The Tijuana border (between the US and Mexico) is one of the busiest land crossings in the world.

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Virgin Mojito (हिंदी)

गाँव में रहने वाला लड़का घर में “नींबू-पानी” पीता है ।
शहर में जाता है तो उसको “शिकंजी” बोलने लगता है ।
फिर फ़ाइव-स्टार होटेल में जाता है, और “लेमोनेड” ऑर्डर करता है ।
विदेश-यात्रा पर जाता है, तो उसी नींबू-पानी को “व़र्जिन-मोहीतो” कहना सीख जाता है ।

कुमार विश्वास

Souvenir Clothing

I stared at the clothing in the souvenir shop. “Cancún” is written on the cap. “Cancún” is written on the chest. Cancún written on the derrière. In myriad fonts and sizes. I wondered who buys all these souvenirs. I have occasionally purchased souvenir clothing in the past. But it is usually lower quality, overpriced, and seems to give a garish look. Then this guy steps into the shop.

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Crowded or Popular? Exclusive or deserted?

An expensive place full of tourists is considered a popular destination. While an inexpensive place full of tourists will be called a crowded one.

An expensive place lacking tourists is termed an exclusive destination. While an inexpensive place lacking tourists is considered deserted.

It is never about other tourists, it is always about how much you spent.

The Terrible Economics of running a Restaurant

A new Indian restaurant had opened within walking distance of where we live. We, actually, discovered it on the day of its inauguration (Muhurta). The owner politely told us to come back the next day. We did. We were fifth in the queue on a long line outside the restaurant. A phone call came in from an acquaintance. The call was a good way to pass an hour-long wait. We would have certainly left the queue otherwise.

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In a remote village in Thailand…

After renting a moped in Thailand, I stopped at a small shop to ask for a petrol pump/gas station. Instead, the shop owner handed me a bottle of gasoline for purchase.

“Must be a peaceful country where they can sell gasoline in bottles.”, I said to myself, “In most parts of the world, people would use this as a petrol bomb during violent protests and riots.”

Petrol/Gasoline sold in bottles in Thailand

Petrol/Gasoline sold in bottles in Thailand


He is living in Europe.
He is an American citizen.
His parents are from Mexico.
In Europe, he is an American.
In America, he is Hispanic/Mexican.
In Mexico, he is a Mexican of European descent.

My rm -rf moment

Yes, it did happen, and no, I am not stupid enough to execute rm -rf *. It was a bit more convoluted than that. I was trying to prepare a customized SD card image for the Android emulator. The fastest way to do that was to mount the SD card on my GNU/Linux machine and modify the files. The files on the SD card have root as the owner. Therefore, the easiest way to maintain a clean state was to make all modifications using sudo. My script included a command rm -r ${base_dir}/${old_file}. While executing the script, due to an error, both the variables were not set. It took me a few hours to recover; I never committed the broken script, so, I did not harm anyone else. But since then, my bash scripts have always included set -o nounset.

American vs Indian doctor

Indian doctor

After having continuous hiccups for ~24 hours, I walked to a nearby doctor’s clinic.
Uncle kaafi der se hitchkiyaan  aa rahi hai, iska…” (I am having hiccups for a long while, can something…)  [interrupted]
He replies in a loud voice, “Beta, hitchkiyoon ka koi ilaaj nahi hota, kai baar mujhe aati hai” (Son, there is no cure for hiccups, sometimes, I have them for days)
The tone was part patronizing and part condescending.
Total Bill: 0 ₹
Embarrassment quotient: 10/10

American doctor

After having continuous hiccups for ~24 hours, I drove to Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Checked in for urgent care by showing my insurance coverage and waited for ~30 minutes for my name to be called out. A nurse took me to a weighing machine to measure and record my weight and height. Then she measured my blood pressure. I was wondering if blood tests would be done next, but thankfully she took me to a room and told me to wait for the doctor to arrive. It took another ~15 minutes for him to arrive and my hiccups died in the meanwhile.
“So, I am having hiccups for ~24 hours now”.
“You do not have them right now”, he replies in a pleasant voice.
“Yeah, it stopped moments before you entered the room, but you know, I can feel it, they will start sometime soon.”
“You know hiccups just happen, there is no cure for them, you just wait for sometime, and they will stop.”
I left, and as expected, hiccups started before I turned on the engine of my car.

A week later, I received the bill.
Total Bill: 200$ (I paid 20$, my employer paid 180$)
Embarrassment quotient: 0/10

The clash of cultural expectations

“I need the address.”, the immigration official shouted at her, as she, a septuagenarian Indian woman, with her limited English, repeatedly, pointed to the paper containing the phone number of her daughter.
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