Monday, December 27, 2004
What is a "Jharkhand"?
It's an Indian state and until yesterday, it was also a porn site. Director General of Police J B Mohapatra complains that "one Emzima network has got the registration in one of the American cities" for jharkhand.com
The General needs to Google on "Emzima" to discover no network associated. The General also needs to read the results of a WHOIS on the domain name:
Registered at whois.moniker.com:
PO Box 30521 SMB
General: it's called spoofing, kind of like the way most Director Generals of Police in India enforce law. Besides, any cricketeer worth his salt knows that George Town is the capital city of the Cayman Islands in the West Indies where the domain country code is "KY", not the US state of "Kentucky".
Sunday, December 26, 2004
All shook up over Xmas in Chennai, India
I went into work at 4PM Xmas Day and got home around 5:30AM Boxing Day. Before I walked into my 4-story apartment building, I explained to the "Indian security guard" (oxymoron) next door that this was my time for sleeping and he needed to keep an undersized cage of four dogs quiet or I'd be making some phone calls. I trudged upstairs, stripped, and crashed into bed. That's right, ladies, if you had brought me a Xmas gift, it didn't need to be pyjamas ;^)
I had hardly gotten to sleep when I was awakened to the bed creaking in several directions. Could my purient hopes and dreams have come true? Then I noticed the building was gently swaying and doors were chattering in their frames. The dogs next door were going crazy and I understood why: earthquake. I've been thru several tremors before and this was the second time I decided to get out of bed and get dressed. The event lasted about three minutes and I never felt worried enough to leave the newer construction of our building. I also awoke for the aftershock a few hours later, but simply rolled over hoping it was just another Call Center nightmare.
The quake, strongest in 40 years, originated on the western coast of Indonesia about 1500km/900mi southeast of Chennai. Half that distance to the southeast of Chennai lies Sri Lanka (Ceylon) where tidal waves have claimed
500 1650 2000 lives. Our Indian coastal state (Tamil Nadu) suffered 350 1700 casualties with 100 140 200 here in Chennai. Chennai's nuclear power plant was shut down after water entered it.
For details on epicenters, timings, and Richter magnitudes of these particular tremors, click here. The Andaman/Nicobar Islands, due east of Chennai and one of the few scuba-diving spots in India, has felt 8 quakes since dawn. At 5PM, I'm still feeling the tremors in our apartment building, but not when I walked to the local barber for my Sunday shave an hour ago.
** EXTRA! EXTRA!! ** Additional damage at Chennai, India Airport
In this case, the source of mayhem was not Mother Nature, rather, 40 angry Air Deccan passengers who broke up the airline counter after an early morning flight was cancelled. So much for airport security and all the guns displayed. I've heard of similar behavior at the cinema during a disappointing film ;^)
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Chennai, India Market Watch from
Farmer Dave YardBoy
Bitter gourd, US$0.48
Brinjal (eggplant), US$0.40
Lady's finger (okra), US$0.48
There's a Holiday Feast in there somewhere, but on Christmas Eve, I flipped from a 7AM-4PM schedule to a 5:30PM-5AM. It repeats tonight and for the next month. This newly outsourced helpdesk goes live on Monday. Best Holiday Wishes go to the employees of our three San Diego offices who lost their jobs on 13 DEC.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Not making enough money in the Indian Call Centers?
In Chennai, India's Call Center market, English fluency and customer service skills will gross beginning Help Desk personnel about Rs.8000/US$160 per month while airlines will reward those same skills at Rs.45,000-1,00,000 per month. Supposedly, India aspires to an open sky policy and may emerge as an aviation hub in SE Asia. Recently, British Air and Lufthansa have announced additional routes in/out of India. With growth comes employment and Call Center agents may consider following the money (as they do so well now). The FrankFinn Institute of Air Hostess Training can better your chances of breaking into the Mile High Club ;^)
Sunday, December 19, 2004
69% of injections unsafe at Indian government hospitals
In yesterday's New Indian Express, India Health Minister A. Ramados quotes a draft World Bank study:
35% of injections had improper sterilization
another 34% had wrong injection habits
I hate it when they swab the injection site with curry instead of alcohol. Just kidding, but I've wondered what the prep was that didn't smell like the 100+ times I've donated blood. I do remember a few years ago when I went to a Chennai, India hospital for hepatitis immunization. They told me they were out of vaccine and sent me to a local
pharmacy medical shop that's found on almost every street corner. Without a prescription, they handed me just what I wanted AND a syringe. And for a bargin price, not that anyone wants bargin prevention. I headed back to the hospital for the actual injection.
As mentioned, I'm very experienced with venipuncture and have no complaints (thus far) with Indian practice. Now however, I'll make sure that Indian phlebotomists are equipped with single-use syringe as in the US. I'll want to see it in the packaging ;^)
Saturday, December 18, 2004
The REAL reason for motorcycle accidents...
is obviously the lack of helmets!
(** tip-o-the-hat ** to Laura & Jack)
Friday, December 17, 2004
What's your choice in Chennai, India?
Another meeting about training that lacks discipline, i.e. no consequences for poor attendance and according to both the Operations Manager and the Training Manager, "pathetic assessments"?
Or, a root canal and crown?
BTW, the dentist was as good as any I've had in the US and his office was as modern/clean. Initial Kodak panoramic x-rays were INR300 (US$6) and my first canal/porcelain crown was INR5000 (US$100).
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Adyar Pest House gives me a new life experience
Once the weekend arrived and I needed to relax, the Cable Set Top Box quit working and I was cast back into the dark ages of non-English TV. You can check my Archives regarding our ex-actress/Chief Minister who has seriously hindered her subjects ability to hear English. To my surprise, our company's receptionist/Guest House Supervisor offered me alternative entertainment with a DVD player she "borrowed" from the apartment of someone away for the Holidays. Along with the player came a wild selection of titles some hyperactive teenager might have picked:
Alien vs. Predator
Matrix Revisited (documentary)
So, I'm watching Aliens slice-and-dice Predators and noticing the volume is never consistant, nor is the scenery lighting. Further into the DVD, I think I hear laughing outside my apartment. Soon after, I hear the laughing in the film during a part that is otherwise horrific. There's out-of-place talking, just like in a Chennai moviehouse. Suddenly, my new life experience hit me: I'm watching a pirated movie. Someone took a video cam to the original movie and made a copy. At least they used a tripod to eliminate jitters and sat in the front of the theater to avoid the backs of heads. They just couldn't overcome the noisy audience ;^)
I'm now told these filmed copies cost about Rs. 50 or US$1. Digitally copied movies are packed 5 to 7 on a DVD for Rs. 200 or US$4. A real DVD in India is about Rs. 800 or US$16, much the same as the US.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
The game of squash can operate something like a Call Center in Chennai, India
Long ago, the World Squash Federation proudly announced the World Doubles Squash Championship to be held in Chennai. A new, 4-walled glass court, the first of it's kind in all of Asia, was to be built. Today is "Go Live" and I'm not surprised that construction was completed just 3 days ago for this would-be world class event.
Months ago, the building material and contractor arrived from Germany. This builder is the only one recognized by the World Squash Federation as meeting strict specifications. The builder speaks German and English, but met a local helper who spoke only Tamil. In the course of their project, they developed an unspoken ability to function, but the German's parting comment noted: "the other guy never came to work on time." Welcome, mein Herr, to my life.
** UPDATE ** Top seeded Australians neglected to show up for today's opening ceremony (continuing the trend of absenteeism).
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Regarding these "Indian Express" links that expire and seek Archive registration...
Login name: yb
Friday, December 10, 2004
She barks like a dog in Chennai, India
There was whistling and shouting at the beautiful woman on stage. Her talent included Animal Mimicry. Turn your kinky thoughts to the eventual winner of last Sunday's Mrs. Chennai Pageant. With her never-ending toothsome smile, she modeled a fight between one of Chennai's million street dogs and a Pomeranian pure bred. After many "ruff ruffs" and "woof woofs", the homely contestant did some "yelping" as the cur prevailed ;^)
** Editor's Note ** In India, the word homely means quite the opposite of prevalent usage worldwide. The Indian word has nothing to do with "ugliness", rather, "skilled in the home".
Bihar, India's low-risk, high profit, and only surviving industry:
kidnapping! It's an "industry" when the captors accept ransom payment via EMI (Easy Monthly Installments).
Bihar is an Indian state just south of Nepal, considerably northeast of my location in Chennai. If you're familiar with the US, Bihar could be related to the backwoods of old-time West Virginia ;^)
Mormon polygamists have nothing on India's Pinchapuri sect
In the nearby state of Andhra Pradesh, this community numbering 5000 practices the swapping and selling of wives. To their credit, wives have final say on the transaction ;^)
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Like the shouts of Paul Revere, I can hear: "The Indians are coming! The Indians are coming!" At least into Toronto, Canada. Cognizant Technology Solutions, native to Chennai, India, has opened a development centre in Toronto to provide near-shore services to Canadian and US clients.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Catching up in Chennai, India
After flyin' in a big jet liner (apologies to Arlo G) and reaching the Adyar Pest House (my corporate apartment), there appeared to have been no building maintenance since my departure on 03 OCT. The loosely-wired TV cable still produced a jumbled picture and the poorly repaired exhaust fan died again, just as I predicted its off-balance blades would wobble the shaft and burn the bearing. Add an inoperative geyser (water heater), the majority of light bulbs blown, and two nasty virii on the common-area computer. Hey, not a problem: I immediately headed out the door to Topaz Salon, my favorite barber shop for a shave and head massage. Barely sated, I asked my driver to explore a neighborhood rumored to have Ayurvedic body massage. It was my lucky day: 90 minutes of full oil treatment, 30 minutes in the sauna, and finally being scrubbed with exfoliating dal (lentil) soap.
Back at the Pest House, I removed the Netsky and Valla bugs that had infected 3977 files. Don't you love other corporate visitors who don't know shit about PCs? With a clean computer, I wrote one email to the apartment manager (AKA receptionist) and EVERYTHING was fixed the next day. As a bonus, there don't seem to be any bedbugs lingering from my September visit. I'm a little paranoid over this sudden improvement. Next I'll hear dulcet overtures from a would-be sweetheart.
Thanks to Nancy at Under the Fire Star, I've discovered a breakfast pick-me-up: buttered toast sprinkled with sugar and black pepper. Nancy recommends fresh ground and I hope to graduate beyond the antique pepper found in my apartment.
I'm here in Chennai until the end of JAN. I should have my Bullet back by Friday after good friend Chris gets it re-chromed. I'm working M-F, 7AM-4PM. Mobile: 98410-58678.
Friday, December 03, 2004
I'm currently sitting in Bombay Domestic Airport at 3AM
In the last 3 years, Bombay International has accomplished much to speed up Immigration, Customs, and inter-airline transfer. They need to work on the luggage carousel: very tight and disorderly. Still, I got from the International Terminal to Domestic in an hour. And now there's a Net Cafe.
Our company needs to work on my 7 1/2 hr layover before I finish the final leg to Chennai. After 22 hrs next to a child in Economy, 6 hrs in a Terminal chair adds insult to injury. Our travel department said they'd contact someone in our Bombay office to ease the wait, but I never heard back from them again. Sitting in Economy is also getting old, especially when the company expects me to "hit the ground running" and take a meeting on Sunday. It's absurd that I can't even use my 89,000 Frequent Flyer Miles to upgrade myself to Business Class. Apparently there are 4 tiers to Economy pricing and my tickets are bought from some cheap consolidator that doesn't qualify for upgrades. "Cheap" is the operative word and how I start a new program. I can only imagine what my return to the Adyar Pest House will be like until the end of JAN.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
What's it like in India?
Looking at one aspect, sexuality, don't even think about kama sutra. It's not a concept that has anything to do with India today. It's a foreign fantasy, and after sniffing around Chennai for 3 years, it's a myth. Instead, take a look at the Indian reaction to an "R"-rated, frontal nudity video of an Indian actress. Be sure to read the 100+ Comments.
Here's a clickable link to the VERY soft porn. You'll need RealPlayer. After you download the clip, the filename may be corrupted, so just rename it anything.rm.