TJ on March 27th, 2012

During our recent winter sojourn in Kerala, my sister and brother-in-law who live in Australia visited with us for a couple of days. We had an interesting discussion whether salvation is possible for non-Christians ………. and, in fact, whether any one who is not “born again” can achieve salvation. I told them – much to […]

Continue reading about Can non-Christians attain salvation?

TJ on February 26th, 2012

It is rare indeed for a leader to have the attributes of humility, loyalty and honesty and to be an effective leader but such a man was Kumaraswamy Kamaraj, a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu – formerly known as Madras state – and subsequently a key advisor to Jawaharlal Nehru. He was a man […]

Continue reading about Kumaraswamy Kamaraj’s loyalty and humility

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” was a best seller in the nineties by John Gray that sold over 7 million copies. It essentially sought to highlight the differences between men and women in dealing with problems and issues and how it affects relationships, etc. To segue from this to the focus of […]

Continue reading about Men are from Mars, women are from Venus ……. is there a canine equivalent?

TJ on February 11th, 2012

“The young perish and the old linger …………….. no parent should have to bury their child” Theoden in “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” When my mother was terminally ill with cancer in 1964, her mother who was then in her late sixties would tell me that she (my grandmother) would like to die. […]

Continue reading about “No parent should have to bury their child”

Life in Kerala – and, for that matter in India – involves a lot more social interaction than occurs in the West. This interaction occurs in different settings but one that occurs with frequency is attendance at baptisms, engagements, marriages and funerals. Birthdays seem to be less frequently celebrated except for special occasions like the […]

Continue reading about Nair weddings – the antithesis of conspicuous consumption

What are the odds of someone being born in the 18th century having grandchildren – yes, GRANDCHILDREN – who are alive in the 21st century? Pretty infinitesimal most people would say and they would be right. But a confluence of factors resulted in just such a thing happening with none other than the tenth president […]

Continue reading about More presidential trivia – but a truly remarkable fact

TJ on December 27th, 2011

I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of the “near death experience” – known by the acronym NDE. Perhaps it is my belief in an after-life – even though I am not sure what form it takes – which accounts for this interest. After all, for someone who believes in an after life the […]

Continue reading about Jobs, Hitchens, faith and near death experiences

It was Rudyard Kipling who said that east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet. Kipling was referring to India which was then the jewel in the British empire and Kipling, like other colonial apologists, maintained that the cultural bridge between Indians and the British could never be bridged. This […]

Continue reading about East is east and west is west ………. when it comes to mourning

I love You Tube and its endless variety of offerings. I also cordially dislike flying – everything about it infuriates me ranging from the security hassles at the airport, the less than customer friendly airline service, the cramped seating, the full flights and just about every thing that one associates with flying nowadays. I did […]

Continue reading about David Carroll, United Airlines and social media at its best!

TJ on November 26th, 2011

Some interesting facts and trivia about US presidents: Eight presidents were born before the founding of the nation Every president was born in one of only nineteen (arguably twenty) of the fifty states: these states are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, […]

Continue reading about Facts and trivia about US presidents

Spelling bees are fascinating and puzzling. The former because it is a pleasure to see young children being successfully tutored to a point that they are able to spell the most esoteric words which most people have never heard before and certainly few would use in either oral or written communication. It is the limited […]

Continue reading about Funny – and not so funny moments – during spelling bees

TJ on October 30th, 2011

I am not an Anglophile …….. in fact, I probably have something of a bias against things one associates with the English. My attitude is largely because of the time I spent in the the UK as a student in the sixties when discrimination against anyone who was not white was rife in just about […]

Continue reading about The Tudors, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

TJ on October 28th, 2011

Let me first acknowledge that I have never been a fan of Apple products. However, this is not because I have a problem with the product as much as the fact that I have always felt that they were over-priced. A Dell PC does all that I need to do at a third of the […]

Continue reading about “A genius and a jerk”

TJ on September 11th, 2011

The attack on 9/11 is one of those events similar to the assassination of JFK, the Challenger explosion and other significant events ………. it is one of those occasions that one remembers exactly where one was when the event occurred. I was at home when my step-daughter, Anu, who was then staying with us called […]

Continue reading about The 10th anniversary of 9/11

We got back earlier tonight from a celebration of Independence Day with the usual fireworks display. The longer I have lived in the US, the more I have come to appreciate the greatness of the country and its people. Sure, we make our share of mistakes but there is no other country in the world […]

Continue reading about July 4, 2011: Reflections about my adopted country

On December 12, 1968, Pan Am Flight 217, a Boeing 707, crashed near Caracas, Venezuela and all 51 passengers on board were killed. One of the crew members – an air stewardess as they were then called – was Franciska Buyers who must have been 23 years old at the time. All this came to […]

Continue reading about Pan Am Flight 217, ‘Clipper Malay’ – Franciska Buyers remembered

TJ on March 23rd, 2011

I have already posted about my affinity for dogs and how among my siblings, I am the one who is the most attached to them – a couple of my siblings react to dogs with emotions ranging from distaste to disapproval. My children have mixed feelings about them – one is quite fond of them […]

Continue reading about “To err is human, to forgive, canine”

TJ on March 5th, 2011

Growing up in Mombasa, Kenya as a young boy I was occasionally teased by North Indian kids with the expression “Goa machi kathore” – these were kids usually with origins from Punjab and Gujarat. The term was meant to be derogatory and was a reference to the fact that Goans liked to eat a lot […]

Continue reading about “Goa Machi Kathore”

TJ on August 1st, 2010

It has been a while since I updated this blog – attributable to laziness more than anything else after we returned from Cochin back to the US. There have been events which I wanted to write about but for some reason never got around to doing so. So it may seem a little odd that […]

Continue reading about My Colonoscopy: Dave Barry Redux

TJ on March 20th, 2010

My mother in the early 1930s’ . Today is my mother’s death anniversary. Sarah Joseph died in 1965 at Trivandrum Medical College Hospital. She had turned 52 years of age two days prior to her death on March 18. Her death was an event that had lasting repercussions on the family in many ways. She […]

Continue reading about Reflections on my mother’s death anniversary

TJ on March 15th, 2010

Someone once said: “Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible” Dealing with the bureaucracy in most countries is frustrating but the bureaucracy in India is ubiquitous and time consuming with no assurance of a positive outcome. Since purchasing our flat in Cochin, we have had to deal with varying levels of bureaucracy on […]

Continue reading about Bureaucracy and a birth certificate

I love a good massage. It is in some ways the ultimate pampering experience. The first time I had one was in California in the early nineties. I was so hooked on it that I would have one with some regularity even though it was expensive. Spending $80 for a forty minute massage every couple […]

Continue reading about Ayurvedic massages and my George Costanza moment

TJ on January 26th, 2010

We are back in Cochin and pretty much settled in our condo/flat here. It is nice to be experiencing the warm – and, as yet, not too hot – weather of Kerala and away from the colder than normal winter we left in Virginia. More about Cochin, Kerala and India in future posts because a […]

Continue reading about “Music can change the world”

TJ on January 8th, 2010

I have been recovering from the flu and while I lay on the sofa sneezing and moaning and groaning, I was flipping channels and ended up on some wedding channel which highlighted what were deemed “platinum weddings” – and lo and behold, the wedding being featured was that of an Indian guy – Deepak Nath […]

Continue reading about Conspicuous consumption or distorted values?

TJ on December 24th, 2009

I recently posted that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday of the year. We are now into the Christmas holiday season and I would have to say it ranks low on my list of favored holidays. This is all the more surprising because when I was growing up in Kenya, Christmas was a holiday that I […]

Continue reading about Christmas – Past & Present

TJ on December 13th, 2009

Well, we are back from our 12 night cruise during which we visited St Thomas, St Croix, St Kitts, Antigua and San Maarten. It was wonderful, relaxing and met all of our expectations, for the most part. A few months ago, I wrote about having experienced a mzee moment in Singapore. Once again, the term […]

Continue reading about Random musings on our cruise

TJ on November 26th, 2009

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday of the year. It has all of the elements that I find most desirable – a time to gather with family and extended family, lots of good food and fun. Most importantly from my standpoint, it has not been commercialized the way Christmas has in much of […]

Continue reading about Thanksgiving – a great American tradition

TJ on November 22nd, 2009

When Sarah Palin was selected by John McCain as his running mate, I was intrigued by the choice. On a personal level, I felt that her decision to give birth to a baby with full knowledge that he had Down’s Syndrome, was an act of grace and courage – and I admired her for it. […]

Continue reading about Sarah Palin revisited

TJ on November 6th, 2009

Indians and most Asians, have had a love-affair with gold for centuries. Perhaps, it is because gold has always been viewed as the ultimate refuge in times of economic and political instability. In most of Asia where there is no safety net whether in the way of state pensions or government provided healthcare, having a […]

Continue reading about Gold, glorious gold!

TJ on October 31st, 2009

Barack Obama has probably appointed more Indian-Americans to positions in his administration than any former president. They range from Kal Penn whose role is as a liason to the Asian-American community to Vivek Kundra who is Federal Chief Information Officer. But there are several others and they are listed in this article in the Hindustan […]

Continue reading about Barack Obama & Vinay Thummalapally