Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Taj Mahal: How To Mow the Lawn

I remember seeing dozens of people on the ground in Beijing cutting the grass with scissors. Also in Mysore, on the grounds of Tipu Sultan's Palace. Definitely a solution to unemployment when there is no shortage of manual labor. But who do you call to do the groundskeeping at a World Cultural Heritage Site, like Shah Jahan's famous "teardrop"in Agra? Cattle? Cows? Bullocks! Yes, bullocks! Not exactly "horsepower," but why be so ethnocentric in our language use? The men on the side were there to pick up the fresh cuttings and pile them into the cart. You can see this in stunning pseudo-3-D in the "Better Anaglyphs 3" Album (you will need your red-blue glasses, of course). For mortals, here is the original 2-D image. It is real,not "Photoshopped." Who could make up something like this? Only in India, where a new verse to the national anthem could begin with the words, "Expect the Unexpected." By the way, after you have seen Slumdog Millionaire, get "Loins of Punjab Presents," a much funnier and less nauseating tale of talent on the rise. THEN, get a copy of Outsourced from Netlix and watch it for a glimpse of our global future. Our President is preparing us for the worst. Start learning a useful language: Hindi, maybe, but Kannada, Tamil, Mandarin perhaps but Cantonese may be better. Who knows? I am considering the establishment of a voice-coaching school so that folks in the U.S. can learn "Hinglish" and be prepared to help consumers on the other end of the line, when this sort of work becomes more available here. What's with this Americanization crap in the international call centers? But I need to do this fast before the work ends up in Vietnam, or, dare I say it? North Korea? (stranger things have happened)