Category Archives: Consular/Travel
Editor’s note: Anup Pai is an entrepreneur based in Bangalore, India. Pai is the co-founder, head of US operations, and COO of the financial technology company Fintellix, formerly known as iCreate. He recently completed an adventurous journey even most Americans have never attempted: a road trip across the contiguous United States from the East Coast to the West Coast, in 9 days, with his wife and daughter. Below is the story of their experience during this bizarre and important election year of 2016 in the United States.
Following in the great tradition of France’s Alexis de Tocqueveille and others, Pai has captured this special moment in time in the United States from a uniquely foreign perspective. He also shared some of his favorite picks for sights, food, wine, beer, and lodging below.
Unlike most Indian IT folks who started their careers in the 1990’s, my first trip to the USA didn’t happen until April 2015. Boy, did I have a lot of catching up to do. Till that point, I had travelled to over 40 countries in the Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Middle East building and selling software using technologies developed in this country. Most of the countries I had been to before (barring Australia) had cultures rooted in their traditional medieval or even earlier histories, whereas the USA had rapidly developed a unique culture through the pioneering tradition of its people. We’re talking about a culture which was unmistakably a part of me just as I was unavoidably a part of that culture. Read the rest of this entry
Those of us who have met women from India know that they are capable of accomplishing anything. This week was simply further proof of that, as the world witnessed the toppling of barriers for International Women’s Day and the start of Women’s History Month.
Air India on March 8 executed an extraordinary and unprecedented feat: completing the longest possible commercial flight, a 17-hour jaunt from New Delhi to San Francisco with an all-female crew in the air and on the ground, encompassing the pilots and cabin crew all the way to the check-in staff and baggage handlers. This is a new record in the aviation industry, and one that women (and men) everywhere can be proud of regardless of background.
This great news was followed by another aerospace-oriented announcement of a more martial kind. The Indian Air Force (IAF), for the first time, is inducting female fighter pilots into action this June as part of the next fighter pilot class. Until now, female IAF pilots were relegated to other roles such as helming helicopters and cargo planes. But Bhuwana Kanth, Mohana Singh, and Avani Chaturvedi will be the first to shatter this glass ceiling on their way to the sky.
“They will be treated as fighter pilots rather than women pilots,” air chief marshal Arup Raha told NDTV.
Congratulations are in order to Air India and the Indian Air Force, two government organizations that have seen their fair share of problems lately, but who are flying in the right direction this week.
And the nation of India, which the world has come to know as a sweltering hotbed of battered and gang-raped women preyed upon daily by disgusting men in a culture run amok, has made a few baby steps toward becoming a civilized global power. There is still a very long way to go- but also hope.
Kudos are most of all in order to the ladies who are paving the way for future generations to aim for nothing less than the sky. I have perhaps become as emotional writing this piece as any in the last 3 years. We are humbled and inspired, and have some hope for the future now in an environment of seemingly endless bad news.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
Editor’s Note: Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel. She is a fellow alumnus and friend from NYC Parks & Recreation. We recently had a nice discussion about US-India relations over at NewsWhistle. Below is the account of her maiden voyage to India to attend a friend’s wedding.
A few years back, I took a trip to India for a friend’s wedding. It was my first time visiting Asia, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the bride promised that she and her family would take good care of all of their out of town guests—and they did. It started with the mother of the bride asking me for my measurements because she was ordering saris for a whole bunch of us to wear to the ceremony. As I needed to get back to her at short notice, I found myself in my office restroom wrapping myself up in measuring tape—fortunately, strict accuracy was unimportant, as saris are very forgiving. Read the rest of this entry
This video is a quick preview of what happened during Obama’s trip to India. We recommend it as a starting point. We will be posting more videos and coverage of the eventful trip this week.
Recently two disturbing stories have come out related to the rape or assault of women. A 30-year old American tourist from California was the latest prominent victim in the gang-rape epidemic which has shocked India and the world for its prevalence, brutality, and what it says about Indian culture. We have been following this thread with great alarm, and it is giving India an incredibly bad name at a time when the nation is trying to assert itself on the world stage. The gang-rape in Manali is just the latest in a horrific string of incidents that have taken place involving both tourists and local Indian women since last year.
Meanwhile, the US military has been exposed for being extremely lax in its responses to a pile of harassment, rape, and gang-rape cases by men against their female counterparts in uniform. According to one estimate a stunning 26,000 American soldiers, mostly female but also male, have been assaulted or raped by other soldiers just in the last year. A Senate hearing was held this week with the US military’s top brass to explore the problem and find a solution. But in this case too, the epidemic has been going on for many years without sufficient action. In 1991 the US Navy’s Tailhook scandal showed a widespread cancer in the system, and the same tired theme crops up well over two decades later. Read the rest of this entry
Many of us travel for business or leisure. But few ever take a trip that dramatically shatters their entire worldview of a country and a people in one fell swoop. I was lucky enough to have returned from just such a trip: a week-long sojourn in Pakistan.
It was a true eye-opener, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that. Many of the assumptions and feelings I had held toward the country for nearly 30 years were challenged and exposed as wrong and even ignorant outright.
Yes, I was aware of all the reasons not to go, safety foremost among them. As an American, an Indian, and a Hindu there seemed to be multiple reasons for someone of my background to have concerns about security. Relatives and friends couldn’t hide their dismay and genuine fear; a frequent question was “why would you want to go?” The subtext is that there’s nothing to see there that’s worth the risk.
The Western and Indian media feed us a steady diet of stories about bomb blasts, gunfights, kidnappings, torture, subjugation of women, dysfunctional government, and scary madrassa schools that are training the next generation of jihadist terrorists. And yes, to many Westerners and especially Indians, Pakistan is the enemy, embodying all that is wrong in the world. Incidents such as the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, 26/11 and the Osama Bin Laden raid in Abottobad have not helped the cause either. Numerous international relations analysts proclaim that Pakistan is “the most dangerous place in the world” and the border with India is “the most dangerous border in the world.”