country … …

Posted on May 7, 2013. Filed under: Searching for Success |

Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population, has a $100 billion economy – larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. It has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world and produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people — as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of start up companies in the world. In absolute Israel has the largest number of start up companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. (3,500 ompanies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world — apart from the Silicon Valley, U.S. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S. Outside the United States and Canada , Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in Israel in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups. Twenty-four per cent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world ,after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship — and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 – in the world. Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union.

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”

Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because, this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert!

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China ). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel ‘s air
force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16’s – largest outside the U. S. 

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S, 70 in Japan and less than 60 in Germany. 

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California’s Mojave desert .

All while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more on its own protection.

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The Good Book on Alms Giving, Wealth, Advice

Posted on May 1, 2013. Filed under: The Good Book |


In the morning sow your seed,and in the evening withhold not your hand. Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty. 

Store alms giving in your treasury and it will rescue you from all afflictionMore than a mighty sword and more than a mighty spear, it will fight on your behalf with your enemy.

Lay up your treasures according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold.

Kindness is like a garden of blessings and alms giving endures forever. Brothers and help are for a time of trouble, but alms giving rescues better than both.

 Water extinguishes a blazing fire, so alms giving atones for sin. Whoever requites a favor, gives thought to the future; at the moment of his falling he will find support.

Do not keep needy eyes waiting, nor grieve the one who is hungry, nor anger a man in want, nor delay your gift to a beggar, nor turn your face away from the poor. For if, in bitterness of soul, he calls down a curse on you, his Creator will hear his prayer.

Do not with hold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go and come again, tomorrow I will give it”, when you have it with you. And behold the tears of the oppressed and they had no one to comfort them.

Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all who are desolate. A righteous man knows the rights of the poor. He who gives to the poor will not want. He who is kind to the needy, honors their maker.

Stretch forth your hands to the poor, so that your blessings may be complete. Give graciously to all the living; and with hold not your kindness from the dead. Do not fail those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn.

Let not your hand be extended to receive and withdrawn when it is time to repay. Glorify the Lord generouslyDo not appear before the Lord empty handed. Give to the Most High as He has given and as generously as your hand has found. Do not say that He will consider the multitude of my gifts. Do not be fainthearted in your prayers nor neglect to give alms.

Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay in paying itPay what you oweIt is better that you should not vow then that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin.

Do not hesitate from visiting a sick friend, because for such deeds you will be loved. Be like a father to orphans. Not like a husband to their mother. You will then be like a son of the Most High and He will love you more than does your mother.

Be good to a godly man and you will be repaid, if not by him, then certainly by the Most High. No good will come to the man who persists in evil or to him who does not give alms.

A persons alms giving is like a blessing with the Lord and He will keep a person’s kindness like the apple of his eye. From the dead as from one who does not exist thanksgiving has ceased. He who is alive will sing the Lords praises.


He, who loves pleasure will be a poor man. He, who loves wine and oil, will not be rich. He who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. Everyone who is hasty comes only to want.

 Do not toil to acquire wealth, be wise enough to desist. Do not revel in great luxury, lest you become impoverished by its great expense.

In the day of prosperity, adversity is forgotten; and in the day of adversity, prosperity is not remembered.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth with gain. When goods increase, they increase those who eat them; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes.

Many have come to ruin because of gold and their destruction has met them, face to face. Do not set your heart on your wealth, nor say, ‘I have enough’. Do not say ‘ I have enough and what calamity can happen to me in the future?’ Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

He who despises little things will fail little by little. Who ever accumulates by depriving himself, accumulates for others. If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous?

My Son, treat yourself well, according to your means and present worthy offerings to the Lord.


Do nothing without deliberation. Excel in all that you do. Do not reveal your thoughts to every one, lest you drive away your good luck.

Bow your head to a great man. Incline your ear to the poor. There are losses because of glory; and there are men who have raised their ends from humble circumstances.

Presents and gifts blind the eyes of the wise; like a muzzle on the mouth, they avert reproach. Seek not what is too difficult for you nor investigate what is beyond your power. Do not slight the discourse of the sages but busy yourself with their maxims.

 The wisdom of the scribe depends upon the opportunity of leisure; and he who has little business, becomes wise.

Better is the God fearing man who lacks intelligence than the highly prudent man who transgresses the law.

 Before judgment examine yourself and in the hour of visitation, you will find forgiveness. Do not delay to turn to the Lord, nor postpone it from day to day.





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