India Shining ?

Its common knowledge now that the greatest critics of India are Indians themselves and leading the pack are the NRIs who have safely made their exit out of India and found the greener pastures overseas. But is all their criticism really accurate and also is it really worth it ? – time and again, I have always felt that these criticisms are just a way for these ‘elite’ group of people to vent out their frustration against India and the ‘take-it-easy’ Indian attitude.

However, in recent months, there has been a notable shift in the overall Indian attitude – although the ‘India Shining’ motto did no good to the BJP campaign, it has definitely brought about a sea-change in the people’s outlook towards life. This realization struck me real hard during my recent trip to India. For one, people definitely seem to be wealthier than ever before – thats really a good sign : it indicates that the economy is doing good. For example, everyone, from the vegetable dweller to the CEO of a corporation, seems to be having a mobile-phone. This was unthinkable just a few years ago. People are more aware of the global market (rise of the BPO market) and people are more open to western influences. Hence, even in a decently conservative place such as Kolkata, you can now see an onslaught of discotheques, bars, late-night restaurants and multi-plex theaters. In other words, Indians today are enjoying the highest level of economic prosperity than ever.

In spite of this, problems still remain. A vast majority of people still remain below the poverty level, illiteracy still remains a cause of concern among large sections of the people, basic infrastructure, such as road system, electricity etc are still far from being perfect. These infrastructure problems hit you more when you have just come back after a visit to India. During my stay there, I always felt that something should be done to improve the condition of th e roads – pot-holes, broken roads, open gutters etc are just common sight. Today, when I was driving to work, I noticed something quite interesting. The Mountain View City Council was doing ‘Road Maintenance’ work and re-laying the tar on the road. Believe it or not, I had never felt any problems on the same road before. THIS is the kind of excellence and maintenance standards that USA has – of course, it is foolish to think that India will attain such standards overnight. But, someone somewhere has to make the first move and I guess, with enough time, this can be achieved.

So, to sum it up, its good to know that India is shining. But it is also important to keep maintaining the shine. After all, all that glitters is not gold – its our responsibility to make sure that positive changes keep happening in India and that India moves towards further prosperity.

Salaam India !

Emergency Exit Row Seats ! – what a blessing

Hello All,
During the flight back from India, I managed to get the Emergency Exit Row Seats on the flights. Although the seats are pretty much the same as other seats, its the available leg space in these seats that makes them such a luxury. You can stretch your legs as much as you can without the fear of knocking your legs on the front seat – there is no front seat in front of you for quite a distance ! So, if you are tall and have always dreaded a flight because you cannot stretch your legs, then the Emergency Exit Row Seats are your solution. I shall forever be obliged to my wife for letting me know about this :).

Another advantage that comes from the absence of seats in front is that you will not be subjected to front seat leaning back at inappropriate times (when you are eating or are reading a magazine etc). In short, there is nothing that will bother you from the front.

Of course, there are subtle disadvantages as well. Firstly, these are the seats which are alongside the very front row seats in the middle aile, which are given to people with infants. So, you will have to bear a lot of infant cries and well, if you are generous enough, then you might end up helping the parents as well and baby sitting their kids :). Secondly, this seat is very close to the restrooms – so, people will be going past you on a regular basis.

Even in spite of these disadvantages, I think the Emergency Exit Row Seats are really worth it. For me, these seats made my return flight home very comfortable.

Till then,

The joy of going home

I am sure every individual however, rich and famous, he or she may be, always finds the homeward bound journey such a wonderful and relaxing one. After a hard day’s work, you just want to go back home, lie on the couch for a while, stare blankly at your TV and just relax. As they say, Home is where the heart is.

Today, its not just going back home to our apartments. Today, we are going to India – which acts as our home and also our vacation spot. The almost annual India visit is something to look forward to. You are excited thinking about the changes in India, thinking about all the good things that your mom/sister/_whoever_cooks will be making for you, excited thinking about all the junk food you will be eating, excited thinking about matching shoulders with the thousands of people seen on the road etc and etc. The things that get you excited are just endless.

So as we leave for this wonderful journey, auf weider sehen to all. Take care and keep smiling.

India ! – Here we come.