Date archives "January 2009"

Well, I’m Back In India

There is a saying that you will know when you are in India because something totally out of the ordinary or random will happen – something will happen that probably wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

So, I got off the plane after a pleasant 9.5 hour flight (err…) and looked out for my driver Aravind who was there to pick me up.

This is when the first thing happened.

I was involved in a car accident.

Regular readers to my blog (and since Christmas, I discovered that it could be more than just myself and my Mum) would know that Indian driving is more like bumper cars than following strict rules. Dents within your car body work is shown off with pride. Broken arms obtained in a bike crash is something that seems to be aspired to.

So, we got in to the car, the engine was switched on and we reversed out of the parking space.

Into the mini bus that was parked behind us.

One of the great things about driving in India is that if you are involved in a crash, you don’t have to mess around with insurance details and stuff. Just bump in to people, apologise (maybe pay a small bribe if the police saw it) and carry on.

So, what next?

I got back to the apartment, went to switch on the A/C (it is 25 degrees here after all) and it made a big old grinding noise. I went outside to take a look and a pigeon had decided to build a nest in the A/C unit. Further investigation revealed that it wasn’t just a nest, it was going to become a family home with two little eggs there.

Later on that morning (about 10am), the maid called round. I answered the door, let her in and went back to sleep. Dreaming sweet dreams, I hadn’t the slightest clue what was about to happen next.

The maid was standing next to my bed calling my name. In a daze I opened my eyes and was confronted with the pigeon from the night before.

The maid had decided to pick up the pigeon, come in to my room and show it to me.

Believe me, being woken up by a pigeon in your face isn’t half as exciting as it sounds.

Now, just to drive home the fact that I am now back in India, this morning (Sunday), the maid called again. This time with her younger sister who was all decked out in her best sari and all her gold jewllery.

Thinking that she had mis-understood my reaction from the pigeon incident, it actually turned out that she wanted me to take photos of her sister so they could send them off for marriage proposals.

So here’s something you probably didn’t know about me: in my spare time I’m a pre-wedding photographer!

We went on to the roof of the apartment and I started giving instructions, (you’re a monkey, a tiger, a lioness, give me a flick of the hair, now hold it…good!). Then it was back to the apartment for Meena (the maid) to review and choose the suitable photos. There had to be a front shot, a back shot and a close up of the face.

But there was a problem. Meena’s sister has dark skin and that’s totally not OK when it comes to the Indian marriage market. I played around with some filters on the computer to change the colours and lighten everything until Meena gave her approval.

I’ve now got to somehow print out all these photos 🙂

Just another weekend in India!

Foreigners Leaving India…

I thought I’d better write this as a little public service announcement for any Foreigners who are living and working in India for more than 6 months.

As you are aware, you have to register with the FRRO in your city. This is fine (albeit, ensure you have an office boy on hand to run back to the office to fetch the papers that were not mentioned in the original checklist).

What they don’t tell you is the procedure for leaving India. If you have been in India for over 6 months and attempt to leave, they will not allow you to do so if you haven’t registered at the FRRO. I personally know at least 3 people who this has happened to in the last 12 months – no messing around, you have to register!

Another little gem that they forget to mention is that you must take your FRRO registration certificate with you. It has to be the original one with the original stamp on it – photocopies are not acceptable.

I didn’t know this information when I left in December, but luckily I still had my FRRO registration certificate in my bag from earlier that day.

When you are at Chennai airport, you are likely to see a couple of foreigners who didn’t know this information, and they’ll be f-ing and jeffing, but the authorities still won’t let you board the plane.

So remember, register with the FRRO as soon as you get to India, and make sure your FRRO certificate is with you when you try and leave.

Well, Bring On 2009

So that’s the end of 2008. Did it bring you good fortune? Did it bring you laughter and tears? Did you make new friends, and lose touch with old ones?

For me (well, this blog is about me), 2008 has probably been my best year, possibly ever. I’ve got a great new job, live in a fantastic (and random) country and hooked up with loads of cool people and doing something that probably 99% of people would ever have the courage or inclination to do.

There’s no way I want to get to the age of 80 and look back and say “I wished I had…”

Such a lot has happened, and I’ve learned so much. I’m really looking forward to 2009.

Do people still make new years resolutions? I’m going to tempt fate and list some out here…

      1. Learn Tamil. I really want to learn the local lingo. I’m going to buy CD or course – books on Amazon have very bad ratings, so will have to hunt it out
      2. Give people proper and indepth feedback at work
      3. Keep a physical work diary to become more organized
      4. Drink less – ha ha! Only kidding!
      5. Earn more money from my little websites

A friend suggested that I write a poem for my first blog entry of 2009, but since I’m not that creative, I decided to post my favourite, and the worlds cheesiest poem instead. It’s extra mature cheddar cheese with an additional cheesy topping!

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!