Thursday, June 29, 2017

4 kos par paani badle, 8 kos par baani..

४ कोस पर पानी बदले, ८ कोस पर बाणी। 

This is an old saying from India that means, literally translated, "The quality of the groundwater will change after every 4 kos (12km app) , and the dialect will change at 8 kos (app 24 km) .

Here is what it means, specifically for the anthropologists:

 The 24 km diameter is a coherent unit of human habitation. Just like they found out that a person cannot have more than 150 "real" friends, someone extapolated that dialect must change beyond a certain point. A coherent, uniform settlement unit will use the same dialect.

I have found this one liner very useful when it comes to understanding differences in people - they grew up with different resources (4 kos par paani badle) and with different ideas, ideals and social structures (8 kos par baani)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Swiss Air Business Class Review

I usually don't do travel reviews, but this one, methinks, deserves to be done, because I did not find enough online when looking.

We travelled Delhi-Zurich and Zurich Delhi on a round trip in June 2017.

I am a big fan of Lufthansa's A 380 business class flying from Delhi to Germany. But this time, the destination was Zurich, and having a port of entry in Germany would have changed the visa process, the layover time everything. So we decided to risk it and fly Swiss Air direct to Zurich - an 8 hour flight.

For starters, there is no comparison. Swiss Air uses A 330 - a relatively old craft on the Delhi - Zurich line, and I don't think they have any A 380s. So that experience should be automatically discounted.

Even for an A 330, we expected a comfortable trip. In particular, since it was a night flight,  we expected comfortable beds so we could start the day refreshed.

Here is what works and doesn't work:
1. The crew from Zurich - Delhi was way better than the Delhi- Zurich crew. For starters, they actually responded to call buttons - within half an hour, sometimes less. The Delhi - Zurich crew is equipped with special call button ignoring devices that ensures that you get up from  your seat, go to the gallery and ask them for whatever it is that you want.

2. The business class does not provide bathroom slippers, just the stockings, so please carry your own. The washrooms definitely need the slippers bcs I don't think they were serviced as often.

3. There is just no stowage/ storage next to your seat! That is insane!

4. The crew does have at least one Hindi speaking member and announcements are also made in Hindi.

5.  The food was decidedly better on the Zurich-Delhi sector. The Delhi-Zurich sector, we asked for chocolates and were told that they are in the "rear section" and someone will have to get them. I stared at her incredulously. We were travelling to the chocolate capital of the world, on the national carrier, and they did not have chocolates for children on board! The result of this glare was that miraculously, a box of pralines was produced. I asked her to leave it there and we will return it when the child is done with them. This was done rather reluctantly.

6. The entertainment on board is very limited for kids, and the display is nothing to write home about. Its not convenient when you are lying down. For me, there were a couple of options, but can't say I enjoyed the selection. I just chose because.. well, there were 8 hours to be killed.

7. The recline, I think, is the biggest disappointment. If you want to recline at 45 degrees, curl your feet up and watch a good movie, this is how you do it: Activate the "bed", stop at the right incline, then put up the feet. I figured that out after some experimentation, so will help you.

8. The flat bed basically is the chair sinking down to the floor. So no window view if you are lying down.

9. The seating configuration. Really, you just have to see it to know what I mean. Go there. Checking out the config through online pictures does not do justice to the hilarity of that seat configuration.

10. Last but not the least, the crafts are old. So please expect the same experience that you would on board old Air India crafts. The date is roughly the same, as is the level of staining on the seat covers.

Will I recommend this airline and this class of travel? NOT for this price. The price is the same as the A380 Lufthansa business class, with a lot less thrown in.

The experience was hugely underwhelming.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ihe in Sukhwinder Singh's voice

Every time I heard Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ihe, I could only think of this being in Sukhwinder Singh's voice..
Here, then, finally, is Deh Shiva Bar Mohe in Sukhwinder Singh's voice

And here are some other Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ihe renditions that merit a mention:

Diljit Dosaanjh:

Manna De:

Jagjit Singh:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Anant Mutreja's poetry at Rekhta 2017

Anant recited these 2 pieces of poetry at Jashn-e-Rekhta 2017.  I just could not get these poems out of my head.. FINALLY got both those poems. Sharing them with you here:




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers' Day

"A father
is a banker
provided by nature."

The one liner may be funny,
but its not
in jest.

A father is the one who,
when you are packing for a trip
and the mother is busy packing things to eat
secretly tucks
some extra money
in your backpack
for you to find later.

When you ask a father
what he wants
for a birthday, anniversary, or Father's Day
the answer is usually "Nothing."

When people think of
unconditional love
they think of mother
and miss out
on fathers
smiling gently
as the family
narrates a picnic
or a day of vacation
well spent
while they toiled
at their work place.

To fathers
who invest
their time, involvement and love
in nurturing a child.
While also working
to provide..

Happy Fathers' Day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 day itinerary in Switzerland for Indians

1. You do not need 10 days in Switzerland if you are from India. If you want to see Jungfrau and Titlis, go to Eastern Himachal. If you want to see the rest of Swiss, to go Western Himachal or southern reaches of JnK.

2. Book EVERYTHING directly. Not through a travel agent. This includes insurance, ticket, visa and stay. The Swiss Airlines website offers insurance. Just take that. Everything else is a breeze. The VFS website for visa was more helpful than our stupid agent.

3. The place is one painting after another. There is good architecture and everything is overpriced.

4. Don't stay in a hotel. Use AirBnb and book an apartment. Europe has no concept of service. Better to at least get a good space for yourself.

5. Do not stay at the following places:

6. Buy a first class Swiss pass. It is better than the DB pass for Germany in that it covers all forms of travel within Swiss and gives you flexibility.

7. Do NOT buy cuckoo clocks or anything else. Everything from the same brands is available in India much cheaper.

Will share the itinerary etc. soon. But basically, we are bored to death on the 7th day.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

How to lose your advantage

In a country of 22 recognised languages and 2400 dialects, 90% of our reading is in English. Most of us cannot even read in an Indian language fluently.

Its not tragic for the languages. Its tragic for us. Our entire thought process is limited to what one language can offer. Its like being born in a university, and choosing to spend your life in a pre school.

Today's Gratitude

2 awesome things happened today..

1. I opened the balcony and heard the unmistakable sound of a.. lizard. Needless to add, there was a frantic Where-is-it search. After a while, I realised, the sound was coming, not from the vicinity, but from the green patch in front of the balcony. And its not a lizard.. its the sound of crickets in the forest. I have not stopped smiling since!

2. My son was trying to go play, and was wondering when his friends will reach the park. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, and I hear the loudest "Where are you, my friend? I am here!" - The entire gang was here!