Sunday, December 30, 2012



I am so, so sorry about your loss this morning.  She and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Joe and Kristina and Dalia McGann

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Happy And Prosperous Diwali ToAll!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

While I lived in Gurgaon I never wanted to leave India

Hey there,

So, a short time ago I got an email from a fellow at Merinews ( asking me to contribute a small essay on our stay in Gurgaon. Always happy to help. The essay I sent them was indeed small. I love that place and could discuss it endlessly. But I wont, at least here. Anyway, since the genesis of the request was as a result of this blog, I thought I would complete the circle and put a link to the article below. Hi India, hope all is well with you.  Things good here.

While I lived in Gurgaon I never wanted to leave India

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dīpāvalī kī hārdika śubhakāmanā'ē

We are coming for a visit and  will be there the day after Diwali.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to it.  Really, no idea.  Enclosed find a picture of my beer cellar in the US.  Note the inclusion of the Tiger Beer, which, although not an indian beer, I enjoyed many times on our balcony in Central Park One.  See you tomorrow Gurgaon and happy Diwali!! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pieces of India

I keep finding vestiges of India In my belongings. A ten rupee note, a receipt from Cafe Coffee Day. This morning on the train to work I came across a five rupee stamp reading "Leopard Cat". We live in a beautiful town that I could not complain about even if I wanted to. Still, India keeps tugging at me. I learned a little about myself from my experience in India. Mostly that I have a lot to learn but also that there is a lot our there worth learning. We are trying to work a visit to India into our plans for the future. Go figure. Another thing I've learned is that India took a piece of me when I left it. And you know what? I don't want it back.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

End Game

Some time ago, I noticed that my local (Indian) phone had either the Nokia theme ring tone or some other banal ring tone. Every Indian I met had a really cool or at least unique ring tone. I tried to let it go but after a while I got jealous enough and asked someone to get me another ring tone. Luckily, a guy picked one of the ring tones available on my Nokia phone so I did not have to pay to download it. The ring tone was kind of catchy and people always, and I mean always, give me kind of curious look when it rings. I always look right back at them and say something clever like "Indian music" or something like that. A couple of months ago my friend Nitin told me that the song was actually one he knew and he sent me the lyrics as the ring tone is just that, a tone with no lyrics. Here are the lyrics in Hindi, and translated by Nitin into English. They are kind of beautiful and they are Kristina and our good bye song to India.

thodisi dhuul meri dharti ki mere watan ki
A little bit of soil of earth of my country,
thodisi Khushbuu baurai se mast pavan ki
A little bit of scent of the mad winds,
thodisi dhondhane waali dhak-dhak dhak-dhak dhak-dhak saansein
{dunno the meaning of dhondhane wali, maybe it means fast}
A little bit of lively and fast breaths,
jin mein ho junoon junoon voh boonde laal lahuu ki
Those red drops of blood, which have passion in them,
yeh sab tuu mila mila le phir rang tuu khila khila le - 2
You mix all of them, and create a new color,
aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara
And friend, you color me saffron,
mohe tuu rang de basanti
mohe mohe tuu rang de basanti - 9
oh mohe rang de basanti basanti rang de basanti - 2
Color me saffron .. {repeated many times}

sapnen rang de, apne rang de
Color my dreams, color my beloved,
khushiyaan rang de, gam bhi rang de
Color the happiness, and the sadness too,
naslen rang de, faslein rang de
Color all species, color all crops,
rang de dhadkan, rang de sargam
Color the heart beats, color the notes,
aur mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara
And friend, you color me saffron,
{after this, repeated from the first stanza}

dheemi aanch pe tuu zara ishq chadha
On a mild flame, put some love (to cook)
thode jharne laa, thodi nadi mila
Bring some waterfalls, mix some rivers,
thode saagar aa, thodi gaagar laa
Come here some oceans, bring some (water) pots,
thoda chhidak chhidak, thoda hila hila
Sprinkle a little, and then shake it,
phir ek rang tu khila khila
And then create ONE color,
mohe mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara
And friend, you color me saffron,
mohe tuu rang de basanti
Color me in saffron (color).

basti rang de, hasti rang de
Color the inhabitation, color the existance,
hans hans rang de, nas nas rang de
Color in jubiliation, color each vein (or artery, )
bachpan rang de, joban rang de
Color the childhood, color the youth
ab der na kar sachmuch rang de
Don’t delay it anymore, color me in reality,
rang rez mere sab kuchh rang de
O painter, color everything,
mohe mohe tuu rang de basanti yaara
And friend, you color me saffron,
{continued from the first stanza again}

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What the heck?

A few weeks ago we were in the Hauz Khas section of New Delhi wondering around and we came upon these fellows (believe it or not in a place named Deer Park). It looks as if someone had taken some gauze and wrapped their antlers with it. Kind of like antler bumpers in case they should get in to a deer fender bender. The thing is, there were also deer (in the same herd or whatever it's called) that had regular bony antlers. Weird. I asked Kristina why just to get a picture of what she looks like when she is pondering something (see the last picture).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Newest and best priced (read cheapest) custom made Suit

I had this copied from a super duper expensive suit that Kristina got me. It cost roughly 140 dollars us including material and labor. The only problem is that I look like a Mafia goon from eastern Europe in the last picture. Actually, maybe that's not a problem. Worse problems to be had I guess. Whatever.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mausam garam hai, nah? (The weather is hot, no? More or less.)

Holy mackerel it's hot here. Now, let's see. To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, first you divide the Celsius number by the square root of negative one, then multiply by two times the square root of two then add the last number of pi, then multiply by the circumference, right? What does that equal? Oh yeah, one billion degrees. Of all the things I will miss about India, and there are many, I assure you (Dal Makhni anyone?), I will not miss the seventeen crore lakh degree weather we are experiencing right now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Signs Redux

I agree with every one of these signs we saw except the surveillance one. I especially agree with the Dust Free Mausmi sign. Awesome.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Were it not that I had bad dreams

We saw this little girl down an alleyway and down a stone staircase in Rishikesh or Haridwar. I don't know about anyone else but she scared the heck out of me. What did Milton say? It is better to rule in hell then serve in Heaven? I will try Heaven first, if only for a little while.

Including today, only 7 days left

The counter on the right side of the screen is a little misleading. Today it shows there are 15 days to go. Actually, that takes us to the date our visas expire.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Indian Evil Eye

Considering that it is in vogue for people to throw shoes at politicians in India right now, I thought it might be a good segue for this blog topic. Ahem, speaking of shoes, drivers in India put a depiction (see second picture, and in the first picture, the real thing) of one on their trucks (cars, rickshaws, etc) for some reason but I have yet to figure out why, much less it's origin. Now, if I have this right, and I am pretty sure I do, truck drivers put a picture of the face of the guy with the tongue sticking out to ward off the evil eye. Kind of like the Italian horn that people used to wear around their neck when I was a kid. As a matter of fact, any input from from you out there in internet land would be very helpful. What do you say?

By the way, did you know that the Italian horn that people wear to wear to ward off the evil eye (Malocchio) is not a horn but a pepper (the vegetable)?

One more thing. We are going to Phuket, Thailand tonight for a few days. Any suggestions as to what we should do while we are there. I know, this is kind of a needy blog posting. So sue me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Five year old kid as James Dean-ish rock star

I have mentioned before that in India, you often see several people on a scooter or a motorbike. It makes sense for a ton of reasons, mostly finance related, but also convenience and traffic related. What I have not mentioned is how bad-ass a five year old can look on one. If I had a picture like this of me when I was a child, it would have totally mitigated my oafishness. But then, maybe I would not have such good manners had I grown up with that kind of panache.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rishikesh and Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

You don't really get to see this much. We see peacocks in the wild often enough but I have never seen that whole fanned feathers thing before. When the bird fanned out his tail, it started slowly turning around. It did this a couple of times before closing tail back up. I don't know if the turning thing is part of the process, if it was a one off kind of thing, or if this particular bird was mentally unstable. Whatever, it was really cool. Going to Phuket, Thailand on Wednesday. More pictures of Haridwar (very holy city BTW) and Rishikesh to come.

By the way, click here for a hyperlink to more of the pictures of Rishikesh and Haridwar!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Remote Blog, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, INDIA

Sorry, we went to the holy city of Haridwar, but we are going to visit Rishikesh.  More later.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Netaji Nagar Market, New Delhi

Every once in a while I to go to an area of New Delhi to buy a ton of groceries/sundries/etc for the shelter. As many times as I have been there over the last year or so, I have not seen one westerner there. I was there yesterday (Thursday) and there were quite a few people going into a very small Mandir (Hindu Temple) in the market. I respectfully asked around and was told that Thursday is Shirdi Sai Baba day. That is, Thursday is the day that devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba go to the his Mandir. More about Shirdi Sai Baba (people kept referring to him as simply Sai Baba) below.

I passed a spice shop and I saw the woman in the last picture who I think was actually separating wheat from chaff. I promise you that if I could speak enough Hindi I would have, without a doubt, said some thing like; "Now there's somebody who really knows her wheat from her chaff". I don't know Hindi, so instead, I did not get murdered, said "sat sri akal" (Sikh greeting like Namaste) to the Sikh owner of the spice shop, and took a picture of the nice lady. All's well that ends well.

We are driving to Rishikesh today with a bunch of Welsh people and a bunch of English people. More about that when we get back.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't try this at home. Badshapur, Haryana, India.

As far as the interesting meter goes, it is hard to beat the area south of Gurgaon called Badshapur. Every time I go there I find something both fascinating and a little bit off the radar. Also, and more importantly (for the purposes of of this blog anyway), I have yet to get killed for poking around there. This time I passed a guy smoking a Hookah (also called a shisha). I pulled over and said "Ram Ram" hoping that, since the guy was older and we were in a village, he might warm up to me for using this way of greeting him. I think it worked. This does not imply, in any way, that the same may hold true for the future. Which goes to show you, it's better to be lucky than good. At any rate, Ram Ram.

About Ram Ram:
RAM is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.
RAM RAM, by extension became an expression used for greeting and welcoming....human beings.
Nowadays, Ram Ram is mostly heard in the countryside, where tradition is strongly alive.

About the Hookah

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Goan two different eyed, one and one half eared cat

And other things. We spent the weekend in Goa and it was beautiful. For once we did not take a zillion pictures and mostly laid around and went to the beach. However, we did get a picture of a Dr. Seuss like tree, rangoli, and a two different eyed, one and one half eared cat. Also we include a picture of the sunset as our room was right on the Arabian Sea. What is rangoli you ask? Good question. Here's a hint:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Good Friday

Basilica Santhome, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

We are off to Goa tomorrow and will write about it in couple of days. In the meantime, for all my Catholic brethren (sistren also implied), happy Good Friday and don't eat meat. For all my Indian brethren (sistren), have a nice holiday. Did you know that this is not a US holiday (except stock exchanges)?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kapaleeshwar Temple, Chennai (formerly Madras), Tamil Nadu

When I was in Chennai, at a huge Hindu temple called Kapaleeshwar Temple, they were celebrating a religious holiday (I think) before or during which many people (women and children included) shaved their heads. I promised myself I would write an entry about it when I had a chance. I do not know the significance of the shaving nor of the colored powder on their faces/heads. Blame this on my Hindi or, rather, lack thereof. I DO know that the colored powder is a bit of a constant here (think Holi). Anyway, when I took the pictures I was trying to be as discreet as possible and of course I got caught. Luckily for me, the people I met were very excited about having their picture taken. We get this reaction a lot. The only problem I had was an older woman right outside of the Temple smeared the tikka (is that right?) on my far head and it kind of did not come out. Worse problems are to be had and I always look better when part of my face is covered or hidden anyway. For example, I look my best in the forgiving half light of a candle late at night.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is it a pumpkin or a gourd (and what's the difference anyway)?

Neither. Turns out that this is a melon and, among the zillion fruits and vegetables that we have encountered here during our sojourn, more evidence of cool stuff in India.

On another, unrelated note, we are going to Goa next weekend, Rishikesh (spelling?) the weekend after that and Phuket, Thailand the weekend after that. Super duper whirl windy but I think it was Confucius who said "He who hesitates is lost". Wait, is that right? Was that Rilke? Schopenhauer? Whatever.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Snake Charmer Redux, Jaipur, Rajasthan

We saw this guy outside of some royal castle in Jaipur. I love it. I mean, how long into the interview for this job would you say something along the lines of; "So, okay, you want me to do what? And you're gonna pay me how much? Um, yeah. Let me get right back to you ". Actually, I would probably say something little more colorful than that but I am not going to put that here anymore than I am going to put the lyrics to 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" (which I think is a metaphor, by the way). My sister "Spitting Cobra" is a teacher and her kids look at this blog sometimes. Thinking about it, it might be a while into the interview before I said anything because, after all, I would definitely have to hear the guy out, right? Just to see if it was some kind of practical joke.