Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Irresponsible Drivers - yes YOU

I like to drive fast. Driving was one of the things I wanted to do since I was a kid. But I have stopped driving fast in the last decade. Simply because nearly everyday someone tries to kill me on the road. And the worse part is, I rarely drive at peak hours! I go into work late and leave later just to avoid mad Malaysian drivers.
You cut as you wish.
You hit the breaks as you wish.
You're fiddling on your phone while driving.
You try to get into the third lane from the first at breakneck speed.
You stop wherever you wish.
You speed in parking lots.
You speed in residential areas.
You don't use signals.
You run traffic lights.
You speed the car when the light turns yellow.
You complain if you get summoned forgetting you broke the law.
You complain if there's a road block.
You don't wear seat belts.
Your passengers don't wear seat belts.
Your kids don't sit in car seats.
You don't give way and equally speed up to irresponsible drivers.
You go in and out of traffic thinking you're some daredevil driver.

Did you know you can die of accidents even if you're just driving at 20 km/h if you're not wearing a seatbelt?
Did you see how far that poor baby was flung out of the car? There was no way she was inside a car seat. 
Did you see how far the parents were flung out?
If I saw people racing on the road, I would back down and clear myself from their path. There's something called driving slower to avoid maniacs.

That CCTV clearly shows the pajero also speeding. You know why? Its bloody ego! No care for whoever is in the car coz you think it WON'T happen to me! 

YOU have a choice to BACK Down. YOU have a responsibility to your passengers who trusted their lives in your hands.

More Malaysians die on the road everyday because we are bloody irresponsible idiots.
Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you've never done any of this???

No use crying when people are dead.
No use blaming others when we're as irresponsible.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

You are beautiful

i dont have to even think. i would have choosen beautiful coz i am beautiful and i am beautiful for many people. and so are each of you. its okay if you don't think i'm beautiful, that's your choice and i cannot be beautiful for everyone.

i am very grateful for this confidence that i have given that since day one i have been told i am not beautiful for i do not have fair skin like my mother. do you know how many people have walked up to me and shamelessly said "oh such a pity you are not fair like your mother."

unfortunately for them i have always turned back and said, "why whats wrong with being dark. i love being dark and love that i have my fathers colour."

not being the typical size doesn't help either. but people forget that we are attracted to different types of people. there wil lalways be someone who thinks you AS YOU ARE are beautiful.

don't let people make you feel any less. say it after me - YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. and when someone tells you that, learn to say thank you and don't brush it off.

I love these campaigns by Dove. sincerely beautiful

Beautiful is not a bad word. it is a lovely word that can energise people. So you too learn to tell people they are beautiful. especially your loved ones, tell them often, of how beautiful you think they are. even if they brush it off, say it again until they learn to believe it. ‪#‎dove‬ ‪#‎beautiful‬

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

How to beat GST

Do you know theres a way to minimise gst effect - start cooking at home. all fresh food is zero gst rated. and most times you can cook better too. the number of times i have been dissapointed with overpriced salmon dishes outside is unbelivable. which is why i cook them at home.

but seriously think about it - every restaurant is going to hike up prices coz of the domino effect of gst and then above that you're going to get charged gst. we often pay for mediocre food coz its easily available. my friends overseas where gst has been charged for years and where eating out is too expensive, have a habit of cooking and packing lunches.

its not too hard also and way healthier. the truth is we're all bloody lazy, me included. things like cus cus can be prepared like in minutes if you need carbs. like just pour hot water, add butter and salt and tadah you have carbs. rice also cooks pretty fastla. one meal dishes are super easy to prepare like my favourite kunyit stir fry.

you know so many places screw up that beautiful dish? like seriously la!!

there are group buys for a lot of fresh food on fb, join one and buy in bulk for better prices as well.

anyway time to start rethinking how we do things - the stingy one in me is rearing its head lol

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GST is here

I'm stingy. Have always been. And I can mentally calculate price differences in secs which is why I decided to join the fray of gst shoppers. I was due to shop for stuff anyway. While shopping I realized one thing. While I could afford to make some savings for the next few months. 

Most ppl who live paycheck to paycheck won't be able to. The cashiers breaking their backs at grocery shops are probably one of them. The queues have been crazy long last few days and yet most have been patient. 2015 isn't going to be any easier than 2014. All I can say is work extra hard to keep the ball rolling.

GST is here.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

The struggles of a book nerd ;p

OMG this is so me!  The struggles of a book nerd

1 and 13 - is my biggest dilema all the time - especially when packing for trips! 

2 and 3 - troy, troy was so screwed up for me. throughout the movie i went, no thats not it, NOOOOOOOOO (in between ogling over brad pitt ;p

5, 14 - this is why i am not allowed to buy books and then i bought half a bag full in Hyderabad - hummm ;p

7 and 8 - this gets me like arggg 

9, 10 - hello you crazy is it

11 - ahha

15 - when i moved, all the boxes had books in it, half full so the movers wouldnt break their backs, and yet one box still broke and the movers went WTH is in here??? ;p 

22 - ahha happened before and i dont care ;p 

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Monday, February 02, 2015

Thaipusam 2015

Muruga having a laugh with the priest ;p

I just got back from the start of the 125th Thaipusam celebrations here in Kuala Lumpur. The silver chariot procession began earlier tonight and throughout shooting the photos i kept wondering what the heck was different with the chariot! And wahlah - its the OM - the OM is missing! I'm kinda sad - i loved the OM but the new chariot and its lights are quite pretty and they kept it classy and its all golden hues. And Muruga looked so pretty with his red garland - the decorations were just perfect.

This is my 10th year photographing the Thaipusam celebrations! Yes 10 beautiful years!! ;)  And I just realised it while writing this post. Damn, I need to put all this in a book soon!

For memories sake - here are the chariot photos from the 9 years.

Thaipusam 2006  Thaipusam 2007  The Chariot

  2006                                    2007                                        2008  

The chariotThe Chariot  Home ;)

2009                                        2010                                  2011

  thaipusam 2012    The chariot    
    2012                            2013                                   2014

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hello 2015

Yes hello there.

So I haven't been here for sometime. well to be honest its easier to post on social media FB, Twitter or Insta - so you can follow me in one of these places.

I turned another year older but I'm glad to report people still think i'm 26/27. yes lol. So yayy to that.

2014 was crazy. that's the best word to describe it. Super highs on one side, super lows on another. By the end of it, I just wanted to move along like can we just go. So the birthday went uncelebrated as we grappled with another set of tragedies.

Thank god I was away travelling coz this is how those few last days went, everytime I got back to the hotel, I would cry after reading the updates of the floods and plane crash.

The thing is I had just traveled through those places in the beautiful state of Kelantan. they are such wonderful people so it was painful to see what they were going through. But ah Malaysians, you made my heart soar, such show of solidarity as so many scrambled to do something for them and many actually went to the states to help.

Of course 2015 doesn't seem to want to tone down. it has been a whirlwind of craziness.

Ah but I travelled so much in 2014, going to places i have wanted to go.

There was the music season in Chennai for the annual birthday trip which included multiple opportunities to watch Rajesh Vaidhya. My god what a birthday it was in 2013 to sit two rows from the stage and watch him play. and of course by mid year the whole count of number of times i've watched him live increased as he turned up in KL not once but twice! i was sitting next to a music teacher I know for one of the concerts and we kept going - omg omg omg. which coincidentally i have in recording ;p lol

Then Thaipusam came and went and I have yet to finish editing the photos - it has been such a busy year.

Then there was the short trip to Perak to shoot a dance arangetram and a stop at Ipoh.

Then there was the trip to Kolkata/ Varanasi. Okay this time i barely stopped at Kolkata. But my second trip to Varanasi was amazing. slightly quieter as it wasn't Shivarathri but still pretty amazing. My flower boy still remembered me and he now speaks wonderful english as compared to a year back. Oh i got interviewed for a Singapore channel, the show aired somewhere in the mid year.

Then there was the trip to Kota Kinabalu. oh how i had missed those islands. Of course i had to get into some drama. How else do you explain getting locked up by the bus driver in a bus? i still think he thought i was a ghost. still at least the KK cops were entertained when i called them for help to save me! ;p

Dammit i miss snorkeling!!

Then I stopped travelling mostly for the World Cup. Omg what a world cup, so many upsets, my poor poor Brazil. I'm still getting teased about that by the way!

Life, work got crazy, too many things going on at the same time. Like i said crazy year.

The gopro has become a daily cam, making it easy to take and upload photos asap and it is so funnnnn. Which means i have posted more photos it than those taken on the dslr. and on some trips i didn't even take the dslr.

This years independance day celebration was a blast not as filled with military but still pretty awesome.

Then I began the non stop travelling spree. First up was beautiful Kelantan - such a beautiful state. from beautiful kerala like backwater canals to beautiful ww2 bridges in the middle of no where to getting caught in a crazy storm before heading to the beach. yeah it was and omg i had nasi dagang. the most yummiest thing ever. sigh how to get nasi dagang here? how? how? how?

Then Navarathri came. Ah what a beautiful time - my favourite festival.

Oh i also did two photo exhibitions last year, got featured in a paper and mag i think. also thanks to getting forced, i made my first photobook in 2 days! yes two days! like was i crazy or what - anyway it needs some reworking coz the text turned out gigantic ;p hehhehe

Then it was the lazy trip to Seminyak, Bali. Well all i do at the beach is hit the water or laze around reading a book. it was my first ime on a surf beach where i was sitting and jumping mad waves ;p That wave in the picture was twice my height! HOly moly!

But of course drama follows and I nearly drowned in a pool coz of a stupid girl. Omg i can finally say it - stupid, stupid girl. i seriously wanted to slap her for her stupidity. I travel the world alone and have never drowned and this happens. haish - some people are just too stupid.

The much awaited Myanmar trip to Yangon and Bagan happened in October. Oh I loved that country and its people. so refreshingly nice and sincere. Bagan was so stunning, and watching the sun rise and set is seriously what an amazing experience, especially the sunrise.

Then there was the quick trip to Singapore to watch Anil Srinivasan in concert and to meet my long lost friend. Wow that was one amazing concert.

For once I managed to be in KL on Christmas itself. Haven't done that for sometime. And KLCC out did itself in the decoration. What a sight. I walked out of the mall and gasped at this sight.

I ended the year in Hyderabad for the annual birthday holiday. Ah i love that city. the weather is so lovely in December. You can just sit outside in the garden and read a book and you won't sweat at all. I kept stopping at places just so i could enjoy the weather. and it would get chilly at night and I'd have to wear a sweather! The city with the perfect weather. Fear not Hyderabad folks, I have been told by numerous folks that this is only a few months thing! but still ;p

The Nizam's have built some amazing structures and i managed to visit others outside the city and in the much hotter parts of the United States of Andhra!!! Hehehe the trademark to that phrase belongs to a friend whom i promptly told - I'm stealing it!

Oh and the city has better taste in clothes than Chennai with its jang overdone gold big prints that drive me crazy.

Anyway as you can see the year has been busy and you're better off following me on Instagram where I post something nearly everyday than look for updates here.

Till the next post then. No promises.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Its Christmassssssssss

When I was a kid i insisted in decorating our potted fir tree for Christmas - i was about 7 or 9 years old. Every year that i can remember i have celebrated Christmas, usually much more than i do Deepavalli. I was born right in the middle of Christmas and New Year! How can I not celebrate?

That's why i'm always jumping around decorating the office, home, planning christmas parties. and guess what i'm still Hindu and oh all my Christmas's have been vegetarian ;p

All you people mumbling about wishing people or whatever else nonsense, haish go play far far, its CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ;p

ps: oh Hello lovely blog people ;p
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Monday, October 20, 2014

10 years

10 years ago, I lost the person who loved me the most – my appa on this very date, 3 days before Deepavalli. I stopped celebrating that year. It wasn’t that hard coz I wasn’t very into it.

But every year he’d make sure I got anything I wanted. Every year I remember I’d delay putting my kolam for Deepavalli as I’d be waiting to watch the annual pre-deepavalli blockbuster. Even post Astro, I think it was a tradition of sorts at every home coz it was always a Rajini or Kamal movie.

So by the time I started one of my elaborate kolam designs, it would be nearly 11 at night. Yet every year he would stay awake along with me as I took hours to finish my kolam, never really complaining.

He’d spend the whole of the next week protecting my kolam from being stepped on.  No matter who turned up he’d rush to tell them – watch out for the kolam.

We had another ritual every other year after the morning prayers at the temple, we would leave for a holiday somewhere. My love of travelling was inherited from my father. Which is why nearly every Deepavalli, I’m not here. In one way it is a salute to him in another it’s the best escape from the general gloom I feel around this time. Though I’m sure he’s mumbling from above with all the solo travelling I do.

It’s been a rollercoaster year of highs and lows.

I am who I am today because of his passing but not a day goes by that I didn’t wish he was still around to at least fight with me.

I will be off travelling again with limited internet I think. 

Happy Deepavalli everyone – see you when I get back.

Life and Death

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Airport craziness

The new bali airport (ngurah rai) is pretty messed up. it takes forever to get out (if you need a visa) and if you're not smart and alert you'll be caught in one of the stupid queues. (one of the cops right at the entrance wasn't allowing ppl in unless they showed their departure card, so i blinked and sweetly asked can i go in first? ;p) the security checks reminded me of india. then they make you walk around the whole airport through mazes of shops (like singapore train stations) before you finally get to go to your gate. but guess what for the one hour that i was there i started hearing every single flight changing gates and we too finally had our flight gates changed! such bad management by angkasapuri.

so if you're headed there go to the airport early. 

KLIA 2 on the other hand is another singapore train station clone, miles and miles of walking on both legs of travel. this was the first time i ended up at the gate just mins before boarding coz i kept walking and walking and never found our gate. the newly introduced metered taxi is a sad thing and will probably be kicked off soon on the pretenxt of no demand as everytime you head to the counter they tell you only executive taxis are available so people head back to the couponed lanes. 

Go ask MAB about it, not me.  

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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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