Tips for preparing your phone before an international trip

In the past we at GaramChai.com reviewed phone calling plans, and Voice over Internet (VOIP) services. An increasing number of Americans continue to travel across the globe for business and to visit foreign lands.

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The Wired magazine has an interesting feature that highlights ways “to prep your phone for International travel” 

The Wired article assumes that you have a smartphone at your disposal. Given the fact that smartphones are cheap – many startups are selling smartphones for undeer $100 – this is perhaps a valid assumption.

The tips are timely and easy to follow:

Level 1: Go Wi-Fi Only – Good news: You can go “off the grid” and still update your feeds by using your phone in Wi-Fi mode. Just toggle off cellular data or leave your phone in airplane mode from the moment you board the plane.  This is a very practical tip for a couple of reasons

  1. Wi-Fi has become commonplace and pervasive across the globe. When you travel to any major metro across the world you are bound to find cheap or Free wi-fi service at hotels, restaurants, malls and offices.
  2. Thanks to services like Whatsup and other VOIP chat software, high-speed Wifi can be used to for voice calling and you don’t need a data and voice plan during the trip!

Level 2: Take Your American Plan Abroad – “If you need better connectivity to, say, hail a Lyft from the Acropolis, simply add a global package to your current service. It’s shockingly easy. For example, AT&T offers a service called Passport, which gets you 200 MB of data and unlimited texting in more than 200 countries for just $40 tacked onto your current monthly plan. (Calls abroad still cost a buck a minute, so talk quickly.) Verizon offers a similar service, Travel Pass, that costs $5 a day to extend your plan to Mexico and Canada and $10 per day for service in more than 100 other countries.

Tip: One thing to keep in mind with a plan that you can easily run out of bandwidth or data plans while traveling. Use this service with caution; or be willing to shell out the big bucks.

Level 3: Talk Like the Locals: Flexing that unlimited vacation policy and staying abroad for more than a week or two? Consider replacing your SIM card and using a local service provider. First, make sure your phone is unlocked. You can do this by swapping your SIM card for another one and confirming that your phone still works, or simply calling your service provider. The FCC requires that providers unlock all devices so you can use them on any network, so simply ask your provider for an unlock code.

Power Up: Luckily, almost all smartphones will work plugged into outlets between 100 volts and 240 volts, so you probably don’t need a voltage converter to charge your phone. However, you will need a phone adapter plug.

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Indian Student shot dead in California, Sushma Swaraj seeks report.

Image of the victim, Dharampreet Singh Jassar, posted on Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

 An Indian student, Dharampreet Singh Jassar was shot dead by four armed robbers at a grocery store in the US state of California.

Jassar was shot by one of the four robbers while they were leaving the service station after looting cash and goods.  At this point officials suspect robbery was the motive and ruled out hate crime.

One of the four robbers who has been arrested was a person of Indian Origin, Armitraj Singh Athwal.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has confirmed that Indian Government was following up and tweeted:

Links to articles about the incident:

 

 

 

 

NRI from Gujarat killed in a shootout at his strip club in North Carolina

A non-resident Indian (NRI) with roots in Gujarat was brutally killed in a shooting in the United States. Forty year old Akash Talati had shifted to US a decade ago. He was running a motel that housed a strip club in  Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, fire and candles

Talati was the owner of  the Diamondz Gentlemen’s Club and was apparently killed in a shootout that resulted from an altercation between the club’s security guards and a patron, who was thrown out.

According to the family, some unidentified assailants had entered the motel with the motive to carry out a loot.“When Akash tried to intervene, the assailants opened firing inside the motel leaving three other employees in the motel injured. Akash died on the spot. After the police reached there, the injured were shifted to hospital where condition of one employee is still critical.”

According to Detective J Littlejohn of Fayetteville Police, the shootout took place around 1.30 am on Saturday, local time at Fayetteville, when Talati was present inside the club. Littlejohn said, “The incident was a result of a verbal exchange between the security guards hired by Talati and a patron, who was asked to leave the club due to his behaviour. He was upset about being asked to go, there was an argument and he opened fire. Talati was shot from close range and died on the spot, while three other employees were injured.”

Littlejohn said no other Indian was injured, while one of the injured is critical. Probe is on to identify the accused, officials said.

Akash is survived by wife Mital, who hails from Surat and eight-year-old son Jay. His last Facebook post, hours before his death, read, “Life is too short for fake connections.”

Other articles about this incident:

 

NRI billionaire living in Saudi Arabia to contest elections in India

We have been reviewing questions like “How can I participate in Indian politics being an NRI?”? (blog) . 

Many Indian-Citizen NRIs participate indirectly in Indian politics by the use of social media. Some NRIs actively participate on overseas chapters of political organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS),? Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.

Some NRIs are eagerly awaiting the opportunity for clarity on regulations around proxy voting for elections in India (link). Now comes an interesting news about an NRI billionaire living in Saudi Arabia planning to contest elections in Himachal Pradesh.

Prakash Rana, a billionaire living in Saudi Arabia, has filed his nomination as an independent candidate for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh elections. Rana is so certain of his ‘win’ that he sees no competitor against him. Rana will be contesting in the Vidhan Sabha polls from Joginder Nagar constituency in Mandi district, according to ANI.

Is this yet another Return To India trend we are likely to see? More NRIs returning to contest in Indian Elections.


Articles on the topic

This Saudi based billionaire Prakash Rana will contest Himachal Pradesh assembly elections; see his mind-blowing house, helipad – Financial Express

Luxury life of Himachal by-poll’s candidate Prakash Rana – Daily Post

Himachal elections 2017: Prakash Rana, Saudi Arabia billionaire files nomination as independent candidate – Free Press Journal

Questions on Adoption from the Gut-wrenching end to the Sherin Mathews saga

Americans and Indian Americans alike have been following the saga of Sherin Mathews, the sweet baby girl, that went missing from the home of her adopted parents in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Today, the media is reporting that

Police have found a body in the search for a three-year-old girl who went missing after her father reportedly sent her out of the house at 3am as a punishment.

Sherin Mathews has been missing since October 7 after being left in an alley by her home in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to finish her milk.

Police said the remains of a child had been found yesterday in a tunnel around half a mile from the family’s home. Officers said the body was “most likely” that of the missing toddler and efforts to officially identify it are underway today.

Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since October 7 CREDIT: RICHARDSON TEXAS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Wesley Mathews a native of Kerala in India and his wife Sini adopted the toddler’s from India. She was reportedly malnourished when the Mathews adopted her and police suspect that the little girl also had disabilities, which made it difficult for her to communicate. The three-year-old was last seen when her father reportedly took her outside at 3 AM and made her stand near a tree behind the family’s house as a type of punishment for not drinking milk.

Sherin Mathews saga does not end here, but rather raises more questions:

  • About parenting: The area behind the house is wooded and infested with wild coyotes.  What would possess a parent to leave a three-year-old near the house at 3 AM “as a type of punishment for not drinking milk” ?
  • About adoption: Adopting a child is hard enough (link). Will stories like this make it harder for innocent parents to adopt children from abroad?
  • About Indian-Americans: Incidents like these throw a spotlight on the South-Asian, Indian-American and NRI community. Not all the media attention will be positive.

 

Links:

Check out our earlier blog  NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

GaramChai.com – Adoption, Adopting, children and Indian Social Links

Dallas News: Missing Richardson girl was dumped in bushes before adoption brought orphan to U.S.

Indian Express: Adopted Indian girl missing in US: Police recovers a body in tunnel, ‘most likely’ to be of Sherin Mathews

Blasting news: Grandparents, adoption agency in India speak of Texas toddler Sherin Mathews

 

The top Indian cities for NRIs to invest

Investing in Real Estate in India is a topic of perennial interest to NRIs. We frequently review NRI investment opportunities and ideas on this blog. A few recent blogs include:

Continuing the series, here is an extract from a recent article in The Hindu

Image: The Hindu

Indian real estate has always drawn the attention of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) simply because it is their country of origin.Indian real estate has always drawn the attention of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) simply because it is their country of origin.

Investing in realty, however, can be a little trickier when the buyer isn’t physically present. Although a lot of recent technological advancement such as virtual and augmented reality has made property buying simpler for NRIs, choosing the right city and location for the investment still requires considerable research before committing.
If you are an NRI looking for options to invest in Indian real estate, here are a few cities you could consider.

Mumbai – This bustling city continues to grow exponentially and due to this sole reason growth in peripheral areas is expected to be significant.

Hyderabad – Hyderabad is fast becoming the major IT hub in the country.

Bangalore – Bangalore continues to be a draw for IT/ITES employees with its pleasant weather and steady real estate market. Social infrastructure in the city is growing, and connectivity will reach greater levels with the completion of the next phase of the Metro system.

Chennai – Chennai realty is considered a safe investment simply because of the fact that there’s continuing demand for homes driven by the impressive industrial mix including technology, automobile, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. Areas in the southern part of the city are touted to be fast growing.


 

You may also be interested in the GaramChai.com section on Realtors 

Grand, Green Diwali around the world this year !

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and recently Sindh Province in Pakistan.

In the years past, American President Obama made a point of wishing Indians and the Indian-American community for Diwali (link). Last year, ‘candidate’ Donald Trump’s Daughter, Ivanka celebrated Diwali at a Hindu Temple (link). The Trump administration looks set for ‘grand’ Diwali celebrations (link).

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Image from The Hindu

 

The grand Indian festival of Diwali is traditionally associated with noise and din of firecrackers, sometimes in excesses.  As we approach Diwali this year – scheduled to fall on Thursday, October 19 – there is a lot of hype over ‘Green Diwali’

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Image: Wikipedia

The Indian Supreme Court set the ball rolling by banning fireworks in Delhi ahead of the festival this year. “Let’s try at least one Diwali without firecrackers,” said one judge as the court announced the order Monday. According to BBC

“The court said it wanted to test if banning fireworks would make a difference to Delhi’s air quality, ranked among the worst in the world. The ban on the sale and distribution of firecrackers will last until 1 November. Diwali falls on 18 October.”

Even school students are jumping onto ‘Green Diwali:’ The students of Sant Isher Singh Public School on Monday took out a rally. Principal Inderjeet Kaur Sandhu flagged the rally which commenced from the premises of the school. (TOI).

Supreme court’s directive is not without controversy as a Voice of America article describes

The order has raised a firestorm in the city of about 18 million as it gears up for Diwali on October 19. Complaining that the order strikes at the heart of a quintessential Hindu tradition, critics compared it to banning Christmas trees on Christmas. Jubilant supporters pointed out that the top priority is the health of citizens in a city where the air turns toxic at this time of the year because of slower winds and colder temperatures that trap more pollution.

 


Check out GaramChai.com ‘s feature on  Diwali in North American and around the globe.