Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Bombay Bombing

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Not the tragic events of 26/11.

As we drive from the airport into the city I am soaking up the scenery with all my senses when I spot some graffiti that I recognise instantly as North Londons finest, Drax, living up to the World Domination name!

Brought a big smile to my face.

Didn’t get a chance to get photos myself, so these are courtesy of Drax’s Flikr account

Drax

Draxi

World Domination

World Domination

Sandhyas Baby

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Sandhya has had a little boy “Lakshmi Narayanan”

I adopted my usual “uncomfortable oh shit I am gonna drop him” look which i have perfected over the years…

Sri Hari

Sri Hari

Sssssurprise

Monday, November 30th, 2009

What i love about India is you think you’ve seen it all, know everything there is to know, something happens that takes you by surprise.

On Wednesday, a member of staff found a 3 foot Indian python wrapped behind the headlight in the steering chassis of his motorbike.

The motorbike was wheeled to the road and tipped over, where I am sad to say it was then attacked with sticks and killed.

Badger Badger Badger

Badger Badger Badger

Snake, its a Snake . .

Snake, its a Snake . .

Visa Problems

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

So, despite the numerous times I have listed my contact details or referrer’s contact details in various documents when applying for a visa, no one contacted me to let me know the visa laws were changing and I had 3 days to leave the country or risk overstaying my visa, an arbitrary fine and potentially not being let back in to the country.

Fortunately someone i met 3 weeks before informed me and I was able to get a flight out the next day and return to the UK to apply for an Employment visa.

The main aim of the change in law was to prevent foreign workers from taking low skilled jobs in India and to get taxes from the expatriate workers were on business visas (like myself).

Not surprising the government is looking to raise funds, since they has just realised they have been paying $43m to 22,000 non existent workers in Dehli!

Ep !

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
EP

Noel EPmonds

Blog Unavailable

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Due to my not too uncommon procrastination, my blog was not just taken offline but erased due to non payment of a small bill.

Anyway, all is back now, lesson learned and I will be updating shortly with Diwali, Visa dramas and more . .

I know i have a funny accent . .

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

But seriously, you thought that was my name . . ?

Names not Neck, youre not coming in..

Names not Neck, you're not coming in..

Puja

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Much as I would like to claim that Puja was a ceremony to welcome me back, it was just a coincidence that it fell on the Sunday I got back.

Puja is a ceremony to bless the work place. Incense is burnt, prayers said, and red markings placed on all work equipment – from air conditioners to cars.

I did feel lightly guilty though, that as I watched the traditional ceremony, the kids were glued to the Wii which I had introduced them to minutes before.

Puja 2

Puja 2

Puja 1

Puja 1

Send it home

Friday, August 7th, 2009

So, after 9 months here it’s time for my first trip home – it feels like the end of term and summer holidays are about to start.

Since November I have learnt:

“w” is pronounced “v”

“v” is pronounced “w”

“th” is pronounced “t”

“t” is pronounced “th”

If you shake your head – it means yes,

….and this is what you get for your Birthday . .

Happy

Happy

Birthday

Birthday

Hashing

Monday, July 27th, 2009

I have fairly vivid memories of going on “hash weekends” with my parents when I was about 8.

Hashing is essentially a running club, or as the Madras Hash House Harriers describe themselves, “a drinking club with a running problem”.

The rules of this secret sport are that the “hares” lay a flour trail on a cross country / urban run. False trails are also laid to add to the general confusion.

A few weeks I hosted the pre and post Hash gathering at my house and laid the trail, along the beach, through the fishing villages and along the main road near me. Everyone meets at about 5 o’clock and sets off accompanied by the hares, complete with loud horns. The sight of 50 people running through the backstreets of Chennai is quite bewildering for any of the locals we pass but only adds to the amusement.

This weekend was my third run, so I have now been given my “Hash” name – “Blow my Pipe”

On On.

BigKid

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Yes, I know these are immature – but they still made me laugh when I saw them.

Terence has been saying it for years

Terence has been saying it for years

Sleeping Time Sperm Release - Classic Indian English

Sleeping Time Sperm Release - Classic Indian English

Not just Gay Lord, Cum Pickle too. Delia special.

Not just Gay Lord, Cum Pickle too. Delia special.

It’s been a while . .

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Since I last posted anything, which i think is because all that was new to me 9 months ago, is just normal now.

A family on a motorbike doesn’t attract a second glance, the constant beeping is now background noise and I probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelid if i was faced with a naked man jumping from a bush again.

I must have some stories from the last 5 weeks, I’ll try and post some soon.

FMG Inida

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

It’s come to my attention that my team are now following my blog – so, hello Godson, Shiva, Salim, Srinath, Muthu, Mohamed, Nagarajan Mohan and everyone else !

Below is a photo of us – I am in the middle, front row.

Wheres Wally?

Where's Wally?

The writing WAS on the wall . . .

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Where ever you go in Chennai, elaborately painted on every single wall (apart from ‘P James Magic Show’) are political slogans. On some walls are very good murals depicting the leading politicians.

But as it was election time when you would expect to see political slogans (at least in the UK) all walls have been whitewashed, leaving me with a very unimpressive photo of a wall, which was a piece of art a few weeks ago.

Its a whitewash

It's a whitewash

The writings on the wall…

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I make no secret of liking writing on walls and wherever you go in Chennai you will see “P James Magic Show and Balloon Event 9841072571” He has blitzed the city.

There are a number of things which amuse me about this.

  1. I didn’t realise that Chennai had much of a Magic Show scene (dont worry Bergy I’m sure your magic show was much better)
  2. I didn’t realise that Chennai had an underground magic show scene,
  3. The graffiti is carefully numbered so if ever the police were to catch him they would know exactly how many counts to charge him with.
  4. He’s left his name and mobile number so the police should be able to catch him pretty easily.

Where are you Mr Potato Man when Chennai really needs you!?

Number 319 . .

Number 319 . .

I’ve just realised this is a different phone number – so maybe P James has competition – or one phone simply wasn’t enough for all the calls he was receiving !!

Corruption

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Corruption in India is everywhere, I have heard a number of stories:

  1. My drivers brother had to pay a years salary to get a job as a bus driver – a state job.
  2. I saw police stopping people without crash helmets at the intersection of a busy road. I am told you are given the choice of 100rp official fine, or 50rp to the policeman and he will let you go.
  3. Supposedly a new restaurant which doesn’t have an alcohol license not only pays the police so it can serve alcohol – but employs someone who gets arrested every month. (I am not sure this one is true but i like to believe it is)

Now, when I heard these stories, I couldn’t believe that’s how Indian society worked, I wondered if it would ever be possible to stop and I thought how much better the UK was.

And then I realised, as MP’s expenses claims have proven, the UK is probably just as corrupt – at least in India it is much more in the open

Highs and Lows

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

New High

Housekeeper bringing me cold beers and crisps to my hand as I sit on my sofa watching the 20/20 cricket.

Nice.

New Low

Housekeeper walking in on me as I am naked, having a shit.

Not so nice.

Gotta take the rough with the smooth i guess.

Street Tuff

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

On of the nice things about Chennai (and probably the rest of India) is that I feel completely safe walking the streets whatever time. The most uncomfortable I feel is when approached by a beggar, but 100rp soon sorts things quickly enough – or asking my driver to drive on (joke!)

So why are the streets so safe, is it cultural? Or is there a mythical crime fighter, Chennai’s answer to Gothams Batman?

Step forward Mr Potato Man, instilling fear into the criminal underworld of Chennai, keeping the streets safe for everyday Chennaites.

We wanna be . . Smiths Crisps

We wanna be . . Smith's Crisps

Lok Sabha Elections

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

The last National elections were in 2004 when 647 million people voted, this time the figure is predicted to be more than 750 million – a staggering figure.

In the interest of impartiality, it is good to see that the ruling party erected a huge 30 foot illuminated sign above the polling booth, complete with iconic image of their leader (complete with de-rigeur sunglasses) for all the floating voters out there . .

Its getting hot in here

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Its been a while since I wrote anything – a reflection of how busy I am.

But over the weekend I managed to hold an impromptu after party at mine (having dj’d on a roof top till 9am)

Trouble is, by 9am its 35 degrees plus and a day splashing about in the pool with my new friends (in 40 degree heat) has left me peeling on my face like a leper – “This is a keeper” as Goldmember would say.

Now I look terribly deformed and stupid.

Will I ever learn? Probably not.

Will I post a photo? Not a chance.

Terence Arrives

Friday, March 20th, 2009

A picture paints a thousand words . . .

Lube

Lube o'clock

Sandyha’s Wedding

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I have been invited to 4 weddings over the next few weeks,unfortunatelyI wont be able to attend all of them as I will be away. Myinitialexcitement about a good piss-up at a wedding was dampened when I reaslied there probably wouldnt be any alcohol whatsoever.

Sandhya’s wedding ceremony started at 7am, but I arrivedfashionablylate at 8.30am. Not only was I the only Westerner in the Temple – I suspect a probably 5 mile radius.

Unlike English weddings, there are multiple weddings all at once in different areas of the temple. Guests sit around the bride and groom as music is played, prayers said, mantras chanted and a lucky coconut passed around. Instead of placing a ring on a finger, it is placed on a toe.

Eager to get some good photos I squeezed my way to the front, only to feel the hot glare of the video camera on me and then notice that everyones attention (and indeed cameras) had turned from the ceremony to me!

Sandhya and Chandra

Sandhya and Chandra

Indian Temple

Indian Temple

Indian Temple

Reception Sign

Jai-Ho!

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

So Slum Dog Millionaire cleaned up at the Oscars, which was celebrated all over India and particularly in Chennai as the music director lives here.

All i heard on the radio for a few days was

tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil OSCAR NOMINATION tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil PROUD TO BE FROM CHENNAI tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil tamil JAI-HO!”

The film isn’t without its critics who complained about the use of the word dog in reference to those who live in the slums

I bought tickets for the whole company to go and see the film a few weeks ago, but fell ill so although I have bought it on DVD I still havent seen it!

Indian Driving Tests

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I don’t have a drivingLicensein the UK – but the process for obtaining one in India is far simpler.

To get a motorbikelicenseyou must:

  1. Drive in a figure of 8 around two cones

To get a car license you must:

  1. Drive 1 km
  2. Reverse park

Indianlicenseshere I come.

Law and Order?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

The story which has dominated the news this week has been the rioting between lawyers and police at Madras High Court.

To summarise what happened:

  1. Leader of the political Janata party insulted a Lawyer on ‘caste lines’.
  2. Colleagues demand his arrest, which erupts into violence.
  3. Police and Lawyers start throwing stones and bottles at each other
  4. Police fire tear gas and baton charge the lawyers
  5. Police smash up Lawyers cars and Motorbikes
  6. Lawyers set fire to a police station and State buses
  7. Elite Commandoscalled to the scene
  8. 122 Policemen injured, 150 lawyers charged with attempted murder.

Great to know the the purveyors of Law and Order have such a blatent disregard for the rue of law.

I predict a riot . .

I predict a riot . .