Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turning 30

I have always thought I had the mind of a 50 year old, the heart of a kid and at present the age of a 30 year old adult. Yesterday I turned 30 and this superbly late post was supposed to have hit the blog yesterday however I was stuck with a keyboard that picked 2 days ago to malfunction.

I tried the very next day to hit the roads and get one, faulty traffic lights and crazy roads sent me rushing towards a mall instead to catch 2012. Initially I had wanted to drool over Robert Pattison but the theatre had other plans. What a movie to watch on the eve eh? Well I’ve always been a weirdo, you see I had a book I have been dying to read for years in my hands for several weeks now but I put it on hold and waited till the eve of my birthday to read it.

Mitch Albom’s brilliant Tuesdays with Morrie was the book and if you haven’t read it, it centres on death. The oddity goes against most Asians believes and need to drown in auspicious and properity linked items. I always believed that crap had a lot to do with fear and when it concerns birthdays, death is a no no, apparently. But how can you not think of death when birth is but the beginning of death. If you are born, you will one day perish but it is how you live the life in between birth and death that matters not the impending death.

And while most people viewed 2012 as devastating and depressing, I saw hope and that humanity still lingers on a select few. So let’s not give up on humanity yet. Kick the bitches out, they just make your life cluttered.

There is this one quote in that book that is so very much like my own motto in life – LIVE life or GO die ;p the one motto I hold on is – remember your past, think about the future but live for the present. Told ya I’m a 50 year old in a 30 year olds skin.

2009 has been one crazy year. It has been on one side a pretty good year and on the other i’m being heaped with obstacles, weird craziness and tireless attacks on trust. Rather than moan on the negativity, I’m taking it in stride and living with the vibe on the positive side of things.

When you were touch by depression at a very young age, it makes you appreciate life even more. Trust me if you think work and social status is life – then you should take Morries advice and go die ;p

I have never understood peoples obsession on hiding their age but then I was blessed with young genes. Thanks to the wonderful powers of FB, I met a very old friend who I had lost in touch with for some 7 years! Honest as ever, he assured me I looked not a day over 25 ;p hehhe that definetly does wonders to the ego. Even more during a recent photowalk outing, the friendly town folk assumed we were students ;p

FB has allowed me to reach out to so many long lost friends, hail the social network that I once refused to be part of. It also revealed the fakeness of a lot of people who apparently call you friend. People are often there to illicit information and favours from you but try the other way round and you come up with blanks. Even funnier when they only contact you to gather gossip to spread to others.

I was going to write an adieu for the year that was, there’s a picture trail coming soon on V-Eyez but the real story gets written here. Its been an amazingly wonderful artistic year, if there is such a term. I set out in 2009 to make sure I welcomed the 30s with things I would always be proud of even when I’m 60 and its been a shoe in ;p

Beauty in Destruction in/Visible

Photography wise, there’s been loads of achievements and improvement. You see there’s always space for improvement, and when you think you’re the best you’re charting a trail downwards. I had 2 amazing photography exhibitions, the first exhilarating for a dream come true, the second very much personal to my heart as it was a perfect combination of 2 of my favourite things in life imagery and story telling. We picked stories from our travels or life itself and it was like watching a live blog. Watching people react to the stories and images is an unbelievable feeling. Selling 3 of the exhibited photos was even more amazing. To know that someone has your work displayed proudly at their home is a feeling I cannot describe. One of my photos even made the finalist list of a prestigious photography award ;p

Love You're invited! I garland thy Together Flowery frame Joy   Beautiful

There’s also all the projects I’ve been shooting – personal and on assignment. It’se to be entrusted in capturing people’s ideas and moments. Getting hired to shoot in India was even more priceless and what an experience it was. I’ve heard and seen people treat photographers indifferently, fortunately I’ve never had to feel that, most times I’ve been treated like gold. You get treated the way you treat others, simple as that.

Pre-schooler The future Yoga

Playing the waiting game Enna thavam seithenei Paal Vadiyum mugam
It was as a year of new gears and the parting with cash – sigh so not fun but oh so fun to play with. The purchase was actually linked to a very unsatisfactory event when I was told in very little words that I am judged by my usefulness and when I failed to comply to demands made I was a treat That fuelled me to leap beyond what I needed to creating a point that trying to hurt me is pretty futile since I only see it as a challenge.

My writing assignments for Asia*DanceChannel has been wonderful too. I’ve always wanted to write for dance, one of my loves. I cannot think of a life without dancing and music. Even better one of the articles I wrote will be published in the inaugural magazine coming out this very month.

Romance Energetic dance Warrior queen

I think I’ve watched more live shows this year than movies. Some for the magazine and more on my own. You see I absolutely love hanging out at KLPAC with the lovely staff and amazing people who run the place. I usually head there early to curl up in my fav seat at the restaurant and chat with the kids and wait staff who have come to miss me ;p Of course the amazing food helps too ;p It is defiantly a lovely thing to walk in and have the founders hug you in welcome. I’m still star struck though, I’ve worked with them, sat down and chatted with them and even hear them exclaim their delight in my work.

That brings that to the event that had me going crazy. My proposal to choreograph and dance in the Short + Sweet festival was accepted to my excitement and absolute horror. I spent sleepless nights turning in bed worrying about the music, choreography and whether people would accept my idea and the fact I did not look like the typical dancer. I can still remember that glow on Faridah’s face when she watched our presentation during our rehearsal slot or the reactions and reviews. Phew what a relief. It’s of course inspired more plans for the next year, so lets see where the year takes me.

Ummmm Hey
The show coincided with MJ’s death and as any artist would tell you the only tribute you can give is through the very art itself. Another chance presented itself when Thrill the World happened and I finally got to learn the Thriller.

I would like to tell you I’m over it and I have accepted his death but truthfully that’s not true. I have mixed feelings with the new breed of MJ lovers who have surfaced but who are we to question the sudden interest when his music is timeless?

This was also the year the younger brother got married and marked the entrance of a sister in law. Not a bad thing after all ;)

Am I yours???  Leisure day   People watching

There are of course my travels – my very reason of existence. locally we did the whole of Negeri Sembilan, bits of Pahang and of curse there was the extensive trip in India. Soothes the senses oh s wonderfully. Stories of those will come in the new year.

The blog has turned 5 by the way I don't write as much since its much easier to put up photos on V-Eyez. It’s as been great year for books, bought so many, followed on with my yearly tradition of gifting myself with books and even got more as gifts ;p

So its been quite a year and as we dawn on the eve of 2010 I wish it will be filled with more adventures

Happy New year and god bless everyone ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Xmas 2009

Christmas surise

Christmas was a long day this year. The old man who fell unconscious the day before turned up and came looking for me to thank me. I asked him how he was and if he had gone to the hospital. Apparently the blood that I had seen on his shirt was from a nick on his neck that needed 4 stitches. That explains why he was still feeling faint when I dropped him back.

I was glad to see him. Its never nice to hear bad news.

As I was driving home after the prayers, I eyed the skies and contemplated heading to my sunrise spot to catch a glimpse of the day. Every year during Margzhali I would try to capture the sunrise. I had found this spot one year as I had gone chasing this amazing sky. It’s a real peaceful place away from the noise and people with vast greens to look at.

I wasn’t disappointed, the sun put on a lovely show and we even had some powdery orange effect on the clouds. I got back to finally sleep but was up in 3 hours to head for Christmas lunch at my aunts.

So there we were getting out of my brothers car and suddenly I reliase I had slammed the car doors in my fingers. Now somewhere in this year I was thinking to myself that I have never jammed my fingers. Looks like I jinxed myself. The poor finger hurt like hell and had started bleeding. I knew I needed ice asap and was feeling super faint. Eyeing a mamak shop I made my mom get me ice but she came back with milo ice which really helped sooth the pain. I think I should have balled my eyes out instead of being macho, my family was laughing at me!

Thank god for ice, the pain gradually reduced in the next hour while I gulped down my milo. What can I say I’m a milo baby, it’s my security drink I think. Princess Diaries 2 may have helped too, I was glued to the tv watching it. Right after we did what we always do if we head to KL, go shopping for Indian stuff. There are some things that are better of to be bought in KL.

Now you would think we would be filled from lunch but the truth is we all had a polite lunch. You see the whole family is vegetarian throughout marzhali and when we do get invited for new year or Christmas parties we normally decline or have food first since usually the vege food is bad. Now i’ve come to a conclusion that I usually have this problem with Indian/ hindu houses. Every other time I’ve been vegetarian at a non Indian house I’ve had good food. Weird right? ;p

So we headed to Brickfields to get food and as usual we were arguing who should go buy the food. Bro finally through the most important point – “if you went n smiled we’ll get food asap.” I couldn’t argue with that and guess what it was true, we had 4 different items which all needed to be cooked done in matter of minutes. As usual the waiter was chatting me up.

He wanted to know if I had watched the latest Vijay movie, he got upset when I said I don’t watch his movies in theatre. This was the conversation ;p

Him: vettaikaran pathuthingela
Him: have you seen vijay’s movie vettaikaran
Me : vijay padam theatrele pahkurathileh
Me : I don’t watch his movies in the theatre

Him: enna ipdhi sohlithinge apoh tamil padam pahkamathingela
Him: how can you say that – so you don’t watch tamil movies?
Me : pahpen
Me : I do watch

Him: kadisiyah yahrodeh padam pahtingeh
Him: whose movie did you watch last
Me : Surya’s

Him: bah avar padam mathum nalla iruhka – ehlam oreh kadeh daneh
Him: bah how come his movie is good – the stories are the same
Me : athavan nalla irundhadeh, vijay padam kadisiyah sachin than nalla irundhadu
Me : athavan was nice, the last vijay movie I liked was sachin

Him: paaru pa vijay padam nalla illehyam surya than nalla iruhkam
Him: look here shes saying only surya’s movie is nice vijays isn’t
another guy : avangeh surya fan apdhithan sohluvange
another guy : she’s a surya fan what else do you expect

Just as I was leaving with the food he went

Him: ehnnakaga nengeh poyi vijay padam pahkanum
Him: you must go watch the movie for me
Me : pahkalam
Me : lets see

I usually enjoy this weird out of the blue conversations with waiters from India. I’ve had nearly similar conversations so many times and I’m always left laughing.
The funny thing is Surya popped up in the morning as well. My mom was sitting next to a bunch of gals and ladies during breakfast at the temple when she suddenly calls me and says (while trying not to laugh) that they’re talking about surya. Everyone looks at me puzzled. So I told them

me: Avangeh surya fan
me : moms a surya fan
Them : oooh hehehe

Me : surya avangeh bfnam
me : surya is her bf it seems
Mom: no vishal is ;p

me : oh sorry Vishal avenge bf ;p
me : oh sorry vishal is her bf ;p

The whole group burst into laughter ;p

Rushed home changed and spent 2 minutes contemplating taking the camera. Finally decided not to and headed to pick up kervin before I headed to Klang for Sabys Christmas party.

Now there is one stretch that connects our area to the highway that has been a mess of potholes and road construction for 3 years now and it doesn’t look like its getting better anytime soon. Guess who else is having the same issue or worse – Klang Makkal (people) ;p Now I’ve been frequenting the area for past 2 years and its been one construction after the other. I just don’t get it.

On our way back, stuck in a crawl, we finally figured why there was a jam, it took forever to go over one stretch of potholes just like the one we had at home and I told Kerv. “looks like we never left home!”

Now Kerv is always an early bird – he arrived at home for Deepavali sharp at 7pm and I wasn’t even dressed ;p I’m usually half an hour late so we arrived around 8 at Saby’s place and there was no one there but empty tables outside.

Kerv : are you sure its today?
me : yes
kerv : maybe its the other house (there was another house filled with people
me : hummm but wrong numberla

I may have finally convinced Kerv its usually good to be late, coz we were the first guests to arrive. Now I will no longer feel guilty about it ;p

We had a good time at Saby’s. Now if you’ve been following this blog long enough, you’d know I don’t drink not coz of anything but I hate the taste of bitterness and that burning sensation. So I’m always game to try out a new drink every now and then. The last time I had something was this sweet white wine on a friend’s insistence. Now that was super sweet not burning but still a bit bitterish for my taste. Apparently it has the least amount of alcohol.

Saby gave me a chocolate based alcohol (which I forgot the name) to try and the first sip I thought hey I may have found a drink! It tasted like a watered choc drink. Second sip and that burning sensation down your throat came rushing back ad the drink has now officially joined the rest of the list of drinks I’ve tried and rejected ;p

Oh remember the vegetarian theory I had. I had a super tasty spicy tofu sambal. I so wished I hadn’t had anything earlier ;p

Now on our way to Klang we had been gobsmacked by weird looking lights on the other side of the highway near Shah Alam. So we asked the toll gate guy how to get there and he gave us directions. So on our way back we headed there, we were nearly giving up when we found the place and were gobsmacked again. There were rows of colourful lit plastic Christmas trees. Weird but interesting and I smacked my head for forgetting the camera! I stole the photos from Kerv’s flickr for your entertainment.

And so that was Christmas and yeah the finger still hurts but its much better.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Being human

And so Margzhali has started and the waking and heading to temple at 4.30ish has begun. No change there but I’ve been having a bout of cannot sleep till 4 am which is messing up the waking time. Ah but the kolam drawing has been rejuvenating. I never plan the drawing, sometimes I stand and stare at the floor and image flows through, each day the floor tells me what to draw, not a book or a planned execution. And so the other day I ended up drawing a throne – simhasanam and as I was putting a trident on the seat it went crocked, most of the time I draw straight lines but this line was angled in such a way that as I stood back and looked I saw devi herself seated and promptly drew her. Don’t ask me for a photo, I’m too lazy to carry my cam n the camera phone can’t seem to capture them fully since the kolam is so huge. I have a side shot but it doesn’t show much.

Anyway today an old man who began coming for the prayers this year fell down unconscious during the prayers. Most of the people who knew him rushed to revive him. He was conscious in a while and most of us went back to our prayers. People were going back to him every now and then to talk to him. I was watching for a while and I realised he wasn’t getting better. He should have been made to lie down and put his legs up, but I guess people didn’t realise that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bhajji on the beach

Corn on fire

The one thing I try to do everytime I’m in Chennai is to head to Marina beach and have bhajji! Bhajji is something like tempura but done with gram flour. Now this simple stalls usually serve them with amazing chutney and ultra speeds.

In India no one goes to the beach to bathe, rather they spend the time having a picnic as the beach is filled with all kinds of foods and entertainment. The first time I had been to Marina beach in 1994, my dad refused to let us have any of the beach food. So when I finally spent a few weeks without the family in India in 2002, I gorged on bhajjis ;p See dad I’m still alive and kicking, the food that actually got me sick was the most expensive bill I paid for dinner in India.

snack time

Anyways we were deciding between beach and movie when we figured lets do the beach. The beach was filled with people since it was a day after Gandhi Jeyanthi. We walked around shooting watching the kids fly their kites and finally after the sun set we headed for bhajji. This was my moms first attempt at eating bhajji and she did like it and we sat down remembering how dad refused to let us eat it ;p

Corn dazed at the beach The corn lady

One tip if you’re heading there in an auto you might as well get him to wait for you, there are nearly no lights at the beach and it gets chaotic around leaving time. Just remember where he’s parked.

Some of my India stories are on my photography blog - the story on my shooting assignment in India - King's Matriculation and more photos under travel

Friday, December 04, 2009

Books on review

I’ve been on a book high this past few weeks. I kinda need to be in the mood to read books and when I am, I tend to go through a whole bunch ;p So here’s what I’ve been reading and what I think about them

The five people you meet in heaven – Mitch Albom
Such an amazing book, his writing blew me away. Simple but mind blowing. In a nutshell death explains to you why certain things happened.

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Wow I am such a fan after this one book. This mans mind is an adventure in its own. His imagination is just outstanding. The book takes the Jungle book for inspiration and instead of a jungle, a child is brought up in a graveyard by ghosts! ;p A MUST read.

American Gods – Neil Gaiman
I wish I could get into his head and watch how he thinks. Again amazing book. Basically the story dwells on the theory of gods being manifestation of beliefs. Without the strength of peoples beliefs and sacrifices, gods are reduced to nothing and most times vanish into thin air. For instance take the pagan gods, greek and mayan ones who are no longer worshipped, sending the religion into extinction. As immigrants travel to America, they bring along their gods, only to abandon them in the long run. He doesn’t criticize religion but he has a valid point. A MUST read.

One fine day – Mitch Albom
I have a theory, its either he thinks about death a lot or is just curious. Again centering on death, he explores the theory of a conversation with a loved one as you linger between death and life.

The Alchemist – Paul Coehlo
I had to force myself to finish the book. If I needed legends dishing out advice I’d read Indian legends, there’s more meat and vigour there and trust me its better written. Don’t get the fuss people put on this book. Though I’ve been told some of his other books are good.

The Glass Palace – Amitav Ghosh
Such an intriguing tale that takes us through Myanmar, India and Malaya giving us a view of the Japanese invasion and its intertwined affects to the 3 continents. A MUST read.

Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hossini
I loved The Kite Runner, while this book is good it isn’t as good or as original/ heart wrenching as his other book. Perhaps I’m cynical about writers who turn to tortured women for material. There’s just too many Asian writers writing the same things. I do love one thing, the ending and the fact that there is a very strong love for his home country Afghanistan despite the troubles there and none of his book glorifies any other country as a savior. Something Asian writers tend to do.

The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
This book was recommended to me by the boy at the bookstore. When I first started reading the book, I was in contempt with the characters pompousness and constant mocking of India. I was about to ditch the book when I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m glad I did. It’s a brilliant book taking a jab at the world famous Indian mentality – ever loyal to their employers but never hesitating to backstab a fellow Indian.

Waiter Rant – A Waiter
I started reading The Waiter Rant blog years ago and was absolutely taken by his wit. I finally found his book and it is as brilliant. As the title explains, it’s the rant of a waiter ;)

Whitethorn Woods – Maeve Binchy
I think I have about 7 -8 of her books. When I like an author I tend to get most of their works. The basis of her books are simply human relationships – all of them. She tends to tell stories of different characters and as the story unfolds you realize how they’re all unknowingly connected. Her best would be The Circle of friends. This was not bad but I did feel there were too many characters.

I finally purchased a copy of Wings of Fire – the biography of India’s president Abdul Kalam. It starts beautifully but then it gets so technical, I felt I was reading a technical manual. So I stopped reading, I might try again and then i'll review it.