Thank you, Carlos Maza, for preventing Google from ever again fooling millennials with false promises of making money off YouTube videos

Google skewed page views to artificially create some YouTube millionaires to attract young content creators and new audiences. Not anymore, thanks to CNN, Carlos Maza and pressure groups.

Google employees used to hit schools, colleges and universities to encourage millennials to join YouTube and post videos. They made presentations of how young people with nothing more than a phone camera could make money off videos – money based on page views. It seemed too good to be true. Youtube also created some artificial millionaires to buttress their claims.

Why do I say that YouTube created artificial millionaires? If today YouTube can surreptitiously choke traffic (shadow banning) to right-leaning channels, then after Google’s acquisition YouTube could certainly have been driving traffic to artificially “organically” grow some channels.

Besides that, YouTube does not make money, as neither do most Google services. Except for Adsense. It is a combination of creating accounting and tax evasion. Adsense is a corporate legal fiction created in multiple tax havens that the IRS and EU tax officials have refused to look closely. Every big US multinational corporation is doing the same thing. Adsense makes just enough money within the US to float Alphabet above water while secreting most of the profits away from the IRS. Adsense is more of an Irish or Dutch company than American.

YouTube Search becomes useless, as censorship decimates discoverability

After CNN campaigned against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, advertisers asked YouTube to shadow ban channels that were too opinionated or off centre. Now, Youtube search is totally useless. Old search terms do not work. Notifications do not work. Useless videos from TV channels appear like spam in the results.

Vox Adpocalypse

Anyway, former Vox ‘journalist’ Carlos Maza waged a long crusade against a conservative YouTuber named Steven Crowder. (I put the word journalist in quotation marks because Mr. Maza says the job of a journalist is not supply the news but to censor it.)

Maza has published many openly partisan and anti-Trump videos. Crowder took him to task by giving many of his videos point-by-point rebuttals. Crowder is a comedian and he peppered his criticism with sarcastic jokes about Maza. Maza identifies himself as a ‘Marxist pig’ and has also called for violence against conservative politicians. He still took offense at Crowder’s swipes at him. Despite being a male, grownup and a ‘journalist’, he complained to Google that Crowder was bullying him. He complained to YouTube that the site was not a ‘safe space‘ for precocious man-boys like him.

YouTube reviewed Crowder’s content and found them legally safe and withing the terms of the site policy. After all, it is not Youtube’s job to protect someone from ridicule and criticism. Maza was not satisfied and went raving mad. Crowder’s channel was demonetized and censored from searches, ‘related videos’ and other places. Crowder was one of the first batch of ‘Youtube Partners’ and feels betrayed by Google.

Google-YouTube censorship deserves FTC action

Google claims it is a private company and can deal anyway it feels like with its content creators. This is not legally tenable. By making false promises and bait-switching, Google has indulged in anti-competitive and anti-consumer business practices. This invites action from Federal Trade Commission. If YouTube did not sign any agreement with its creators, it would have been legally safe but by making a contract Google has bound itself with normal business rules. It cannot indulge in censorship without proper explanation. Many class-action suits have already been filed against Youtube. One Youtuber went as far as shooting up the offices of the outfit.

Subscriptions are increasing but page views are decreasing, indicating suppression

Remember the time, when Google claimed that a programmer wrote Street Maps van code that inadverdantly collected wireless network IDs and passwords. Something similar will happen when it is discovered that Google algorithmic skewing suppressed page views to decrease payouts to content creators.

Eli, the computer guy, was another early Youtuber. He used to make lots of money from videos. He decided to become a full-time YouTube and made investment in video and studio equipment. Now, despite having nearly one million subscribers, he gets only 1000 views on all new videos. He has also been deprived of the ability to livestream videos using some unwritten rule that his channel manager in Youtube refuses to disclose to him.

There are many such YouTubers. They have millions of subscribers but their channels are not recording as many views. How can this happen? With everyday, subscribers are increasing? Shouldn’t page views similarly? Who is stealing the page views if not for Google.

These content creators have been given false promises by YouTube and now their investments have been rendered useless. They abandoned their careers and their lives have been permanently ruined.

Suppressing page views has not been enough so Youtube has simply deleted or demonetized thousands of channels. Videos that have been on YouTube for years without any problems have suddenly been demonetized. If YouTube had money like earlier, this would not happen.

The new advertiser-friendly and censorship-heavy Youtube is making less money than earlier and even lesser to share with content creators. Youtube is suppressing traffic stats across the site, irrespective of the nature of the content. Everyone is suffering from low page views. This is also a clear deceptive trade practice. They have become trapped by Google. They cannot move their business elsewhere. It is time to break up Google.

A channel with 30 million subscribers struggles to get even 1 million views per video, unless it is about India.

CNN, Maza and pressure groups have ensured that Youtube is not a profitable site for independent content creators. This is good for millennials. While many young kids say that they want to be Youtubers, once they realise how little money they can make off videos and how dramatic algorithmic changes can affect their earnings, better sense will prevail. Young people will find real stable jobs offline. Thanks, Maza. You have unwittingly done something useful in your life.

A liberal left-leaning angel of peace.


How to browse like it is 2009

Firefox has committed suicide by destroying its add-on ecosystem. Google must be very happy but not as happy as it will be when Firefox becomes a Chrome clone.

If there was a conspiracy to destroy Firefox, it must have begun when some homosexuals started campaigning for the ouster of Javascript inventor and Mozilla chief Brendan Eich for some political donations he made in his personal capacity.

After Eich left, Mozilla abandoned Gecko HTML engine and switched to a new one written in Rust. This made the vast ecosystem of Firefox add-ons incompatible with the Firefox browser.

The new HTML engine was written to support Google Chrome’s WebExtensions add-on format. The trouble was that Chrome users are technological morons. Unlike Firefox users, Chrome users do not know what add-ons are and have no use for them. They are too stupid to even change the browser home page settings and that’s how Google like its users to be.

If Firefox users are power-users, then I am a super-power-user. I worked mostly on the old Presto-based 12x Opera and rarely on Firefox. After Opera became a Chrome clone, I had to reluctantly use Firefox more than I would like. It has been several years now and I am not entirely veined off Opera but I am more reliant on Firefox.

Use CA Add-ons Archive

To force holdouts like me to switch to the new and lousy Firefox, Mozilla has cut access to the add-ons portal. When you try to install add-ons in older Firefox versions, Firefox website asks you to update to the latest version.

Fortunately, some developers have salvaged the add-ons archive and made it available to Firefox v45 using an add-on named CA Add-ons Archive. You will need to turn off the “about:config” setting “xpinstall.signatures.required” to false to enable this add-on.

WARNING: As the signature verification has been turned off, no financial transactions or other mission-critical operations should be performed in such compromised browsers.

The CA Add-ons Archive also allows you to download older versions of add-ons, not just the last one. This is very useful because I do not use v45 either but a much older version. Older versions of Firefox require older add-ons. Firefox v45 and CA Archive add-on is good just for that.

Many sites become too slow on v45. On older versions of Firefox, sites like YouTube load the older and lighter version of the site and work well with my Greasemonkey scripts.

Turn off mediastreaming

In newer versions of Firefox, mediastreaming is used to load videos. This makes it difficult to grab streaming video files. (I am unable to stream Internet videos because a group of monkeys play with my Internet connection and power supply.)

Type “about:config” in the address bar, disable the options for “mediasource” and restart. Then, my Greasemonkey scripts work.

Use a userContent.css stylesheet

In your Firefox profile directory, there has to be a chrome directory. If not, create it. Then, create a userContent.css file there to prevent ad blocks from appearing on sites that you usually visit. The ads work fine on newer browsers. On older browsers, they block the page from loading. Here is an example of the file contents.

body { background-image: none!important; } /* For all sites */
@-moz-document url-prefix( { /* Only for CNN */
  /* Don't use quotation marks for class or ID names */
  #breaking-news, section[data-zone-label="Shopping Content by CNN Underscored"] { display: none!important;

Prevent right-click capture

Some sites prevent you from using the right-click context menu. In “about:config”, disable “dom.event.contextmenu.enabled”

2020 Fresh Clean Jokes For Everyone – A book-read

300 jokes out of a total of 2600 read and commented.

I wrote and illustrated the book. I had also designed its cover. The book was already formatted to look like a real one from day one. Now, someone at a literary agency or book publisher needs to look at the book and take a decision.

I took 300 jokes out of the 2600 and printed it. (Unfortunately, no edge-to-edge printing for the cover.) I bound it and made it look like a real book. In true DIY/maker or programmer style, I created a demo video of the product (even though this is a book). It took me forever to complete the book-read and edit it. The recording did not have many words that I spoke so I removed the audio. In place of the audio, I have added subtitles for the entire length.

The jokes start at 20 minutes.

  • Part 1 – Children’s Jokes, computer jokes, cross-the-road jokes, animal jokes, physics jokes, chemistry jokes, biology jokes…
  • Part 2 – Bar jokes, blonde jokes, financial jokes…
  • Part 3 – Confucius-say jokes, ethnic jokes, political jokes…

2020 JokeBook book-read

Best of Booktube

I have been doing some research on publishing books and I found a subset of YouTube called BookTube. Here are some good videos that I found.

Snow White Reader

Booktube is populated by young college girls who read nothing but “Young Adult” novels. Hoping to turn girls into feminists, American school boards seem to have used female authors Jane Austen and Bronte sisters in the school curriculum. Many continue to read similar books. Many others move to “YA”. Almost nobody reads non-fiction. And, absolutely no humour because no humour books are being published. This girl is different.

Piera Forde

She is also film maker and actress.

Little Book Owl

This girl’s anecdote about one female author is really hilarious.

Nour Zikra

Read with Cindy

Kids say the darnedest things. Uses bad language but is frank and funny.

Xtine May

(That’s not her name.) She is funny but she is funniest when she sings.

Books and Things

I experience most of the same problems that this girl describes and I do not work in publishing.

Don’t confuse Capitalism with Fascism

High levels of student debt and political correctness propaganda in the US is driving the younger generations to Socialism.

During the recent presidential election debates in the US, several Democratic Party candidates were asked how they were going to finance their grandiose plans. I did not watch the debates but I did not think if anyone suggested scaling back the budgets of the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security. The latter is as big as the former. Why not?

Much more recently, there was a hilarious video of Democratic Socialists convention where attendees competed with each other in a game of one-upmanship as to who was most politically correct. It is hilarious but hides an important truth. More and more Americans are becoming stupid. As much as I hate Fascism that American government represents, I would hate to see lose its citizen lose faith in democracy and capitalism. The problem is many of these kids are burdened by student debt and many of the candidates are pandering to them with neo-Socialist promises.

The problem that these kids and all Americans face is not the ills of capitalism but of Fascism. In this post, I will throw some light on it.

The first non-fiction book I read was How the Soviets steal U.S. high technology. It was the 80s and this book was saying Americans helped the Soviets steal. One arm of the government tries to prevent it while the other helps it. That sort of stuff. (I think the Soviets were very interested in early Intel x86 chips. If only you knew how slow and buggy those things were! Real James Bond stuff. It seems ridiculous now.) Apparently, this has been going on for several decades, even back to the time of Hitler. Read Antony Sutton et al. Before Hitler became a bad boy, Fascism was touted as the solution to all problems. Just as Plato suggested that society should be ruled by philosophers, Fascists wanted a clique of wealthiest individuals to be in control. Even when Hitler caused widespread alarm, Fascists continued to support him.

In China, the Americans threatened and cut military aid to force the nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek to stop fighting and start negotiating with Mao Tse-tung. The “fight fight, talk talk” strategy of the Communists allowed them to regroup and take over China. Today, an ancient civilization of more than one billion people remains dispossessed of its rich history, religion, and traditions. In Cambodia, the Americans allied with their new friend China and armed the Communists led by Pol Pot. The subsequent genocide took the lives of one to two million people. Cambodia was saved by Vietnam, a Communist state opposed to the US and China, when it invaded the country and drove away Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. For many years after their ouster, US and UK continued to recognise Khmer Rouge as the official Cambodian government. The US had previously been defeated in Korea and Vietnam. This was just another defeat. Who cares? US loves war.

Fascists make more money fighting than winning. Vietnam war lasted only two decades. (A peaceful, easy life hasn’t made us happy. Perhaps it’s time to give war a chance — The Times) Good times. In Afghanistan, a country known as the graveyard of empires, the US government gave hundreds of millions as aid to Islamist fighters. The last recipient bombed two US embassies. A few years ago, one of the terror groups that received weapons from American military allies murdered the US ambassador in Libya. These terrorist groups took over the arsenal of the fallen Libyan regime and moved to hotspots like Syria. After failing to dethrone that Syria’s secular regime, many of these defeated terrorists secured asylum in Western countries. More are waiting to come.

CNN calls this $1-billion terrorism aid as “a small CIA program“.

When an Indian student wants to study abroad, he has to prove that he will eventually go back to India. A terrorist apparently has no such problem. Western governments will fast-track his papers, ensure his privacy and arrange a stipend. (UK agrees to take in some White Helmets evacuated from Syria by Israel: Jordan says it has struck deal for rescuers and families to be resettled in UK, Canada and Germany – Guardian). Western governments say they are only supporting ‘moderate’ terrorists rebels. (Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad — New York Times) I am not sure what debates these terrorists are moderating. Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS got their weapons and funds routed through military allies of predominantly Christian countries. And, when the chicken come home to roost, the Fascists blame Islam! All of these terrorists hotspots were more or less peaceful before the West intervened. Muslim countries do not need you so leave them alone. The US an the UK are the biggest sponsors of terrorism and they are the greatest threat to world peace.

US officials are involved in illegal WMD programs. There are also allegations of environmental pollution and murder coverups at more than 25 biological weapons laboratories outside the US.

In countries that they have not totally ruined, Fascists sabotage the democratic process and buy the legislators. Private businesses write laws so they can suck the life blood out of citizens. These Fascist laws and the institutions created or co-opted by these Fascist laws are the source of most problems. If healthcare, education, housing and transportation seem expensive, it is because of Fascists. If the US military withdrew from East Asia or closed down a few hundred of its foreign bases, then all Americans could get free high-quality education and healthcare.

If the State provides such services for free or with a subsidy, then that is not Socialism. People with no money or help cannot be thrown to the mercy of the market or the kindness of strangers. The State needs to provide those services. What good is the state if it cannot be the last safety net? Those who call this Socialism are not capitalists. They are Fascists. Privatising everything is Fascism. It becomes Socialism when the State makes itself the only option. If Communism is torture, then Socialism is the slow Chinese kind.

There are many articles in the press about giving war a chance.

Western Muzic of Ze 80s n 90s

Another playlist

I learned about the wonderful Rashian muzic only a few months ago. Before that I was a fan of Western music. I liked some Indian music but Western stuff definitely sounded better. After Western music companies amalgamated and started wallowing in monoculture, I rediscovered Indian music. Now, I am a fan of traditional Indian music.

In the late 80s, a 3-in-1 became our prized possessions. It was a 3-piece music system. It had a 4-band radio including FM (with stereo), 5-band graphic equalizer and a tape player/recorder. It could record from radio and microphone (and mistakenly ruin some good pre-existing recording). It was wonderful. For the first time, I paid attention to the lyrics beyond the first stanza and found that most popular Tamil movie romantic songs were actually dirty songs. We also had to cassettes. One had the best Hindi film music from the 70s and 80s and the other one was titled “Disco 88”. The inlay card was handwritten and much of it is illegible. Here is what I could salvage:

  • Charleene – Needles And Pins
  • Elisa Fiorillo – You Dont Know
  • G M – Dont Let You Down
  • Lady D – Imagination
  • Morgana – Come Back To Me
  • OMD – Dreaming
  • Ottawan – Hands Up, Baby, Hands Up
  • Paul Rein – Eye To Eye
  • Ross – Don’t Stop
  • Sandra – Stop For A Minute
  • Sinery – Don’t You Ever Run Away
  • Stacey Q – Good Girl
  • Tina Charles – Take All Of Me
  • Billy Ocean – Gett outta of my ears and get into my car

My favorite is Needles and Pins. Several people have tried to sing this song but Charleene’s (whoever she is) is the best. The other great is Don’t Stop. All of these songs are imprinted in my mind as I have heard them a million times. At that time, there was no FM. If you did not want local stations on MW, you could listen to SW. Sri Lanka broadcast the latest Tamil and Malayalam songs and was a favorite. Australia Broadcasting Corporation had the best sound, even better than Voice of America (VOA). The Americans had a transmitter in Triconamalee in Sri Lanka but their broadcast reception was … what’s the four-letter word to describe it? It was clear that the Americans were interested in a different kind of radio and the Indian military had good reason to be angry with them.

One day, the FM band crackled with some music. All India Radio began test broadcasts of one-hour programs and then all-day transmissions. It was bliss. Hours and hours of good Indian and Western music. Even the Indian music was good because of the FM-quality sound. The only type of music I did not like was rock music. They had no tune and the lyrics were unintelligible. Prior to this, my only other exposure to Western music was Madonna and her album True Blue. For a long time, Madonna was the most beautiful woman in the world for me. (This changed to Jessica Lange and many others after movies of Touchstone Pictures began playing late at night on DoorDarshan.) DoorDarshan had some relationship with a German TV company by the name “Transtel”. Thanks to TransTel, I saw a lot of disco pop in a program called EuroPop.

The good times on the FM band lasted a few years. AIR was asked to lease its air time on the FM band to private producers and this brought in good and bad. There was one MTV VJ (Nikhil Chinapaa) who appeared on Chennai FM before he went to MTV. The pretty heroine from the Kamal movie Guna was a DJ on AIR before she became an actress. (She was not very good as a DJ.)

In the 90s, MTV made its appearance first on DoorDarshan and then as an independent channel. I saw a lot of music videos. My hairstyle was Keanu Reeves but my moustache was George Michael. I knew more about American pop artists more than I did about Indian artists, pop or classical. So, here is my playlist.

  • Everything but the girl – “Missing”: I listened and listened to hours and hours of countdowns just to catch this on FM.
  • Jennifer Rush – “The Power Of Love”: Before Celine Dion made the song popular with the movie Titanic, it was Jennifer Rush’s song.
  • Freddy Mercury – “Queen”: This song had the best sound on FM. The audio would pan from left to right and drive you crazy.
  • Cher – “Believe”
  • Gloria Estefan – “Rhythm’s gonna a get you”: This and the previous song did something to your brain.
  • KD Lange – “Constant Craving”
  • No Doubt – “Don’t Speak”
  • Amy Grant – “Baby Baby”: She won a grammy for this and she brought her baby to the stage.
  • Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start the Fire”: It spans news items over a few decades.
  • Crash Test Dummies – “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”: From the movie Dumb and Dumber with Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey
  • Enya – “Only Time” and “Orinoco Flow”: This is the real trance music.
  • Janet Jackson – “Runaway”: Fantastic visuals of Janet jumping to various places on earth.
  • Joe Dolce – “Shaddap you face”: This was on Eurpop. Joe wrote the lyrics on a board and asked the audience to sing along. It seems to have been a big hit world over.
  • Los del – Rio Macarena: This song from Brazil has everything.
  • Madonna – “La Isla Bonita” and “Rain”: Rain is the best Madonna song ever. She is now crazy.
  • MC Hammer – “U Can’t Touch This”: I am not a fan of rap music but this is the best.
  • Missing Persons – I saw this band recently in the movie Lunch Wagon. It is another evidence that the 80s were the best time for music. Their kind of music was known as New Wave. The lead singer is very beautiful. The drums is great. The keyboard is great. The whole ensemble is just fantastic. Mental Hopscotch song from the movie got me hooked on to them. Surrender You Heart and Words are other great songs on their list.
  • Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
  • Seal – “Kiss From A Rose”: From the movie Batman.
  • Shakira – “Whenever Wherever”: Columbian hearthrob!
  • Shania Twain – “From This Moment On”, “Ka Ching”, “Man I Feel Like A Woman”, “That Don’t Impress Me Much”: Another most beautiful woman in the world.
  • Snow – Informer: From FM.
  • Spice Girls – “Mama”, “Say-You-ll-Be-There”, “Spice-Up-Your-Life”, “Stop”, “Viva Forever”, “Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are”: The all-girl band wore skimpy clothes but had the most number of consistently good quality tunes. Good times don’t last and they broke up.
  • The Cardigans – “Lovefool”
  • Vanilla – Ice-Ice-Ice-Baby: Just one small segment of their song made it a world-wide hit.
  • Whitney Houston – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”: She won a grammy for this.
  • I also bought the greatest hits cassettes of Shania Twain, George Michael and Spice Girls. It is sad that George Michael and Whitney Houston died.

#2020JokeBook: 2020 + 400 jokes complete, name changed, front cover ready

Currently, I am illustrating the book.

I changed Annexure 3 to ‘About the author’. The ‘hot’ political jokes have been eliminated. The political correctness problem has had one good effect. I have now divided the book into three parts – For Kids, For Adults and For Intellectuals. The last part has the political content. Total number of such jokes should be less than 20.

I added an Annexure 4 containing acknowledgements. For the blonde jokes, I had planned to use Linda Evangelista. My B/W image is not really a cartoon but a photograph outline. I changed her hair to white make her look as a blonde for the blonde jokes section. Some people say that such outlines are not original works. I can dispute that but do not want the hassle. Now, Donald Trump has taken the place of the blonde. For the Latin jokes section, I took the outline of Crisaide Mendes but her face is empty. So, no copyright problem there. Her feet came from a photo of another person. Her hands had to be constructed out of my imagination.

Name Changed

The “mint-fresh” part was problematic. What if someone claims it is not all mint-fresh? Some of the stuff that I have written is so profound and over the top in quality that I have doubts that I came up with it. I am great but not that great. Or, am I? What if I read them somewhere and then thought that I came up with it? A man’s imagination and memory can play tricks. I did not want to take changes. I changed it to “Fresh Clean”. A few jokes are what I had heard in the 80s. They have been “re-freshed” now. They are fresh now, but not mint-fresh. They are like fresh from the fridge.

New Cover

#2020 #Jokebook – Confucius say #jokes added – 2220 jokes complete

Only 200 more jokes to reach target

I decided not to have the Indian edition. All problematic jokes have been moved to Annexure 3, which will not be published. Annexure 1 contains my vintage radio shows article so that readers will be able to relate to the blonde writer jokes. Blonde writer is based on Archie of Duffy’s Tavern radio show. Annexure 2 has a few of the popular Annaiyum-Urumbum jokes, which are the basis for my Elephant-and-Ant Jokes.

I wrote lots of new Off-The-Wall Philosopher jokes. It contains a lot of thought-provoking ideas couched in humour. I also created a new section called ‘Confucius say jokes’, based on Zookie of Mel Blanc Show. Mel Blanc Show is featured in Annexure 1. Most ‘Confucius say jokes’ on the Net are dirty jokes. I did not take that route.

I don’t know if I came up with this or I read it somewhere . I included it even though there is no humour in it other than the fact that it rhymes.

Political jokes section has jokes use politically correct names for non-political things.

Dear Vegans, stop eating like a cow!

Three simple changes that will help your new ‘vegan’ lifestyles.

For Indians, the term ‘vegan’ is new. While vegetarianism has been there in India forever, veganism seems to be a Western concept. Vegans are like Indian vegetarians but they do not consume any animal products, not just living creatures. This means they avoid dairy products, honey, eggs, fur clothing, and even leather products. (No, I am not implying that Westerners eat fur or leather.) In his book My Experiments With Truth, MK Gandhi also expressed his frustration with being unable to avoid diary products.

Recently, I saw a video of an American woman making ‘chili’ using her mother’s ‘secret recipe’. (I wanted to know what Johnny Bravo meant by chili, which is different from chilli.) Throughout the entire video, she used took one ingredient after another from a store-bought sealed package or bottle. Everything seems to be packaged in the West. Not one item seemed to have come whole from a vegetable store.

When vegans embark on a journey of animal-free diet, they repeat the same mistake as before – they continue to leave behind a trail of plastic packaging. This is wasteful and not making a difference to the environment. All their vegan meals lack one important item. Another mistake they make is to find alternatives for everything they used to eat. The worst among these is soy milk, taken in place of cow milk.

India has been vegetarian for millennia. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, Western vegans should learn Indian recipes.

  1. Stop eating like a cow: Raw foods are great but only if taken in proportion. The human alimentary canal has adapted/evolved over millennia to cooked food that is soft and easily digestible. Cows have many stomachs because cellulose is difficult to digest and is only partially digested. Humans have only one stomach. So, vegans, please cook your food. You are putting too much strain on your system by trying to eat everything raw. Yes, you can survive that way but do you have to? Raw foods are not making you feel better. It is the absence of processed foods that caused the change. You have crossed over to the other side. Well done, so far. Why not make it comfortable too?
  2. Make rice or roti (wheat) as the staple diet: If you try to eat just fruits and vegetables, it will cost a lot. It is also not a well-balanced diet. Unlike starchy foods, fruits and vegetables will not give you slow-release energy that you will need throughout the day. Cereals like rice and wheat are ideal carbohydrate-rich foods. Carbs should form the bulk of your diet. Even non-vegetarian Indians follow this principle. Meat, fish and eggs are always side-dishes for them. Wheat flour needs to kneaded before being ready for making roti. But, rice is simple. Boil it, drain the excess water, and it is ready. So, I would suggest to vegans that they go with rice. (You can however eat roti or chappathi without any side dishes.) This part of your meal remains the same. The side dishes change with each meal. Rice is taste-less and requires side dishes or further preparation. An Indian family of four will typically buy a sack of rice and it will last them for more than a month. I have a rice-based food recipe on my website with which you cook the rice, vegetables and spices at the same time. The meal is ready-to-eat when the pressure cooker cools off. South India has rich and varied cooking recipes with rice as the base. So, just switch over to South-Indian cooking and you will have a much more healthier and satisfying vegan diet. And, you will have enough energy to last an entire day. If you have an Indian friend, go for shopping with him/her and get the basic ingredients required for making Indian recipes. Indian cooking uses a lot of spices but only a few of them are hot. I have an online playlist of useful videos for vegans to embark on this journey.
  3. Stop looking for vegan alternatives: Indian foods are extremely rich and varied to suit every taste. Do not go for vegan substitutes for things you used to eat. It will only increase your craving for the real stuff. Branch out. Enter the world of Indian sweets, savories, pickles, and drinks. (However, I would draw the line at chewing paan or drinking desi brew. Never go fully native, as Diedrich Bader did in Outsourced. Never go full retard. We also have bad habits, get rich-people diseases, suffer a lot and die prematurely.) You will be spoilt for choice. And, it is all stuff you can make at home. It will be cheaper and less of a hassle.

How to eat Indian meals

Indian meals are usually based around rice or roti (chappathi or naan). Learn to break off a piece of roti with just one hand – your right hand. Don’t use both hands and freak everyone out. You take one piece of the roti, fold it into two, near-drop it over some side dish, grab a bit of the dish into that fold and then stick the stuffed roll in your mouth. You will burn your esophagus. With rice, you mix sambar, kozhambu, rasam or curds (in that order but not together) into the rice. Then, you take dollops of vegetable side dishes (poriyal, kootu, chutney, pickle, appalam/puppadum) on the mixed rice, pick a handful and drop it in your mouth. Some items like cloves and curry leaves are used in cooking. You are not supposed to eat them. You leave them in a corner of your plate for these ingredients. (You can also drop off pieces of chilly there if you find them. Hot stuff is usually balanced off with curd. If you eat too many chilly pieces, you may go down with the stomach bug. This will not give you any immunity because it is caused by an intestinal irritant.) They have been added only for the aroma and/or their digestive/medicinal/preservative properties, not for their taste. Onion rings are usually offered with non-vegetarian meals to aid in digestion. Don’t drink curry or some side dish as if it were soup or porridge. If it is a non-vegetarian curry, some amount of oil will be floating over contents. Mix it up with a spoon or your finger. Payasam, buttermilk, and other semi-solid stuff can be taken like coffee or tea. Sweets are consumed last. Breakfast dishes like idly and dosa have to be consumed in a slightly different style but you will easily figure that out.

India Travel Advisory

For Westerners who come to India

I hate it when foreigners come to India and diss about it for being poor. India is a rich country. It is the people who are poor. We have been independent for only a few decades but we have remained a democracy. The US was a democracy for over 200 years but it went through a civil war and gave women the vote only in 1920.

Many Westerners come to India and the experience leaves them shocked. From news journalists to TV documentary makers, there is no dearth of people willing to exploit the image of a dirty poor miserable shocking India. Every year, Western and Indian photographers descend on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi to photograph ash-covered sadhus because Western news publications are never tired of publishing such photos. Most Indians do not even know these people but somehow these sadhus have become our unwanted brand ambassadors.

In the age of the Internet, a lot of kids armed with selfie sticks are giving the same old spots 360° coverage. When will this stop?

It is as if foreigners will never learn how big or varied India is. If you are coming to India, it is always better to know in advance what to expect and what not to. Whatever you think of India after that is an informed opinion. We are guilty as charged. Otherwise, you are just annoying.

  • The ‘foreigner’ tag: If you are from the West, then this is how we know you. There is no malice intended. We have no other word to adequately describe you until we know which country you are from. Usually, it saves a lot of explanation. There is an online video channel by a British-South African expatriate who walks around Chinese streets and acts offended when amused kids on the street call him out as a ‘foreigner’ to their friends. As if to correct them, he usually responds with an annoyed “Hello, Chinese person.” I am not particularly happy with this situation either. When people from India’s North-East visit the other places in India, sometimes they get called ‘Chinese’. People are ignorant so do not get offended. It can happen to anyone. Indians are a very welcoming people and we treat our guests with great respect.
  • Everyone is ‘looking’ at you: A strange-looking stranger in a strange land will get strange looks. A 6-foot-plus WWE wrestler came to India and he was so overwhelmed by the crowds here that he left the country as quickly as he could. There are many unfunny online videos of tourists, Western women particularly, who get so unnerved that they visibly start crying over their selfie sticks. Every day, thousands of people are coming to cities from rural areas and they have not seen a foreigner in their life. In some areas, you are what a traveling carnival is to a kid. Most of these problems can be eliminated simply by changing your dressing style or by sticking to the usual stomping grounds for tourists.
  • Where have all the women gone? Men are leering at me!: Major Indian railway stations are not located in the best foreign tourist-friendly locations. These stations are very big transportation hubs. That is, the areas around such a railway station is mostly used by people who ship all kinds of products to various places in that state and abroad. When we get out of such a station, we quickly take a vehicle out to our residential area. We do not stick around in the Indian equivalent of a commercial district. People who you find around big train stations are all men because they are either traders or transporters. The traders are busy people and they will not even look at you whoever you are. The transporters are not real transporters but carriers. They are all men because they have to do the back-breaking work of transporting heavy stuff through narrow alleyways and cavernous stairs. When you go there with a selfie stick, these men are thinking, “What is this idiotic woman doing here? Why doesn’t she go to the usual tourist places?”
  • Your ‘hotel’ is not good?: When we travel to a new city, we usually stay in a relative’s or friend’s place. We do not have a culture of staying at lodges or hotels. India does have lodges and hotels but this business is totally ‘unregulated’. This means that there is no basic standard. The quality, hygiene and safety of these places depends entirely on the fares. You should not go to the cheapest place and expect it have basic standards. It is cheap because they have no standards. If you want standards, you need to pay a little more at a better establishment.
  • Carry toilet paper everywhere: India manufactures everything and you can buy almost all household goods in any city or town, big or small. Except the toilet paper. Not all shops stock it. If you are travelling to unknown places, carry one roll with you. One for each person. We do not mess around with paper. It is disgusting to use just paper. Learn to use water or else carry a toilet roll. Before you decide to stay at a place, ask if the room has a toilet with a water jet. The water jet is a fantastic thing. If you use it once, you will never go back to paper. This is the hygienic way. It is the greatest invention since indoor plumbing. If you cannot get the water gun, get a bidet add-on kit.

    Asians do not understand why Westerners have the bath and the toilet in the same room. Westerners even have the medicine cabinet and drinking water tap there. This is very revolting. In Indian homes, the toilet and bathroom are separate. Do not take your toothbrush and go to a toilet. In lodges/hotels, the bath and toilet are in the same room because real estate is expensive.

    Our streets may be dirty but our homes are always clean. We do not bring the footwear into our homes. We leave it outside. In many English-language movies and TV programmes, we see foreigners touching the toilet seat, puking over it, sobbing over it and (in one movie) even washing the hair! It is not a piece of furniture! Do not touch toilet surfaces even if it is your home. Squat toilets are the natural way of emptying the bowels. And, you will not be picking up germs from previous performers.
  • Wear a saree properly: If you decide to wear a saree, learn it to do it carefully. When Western women wear sarees, they walk like men. I do not know if Indian women walk differently but it looks really funny when foreigners do it. If you want to wear a more convenient Indian attire, then there is the modern churidhar. It comes in all kinds of fashions and sizes. If you still feel intimidated by the presence of men on the street, then throw its duppatta around your head like Benazir Bhutto. You will become invisible. It is the greatest disguise in the world. No, it is not cultural appropriation if you wear Indian clothes. Wear them whenever you want when you go back. Indians are always happy when foreigners use Indian stuff abroad. The Chinese also feel the same way. So do all normal people in the world. Do not listen to morons.
  • Get an idea of India’s foreign exchange rate: Under pressure from IMF and World Bank, one US dollar buys 68 Indian rupees. With 68 rupees, you can buy meals for two or three people. If you are a student with only the money made from waiting tables, then hitch-hiking in Europe will be a happier option. If not, you will be hunting for the cheapest option available for everything and India will disappoint you. When you buy stuff, you will find everything cheap. India is great for that kind of shopping. But, when you stay at a place, do not skimp on class or comfort.
  • Stomach bug: Foreign tourists are often advised to drink only from water bottles because tap water is unreliable. This is because sewerage lines and drinking water lines often run side-by-side to each other. Several illegal connections are made to these lines and the pilferers leave behind leaks. This results in contamination of water. In urban areas, people use tap water only for cleaning purposes. Drinking water is usually boiled before drinking. Others have immunity to survive anything. If you stay for several days in India, it is quite possible that you will go down with a stomach bug. It will not kill you but after a few days of it you will have lifelong immunity. Nevertheless, always carry a water bottle with you or drink only boiled water. Get a water filter if you stay for more than a few weeks. Chlorination of water is an exact science and you are most likely to overshoot the mark and kill useful gut bacteria required for digestion.
  • Tender Coconut Water: If you end up consuming something questionable, you can usually fix it by drinking two tender coconuts – the water-rich ones, not the fleshy sweet ones. This will fix most cases of food poisoning. However, it also increases 1 and 2 urgency so be ready for it. Apparently, this also clears UTIs.
  • Fried or boiled, not raw: When you are at home (in your home country), you should try to eat more raw foods. When you are traveling (in any foreign country), you should only eat food that is fried or boiled. Being sick while traveling is extremely stressful for everyone and is not worth the risk.
  • Rice or roti: Indian meals are usually based around rice or roti (chappathi or naan). Learn to break off a piece of roti with just one hand – your right hand. Don’t use both hands and freak everyone out. You take one piece of the roti, fold it into two, near-drop it over some side dish, grab a bit of the dish into that fold and then stick the stuffed roll in your mouth. You will burn your esophagus. With rice, you mix sambar, kozhambu, rasam or curds (in that order but not together) into the rice. Then, you take dollops of vegetable side dishes (poriyal, kootu, chutney, pickle, appalam/puppadum) on the mixed rice, pick a handful and drop it in your mouth. Some items like cloves and curry leaves are used in cooking. You are not supposed to eat them. You leave them in a corner of your plate for these ingredients. (You can also drop off pieces of chilly there if you find them. Hot stuff is usually balanced off with curd. If you eat too many chilly pieces, you may go down with the stomach bug. This will not give you any immunity because it is caused by an intestinal irritant.) They have been added only for the aroma and/or their digestive/medicinal/preservative properties, not for their taste. Onion rings are usually offered with non-vegetarian meals to aid in digestion. Don’t drink curry or some side dish as if it were soup or porridge. If it is a non-vegetarian curry, some amount of oil will be floating over contents. Mix it up with a spoon or your finger. Payasam, buttermilk, and other semi-solid stuff can be taken like coffee or tea. Sweets are consumed last. Breakfast dishes like idly and dosa have to be consumed in a slightly different style but you will easily figure that out.