Revisiting Home

I’ve been outside India for 3 years now, no reason for me to suddenly find faults with my city, though I found it really hard to cope with a lot of things. Traveling in Bangalore has been like playing Pokèmon in real life, while I kept running into Ratatas in the game every time I started walking, in Bangalore this is the case,


Bangalore has exploded beyond its capacity and my only fear is its going to end up like San Francisco, a city where everyone wants to be but very few can afford! I kept complaining about a lot of things and my friends thought I was being an ass and a typical ‘America Return’ snob but it was more about feeling bad about losing my city to these radical changes.

I decided I wouldn’t ride or drive this time, two reasons for that, one the fact that my Indian license was now in shreds and secondly I had no plans of getting back to shouting on the road. I’ve been on a transformational path where anger is my last resort to things that annoy me, and I did not want a 3 week holiday to be the point of relapse! For most part being driven around by friends is amazing, and when nobody is around I just end up taking an Über and paying at most $5 for a really long trip during peak hours! Talking about converting my expenses to USD, its the exact reversal of what I did back when I moved to the US where every expense triggered a calculation in my head and then freaked me out when the calculation completed and I was paying 300 Indian rupees for a coffee. I digress. One day three friends and I were on one of the busiest roads in Bangalore downtown, in the US downtown has been the place with the tall buildings but in Bangalore its just the oldest cool part of the city I know of, we were trying to cross at a signal and lo behold four guys who thought they were the Beatles crossing Abbey road who don’t give a rats fart about the pedestrian crossing signal that said ‘Stay the f*** out’ of here till the vehicles stop moving amble across taking their sweet time and make direct eye contact with you and act like its all cool.

I think the funniest thing that happened was when a biker going down the wrong way of a road almost got knocked down by one of the wild autos and ended up shouting at the auto driver for not keeping an eye out for nincompoops like him on the road! Its great that wrong side drivers don’t cause pileups and crazy accidents like the ones that happen in other countries. I’ve always been someone who follows traffic laws and have earned the wrath of the people I share the road with and the people who are in the vehicle that i’m driving. My complaints aren’t something that i’m talking about because I don’t live here anymore! Just the other day, my friend rides her bike on the pavement to avoid riding her bike on the wrong side of the road and I had to explain to her why that was no better than just being on the road! One other incident there were two people on bikes who decided to have a friendly chat in the middle of the road, with their bikes facing opposite directions! The only thing missing was a table, cards and some whiskey, they could have had the perfect guys night out. The popular quote ‘Haters gonna hate’ can be modified to be ‘Honkers gonna honk’, and you are fine doing whatever you want and disrupting the traffic.

One thing the country does right for sure is water in the toilets! Here napkins and tissues are both terms used for the paper towels used to dry your hand, a lot of confusion has ensued after either my friends or I have asked for tissue at a restaurant in the US! A few of my friends are leaving to Australia and I’ve been educating them on the cultural and social mistakes I made that put me in an awkward situation when I first moved to the US, my first rule was to always say it’s nice to meet you the moment you meet someone and exchange names, regardless of not knowing a single thing about this person who could be a genuinely nice person, a thug, a trump supporter or a League of Legends player! You just have to say nice to meet you! Back home I know all my neighbors but in the US i’ve never interacted with any of my neighbors! Sometimes i’m in the elevator with them but its pretty clear everyone is avoiding eye contact, because eye contact is the worst thing one can do when trying to avoid talking to someone. At home if we run out of sugar or salt or anything else, all we need to do is go to the neighbor and you have a thirty minute conversation and the condiment that you were looking for! While back in the US, I just end up ordering food for the night and buying groceries the next day on my way back from work. There is a sense of belonging to the neighborhood that i’m enjoying during the break here.

Every time I come back home the only friends that I immediately end up meeting are my buddies from kindergarten to high school! It’s always a great experience to catch up with buddies who grew up with you, who got punished in school with you, who enjoyed success with you! Every time we meet its a laugh riot and to relive the stupid things we did as kids is such a blast and when we discover that not much has changed since then is a soothing feeling that makes you feel comfortable amidst the maddening changes around. This trip saw a couple of friends change their marital status to sedated, I mean married and I can only imagine that the next trip is going to see more people stare down the wedding well and I guess some even with kids that are going to call me uncle! To the journey ahead and to more trips back home I say, bring it on! This trip back home has been one of change, a better future, a trip where I could forget my work life completely and focus on what is most important, family and friends. I started writing this with just one thought on my head, what the hell is happening in this city but midway I realized I love Bangalore way too much to give it up for anything in this world, I hope someday I can be back home working in this beautiful city that saw me transform from a pre schooler to an engineer to a professional and someday a home owner.


Cooking Tales: Iyer in the USA (Slaw Edition)

This blog is going to have my cooking adventures in this new country that I have moved to, USA, I guess most of you have heard of it. As a guy who doesn’t consume meat or egg I thought it would be really difficult to survive here, especially after a couple of trips to Europe where I sustained on a snicker a day, or maybe 4 snickers a day! Soon after arriving here, I realised everything I need to live an honest Iyer life exists here! All I had to do now was stop converting $$ to INR and get all messed up about how expensive everything is. This is quite a difficult phase, but a week or two and you will soon be speaking only in terms of $, miles and gallons, throw the metric system out the window. After 4 of us ran through 9 pounds of rice in as many days, I decided enough of rice. Lets just go to my first recipe!

Please note, I am not a chef so the things I mention here are for two reasons, I love writing and I want a place to keep these recipes alive. You may, mostly will not like what I mention here.

The Slaw! Well people call it Coleslaw, I am just going for another name people use. Ok, things you need

1/4th of a Cabbage (Use the white one, the red one is meh)

2 Carrots

1/2 an Onion

1/2 a Tomato

1/2 a Lime

1 tbsp Gingelly Oil

Salt and Sugar

That is all you need, it is a very simple process, just keep a big bowl with you and all the ingredients handy so you can quickly make this and move on with your life. If you have a food processor things get very easy!

  1. Fine chop the cabbage (use a food processor for quick chops)
  2. Grate the carrots after peeling the outer cover
  3. Cut the onions into medium size pieces
  4. Cut the tomatoes into slightly large portions
  5. Mix all of them in a big bowl and add some sugar and salt
  6. Squeeze out a lime and add a tbsp of Gingelly oil and mix well
  7. If you have Mayo add it on top as garnishing

Eat your way through this juicy salad! The oil gives a nice taste along with the raw vegetables. Its a nice change to have this instead of rice and rice and rice for breakfast lunch and dinner. The salad doesn’t look too good, but it tasted really good 🙂


Google Play : Changing country

For a company like Google, i certainly expected them to have an easy switch option to change my country and then verify the new country using my IP or my last few google sign in locations! But no, this task is not straightforward at all! I just moved to the US from India and signed into my new android device using the ID i had created back home, only to realise that it would default to the Indian play store and there was absolutely no setting to change this to USA. I figured it was because of the payments methods I had set up, I went ahead and removed all the payment methods saved on my account! Next I changed all the addresses to the new address in US, cleared cache and data. No use, the play store still wouldn’t update to US!

   Lots of searching online and trying multiple funny things turned out to be useless, the play store just wouldn’t budge! Finally I figured what it needed! So for all the peeps moving to a new country, this might help. Follow these steps


  1. Remove all payment systems from your google wallet account [if they are bound to your previous country]
  2. Change all addresses [physical addresses] to a location in the new country.
  3. Open Play Store, open any paid app and click on buy!
  4. On the add payment page, close the app store.
  5. Open on your computer, and move to an app you know is available only in your new country
  6. It will magically be compatible
  7. Now open play store on your phone, it would have updated

I am not kidding! You don’t need to add a new card, nor do you have to purchase anything! Just follow the steps given above and you will be good to go!

For example, google wallet is not available in India, but it is in USA.

The Curious Case Of The Surname

It is always exciting when you know your passport is going to get stamped with a visa! At least for someone like me who had the first flight well into engineering, a visa is like the chocolate that I never had. I submitted my passport details and a person called me up, let us refer to her as Julia Roberts for the sake of having a name!

Julia : Hello Mr Sriram, I just went through your passport and see that you do not have a surname!

Me : Oh I do not have a surname.

Julia : So is your first name ‘Aaditya Sriram’

Me : Nope

Julia : Ok I am confused now!

Me : My First Name is Aaditya and Last Name is Sriram

Julia : Alright, are last name and surname the same thing?

Me : Hold on, let me google it

****** 3 minutes ********

Me : Well according to this  Yahoo! Last name and surname is the same!

Julia : Well I think you need to get your passport corrected then!

Me : Na na, its ok I dont want a surname I’ll live with Aaditya Sriram as firstname.

Julia : You will have a lot of issues with government organizations if you do not have a surname!

Me : I’ll manage 🙂 Thanks

This conversation actually threw me off gear and I ended up doing a lot of searching online about the case of the missing surname and figured life would be really hard without a surname in many countries! So then I called her back and

Me : Hello Julia! How you doing?

Julia : I am good Adeeetya! Whatsup?

Me : I decided i’d get the name on my passport changed!

Julia : I am glad you changed your mind, good luck with that

I’m sure she laughed out and made fun of me after that! Well so I freaked out and prior to this had a  very bad idea about how governmental organizations worked and how inefficient they are. My only silver lining was the fact that more than 50% of South Indians do not have a surname on their passport and they all get it corrected once they realise how this could bite their rear! Went through a million blogs and they all made it sound like a ridiculously easy process, i begged to defer and thought the only way to find out the truth is by going through the ordeal myself! My dad suggested I go through a Passport agent, but I wanted to give the Passport organization a chance to prove their organizational capabilities.

The following are the steps to get it changed, the online part of the process is mentioned on this post, as I’ve my passport office appointment in the future as of writing this post.

  1. Go to Passport Seva
  2. Click on Register in case you do not have an account already, else click on login. You know the charade!
  3. Once logged in, click on the tab that says “Apply for Fresh Passport/Reissue of Passport”
  4. It will give you a link to download a form, download it and fill it!
  5. While filling form, in the reason for reissue choose OTHER and type “NAME BIFURCATION”
  6. Fill up other details and save, it will generate a XML file.
  7. Upload XML file from the page whose link you can find on the login page
  8. It will create a ARN for you, now click on “View Saved/Submitted Applications”
  9. Choose the current upload and book an appointment

I went in for a tatkaal appointment as mentioned before and got my passport in 24 hours of the passport office appointment! It actually works when it is just name bifurcation, but again in my case I had no other change! It was the same address.

Carry the following with you for proofs:

  • Old Passport
  • Copies of the first two and last two pages of old passport
  • 10th Marks card [in case ECR stamp is on your old passport]
  • Address proof [in case of address change]
  • Yourself [yep you need to go]

It is a long wait inside the passport office though! So take a day off and spend it there! Do not go early do not go late! Be on time 🙂 Good luck to everyone! Get your passport on time and enjoy your study/work adventure in the US!

The Crayon Head

Crayons! A single word to describe the imaginative powers of Indians when there is commotion! Everyday on my way to and from office I go past at least one crowded spot where I just see people standing around something which I presumed to be really interesting. I never really had the chance to go see what was happening until recently, this one experience cleared all doubts that had accumulated over the last 24 years of mine on this earth. We love commotion! We love drama! We love drama and commotion with a dash of lime and lemon, in fact it is our favorite cocktail! It gets us high, it gets us involved in others business and sometime lands us in a pool of junk. What am I talking about? You know what I am talking about! Last week, I was at this car workshop getting my seat covers changed and some stickering done for my drive, KABOOOOOM! A loud thud and some screaming is all it took for all heads in a radius of 500m to look in the direction of the sound, such a response is only natural I guess. I saw a guy lying on the road and next to him was his bike, my Dad and I went upto him and helped him up and took the bike to the side. He had been hit by a car, a Mahindra XUV500 [retarded car] and a man with a shiny bald head driving it freaked out and just sat inside the car that was in the middle of the road! I asked him to move back and park to the side of the road, he did that. The guy who got hit was fine, atleast on the outset so my Dad and I decided to leave the place to let the guy handle the situation with the car guy. We had walked like 10m and when we turned back there was the huge familiar crowd, staring at the two gentlemen, the hitter and the ‘hitted’ 😛 [halli english on purpose] fighting a battle of words, it reminded me of this clip !

There were at least 20 people watching the drama unfold and my dad and I were watching the crowd watch, I guess that made us meta crowd! What started off as a two man battle just like the video ended up in a band wagon of peole arguing, few taking the side of the biker and few the car guy! Finally the car guy stepped back and let the volunteers carry on for him! The bike guy wasn’t hurt and he tried asking for money before the guy who was driving the car said this

I am a lawyer, if you want a settlement lets go to the court and decide!

The bike guy freaked out and said this

Atleast take me to the hospital and let me have my foot checked!

At this point I felt pretty sad for the bike guy, he was unnerved by what he had just heard! His bike was definitely broken, but I guess he did not have the right to ask for repair money but the hospital request was fair enough.  The car guy took him to the hospital and all of a sudden the crowd had lost their entertainment piece! After some awkward stares, they started speculating what had happened and then one guy blamed the biker and the other the car guy. There interesting insights into the physics of accidents too by the onlookers! Pretty fascinating! Seeing the crowd a guy on an evening walk stopped and tried to find out what had happened only to realise it was the after party that he had arrived late to.

At times I just feel everyone is looking for some weird stuff to happen to people around them just so that there is a entertainment! A similar thing happened around 5 months back, I guess my first paragraph is now contradictory! It is my second huddle moment on the Indian roads this. A lady had fainted and people were looking and discussing what could have happened, one guy said a car hit her and sped away, another lady said a bike had hit this woman while yet another claimed she just fainted [turned out this was the truth]. Seeing this I asked the crowd to help the lady into my car and I asked another lady to accompany me to the hospital where I admitted the lady. The weird part of this was that a Cop saw the lady had fainted and when I offered to help he ran away, what are public servants for? Welfare of people? I might have to read the fine print of human conscience to understand this kind of behavior from humans. The story doesnt end here, when I went back home from the hospital I got a sound hearing from my house help in front of my parents! We all looked on in shock, finally she told me I could land in a lot of trouble for helping unknown people falled on the road. A shiver and chill down my spine and I gathered myself to ask her what she was blabbering only to hear that she is saying this only for my good and she means only the best for me. This tale followed as a supporting argument

A lady was on the side walk of the road, in good clothes and dairly well groomed, a crowd had gathered and one guy said she should be taken to the hospital and an auto came by right then. This guy took the lady in the auto, on way the lady took out a knife and along with the auto guy robbed him.

I did not know what to say! Awestruck, I thought  this was a pretty good reason for people to just crowd around victims of accidents or incidents. Just to make it sensational they tend to use their colorful imagination to make the story more like an Ekta Kapoor soap! Stories are intriguing, the whole world runs on morals taught using stories, except the stories now are just murky and pure evil! I won’t deny, most of the stories are interesting and keep my head engaged in thought for a while but there should be a way innocent people get help when needed!

Rohit ditches Maggi!

From Maggi to Haleem, the rise to glory has happened in the ongoing series against Australia for the stylish batsmen Rohit Sharma who had been under performing till date. As per reports last week when Rohit breached the 100 mark it was said that 100,000 kilos of Maggi got burnt and was thrown because of his long innings. Post that event, people have started using Rohit innings as timer for pulav and fried rice, but today has changed the equation involving the length of Rohit’s innings and the kind of food being cooked.

  Haleem the popular dish that is generally available in abundance in the party town of hyderabad during the month of ramzan, requires a very long cooking time. Seeing the recent innings that saw Maggie boy getting to a 200 the hyderabad Haleem association has decided to use his innings as a tool to measure cooking time for the mouth watering dish.

Sehwag has to be used as an example of caution with which the Haleem association would have to spend money and follow the new time calculation mechanism. Sehwag since his 219 in 2011 has been putting Maggi to cook and coming out to bat and returning to the dressing room on time to eat it. Even worse now he is sitting and making Maggi for the rest of the Indian team since he doesn’t have a spot in the playing 11 or the next in line 15 players!

  This innings has also spelt the end of ex Indian opener Gautam Gambhir who has since decided to buy a part of the equity offered by the Haleem association of hyderabad!

Man Becomes rich after falling into pothole

Pothole menace in Bangalore is a huge issue with people falling into these huge craters everyday! Last evening a man however made a fortune after falling into one of the deep potholes on Tin Factory road connecting OMR and Ring road, he had hit oil. He was driving a 30 wheel tanker lorry with an extended trailer when all of a sudden the whole vehicle disappeared from the road, after 30 minutes of frantic searching by the locals who thought they had witnessed a David Blaine trick they found the driver climb out of deep hole in the road and shout in joy. He was covered in a black slimy liquid which was later discovered to be oil! Yes you heard it right, Bangalore has oil and the credit for the discovery goes to the driver and partly to the mayor of Bangalore for refusing to close the potholes.
   The government of Karnataka has approved an award of 10 crores to the driver for discovering oil. The ecstatic driver in an exclusive interview with the unreal times said that he was overjoyed with his new found wealth and would like to watch a movie at a theater in Bangalore, it has been his childhood dream he said. He was unable to afford a movie in the IT city all these days. The driver Mr Viyunduthan Oilingam hails from Jamnagar where his father works with the reliance refineries, no wonder oil discovery runs in his blood, rather oil runs in the holes he falls into. He has 1 wife and 3 kids who are all very proud of him, Gujarat CM NaMo personally visited the family and said that Viyunduthan belongs to Gujarat and will be given a palace in Ahemedabad. NaMo seems to be trying to hide the oil discoverer for his personal uses in the future.
  Bangalore will now have a huge boost in terms of economy, also the initial cost for setting up and digging a oil well has already been avoided thanks to the 300m deep potholes in bangalore. The mayor has ordered all potholes to be dug into deep and look for presence of oil. Initial estimates suggest that there is enough oil to fuel Bangalore and the rest of South India for another 1243 years. The IT city may now buy out Hosur from Tamil Nadu to expand Electronic city to ‘fuel’ further development. The mayor has been congratulated by all governments who are now ready to clean his shoes for a share of the oil to develop their own states.
  Arnab Goswami has also signed up exclusive television rights to interview the pothole that is now credited with the availability of oil. The nation would definitely like to know if the pothole has any other rich neighbours from whom we can steal all the oil and further screw up tin factory road. Manmohan Singh  when asked about what plans he had to exploit this new discovery, said “… . ……… . . .. “.
  Following this breaking news other states have also decided to invite Mr Viyunduthan to discover oil. All cities have been ordered by the supreme court to stop repairing the roads, in fact no new roads can be laid as per this law with immediate effect. Kanpur is pegged to be the next oil exploration zone since it doesn’t seem to have any roads at all.