Thursday, March 31, 2016

My shoes are Japanese

Got to listen to this very classic Indian song from Shree 420 (1955) - Mera joota hain Japani and couldn't help think about the irony of the song in today's context. Most Indians have heard this song and enjoyed it. It was used in the opening sequence of the movie Deadpool (2016).

The Lyrics roughly translated in English would be something like:
My shoes are Japanese,
My trousers are British,
The red hat on my head is from Russia,
But still my heart is Indian.

In 2016 we could re-write the song as:
My everything is from China
But still my heart is Indian.

Kinda amazing that China is the global manufacturer for a multitude of things that we use and consume everyday. Their dominance is mind boggling.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

GPS Dummy

I drove in the US when GPS navigation devices were not that easily available, smart phones were rare, Google maps were just released and we actually had to use paper maps to navigate. That was more than 8 years ago. I kinda knew the roads around my neighborhood so well, that I could actually navigate without the need of any directional aids. For long trips, I bought the fold-able maps (AAA) and studied my route before I made the trip. If you took a wrong exit or a wrong turn, you would pull-up on the side of the road, open your maps and figure out how to get back onto the right track. And I actually understood the Eisenhower National Inter-state system

And then this time I went, I overly relied on the friendly Google Maps on my phone to navigate me to every destination, including the neighborhood grocery store. I felt dumb, incompetent and totally dependent on the GPS. So much so that, I had no clue of even basic directions around me.

Not that it matters, but I feel like geographically knowing where you are in the bigger scheme of things helps you feel in more control of your journey. It's just me. I know.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nutrition Labeling

Had the opportunity to visit the same parts of California that I lived exactly 8 years ago for a week last month. Nostalgia trip aside, looks like not much has changed in my neighborhood in the last 8 years. Most of the area looked the same.

Anyway, one thing that I discovered quite interesting was that - almost all restaurants have now started labeling the nutrition content of their foods along with the price. Looks like a law was passed in 2008 and became sort of mandatory since 2011 for restaurants with more than 20 outlets. This is kinda awesome. Now I have 2 parameters to chose my food on - cost and nutrition.

I also discovered that most of the foods that I loved last time around are extremely dense in calories and maybe that was one of the reasons why I struggled with maintaining my weight. Most of my favorite menu items were actually more than my daily calorific requirement!

I think this is a step in the right direction. I subconsciously started choosing healthy menu items in the week that I ate out. I hope we get to see this all over the world soon!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Guide to a good sleep onboard

Most of my adult airline travel life has been spent on uncomfortable economy or budget class seats trying to catch a few winks before I get sucked into the dreaded customer meetings or work on the other side. Having worked in not-so-well-to-do companies, I have never had the luxury of traveling a day in advance to recuperate or travel anything better than the "cheapest seat on the cheapest possible airline at the last available minute to the destination".

Anyway, all this misery has taught me that it is vital to be able to sleep on an airplane. The worst I can do on the other side of my journey is doze off in an important meeting or presentation. Over the period of last several years, I have slowly and steadily improvised and figured out ways to catch up on those precious winks. While many well-to-do business travelers insist on dressing up while traveling, I am completely against it. Formal clothes aren't comfortable enough to sleep on an economy or lower class seat. If you insist on dressing up for your journey, I am mighty sure you are the upper class snob. Period.

So how do you get the precious sleep? Here is Girish's guide to airline sleeping:
  1. Dress as comfortably as possible. As a guy, I have gone down to wearing extremely comfortable lounge pants, a t-shirt and a hoodie (or sweater).
  2. No accessories, no wallets, even specs go into the cabin baggage. Wear removable shoes with socks.
  3. Take a window seat so that you are not obligated to get up to let go off any passengers for their bio-breaks. You go in there and stay there till you have to get up. No one else can bother you.
  4. Wear a balaclava or a knit cap on your head such that it can be pulled down to cover your eyes and ears when sleeping. Not only does it help you to keep warm but it also forces you to sleep (you can't open your eyes if the cap's fabric is on them).
  5. Carry a medical face-mask to cover your nose and mouth. Not only does it provide some level of protection from the perennial germs lurking in the aircraft, but also it helps you to sleep (by not drying up your mouth and face).
  6. Finally, the only thing you do once you get inside the airplane is - sleep. That's it. Wear your seat belt and sleep. No reading magazines, no watching television, no chit-chatting with neighbors. And no caffeine since 2 hours before your flight. Don't wait for the flight to taxi/ take-off/ announce random weather news or duty-free items. When food shall be served, the stewards will wake you up.
But if you travel higher classes, kindly ignore my advise and enjoy your flight. Good night.