Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The book tag

Hello blogging world? how are you? sorry been busy but i thought this fb book tag would be lovely here too. 

I asked to get tagged on this. And then I either didn’t have the time or couldn’t figure out what book to list out. Anyway this list is mostly fiction or history books as I rather read articles on non-fiction matters. But I have a love for stories on people and experiences which is what this list is all about. 

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – I read this book at the banks of the river Ganga and it kinda hit on my spiritual side. I know a lot of ppl don’t like this book but I love the idea of the ability of tapping into the collective energy of thoughts. And what a place to read the book. Varanasi vibrates with positivity and the collective thought of Shiva, that it’s impossible not to feel something. I am continuously at peace and in the most loveliest of moods in Varanasi. I also love his other books Angels & Demons and the Da Vinci Code.

The Shiva Trilogy by Amit – on that same trip I chanced upon meeting the author himself at a signing in Kolkata and got the very last book of the series I had been waiting for months signed. I love how he told the legend of Shiva as mortal who is later immortalised. Loved all three books. Not sure if he sparked followers but I found a series of similar kind of books (yet to be read) during my last book hunt in Madras.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – the book that made me fall in love with Gaiman. Oh my god that man is so amazing, both in his books and online. My favourite of his books is Neverwhere, followed by American Gods. Now I’m on a quest of reading everything he’s written and owning those books.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni – the book that made me cry. The only book to movie attempt that I thought was pretty accurate to the writers vision.

Tuesdays with Morries by Mitch Albom – I watched the hallmark movie first and was intrigued by the beautiful story and thus began my quest to read his books. The 5 people you meet in Heaven being another favourite. I kept this as the last one I read and still such a beautiful story.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – I laughed and laughed so much, another author I’m slowly collecting everything he’s written. Every single book of amazing tales.

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh – A tale of war, love and cross country journeys that brilliant wove Burma, India and Malaya in what was often heartbreaking tale. I love quite a bit of his books including the sea of poppies.

The Burma Siam Railway by Dr Robert Hardie – I’m not sure if you can still find this book it was cough cough borrowed for me by my dad and is very precious to me. The book, is a secret diary of a POW Dr on the Burma-Siam Railway building that saw 16,000 POW die. I’m fascinated by this part of history as so many Malaysians never came back after becoming POWs. I’ve just purchased a few more books and am extremely excited that I will be heading there soon.

The Classics – I grew up reading them and have favourites such as The Grimm Fairy tales that had me looking under rocks for fairies; Peter Pan – where I wished I too could fly; Robinson Crusoe for all the adventurers he made me want to go, how I would love to go to liliput; Pride and Prejudice – while I too swoon over Mr Darcy but it is Elizabeth that I was fascinated with, she defied convention and spoke her mind; Around the world in eighty days – again adventure (explains my undying thirst for travel right? ;p); Snow White, Shakespeare, The Hardy Boys (I preferred this to Nancy Drew though I read her too, the Secret Five (you see theres an adventure thing going on?), I spent weekends cycling with friends or on my own imagining I was solving some big mystery!; Troy, Ceaser, the Greek mythologies.
Gods, Kings & Slaves: The Siege of Madurai by R Venketesh – this book has been written in the classic tamil literature style of story telling, part history, part fiction on the rise and fall of Madurai and I loved it. Wish he would write more in English as Im too lazy to read in Tamil. My reading language of preference is English.

How shall I tell the Dog by Miles Kingston – this is the funniest and the saddest book I have ever read. Knowing that he had not long to live, the author writes a series of letters to friends and family talking about life, what caught his fancy then and his impending death. The book was published after his passing and now I am looking for more of his work.

The Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – bless her soul, another author that has passed on. The author wrote books that revolved around the streets of one irish town. Often her books were connected and you’ll only realise it midway through the book. Reading her books has made me want to go to Ireland. Perhaps one day.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells – it’s the story of 5 friends who grew up together, theres 2 more books in the series but this is my favourite.

Ops theres 12 books listed. Err besides these theres so many books I wish I could list. I would love to tag some fellow readers but but I don’t know if they want to be tagged ;p


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Your religion, my religion

When my father was diagnosed with kidney failure, numerous overzealous Christians, Muslims and atheist told us we should convert to their religion or give up religion (atheists) to save him. As their respective faith or no faith were the only cure for his disease. i was 14 years old and i had one question for them then

"Can you guarantee my fathers 100 percent recovery from kidney failure if i converted to your religion? or stopped having faith?"

No one could answer me then.

So to overzealous folks who feel a need to convert others.

If you can guarantee that you can bring back my now long dead father, I will convert to your religion. otherwise please take all your preaching attempts far away from me.

I am a very happy Hindu who loves her faith and knows no religion can guarantee anything.

PS: This post is in response to someone who tried to preach their religion to me on Twitter as below



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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Torez: Stuck in between a war and tragedy

One of the reports I read had this story about this man in Torez, Ukraine where MH17 crashed after being shot. He heard the loud crash and walked out of his house and found a childs body in his backyard.

Horrified and worried a dog might harm the childs body, he rushes to the local morgue with the child.

Somehow that story stuck to me. I have no words to describe what these people have witnessed, what they’ve gone through and are still going through.

I see them leave flowers and toys, I see them volunteer to help cover the victims or find and locate them. So many have done what they could in their limited capacity.

I know we criticise how things have been handled – the victims, the looting. But these are from what I can see and read a small town stuck in between a war and now a tragedy. The looting I believe was not by all but some heartless people but the pain is real. The hurt is real.

I don’t know what I would do if bodies rained all around me. I know I would be devastated. I am linked only by a plane and its people and I feel so much pain and lost. So imagine what they are going through.

So to the people of Torez, I hope you heal one day from this tragedy. I hope one day the images go. Thank you for doing your best in whatever limitations you had.

To the prime minister – I’ve said it before, I’m not a fan but what you have done for the victims family in this trying times of quietly negotiating for the release of the bodies – I thank you and your team.

The outmost concern here at this point of time is for the families and friends to have closure by getting back the bodies of their loved ones and for that we must thank the team and the PM who had to negotiate in the most diplomating, buruaecratic manner regardless of what we were all feeling.

And for those who still want to say "it's his job" - well the other much more powerful countries couldnt get what is most important now right? And might I add, I read this one yday, you don’t have the ‘real’ evidence. I believe the contract also included safe passage for investigators to the site of the crash.

"In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel. And that I feel. But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome - PM Najib."

To all those who have risked their lives to fly to war torn Ukraine in the midst of cross fire to cover this tragedy, investigate, negotiate – thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

To everyone who has had nary a wink of sleep since this tragedy shocked us all – thank you for staying up and doing your jobs in this trying times. I knew some of you who hadn’t slept for more than 48 hours in that first few days.

For those we were critical in those first few days – remember they too grief like us.

My only wish is that these families get the closure they deserve.

May the souls of all lost on MH17 rest in peace and may the families and friends find closure in the coming days. God bless.


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Being nice pays

Being nice pays - Last week a waiter at an indian restaurant asked me and my colleague why we always thank them, he was only doing his job that he was payed for while wiping our table. So we told him coz you're giving us a service and we appreciate it and promptly thanked him after he was done. he was amused beyond words.

Sunday i ended up going for lunch at a regular restaurant without a single cent. i'd forgotten to go to the bank. i blinked at the counter, told the uncle i'll be back, rushed to the bank and came back to pay them. no questions asked, no wondering if i will pay, no asking for any guarantee.

yday another regular restaurant manager got the kitchen crew to cook me up a meal though they had already closed for last orders. there was no sigh or grudgingness - they were quite happy to get me my meal.

so say your thank yous, your please, one day someone will return the favour.

ps: my short term memory loss gets me in funky situations - not the first time i forgot money, not the first time someone sd no problem.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

And there were four


What a world cup it has been. 

Though we’ve had a number of yawner games like the recent Netherlands vs Costa Rica. Seriously should have got up at freaking extra time to watch the game. That was how boring it was! 

But Van Gaal proved his worthiness as a coach when in the last minute he made the psychological change that led to his sides victory. Tim krul is not known for penalty saves! Yet Costa Rica didn’t know it and all the trash talking he did made a dent as you could see the players tremble before taking the penalties. 

Costa Rica were an admirable team but they weren’t better than the Dutch. Defence wise, Navas and the defenders were super brilliant. Quite an amazing display. But that’s the other sad part. We’ve seen some amazing goal keeping this time around but these amazing goalkeepers are out – Ochoa – the Mexican Wall, Tim Howard – Captain America made 16 saves in one game!, the Algerian keeper Rais M’Bohli who was fasting during that last game by the way. 

Germany played their usual boring game but they did what I was rooting for them to do, beat France! Woohoo no jinx meeting of France and Brazil. 

And then there are my Brazilians who nearly drove me to a heart attack in their last two games. Phew that penalty shootout against Chile was so drama. I had my own drama at the place I was watching it but lets leave that for another day.

The Game against Colombia was a brawl in the making. So many fouls and don’t you dare come and tell me it was just the Brazilians coz I have the stats and a detailed article proving otherwise. 

Both sides had one aim – the number 10s. Neymar on one side, James Rodriguez on the other with Neymar being so badly attacked, he’s now totally out of the worldcup! Brawls aside I cannot help but love the Columbians for all the dancing they do. Oh how ive watched them dance everytime they celebrate a goal and at their homecoming! 

You Brazil haters can go play far far. And the referee was on no ones side, he should have carded both sides on many occasions but didn’t do so. Wheres the card for injuring neymar??

Ah but what brilliant two goals. Silva at the right place and putting in that unbelievable opportunistic goal and then David Luiz with his WTH long range free kick. Wow what amazing precision. 

And what brilliant display of respect. David Luiz and Alvez comforting James Rodriguez and asking the crowd to cheer him must be one of the best moments of this worldcup. 

Sadly we are at a very worrying point. Silva is suspended and Neymar is out. I am more concerned about Silva being out as he was good for team morale and more of the connector and play maker for the team than of Neymar. Neymar was everywhere but he was also heavily marked by everyone. Poor guy, the video of him giving hope to his team and the supporters is just heartbreaking. 

This has been one trying worldcup for them. When they played docile, they were criticised, when the attacked full force they were again criticised. Nothing seems to have pleased anyone. The truth is the team is a pretty well rounded team. They don’t have only one scorer, anyone can score. Cesar isn’t a bad goalie, but he isn’t great either. I would call them a team that needs each other and not one that relies on one or a few stars which was the undoing of many teams. 

Take Argentina, only Messi has really shined and the whole team kinda depends on him. Germany seems to need Klose’s magic every now and then and he sure does give magic. Colombia again had James Rodriguez. Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Algeria all had one thing in common wall like goalkeepers with gazillion hands or something ;p

Netherlands have average defenders and goalkeeper but they thrive on amazing striking capabilities, experience and of course all that diving Robben does. ;p running joke Krul got diving lessons from Robben ;p
Which is why I still have hope on Brazil. But then I’m that fan that has never given up on her team, who has seen them in their best and worst and still comes out to support them.

So its up to Scolari to create magic. Believe in yourself Brazil, Jogo Bonito, you can do it. No matter what I have truly enjoyed this young sides playing despite all their shortcomings and I believe we will see more magic from most of this bunch in the next world cup as well. 

ps: by the way theres a string of links related to these bits and pieces in my twitter, head there especially during the matches ;p

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Friday, June 20, 2014

England still has hope! ;p

Bizarre but true and all their hope lies on Italy!


If Italy wins its next two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica, England will need to score 2 goals against Costa Rica to advance to Round 16. 

But cheeky Fifa as always has placed all the last two group matches to run concurrently. Which means even if England wins (I doubt they will by the way ;p), there should be nail biting agony if Italy is still not leading by then ;p

Spain on the other hand have no hope whatsoever. I’ve tried multiple possibilities but the results are still the same, Bye Bye Spain.

It’s looking to be a Dutch group B topper and Chille in 2nd spot at the moment. Though if Chile wins the match against the Dutch, they will top Group B. Interesting last match for Group B there.

Ill talk about Brazil in the next post and the weakness in the other teams. 

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Holy Dutch


What started of as a boring game, ended as a – holy dutch encounter!
Wow 5-1, yes world and all that missed the game, the dutch scored 5-1!!!

Football gods – I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Thank you for the goal feasts and I will thank you everyday if you continue giving us such goal feasts ;p me likey.

Again referee was a pain. Missing moments of shoving which deserved yellow cards and instead awarding dubious penalties. THAT was another penalty that shouldn’t have been awarded! But good penalty by Xabi Alonso.

And as I tweeted,

2014 will be known as the year of dubious penalties *rolls eyes

Most of the first half was focused at the Dutch goal post. The Spaniards had most of the goal possession and were trying their best to attack from all sides. I was just going to say Cassilas, the Spanish Goalie is probably swatting flies on the other side when the flying Dutchman Robin van Persie flew in unexpectedly intersepting Blinds pass and headed in an amazing goal at the 44th minute. The goal came out of nowhere and took Casillias and the world by surprise and it wasn’t the only surprise for the night. That first goal was golden, so so amazing.

What was cute though was seeing Persie run half the field towards his coach and high fiving him! Now that is a sign of great partnership.
But the ball possession in the first half returns to the Spaniards in the beginning of the second half and probably had the Dutch goalie thinking – eh hello there’s two goal posts in this game!

Minutes later Arjen Robben scores another unexpected goal, no one saw that coming it was that brilliant. They barely had interactions with Cassilas till then. Wow wow.

Cassilias redeems himself for a bit by deflecting a goal attempt in time, hes all alert this time or so we think. And then Stefan de Vrij sneaks in a goal. You have to watch that goal again. It was literally snucked in! ;p
By now the game had taken a turn and was getting exciting and unbelievable by the minute.

Casillas was having such a bad time, he even got a yellow card ;p poor guy, he was getting hoodwinked by the Dutch all game long!

And then Persie charges in taking advantage of Casillas blunder and scores the FOURTH goal!!! And we all go wilddddddddddd

You know at that point Persie could have fallen and rolled over the grass but instead he trips a bit, circles around and scoressssssssssss!!!

Casillas looked as if he was wondering how he would go back to Spain. I tweeted.

Cassillas worry not, you can move to Netherlands, you will get a heros welcome there for being so friendly to the dutch ;p heheh

I was just gonna tweet, coach takes persie out to give Spain some Mercy when Robben scores another unbelievable FIFTH goal. Yes Fifth!!!!

And what an awesome, awesome goal. Robben comes flying in outrunning Spanish defenders and shuffels the ball around before he finally scores! And at that point one of the two defenders was actually trying to pull him back! It should have been another yellow card for the Spannish!

This was my favourite goal of the game, it was so unbelievably brilliant and funny all at once.

Go go I beg you rewatch the goal highlights below – it is so brilliant!

I believe the Dutch are going to be a pleasure to watch this time around, that is if they continue to play like in the second half. Dutch's winning point - theres this awesome connection between coach and players, who runs half the field to high five the coach otherwise?

The combination of Blind, Robben and Persie is one deadly combination. Oh what fun this has been. Loving World Cup 2014 so far ;p 

Full account of match here.

Btw follow me on twitter for immediate match reactions @visithra 



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Friday, June 13, 2014

What a game!


And no, not coz of Brazil but because of Crotia. Stand up and give them a resounding round of applause.

I’m a football fan and not a blinded one.

That was in no way great playing by Brazil. They fumbled, looked blur, were playing passing ball with the Croatian Goalie Pletikosa and were practically lost on the field!

Croatians on the other hand were headstrong in wanting to win over the favourites and that first unfortunate own goal by Marcelo – will go down in history as the biggest WTH moment. That’s the first goal of the season ok!!

And quoting a friend

Brazil had many firsts - First match…..First goal….. First Corner….First Penalty…..First own goal….First Yellow Card ;p

The game was nail biting to say the least and exactly what I had wanted. Thank you football gods for the scoring feast!

The referee on the other hand was an oddball. That penalty shouldn’t have been awarded! Having said that Neymar did a good job on that count, his first goal was good too. And I don’t think Neymar deserved a yellow card either but it set the tone for the game.

However he was not the life saver for Brazil it was the tireless Oscar @ Oscaros Santos Emboaba JĂșnior who should be praised. He never stopped trying to create opportunities for Brazil and that goal was brilliant.

Another friend pointed out that his goal reminded him of Ronaldo’s tipping point goal in the finals against Germany in 2002. Go read this minute by minute account and see how many opportunities Oscar created.

Relive those glorious goals by Ronaldo in 2002 here. Now that is what Joga Bonito is about.

Oscar’s goal is here

My fear this year was the team was too young, less experienced and probably over their head with fame. This time they were just lucky lady luck was smiling at them.

No matter what I will be supporting them. I hope they get the pep talk of their lives. I’m also now hoping they will take another strategy as this game was supposed to be the easier one. They’re in for hell in round 16, quarters and semis if they reach there that is.

Let’s see, I’ll talk strategy tomorrow.

I haven’t picked my annual underdog team, but the Croatians have clearly given a resounding don’t underestimate us. Kudos to them. You might have not won the match, but you won the game!



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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Joga Bonito Brazil


It was the 1994 World Cup and the first time I started watching football. I was in my teens, still in school and since the games were at ungodly hours, I watched them mostly alone at home. At the beginning I had no favourites but the final was nearing and sides needed to be chosen. It was a good season to become a football fan.

Brazil was playing against Italy and they were two equally good teams. The choice was between the then not so good looking but awesome players team of Brazillians and the very good looking Italians. My friend opted for the Italians, I decided I preferred the Samba players.

After a final match that went into extra time and ended goalless. The winners were decided on a penalty shoot-out. Brazil beat Italy 3-2 that day and sealed my loyalty with their awesome game.

It wasn’t just them winning that got me to support them. We didn’t have social media or the internet then telling us who I should support or who had a better chance of winning. We had good old newspapers and RTMs annoying commentators who often said the weirdest things. Imagine hearing seksaaaaa ALL THE FREAKING TIME! 

And of course lots of lots of discussion at school. Ah what great times we had, talking about the matches.

So what has kept me a fan for exactly 20 years?

Its simply because of – Joga Bonito. Those guys don’t play the field, they dance on the field. Watch their legs when they play and you’ll wonder if they were practicing the Capoeira or the Samba on the field.

The Brazilians are so know for the joga bonito that it is often refered to as the Brazilian style of football. It means being creative and playing from your heart as a team.

Tele Santana is widely credited for the invention of the “joga bonito” by the vast majority of the Brazilian press. He believed that if the opposition scores five goals against you, your obligation is not to score seven goals, but to score seven "spectacular" goals. 
Every game is an all out attacking style, they rarely play defensive unless for tactical reasons and that’s why I love watching them play. I absolutely hate defensive style of playing with goalless matches. Drives me nuts and I’ll start mumbling – score all ready will ya!
And contrary to what people think, not everyone is a Brazil supporter. Actually I’m usually surrounded by people who rather see them lose – anything but Brazil!

So this time around I’m surprised I’ve got two fellow Brazil supporters at work ;p Pretty different from that iconic or controversial 2002 quaterfinal game where I sat in a room filled with 20 – 30 people from work who all supported England except for me, the boss and another colleague! Go google up Ronaldinho’s 32 meter awesome free kick and how he got sent off on an undeserved red card 7 minutes later!

Let’s backtrack to the 1998 finals – Brazil vs France.

I was quietly watching it with my dad. 1st goal, I was chanting no worries, we’ll get you. 2nd goal goes in and I was still going, we’ll get you! By the third goal, I’d silently slumped into my chair wishing it would end. I will never ever forget that match score in my life. Coz the next day I had lunch with one of my friends who was an Anti Brazil supporter.

Throughout the whole lunch, all I heard was 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! For a few hours!

So yes its not easy being a Brazil fan, everyone thinks we will win, everyone hates us for that, and everyone thinks you’re supporting them coz they’re winners!

I’ve seen them win, I’ve seen them lost terribly, but no matter what win or lose, I’ve stood by them for 20 awesome years!

So my usual wish list for every world cup will be

Please, may we have great games, good games, no goalless draws, no referee blunders (yeah right), lots and lots of awesome goals, if possible no moving forward coz of aggregate, less injury drama (@ England players and Christiano Ronaldo), wonderful corner kicks, brilliant penalty saves and a awesome awesome semi and final games.

May the best team win and each match be determined by great matches!

Let the games begin!


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Monday, June 02, 2014

Chance encounters

One of the things I love most about photography and the internet is that it has introduced me to an amazing bunch of people from around the world who i would have probably never met if it hadn't been coz of either.

One such encounter was with renowned Pakistan artist Abro and through him I learnt about the activism he and his wife Attiya Dawood (famed poet and activist) and her beautiful writing. I think I have read quite a bit of her poignant poems - this being one of it. Such powerful words and what an apt painting by Abro himself.

The Murder in Marriage

Brandishing religion like a sword
Riding the blind horse of desire
You trampled over my heart.
You condemned my faith in you to the gallows
And you married for a second time,
Each and every moment spent with you
I wove over my flesh like skin,
Tying my “aanchal” to you
I left the court-yard of my father.
In the mould that you brought
I located my self.
What is love, I don’t know,
But your home covered me with its shade like
the “barth” tree,
It saved me from evil eyes
From the arrows coming in my pursuit.
To live in this mould
I kept on trimming, clipping myself.
A drop of your blood came alive in my flesh
But even children could not be a bond between us.
What are relationships, I don’t know.
I was taught only this single lesson:
Your home is the last refuge for me.
So many time’s have I seen
Divorced women
Condemned by time’s eye
To death by stoning.
That is why
like a cat afraid of rain
I sat content and quiet
in a corner of the house
on the use of your name.
What is haven, what is hell…. I don’t know
But this much I believe:
Heaven is not higher than faith
Hell not more difficult to bear
than the laughter of the Second Wife.
No “Pul Surat” more difficult to cross
Than having to put up with anybody’s taunts,
everybody’s pity.
Sometimes I found the Second Wife’s face
to be like mine.
I have seen lack of trust
Adding wrinkles to her forehead.
Whenever she looks at me
Happiness flutters in her chest
Like a pigeon caught between two hands.

I cannot fight it
You are a part of it,
I cannot fight against you.
Religion, law and society are on your side,
Traditions are weapons in your hands.
I want to tear off from the book of life
That chapter
Which you have penned
To serve your interest
In my destiny.

Poem by Attiya Dawood
Translated into English by Asif Farrukhi
Painting by Abro Khuda Bux
Taken from "RAGING TO BE FREE"
Published by Maktaba-e-Daniyal
Published in April 1995


He and his family are one of many people who have shown me that our complains are pretty trivial as compared to what goes on there. One day i hope to visit Pakistan, to see those beautiful places he has photographed but mostly so I can meet him and his inspiring family - though a long time back he told me, don't come here.

I will post a few more links - including the story Time did on them. Some of her poems can be read here.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Kochadaiyaan: Could have been great but..


That's what came to my mind while i was watching the movie yesterday.

I so wished the movie had not been an animated story and instead was a real life story where we would have seen Thalaiva strut in all his glory in every scene. I loved the story and the way she taken the movie, there wasn't any draggy scenes, things flowed well.

Either the movie wasnt ready to be released or half way the animation work had changed hands. that's the only way to explain the bizarre animation difference. if you look at the background, the palaces - things look stunning shot by shot. and theres a vast difference of the animation of the flashback of Kochadaiyaan as opposed to the robotic movements during rana's scenes. What happened? why such disparity? People might have gotten used to the robotic feel and missed the fact that Kochadaiyaan's scenes were pretty smooth.

reel after reel all i wanted to see was Rajni sar in the flesh acting out what could have been an amazing movie. his voice was just so amazing. holding the film by its threads. trying to smoothen the robot like feel of most of the movie. Oh i loved the scenes where Kochadaiyaans long hair would come undone in dance ;p fuhyoo i couldnt find that photo though.

I hope the tamil cinema industry will look into doing more period films but not animation. you're not ready for the patience needed to produce one.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Janaki Thevar


"We may be the softer and fairer sex but surely I protest against the word 'weaker,' Janaki Thevar.

Janaky Thevar or now known as Puan Sri Janaki Athi Nahappan was 17, when she left her affulent life in Malaya and responded to Subash Chandra Bose’s call for an armed force with which to liberate India. In fact she became second in Command of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment. Of which she was part of the marathon walk from rangoon to bangkok as the ina retreated. After the war Janaky became a welfare activist and helped John Thivy form the Malayan Indian Congress and was one of the first women who fought for Malayan independence. He later became a senator in Dewan Negara of the Malaysian parliament.

She passed away on Friday - what an inspiring woman.

 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MH370 - Malaysia grieves with the world


Hope is a double edged sword.

Hope gives us the ability to shoulder on, hope gives us the ability to believe, Hope helps us live

But hope makes us believe beyond the facts we know, that miracles happen,

Hope unfortunately makes us hold on, denying the inevitable,



"With deep sadness and regret I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight #MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

Somehow hearing those words said, brought more grief than closure :((((

As the PM walked away, there was a deafening silence in the room. A silence that was a reflection of the hollow feeling many who watched the pc were feeling.

Truth be told, I had long thought the plane had perished somewhere but I like many, had hoped for a miracle. I hoped I was wrong. I hoped against reality that they would be saved somehow.

So those words came as a shock as the weight of the sadness overwhelmed many.

The last 18 days have been trying for all. I cannot fathom what the families and friends of those lost on Mh370 are going through.

I am not here to discuss what if’s or why’s, I am here to share my grief in words – the only way I know how to grieve. While the PM’s words made me pensive, it was the tears of James Chau, CCTV reporter that brought tears to my eyes.




The media has gotten much lashing since the news of the missing flight was first reported. Yes there have been ridiculous media reports but we forget, not all of them were sensationalising the news. Most were sincerely trying to give us, the people, information or maybe an answer to the disappearance of a flight. Many people criticised the media who refrained from reporting unverified information not realising it was best not to jump to conclusion. 

Did you know, many had been called back from holidays and had leaves frozen, so they could bring us the latest news? 

But most of all we forget they were only doing their jobs. 

We see them grilling the spokesperson yet what we don’t see is the hours they spent reporting the stories, travelling everyday to Sepang to cover the 5.30pm press conference. We don’t see them keeping their emotions in check as they rushed the reports. 

We question why they attempt to question the families yet we don’t see them comforting the families. This was not a one off story, where they never saw the people involved again. We questioned not realising we weren’t the ones left to comfort the families once the camera was off air. 

We forget they grief as much as we do. And so to each and every media personnel who have been tirelessly working night and day, I thank you for doing your best despite whatever that was happening. Steady your hearts, for we are far from over.

We have unsung nameless heroes amongst us. They are the men and women from 26 countries who have been working 24-7 to find the missing plane in whatever capacity their roles are.

The researchers who are shifting through endless data – thank you for not giving up. Thank you for trying as humanely possible to find a needle in an un-identified haystack.

To the many MAS staff who have been assigned to help comfort the families – thank you for your dedication. Don’t forget many knew the crew on MH370, they too have lost someone.

To the many staff from various ministries, communications personnels, medical personnels who have been running back and forth, verifying info, preparing documents, representing Malaysia in China – thank you for your perseverance. I worry for those who are heading or in China now and I pray for your safety. Stay strong.

To every military, navy, air force, firemen, police and armed forces out there risking their lives to search and rescue those on MH370 – I cannot thank you enough. Pay no heed to those who question what you do, you are our unsung heroes. I pray for your safety and hope none is lost in the efforts to now search and find the wreckage of MH370.

YB Hishamuddin @H2O – I have long detested your style of politics. Last year I and many others made fun of you as you fumbled every single press conference in relation to the Lahad Datu standoff. But you have shown us that the best way to deal with criticism is to take it with positivity and improve yourself. I applaud you for the way you have handled the MH370 press conference and media frenzy. Thank you for being a sane voice to the many speculations, conspiracy and ridiculous questions thrown at you. Thank you for not bowing to pressure and not for making this a political agenda. Many may disagree but show me once, where politics was mentioned in the PC unless specifically questioned as such?

MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari – watching you breakdown as the PM made the announcement was indeed heart wrenching. Thank you for being there everyday to answer the sometimes ridiculous questions. Everyday I see you getting sadder and sadder and I wonder have you slept at all. I worry this will take the toll on you, so stay strong, MAS needs a solid shoulder as yours to lean on in this trying times. For those who are calling for your resignation, I doubt they will be able to perform with such dignity in your shoes.

YAB PM – I have never been your fan but thank you for standing back and letting your minister take charge. Thank you for making the most difficult announcements. In a crisis the leader must always stand strong and face the world no matter how difficult the task at hand. Thank you for listening to your advisors and choosing not to answer questions. Not all statements should be followed with questions, something I keep telling people.  

To those who feel nothing – it’s ok.

To all those sudden experts and those who have nothing good to say – you have shown us your true colours.

We are nowhere near a closure. What has happened is that the Search and Rescue efforts have now changed to Search and Recover efforts. I hope we find something that helps give closure to the families and friends. But let us not push the SAR teams to risk their lives. Please do not let another soul be lost to the treacherous waves of the Indian Ocean. They too have families and friends who are worried for their safety and nations worried about their safety.

Most importantly I choose to believe the crew and all on board MH370 are innocent, victims of a tragic fate.

MH370 - Malaysia grieves with the world. God bless all on #MH370, their family and friends. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

When day greets the night



When day greets the night,
The sky explode in brilliant hues of red, orange and pink,

As day says goodbye to night,
The sky has the blues and slowly slips into pitch nothingness,


Till they meet again at dawn

by Visithra

Note:  The city of Kuala Lumpur at dusk

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Day

There is much I have wanted to write in the last few days but I've decided to write on something else.



Today is World Happiness Day and in conjunction Pharell Williams took his 24hours of Happy project Global. If you didn't know Pharell took his infectious song Happy and videographed different people for a period of 24 hours where he appeared at every hour! yes every hour.

Now inspired by that, people all around the world started making videos of their own to celebrate happiness and Pharell has took it another step and launched the 24hours of Happiness project today or dubbed #happyday.

He invited the world to join in and create their own videos or post images. So since i was super sad i couldnt be part of the Happy KL edition (found out too late), at the spur of the moment I decided to gather a bunch of people and shoot our own Happy video ;)

So last night under pouring rain, we shot a video of happy on the streets of kl and I've decided to share it here.

Pharell has done something no one has been able to do - united the world in Happiness. Do check out all the different videos from all over the world.

Have a blessed world Happiness Day ;)



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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Annamalai



Thiruvannamalai - is very special to me in many ways. It was the first temple we set foot in when we first arrived in India in 1994 although we had flown into Chennai.

We were told the best place to be for Kartigai Deepam was at Annamalai and so we headed there a few hours after arriving to see the magnificent sight of this hill where the deepam was light and will go on to burn for 7 days n 7 nights. The amount of people that arrive here is beyond anything i've seen. Even if its not Kartigai Deepam, girivalam dates or the full moon day attracts as many devotees that the roads into the city are closed to mobile traffic as human traffic takes over.

In the chill of Marghali morning we headed into the temple at 3.45am for the early morning prayers and abhishega pooja. What a sight he was, Annamalayar who basked in the glow of golden earthen lights as the priest poured the various abhishegam items to the chant of manthras. it is pretty indescribeable.

By the time you finish at Unnamulaiyar Devi's sannathi, dawn has arrived and the mountain set behind the temple gopurams glows as mother earth sways around with her dancing clouds as the world wakes to another day.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013s gone????



Wait didn't we just celebrate the new year for 2013?????

Whoa where did that year go! it's been one hellava crazy year. I went back to the agency life at the end of 2012. The first few months weren't so busy as the nation stood at standstill waiting for the 2013 elections to happen. The very next day, calls started coming in and businesses went full drive into catching up the lost 5 months. So imagine a year crammed into 7 months! yeah crazy but good.

I've loved every moment of it though they have been times all i wanted to do was curl up and sleep for days!

My trip to Hatyai happened just after 3 months of crazziness. another week of that and i would have been totally burnt out. That trip to the beautiful Koh Lipe island was god sent.

I travelled a fair bit this year. am trying to post the stories before i forget them but times an issue. The birthday was celebrated in beautiful Kota Kinabalu. thats paradise on earth, i can't wait to go back. but be warned once you step into the beautiful waters of KK, the underwater sea life every else will pale in comparison. And i've yet to head to the crown jewel of Sabah - Sipadan! I loved the road trip i did to mount kinabalu - the croker range is so amazingly beautiful and waking up to the view of mount Kinabalu is up there on the most beautiful things ive seen list.






I came back to the shocking announcement of the colleagues wedding and before we knew it we were throwing her her bacholerette night and what a celebration it was. Actually it was a series of celebration from Christmas to the time she left.



Then i shot Thaipusam in Ipoh and drove back to Batu Caves for the KL leg of the festival - yeah i know crazy ;p But i had fallen in love with thaneer malai Murugan and wanted to see him during Thaipusam - and it didn't disappoint. different but nice. though Ipoh folks have a thing for weird kavadis.

Heehehe im actually referring back to my trusty old google calendar to figure out where the year went ;p



I flew to Varanasi for Shivaratri and fell in love with the city. the experience at the ganges was unbeliveable and i went there as a through skeptic. i sat at the steps everyday, heading before dawn to a different ghat and watched the world unfold as the sun rose on the ganga. every evening i watched the arathi - my fav spot being on a boats roof away frm the crazy crowds.



Loved kolkata too but the smog in the city kept me indoors mostly and as we joked - the airport had the freshest air!



i did a short road trip along the border of Selangor and Perak - nothing much but it fits my aim to see every town in Malaysia.



I headed to the land of cats Kuching and had a lovely time there. Did a road trip around the state. We were rewarded by this beautiful sunset one evening.



I call the city the garden city for all the amazing big trees all over the city.



this year i cancelled 2 trip plans as i was in a transition period with some of the clients i took over. oh i got interviewed as a photographer and appear on the cover of the inner pullout section of one of the leading english papers here! that was an awesome moment. seeing yourself on the cover is just an AMAZING feeling.



I still managed to drag myself out of bed for the Merdeka Parade. Love this photo



by the time i went for my next holiday it was September. that was how busy i was! that too it was a 3 day trip only. ah but what a trip! i swam with sharks! not one but 4 baby sharks! for 20 minutes! omg what beautiful creatures. i went n got myself an underwater cam just for this! i so wanna go back there again just to photograph those beautiful creatures!

the school i visit every year for navarathri did something totally different this year - they had a devi procession on the last night. it was such a beautiful moment and of course afterwards the fun element came into play as ppl got smeared with kunkumam.



The Petronas Twin Towers turned pink for one weekend as part of breast cancer awareness month and what a sight it was!





then it was to Hatyai where i found my favourite Buddha. Hes so prettyyyyyyyy.


And the beautiful island of Koh Lipe. Sadly just days ago a bombing took place in Hatyai. i remember the numerous checks the police did when we were in the city centre and despite that this happened.





we headed to Phuket a month back for the company trip and had a great time though Phuket didnt seem as magical as the first time i was there. the beach i had been before was so different and the waters were empty. i remember fishes in that water. where had they all gone?

work has been amazing. i achieved more than i had targetted to do, which was to do better than the previous ROI set for some of the accounts. some issues but what is life without problems. but all in all a brilliant year where am satisfied with what ive achieved. I am my biggest critic and competitor. i have to be one of the best in whatever i do and that was definetly achieved.

Hey i'm a workaholic - i truly love to work!

its Christmas eve and I turn 34 in a matter of days. I don't feel a year older! it doesnt help that ppl generally think I'm 25! lol i think at some point i have to stop telling my age to ppl. something my mom has to do.

I built my dream library shelves last year, and now theyre briming with more books. i've read a gazzilion books this year and more to come in the next few weeks.

this years Birthday will be celebrated with music ;) Tell you when i get back. 2014 is gonna be another crazy year - i can already feel it! ;p

Alrighty Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

See you lot in 2014!!

The video below is quite an interesting take on the events of 2013 though i believe its missing the most important moment of 2013 - Malala. what an inspiring young women who definetly deserved the Noble prize. If you havent heard her speech go google her and you will get the links and be amazed.



ps: if you really want photo updates go to the facebook page. that gets regular updates!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Flashback

was suddenly reminded of this route i did years ago in the western ghats of karnataka - winding bendy roads with nary a person, beautiful green forest, with a luchious river running through and at one point there were beautiful bamboos lining the river but we couldnt stop coz it was raining ice on the hottest day in summer ;p

bloody hell i wanna do this route again *slaps self for being a travel addict

I wrote a post on that trip (those days i was such a diligent travel writer) but all the photos are missing and i'm too lazy to replace them 

ps: the video does not do this place justice



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Sarithira Payanam

I have no idea why it took me so long to discover this song by Juvan Shiva but this is one of the most brilliant songs I've heard and the lyrics are amazing

Sarithira Payanam (Historical Journey) a tribute to unsung heroes of the past - within you is an epic, a story from the past. Yours is a story of courageous warriors, who sailed dark uncharted waters with hopes for a glorious life on the soil of Malaya. They arrived with hunger for a new destiny - a destiny only possible as blood-drenched slaves chained to the mercy of the British Rajahs. Blood and death was the sacrifice made for generations they would never live to see. The destiny you real today arose from seeds of endless miseries.

You can listen to the song at the link here and the lyrics are as below

Vocal, lyrics and song composed by Juvan Shiva
Music: Boy Radge

Kappalgal yehri kadal kadanthu intha mannil naamum vanthom,
Rattangal sinthi uyiraiyum koduthu intha mannai valarthom,
munnor seitha thiyagangalai indru nenjil naamum maranthom,
vanmurai seithu valimurai thavari vantha paathai ilanthom,
Indian endrah naamam, ini nenjinil endrum vendum,
Orumurai thirumbi paarthal, vantha sarithiram unakku puriyum,
Indian endra naamam, ini nenjinil endrum vendum,
Ithuvarai pirinthathu pohthum, anther sarithiram uyirpereh vendum...

Chorus

Kadkalai kadanthu mudkalai mithithu andru avargal uzhaithaargal,
Noigalai thaangi sonthangal maranthu intha mannai vithaithaargal,
Sanjikuliyai iravum pagalum vellaiyan aachiyil puthainthaargal,
Thalaimurai kaatke thiyagangal seithu nammil indrodu kalanthaargal.

Andru sinthiya ratthangal sinthiyathen...
Indru sinthanai seiya nee maruppathum yen?
Nam munnor seitha thiyagangalai nenjil kaadpom...
Andru sinthiya ratthangal sinthiyathen...
Indru sinthanai seiya nee maruppathum yen?
Nam munnor seither thiyagangalai ini meedpom...

Kappalgal yehri kadal kadanthu (kalanthu) inther mannil naamum vanthom,
Rattangal sinthi uyiraiyum koduthu intha mannai valarthom,
Munnor seither thiyagangalai ini nenjil naamum kaapom,
Vanmurai thagarthu valimurai kaathu vantha paathai meedpom…

Indian endra naamam ini nenjinil endrum vendum...
Orumurai thirumbi paarthaal vantha sarithiram unakku puriyum...
Indian endra naamam ini nenjinil endrum kaapom...
Orumurai thirumbi paarthaal vantha sarithiram unakku puriyum...
Indiya naamam indiya naamam nenjinil endrum kaapom..
Orumurai paarthaal marumurai paarthal sarithiram unaku puriyum...

Indiyaa naamam...... ini nenjinil endrum kaapom......................

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Saturday, November 09, 2013

The paradise called Lipe



Sitting outdoors under the moonless light as Chet sang beautifully in heavily Thai influenced English pronunciations over dinner is high up there on my list of things I loved to do. I was sitting at Pooh’s restaurant in beautiful Koh Lipe an island 4 hours by sea and land of Hatyai. Ever smilling Chet provided the much needed live music that suited the islands laid backness. Of course midway rain suddenly decided to invite himself and rained in a matter of few minutes as all of us scrambled into the indoor area as rain and wind lashed at us.


Ah Koh Lipe what a lovely place to be.

We were staying right at the centre of Walking street, the main area where all the tours and restaurants were. Everyday we would walk towards Pattaya Beach, about 8 minutes from our hotel passing by my favourite dessert and breakfast place – Thai Lady pancake where you take of your shoes, wash your feet and sit at the chairs or on the wooden ramps on short Japanese tables. They served my all-time favourite breakfast bacon, sausages and eggs as well as some yummy sandwhiches and thai pancakes in whatever topping you wanted.


There are no cars on the island just golf carts and bike taxis which we only used when we arrived and were leaving as everything was pretty much in walking distance from our hotel.


Now the beach, what I read online was different from what I saw. Pattaya was touted as the best beach while Sunrise wasn’t but it was pretty opposite in terms of white sandy sand. Also theres a lot of development taking place at Pattaya so that was dampner. We had also arrived on a moonless day and on that evening the waters were a bit murky, clear but murky which was a bit unusualy coz 2 days later the water at Pattaya was crystal clear. So mind the timing when you head to the beach, the water seems different according to the moon.


 

We spent a whole day snorkelling at the little islands off Lipe. We were supposed to head to 5 islands but had only time for 4. We missed the black pebble island but it just means I have another reason to come back ;p I can’t remember the islands accept for Koh Rawi where we stopped for lunch but all the islands waters were stunning emerald green and filled with fish. It was lovely to snorkel there but the sealife was still nothing compared to what we find in Malaysia. But anytime spent in the sea is awesome ;p
 

I was walking around after lunch taking photos when I got out of the water to find a black crab hanging from my shorts. Luckily it hadn't found my flesh and dug in ;p

We got to see some beautiful sunsets and no we didn’t bother with the sunrise.

The people on the island are pretty nice. Walking by the streets everyday you’d get smiles from everyone and no one trying to sell you something.


One evening there were this kids running around the streets growling at people and turned up at me growling so of course I growled back. So kid decides to follow me and growl a few times. On the third growl, I took of my glasses and gave him one of my scary big eyed growls. Poor kid ran away. Later in the evening I saw him again and tried to take his photo but he refused to be photographed  ;p

At dinner most of the restaurants had grilled seafood made to order so one night when we were looking at where to eat we found one shop with a huge swordfish at its grill. I stopped to take a photo and finally decided to eat there. My fish arrived yummly cooked and melting off the skin with a lovely homemade lime sauce.  

 
And so ended our lovely beach holiday before we headed back to Hatyai. Now that was an interesting adventure. On the way back we were put on a medium sized speedboat instead of the ferry we arrived in. midway through the boat stopped as the driver started yakking in thai to someone on the phone. Next thing we see two big fishing trawlers pass each other and we stopped right next to it. Apparently the driver was buying fish in the middle of the sea. Lol that kinda freaked out the rest of the travellers, a big group of fellow Malaysians.

 

Some time later the boat stopped and this time it was engine trouble. Somehow they managed to get the boat running again but it happened again and luckily they got it solved and we finalled reached land. Only to find my bag soaking wet and smelling of fish! I quickly bought another plastic bag and dumped all my clothes into it. Luckily the clothes weren’t wet but I had to wash my bag the moment we reached the hotel.

Note to self never let your bag go into the boats underneath compartment.

Can’t wait to head there again even if it takes 4 hours to get there.

Ps: Don’t think I’ll edit the photos on time so enjoy the instagram photos – and oh you can follow me on instagram just look for @visithra

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