Posted tagged ‘India’

“May I take a photograph please??” – Encounters of a Photographer with a store manager and a few dozen cops!

May 28, 2014


Photography not allowed

Photography not allowed

“May I get an interest free loan for Rs.10,00,000?” is what I suspected the store manager heard me uttering, judging by his facial contortion that presented incredulity and insult mixed with an expression that I’m sure was last seen in the faces of French aristocracy before 1789.

“What in the god’s green earth did you ask then?”, you may wonder. Before I tell what I asked, I advise reader discretion. Kids below 8 yrs, pregnant ladies, people with heart conditions are advised to stop reading and go back to indulge in activities that are soothing to the senses, like viewing my photographs here.

So here is what happened. It was a lovely evening with the sun slowly retiring for the day in the areas that fall 5 and a half hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time, behind the towering east gopuram of Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore. I couldn’t but resist exploring the multi-storey buildings for getting a better view of the sunset for the sole purpose of clicking pictures. After much analysis, I zeroed in on the top floor of a shop nearby the temple from where I could get a decent view of the entire temple complex with the setting sun behind. Being the “Rules Ramanujam” that I am, innocently stepped into the shop with a Camera in my hand to seek permission. Not less than 1/3rd of a second passed, I was surrounded by atleast 3 people throwing suspective glances. I’m sure the authoritative figure amongst them was wondering if he should call the cops. Better sense prevailed. But even then I saw no sign of his stiff facial expression easing out. He asked me ” What do you want?” in a tone that I’d rather preferred he called the cops. I gave him a quick background on my motive, presented my credentials and requested permission to shoot the temple from their premises. Being a supervisor with no prerogative to take independent deicisions apart from stopping random strangers entering the shop with a camera, he decided to check with his boss, the store manager. After multiple calls to multiple departments in multiple floors, the supervisor got hold of the manager and requested him to come down over.

I greeted the manager with a wide smile, shook hands and asked him “Can I take pictures of the temple from your premises?”.

What happened next is what is described in the first paragraph of this post.

After he comprehended that such a request could even come and after the initial pang of anger subsided, he regained his composure and said “No. No permission for such things will be given.”. Taken aback by the bluntness (idhu vera mokkai..not this), but happy that I didn’t get his palm and finger prints on my cheeks, I showed him my portfolio on temples and requested to re-consider. He proudly said, “We have never given permission for photography and we will not give in the future also.” in a manner that exceeded the stiff upper lip ‘begaviour’ of the British aristocracy. Persuasive pest that I am, I asked him “Is there any specific reason you don’t allow photography from your premises?”, for which he replied “There is no reason. We just won’t allow.”.

Considering the consideration that I’m a man of self respect, I turned around in slow motion and walked towards the exit while my mind played this music .

Angry Chennai thatha preventing photography

Angry Chennai thatha preventing photography

Doing a bit of Googling (I’m not one of those that use the fancy word “Research” as a substitute for Googling), I found that this is a common problem all over the world. Post 9/11 everyone is a bit jittery about being photographed. Especially the police.

Some Police Quotes I’ve personally heard:

You can’t take pictures after 10 PM

You can’t enter the beach after 10 PM

You can’t use a tripod

You can’t take pictures in the park

You can’t take pictures of people

You can’t take pictures of landmarks

You need permission to take pictures in public

What do you achieve by taking pictures?

But the following one takes the cake:

You can’t take pictures of the war memorial because if you publish this in the “computer”, the terrorists will note this down and bomb this

Idhukku mela naa enna solla!! But indeed there is a positive to this. If I roam around the city for one more year, with all the laws I hear from the Police, I may end up as a lawyer!

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in explaining the low tolerance levels in India for street photography. Although the events mentioned are as real the Chennai police’s lathi.

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Suppandi’zation of the Indian sub-continent!

September 23, 2013

 “People build homes on the slopes of beautiful Mount Kilauea and then they wonder why they have lava in their living-room.” —George Carlin

The etymology of the word Suppandization (Copyrighted) lies in one of the most popular Indian comic icon Suppandi. For those who haven’t ventured into the Indian comics world, Suppandi is a village simpleton who follows orders literally with little or no application of mind to weigh the cause and effect of his actions. The process of Suppandization is to condition mentally fit kids into submission and rid of their critical thinking abilities as they grow. This is a long process that takes about 20 years of a person’s life time. But the results are quite staggering.

The Cause:

The Process of Suppandization

The Process of Suppandization

If you took your time to go through the Suppandization process listed above, you will see that the process is achieved through the following.

1. Compulsion to conform

2. Systematic threats of punishment (especially violence)

And this process is aided by parents, teachers, professors, and pretty much the society as a whole.

The Effect:

The effect of Suppandization is there for everyone to see:

1.  Number of Suppandis in a country is inversely proportional to the number of patents filed.

Patents in Force

Patents in Force

2. More the companies that sell readymade projects to college students, more effective is the suppandization process.

(Just google final year project and check out the number of companies that sell projects. )

3. After such a mental conditioning all through his/her life, when the newly appointed Director in a corporate company asks for monthly innovations from his employees, the poor suppandi kids can say only “verum kaathu thaan varudhu”. (Pinna avan kitta enna adutha industry changing idea’va varum?). As a quick tip, please dont ride your employees hard for innovation. It takes a while to De-suppandify the 20 odd years of Suppandization.

That being said, here is a quick questionnaire for you to check if you are a Suppandi.

1. You purchased/googled/piggybacked your engineering project in college.

2. The best practice for which you got an award at work was obtained from Google.

3. You remain silent in meetings without voicing your opinions even though you know the meeting is a criminal waste of time.

If Yes is the answer for atleast two of the above questions, then you too are a SUPPANDI!!

Here is a quick demo of Suppandization from the popular Tamil movie “Chinna Gounder”!

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in explaining the low innovation levels in India’s colleges and offices. I don’t condone or condemn the Suppandization process.

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Taxation for dummies – A comparative study on government taxes and gang protection money!

August 9, 2013

Few days ago, an article in “The Hindu” read as follows –

“Extortion gangs have been forcing hawkers to shell out money on a weekly basis

Certain groups are partly redefining the dynamics of commerce on the Marina. These are extortion gangs that demand money from vendors for letting them ply their trade. These groups – which call themselves sangams – have put a payment system in place. Every week, a vendor has to part with Rs. 30 as protection money.

Sometimes, vendors end up paying this pre-set weekly amount to more than one extortion group. “When I set up shop five years ago, I paid Rs. 5,000 to a person who designated the spot where I could set up shop. Today, there are many more gangs. They have divided the beach among themselves and each gang exercises control over shops in their section,” said a sandwich maker.  “…continue reading the article here.

If your blood temperature shoots up to 212 degrees fahrenheit or if your blood pressure skyrockets to 180 systolic / 110 diastolic and you get an insatiable itch to take a pen and paper to write to “The Hindu” or to Mr.Saidai Duraisamy or to Mr.S.George,  condemning the extortion and giving them a piece of your mind, hold on.

Please put down that pen and have a glass of cold water. Take a few deep breaths.

Now, you need to understand a few basic things about the principle of taxation before you start wasting ink and paper to put down your strong condemnations and keeping the Postal Department going. (By the way, a condemnation is the easiest way to protest against an atrocity. It gives you the satisfaction that you too have done something against an injustice while sitting in the comfort of your home. Just like this.)

Local Dada - Gang Representative

Local Dada – Gang Representative

Prime Minister - Representative of the Govt.

Prime Minister – Representative of the Govt.

As defined in a “Tax” is

“a sum of money demanded by a government for its support 

or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, 

sales, etc.”

Breaking it down,

  • pay the government for protection to do business
  • provide the govt. a cut from your income for protection
  • pay the govt. for using the roads
  • pay the govt. for buying a house
  • pay the govt. for eating out

Compare this to the gangs and their demands of protection money. Just changing one word, ‘Government’ to ‘Gang’, the framework applies like a shoe in cinderella’s feet.

“a sum of money demanded by a gang for its support or for

specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.”

The  only notable differences between taxes and protection money are that

  • Taxes are approved by the legislature while protection money is not
  • Men in suits demand taxes with a smile while protection money is demanded by men in local attire with a frown!

And the key similarity between the government and the gangs is that neither of them protect and help the people when they need it.

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in comparing and presenting facts. I don’t condone or condemn the gangs or the governments, for the fear of being punished by either or both of them (hey..thats one more similarity between the gangs and the government!!)

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When Google Maps doesn’t help, you know you’re in Chennai!

July 19, 2013

It takes special kind of skills to survive in the wilderness as shown in the “Survivor” series. However, if you think “that” is surviving, then wait. Let me pull up my recliner and get a popcorn, to see you scrambling for words when you see what the people of Chennai do on a daily basis.

It may be tough to survive in the wild. But Chennai city will kick the wilderness’s ass when it comes to probing the survival skills of its inhabitants. Let’s say you want to go to Murray’s Gate road in Chennai. You have checked it out in Google maps and have got print outs and you drive there. But when you get there, you see this. You know you have a challenge!

When Murray's Gate becomes Muresh Gate!

When Murray’s Gate becomes Muresh Gate!

The beauty of this city is that it makes you question the accuracy of Google Maps, more than questioning yourself! If you think this is  a one off instance, please feel free to check out the rest of the pics below.

If only the French govt. see this! Chevalier becomes Sevalia! An example of international survival probibing.

If only the French govt. saw this! Chevalier becomes Sevalia. An example of international survival probing.

When Pilots are Polite!

When Pilots are Polite!

Good the Deputy "Mayor" is no more to see he is Deputy "Mayar" now.

Good the Deputy “Mayor” is no more to see he is Deputy “Mayar” now.

When education becomes a business, Brodie's Castle becomes Bradis Kesil

When education becomes business, Brodie’s Castle becomes Bradis Kesil

I know its funny..Canal St becoming Ganall St, but did you notice the comma between Ganall and Street? Why god why??

I know its funny..Canal St becoming Ganall St, but did you notice the comma between Ganall and Street? Why god why??

When Judge becomes Just, you know thats the final nail in the English coffin.

When Judge becomes Just, you know that’s the final nail in the English coffin.

For more on Chennai,it’s heritage, history and culture, follow him. For more mokkais, please feel free to follow me!

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Disclaimer: I gathered all these pics without moving my butt from my chair thanks to the internet. But if you have copyrights issue with these pics, please do let me know.

Boot and Belly Inspection – The internal workings of India’s security apparatus!

July 2, 2013

“These IT companies and posh hotels in India crack me up!!” said my friend visiting from the states.
“Why?” I asked.
“The security checks man!! That’s some seriously funny stuff. Do these people really think a terrorist is going to carry his weapons under the car or in the boot if he plans to attack these companies?”
I could see his point. In India we have this security protocol for big IT companies, commercial complexes and posh hotels where the security guard inspects the boot of the car. Being the “proactive pulikesis” these people, they also check the belly of the car with an “under car inspection mirror “. (This is really the name of this mirror and is being sold retail).

Under Car Inspection

Under Car Inspection

Car Boot

Car Boot Inspection

So I decided to unveil the obviously obfuscated reality behind the “Boot and Belly Inspection” to my friend.Thus.

Challenge to Terrorists

Challenge to Terrorists

Looking at such a news, you and I may feel safe that the govt is doing something to tackle terror. But guess what happens at the terrorist camp?

Place: Terror Camp

Terror Project Leader : Guys lets meet up at the 3rd cave on the right wing for a 5 min meeting.

Place: 3rd Cave in Right Wing

Terror Project Leader : Guys…(showing the above newpaper!) This is a great opportunity for you all! This is a challenging opportunity with lots to learn and grow. You may also have to travel onsite for this project. Who can overcome this new technology within the next 6 months?

Terror Newbie 1: That’s fantastic!! I’m all ready for this assignment. I can already see the weightage my resume would carry 5 yrs down the line after working in this project.

Terror Newbie 2: Awesomatic aromale sir! I would definitely like to take this project. Thank you very much for providing such a challenging opportunity!

So you see, what might be a reassuring thing for the citizens is actually a challenge to the terrorists. It’s one step short of saying “Ippo enna pannuva? Ippo enna pannuva?”.

What people don’t understand is that by investing on new technology to snoop terror plots and to stop terror attacks, the world govts are providing a fantastic career opportunity laced with challenge, teamwork, leadership and ofcourse travel. These methods only encourage  people to take up terrorism as a profession.

Whereas in India, with our usage of simple technology like “under car inspection mirror “, we ensure that the terrorists are tackled psychologically. As you see…

Place: Terror Camp

Terror Project Leader : Guys lets meet up at the 3rd cave on the right wing for a 5 min meeting.

Place: 3rd Cave in Right Wing

Terror Project Leader : Guys we have orders to bomb places in India. Who is up for it?

Terror Newbie 1: Sorry boss. I’m not interested. They treat us with no respect. What do they think of us? Checking the boot and bellly of cars as if we are idiots and carry our weapons and bombs in those places! I don’d mind working for a tough project. But I can’t work in a place where there is no respect or fear. 

Terror Newbie 2: He is right boss. I started to develop low self esteem and had to undergo treatment for depression, seeing the way they treat us. Boot and Belly inspection. For god’s sake!! Are we so dumb? I thought this career will earn me respect and fear. This is plain insulting!

Terror Project Leader : (to himself) Kamal sonna madhiriye aagidumo?? Poyi pulla kuttingala padikka vekka vendiyathu thaan!

While the whole world is pouring billions down the drain, Indians took a different approach that engages the problem at its root.

To the simple minded, our methods may seem simple. Sure. But after meditating for 6 hours on it, you will understand that Indian methods work at the metaphysical level as below and produce results.
1. Low self esteem
2. Depression
3. Any other psychological abnormalities on top of their existing ones.

So next time someone stops your car for Boot and Belly inspection, smile at the security guard and say thanks for keeping India safe.

Disclaimer: All characters referred here except me and my friend are fictitious (may be real too. How the hell would I know!).

Credits: “Awesomatic Aromale” – RJ Balaji; “Proactive Pulikesi” – your’s truly

Rate this  blog at the top if you like  or log a comment if you don’t like. Either way  provide your response so that if CBI or RAW or IB arrest me for investigation I have my friends around as well 🙂

Corporate Culture & Katchi Politics – A Genetic study on how ‘Kaaka Catching’ unites the Indian populace

February 17, 2013

gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism.

                                                                                                         – Wikipedia

If you’re one among those that distances themselves from the “Kaaka Catching” (or “Crow Catching”) Round (vattam), Big Round(maa-vattam) and other variously shaped low level politicians, I’ve got news for you. A casual peek at the adult human male behaviour in India indicates that poster otting, banner katting, katchi politics is quite analogous to the newsletter sending, email spamming corporate culture. The all pervasive underlying behaviour in question is called “Kaaka Catching” (in Tanglish) and “Crow Catching” (in English).

The etymology of “Kaaka Catching” would have to be explained in a separate blog after much deliberation and brainstorming. For now, in short, “Kaaka Catching” is otherwise known as Butt Kissing, Boot licking or Sucking Up.

How, in the afterlife paradise, you may ask, do I see a commonality in the genetic behaviour of an Indian male that ottifies posters and kattifies banner for his favourite politician or a film star with that of the computer programming, coffee day kadalai pottufying, so called “modern” Indian youth. Well, it’s just quite obvious. Infact, if you’re keen and observant, you can find multiple levels of Kaaka Catching in the following snippet.


Place: Party Office of Saidapet Vattam of “Srini Munnetra Kazhagam” (Srini Development Party)

Conversation between Round Secretary (Vatta Seyalallar) and Round Official (Vatta Aluvalar)

RS: See, this year, we should put up the tallest cutout in the entire Tamil Nadu for annan Srini’s birth day.

RO: Thalaiva don’t worry. We’ll put up a display that stuns everyone in the state!


Place: Kekkaran Mekkaran IT Solutions Conf room

Conversation between Project Leader and Software Engineer

PL: Hey listen, we should throw the nicest birthday party for our project manager.

SE: Don’t worry boss. We’ll get the most ‘ego boosting’ cake and banner for him. We’ll also throw in a “World’s Best Boss” mug!


(The discussion is continued in parallel from here…)

RS: I’m reiterating again man, unless we create visibility and attention of our party heads, we can’t think about getting an MLA ticket.

RO: Thalaiva..I’ll make sure Srini annan himself will notice this and you get a special place in our annan’s heart, so that you can get the MLA ticket during the upcoming elections (in mind: and so I can become the Round Secretary!!).


PL: I’m telling you again buddy, these are opportunities for us to create visibility and make an impact at the senior management level.

SE: Boss, I’ll make sure our PM’s ego is sufficiently boosted and he is happy so that this year’s appraisal goes smooth for you (in mind: for me too!!)


The end result goes something like this!!

Katchi Package


Katchi Package

Corporate Package for Boss


Corporate Package for Boss

End of the day, if the annan or the boss doesn’t feel like this, your can rest assured you are still a noob in “Kaaka Catching” and you have a long way to to go in the traffic jam ridden Indian “Kaaka Catching” road.

The Boss

The Boss

So next time you drive your car in the OMR to your office while giving condescending looks at cut outs and banners, remember to remember the similarities between the corporate package you put up for your boss and the Katchi cutouts out up by the low rung politicians. And if you’re mind is scientifically bent even a little, you would understand that this is nothing but genetics at play and that you both belonged to a same ancestor few thousand years ago.

P.S. – Let history note down that Srini did his part in trying to unify Indians with his study on genetics and Kaaka Catching.

Disclaimer: For the humour and sarcasm challenged, this post is just a satire and an exaggeration. And no. There is no Srini Development Party in real world and I do not have any ambitions politically. 

Indian Spirituality & Tea Kadai Testimony!

November 12, 2012

Disclaimer: All characters, incidents mentioned here are fictional and yeah I don’t take responsibility for anything written in this blog 😛

What’s common between Mylapore & Nanganallur in Chennai, one might ask. And the answer from an unobservant, un-Mycroft-like mind would be that both have lots’a temples. But for a keenly observant mind, it goes much more than that.

People from the United States, if you’re wondering from where the Indian whiz kids that make up the majority of Silicon Valley’s  start-ups and boot-ups come from, its precisely from these two places from the city of Chennai. Chances are, any 60 and older person you meet in these two places has a son or daughter studying in Stanford, MIT or any other top school for Science & Technology or working in top companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc.

And all those 60 and above persons would have visited the US atleast once and some of them may even be green card holders spending 6 months in India and 6 months in the States. Overhearing such 60 year olds while standing in line to meet Mr.Kabali in Mylapore, I happenned to ponder over the vagaries of life yet again. And I decided at that moment, unlike last time when I got enlightenment in the Japanese town of Suzuki, I would this time seek answers from an Indian guru meditating atop the sacred hills of “Tirisulam”, for the lack of vacation leaves this year.

After an arduous task of driving through peak hour Chennai traffic and negotiating the slow driving of America going Mylaporites and Nanganallurites near the Chennai airport, I reached the foothills of Tirisulam. Deciding to take a tea break, I took a seat(or a bench) in the tea shop close by.

Sipping hot water with a slight tea flavouring, I pondered over the discussion I overheard in Mr. Kabali’s abode. It went like this :

Mr. Subbu..what I'm saying is.......

Mr. Subbu..what I’m saying is…….

“Mr.Vaithy: Hello Mr. Subramaniam! How are you? When did you come back from the States?”

“Mr.Subbu: Hello Mr.Vaidyanathan! I’m very good. Just came back last Sunday. In Singapore Airlines. This time I strictly told my son, who is working in Facebook, to not book in any other flights!!”

“Mr.Vaithy: Ya ya! They are the best airlines. Enna service enna service!!! So how was life in Palo Alto??”

“Mr.Subbu: What to say Mr.Vaithy!! It’s a materialistic life there. Only in India do we find Spiritualism. Only Spiritualism gives comfort to the mind. All these western countries are running behind money!!”

“Mr.Vaithy: Absolutely Mr.Subbu. Spiritually enriching life in India is the best.”

And the conversation continued on the nature of spiritually enriching life in India amongst other topics such as 2 hour powercut in the state, Arvind Kejriwal and the Bama vs. Rukmaney contest (although I think this was about Obama vs. Romney contest..oh what the hell..I may have heard it wrong).

My deep thinking was disturbed by loud discussion between two guys, who were most probably drivers of cab services that ply to the airport, who came to the tea shop as well.

“Enna pa…night full duty’a innikku??”

“illa pa…en duty over.. just now dropped a family in the airport who is sending off their son to US.”

“Yaen pa…why is everyone going to the US?? India’la thaan we have spirituality and happiness!!”

“Innapa solre?? In India everything is centered on Money. US is exact opposite of that!!”

“You’re telling the exact opposite!!! How do you say this??”

“Listen – Based on what are Indian marriages arranged?”

“Mostly family decides based on the couple’s caste, family status, available properties and also if the boy and girl like each other.”

“Right. But what will happen if the caste, family status and properties don’t match but the boy and girl like each other??”

“Then they will not proceed with the marriage!”

“Right. So caste and money are the fulcrums that hold the marriage together. Agree??”

“Hmm…I’m not sure!!”

“Take your time!! Think about it. Also consider this. Why do we not encourage our kids in sports, or other non-science courses?”

“Ennapa ippdi kekkare?? If they study something non-science and play sports, how will they make money?”

“So we believe children will be happy only with money and not by doing what they like.”

“I’m confused!”

“It’s easy. What I’m trying to say is, Indians base everything with money. But say we are a spiritualistic country. Whereas in the US and other western countries, they marry out of love and do jobs as per their liking while money is a positive cause-effect.”

“But What about our temples? Our peace of mind due to our spirituality??”

“What peace of mind? When does a person in India lives with peace??

  • He struggles to get his daughter married to a rich family.
  • Makes his son study science while restricting his other talents for sports and arts.
  • Ensures he earns well abroad in the States or Europe.
  • Basically we search for spiritual peace by accomplishing material goals.
  • I don’t know what spiritual peace is but one thing i’m sure of is it is definitely not what we have in India.”

“So you’re saying caring for our kids to have a prosperous life is wrong??”

“Ofcourse not. All I’m saying is, don’t call yourself  spiritual when your peace depends on materialistic accomplishments.”

“I don’t understand a thing man!! All I know is, I get my “spirit”ual peace in TASMAC :)”

Off they went. But things began to clear up for me. Now I have no need to go uphill to meet the sage. This Tea kadai is my bodhi tree.

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