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Jul 172012

I am going to add flying with an Asian or Middle Eastern carrier to my “bucket list.”
– CNN reader Robb1371
Source: The world’s best airline for 2012 is …

Like in a lot of other arenas, America’s airlines too have fallen way behind their Asian and Middle Eastern rivals.

World’s Top-10 Airlines

1. Qatar Airways (#1 for second year in a row)
2. Asiana Airlines
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Cathay Pacific Airways
5. ANA All Nippon Airways
6. Etihad Airways
7. Turkish Airlines
8. Emirates
9. Thai Airways
10. Malaysia Airlines
Source: 2012 Annual Skytrax World Airline Awards

By the way, Bucket List (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) is a nice movie, a tragi-comedy.

Jul 172012

For long, I thought these Gujjus were a law abiding people, content to work in Dunkin Donuts, motels and newsstands, make their weekly trips to the Swaminarayan Mandir and excitedly yell Jai Shri Ram upon seeing another Indian.

Hell, shows how little I know.

Lately, some Patels have been up to all sorts of mischief and running foul of the American law with crazy schemes involving kidnapping, immigration fraud etc.

Two Patels in the northeast have recently gotten into big trouble.

* Jayen Patel of Southampton, PA, was sentenced to five years in the slammer for a madcap scheme of trying to hire someone he believed was a white supremacist to kidnap a New Jersey woman and her child.

Jayen Patel previously pleaded guilty to an Indictment charging him with one count of soliciting an individual to aid in a kidnapping.

* Naranjan Patel, 53, formerly of South Plainfield, NJ, fled to India to avoid spending over three years in prison following a federal immigration fraud conviction but has has been extradited from Mera Bharat Mahaan to face the music.

Naranjan Patel was convicted in June 2007 for helping ineligible aliens fraudulently file for legal residency to remain in the U.S. Patel was sentenced to 37 months in prison in October 2007 but fled to India before his surrender date of Nov. 23, 2007.

Patel was brought back to the U.S. from India on July 5 and will serve the 37-month sentence imposed for those crimes.

By the way, do they serve Dhokla in American prisons? Jai Shri Ram! ;)

Related Content:
Jayen Patel sentenced to five years in prison
Naranjan Patel extradited from India after fleeing the U.S. to avoid prison

Jul 172012

Those who knew me best often used to say my Achilles Heel, my greatest weakness in life was to fall headlong for flattery.


I’m most vulnerable to the creamy temptations of Ice Cream (Indian food is a close second).

Before you can say ice cream, I succumb.

In a long life, I’ve had countless ice creams.

Ask not what ice cream or where.

For so many are the places where I have rested my oars to dig into a bowl of ice cream with ferocious concentration!

Chennai, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, New York, Niagara, Frankfurt, Guntur, Geneva, Kochi, Amsterdam, Washington DC, Bangalore, Chicago, Hubli, Trivandrum, Mysore, Cologne, Los Angeles, Villupuram, Miami, Virajpet – in all these places and more I’ve stopped for an Ice Cream.

Where Ice cream is concerned, I’ve sometimes thrown caution to the winds.

On one occasion, my reckless stop at an unhygienic Indian ice cream shop landed me in a hospital bed with a severe case of gastroenteritis.

But that was only a momentary blip on my great ice cream journey.

So Many Brands

In India, I’ve consumed tons of Joy, Kwality, Vadilal, Kulfis, Ice Factory ice, Pushcart Ice, Cycle Ice (sold from a box on the back of a cycle) and occasionally home-made ice cream.

In the U.S., I’ve gorged on Haagen Daaz, Friendly’s, Turkey Hill, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, Breyer’s, Ben & Jerry, Deep (Indian), Lahori Kulfi, Indian Kulfi and countless small-store ice creams from coast to coast.

Unfortunately, a lot of American ice creams in the grocery store freezers give me migraine. God knows what they add to the ice creams. :(

Eat in haste, repent at leisure was my usual experience with a lot of American ice creams.

Friendly's $1 Mint Chocolate Fudge Sundae Ice Cream

Friendly’s Delight

Recently I discovered the cheap $1 Friendly’s small 6fl oz cup (177ml).

Small enough not to worry about my blood sugar, cholesterol or the risk of migraine (my hypothesis is that there’s also a high correlation between migraine and quantity of ice cream consumed)

The $1 Friendly’s cups come in a bunch of flavors but my Redner’s Market grocery store stocks only the Fudge Mint Chocolate variety. I’ve not seen the small Friendly’s cup at Acme, Food Lion or Walmart.

Man, the Fudge Mint Chocolate ice cream is heavenly.

For $1, it’s an amazing deal. The quantity is decent.

Rich, creamy, thick layer of fudge on top.

Nice mint flavor, sweet.

Sheer Heaven.

Best of all, it doesn’t have the crappy, artificial flavor a lot of American ice creams are cursed with.

Friendly's $1 Mint Chocolate Fudge Sundae Ice Cream

As I type this, I’m scooping the last spoon of Mint Chocolate Fudge into my mouth.

Nirvana never came so cheap in summer!

Jul 172012

For U.S. Readers Only

Blockbuster is offering a great deal – FREE six-months one-DVD rental.

Being a cheapo desi, I signed up and ordered The Dark Knight.

Like most desis here, I do have Netflix Instant but canceled the DVD option since I was not renting many films.

It’s nice to have the DVD option as long as it’s free. ;)

How to Sign Up

Click on the below link and enter your information (credit card required).

Blockbuster Deal Signup Link –

Blockbuster Six-Months Free DVD Rental Deal

After signup, I went to the account tab on the Blockbuster site and found the below confirmation:


BLOCKBUSTER Total Access Premium
1 at-a-time, Unlimited mailings
Unlimited In-Store Movie Exchanges
Plan Price (after trial period):
$9.99 / month (plus taxes)
Next Billing Date:
January 18,2013

The deal also offers unlimited in-store movie exchanges.

Alas, there are no Blockbuster stores in at least a 40 or 50-mile radius of my place.

I still remember the days in the 1990s when Blockbuster was king and there were stores all over the U.S.

Now most Blockbuster stores have been shut down.

Blockbuster got completely blockbusted by Netflix.

The other good thing about Blockbuster DVD rental is that many of the new releases are available 28-days before Netflix or RedBox. And I think you can rent free games too. Cool!

Enjoy the Free 6-month Blockbuster DVD deal.