It has been months since I updated this blog so our visit to the Holy Land seems a good reason to restart the blog. We returned earlier this morning from our tour and I will try and capture the salient parts both in terms of our visit to the religious sites as well as other […]

Continue reading about Our visit to the Holy Land – Introduction & Overview

It has been forty years since Idi Amin expelled all the Asians living in Uganda. Some of those who were expelled were born and brought up in Uganda – they were Ugandan citizens – and did not know have a sense of belonging to any other country. The trauma and upheaval experienced by these Asians […]

Continue reading about A modern day “pogrom” – the expulsion of Indians from Uganda

Gender selection with a marked preference for male children has been a major problem in India and some other countries. It has resulted in severely skewed male/female ratios in some parts of India with major repercussions as a shortage in the number of eligible young females has caused social unrest in these locations and the […]

Continue reading about Physician heal thyself ……….and other observations

TJ on February 24th, 2013

The title of this posting was the headline of an article in an Indian publication. Indians have a reputation for being frugal or thrifty …. though some would describe them as being cheap. Perhaps some of the explanation is because of the absence of any social safety net in India which causes people to feel […]

Continue reading about “Frugality is in the Indian DNA”

TJ on November 30th, 2012

I am within spitting distance of reaching 67 years and although I don’t by any means obsess about aging, there are articles and discussions about aging that catch my attention in a way it would not have done a decade ago. It is in this context that a recent excerpt from Khushwant Singh’s latest book […]

Continue reading about Khushwant Singh: About faith and aging

TJ on September 29th, 2012

Those of us who live outside of India occasionally express amazement because one can go to relatively remote locations around the world and one still finds Indians who reside in those countries. In fact – and I don’t know for sure if this is accurate – I read that Indians are to be found residing, […]

Continue reading about Random thoughts and facts about the Indian diaspora

I was made aware about a huge controversy regarding some comments that Oprah Winfrey made during the airing of a documentary about India called “India: The Next Chapter”. Most of the criticism centered around a remark that Oprah Winfrey made while dining with an Indian family when she asked quite casually: “I heard some Indian […]

Continue reading about Much ado about nothing …….. or about very little

One of the cultural divides that confronts immigrants to the US and possibly other Western nations is the perspective on career choices when it comes to their children. When I was growing up in Kenya and what happens to this day in India is that children are inculcated with a mind-set that one’s choice of […]

Continue reading about To go or not to go to college ….. that is the question

Concepts of beauty have varied among cultures and even within the same culture over a span of time. A few decades ago an attractive woman was a more full-bodied and rounded individual than would be the case today. During the 50s’ the actress in India renowned for her beauty was Nargis who appears on the […]

Continue reading about Those were the days………..when women were encouraged to gain weight!

TJ on April 22nd, 2012

I don’t know if Malayalees are unique in their choice of names for adults and children. When I lived in Kenya in the fifties and early sixties, there were relatively few families from Kerala and everyone knew each other within the community. But even within the relatively small community, there were some interesting variations on […]

Continue reading about What’s in a name ……..well, a Mallu name?

We love cruising and have been on fourteen cruises since I arrived in the US. These have included several cruises in the Caribbean as well as ones to Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Mexican Riviera and the Yangtze river in China. Our last cruise was with my brother Peter and his family and it was on […]

Continue reading about Voyages between Mombasa and Bombay – SS Khandalla and SS Amra

TJ on March 31st, 2012

I am partial to most Indian foods …… no great surprise given my Indian heritage. During our recent stay in Kerala one of the pluses was being able to eat home cooked meals using the freshest ingredients, vegetables and fish/meat. We would buy king fish from a government approved vendor who brought a variety of […]

Continue reading about The big fat Indian breakfast

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

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

TJ on January 25th, 2012

Yes, we are back in Cochin, Kerala where we spend our winters away from the frigid temperatures of Virginia. I start every trip with a sense of dread over the the long flight from the US to India – a good 17 hours of flying time – but once I am here there is almost […]

Continue reading about Back in “God’s own country”

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

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 […]

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TJ on April 2nd, 2010

Living in India for any length of time has its challenges. I came to the realization several years ago that if one does not go with the flow, it can be frustrating to a point that one becomes exasperated. At a basic level one must accept that one is not living in the West where […]

Continue reading about The Queen’s English? Bah Humbug!

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

TJ on March 13th, 2010

Munnar is a beautiful place well worth visiting! Our visit started with something of a fiasco which brought to mind the axiom: “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. We were offered an unbelievable deal in Munnar at what was described as a “resort”. As it turned out it was no […]

Continue reading about Unforgettable Munnar – in more ways than one!

TJ on February 22nd, 2010

A couple of people have asked me how I select the subjects for my blog. I told them the catalyst is usually something I read or information sent to me. I was recently sent pictures of my high school, Allidina Visram HS, in Mombasa, Kenya (thanks Prem Saint) and it brought back a flood of […]

Continue reading about Reminiscences about Allidina Visram High School

TJ on February 10th, 2010

Christianity is believed to have come to Kerala in the first century AD when the Apostle Thomas, like other disciples, ventured near and far to spread the gospel in accordance with Christ’s command. There has been some speculation that the reason why St Thomas came to Kerala had less to do with converting the “locals” […]

Continue reading about Christianity and caste

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 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 […]

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TJ on October 12th, 2009

Move over techies – there is a new area in which India is achieving prominence in the area of outsourcing! Now this is not a field of outsourcing that we, as diasporan Indians living in our adopted homelands or those who live in India, would feel that we would want to brag about! But it […]

Continue reading about Wombs for rent!

TJ on September 27th, 2009

I belong to a Yahoo Group for East African Indians and recently there was a fascinating communication alleging that the Indian national anthem – “Jana Gana Mana…” (JGM) was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of George V and Queen Mary during their visit to India in 1919. I was surprised by this suggestion since […]

Continue reading about Was “Jana Gana Mana” written for King or Country?

So said Napoleon Bonaparte presciently two hundred years ago. I am not sure if Napoleon was focused purely on the military aspects or whether he saw China’s potential in broader terms. Napoleon’s admonition came to mind during a recent visit we made to China. We spent close to four weeks there and were truly STUNNED […]

Continue reading about “Let China sleep for when she wakes the world will shake”