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It Happens Only In India

22 Jun

bhaskaran_sonsWell, you must have seen numerous Only in India photos and videos on the Internet. This little post is around the same topic but more specific to funny naming conventions and strange names of people and establishments in India. Since I haven’t traveled too much around India, I may not know a lot about the North and Eastern parts and hence the content may be more relevant to South India alone.

Names of establishments

In India, funny restaurant names are the easiest to spot regardless of where you travel. The following are a few that I have encountered.

Brothers Hotel

Sometimes branded as Hotel Brothers or even Hotel Brothers International, this is not exactly a ‘Hotel’ but more of a small time restaurant or tea shop. ‘Hotel’ in the Indian village or town context means ‘Restaurant’. You can see this ‘Brothers’ brand many parts in India. It’s not a chain of restaurants but just preferred name. And the funniest thing is that ‘many of them are not even run by brothers or siblings’.

Bhaskaran & Sons Jewellery

What’s funny or wrong about it? Nothing, unless you learn that it’s started by a person by name Bhaskaran who is still a bachelor who doesn’t have any son. Adding ‘& Sons‘ to the display board is more for style than for the literal meaning itself. The board would additionally display ‘Proprietor: T.P Bhaskaran‘ and if it’s in Tamil Nadu, probably, ‘ Prop: T.P Bhaskaran, BA‘.

(Fortunately they don’t add more qualifiers to it such as ‘BA First class’ or something like that)

Common names for restaurants around South India include ‘Bharat Hotel’, ‘Sreekrishna Cafe’ and after a coat of painting during Diwali sometimes one of them suddenly becomes ‘New Bharat Hotel‘. Well, there are plenty such popular names for restaurants. Would you like to add more?

Chicken and Poultry shops

One of my villagers (in Kerala) that I know, Mr. Lonappan – a fisherman by profession – decided to setup a poultry shop as he thought broiler chicken business is more profitable than selling fishes. After consulting his ‘educated’ and jobless friends he arrived at a very cool name for his chicken stall and that was ‘Asiatic Chickorium‘. Obviously his fishing background helped inventing that amazing word that rhymed ‘Aquarium‘.

While Lonappan was lucky to have ‘educated’ friends to help him, his counterpart in Mahadevapura, Bangalore wasn’t that lucky. This person had to depend on the knowledge of the sign board artiste to arrive at a small board for his chicken stall that read ‘Chikan Stale‘!

I think the same artist is the creative mind behind ‘Kentaki Fryed Chikan‘ pull cart shop in Majestic, Bangalore. Sounds really majestic, huh?

More examples of impressive shop names include the pancher shop‘ that I mentioned in a recent article, ‘Toylat – Gents‘, Chines fast food – all in and around Bangalore and a ‘Panjapi Dhaba‘ near Selam in Tamil Nadu.

Names of people

When it comes to the names of people, I know that most Punjabis prefer English names and most Andhrites, who move to their dream land (USA), change their long names to beautiful 3 and 4 letter American short names as soon as they land. However, I think nobody can beat Keralites when it comes to the most innovative names that you can’t even think of.

The funniest names are usually girls’ names most of which sounds like ‘- i – i‘ or ‘- o – i‘ or ‘- i – y‘ and you can mix and match those empty spaces with any consonant or an array of consonants. Some of the names that I have heard of include the following:

Kikki, Titti, Litti, Sisi, Mimi, Lighty, Booby – obviously they didn’t think about (or didn’t know) their meanings when the naming ceremony took place.

And innovative name for Malayali boys will typically end with ‘ju’ or ‘jo’Liju, Siju, Lijo, Sijo, Lyjo, Ijo,…

Mostly this naming convention is prevailing among Christians in Kerala but other communities are catching up well with these kinds of names and aren’t far behind.

Not sure that there’re such naming conventions in other parts of India, if so please do share your opinions.

Note: Please note that my intention here is not to hurt any individual or community. As a matter of fact, I have many good friends with one or the other of the above mentioned names or their variations

That much for now!

Some Common Funny Scenes on Indian roads

9 Feb

The automobile industry in India has gone through a very rapid growth over the past twenty years or so. However, as we all know, the road infrastructure hasn’t quite complemented that kind of growth yet and so is our great driving culture. Our vehicles, driving sense, size of the population and the available infrastructure is a super combo that often offer us some lighter moments on our roads. Also, you can see so many ‘innovations’ and ‘improvisations’ that is specific to some of our vehicles and vehicle models that are found only in India. This post is about some of those funny and peculiar scenes on Indian roads.

sound-ok-horn horn-ok-please

On and inside vehicles

We Indians are very particular about protecting our belongings from dust an pollution. Inside many homes, you can see the TVs and washers protected with plastic covers and even the couches and dining tables topped with a layer of sari or plastic sheet to prevent it from getting dirty. The case is much the same with many people when it comes to taking care of their cars. Some of them never ever remove the plastic covers on their car seats that’s used during shipping & transportation of the new vehicle. Some even keep it for 3-4 years or until the next resale of their cars. Well, you have to get the priorities very clear here. Keeping the car seat dust free (read resale value) is far more important than getting own backside hot by the plastic cover or even transferring the dust and dirt from plastic cover to your bum.

Talking about the vehicle interiors, the dashboard area of most Indian cars is a mini temple. In the best case, you may only see an idol there but sometimes it’s an array of idols immersed in fresh flower garlands that’s changed every day, various other decorations like colorful electric lamps and even lit incense sticks. Again, the priority is not fire safety but bribing the god to get a good day on the road. This is particularly the case with taxi drivers many of whom forget the god, goodwill and well being of other people on road the moment they are off to their working day. Any road is a highway for them.

Now, if the taxi happens to be an old Amby (Hindustan Ambassador), the dashboard there in is like a wall with the left side of the wall shelf (supposedly glove box) mostly open without any shutters. You can see dirty towels, a piece of mirror, incense sticks, comb etc there – basically all that it takes for the driver to survive for a day. The towels have varying uses – from wiping their sweat to clean the cars and cleaning the windshield from outside by occasionally extending their hands out. This is mandatory on rainy days as the worn out 5″ wiper blades don’t do their job. And even if they do, they invariably do this periodic activity.

Well, if the white Ambassador is owned by an Indian politician or bureaucrat who’s a chauffeur, then you can see a lot of white Turkish towels that’s used to cover the seats. Again, the car seat cover doesn’t seem to be good enough to do its job.

I almost forgot about those hanging dolls from the inside rear view mirror – This is something that you can get to see in India alone or in cars owned by Indians abroad. However, very often I found this part interesting because mostly you can even predict the owner’s nativity and culture just by looking at it.

Now, the exteriors of most vehicles are as intriguing as the interiors. One of the common scenes is those cars with both ORVMs (outside rear view mirrors) completely folded in as if they are the most ridiculous and totally unusable inventions ever. Here, you must appreciate two things – one, the driver’s ability to drive the car without having to look at sides and behind. Secondly, if you toss up between safety and potential scratch on those mirrors, safety takes the backseat.

The vehicle owners writing their kids names on either side (left and right) of the rear window is another common scene. Well, don’t get me wrong here. I am not claiming that this is something funny but just an observation.

Autorickshaws are amazing vehicles that completely exploit the improvisation possibilities, especially on their rears. Many autos claim that they are powered by monster engines by displaying emblems of Audi or Mercedes on the back. Also, writings like 2000CC etc are very common. The rear side of those inter-state trucks also exhibit some amazing pictures or genius’ words on top of the usual ‘Sound-OK-Horn‘ or ‘Horn-OK-Please’ writings.

Some of the other things that you can see on Indian vehicles include bumpers protected by steel bars (to protect the bumber from scratching?), wheel plates or disks tied with plastic twines to prevent theft, multi-colored stop lamps (who said it has to be red) etc. I am sure, you may have a lot more to add here.

Common scenes on Indian roads

Now on to the road and driving style itself. I could write a huge post about it but for the sake of brevity I am just jotting down a few bullet points.

  • Two underpowered auto rickshaws trying to overtake each other and occupying both the lanes on the road with a long trail of of vehicles behind them is a common scene in some Bangalore roads
  • A TVS 50 moped carrying three times its weight i.e. two or three sacks of vegetables or grocery items and moving extremely slowly is another funny scene. Sometimes, the rider is in a diving position with his body resting on the sack in front, and his legs folded backwards. When he pauses in the traffic, he has to pedal hard to take it off further. The type of payload on the TVS 50 varies from state to state. In places like Tamilnadu, it’s those milk jars whereas in states like Kerala it’s fish
  • Overtaking pattern: One thing I have noticed here is that, as soon as a vehicle overtakes you, even if there’s enough width available, the driver immediately blocks you. So it’s like you are being overtaken from either side and them merging in front of you creating some kind of cut onion pattern This along with the zig-zag movement of autorickshaws, bikes and call centre taxis essentially create the traffic clog
  • In the case of a traffic jam, the two wheelers immediately use all available space including the footpath and even small parapets of drains. If it is a one way, the immediate reaction is to squeeze through the wrong side and merge into the next available slot on the actual intended lane. Sometimes this has the blessings of the traffic policemen as well
  • In case you get a flat tire, you may visit the nearest ‘pancher shop‘ which is essentially an encroachment on the road or footpath
  • Although the helmet rules are in place, sometimes it is okay to have a loose-fitting bowl like stuff on your head. The priority obviously is not safety but not to pay a fine. Some smarties, who do not want to get their hairstyles disturbed, hang the helmet on their wrists while riding to put it on only when a serious looking traffic cop is in the vicinity
  • Towing away two wheelers: Okay, so you have several of those two-wheelers or motorbikes parked on road sides where it’s not allowed to park vehicles. At times you witness a mini truck coming in with four-five people in the carrier space along with several bikes. They keep lifting bikes one by one from the road and dumping into the truck. Some of those hapless riders who would have just about parked the vehicles will plead to them but in vain. They have to finally pay the ‘fine’ to the cop who is sitting inside the driver’s cabin wearing a ‘Rayban’ eye-drop shaped sun glass in order to get the seized vehicle back

Well, there are so many other things that I wanted to talk about but it’s already a long post. I am sure you will have a lot more to share on this topic as well. Please leave your comments about those funny scenes that you have got to see yourself on Indian roads.

Happy motoring!

You may be interested in the following posts as well:

  1. Hamara Bajaj – fond memories coming to an end
  2. Tata Nano sedan and Maruti Eeeeeco in the offing

India’s most annoying and overrated personalities

5 Jul

Okay! It’s time for a controversial post. I am going to talk about the most irritating and annoying personalities in India from various walks of life. They are here in this list either because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • Mediocre performance or do not really belong to the profession they are in
  • Content stealing or corporate fraud
  • Public behavioral problems or hate speeches/actions
  • Born skills spoiled by lack of focus or other priorities
  • Shame for India

By the way, it is my hate list and do not necessarily mean that they are in your list and that’s why we have a poll at the end of this post whereby you can select up to three of those personalities that you consider really worst in their respective careers or roles.

And here you go…

The Indians that I hate the most

1. Pramod Muthalik – Religious fanatic

pramod-muthalikAs we all read and saw in the last two years, Pramodh Muthalik and his organization Sri Ram Sena vandalized the pubs in Mangalore and beaten up lady guests there. He is a Hindu extremist, in my opinion, who claims that he’s trying to protect the Bharat Sanskar (Indian culture) in the interest of our nation. Mr. Muthalik, nobody from the government or court has hired you to protect our culture and hence you better mind your own business. Moreover, as per a recent sting operation, your goons disclosed that you can beat up anybody and smash up anybody or any organization if you are paid bucks in lakhs. Hence you are one of the top among in my hate list (and I am sorry to have given you some more publicity to you via this blog post)

2. Raj Thackeray – Regional politician

If Muthalik is an example of religious related atrocities, Raj Shrikant Thackeray is about regionalism in its worst form. Being the nephew of the raj-thackerayShiv Sena supremo, Mr. Bal Thackeray, it is quite natural that he had to come up with his own regional political set up – MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) – to take on non-Mumbaikars in Mumbai. While Mr. Bal Thackeray in his early life had at least certain principles in life and even possessed some skills (cartoonist) in the field of journalism, Mr. Raj Thackeray is someone who just thrives on his hate speeches and provoking acts. And hence he’s the #2 in my hate list.

(Rest of the people in my list are generally overrated people from various disciplines)

3. S. Sreesanth – Cricketer

santhakumaran-sreesanthWell, Sreesanth is not as bad as any of the two listed above. But he’s a great example of indiscipline, tactlessness and behavioral problems. It is all about skills not getting converted into numbers and wins that matter for Indian cricket.

I personally believe that, he’s a highly overrated cricketer who has not done anything good to Indian cricket so far other than winning a test match in South Africa. And for that T20 World Cup winning catch against Pakistan, the monkey just happened to be underneath the ball at that point of time!

4. Himesh Reshamiya – Singer?

Himesh Reshamiya, the man who hoots through his nose and broken windpipe is a great example that explains how sound is different from music himesh-reshammiya(Remember, what you studied in physics some years back?). To torture the people of India even more, he sports a custom made bronze coloured poodle wig, a funny cap that doesn’t match his age or looks and multiple layers of clothes made from cotton, synthetic to leather. He usually roams around with gorgeous teenagers of his daughter’s age and that makes me hate him even more. Of late, he has started acting (if you can call that acting) as well. God save Indian music and bollywood movies!

5. Anu Malik – (Inspired) Music Composer

anu-malikI hate Anu Malik because he is one of those fools who claims to compose inspired music but thus far whatever he has done is crap. If he has done anything good, obviously that is stolen. Moreover, I hate him for his singing in his own album and of late for being in the Indian Idol judges panel. He is also the epitome of arrogance – arrogance of a semi literate man in his discipline. He should learn to be as humble as someone like A.R. Rehman.

6. Deepika Padukone – Model, Actress

Well, as a child, I used to like Prakash Padukone, who was really a role model for budding sports persons and and he is an extremely well behaved gentleman. His daughter has not necessarily shown any bad public behavioral issues, but she’s only good as a still model. She’s extremely dramatic, pathetic and over-acting when she does her movies or commercials (BSNL, Fiama di Wills,…). Hence Deepika Padukone in my hate list for doing something that she is not skilled at. In my book, she’s the worst actress in bollywood.

7. Arnab Goswami – Television Anchor

Well, Arnab Goswami is supposed to be one of the most educated news readers but when it comes to moderating live programs on the Time Now TV channel, he is one of the most irritating personalities. The new generation TV journalist are trained to create sensationalism and trash anybody (especially politicians) who come their way to get claps from the viewers. Obviously, those who watch Times Now and read Times of India arnab-goswamiare after page 3 journalism and sensational news rather than gaining knowledge and the right perspective. So, Mr. Arnab, though you possess good skills, it is never properly used. And despite your producer’s demands, you could still behave better with your guests (especially the elder ones) who have seen the world much more than you.

Moreover, I hated him and Barkha Dutt for the kind of journalism they did during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, which was mainly the cause of those terrorists resisting longer. Times Now and NDTV, despite the Mumbai police’ requests, were providing live visuals of the operations that actually helped the terrorists.

8. Mandira Bedi – Actress, Anchor, Model,…

Just like in the case of Deepika Padukone, Mandira Bedi took up certain roles such as cricket program compere, which is not exactly her stuff – though she tried to distract junta via other stuff. She was definitely a decent TV soap actress and a theatre personality but spoilt her image (whatever she had) via entering cricket – which seems to be the easiest for anybody to make instant money and fame in India. She should have remembered that to host a program in English, at the least, one should be very fluent and flowing in that language.

(Sorry, I could not get a PG13 image of Mandira Bedi)

9. Ramalinga Raju – Industrialist

ramalinga-rajuWell, this one was a tough one – a case of one of my idols getting into the hate list overnight. In one of the biggest corporate frauds in India, the (A)Satyam Computers founder admitted in 2008 that he and his company have been involving in manipulating the company’s results and cheated its investors. While, Mr.Raju did it all for his family run business, what he did is to tarnish the India story and spoilt trust among investors from India and abroad. An unfortunate case but a big time fraud person in my list.

10. Sania Mirza – Tennis Player

I hate Sania Mirza not because she married a Pakistani cricketer. I always thought she was a highly overrated sports personality who was known for things other than her tennis. Another creation of the media, especially Times of India’s Sania Mania campaign. One should note that she’s not won any Grandslam (in the womens category) for India and her best all time rank was 27 or so. Probably she possessed some in born skills that was leveraged the wrong way – just like Sreesanth.
(In order not to distract the readers, I am not publishing Sania Mirza’s image as well)

What is your Hate list like?

Well, I had some more people like Mayawati, Lalit Modi, Bappi Lahiri, Mamata Banerjee and some of the worst politicians in India in my list but I wanted to make it a list of ten. Now let me request you to vote for the worst personalities in this list. Please choose up to three and if you don’t see your person here in my list, please feel free to comment about him/her.

Vote for your least favorite person in India


That was a long post and I appreciate your time and comments.