Thursday, July 31, 2008

Come my precious ...

Come my precious ..... I’ve always had a thing for big brawny men blowing fires! Don’t ask me why but when I see them I have to follow them everywhere they go and watch enthralled as they blow enormous balls of fire into the air.

When I was traveling in Sri Lanka, I remember we attended this cultural performance and there were fire eaters there as well. Ah now one of them was a very cute guy and ahem lets just say he was found performing mostly on my side of the court. I think it had everything to do with the pure adoring admiration look I had on my face. Cheh I’m a disgrace to myself! Tsh tsh ;p





Man of fire Anyway last weekend we had attended the Laman 2008 – it’s a yearly landscape exhibition that takes place at the Lake Gardens. Now to me the highlight of the whole exhibition were the fire eaters. When I had read the agenda for the day, I secretly hoped we’d stay long enough to see their performance.

Pssst : my friends don’t know about this – ops I forgot they read this blog – yikes ;p

We walking around lake Gardens when it started drizzling, so we decided to head back and miss most of the night performances. But then we saw him!

We just had to get a photo. So I asked him if we could shoot him and my god he immediately started performing for us. I think he seriously had an obsession for the movie 300 – he was even reciting the script!

But this guy definetly knew how to perform. When he and his partner were blowing fires he would give us signals on when he was gonna blow the fire, mostly giving us time to shoot. I think he liked us to coz he kept performing near us – explains why I have so many photos of him ;p

See I told ya I have a thing for brawny fire eaters ;p

Fire eater 300 Look at me....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Love?

Love?

See if you can guess what this is ;)

I ain't no bimbo

You stopped talking to a person two years ago after all the drama said person caused. Said person leaves country and you have some what of peace from people bugging you to forgive and forget. Person gets back and decides to sulk everytime you’re in vicinity even though to you said person is like a ghostly presence – makes no difference to ya.

Friend who thinks they’re well meaning, saviour of the day proceeds to give you lecture on why you should forgive and forget. Even claims to be able to get said person to apologise for being a snobbish drama queen. You say its 2 years too late.

What supposedly well meaning friend doesn’t see is, said person not only sulking but giving you the evil eye when you drive by in your new car. Friends??? Yeah right!

Now supposedly well meaning friend suggest said person to you as a friend on Facebook. What am I some stupid bimbo who can’t see what you’re doing?

Argggg so want to give a piece of my mind!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The art of serving

I love thiruvillas (temple festival). It’s a pretty gun

One of the things that I love about thiruvilla’s is the food and how its served. You could have at some of the best restaurants but food served at thiruvillas is just unbelievable. The best menu would be pumpkin gravy, sambhar (dhal), beans kothu, vadai, appalam (papadam) and finishing off with payasam all served on banana leafs.

Everyone sits on the floor and the guys from the area or from the family whose hosting the prayers serve the food. Now serving food isn’t easy coz you have to be squatting or bent all throughout. Now last week, the ex university students in my area hosted one of the prayers. There we were sitting and waiting to be served and I realized there were 2 distinct groups serving us. One group from our local boys and the other from the ex university students. So I decided to entertain my mom and her friend with my observations.

From my town

  • Serves with a smile
  • Has time to chat in between servings
  • Personally serves everyone by politely squatting and not throwing leaves at people.
  • Able to squat-walk
  • Efficient and fast yet still cracking jokes
  • Serves the precise amount of food – not too much or too little
  • Co-operates to ensure efficiency
  • Strategies based on supply – you end up with half vadai’s ;p
  • Has a sense of coolness – casually goes around serving people.

Ex university students

  • Mr Yellow
    Dumps a bunch of banana leaf on people and tells them to pass it along after trying and failing to individually give out the leaves. He was latter on found with a scowl, sighing everytime he had to bend and serve someone.
  • Mr Red
    Was serving while bent at the most disturbing angle – lets just say anyone sitting behind him had an excellent view. Attributed to the lack of experience in knowing what jeans was best worn for such work.
  • Sweating buckets
    Serves one spoon of food, stands straight sighs and looks across the hall sweats and slowly bends to serve. Takes ages to get through his line
  • Chaos
    Creates traffic jams as local town boys caught up with him, yet oblivious to the fact he’s the cause of the jam.
  • Exasperated
    By the 10th person he had to serve, he was sweating, sighing, in a fowl mood, cursing and regretting volunteering to serve - best of all he still has a lot more ppl to serve! Swears to never do this again! ;p

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Game

I used to go early to school. Not because I was a diligent, responsible, rule fearing student. But because I knew there was a game waiting to be played at school.

I don’t think anyone other than us actually obsessed over this game at 16.

Ah yes the whole class had an obsession over chess. Every morning we’d rush to class to play or watch someone play the game. That was the only reason we went to school early.

If you’ve been around the blog long enough you’d have read this before, for the rest you should read this before you continue.

The funny thing is after I left school, I had no one to play chess with. Apparently it wasn’t the coolest game but that never stopped me from telling people I loved the game. Its been at least 10 years since I played chess.

A few weeks back I stumbled on a book with an interesting title – The Eight by Katherine Neville.

The book combines mystery, history, the number eight, chess, music and maths into this extraordinary plot. While I love the plot, I do believe this over a decade old book could do with a good edit, the writer has a tendency of repeating herself one too many times. I guess seeing the success of the Da Vinci Code, the publishers decided to republish the book.

The story is set told parallel to two events that take place in the '70's and the late 18th century. What connects them together is both the main characters search for the legendary Charlemagne chess set which was a gift to King Charlemagne by the Moors. The chess set which was buried in abbey till history and political turmoil forced it to be removed from its 1000 year prison and spread across France, is said to possess mystical powers.

Now the story tells the quest of the pieces and the white and black team players to find and discover the secrets of the chess set. What is interesting is how they connect maths, music, chess and the number eight.

For anyone who has learnt music, after a certain stage you would have realized that music is basically repeating set of notes set into a mathematical pattern, occasionally some could even be turned into an elaborate formula. Vice versa as one of the character in the story a composer reveals, even chess moves which are based on mathematical formulas, and mathematical formulas can be turned into a music score.

It makes you wonder if any of our ancient musical scores had hidden messages in them. I guess the possibilities are endless or infinite just as how the number 8 resembles.

The book connects nuns, Catherine the great, napoleon, woodswort, French revolutionaries, the massacre of the French revolution and many more historical figures. The names can get overwhelming after sometime. But the plot doesn’t run away from its original idea that’s why the book is worth the read. Unbelievable and definetly fiction but a good read.

Of course after reading the book I had to find out about the main character – the Charlemagne chess set. Apparently it does exist just its carved off ivory and not gold and silver set with precious stones like the book describes. The interesting point by historians is King Charlemagne never played chess.

I believe the book is definitely fiction, it does not make you rethink history like Da vinci Code did but like I said a very good plot just so in need of an edit.

Oh the best part of all I finally managed to play chess again. Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever win a game, all i can do is delay the process. Darn!

Flickrvision

This is so cool. The site shows the activity on Flickr by country. Everytime someone uploads a photo it pops out in their location country.

Check it out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green Paradise

This is my DAD....

I live 20 minutes from waterfalls set amidst lushes green trails. So when Kaz insisted we head of to somewhere green, Ali, Kervin and I jumped into her car and after a brief lost of roads (they've super developed the roads!) we were driving through lush greens with our windows down with a river on one side and greenery everywhere.

lost and found Hanging bridge Towards the light

It was just an amazing drive, we'd stop by wherever place that fancied us and shoot photos, that's how we found the hanging bridge. We even ended up at a herb farm and met this sweet old lady who explained what herbs she had planted. Of course since it was next to a fish rearing pond, we got bitten alive by mosquitos.

Are they mad??? RedOne

Them we headed to my favourite waterfall, its still as beautiful just a tid bit crowded. We could have sat around longer it was just so peaceful. Spotting an old town, we stopped by to find beautiful birds at a pet shop. Friendly and talkative parrots too.

ObiWhiteKaneobi Green frame

We stopped at a few places, drove through small roads, met a few people, spotted a few aborigine families, played in the water and lots of laughter.

Ps : old story – went on the trip while I was limping away ;p

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cream of Pumpkin soup


I used to hate soups, rasam and the likes. Then I discovered I really do like them ;p

Soup is seriously one of the most easiest thing to cook.

Pumpkin (skinned and cubed)
Garlic
Ginger
Mixed herbs
Butter/ margerin
creamer
Pepper
Paprika
Cinnamon
Salt

Sauté garlic, ginger in butter/ margarine, then add the herbs. When you get the beautiful smell of garlic n herbs add in the cubed pumpkins and let it cook on a low heat. Once cooked add in the creamer, and the rest of the ingredients to taste. Cook till the first boil and then blend all the ingredients.

You can add a dollop of cream cheese but its great on its own. Best eaten with garlic bread which you can make yourself. Grate or grind garlic and mix with butter and spread over bread and grill them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chain outlets

Are all chain outlets the same? While the food may be the same and the service similar, each outlet tends to mold towards the local demographics.

I was sitting at the newly opened Old town Kopitiam in my town when this thought occurred to me as I watched the crowd walk in and out of the outlet.

Any outlet in KL you’d find the nearly same bunch of people eating there. The younger crowd or families with little kids. Over here it was slightly different, there were quite a number of old ppl arriving with their working children or sitting around waiting for the teenage kids to shop.

And you'd see at least a cup of hot coffee in those dainty antique looking cups on their tables. Its always interesting to people watch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Revisiting Pekeliling

Free as a birdOh shit I’ll call you back!!!

That’s how I woke up on Sunday morning when Prav called for directions to our photowalk location. It was already 7.50 am and I was supposed to pick up the friends at 7.45am! So I took a quick shower, grabbed the charged batteries and ran out of the house, jumped into the car and called her back to give her directions.






There went all my plans to don a skirt and do a photo session. Oh well there's always other times. This would be my third visit to the Pekeliling flats and I was looking to do some flash photography, check out the excellent but crazily hot view at the roof and some gothic shots.

We climbed 18 floors to reach the roof, dallying between floors and shooting the abandoned building. It was the first time visit for a few of them and as expected the first view inside the building never fails to shock.

Sometimes I wonder why the left so many things, was it in a rush or like Kaz put it, to restart their lives? Remnants of the lives of the occupants continues to linger in each home. The most disturbing being the children shoes you’d find in most of the homes.

The sizes of the homes are normally the second shock.

“This would still be lived in and considered a luxury in South Africa”

Hard to swallow but reality is this could still be homes for people elsewhere in the world.

I think the roof has a temptation ghost as everytime we’re up there I keep screaming my head of and spanking someone for getting too close to the edge. That’s a 18 storey drop mind you! I love the shot but he definitely got smacked for going crazy on us!

Pekeliling to me is a reality check, it tells me I’m blessed in many ways and that no matter how high I climb, I need to strengthen my roots to ground myself.

Love till the building collapses

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Love Economics

"When you have a winner, stick with your winner. Whether in love or in the stock market, winners are to be prized."

..... Lesson's in Love, By way of Economics

MILO addict

Minum MILO and jadi sihat dan kuat!

Drink MILO to stay strong and healthy!

That’s the slogan every kid knew as they were growing up. Milo could be called our national drink and I confess my only addiction!

My whole life has revolved around this drink in its familiar green tin. When we were young, they used to send a grebe MILO truck every now and then to school on an extremely hot day.

Each of us will be given one tiny little cup of the best cold MILO ever. How I wish I could buy those drinks but no everyone had only access to one cup of MILO. Till today I still don’t get how those drinks taste so good. No matter how well made a cup of MILO is you can never get that taste.

So much so I’m planning to raid a school sports day soon just for a cup! Yes I think they still serve those drinks. So if you ever hear of the hijacking of a MILO truck, it was probably me! ;p

I never wanted anything else when I was growing up, not to mention the fact that tea gives me a headache and I only like drinking coffee when I’m in India.

I remember I used to come home to this big silverish mug (tumbler) of ice cold milo which I could only have after lunch. It was my moms incentive to make me eat. I used to hate eating and rather enjoyed skipping meals. No I wasn’t on a diet, I was just too lazy to eat. Yep talk about the height of laziness.

Whenever I leave the country for my travels I have this whole MILO ritual I need to do. It starts with a daily intake of MILO and the very last thing I do at the airport is grab a glass of it which normally comes from MCDs. I’m not too fond of their MILO but it does its job. Then the moment I get back I have to have my MILO immediately. MILO you could say is my bond to my country.

Throughout the trip I’ll have cravings for MILO or ice chocolate drinks. When we were in Bangkok, our guesthouse restaurant served an amazing glass of ice chocolate drink, it was literarily heaven on earth. I thought finally found a country that recognizes my favourite drink.

My joy was short-lived I couldn’t find a single restaurant that served Ice chocolate in Chiang Mai. It was just so weird. We finally did find one young gal who was serving Ice Chocolate drinks at a Songkran fair. We ended up having a conversation with her on why Chiang Mai refuses to serve my favourite drink. Its my only peeve against the town, I love everything else about it.

Naturally my obsession with the drink is known by most. Usually by my 3rd visit to a restaurant they would have memorized my drink taste. So when I do order something else, they often get upset. This was the conversation I had with a waiter yesterday,

Me : blurts out my orders
Waiter : ….and MILO ice?
Me : errr nope
Waiter : You sure or not???
Me : errr yeah
Waiter : oooh ok

I head to the cashier to pay and ….

Cashier : no milo
Me : huh
Cashier : you sure you don’t want milo?
Me :lol yes I’m sure

Ah yes people do know how to make a MILO addicts day, now I need a glass! Damn!! ;p

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Courtesys going down the drain

I had just been complaining to mom about the lack of courtesy in inviting people to weddings among my generation. Somehow people think its ok for a third person to ask you to come to a wedding when the host has no manners to invite you themselves but expect you to turn up. After the wedding which you decide not to attend, they would have the gall to ask why you didn’t come.

Right about then one of the temple committee heads in my area turned up to our house to invite us for the temple Kumbhabhishegam (grand prayers). As I had just finished dinner, I left the room. The uncle however refused to leave without personally inviting me to attend. He didn’t have to but he did.

I think people need a lesson in courtesy especially new age wannabes.

If you want someone to attend your wedding :-

  • Send the card through a friend, mail, email – whatever means but pick up the phone and call them, don’t expect them to turn up just coz a card was sent to them.
  • Not sending a card but expecting them to turn up isn’t either.
  • Sms’s do not function as valid invites for a wedding unless you’ve gone green and done only email invites – I doubt that.
  • Getting another person to invite people on their behalf isn’t either.
  • The one general card for all from a school, association, work – sure no prob, just make sure you personally invite them face to face or by a call, or through a personal email.
  • If you want someone to take the effort to go to another state or country for your wedding, double the reason why you should call.

The adage of the day, CALL if you want them to come.

If 50 – 60 year olds can personally invite me to their childrens wedding/ functions ect - I don’t see why dumb 20 year olds have no basic courtesy to do so. For the people who think I’m being ridiculous go fly kite. I have more important things to do.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A little town ....

... I call home.

sunset250606a1

I live in a little town on the outskirts of KL. People always ask me why I’m willing to travel 60 kms per day just to get to and from work. I tell them its coz my little town is an absolute wonder.

It’s a little town with beautiful smiles and friendly people. We have a few farms, ranch, all kinds of trees, mining pool lakes, parks, quaint old town markets and shops, shopping complexes, old houses, a green university, excellent food, temples and mosques, cemeteries and boulevards and so much more all just 5 minutes away from each other.

Breaking Dawn On a journey

After talking so much about my place, I took my friends on a trip around town and we’re yet to finish even half of what the town has to offer. Shooting right from sunrise, we then sneaked into the ranch. Right after with our stomachs growling, we headed to my favourite breakfast place where I’ve been having absolutely delicious Chee Chong fun’s for the last 20 years at least.

Cowboy town? Dew drops on a sunday morning Journey


Little town series Of course the moment they saw me with Kerv, the 70 ish aunties couldn’t resist asking if he was my bf. We were quick to tell them no we were just friends. Kerv was amazed with the friendliness of the people. My town people can be super friendly and till today I don’t recall any incident of extreme racism, weird neighbours yes but no ones gonna put you down coz of your skin colour.

We packed our food and sat down to eat at another corner shop, where another hawker gave us her bowls to use. You can bring outside food in as long as you bought food as well. You could say that our food remains amazing coz its still being served by generations of cooks rather than foreign help.

Stuffed to our bones we headed to the morning market to shoot photos. We however had the daunting task of finding a valid parking. In our quest we ended watching a Chinese funeral instead yet the parking remained elusive. People are pretty considered, no one parks in front of anyone’s house door.

Little town series Market Cool boy


This is probably one of the few markets where you’ll find the uncles and aunties talking to you in perfect English. The market sells the most unusual stuff and is peppered with every little imaginable authentic food.

Little town series This vegetable vendor aunty ended up spanking me after I showed her a photo I took of her. As usual I gave everyone enough entertainment. ;p











Little town series Sweet treatWe had so much fun at this stall. The aunty was happily posing for us with her family and giving us entertainment. We then decided to go for a drink at this nearby coffee shop. The customers at the shop had been curiously watching us take photos.





Just another day Over coffee....

The shop was out of the pages of small towns. Quaint yet warm, filled with smiles and lazy morning customers. watching the market go by. Lovely service too, this man brought us our drinks with smiles and jokes. I just love the light at the shop.

Food for the soul Little town series



Little town series Little town series

Of course not everything was rosy. A yuppie had to spoil our mood. We were passing by another coffee shop in the market when we bumped into a table of ladies laughing away and so we sneaked a shot and they started laughing and putting a shor for us. Ms yuppie turns back and goes oh you can’t take photos of people without their permission.

Here’s the thing with photography. You can take anyones shot in public as long as you don’t use it for commercial or illegal uses. You cannot take photos inside a private building without the owners permission.

So I told her off and walked away.

After the market we headed to walking park at the university. I love this place. I’ve sat around there so many times, enjoying the beauty of the place and I’ve wanted to shoot there forever. It was actually the first place I went to shoot photos after I got my pns camera the canon Powershot 620.

Charging horses Geese on the move The road Lonely or alone

So it was good to go there again. The place is filled with these huge old trees which are probably a few decades old since the university is one of the oldest and greenest. We had Prav model for us and shot some really interesting photos. Of course in the process we did nutty stuff. One point we were sleeping in the middle of a road when this car suddenly stops behind us. He was chuckling away in the car.

We tried shooting at one of the big trees but they were all swamped with red ants and we really weren’t looking at getting bitten. Then we spotted this picnic table and at one point I ended up standing over prav on the picnic table ;p heheh yeah it was funny for us but must have looked weird to ppl coz after a while the park securities turned up to check what we were doing.

I’m sure the look of a someone covered in white cloth and hands tied doesn’t look normal but we were going for a theme. So we explained ourselves to the security guys and wrapped up shooting.

It was good to know the security acted fast and came by to check on what was going on. They’ve always been like that. And so ended our day in my little town, of course after a late lunch.


Sillhoute of a flower Glowing town Trickles of rainForgotten Burning dawn Bygone avenue The blue hour Sun shines through eyes on you Ponggal Urban Rain Green rain