View from my apartment

February 14th, 2012
NYC Skyline

NYC Skyline

Getting Lazy

January 10th, 2012

So I haven’t updated my blog in about 4 months, so have probably lost 2 of the 3 people who read it – and that’s banking on my mum not giving up !

I think it may be a reflection of the life I now lead here – there aren’t less adventure in NY, less things worth blogging about. There aren’t naked people jumping out at me at lunch, the sense of adventure that I felt in India is gone in a Western city.

Another reason for starting blogging again is vanity. Where as searching “Nick Piper” on Google used to place me 3rd in rankings I have now dropped off the first page.

Still, I feel I have left a legacy from my time in India – search for “Kingfisher Hangover” in Google.

My point exactly

November 14th, 2011

I had previously said that I found the levels of poverty in NY quite startling – how in contrasted the vast wealth all around it.

Noam Chomsky must have been reading my blog:

9/11 – Ten Year Anniversary

September 11th, 2011

I was in NY for the 9/11 anniversary, but had planned to ignore the memorial activities.

At risk of offending  colleagues/friends/Americans, I feel the coverage is disproportionate to the coverage and sympathy that is given to the thousands of people that have died across the world in the last ten years from any number of wars or tragedies.

However, as I walked back to my apartment the night before, I was struck in awe by the two beams of light that shone into the sky fro ground zero. With a low cloud it almost looked like Independence day .

Then on the morning, against my plans, I decided to walk down to the Ground Zero.

When I arrived, family members were reading out the all the names of those who had been killed – which was enough to make me well up. Having solumly wandered around I returned to my apartment and saw that there was a gathering being held in the road outside the police station under my apartment.

I respectfully joined the gathering at the back and listened speeches by the wives, colleagues and children of the fireman who had died. This was incredibly moving and I felt privileged to be sharing such an intimate moment with them.

9/11 Lights

9/11 Lights

 

Poverty

September 4th, 2011

When I came to America last year i was overwhelmed by the amount of choice everywhere. Grocery stores stocked with so much food – it was a complete reverse culture shock coming from India.

I also notice how many homeless people are in NY – I think I see more here than in India. This might be because I am walking the streets rather than being driven around by my Driver (How bad does that sound!)

I always thought India had a massive difference between rich and poor but think it could be just as big here.

Today I read America has 46 million people living under the poverty line ($11,000 for an individual, $22,000 for a family).

That’s jaw dropping.

 

Catch Up

August 14th, 2011

I have fallen behind in my blogging – must catch up ! Looking back my blogging ground to a halt last time I was in NY too.

Must try harder.

So soon to come, Singapore, Kanyakumari and more bits I cant remember right now…

Spit Sign

July 14th, 2011

Don’t spit anywhere – we are inside a building !

Spit

Spit

Philippines

July 12th, 2011

Lots of stories from the philippines – but i’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Midgets

Midgets

Sunset

Sunset

Turtle

Turtle

Airlift

Airlift

Tornado

Tornado

Last Party

July 5th, 2011

Before I left India there was time for one last party, and as ever what was supposed to be a small intimate affair turned out to be much larger than expected.

Because there was a new Government in Chennai, the alcohol and club licensing laws are changed. Essentially this means that the new Minister for fun has not yet been paid off, so he restricts alcohol sales.

As a result, people get in the habit of going out earlier in the knowledge that the night will end at 11pm.

So where as my parties wouldn’t usually get going till midnight or later – as people filer out of the bars and clubs – I had a decent crowd by 8pm.

Then at about 9pm the heavens opened and the rain came down torrentially. Cue the music being turned up and everyone jumping in the pool – it was a special moment.

Last Party

Last Party

Man playing with his cock

June 29th, 2011

I woke up this morning to see a man on the beach playing with his cock. I couldn’t figure out why he would be doing this on the beach at such an early hour. As I watched he proceeded to start beating his cock with a brush.

Confused I asked Sasi what the man was doing.

Turns out he was training it for illegal cock fighting.

Man playing with cock

Man playing with cock

Accident Sign

June 4th, 2011
Accident Porn

Best be on your guard !

Then God looked over all he had made,

June 2nd, 2011

…and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. Time for Cricket.

God

It was good..

Golden Temple – evening

May 29th, 2011

Returning to the Golden Temple in the evening was slightly underwhelming (which has no relation to the rest of this post)

As I approached the temple I heard a “Helloooo” which I ignored. A quick glance to my left revealed an Indian man now walking in stride with me. Then came the second “Heelloooo”.

Now decision time.

Do I continue to ignore him or do I embark on my usual my name is Nick, I live in India, I’ve lived here for 3 years etc routine?

My good nature won through and below is the abbreviated conversation:

Me: “Hello”

Stranger: “Hello, my name is Senthil, what is your name?”

Me: “Hello Senthil, my name is Nick”

Senthil: “ohhh, where are your from?”

Me: “I’m from UK but I live in Chennai”

Senthil: “Ohhh, and do you like it?”

Me: “Yes, Senthil, I like it”

Senthil: “Do you want to sit down?”

Me” No, I just want to go inside the Golden Temple thanks”

Senthil: “ohhh”

(Pause)

Senthil: “I’m gaaaaaaaaaay”

Me: “OK, well I’m not”

Senthil: “ohhhhh, ok byeeee”

Me: “Bye”

 

Amritsar Massacre

May 27th, 2011

Amritsar is famous for the Sikh Golden Temple and the Amritsar Massacre by the British.

I have vivid memories of being 12 years old, being taught about the Massacre in History class at school – I can even remember which classroom and which desk I was sitting at. It never crossed my mind that I would ever visit the scene of the atrocity.

For those who don’t know, the massacre occurred when British troops opened fire on unarmed civilians trapped in a garden area – such was the panic to escape the rain of bullets over 100 jumped into a well – know known as “Martyrs Well”. British Officials put the death rate at under 400, Indian Officials at over 1000.

It was quite humbling and slightly embarrassing to walk around the Gardens knowing what my ancestors had done, the feeling was compounded by the fact I was one of the only Westerners there – let alone British.

Armitsar

Armitsar

Amritsar

Amritsar

The Golden Temple

May 26th, 2011

I arrived in Amritsar with not enough underwear for my trip and a hangover.  I was slightly shocked to learn the first opportunity my hotel was offering to see the Golden Temple would be at a 4am Рgiving me only a few hours to come back to my senses.

This was my second Golden temple in a matter of weeks and my second dip in Holy water in weeks – but if anything was gonna cure my hangover it was Holy water.

The first thing that struck me in the Golden Temple was the Sikhs. Aside from the swords and bayonet type weapons many were carrying – they were huge. I have been told that Sikhs have a history of being warriors as they have faced foreign aggressors from India’s Norther borders, including China –¬† hence their formidable size.

Lucky it wasn’t Tamils defending, otherwise I may be running an Apple products factory rather than an IT company.

The Golden Temple is the most Holy place in the Sikh religion – thousands flock there daily and are all fed and housed for free (I have read 30,000 people are fed each day). As I was there so early I was able to witness the procession of the Sikh Holy book out of the Inner Sanctum of the Golden Temple by Sikh Holy Men.

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Varanasi

May 25th, 2011

I visited Varanasi in April to deliver a laptop to a family for Ram as the bureaucracy of the Indian postal service was preventing it from being shipped.

Or as those in Varanasi told me – Destiny and the Ganges called me.

Varanasi is situated in the North of India, on the banks of the Holy river Ganges and is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is how I imagined Chennai would be before I arrived.

The Ganges is considered a pilgrimage destination for all Hindus once in their life. It is even possible to rent rooms to die in the city, such is its importance.

A short blog post wont really do it justice but 4 events are worth telling.

  1. Traveling up the Ganges by boat, seeing family’s bathe in the holy water. At either end of the “Ghats” (steps that face the river bank) are funeral pyres which for 2000rps you can be cremated on. Alternatively there is a industrial cremation service for much less.
  2. Watching the nightly “Aarthi” performance to the river Ganges. Aarthi is similar to what is known as a “Pooja” in the south – a religious ceremony with incense. The syncronised performance with incense, candles and chanting whilst facing the river is quite moving.
  3. With the help of a Hindu priest, being snuck into the Hindu Golden Temple – which is out of bounds for non-Hindus (no photos from this obviously)
  4. Unwittingly spending a large sum of money on silk shawls and duvet covers. Female friends and family – your Birthday and Christmas gifts for the year are sorted.

 

Alley

Alley

House

PC

Ghat

Western Ghat

Aarthi

Aarthi

Amusing Signs part Deux.

May 21st, 2011
Moss

Like what you've done there...

cease fire

Interesting use of that phrase..

kokaine

"So, I've got a name for a shop..."

Arse

Father Ted would be proud

Diet Water

Less Calories? Reduced Fat?

Varanasi and Amritsar

April 28th, 2011

I’ve been to two of the holiest places in India – Varanasi and Amritsar.

These are also the only two places I have seen gun shops.

Cricket World Cup Final

April 27th, 2011

Realising I would miss the match as I would be traveling back to Chennai, I changed my flights and met up with some friends in Delhi.

We celebrated every four and six with a shot of vodka. Lucky it wasn’t 20/20.

After a shaky start, India came through and won the game. I persuaded our group to take to the streets – proclaiming “Its like 1966” which was met with blank expressions.

We made our way towards the centre of town – but before long were stuck in traffic and the celebrations spilled onto the streets and onto cars. We got out and partied with everyone – dragged into numerous testosterone filled circles of dancing men.

Men Singhing

Men Singhing

Bellydancer

Bellydancer

Overload

April 25th, 2011
Lorry

Long distance Clara

That’s a lot of people. . .

April 1st, 2011

More people now live in India than in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and United States combined.

…and that’s not an April fool

Nick Piper Cup

March 21st, 2011

Joining the cricket fever that is currently sweeping India, we decided to hold a cricket 2020 tournament with FMG, Amnet and HCL – The Nick Piper 2020 Cup.

Unfortunately one of the games had to be abandoned as a fight nearly broke out and a team was disqualified, so the final was between HCL Pre-Media and FMG Pre-Media. As HCL were missing their star player (and FMG employee Vivek) we went into the game quietly confident.

But things didn’t go to plan, we lost a wicket within a few balls, scoring a not very respectable 125 at the end of the overs and HCL won the game, by 5 balls and at least 6 wickets.

Cups

Cups

HCL

HCL

FMG

FMG - Maybe next year...

Her name is Rio…

March 16th, 2011

So, having seen Dave complete the NY Marathon in November, I decided that I wanted to run a marathon too – so we are running the Rio Marathon in July.

We will be raising money for Deaf Child Worldwide (DCW), who work in some of the world’s poorest developing countries, in particular India through projects in Karnataka and West Bengal, to help deaf children to overcome poverty and isolation – please sponsor us here

Rio Marathon

At the Copa...

When i die and they lay me to rest

March 16th, 2011

Sometimes in India, it feels like they get stuff 80% right – but its that last 20% that would nail it.

All the hearses here are just short of the mark.

Hearse

Number crunching . . .

March 16th, 2011

The Indians in the Forbes top 100 rich list have a combined declared wealth of $245 billion.

If they donated 10% of their wealth it would nearly equal the Indian National Budget of $28 billion

890 Million Indians live on 30p/44c a day.