You can put an Indian back in India, but ...

Category: culture

10 exciting things that you can only learn by growing up in India

“He probably doesn’t have an ear for melody, so just put him in the Tabla class. But don’t buy a Tabla until he’s practiced on the dinner table for six months” – Music teacher at a prominent music school in Mumbai. These were the inspiring words that started Neo’s musical education at the age of […]

The only Venn diagram about life that you will ever need

  (Neo couldn’t figure out which set Alcohol belongs to. Probably all three.) Tweet

25 ridiculously clichéd Hindi film dialogues that tell you the even more clichéd story of an Indian girl


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to doing Namaste

Neo suffered from a rare form of “prostrate cancer”, i.e. the inability to figure out when and how to prostrate himself and perform Namaste. This is the guide he wished he had read then. How to do Namaste (a.k.a. namaskar) There are two major techniques: 1. The I’m-feeling-particularly-humble-today technique: That’s how. Practice it at home. […]

What happens in Vegas ends up as a wedding ceremony in Chennai

Last week Neo finally reconciled with the friend who convinced him that it is considered romantic to propose to South Indian girls with a rava idli instead of a ring. The only reason why Mrs. Neo accepted the proposal was because she probably didn’t know any better (plus there was the slight matter of Neo […]

The best thing to do right after your move to India: Panic

Neo arrived in India during mosquito-gras – the yearly event in Bangalore when millions of scantily-clad mosquitoes get high and swarm around searching for the Jonas Brothers mosquitoes. The good news is they are so crazed that they forget their mosquito-duty to bite you, and sort of leave you alone – just remember to keep […]

10 television ads that will teach you everything you need to know about India

If you visit Neoville on an average weekend evening (not that Neoville has seen many average weekends lately), you’ll find Mrs. Neo watching her favorite chick flick tasteful movie with tears rolling down her dimple-less cheeks. You’d also find Neo on his laptop, doing what overpaid software managers do most of the time – tweeting, […]

The problem with extreme moderation

“Do you feel safer outside a bar or outside a temple?” – a close “moderate” friend triumphantly asked Neo, while making the ok-maybe-its-not-entirely-true-but-its-still-useful case for religion. Well, certainly Neo can concede that there are some temples that are safer than some bars – but (as anyone who’s visited the Kali temple in Kolkata knows), there […]

3 tips to help you connect with youngsters in India

“Premal Uncle is a f*ng jerk. Why did you stay with him every time you visited Mumbai ? Everyone thought you were a jerk too! And come on man, what’s up with the khaki shorts all the time? You really think it’s too f*ng warm to wear jeans like the rest of us ?”. Yes, […]

How to stop faking it and start living in the real India

Not one to shy away from the occasional delusions of grandeur, Neo often gives his “we choose to move to India not because it is easy, but because it is hard” speech to the sundry relatives and friends who visit Neoville. But last weekend, instead of giving him the usual blank expression and heading towards […]

Why creepy men are good for you

Neo is grateful to the creepy man who said “Your hair smells so nice” to Mrs. Neo. And to Mrs. Neo’s next potential “arranged marriage date”, who asked her (on the phone before they had met) – “how often do you pray?”. There are those who say “if it weren’t for the arranged marriage system, […]

Would you move to the US today?

Neo is popular with the ladies (well, at least for a few minutes in every party before reality Mrs. Neo intervenes), but there is a notable exception. One of Mrs. Neo’s friends, “Sneha”, hates Neo almost as much as she hated her boyfriend at the time. The hatred erupted after an especially long whining session […]

The war for women

Feminists had it wrong all along – the Hindu moral policemen are not waging a war on women, they’re actually waging a war for women – as in literally to get women to marry them. (Neo finds it bizarrely tragic that we even need to have a label like “feminist” – how come we don’t […]

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about “unnatural sex” – from the Indian penal code

The last thing Neo wanted to do after a harrowing day at work was to read about sex with animals, or about superintendents of jails having sex with their inmates. But there really was no escape. It all started with Neo’s reputation for being an “Internet expert” in his family – his grandmother thinks Neo […]

13 ways to look like a stupid American in India

Neo was one of those lucky few who never had a “fresh off the boat” phase when he moved to the US. Any rumors about Neo walking through a Taco Bell drive-thru are completely false. (And even if he might have accidentally walked through a drive-thru, it was because he didn’t have a car, and […]

How to stop being a pseudo-intellectual and start earning respect after your move to India

Neo’s grandma is just the funniest and the most devastatingly logical person you will ever meet. During Neo’s recent vacation, when his uncle was in the middle of an interminably long soliloquy on pranayama, Neo’s grandma stopped him with “Nonsense. Claiming that using alternate nostrils is beneficial to your breathing is like claiming that eating […]

Return to India myth #2: India will feel like home after the US

Perhaps the most unsettling realization for Neo after his return to India has been this: For the rest of his life, he will almost certainly feel different from the local population – no matter where he stays in the world. Of course, “the need to feel at home” wasn’t in the list of “top 10 […]

Fighting for sports bra awareness in India

Update: It just so happens that today is National Cleavage day (hat tip: Vicki Boykis) Neo has always been a regular at the gym, in both the US and now in India. He’s the sort of obsessive-compulsive guy who has three identical sets of gym clothing, so that one can be washed while the other […]

Neo is moving back to the US

Neo thought he’ll play an April Fools day prank on his readers by announcing that he was ending his stay in India and moving back to the Bay Area. But, like any responsible blogger, Neo tests all his pranks on his hapless colleagues at work before  releasing them on his higher-valued blog readership. So he […]

Does God read this blog ?

Neo often wonders why God doesn’t use SMSes (or Google Talk) to communicate with the faithful. What could have been more effective than a well timed “Stop checking out the blonde” SMS last Sunday afternoon ? (Although the exceptionally painful jab from Mrs. Neo could only have been divinely inspired.). Before Neo’s readers think he’s […]