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Topic: Things I've Gotten Used to in India (or NOT)< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 08 2003, 10:08 am  Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

This one will be a fun post. There are MANY things that were new to me last summer when I arrived that I now take for granted. So, I am having to re-trace my year to come up with many of these. Most things listed here, you will notice don't bother me anymore.

I HAVE gotten used to power cuts.

I HAVE gotten used to slower internet.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to power cuts when I have almost finished typing a long passage (like these storytelling posts) on the slow internet when there is a power cut.

I HAVE gotten used to waiting for an hour for a telephone line outside Leh to clear.

I HAVE gotten used to sticking my head under a cold-water faucet on my bathroom wall to wash my hair.

I HAVE gotten used to using an illegal coil water heater to wash my hair when it was winter and the cold water faucet was turned off.

I HAVE gotten used to hiding that illegal coil at the times the power company paid visits to check on such matters.

I HAVE gotten used to carrying buckets of water several hundred yards in winter when the water is turned off.

I HAVE gotten used to "shaving" with a small backpacking scissors on my neck and cheeks.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to having to put up a bedsheet on the ceiling when it rains so that all the leaks go to one point, under which there is a bucket.

I HAVE gotten used to hard beds and mattresses.

I HAVE gotten used to using a rock-hard pillow.

I HAVE gotten used to having a maid cook for me 3 times a day.

I HAVE gotten used to her boring, too-spicy, repetitive meals (she knows 4 dishes well - when she does something new and I compliment her, I knew dinner would be the same the next 3 nights.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to her unannounced absenses.

I HAVE gotten used to having silverfish in the house. They eat book paper and cloth.

I HAVE gotten used to bedbugs.

I HAVE gotten used to moths everywhere at night.

I HAVE gotten used to walking everywhere to get things done.

I HAVE gotten used to living at 11,500 feet for months at a time and trekking higher from that altitude.

I HAVE gotten used to hearing all sorts of mouth and body sounds from both men and women. I'd always have to look to see which sex was coughing up a gob to spit.

I HAVE gotten used to men urinating in public.

I HAVE gotten used to myself urinating in public. I've simply GOT to break this habit.

I HAVE gotten used to the smell of urine along certain walls.

I HAVE gotten used to belching.

I HAVE gotten used to men grabbing themselves like baseball players in America.

I HAVE gotten used to men or women squatting in fields in the villages.

I HAVE gotten used to squat toilets.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to cleansing myself with the left hand and water rather than TP.

I HAVE gotten used to doing the "Farmer's Blow."

I HAVE gotten used to there being no queues or lines at banks, post office, airports, bus stations, etc.

I HAVE gotten used to people cutting in front of me without excusing themselves.

I HAVE gotten used to people sitting on my foot for an hour at a cultural event.

I HAVE gotten used to LONG programs at cultural events.

I HAVE gotten used to Ladakhi vaudeville.

I HAVE gotten used to the different music here.

I HAVE gotten used to everyone wearing long sleeves and pants here no matter the weather. In fact, they wear the same things year-round.

I HAVE gotten used to men holding hands with men and women holding hands with women.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to tourists that have a man holding hands with a woman. That looks out of place to me now and strange.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to tourists' insensitivity regarding hair and clothing styles in this culture. Ladakhi's are too polite to say anything when embarrassed.

I HAVE gotten used to black tea.

I HAVE gotten used to lemon tea.

I HAVE gotten used to milk tea.

I HAVE gotten used to salt/butter tea (yes even that).

I HAVE NOT gotten used to tea that is too hot to drink. It is my theory that the reason that Indians can eat such spicy-hot food is that their taste buds are burnt off by the tea. I let mine sit for 10 minutes to preserve my tongue and lips.

I HAVE gotten used to spicy food.

I HAVE gotten used to eating only with my hands, primarily the right (clean) hand. I suppose I'll have to break this habit too.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to having tea before a meal, and then nothing WITH the meal to wash it down, except sometimes hot water.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to local "chang" beer.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to "pickles" which are actually hot/spicy chilis.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to having to use my fingers to pick out bits of mutton from a dish, soup, mouth, or you name it.

I HAVE gotten used to Kashmiri food.

I HAVE gotten used to Ladakhi food.

I HAVE gotten used to Indian food, in general.

I HAVE gotten used to people in India staring at me for hours, no matter what I am doing.

I HAVE gotten used to all the questions they ask. From where? Coming from? Going to? Like tea? You married? Your age?

I HAVE gotten used to not getting things done until the last minute.

I HAVE gotten used to doing things different ways than expected.

I HAVE gotten used to last-minute changes.

I HAVE gotten used to unexpected holidays that they announce the night before on the radio.

I HAVE gotten used to teacher meetings during class hours, where we leave all classes unattended.

I HAVE gotten used to interruptions, both in and out of school.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to being late to things.

I HAVE gotten used to negotiating a maze of stone walkways.

I HAVE gotten used to cows and donkeys roaming the street during the day time.

I HAVE gotten used to cows preferring and eating cardboard over vegetables.

I HAVE gotten used to dogs roaming the street and making a racket at night time.

I HAVE gotten used to the donkey that serves as my alarm clock.

I HAVE gotten used to the mosques daily prayers, which they broadcast for the benefit of the entire city. The first one is at 4:30AM.

I HAVE gotten used to Buddhist prayer mantras, which last 25 minutes.

I HAVE gotten used to groups of different religeous groups that get along together, as long as they don't proselytize.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to small Christian groups that don't associate with other Christians in such a small place. This also happens in America.

I HAVE gotten used to Buddhists that mindlessly do their ritual prayer beads and prayer wheels.

I HAVE gotten used to Muslims that talk one thing (like not drinking) and then do the opposite.

I HAVE gotten used to being the only foreigner on a bus.

I HAVE gotten used to bus rides that are hard on the buttocks. As long as ten-hour rides.

I HAVE gotten used to crazy driving.

I HAVE gotten used to riding at the edge of a cliff.

I HAVE gotten used to hearing the horns when going around a corner.

I HAVE gotten used to vehicles passing each other with only 2 inches to spare, usually with a wall or cliff involved.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to how loud bus, rickshaw, cycle, and truck horns are here.

I HAVE gotten used to how loud people talk here.

I HAVE gotten used to people "yelling" at each other during normal conversation, even if 5 feet apart.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to the above statement if it is outside your tent at 5AM.

I HAVE gotten used to the beautiful ladies in Ladakh.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to waiting, waiting, waiting forever, and then having to rush, rush rush. This is the one thing I wish I could have overcome!!!

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 08 2003, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think I'm a fairly patient person, but there's a lot on your that I don't think I could have gotten used to.

Such a different society, so interesting... aren't people just facinating?

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 09 2003, 7:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

In just these past 2 days in Delhi, I realize that I've overlooked a few things that I've gotten used to:

I HAVE gotten used to Hindi "Let's Make a Deal" complete with the crazy costumes.

I HAVE gotten used to Bugs Bunny cartoons with Hindi music instead of the classical usually used. Last night, I saw "The Rabbit of Seville" with Hindi music instead of "Barber of Seville" music.

I HAVE gotten used to haircuts that continue even after power and lights go off.

I HAVE gotten used to haircuts with extras like scalp massage, shampoo, shoulder massage, and others. Ladies who cut hair in Thailand supposedly have even more additional "extras."

I HAVE gotten used to seeing Discovery channel in Hindi.

I HAVE gotten used to seeing garbage everywhere. Unfortunately, that is. Still, despite how much garbage is lying around, I can't bring myself to toss a wrapper or soda bottle.

I HAVE gotten used to Hindi music videos and movies (same difference). I have to watch to the end of a song to see which it is! All Hindi movies have many song and dance sequences, often with MANY dancers. The choreography is amazing for the number of people involved.

I HAVE gotten used to eating vegetarian most of the year.

I HAVE gotten used to drivers who take you to your destination AFTER going to at least 3 shops and/or travel agencies.

I HAVE gotten used to eating dinners after 9PM. Back home, 5PM-6PM is normal. Here, I've eaten many more meals after 9, than before 6!

I HAVE gotten used to hearing total strangers say "Yes, friend, what do you want?"

I HAVE gotten used to bargaining for everything from haircuts to sodas to hotel rooms.

I HAVE gotten used to finding out I paid more than I could have.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 12 2003, 2:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I HAVE gotten used to huge crowds. In the past year, I've been in close proximity of about a half billion people (within maybe 10 miles). Consider the following: Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore, and Chennai (Madras). That is 5 of the 6 largest cities of India, plus several others. This does not include the "smaller" cities of only 2-5 million people like Jaipur, Penang, Kanchipuram, etc. Last week, I was in a traffic jam so bad that even pedestrians like myself could not manuever through the street.

I HAVE gotten used to ignoring fake beggars.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to these beggars pinching and hurting babies to evoke sympathy.

I HAVE gotten used to hearing "Yes, friend? Have tea?" from Kashmiri shop owners who have nothing better to do than sit in front of their shop all day.

I HAVE NOT gotten used to picking small bits of bone out of mutton dishes. Worse than fish, because with fish, the bones are fairly predictable. With mutton, it doesn't matter whether it is a rice dish, a soup or a curry, there WILL be bits of bone.

I HAVE gotten used to working the exchange rate to my advantage with shop owners.

I HAVE gotten used to my students calling me "Sir Keith."

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 13 2003, 4:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Hey Burnfoot thanks for the easy reading. I printed out all your items and read them prior to falling asleep last night which got my curiosity up about something that happened thirty years ago. I went to a lecture at OSU and I bought the book that was offered (Wish I could find it now) written by an Indian Doctorate who was pushing for making methane gas from all the cow pies and other animal/human dung that was being dropped about. Thirty years ago he said there were over 1000 of these plants in operation about the country. I was wondering if you saw any of these gas plants in operation??

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 13 2003, 10:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

A thousand methane gas plants? Sounds a little high for me. Actually, I haven't heard of any over here, but haven't even thought to ask anyone. If there are any around, they wouldn't be common knowledge, and if there once WERE a thousand plants, they'd have gone out of business by now. My guess is that it would be too difficult to round up all the dung to make large plants profitable. More practical is the method I HAVE seen used by Ladakhis and Tibetans in eastern Ladakh, and by Nepalese in the Everest area. Individual or family stoves run on cow or yak dung. Fuel for these can easily be rounded up, as opposed to radius needed to make a large-scale plant profitable.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 13 2003, 10:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Are these dry dung burners, or methane that you saw?

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2003, 10:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

New York and half the east coast had a blackout today.
I wonder if they all can adapt as well as you and the Indians.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 16 2003, 1:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Dung burners, used for heat (Nepal) or cooking (Ladakh and Nepal). Converters to methane aren't practical on a small scale like families. With the huge population in the main part of India, there would be enough dung for methane, although I haven't heard of that being done. It would take a LOT of dung to make a methane plant profitable. But more importantly, it would take a lot of peons willing to collect it (untouchables?) for the operators of the plants.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 16 2003, 1:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I was pleased to see only positives out of peoples' reactions to the power outages back east. People can tolerate a LOT if they take it in the right mind-set. I'm back in America now, and am surprised to find that I don't have as much "reverse culture shock" as I had anticipated. Of course, I am eating favorite foods that I didn't get for the past 14 months. Thanks for your comments on my articles. I have 2 or 3 more to post before I'll be caught up (war with Pakistan, Delhi/Jaipur visit, reports on the books I read), and then I'll be done with these India storytelling posts.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 16 2003, 5:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

After that lecture, 30 years ago, I did a small test myself using composted cow manure and three, five gallon glass water bottles. Following the lecturers instructions, I was able to fill a basketball size balloon in less than five days in 90 degree heat. The projection was for two cubic feet a day off of this unit. The units the lecturer spoke on were 500 gallon slurry tanks.

Well to bad, especially with all those cows.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2003, 12:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Just received my monthly issue of National Geographic. Quite an article on slavery and selling your kids off. Part of the article was on parents selling their children in India for $35. to go off and work in sweat mills. Know anything about that? Gee my guts just churned over the whole article. Hard to believe it is still happening in the world.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 22 2003, 4:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

The majority of my year was in Ladakh, which is actually not typical India. It was part of Kashmir, a Buddhist part, and was more typical of Tibet than most of India. 3 days at the start of my 14 months, a week at the end, and a 3-week trip in January were about all I saw of the rest of India. During that time, I didn't hear anything of the sweat mills you mentioned. But, I don't doubt that they exist.

Most weeks I read the Indian news magazines similar to Time and Newsweek, and other issues were mentioned. The big one right now were the dowry issue where the groom's family has been demanding more dowry from the bride's family right at the wedding!

The other big issue now is that India is on the verge of banning Coke products because pesticides were found in Cokes from the Kerala bottling plant. Pepsi will also be caught in the crossfire. They were banned in parliment before I left, and by now they are banned in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta. My guess is that by September the rest of the country will follow suit.

Related to the issue you mentioned, during the colonial times, England cut off the hands of skilled weavers of cloth in India so that British finished goods could be sold in India. Closer to home, the U.S. tried to steal and patent the gene that produces the Basmati rice that is the best and most popular rice in India. Fortunately, the U.S. lost in World Court, and India doesn't have to pay to use the rice that originated over there.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2003, 10:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This might be one of the funniest things I've read. Brought back MANY memories. I was born in India but moved to the United States when I was 10 years old. I've been back for one visit since I've moved here and I must say your list in dead on accurate and I just can't wait to show it to my parents. Thanks for the laugh and the repressed memories. Smiler

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 27 2003, 2:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Even though I was in Nepal for just a few short weeks, many of the things on your list resonate with me. I smiled at most of them as I can actually picture myself doing them or seeing someone do them.

These are many of the reasons why I found the country and people so fascinating. Many of the reasons that I can not wait to get back.

The only time I was sick in Nepal was in the village Dingboche after sitting in a personal lodge and smelling the burning yak dung in an overheated room for a couple hours. I believe in addition to the the dung, they toss some kerosene in there. This stuff made me violently ill. I was fine after a day of rest. But I could no longer go into a lodge where dung was being burned and had to use my handkerchief to cover my face when going through villages. Interesting to see dung paddies everywhere you look. All drying in the sun awaiting the coming winter. Dung paddies on roofs, walls, ground, stacks and stacks. Much like the wood piles here in the states.

Your stories are great; are you going to be returning to India soon?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 27 2003, 2:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Ah.. such are the differences of another cultural. It's amazing isnt it what you simply took for granted before experiencing such nuances in a foreign land...Sometimes, you can laugh it off.. sometimes, you end up crying. Anyway..aint life great! Have fun.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2003, 8:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Where in India did you come from? During my year there, I visited quite a few areas.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2003, 8:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Where in Dingboche did you stay? I was at the Sonam Friendship Lodge there for 2 nights, and had a great time. On my 2nd day there, I went and climbed Chukung Ri. Best sidetrip of the trip. Too bad you didn't feel well there. The dung didn't bother me too much. But, I did have a headache the second night at Gorak Shep. My own fault - I did Base Camp and Kala Pattar in the same day. I avoided Lobuche as an evening stop because that seems to be the place where most people complain about getting stomach problems.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2003, 11:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Actually, we stayed in tents and only ate in the lodge so I don't know the name.

Again, when we stayed in Lobuche we were in tents and did not get to experience any lodges there. Two of the poeple in my group were not doing well with stomach complaints and opted to pay the money and stay at a lodge. I believe it was about 20 bucks or something.

We went from Lobuche up to Gorak Shep and then Kala Pattar in one trip. Made for an excrutiatingly long day. We left at 5:00a.m and did not make it back to our tents until about 6:30 that night.

I've done Half Dome in a day; 4 hour drive, 11 hour hike, and then 4 hour drive home. I must confess to being much more exhausted on the Kala Pattar trip due to the altitude and lack of eating I believe.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 02 2003, 6:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was born in Bombay (Mumbai), then we moved to Jamshedpur, which is up north/central, closer to Calcutta and then we were in Madras and when my Dad moved to the States, my Mom and my sister and I stayed in New Bombay (Vashi) for 2 years until we joined my Dad in the US. So kinda all over. Have you seen some of the more famous Temples and Mosques, like Tirupathi and Taj Mahal, etc? I remember really liking the Elephanta Caves. It is a big country and most of the stuff I remember from my childhood is not the famous tourist type stuff but more of the everyday kind of stuff. I plan on heading back there soon for a couple of months. Can't wait . . . The last time I was there in 1996, I felt strange being somewhere with so many Indian people . . . isn't that ironic, I have gotten so used to being around white americans that it was strange for me to be surrounded by my own people. Smiler
Did you enjoy your time there? It is an amazing country filled with history and culture and nature.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2003, 1:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I was in Mumbai for New Years this year. I was on the waterfront in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel for New Years Eve. The following day, I went to Elephanta Cave. Then, I took a side trip to Aurangabad and saw Ajanta Caves. Back in Mumbai, I took a city tour and spent some extra time at the zoo and Nehru science center. On another year, I saw the Taj Mahal. I was much more impressed with the Maharajah's palace in Mysore, than with the Taj. I also saw huge temples in Tamil Nadu, and just before returning to America went and saw temples, palaces and forts in Jaipur.

Your comment about being around your own people hit home. I am still getting used to everyone being white here. Just a few months ago, I'd be the only white face on a bus in India!

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2003, 3:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow you really got a chance to travel. I want to get back there soon . . . Did you get a chance to go to Goya, I haven't been there yet but it is on my list of things to do.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2003, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

Goya or Goa? I did get to Goa and swam in the beaches in January.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2003, 5:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

sorry, i meant goa . . . i've heard wonderful things about the beaches there. Have you gotten real good at bargaining for stuff yet. My Dad wouldn't let me buy anything without bargaining for it . . . I though just thought what a great deal, let me just buy it. Funny how different it is there. Smiler

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 06 2003, 9:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I live in india also!!!! O still havent gotten used tp most of it!!!!
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 07 2003, 12:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I got used to most things, as you can see. Now that I'm back home, I'm having more trouble re-adjusting here than I did going over there. We have things too comfortable here. It is like we're in our own little world here in America. That is why it is so easy to forget about the rest of the world, or assert that our way of doing things is the best.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2006, 11:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I'm bumping all of these India stories to the top, so they won't be lost when the new software kicks in.
Keith

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 10:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm bumping all of these India stories to the top, so they won't be lost when the new software kicks in.
Keith


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