Sunday, November 20, 2016

A broken front tooth

Yesterday, the husband passed the laptop over to me, in bed. In the fraction of a second it slipped out of his grasp and smashed into my face, breaking my front tooth! I yelled at him, I don't remember all that I screamed into his terrified face... "What the hell? ...Do you want me to feel sorry for you and do you want me to apologize to you for breaking my tooth?..."
I  ran to the mirror and started laughing at how funny I looked. I suppose the husband silently wondered if I had gone crazy...he continued to look terrified for the next few hours.
The next thing I did was phone my dentist;  the receptionist said the dentist is not free till next month and suggested I go to Dental Emergency Services which is open all days and cares for dental emergencies. I immediately called them and told them I was coming. My scared looking husband drove me immediately to this dentist.  
 Despite the fact that it was my tooth that was broken, despite the fact that the tooth marred my appearance... I found the broken tooth so funny that I was giggling hysterically during the drive. I suppose I would have turned into a raging tiger if the husband had been unwise enough to join me in my laughter!
The dentist, saw me immediately. He gave a slightly annoying,  non-stop running commentary about what he was doing. But I am not complaining. 
 He finished restoring my tooth to it's pre-break appearance in less than half hour(@ 228$. I hope my insurance covers the entire amount.
We drove back home. My husband appeared a bit more relaxed but did not dare make any jokes yet.

I am surprised that I was not as upset as I expected to be with the broken tooth. Have I become less neurotic? Has my worry about appearance diminished with age?  I don't know.  If the tooth hadn't been fixed so fast, I doubt I would be this cool.
I have taken the four advil gel tables the dentist insisted I take at 4 hourly intervals.

Today, i.e.  the day after the tooth-break day, the  husband is doing the chores around the home, un-asked! Yesterday, he brought my dinner to bed...usually it's the other way around. He's still a bit  subdued but not terrified!

I wonder how long the broken tooth will get me dinners in bed? Two more days? Or a week? I don't know.

All is well with the world....except that there is nothing great on Netflix... as the first snow of the season, keeps me tucked in my bed.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Billable hours-I WANT to see this; I have not yet seen it.
Blackstone-Native Canadian drama-I WANT to see this. It's on but I found it too depressing. Should give it a go again.
The border-a realistic/documentary type about Canadian border security forces. I have seen and liked this.
The bridge-I really enjoyed this show. It's set in Toronto, very realistic, and about Toronto police. I would love to see this again.
Comedy Inc:comedy. I enjoyed this.
Corner gas-comedy..I enjoyed this. It's quirky and not like American humor.
Da Vinci's Inquest-I WANT to see this; I have not yet seen it.
Da Vinci's City Hall-I WANT to see this; I have not yet seen it.
Dan for mayor-comedy
Due south-I WANT to see this; not yet seen it
Flashpoint-crime drama. I sort of liked this but I wish it had more drama and I wish that the  people in it were not as well balanced as they are . I want  more dramatic acting like the many American shows. This is one of the shows where 'good acting and balanced characters  is boring' for people like me.
Hatching, Matching and Dispatching-comedy. I don't think I really enjoyed this much
Intelligence-I WANT to see this show.
Just for gags-one of my favorite comedies. Silent movie type
King-want to see this show(police/crime)
Little mosque on the Prairie-comedy. I din't really like this.
Murdoch mysteries-crime and police detection set in early 19th century in Canada/Toronto.
The newsroom-one of my all time favorite Canadian shows
North of 60-About Native Canadians and I WANT to see this(I am an immigrant to Canada; I am curious about the original inhabitants of Canada and I rarely get a chance to see them or interact with them. The only way for me to get a sense of their life and culture is through these shows)
Northern Exposure-US(NOT Canadian) comedy which inspired North of 60. I would like to see this too.
Primeval-new world-I WANT to see this. it's a spin-off of the UK Primeval.-science fiction. I loved the UK Primeval
The Republic of Doyle-One of my all time favorite Canadian shows-crime/set in NewFoundLand
The Rez-show about Native Canadians -I WANT to see this too.
Rideau Hall-comedy. I WANT to see this.
Rick Mercer Report-I like this but I ...
Restaurant makeover- reality show. I saw a couple of episodes.
Royal Canadian Airfarce-comedy
Street legal-I would like to see this.
Sue Thomas F B Eye_I seen this and liked it for the novelty of it.
Trailer Park Boys-one of my all time favorite Canadian shows...the first few seasons at least.
This hour has 22 minutes-comedy/news
This is wonderland--I loved this unique show and I wish it had more seasons. I work in the mental health field with characters from poor economic backgrounds and I can really empathize with this!
Three chords from the truth-It's a comedy and I would like to see this.
Tiny plastic men-I would like to see this comedy
Tom Stone-crime which is like Rockford files (I love Rockford files). I would like to see this.
The tournament (2005-2006)-comedy . I would like to see this(about juniors sports)
Traders (1996)-most popular at a time. I would like to see this.
Train 48-I am curious to see this.
Tropical heat-hit in Serbia. comedy. I am curious to see this.
Trouble with Tracy-Not sure if I want to see this one. comedy
Twitch city-humour-I would like to see this.
Urban angel-crime drama from Montreal
Wild card-Zoe Buisik Wild card-I saw this. I did not guess it was a Canadian show when I saw it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016


I want to save the world.
My boss wants to save me and herself.
My boss's boss wants to save her own ass.
My boss's boss's boss wants to save his ass and will throw anyone under the bus to save his skin, his ass, his skinny little ass. said someone I know !

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is it OK to consider stealing & addiction as 'disabilities' and give the thief and the addict Disability Pension?

I have cut and pasted this article here to highlight The ridiculous rules people are forced to follow...which leads to  inability to fire bad workers.
If you don't have time to read the whole article, scroll down and read the highlighted paragraph to know what I am saying.

From The Globe and Mail Newspaper, dated 27th October 2016, Toronto edition

Tip from addiction clinic led to murder charges against former nurse

TORONTO and WOODSTOCK, ONT. and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 1:14PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 10:19AM EDT

The tip that led to the arrest of a former Ontario nurse on eight first-degree murder charges came from a Toronto clinic that had been treating the accused for addiction, according to a source – the latest development in a case that has captured the nation’s attention and could prompt a review of nursing-home oversight.

The information provided to police on Sept. 29 explains how an investigation into a spate of alleged homicides, which spanned nearly a decade and straddled two jurisdictions, could culminate in an arrest within just one month. Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, was charged Tuesday.

The source said Ms. Wettlaufer made comments that caught the attention of staff at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, who alerted the Toronto Police Service. “She said things that caused concerns,” the source said. Toronto authorities then contacted their counterparts in Woodstock, Ont., where seven Caressant Care nursing-home residents were allegedly killed between 2007 and 2014. The eighth death took place in 2014 at Meadow Park nursing home in nearby London, Ont.

As Woodstock residents digested the news that a serialkiller may have been in their midst, working with some of society’s most vulnerable, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told the legislature that a review of government oversight of nursing homes may be launched “at some point” if deemed necessary.

Ms. Wettlaufer’s family, friends and co-workers were perplexed at her arrest, saying the allegations do not jibe with the woman they knew to be kind and good to her clients. On Wednesday, new details emerged about Ms. Wettaufer’s life that suggest she was struggling with addiction and mental-health issues, and, at least recently, seems to have had bouts of short-term employment.

While Ms. Wettlaufer worked at Caressant Care from 2007 to 2014, she appears to have bounced from one nursing job to the next in the years since. Since 2014, she worked at Meadow Park nursing home, then with Lifeguard Homecare and, most recently, with Saint Elizabeth Home Health Care. The latter two employers offer in-home care.

The Globe has made numerous attempts to obtain comment from Lifeguard Homecare, both by phone and in person. A representative from the company confirmed to the CBC that Ms. Wettlaufer had been employed part-time for just over a year, and had not worked with Lifeguard Homecare since the summer.

Saint Elizabeth’s head of public relations, Madonna Gallo, said Ms. Wettlaufer worked with the company out of its Oxford office, not far from Woodstock, for six weeks in July and August. Citing the continuing police investigation, Ms. Gallo declined to comment on whether Saint Elizabeth knew about Ms. Wettlaufer’s employment history or whether she was involved in any professional incidents while with the company.

On Oct. 6, Ms. Wettlaufer agreed to the terms of a peace bond, a protective order sought by law enforcement when there are reasonable grounds to believe a person appears likely to commit a serious crime. Among the conditions was that she continue any mental-health treatment with her family doctor or any other doctor to whom she was referred, including by CAMH.

“To protect the personal health information of our patients, CAMH does not disclose the names of its clients,” the centre said Wednesday in a statement. “Nor does CAMH comment on any ongoing police investigations.”

Health-care professionals are generally bound by patient confidentiality requirements; however, there are exceptions. Ontario law, for example, says doctors must contact authorities if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a resident of a nursing or retirement home has suffered harm or is at risk of harm due to “improper or incompetent treatment or care, unlawful conduct, abuse or neglect.”

Wade Messenger, who lives next door to Ms. Wettlaufer in an apartment building, said his neighbour was an erratic opioid addict who told him last month that she had been fired from two nursing jobs – one for stealing medication, and another, he said, for giving a patient the wrong medication while she was under the influence. Mr. Messenger was struck by his neighbour’s tone, saying “she was very nonchalant about it – like it was nothing.”

He said the conversation came after Ms. Wettlaufer apologized for a years-long campaign of harassment toward him, which he said, included rubbing banana peel on his door and cutting the beard off a Christmas elf decoration hanging from his door. “It has been a nightmare,” he said. “Everyone perceives her as being this sweet, innocent, tiny little lady. But they haven’t lived next to her.”

Mr. Messenger, who said he was interviewed by police as part of the investigation, said he was surprised that Ms. Wettlaufer had been able to continue working in home after home. “Where did the system fail?” he said.

Medications, especially narcotics, are supposed to be strictly controlled inside nursing homes, but there are people who will find ways to obtain drugs if they want them badly enough, said Miranda Ferrier, the president of the Ontario Personal Support Worker Association, which represents more than 22,000 PSWs.

Ms. Ferrier said the association has received an “astounding” number of reports about personal support workers being under the influence while on duty. She described a case, from about a year-and-a-half ago, in which a worker at a long-term care home was found to have been removing fentanyl patches from patients’ arms and putting them on herself. She said her understanding is that the woman had an addiction.

In one recent case in which a nurse was dismissed from a Toronto hospital for stealing drugs, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the woman suffered a disability in the form of addiction and, therefore, could not be discriminated against because of that disability. The tribunal ordered that the employer rehire the woman.

Ms. Ferrier said her association plans to approach the province about instituting mandatory drug testing for personal support workers upon hiring, as well as periodically after that. “[Clients] have every right to have a safe home environment with … accountable employees,” Ms. Ferrier said. “That’s what they deserve. It’s common sense.”

With a report from Rick Cash in Toronto, and The Canadian Press
A very close friend of mine was a manager in a mental health organization in Ontario and he could not fire an employee who was stealing psychiatric drugs meant for patients. This thieving employee was suspended . A few months later, she applied for disability and was given disability i.e. she gets her pay while enjoying her stay at home. Apparently 'stealing' is a disability!!!(Actually this case is exactly like the case highlighted above...she clamed she was addicted to the drugs and that her addiction was a disability and ehr employer could not fire her...she went on disability leave and is now receiving 75% of her salary while sitting at home...paid holiday from work, thanks to her theft at the's like being rewarded for stealing!)
This woman steals drugs meant for patients and then she's rewarded instead of punished by  getting to stay at home and getting a monthly  'disability pension'.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I am a voracious crime fiction reader and have read several books, thanks to the Toronto Public Library.
Since the last 3-4 years, I started looking out for crime fiction from various countries; Learning about a country and it's culture is most enjoyable if I learn by absorbing  it from  crime fiction books set in that country! Also I don't ever forget when my learning is so full of thrills and excitement.
I have made lists of books from various countries in my blog. This article has a list of crime fiction books set in Russia which I have read and enjoyed.

 Stuart Kaminsky : He is one of my favorite authors. The 16 books below are by him
I adore the characters in this series especially Rostnikov.  I admire the fact that the inspector is so honest, though he's living such a difficult life and surrounded by corruption. He is living just above poverty level, yet has neither anger nor envy about his lot. I always think of India and Indian police, who are such a contrast to him. In India, the people I have come across are ashamed of shabbiness and poverty; yet they are not ashamed of corruption!A person who is earning little through honest hard work and cannot afford smart clothes in India feels ashamed of his shabby clothes; the guy who takes hefty bribes and can afford a lavish lifestyle is not ashamed of his corruption but proud of 'looking great'! This drives me insane with anger but all I can do is swallow my anger and shut up!
Rostnikov's lack of anger and his calmness in the face of frustrating circumstances; his absolute disinterest in accolades, his dealings with his boss, the space he gives the people working under him and the fact that he took in the two little girls and their grandmother into his home are things, despite his limited means are his many admirable features. I know he's a fictional character  but I also have had the privilege of knowing people like him! 
I had placed 3 fictional characters on thrones in the past but now I am considering adding him to the throne!( The 3 are Atticus Finch, James Green (Sudden series of westerns) and Modesty Blaise) 

Inspector Rostnikov series

  1. Rostnikov's Corpse (1981)
    (also published as Death of a Dissident)
  2. Black Knight in Red Square (1983)
  3. Red Chameleon (1985)
  4. A Fine Red Rain (1987)
  5. A Cold Red Sunrise (1988)
  6. The Man Who Walked Like a Bear (1990)
  7. Rostnikov's Vacation (1991)
  8. Death of a Russian Priest (1992)
  9. Hard Currency (1995)
  10. Blood and Rubles (1996)
  11. Tarnished Icons (1997)
  12. The Dog Who Bit a Policeman (1998)
  13. Fall of a Cosmonaut (2000)
  14. Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express (2001)
  15. People Who Walk in Darkness (2008)
  16. A Whisper to the Living (2010)   
I have all of these books (the Rostnikov series) and bought most of them  on Amazon. com. I was sad to see that some books were stamped with a seal stating,'discarded from library due to poor circulation'. I was appalled that people did not read this wonderful series and the libraries were discarding them! I reread these books once in a while as they are so good!

Martin Cruz Smith is another favorite of mine. However his first book is the best and the last two are not really so great. They seem a bit shallow but I read them anyway as I am a fan. I think he developed a neurological problem while writing the last book and I really admire him for finishing the book in spite of his problems!

Arkady Renko series

  • Gorky Park
  • Polar Star
  • Red Square
  • Havana Bay
  • Wolves eat Dogs
  • Stalin's Ghost
  • Three Stations
  • Tatiana
Tom Rob Smith is another favorite and he has written three books set in Russia which is a trilogy.
The books are 
Child 44
The secret speech
Agent 6

I finished reading "Agent 6", the  last book  of the triology authored by Tom Rob Smith today. It was fast paced and I read it till one am i.e. until I finished it. This is  the most exciting book I read recently and I had waited for this book (on a waitlist  at Toronto Public Library) for almost 6 months!

I recommend this trilogy to anyone interested in  fast paced, well written set of three books, set in Stalin Russia, communist Russia in later times and in Soviet occupied  Afghanistan.

Reading this book, I started thinking about China, the last of the communist countries left in the world today. I wonder, when China's communist party will be toppled...if it is ever going to be toppled at all.

 Alex Dryden has written these books set in Russia or related to Russia
Red to Black
Moscow Sting
The blind spy

 Michael Hetzer is another author whose book  The Forbidden Zone  I read.
Set in the USSR, 1983. It is set mostly in Siberia and is about the search for his twin brother by a Russian scientist, who is loved and aided by an American woman and pursued by the ruthless Russian KGB. The story ranges from time of the World War to the times of the cold war between the USSR & USA.
Hope this author writes more books set in Russia. His readers will love them.

I hope there are more such books, set in Siberia. Vicarious chills are better than actual chills dont you think !

The last red August by Alexi Malashenko

This book was okay. It could have been much more gripping. The style of writing is not to my liking but I did finish it...I would not have finished if it was really bad.

Petrovka 38 by Julian Semyonov :Bought this book at Value village in Feb 2016 for 4.00$. It's available in TPL but not for issue. The blurb on the cover says  'the first thriller out of Russia', meaning that no other thrillers were written before this...I wonder if this is really true. I am enjoying it but not as much as the Kaminsky series. This author has written other books too but they are not available in the TPL.
Another crime fiction, a collection of stories edited by Otto Penzler is 'The greatest Russian stories of crime and suspense' published in 2010 but has stories ranging from those written in 1872. Some of the stories in this book are by Leo Tolstoy, Gogol, Maxim Gorky and Chekov.
Below are books from Russia which I have NOT read
Elleston Trevor AKA Adam Hall's books...oops 2018 april, I am discovering that the books are not based in Russia. I will remove them from this later.

  • The Berlin Memorandum AKA The Quiller memorandum(1965)
  • The 9th Directive (1966)
  • The Striker Portfolio (1968)
  • The Warsaw Document (1971)
  • The Tango Briefing (1973)
  • The Mandarin Cypher (1975)
  • The Kobra Manifesto (1976)
  • The Sinkiang Executive (1978)
  • The Scorpion Signal (1979)
  • The Peking Target (1981)
  • Quiller/Northlight (1985)
  • Quiller's Run (1988)
  • Quiller KGB (1989)
  • Quiller Barracuda (1990)
  • Quiller Bamboo (1991)
  • Quiller Solitaire (1992)
  • Quiller Meridian (1993)
  • Quiller Salamander (1994)
  • Quiller Balalaika (1996)

  •   Julian Semyonov's Tass Is Authorized to Announce (Avon, N.Y., 1988)  
    Alexander Tarasov-Rodionov's Chocolate, ( London, 1933).
    Mikhail. Chernyonok's, Losing Bet, (Dial Press,N.Y., 1984)
    V.V. Lipatov's set of short stories entitled, A Village Detective (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1970).
     Nikolai Aleksandrov's Two Leaps Across a Chasm: A Russian Mystery (S & S Trade, 1992)
      Alexei. Malashenko's  The Last Red August (Scribner's Sons, N.Y., 1993) (Anthony Alcott translator)

    Crime fiction from totalitarian countries-fictional countries and real:
    I came across a highly rated set of books by Olen Steinhauer which are set in a 'east European' country; I believe that it means a communist or totalitarian country. That's why I am putting it in this list/article I am planning to read these books as they are highly praised in several reviews. The books are:
    The bridge of sighs 2003
    The confession 2004
    36  Yalta boulevard 2005
    Liberation Movements 2006
    Victory Square 2007

    Other books by Olen Steinhauer but not necessarily of communist countries include The tourist 2009
    The nearest exit 2010
    An American spy 2012
    The Cairo affair 2014
    All the old knives 2015
    Per Wahoo's Murder on the 31st floor is another crime fiction in totalitarian country

    Sunday, October 23, 2016

    The lobster...Movie ...Dystopian...weird....different....

    Saw the movie The lobster just now (Sunday morning, 23 Oct 2016)

    I have never seen anything like this...It's definitely not a movie for those who enjoy mainstream Bollywood and Hollywood  movies or comedies.

    It's for people who enjoy Dystopian, weird, movies.

    I don't want to give away the plotline.

    The acting and screenplay is great. The script is good. For some reason, it strongly suggested me of life under  communist regimes...I think the extreme lack of freedom and the artificiality of the poor souls who are too afraid to be true to their feelings put communism in my mind when I saw this.

    As usual, I am stymied by the reviews which describe this movie as a comedy. I simply cannot find it funny though it did hold my attention and I saw it till the end! A friend of mine had recommended another movie describing it as a comedy i.e. Fargo and that's another movie which did not strike me as a comedy at all. Maybe be my Indian upbringing or my inability to appreciate satire and dark comedies is the root of my inability to see these movies as comedies. It's impossible for me to see comedy in  Dystopia.

    Friday, October 21, 2016

    October 21st 2016

    I woke up today to a cloudy, rainy, coldish morning in Toronto. Today was one of the rare mornings when things went well and I was good tempered for more than 6 hours at a stretch! I hope I don't  to jinx it by saying that things are going well!

    I woke up and read a few pages of pleasant, funny crime fiction book Inspector Singh investigates The Singapore School of Villany. Then, my husband, got me a cup of  Cothas 'filter' coffee in bed...something he rarely does. It's me who goes down to the kitchen, 360 mornings a year to   brew coffee and bring it up to him and my ma-in-law.
     Still in bed, I saw an episode of 'Haters back off' which I loved!

    Then got ready to go to work...breakfast, packing lunches, bath, etc.  
    Three whole hours, awake and  'with' my husband , yet not one single argument, comment or sarcasm from either of us! That is rare and an amazing happening though neither of us made any effort to 'not argue'!

    On way to work, traffic was not bad. Work was not bad. I also got my family in India on the phone and enjoyed a pleasant chat.

    I hope I have more such in bed, good shows on Netflix, good books from the library, a husband who 'zips' it and not comment or argue, interesting clients and friendly colleagues at work.

    Thank you God for making today a nice day for me!

    Thursday, October 20, 2016


    Anthony Alcott-Rough beast-(an Ivan Duvakin novel)-1992
    Hunter Blacke-Kazakhstan Radioactive Jane:Operatives, spies and Terrorists(Hunter Black Chronicles Book4)
    Peter Cave-Invisible enemy in Kazakhstan(SAS operation)-2016
    Peter Cave-Soldier M_SAS-Invisible enemy in Kaz..n-1994
    Yury Dombrovsky-(not crime fiction but a classic)The keeper of antiquities-1969
    Alexander M Grace-Sky Blue-1995
    Ervin Allen Hill -Kazakhstan: A story of mystery and intrigue set in the oil-rich former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan-2016
    Nathan Huffaker-Stranded-2015
    S.M.A.Jano-From England to Kazakhstan-Loneliness, love and crime-2015
    Andrei Kurkov-The good angel of death
    Victor Robert Lee-Performance Anomalies-2012
    Varda Leymore-To the four winds-(Not crime fiction)-2014
    Kyla Maessen-Saqastan-2015
    Abdi-Jamil Nurpeisov-one of the best authors of Kazakhstan.(1)Blood and sweat.(2)Twilight.1961(3)Ordeal.1964(4)Fall1970 His books are NOT crime fiction, but he is
    Russell R Miller and Dr.Robert J Banis-Death on the silk road-2011
    Doung & Linda Raber-Eastern colonies-2015
    Joe Reidhead-Hero of the Steppe-2015
    Allan Spencer -Raiding the Stans(A Central Asian Argosy)(Saga of the Woden born book 17)

    While compiling crime fiction from countries of the previous USSR, for the ten articles in this blog (the articles are titled as crime fiction from  Ukraine, Moldova, etc) I discovered three  themes repeating themselves in the books.
    The most frequently appearing theme is the harassment and murder of Jews in these countries in the recent past. The second is about the World Wars, Stalin's and Hitler's atrocities. The third and more recent themes are about human trafficking for sex ; the race for oil and rare minerals in these countries between the governments of countries (the index country, USA, Russia, Iran, China, etc), corporations and others and terrorism.

    It was heart breaking to read about the killing of Jews from all these countries. The saddest part for me is that people all over the world, outside of this part of the world of course, have either forgotten or are unaware of the events in these parts of the world.

    When I read the news daily, there is virtually no news from these countries! Being a realist, a cynic and maybe paranoid, I strongly suspect that things are probably more rotten here than in the countries which keep figuring in the news all the time.  Tell me , how often do you read about Moldova, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia or Kyrgyzstan in the news? I did not even know there was a country called Moldova or Estonia until recently!
     "No news is definitely not good news" from these countries. I believe that the governments are extremely repressive here and maybe the news does not come out. I also have not bumped into  'immigrants' from these countries in Canada though I have come across a lot of people from other countries such as China, Bangladesh, Greece, Germany, England, Spain, the south American countries, etc.

    To me, crime fiction is the most entertaining  way of getting to know about a country, it's people and culture. The crimes written in the stories, lets me understand the culture and behaviour of the people of the country. Authors are the best people to get to know places, you have never been to!



    Chris Allen-Bibles and Ball bats-2016
    Stela Brinzeanu-Bessarabian nights-2014
    Kim Purcell-Trafficed-2013

    NOT read these books...I came across these googling for crime fiction set in Moldova


    Stephen Collishaw-Amber -2005
    Barry Flanagan-The undeclared war-2012
    Barry Flanagan-Across the green border-2012
    Barry Flanagan-The invisible front
    Ricardas Gavelis-Vilnius poker 2009
    Cule Hinder-The night doctor-2014
    Icchokas Meras & Jonas Zdanys-Stalemate-2005
    Trevor Scott-Gates of dawn-2016
    Ruta Septeys-Between shades of grey-2012 (highly recommended book) about the evil of stalin's oppression
    Ruta Septeys-Salt to the sea(not crime fiction exactly)
    Antanas Sileika-underground-a novel-
    K.T.Tomb-The ivory bow-2014
    Ursula Wong-Amber wolf-2016

    NOT read these books but Googled for crime fiction set in Lithuania and these showed up.


    Ales Adamovich-Khatyn-2012

    Theodore Odrach-Wave of terror-2008

    Victor Martinovich-Paranoia

    I have NOT read these. Found them when I searched for crime fiction in Belarus. Honestly, I did not even know there's a country called Belarus!


    Richard Marcinko-Echo platoon-2000
    Dan Mayland-The colonel's mistake-2012
    Dan Mayland-The levelling-2013
    Daniel Perry-Field Pi9ece-book 2-Azerbaijan

    Not read these books but found them on google


    Jane Haddam- Fighting chance - A Gregor Demarkian novel-2014 (crime fiction set in USA but Armenian characters)
    Jane Haddam-Flowering Judas-A Gregor Demarkian novel-2012 (crime fiction set in USA but Armenian characters)

    Jenny Barbara White-The winter thief-2010


    Dale Brown-Air Battle Force-2003

    Not read this book but found it when I searched for 'crime fiction from Turkmenistan


    Tom Callaghan- A killing winter-2015
    Tom Callaghan-A spring betrayal-2016

    I have not read these two books but found them online when searching for crime fiction from Kyrgyzstan.


    Greg Rucka- Private wars: a queen and country novel -2005
    Not read this but found it on Google when I searched for crime fiction from this country.


    Sidney Iwens-How dark the heavens-1400 days of Nazi terror-(not fiction)
    Boris Kacel-Hell to redemption-a memoir of the Holocaust
    R.Magnusholm-House of Cain- 2015
    Henning Mankell-The dogs of Riga-2001
    Gertrude Schneider-journey into terror-story of the Riga ghetto-1979 (not fiction)

    The above are crime fiction from Latvia and the only one I have read is Henning Mankell's the dogs of Riga which I liked as I like the protagonist i.e. Kurt Wallander.

    Jewish people's suffering seems to be the  theme in majority of the Latvian books... that is what I inferred when I read the synopsis and reviews of Latvian books on the net. The Russian and German atrocities against Latvians and Jews in particular are a theme in majority of the books.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016


    Alex Dryden-The blind spy-2012
    Alan Furst-The Polish officer a novel-2001
    Lene Kaaberbol-Death of a nightingale-2013
    Garry Douglas Kilworth-The devil's own-1997
    Marek Krajewski-The Minotaur's head-2012
    Andrey Kurkov -The good angel of death-2009
    Andrey Kurkov-Penguin lost-2004, 2011
    Andrey Kurkov-The president's love -2008(NOT crime fiction)
    Andrei Kurkov-The milkman in the night(more science fiction than crime I think)
    Nikolia Lilin-Siberian education:Growing up in a criminal underworld-2011
    Adrian Magson-Close Quarters-2015
    Bernard Malamud -The fixer-1966(award winning book)
    Aleksei Nikitin-Y.T-2016
    Aleksei Nikitin-Istemi-2013
    Herta Muller-The hunger angel-2012
    Ben Pastor -Tin sky-2012
    Martin Cruz Smith-Wolves eat dogs-2004

    I found these books  in the Toronto Public library  and look forward to reading them. The only books I have read of these are Wolves eat dogs and the blind spy. .
     I was amazed at the number of 'great books' from Ukraine. They are not crime fiction which is what I was searching for but classics which have received rave reviews. I have not listed those books here but look forward to reading those books someday!
     I seek out crime fiction and books from communist countries. Coming from India, a truly corrupt country, there is some part of me which is curious about life is in other corrupt and 'poor' countries. I believe that life of the common man  in India is similar to life of the common man in communist countries where there's equally high amount of suppression and corruption. But, reading crime fiction from India disturbs me as it's too close home. A morbid part of my brain, craves to search and understand life of people in other equally corrupt countries. I suppose that's why I want to read these books.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2016


    I am compiling list of crime fiction books from various countries.
    The Toronto Public Library has these 3 crime fiction books set in Estonia. 
    I have NOT yet read these.

    Andy Mcnab- Firewall -2000
    Sofi Oksanen- Purge -2010
    Peter Robinson -Watching the dark-2013

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    TAMARIND RICE mom's recipe

    I love eating hot rice with  'Hu-ni-sae-kai' 'Go-jju' especially the gojju made from newly harvested tamarind. Here is the recipe from my mom.

    Tamarind-about 40grams
    Green chillis-4

    Cooking oil: two to three table spoons
    Mustard:quarter teaspoon
    Peanuts: about a tablespoon(or more)
    Split channa dhal- one teaspoon i.e. Split Bengal grams(drier and nuttier than the chickpeas)
    Urud dhal:one teaspoon i.e. split black gram
    Jeera:quarter teaspoon i.e. cumin
    Turmeric powder: quarter tea spoon
    Curry leaves:One sprig
    Onion:One small onion or half medium size
    Coriander leaves: two sprigs
    Coconut:(preferably fresh ) quarter cup

    Roast and grind the three i.e. (1)Black pepper:one tea spoon,(2)
    Jeera: Half tea spoon and (3)Fenugreek:Quarter tea spoon

    Wash and soak the tamarind in half cup of water for about 10 minutes and squeeze out the tamarind water and save it in a bowl; or  microwave/heat  the tamarind and water for a minute and squeeze out the tamarind water into a bowl. Throw the tamarind.

    Heat cooking oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, peanuts, urud dhal, split channa dhal, jeera, curry leaves, chillis, onions, turmeric powder. Then add the three roasted and ground ingredients. When the onion has changed colour, add the coconut, tamarind water, salt and take off the heat when it simmers for 5 -10 minutes. Add coriander leaves when it has cooled. 

    Mix this with cooked rice and eat hot. Adding a tea spoon of ghee or butter to the rice and tamarind gojju makes it tastier. Some enjoy eating tamarind rice with a spoonful of curds. 
    If the tamarind Gojju is too sour, you can fix it by adding roasted and ground peanuts or shredded coconut or a bit of jaggery.


    There is a noticible difference in taste between fresh tamarind and tamarind which is more than a year old. For people outside India, such as those in Canada and USA, you may get fresh tamarind(still in green-brown husk) in east Asian stores such as Chinese stores in some seasons, These are labelled as sweet tamarind(I don't know why they are called sweet!) and often imported from far east Asian countries. If it is dehusked, then look for tan or light brown tamarind as that is likely to be new. If the tamarind is chocolate brown or nearly black, then it's old tamarind. You can make gojju with even old tamarind but the taste is different. 

    Note: All the quantities given above are approximations and you can change it.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2016


    After writing several articles or is it mere lists...of crime fiction books I have read from different countries, romantic fiction, crime fiction with women protagonists, etc, I realize now that I have not made a list of books from India that I have read.

    Though I feel ashamed, I have to admit here that I OWN a whole ton of books by Indian authors(and others) which I have NOT READ! I am wondering if I should list these as-yet-unread-books in this list or not. I am also a bit ashamed that the number of books by Indian authors I have read is so low! I seem to have read hundreds, nay thousands of books by American and British authors but less than maybe 500 books by Indian authors or books set in India!

    Also, why  do I have this need to make lists and put it in this public place? What purpose does it serve?  Am I writing these lists as I am not getting a good idea to pen?  Or is it that I have good ideas but cant write?

    While making this list I discovered that the American and British books I have read far outnumber the Indian books I have read...even though I am an Indian by birth!

    I am wondering how to make this list of books I HAVE read? One whole list or divide it into non-fiction, fiction, mythology, set in India but not by  Indian author, books by Indian authors and story set in India or outside India, books on Indian geography, history, etc.

    This list  can go on and on, if I include all the books about India such as Indian kings, Indian temples, the Himalayas, Indian jewellery, Indian religions, etc.

     Let me make the list and then decide how I am going to arrange it.

    Ramayana by C.R.Rajagopalachari
    Mahabharatha by C.R.Rajagopalachari
    Bhagwan Parashurama by K.M.Munshi
    Stories of Vikramaditya Simhasana Dwatrimsika
    Stories of Vikramaditya Vetala Panchavimsati
    Stories of Shiva
    Stories of Kali
    Stories of Vishnu

    HISTORY books(Cant recall any now)

    Return to the soil by Shivram Karanth
    Man riding the tiger
    R.K.Narayan's books
    Kushwant Singh's books

    Rabindranath Tagore short stories, dramas and novels
    Salman Rushdie books(Midnight's children)
    Ruskin Bond's books short stories
     The inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur I loved this funny book and read it a few times!
    Maximum city Bombay Lost and found by Suketu Mehta
    Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
    Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh Parts of this book are heart breaking and I cannot read it again.
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahari short stories
    Delhi Noir short stories
    Kim by Rudyard Kipling I loved this classic and read it a few times.
    Sari shop by Rupa Bajwa
    Marrying Anita by Anita Jain Enjoyed this!
    Midnight's children by Salman Rushdie

    Sudhir Kakkar's books

    I have

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Things in my childhood, I wish I had taken photos and videos of...things which have disappeared now

    My childhood days were of lower middle class urban life in Bangalore of the late 60s and 70s. The things  at home, the activities and life style is so different from what it became in the 80s and onwards. So many things I took for granted disappeared completely and now I wish someone had had the foresight(and camera, money to afford the reels and so on) to photograph those things which have disappeared from our lives forever. Below is a list of such things. I have written them in no order..I have written them in the order the things came to my memory.

    Somethings are listed in the order of chronology: as the transition took place with the new one replacing the old one. For example we had a wood burning stove at first which was replaced by kerosene stove and this was replaced by electric coil stove and this was replaced by gas stove.

    At home:
    Woodburning stove//kerosene stove//kerosene stove pumping type//electric stove//gas stove.
    In my husband's home, his grandmother used only coal burning 'Agastige' until her death in the 90s; she refused to cook on electric or gas as she thought that cooking on coal was 'pure' while using any other fire was impure!

    Stone mortar and pestle on the floor in which one could grind by sitting on the floor; Stone mortar and pestle in a 3 or 4 foot pillar of concrete in which one could grind chutney, etc while standing, //the wet grinder running on electricity from Vellore; this is basically a steel mortar with a stone pestle inside attached to a chain and the pestle runs on electricity//modern mixer and grinder.

    Hand rotated coffee grinder//replaced by nothing. we now buy ready to use coffee powder.

    Mud pots hanging from kitchen ceiling holding butter floating in water//aluminium wire basket suspended from kitchen ceiling holding onions, garlic and potatoes.
    Earthen pot to store water in summer as the water was cooler in earthern pot//replaced by fridge.

    The copper and brass vessals,aluminium and hindalium vessels,  steel vessals, the thick aluminium ladle broken with use// the aluminium spoons, aluminium measuring cans of litre, 500 ml, 250, 200, 100 and 50 ml cans//'chambu' made of copper, silver, brass, steel and plastic.

    The coal and wood burning stove built of concrete in bathroom with a huge brass 'ande'(pot) over it to boil water for bath;, the immersion coil in the iron and later plastic bucket to heat water for bath, the brass boiler with electric coil inside to heat water, the iron and plastic and steel buckets, the copper,brass, steel and plastic 'bindiges' or pots.

    The gunny sacks in the store room, the floor to ceiling mud and papier-mâché container in village homes holding grains.

    Hall or living room:
    Radio//transistor//black and white TV//colour TV//TV with knobs to change and without remote control//
    Swing made of coconut coir rope and with a small cotton pillow on top//swing with small wood seat and large wood seat
    Porcelain dolls of animals, gods and goddesses, in showcase.

    Study room:

    Typewriter//old paperwork and notes at home//wooden book holder to keep heavy books and read when sitting on the floor for my grandmother .
    Ink pens and bottles of ink no longer seen around now.
    Aluminium boxes to carry books to school, khaki color school bags, range of tiffen boxes to take lunch to school in steel, aluminium and plastic.
    will continue this list
    Books with old type illustrations on cover which you don't get now...example a Wodehouse book had a fantastic cover with a cartoon; now you get the same novel with another cartoon on cover but the modern cartoon is not to my liking.
    Old Readers Digest books with amazing covers and illustrations and cartoons inside too.
    Books from the communist Soviet Union
    Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew books with amazing illustrations on cover and inside.
    Calenders of those days with Kitschy Gods and Godesses; sceneries, paintings. I loved one which had paintings of twelve love stories of India for the twelve months such as  Prithviraj Chauhan and his lover; Shakuntala and Dushyanta, etc.

    Iron box with mica inside which broke down frequently//
    Old silk saris//Binny mills clothes and fabrics//NTC fabrics//
    My long skirts called as Langas which had wonderfully colourful and large floral prints. Now few girls uses Langas and Langa Davanis.. Almost all girls now wear the north Indian salwar kameez or churidar or western frocks, skirts and jeans and shorts.

    Rusty iron trunks( now replaced by suitcases); 'Hold-all' used to travel (and now replaced by ?backpacks, suitcases, etc.)
    Heavy iron lockers about 3 feet by two feet with a metal 'hand holding a roll of paper' to turn it open called Lakshmi lockers in which valuable documents, jewels and money were kept;
    ancient huge padlocks with a variety of keys.
    A doctor's bag in my house made of maroon hard leather with golden color handles and cute looking. Doctors carried it with them all the time and probably visited patients at home in those days.

    Now we have diesel run generators when there is no electricity. In the 70s, we used to light mud lamps called Deepas which had hand-rolled cotton wicks and cooking oil when there was no electricity. We also used white candles. In villages, where cooking oil is expensive, people used inedible oil from a seed called Honge beeja(Honge mara i.e. the tree called Millettia pinnata)
    We use electric torch these days when we step out in the dark when there is no electricity but in those days we used  kerosine lit 'hurricane' lamp.
    Cowdung smeared and hardened earth in front of home if the front was muddy and not covered with granite slabs. Rangolis covering the earth in front of the door.
    I travelled to my village from the taluk by bullock cart which had large wooden wheels and pulled by two bullocks. Now I travel by car, bus or walk. Bullock carts still exist in my village but getting replaced by tractors and other vehicles. Bullock carts were used to transport both people and food grains. transport people from villages to other villages and food grains from fields to homes or homes to taluks for selling. 
    It would have been wonderful if I could have photographed and videotaped the things of old in my village! Both the old and the new coexist today in my village and can still be photographed and recorded. But some things are permanently missing. More of that when I have time to add to this
    Things of village life I wish I had captured on photo or video:

    I visited my village often in my childhood but after I started college my visits reduced a lot. My memory of my trips to village are pretty shaky but I am going to jot down all that I can recall here...before my memories are further erased by time!

    I wish I had a video of the tiled roof of house in my village  and the one square of space made by removing a tile in the kitchen's roof  to let in the sunlight. I loved watching the sunlight stream like a pole  through the gap in the roof . I would watch the dust particles swirling in the 'pole' of sunlight and the dust outside the 'pole of streaming sunlight' was invisible! I would be seated on the floor eating whatever was given such as ragi roti made on the wood-burning stove on the floor and butter while watching the dust in the sunlight.

    I would have loved to have photograph the silver coins in the Iron chests in the houses in the villages. Also the rolled documents of land, court documents and money.

    The sparseness, neatness and economy of  the village homes of those days was amazing. I don't think there was the slightest bit of clutter in the houses as no one had money to buy things which they dint use or used sparingly.  Homes were small and space was needed to store food grains after harvest too. The space immediately after entering a home was meant for the family's cattle and so the homes had the smells of dung, cattle urine, grass and so on. Thanks to the cattle, we had to endure the bites of terrible mosquitos called 'danada-solle'.
    In the 80s, I think, farmers in villages of Tumkur started rearing silk worms as they could earn more selling silk cocoons than selling rice, ragi or peanuts they grew. The space in the homes were then used to erect the large silk-worm-rearing basket-mat sort of things made of a bamboo like reed. The silk-worm rearing process in my village is another thing worth videotaping.
    Village kitchens:
    The mortar and pestle in villages were not the chiselled ones seen in city homes. In cities the mortar was a hollowed out part of a square block of granite and the pestle was placed in the hole and rotated by hand. In my village, the pestle  was usually a large round granite rock rolled on a slab of granite. The slab of granite served as the mortar. One needed both hands to roll the rock back and forth.  The items to be grounded such as fresh coconut pieces were placed on the slab of granite and the rock was rolled back and forth on the granite. It was difficult for me to grind things in this manner!
    Vanake a thick stick of about three feet length was another instrument used by women to pulp various grains and pulses. The grains were put into a mortar made of granite and placed on the floor. The women would be standing as they pounded the grain in the mortar with the 'vanake'.
    The 'beeso-kallu' was used to grind rice into flour by village women at home, before the electric flour mills came. The beeso kallu consisted of twin round granite slabs one on top of the other. There was a hole in the top granite slab  through which a stick was inserted. The women rotated the granite slab holding the stick and rice or ragi or whatever was poured into a hole at the top of the granite slab and the rice was ground between the rotating slab and top and the bottom granite slab.
    Village homes had more of aluminium and copper and mud pots while city homes had more of stainless steel vessels. The number of utensils in cities were a lot more than in the villages. The number of spices and dhals used were a lot less in villages. Plates were made of brass and were heavy in the villages.
    Both the men and  women in my caste in villages and maybe the entire village put both vibuti and kumkuma on their forehead daily morning after their prayers. I am not sure if they still do it now.


    The reason for the long title: Small sample size of non-random sample.
    But I believe it reflects the financial literacy of a large section of people of Bangalore.

    I had never heard the word financial literacy until I moved to Canada. I knew the terms such as money management and budgeting. I think I also was okay at managing to live within my income and save in advance for large expenses such as buying a vehicle and so on. I did understand that one could take loans from banks if eligible and to return the loans with interest.
    That was the extent of my financial literacy.

    After seeing the major financial problems faced by a few, close Bangalorean  friends and relatives  I realize that many 'educated' middle class and upper class urban Indians lack financial literacy. Below are 8 of these financially illiterate people.
    I will then talk about what I think, needs to be done to set this right in order, to avoid the problems which families face due to financial illiteracy.


    I know a person, who was born into an extremely rich family, with a BA degree who knows less about money management than others with lesser education and age than her. She has no idea how to write a cheque, how to deposit a cheque and so on.  Besides this, she has decreasing income for the last many years. Yet, she simply does not say no to her kids when they demand items which are 'not vital' such as eating out, buying fancy clothes and travelling by auto. She has not tried to explain to her children about her reduced income, her inability to manage the house, etc. She has started borrowing money from friends for things which she can easily do without! She has no idea where she will get the money to return when the time comes. She has no plans if her friends do not loan her the money! She too is coasting by in a way which scares the rest of us.

    I also know another  who once worked as a bank manager, and now trades in stocks and shares who has relentlessly traded, despite losses and warnings and is near bankruptcy. He  has lost a lot of money and is required to pay huge interest. This guy has no excuse for his financial  mismanagement with all his knowledge and experience! His addiction to trading on the stock market has done him in , yet he cannot stop himself!

     I also know another 80 year old person with limited income but who is constantly taking loans and paying interest and refuses advice of well wishers and knowledgeable people.

      I also know another person who is himself, financially literate but who does not let his wife become financially literate. He refuses to involve her  in his business and keeps her as a 'housewife-whose-duty-is-to-look-after-the-home'.  She unfortunately is now  in a position of utter helplessness and ignorance if anything were to happen to him.

     I also know another person in his 50s, who has never ever had a sense of fiscal responsibility. He often loses jobs or changes jobs. Yet, he does not save for a rainy day and coasts by life on the support of others. He has a wife and son to support but he has no sense of responsibility at all. He has absolutely no thoughts or plans about the future! He never seems to ask himself, while  spending lavishly, 'what will I do tomorrow if I don't have a job or savings'? He also has mental health issues, so that may sort of excuse his financial illiteracy.

     I also know another person as young as 14 who ask their parents to buy them the latest phones, clothes, dvds, books and so on, without even wondering if their parents can afford to buy them. They don't have curiosity about the amount their parents earn, how much is spent or saved every month, where does the money go, etc. Neither are their parents  trying to teach them about income, expenses, how much, how to balance, etc. They are silent about money and simply buy the kids what they want!

     I also know two people with families i.e. wives and children. They continue to live with their parents and do not contribute to the household income. One has zero income and he receives money from his parent who gets the money from her other son who's working abroad. The other relative and his wife and kids are supported by his dad's pension, rental business, and so on. What he earns is his pocket money, though he is now in his 40s.

     I also know another person who initially was doing business but due to his deficits, he was incurring losses. Yet, he & his mother, refused to let his wife work! Finally the wife, left him took employment and supported herself and her daughter who is now educated and working herself. The wife is now supporting him too! Yet, this person has neither insight about his lack of money management (he's lacking several other important and vital virtues!) nor gratitude to his wife!
    I know of several other people who suffer from financial illiteracy, destructive personality traits and self-destructive behaviours but these cases above should be enough to illustrate that there are a range of people with financial illiteracy.

    What to be done to improve financial literacy in India?
    (1) Financial literacy should be taught in schools. Children should be introduced to money management skills in a fun and practical way as early as grade 5.
    (2) Financial literacy classes through realistic scenarios and problem solving in multiple ways should be taught briefly in every class with increasing complexity of practical issues which the children see and experience in their own families.
    (3)For those who can, children should be involved in the school's finance management at least partially and also at home. They should be encouraged to give ideas, suggestions, short think aloud and the older adults can gently advise them if the ideas are not feasible.
    (4)Children should go to banks and learn to deposit cheques, draw money, know how much interest the bank pays them, how much interest their parents pay the bank and so on.
    (5)Children should be involved in the family's budgeting so they understand how much money goes where every month. For example, from the time a child is in 6th grade i.e. approximately 12 years old he or she should be educated about the monthly expenses of the family:bills such as electricity, water, house tax, phone, internet, TV cable, groceries, petrol, bus passes, school fees, pet food, health insurance or regular medicines, toiletries, etc. If a child has an idea of the expenses and the family income, he needs no advice about money; he will wise up when he sees all the costs of things.

     I am not really sure what is the right time to teach children about money and budgeting; But my guess is it should be around 12 years as the child enters his teens. 

     I am not sure how much Indian urban parents should reveal about their income and expenses to the children, without making the children feel burdened with responsibility too much for their shoulders or making them feel guilty.

    I also have no answers to children of families of really low income group about how to teach their children about finance. How can you tell a child that he is not going to have something absolutely essential as his parents don't make enough money?

    I have no idea how illiterate (but otherwise smart) Indians would teach their kids about finance...but I have come across really smart finance management among illiterate women who work as maids in city houses and farmers wives with low literacy or illiteracy manage their household budgets in villages.

    I have absolutely no clue how farmers who face the cycle of droughts and floods, who earn so little, who have impossible loans to return to the bank or even worse the private money lenders teach their kids financial literacy. You should first have 'some' money to teach them and when you don't have money at all, what kind of theoretical bullshit can you teach them! when you spend 20 thousand rupees on seeds, electricity for pumping water from wells, fertilizer, feed for oxen, etc and the harvest yield is 15 thousand rupees as the crops failed due to heavy rains, what can you teach your child about financial literacy? 
    If I were a farmer(from my village) and you came to teach me about financial literacy, I would probably punch you in the face. You ask why? Here's why? My father, a farmer, sells the grains and is secretive and never informs me about the amount of money he made by selling our harvest; my mother secretly saves money from the money she makes working in other's fields and selling our cow's milk; I work like a donkey in my fields but get little or nothing from my father. My wife keeps fighting with me as I have no money to give her to buy even glass bangles. My kids get money more easily from my father than I can get out of him. So, if you come to teach me about financial literacy, I would probably strangle you as I am being strangled by my father, my mother, my wife, the 7-year-long-droughts, the government which took away half my land to build roads and the local officer who swallowed the compensation given by the government to give us for the land. I pray this corrupt government official and his family perish!

    I also have no ideas about how the families where members make money through bribes will educate their children about finance! How do you explain to your 12 year old daughter that you have 12 lakh rupees in your bank this month when your income is about 10 lakh per year? How do you tell her that you made 12 lakh rupees by giving driving licences to shitty drivers after taking bribes? What are these parents supposed to teach in finance literacy to their kids? Do they teach them to get into jobs where they can take bribes? Or do they teach them to spend lavishly as money will come in all the time? Or do they teach them to be frugal as they don't know when this money will run out? Do they teach them to be honest at home but steal and take bribes outside? I really don't know how a financial literacy lesson would go in the household of corrupt government officials and politicians of India? What values do these corrupt people impart to their kids? I would love to be a fly on the wall in their homes!

    How will a father who is not earning but depending on generosity of his siblings teach his kids about financial literacy? How will a ...
    I am simply thinking aloud here. How will a poor village temple priest, whose income fluctuates wildly from low to nil teach his kids about financial literacy? I wonder if one can really cope with the concept of financial literacy when one is utterly poor...when I imagine myself in that place, I cannot even think of terms like literacy! I just want to do anything to feed myself then and there...I cannot think to plan for  even the next day or next week as I am so starved! As I write this, I am beginning to believe that one needs to have some financial stability to even think of financial literacy or financial literacy's simply a cruel joke. 
    Teaching financial literacy to 50% of Indians i.e. the poor is as meaningless as classes about  'healthy eating and nutrition for  people who don't have even have food to eat!

    HYPOTHETICAL FAMILY: Imagine a lecturer in a college and his wife who's also a lecturer in a college are earning a combined income  about one lakh rupees a month. They have two teenage children  in high school ; the couple  tally their expenses daily and share this information with the children .  The children get to see the expenses and have an idea of how much money is coming into the family monthly and where the money is going out. I believe this will give a lot of valuable information, knowledge to the high schoolers and they will also learn vicariously, the best ways of planning and budgeting.
    I guess these are the expenses in Bangalore
    rent//food//waterbill/electricity bill/ gas bill/ petrol and bus pass/school fees/ phone bills for four//food//toileting materials//religious expenses//gifts to family members & friends for functions// savings such as life insurance,etc//loans and interest for vehicles, house building loans, etc// health expenses (now with dengue all over Bangalore, every house I know has been affected!)
    If the family, is open about their income and expenses with their children and very meticulous about recording all the expenses, the children will automatically learn a lot, become more thoughtful and reasonable in their demands and WISE.

    The peers I know are not open with their children about their income for many reasons such as
    They never even thought of this; they never thought of the idea of sharing their income details with their children.
    Or they don't want to share as they think the children are too young and then don't know when to draw the line and say, they are old enough now and I can share this information.
    Or they don't want to tell the children as they don't think their kids can keep their mouths shut! They may worry the kids will blab to the relatives, etc.
    Or they are ashamed they are not earning enough. I know of many middle class graduate women who have no idea about their husband's income!
    Or , they are taking bribes and  don't want to share this information openly with their kids. I know there are several government officials whose bribe is much greater than their salaries (not any of my relatives or friends!) and how will they explain to their kids?

    I believe that writing out the income and expenses in detail and sharing with the immediate family members will help expose the errors in budgeting of the money manager in the family, usually men. If the expenses were made into a pie chart or percentage, the family would know immediately if some area was getting undue amount while another area was being neglected. I know a man who had  terrible money management skills and who was also, very autocratic and bossy that he had his way. He would spend more than 50% of the income on non-essentials such as books and grudge to give money to essentials such as food items and groceries.

    I believe that every school in India should have classes for household budgeting and ask the students to come up with sensible budgets for various incomes and expenses for a variety of households. I believe this will help to avoid future mismanagement of money when these students become working adults.

    Many families want to shield their children from money worries and other worries. But I strongly believe that this shielding causes more harm than good, in the long run. Once they are 16-18 years old, they should know the true money situation in the home; it will give them an opportunity to grow and become more mature; I guess children will become less demanding when there are aware of the true monetary situation; they will make sensible and financially INFORMED choices.

    Some of the stupid financial-related thoughts, behaviours and actions I have observed among my own family, friends and people I know are given below:
    • Pretending they have more money than they actually do.
    • Not telling  'no' to the children's unrelenting demands 
    • Thinking that if they give all that the child asks,' the child will be happy', 'will study well', 'will 'behave', 'the child will obey', etc.
    • Borrowing money to buy  non-essential things.
    • Labelling luxuries as essentials and buying them
    • Not having money, yet buying to keep up with the Jones by buying on credit.
    • Borrowing without having any realistic plans regarding how they will repay. Not factoring in the interest when they plan to borrow.
    • Being unrealistically optimistic. Not having definite plans regarding repayment but thinking vague things like "I will somehow return": that word 'somehow' drives me c-r-a-z-y!
    • Having poor money management skills themselves.
    • Poor relationship or poor communication or 'embarrassment to talk about money' between family members and therefore:non-discussion of money matters; non-cooperation around money matters; active 'revenge-buying' things when angry with spouse!
    • Borrowing from parents (grandparents  of the children) or receiving financial and other expensive gifts from parents to maintain a life-style, they cannot earn-to-be-able-to-afford.
    • Expecting well-off relatives to take care of some of their needs
    • Expecting the dowry the son brings in to take solve their money problems.
    • I know many many middle class Bangaloreans are  investing heavily in real estate i.e. sites and houses as an investment and source of income. They do not factor in many costs when they make this investment such as the 
    • (1)high rate of interest to borrow money to build or buy the house, 
    • (2) the high cost of building a house and 
    • (3)the money which goes for bribing government clerks to build, 
    • (4) the difficulty getting renters as there is such a lot of empty flats and houses in Bangalore (in 2016)and
    •  (5)cost of maintaining the house in good repair, etc.               Nearly everyone in Bangalore seem to believe that real estate is the best way to invest money and as it's not true all the time, as observed by the many people who have had losses. I know a guy who could not sell his house in Gandhi Bazar for 4 years though it is a prime area!                                                        Now the government wants people to show that their money is 'white' when they buy a house; However it seems like people with white money cannot buy houses as they don't have enough and people with black money cannot buy the houses; even if they are willing to pay the full amount... the government wants them to prove that their money is white and as they cannot prove that, they cannot buy! So sellers are sitting on unsold homes and apartments for years paying interest on the loans they took to build and suffering losses.
    • As far as I know majority of people in my circle in India (Gowdas, middle class, urban and rural, Bangaloreans and Tumkur people) DO NOT INVEST in stocks and shares. I myself am wary of it and have never invested in stocks. I have been told that investing in them is wise but long story short, this is one major area of ignorance and paranoia among many people in India/Bangalore. People prefer real estate to stocks and shares. This has lead to a host of problems such as :The destruction of the environment in Bangalore and maybe whole of India, cutting down of trees in cities, drying up of water beds and ground water levels, conversion of agricultural land to residential areas, conversion of forest land leading to depletion of wild life and forest wealth, a glut of homes and apartments lying vacant even in crowded places such as Delhi and Bangalore, etc. Teaching Indians about investing in things other than real estate may also improve their financial literacy.
    • I also have a pet theory. If the corrupt politicians of Karnataka with their children who have IQs of 70 are taught financial literacy, then they would not need to be so corrupt and rob the people of Karnataka. They could use their money smartly; make money smartly with wiser investments and be less corrupt and decrease their robbery. For example, one asshole politician has built 5 star hotel in small towns where people cannot afford to pay 5 star hotel rates. This is a huge loss but he does not care as it is money not hard earned but looted. Giving more thought to this idea, I realize that there is no motivation for the Karnataka politicians to become financially long as they can loot instead of working hard and honestly, there is no compelling reason for them or their kids to strive for financial literacy.
    • I have another theory..if politicians of India were forced to learn about financial literacy, they might make more money by wise spending and investments and feel less need to loot. But, on the other hand, I don't think financial literacy will take away the core evil in their shitty heads s i.e. greed.

    Last walk at Sunnybrook park by the stables

    Last walk because I can't take the mosquitoes.  I found this tree unusual... I dont know what these red berries are but th...