The 3 AM Friend !!!!

During our college years, while watching movies like Dil Chahata hai or Zindagi na milegi dobara or 3 idiots,we all might have wondered or even questioned, Do these kinds of friendships really exist ?

A group of friends , who are part of each others life 24 X 7 , know all about the good ,bad and the ugly side of you and still dont judge you. The ones you can laugh heartily with or more importantly cry your heart out. They are part of every faux pas of your life and are still proud of you. The fights amongst you are superficial and no matter how big it is, you aren’t scared of losing them. you have awesome memories with them and the most important thing is,  you know ,that come what may they will always be there for you whenever you need them.They are Gods most precious gifts for you, your proverbial 3 Am friends,the friends for all seasons.

Do you have one such friend?

if you have , you are one of the few privileged ones in this world.Trust me, most of us dont.The fact of the matter is, that,  you don’t need a group , even  if you have one such person in your life ,he or she can help you weather any storm in your life.That one person can be the adrenalin rush you need or the calming influence when you are anxious.In simpler terms, he or she could be the balancing factor at various points in your life.This one person can say the most mean things to your face to keep you grounded or ,if need be, can lie so smoothly to make you fly.This person can read your heart and your mind when you are in the dilemma or just a low sounding ‘hello’ from you on the phone , makes him/her know what is amiss.

These kinda people are absolute gifts from the GOD,the true treasures of ones life !!

But, why dont i have any such friend? or

how can i get one such gem?

here it is, my simple tip, on how to find or get one such sunshine in your life.

lets start by analyzing ourselves, we always look at people around us  and wonder, where is that one person, that you have been wanting all your life.You have so many poeple around, but you still are practically alone.

The fact is,every person around us, is also looking at the people around and thinking exactly the same thing. now we  all are in a scenario where, we are all  seeking something and not thinking about giving.

Have you ever thought of being someone’s sunshine? someone’s 3 am buddy ?

Are you willing to spare time from your busy lives to fill in for someone when they need you?

Are you willing to prioritize someone over your own self?

Have you tried to, go out of the way, to accommodate someone’s request or fulfil someone’s need ??

if you have never done so, or ,if you do it once in a while, imagine, you are now looking for a someone who does exactly the same thing for you EACH AND EVERYTIME you need it . you are seeking something that you have never given.

My idea is pretty simple, if each one of us decides to be someone’s 3am friend, a friend for all seasons, then there is a possibility that someday ,we all will have that one person in our lives. Make no mistake , being there for someone at all times, is not easy and it might not be reciprocated too. You might end up being taken for granted, But, the beauty of such people is, that they are selfless. They are not expecting the other person to return the same or even have similar feelings or attachments towards them.   Never, I say Never, expect the person you feel so strongly for ,to have the same feelings for you. If they do, grab it with both hands, coz you are now the richest person in the world.

As you finish reading this write up, make yourself a promise, that you will try and be someone’s man friday, and someday you will be lucky to have your own.

 

Junaid Khateeb can be reached at

junaidkhateeb@yahoo.co.uk

Stay Single, to be a successful couple !!!

Browsing through the social media ,I just can’t stop  admiring the beautiful pictures that people post with their better halves. From the pre wedding photo shoots to post wedding pics. From awesome designs on the digital invites to coochy cooing couple pics , people look head over heels in love. I must admit, the pictures ,especially on instagram are enviable and appear straight out of a fairy tale.

But, the moment I log out of the social media and look at real people around me, I fail to understand ,what I just saw on my social media feeds is a farce or is it the world around me?  

When I bump into my colleagues, friends or relatives, I find a different world all together. Most of them seem to be struggling with their personal lives, marriages are in doldrums, some have walked out of them, some are contemplating doing that and few of them have chosen to continue ,just like they have been for so many years. Unfortunately, even for those in relationships, a break up is always around the corner and may be it comes up for discussion, or dare I say for arguments between young couples every fortnight.  

Be it love marriages or arranged, college romances or office link ups, couples who have dated for six months or since forever,  there doesn’t seem to be a sure shot formula for predicting success or failure of a marriage. The real life truly doesn’t seem to be in sync with the glossy made up world of social media.

Though there cannot be one single factor that rocks every marriage, on interacting with people around me , I found one factor, which seems to be common in all cases. I felt ,that most people struggling with their relationships felt SUFFOCATED in that relationship.

Not denying the fact, that when two people decide to spend their entire lives with each other, it is more about them being ‘US’ rather than ‘I’ , but, the fact is, that this loss of individuality takes the first brick off the marriage wall.

One of the integral features of a successful relationship is, that the person lets their other half be themselves. At all different stages of our lives, we grow as individuals, we change as individuals, our thought processes change, our aspirations change, to sum up, we change completely ,or better we evolve.

The moment an individual feels that his or her relationship is acting as a hindrance to him or her being themselves, the frustration creeps in. They may give up their process of evolution, but that frustration  starts to show up, as then they might start expecting their partner to give up or at least compromise on his or her priorities too, and when that doesn’t happen, people start feeling cheated or short changed in their relationships.

It is important for both the partners to understand ,that their other half is an Independent entity too, let him or her be whatever they want to be ,beyond being your partner. The biggest mistake that most people make from the onset of their relationship  is, that they feel the other person will NEVER CHANGE or if they do, they will change only as per the demands of the relationship. This can never happen. If a person starts doing something that he or she never did, it’s not because of your relationship, it’s just that the way you think changes with time and age. For instance, if your partner was an introvert when the relationship started, but now is an extrovert, then to exclaim that You are not the same person that I had married , is paradoxical to the way humans are expected to grow. It is possible ,that something might have changed in your partners personal or professional lives , that has brought about this behavioral change. Also, every change that you see in your partner is not necessarily caused by your presence in his or her life or by just your relationship, there are countless factors ,which may have lead to this.

The simple way forward is, when in a relationship, we need to be part of each other’s lives, make important decisions together and move forward together, but ,never forget that you are two independent individuals. Take a back seat and enjoy the growth of your partner, emotionally ,professionally or in any which way. It is perfectly ok, to have a different group of friends, different tastes, different priorities. It is not necessary ,that every task that you take has to be joint one, all holidays should be together, all events should co attended. It is normal for your partner to have a friend that you don’t get along with, it is normal for your partner to have a close friend of the opposite sex, if you look carefully ,it’s a mirror, you too are, or can be the same, just give that space unquestioned, and you will never regret it.  If you feel ,that you cannot be part of some leg of his or her journey, let them go ahead, and trust me, if they too do the same for you, years down the line, you will find the same person, but in a different and a better avatar next to you , and that is the day the relationship will succeed.

Most of us get married even before we are thirty, by then, we had not understood or explored all our ideas, thoughts,likings,dislikings,ambitions,inhibitions,goals etc. we all end up marrying a person, who hasn’t understood himself or herself completely as yet, and to expect that you have understood the person you are tying the knot with, is naive. When you start finding answers to all above mentioned attributes, you will change, the change you may not see, but your partner surely will. This is the time, to let go of your partner ,let him or her be free, you do the same for yourself and trust me, you won’t lose. The partner may succeed or fail , achieve or miss ,whatever he or she has set out to achieve, but at the end of the journey he or she will always be truly yours. If you can stay single , even when you are married or in a relation, you will be the happiest which surely will reflect in your relationship.

 

Junaid Khateeb

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junaidkhateeb@yahoo.co.uk

 

Education:India sure to fail by 2028.

In the late nineties and the beginning of this century ,if there was one thing,about India, that made the world stop and take notice, was our growth in the I.T. sector and soon the India Juggernaut rolled over everyone to become the biggest talent pool in terms of software professionals . India’s position as the global leader in terms of being the largest exporter of Intelligence was cemented by the sheer number of highly skilled Indians working across the globe. As per pewssocialtrends, the number of Indians in USA alone grew from 19,00,000 in 2000 to a staggering  3,982,000 in 2015. A little research tells me that

38% of doctors in USA are Indians.

12% scientists in USA are Indians.

36% of NASA scientists are Indians.

34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.

28% of IBM employees are Indians.

17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.

13% of XEROX employees are Indians.

 

We have Indians leading some of the world’s largest companies including Google and Microsoft.

The Question to be asked is, whether as an Indian am I happy about it ?

the answer is an emphatic yes !!!

but, as an Indian am I proud of  it?

No ,in fact I am Scared.

 

A country that has been doing so well in last 25 years, why as an Indian, I am concerned today ?

Speking  as straight forward as I can be, I am not scared that we will not do well in future,

 I AM SURE that we will fail.

 

Lets dwell a bit deeper into the stuff that we Indians have been buoyant about,

  Company & Education
Sunder Pichai GOOGLE

 

Metallurgical Engineering

From IIT Kharagpur

 

M.S. in Material Sciences

from Stanford &

MBA from Wharton School ,

University of Pennsylvania

Satya Nadella MICROSOFT

 

B.E. in Electrical Engineering

from Manipal Institute of Technology

 

M.S. from University of

Wisconsin–Milwaukee

&

MBA from University of Chicago

 

Indiara Nooyi PEPSICO

 

BS from Madras Christian College

 

MBA from

Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

& M.S. from  Yale University

 

 

I have just listed three of the most familiar names. This list can be really long, what scares me is the last qualification. Though we brag about these achievers being Indians, the fact is, that these leaders actually pursued their higher education in the United States. It was these Universities that gave them the skills and the opportunity to become professionals who have a global appeal.   

 

Here is why,i feel,my fears about our system are not misplaced,

 

Concern 1 : Brain Drain

Indian education at Undergrad level has been pretty well organized in the past, but at specalization level, we have not been able to give too many options to the brighter minds. Our governments have not been able to pump in too much of cash into research, there by leaving a huge void. The smarter companies have thus been able to lure our best brains into their research labs by giving them incubators where their ideas can grow. Except for IIT’s,IIM’s and may be a few other institutes, we couldn’t do much. The result was ,that these intellectuals left onboard the first flight available.

A decade and half back, though the Brain drain was happening, today it is at its worst. As a trainer for software Engineering students for 16 years and a consultant for education abroad,today I see many students walking up to me and asking me options available abroad. They just don’t want to stay back once they graduate, they don’t even have convincing answers ,when asked why , but they are sure that they want to leave. whether its USA or Canada or Australia or Europe, they just want to leave. This trend scares the shit out of me, with loans and other financing avenues available ,studying and migrating abroad is easier than ever before.

An economic Times report stated that annually we have 3,00,000 students travelling abroad for studies.

do they ever come back ?

i guess, your guess is as good as mine. Unless we as a country do something about this immediately, we are not going to have any highly skilled professionals left to us.

 

 Concern 2 : Too many Institutes

Late into 1980’s and early 1990’s , every child had to earn his/her seat into any course or a college of his/her choice. The institutes were limited, few made it to them and walked out brimming with knowledge ,as these colleges could provides the best of the faculties and mentors. Cut to this century, the number of institutes in each stream just mushroomed everywhere, anybody who decides, can actually land a seat in any stream. In Engineering for instance, in the entrance exam( MHT-CET ), a student needs to score a Non-zero score to be eligible for admissions. Technically,this means that the exam is just a farce.Education became a booming business and all political big wigs jumped into the arena,got the institutes , but that has send quality for a toss.Agreed ,that government has to ensure education for all, but a person with a degree ,but no skill is as good as uneducated. Off late,the government has started reducing the number of institutes, this is a welcome move.

 

 Concern 3 : Simplifying the syllabus

Simplifying the learning curriculum is great,but,what if it makes it redundant ? in recent years,Universities have made their syllabus smaller and simpler. The exams have become easier, passing percentages have gone up, scores have been great. Isn’t it an irony that , inspite of all this the job scenario has become worse?

at professional level, we are expected to solve real world problems which are not simple. if we avoid everything difficult or trivial at learning level, we will never be in  a position to execute them at working level, unfortunately this has happened in our technical education system in the last decade.The highly qualified have found no takers .

 

 Concern 4 : not creating alternatives

The current generation of students,the millenials,think differently. They are not bound by a thought process ,which leads them to the conventional professions.They are ambitious and well informed. Unless we create the options for studying varied courses and better jobs ,these kids will fly,be it for studying film making,music,law or literature. They know what they want and will seek it.

 

Concern 5 : Poaching

With most countries realizing,how big a business Indian students are, every country today is laying out sops. All countries including ,Canada ,Australia,Germany ,Portugal,Italy,France ,New Zealad etc are aggressively trying to lure Indian students into their borders.It has dual benefits, you earn form them as students and then later, they become cheap hard working skilled resource for them.

 

Concern 6 : Tightening the noose

My Friends laugh,they think i am joking,when i am very serious ,when is say, that the national language of Dubai is Hindi.All those, who have visited UAE, Qatar,Kuwait,Bahrain,Saudia Arabia etc ,will agree that almost the entire working labour class there are Indians,Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. We have a large number of unskilled people from the sub continent working there. With Saudia government making things very difficult and other might follow soon, we now have a situation where ,the people facing lay offs there will be flying back and the unskilled here, who had middle east as an option will not be flying out. Its a sure recipe of increased unemployment here back home .The most dangerous section of the population are the job less, coz then ,they have no choice but to go to any extent to fulfill their basic needs.I scare this situation the most. we will have same number of people, but the ones staying back will all be the unskilled ones.   

 

 

Unless our governments take strong,authoritative steps and create opportunity here, we as a country,will lack people who can take us forward. This can happen as early as by 2030.

i really hope, when i read this write up a decade later, i would find these things stupid, hope i am proven wrong. but, as of today,i see us failing in the next decade.

 

 

junaid Khateeb is a Trainer ,Author and education abroad consultant in Mumbai.

http://www.khateebclasses.com

http://www.khateebstudyabroad.com

 

 

The subtle art of Winning a Real war with Fake weapons.

Fake Information Bombs

For centuries the quest and the greed   for ruling  more and more  land and controlling a large number of people gave birth to one of the most destructive terms in human dictionary . The term is WAR.

It has walloped huge number of human lives , consumed cities and villages alike , destroyed good work of the generations and spread the venom of hatred.

Most of us today, are lucky, that we have ben born in a generation ,that might not see a World war or any war for that matter. Yess, there are a few unfortunate ones in countries ,which don’t look a dime, like what they did a few decades ago.

But, our generation is witnessing a very different kind of a war. A war that is aimed at your minds and senses rather than your bodies. Apart from countries , which still are kingdoms, we still see WARS to rule over the people , these wars use the euphemism called ‘ELECTIONS’. Obviously, this is then new channel to rule over people . Times have changed, but the greed to be in power has remained the same for the mankind.

However, the question that remains is, what are the weapons that we see or use in these wars today?

The main ammunation in this democratic warfare is  THE FAKE INFORMATION. As more and more people get access to education,somehow, the ability to think ,analyze and reason seems to be diminishing with people. The impact of visuals and verbatism on Social media has been having long term impact on the peoples beliefs and most of them, though unwillingly ,are finding themselves taking sides and thinking of themselves as foot soldiers out to make their belief win. Unfortunately, each one of us believes, that ,my belief is the only right belief,it’s the other party that needs to introspect and not me.

With Social media marketing taking a centre stage , the biggest advantage that these political parties have is, that the source of the data or thought that is being propagated, cannot be traced and more importantly, most people will believe and propagate the information ,without thinking about the accuracy or authenticity of these fake propagandas.

The wars today are being fought with the propagation of these FAKE INFORMATION, which due to its repeated hammering makes people accept it as to be true. This over a period of time, is registered so strongly in poeples mind, that they  tend to become blind to the ground realities, though it keeps staring them right in the face all the time.

These days the Election wars across the globe are being won, by the Weapons of fake propaganda that creates a perception.

Our generation, need to pause for a moment and look at the information around us, though we might struggle to verify each one of them, we need to have an attitude where we reject the  information or the  thought, unless there is at least some plausible explanation or a credible source behind it. We cannot let our minds fall prey to keyboard warriors ,who are out to impose a thought or an ideology on your minds.

We need to go back to the pre digital era, have a free mind, don’t need that clutter of information all the time, basically, we don’t need to know everything. We need to look , analyze ,assess and decide for ourselves,rather than just going with the flow.

Intelligence is not about knowing something, its about applying it  to analyse something which is known or told.

We ,the people, need to understand that these FAKE INFORMATION BOMBS, provide the cover fire for the corrupt and illicit activities that the governments want to push through as we keep haggling over non issues. At the end of the day, if elections are fought and won on perceptions, the governments then will have no pressure to perform, and that’s the most enticing gain of this game. All governments today know ,that they can survive the anti incumbency  by creating a perception of greater acheivements, which exists only in the creative minds of the digital marketing cells across the globe.

 

There are people and parties , who are bombarding these fake information bombs at you every second of the day, you need to decide whether to  duck under them or be blown away. 

 

 

The ‘DEMON’ called Muslim

Every time I return to my Facebook account,the moment i start scrolling through the feeds,posts and shares, one thing that always strikes me is, the amount of Anti Muslim and Anti Islam thought process that is being perforated through the social media. Years back ,when this was gaining momentum, i did feel bad about it, but now it just doesn’t bother me, as a little analysis makes it very obvious what  the scenario is.

using a simple google search , i found the following

“According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practices Hinduism and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining 6% adheres to other religions (Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths). Christianity is the 3rd largest religion in India.”

also, in India,there are 29 states. This means, that in every five years there are  going to be at least 29 state elections and one Lok sabha election. so with an average of 6 elections a year , an election is always around the corner. The current coalition government got 38.5% vote share in 2014 elections and this was more than enough for them to get a whopping 336 seats in a house where 272 was the majority.

The aim always is to get this 38% votes from the 79.8% population, but still the elections are always about the 14.2% muslim population. How swiftly people like Tipu sultan, Akbar or Jinnah come alive for a few weeks and then disappear into some old history books. How suddenly azaan and beef become national issues only to be forgotten in a fortnight.

I feel India has to be a miracle country , if 14% population can control the entire electorate or the voting pattern of the nation. There might be a few seats where the minority community can have a say , but simple mathematics suggests that they just cannot swing an election in somebody’s favour or against them.

Then why so much rhetoric about Muslims and Islam ?

Well, the idea is simple, the parties don’t care about this 14%, they need to get the consolidated votes from the Majority community. In India, with the diversity that we have in terms of castes , communities, eating habits ,preferences etc , it is impossible to get all 79% people under a single umbrella  based on a manifesto, that talks about development. Well, if that is not possible, then the only factor that can do this is FEAR.

North Korea, for years has been facing this. Their dictators, present USA and the other western world as the forces out to destroy N. Korea,there by ensuring that the people, by will or by fear will always show an allegiance to the existing government.

In Indian politics, a Muslim is that common ‘DEMON’. Irrespective of your caste and creed the 79% population is being made to believe that these people are a threat to us and hence the only agenda should be to unite against them. Moment this happens, nobody cares about the performance of the governments and the people vote thinking of certain parties as their saviours.

Though, a large chunk of Hindu population sees through this gimmick, still even if 30% hindus vote in a consolidated manner for a party, that party can easily form the government.

The Anti muslim rhetoric, is not about muslims at all, it’s about scaring the hindus so that the votes can be consolidated. ask a normal hindu, how many times he or she has been threatened by a muslim or ask a muslim when was he or she threatened by a hindu, i am sure the answers would be null.Though there are politically motivated fringe events,  by and large, when I walk out on the roads here ,I interact with the people from other communities, i can’t find the ones whom i see on social media on regular basis.

This rhetoric, in a longer run will affect Hindus more than Muslims, as whatever good or bad happens to the country, more Hindus will gain or lose as compared to muslims.The country has always been about Hindus as they are a majority community and it will always be like that.

The day this artificial DEMON called Muslim becomes redundant, Hindus will then be divided by these political parties on the basis of caste or race or region for that matter. Coz, unless they have a common DEMON , they are not going to enjoy the majority vote share.

There are countries like Pakistan ,Afghanistan etc, where though all people belong to same religion, they have had worse battles and wars, coz its not about religion, it’s about the will to take power at any cost.   Islam came into existence 1400 years back, India as a nation and as a  culture has existed since forever. look at the history prior to Islam, we will still find lot of blood baths and battles ,coz again it was  all about being in power.

As an Indian Muslim, Whatever anyone might say about Hindus or Hinduism, I can never hate or have ill feeling about them, as i meet lot of my Hindu friends day in and day out and my judgements are based on my personal experiences and no dummy key board warriors can change that.

i request all my Hindu friends, to reach out a Muslim friend and you will know, that Muslim is that made up DEMON, being used to manipulate your votes, nothing more and nothing less.

Its still all about the majority votes, Muslims are just the pawn on the chess board of the Indian politics.

Things to do, for a foreigner visiting Mumbai.

 

Anyone travelling to India, will agree, that no visit to India is complete without visiting its maximum city, MUMBAI. Obviously, for any visitor the usual tourist spots like the Gateway of India or the Elephanta caves or Haji Ali Dargah are on the list,but ,if you are a tourist, who wants to feel the vibe of the city or wants to experience something,that only this city can offer, then here is the list for you :  

 

Mumbai  Local Trains:

local-train

                                If you are from USA or UK or any other western country, then am sure, you would have experienced the peak hour rush while travelling on the Undergroud in London or Subway in New york. But, when in Mumbai ,do experience the fun (and not so fun for many) of travelling in the mumbai local trains. One big difference s , that Mumbai locals are not closed unlike the underground or the subway. Trust me, the crowd on a non peak hour , will still be much higher than peak hour rush in any other country. My sincere advice is, no non Mumbaikar should try travelling at peak hours, just for the fun, visit just the station at peak hours and you will know what i mean.

Catch a Bollywood Movie:

pvr

                                Catching a Hollywood flick at Piccadily circus or a play at the West end or a musical at the Times square  might be a routine for some of you, but watching a latest bollywood release in Mumbai is a very different or dare i say a better experience. I firmly believe, that movie going experience in mumbai in way better than most coountries in the world. The luxurious theatres, awsome services, never ending queue of patrons makes is so much fun. So , next time in Mumbai, do catch a bollywood flick on a Friday or a Saturday evening at one of the plush theatres near you.

Enjoy  an IPL game:

wankhede

For beginners , who do not follow cricket , let me just inform you, that cricket is India’s number 1 sport and Mumbai is one of the most important centres of the game. IPL (Indian Premier League), is Indias premium T20 Cricket tournament (similar to EPL ) but is played only in the months of April and May. Even if you dont understand cricket, visiting the Landmark Wankhede stadium for a game ,just for the experience ,will be well worth it. 33000 screaming fans, never ending energy,deafening sound, its difficult to match up anywhere in the world.just make sure, that you book your tickets well in advance.

Ride an Auto Rickshaw :

auto

Public transport ,across the globe comes in various shapes and sizes, but nothing like an auto rickshaw. People ,who have traveled to Thailand, might find it similar to tuk-tuk’s , but auto rickshaws are much cheaper and easily available,do take a ride.

Visit a Ganpati  Pandal:

ganpati

Though, India is a country of festivals, in Mumbai, nothing compares to Ganesh chaturthi. If you are around during this festival (around aug-sept every year) , a visit to a local Ganpati Pandal will be an experience of a lifetime. The beautiful decor, courteous people, awesome mithai (sweets) distributed as sweets and long queues of devotees , makes it one of a kind. When in lords city, do visit him, its enriching.

 

Street  food:

Mumbai offers world cuisine and wherever you are from, you will find your food. But, mumbai street food is one of its kind. You should surely sample Vada Pav  ,Pav Bhaji and Pani puri in Mumbai. Though, maker sure you make a request for a non spicy one.

Street Shopping:

The last thing you should buy in Mumbai ,are brands. you can always buy them in your home city. Mumbai, offers huge amount of street shopping right from apparel to books to beauty products to everything. If , you can bargain well, you will end up buying a whole lot of stuff, whithout causing a hole in your pockets.

 

 

Why Indians shouldn’t take Thailand as their first International Trip

Travelling is something that everyone looks forward to. In India, for way too many decades, the idea of a holiday , was to visit the relatives. But, it is changing rapidly due to the ease of options available for travelling and most importantly,there has been a major improvement in the spending capacity of the families. The idea of travel is to have new experiences, and more importantly ,experience something ,that is different from our home country.

Before i get started with my reasons , about why Indians shouldn’t take Thailand as their first International trip, i would like to specify the assumptions that i have made. Most people who book their first trip to Thailand,generally travel to Bangkok and then to either Patayya or Phuket. Very few of them or maybe just the younger crowd travel to islands like Krabi , Koh Samui etc. So my write up assumes that someone booking a first trip abroad ends up booking the popular stuff than an off beat option.

CLIMATE :

when ever we land on any foreign shore, the first factor, which makes, the place feel new is obviously, the climate. Landing in Europe, on most days, you drive out into a hazy and overcast climate with a little bit of impending rain around. This is in absolute contrast to Mumbai or Chennai ,where it is hot and humid and there is sun beating down 11 months a year. well, landing at Bangkok, you will feel that you have landed at the same airport  from where you had taken off. The climate is almost identical to most Indian cities. So there is nothing foreign on that front.

HOSPITALITY :

Anywhere in Thailand, when you arrive at the hotel, you are welcomed warmly, your luggage is taken care off immediately and you are at so much ease during chek-in. so what’s wrong in that ? , well like Indian hotels, even Thai hotels are very hospitable and take great care of you ,by providing assistance everywhere. In comparison, if you had landed in a western country ,you would have to do all your stuff on your own. Don’t expect assistance. Thailand gives you an impression, that all the countries in the world are as hospitable and hotels as welcoming, well that’s not the case. so you don’t realize that most places in the world  are ‘DO IT YOURSELF’ kinda places.   

DIRTY BEACHES :

u1

Though India has a huge coastline, the idea of long ,clean and enjoyable beaches is far from being realized here. As travellers, our idea about beaches is long stretches of fine coarse sand and never ending view of crystal blue waters. Lot of water sports and a view of people enjoying lazy afternoons on the beach. well, all this obviously has been picked up from millions of movies that we have seen.

Sorry to say, beaches in Patayya and Phuket, let you down on this front. The water is dirty and beaches overcrowded. your stay on the beach ,is far from relaxing as hundreds of individuals will try and sell thousands of their wares to you. The activities like under sea walk are carried out in mud filled sea where corals are impossible to locate. Parasailing is rough and so are numerous boat rides. First timers , will end up believing that, it’s done that way across the globe. Trust me, it’s not , if you have been to USA or even Mauritius or Seychelles, you will realise these activities are way more fun. Thailand fails to leave you awestruck on this front too.if you have been to GOA, you will end up confusing Patayya beach or Patong beach to Baga or calangute.

BAR CULTURE :b1

One aspect that i loved while travelling to various countries, is their ‘BAR’ culture. Though a non drinker myself, i love the way these people enjoy a game of football over never ending jugs of beer. Any country that you visit, if it has a strong sporting culture, the atmosphere at the bars is not to be missed. I must admit, that this is common across the globe, but in India it is restricted to few places and is not a wide spread phenomenon. May be, coz we don’t have that kinda drinking or sporting culture yet.

In Thailand too, the bars are too crowded and noisy. People there drink , to get really drunk. At  Most places, the bars double up as pick up joints and hence dont let you be in peace. so unless you are into a habit of gulping down gallons of spirit or you have women on your mind, you might not enjoy the place.  

ANIMAL PARKS :

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The Pictures of pretty Dolphins ,amazing tigers or deadly crocodiles ,bring lot of visitors to the numerous animal parks across Thailand. Though there are few good ones , like the safari park in Bangkok, most of the parks are not well kept. These places end up disappointing tourists. We leave most places  feeling sad for the animals kept there and the treatments meted out to them.  Am sure most of these places are running on very tight budgets and hence can’t maintain the standards over a period of time.  A first timer there, feels that is how the wild beasts are kept, but across the globe , in more well kept places, you really enjoy these creatures ,as they themselves enjoy their stay in those premises. 

TEMPLES:

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Like India, even Thailand is known for famous temples. lot of westerners come all the way ,to experience these temples. For us as Indians, a visit to temples is hardly on the agenda, as we have so many back home. also, world over ,it is difficult to match the awesomeness of the temple architectures here in India. So , at times these temples in Thailand leave us un-impressed.

LOCAL SHOPPING:

 For a lot of people Bangkok is  a synonym to endless shopping. It could have been true a decade back, but its not the same any more. When shopping in a country , i look for local stuff, there is no point buying a global brand, which i could have bought in Mumbai or Delhi. The local stuff ,in Thai markets, is way below the desired quality and honestly ,all that stuff can be picked during a round of street shopping back home. The haggling for the prices is the same, as here in India. The shopping is restricted to few select areas in each city. My shopping experience in Bangkok is similar to that of Linking road at Bandra in Mumbai. Compared to other countries, yes shopping in Thailand is cheaper, but we Indians don’t gain much as the difference in the values of Thai Baht and Indian Rupee is not huge. if you compare USD to Thai baht, the difference is astronomical. The shopping experience in other countries is very different than in Thailand.

 

For a first time visitor, the take away from Thailand tour is, just a visit to another country. Its doesn’t give a peek into ,what the rest of the world looks like. I am sure, an American or European or an Australian, would be enthralled on their visit to Thailand, but i don’t feel, that as an Indian , I will feel too many differences. 

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Kindly note : Thailand is a great country to visit, just that, it shouldn’t be the first one an Indian should Visit.