Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Take a wish

This is it! It’s just one more day to 2010. I remember sitting with my class mates in a quite coffee shop in Singapore on 31st dec 2008. No big party or fireworks. Just three friends hanging out, talking about each other’s life and everything under the sun err.. actually full moon. We were too engrossed in talking to notice the countdown that slipped away silently.

The year turned out to be like a roller coaster. Not just owing to its ups and downs but also to the underline fact that I chose to ride it. Knowing, all those twist and turns would shock and surprise me. Knowing, no matter how bumpy it may seem I would land safely. Knowing, my job is only to let loose, wave hands and enjoy the experience.

Let’s be like the child that’s thrown in the air by its mom, smiling, enjoying, and with complete trust that it would be received safely into her hands! Let’s welcome 2010 with belief, conviction and hope.

I have customised wish for you all, but there is a twist. I am going to let our close friend “Destiny” pick the best one for each of you. I have given 30 wishes, each one with very specific thought. You would be picking it up according to the order of your comment to this post.

So when you read this post, visit the comment section and see what’s your number, suppose if there are  two comments; then read the third wish written below. You have to copy paste it in the comment section and write your thoughts on that. If there are thirty comments, then read the first wish.

Here we go!

1. You are blessed. Everything is going to be alright. When the rain is pouring down it would seem heavy cold and messy, but remember rainbows appear only after rain. Everything is going to be alright. New Year is going to be all right!

2. No one has the right to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, go by your heart, go by your feelings, for they never lie. Watch your diet and have an easy year ahead.

3. Abundance would fill your house in every way; all you need to do is let it do its job by clearing out unwanted stuff both from your mind and from your house. Make room for new in this New Year, Let energy flow!

4. Love should be unconditional and  less expectations. We are here to learn many things and the most important of them is love. Lessons may seem hard at times, but it’s worth taking it. Open up your heart to love and have a lovely year ahead.

5. Health is not just eating the right food it’s also having a right frame of mind. Calm yourself and let go of your worries. Peace of mind is the best wealth in the world.

6. Forgive freely and fully, for it help to get over what’s not best for your progress. Have a wonderful year ahead.

7. Learning something new would help to keep that spark, that’s deep down you, alive. For its soul’s longing to learn things. Have a hearty year ahead. God bless.

8. Remember the hot drink you had watching rain? That’s life; it’s not made of big achievements or financial success, its moments like these that matter most. You know what to do, have fun filled days ahead!

9. Cherish your relationships, at the end of the day we work only for that. Have a great year ahead.

10. Exercising, eating the right food and meditating would keep you away from health problems. We shouldn’t forget the basics. Have a healthy year ahead.

11. Angles are by your side and you should never forget that, guidance would always come, all you have to do is trust! Bless you.

12. Open your palms and read your lines, you are unique and your job is to protect the identity of who you truly are. Let life flow!

13. Words once spoken cannot be retracted, words can kill and they can heal as well. Let your lips carry only blessings for others, for you don’t know the power of them.  Have a year filled with abundance in every way.

14. Success is what you define it to be, and the journey is more important than the finish line. Have a successful year ahead.

15. What you are today is the collection of thoughts you had till this time. Choose your thoughts so it can define your future. Have a prosperous new year.

16. We can always use a holiday and there is nothing like many holidays. Life is to enjoy, relax and have fun!

17. Let go of resentment, guilty or any negative feeling you are holding on right now. It’s hard to swim with stones tied to your leg. Let them go and see how your life flourishes.

18. Believe in yourself, soon others would do too. You are much better than what you think you are, give yourself a chance! Have fulfilling year ahead.

19. Watch a sunrise and contemplate your thoughts! Things would settle by itself. Have a happy new year.

20. It’s very important to groom yourself well. Give only your best to others in every way, life would surprise you.  Have a fun filled year.

21. Music to ears, food to stomach is what love to soul. Walk the beach, smile and love like there is no tomorrow. Have a lovely year.

22. If it did not happen, it never meant to be. Accepting does not mean you failed, it means you are brave enough to see the reality. And what appears to be failure is not one in the future. Bless you.

23. Welcome! Gym is right around the corner, so stay fit! Have a healthy year ahead.

24. Keep writing, spend on yourself, call your old friend and take care of your favourite thing. Things may stay usual, but that’s a blessing! Have a blessed year ahead.

25. Freedom is important. Free yourself and free others. Have a free new year!

26. Magical world and reality is separated by a thin layer called dreams, the more you believe it, the more the layer shifts for you. Have a magical year ahead.

27. Read more, a thought read in a book can change your life. Happy New Year!

28. Get over it! Make yourself a tea and remember, if you can make your own tea you can do anything in your life. Have fulfilling days ahead.

29. Save money, save water and save your emotions for the right time. Have a peaceful year ahead.

30. God exists and your prayers would be answered duly, hold on to your thoughts and stay positive. Have a happy new year!

Ps: I am not psychic, although I believe psychic powers exist. This is purely for fun and just to see how much coincidence is god’s incident.  Pictures were taken during my visit to pual ubin island near Singapore.

Update : Thanks to Blogadda for choosing this post as thier spicy saturday pick :) Thanks to Blogadda and all those who commented below, pardon me as I am not replying to individual comments because it would increase the wish count.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rumour has it all

I have gaps; you have gaps let’s fill each other’s gaps - This is what my brother and I found while searching for inspirational quotes to put in the marriage invite. Needless to say we spend the next ten minutes laughing like mad. My younger brother’s marriage is due in 6 weeks and I have been running around like a scorpion bitten mad monkey.

Something that really cheered me up before few days.
Never in my life had I imagined to shop 45 sarees, 28 shirts and several children wears, and all at one shot! I am no shopaholic, it’s what we do in Indian marriages (where groom family goes into debt and bride’s goes almost bankrupt). As part of the 3 day ceremony, we are suppose to gift new clothes to our relatives, arrange transportation (if the venue is out of town) and also feed them with DUE RESPECT- All three days!

All I want for christmas is you honey, I dont care about whats underneath my christmas tree
While the arrangements need to be 100% perfect, the DUE RESPECT has to be 200%. One of my aunts did not tell us her kid’s dress size, because she felt we should take her for shopping. After several irritating conversations over phone (which made my mom almost to tears), I had to go down to their home with 3 different sizes of pants and several t-shirts for her kid, just to make her happy.

Apparently her hidden agenda was to get an expensive silk saree. Thanks to blogging and other communication studies, I have paid the DUE RESPECT (read kiss AS$) with some load of smart talking and bows. It’s not something I like to do, but it’s really important to save my family from bad mouths during the marriage. Talking of which, a rumour among my relatives is that I am married to Chinese girl and running a secret family in Singapore. Most believe this is true, because in India younger sibling aren’t allowed to get married before the elder. What funny little world they lead!

A priest's secret Identity, one of the cheer up, keep it cool sessions
My Parents are going through lots of pressure (read b1tc@y relatives) these days and I have to constantly find ways to keep them cool. My mom seems to be going through some hormonal problems; she gets very emotional and cries over silly issues. I can handle a DOA career or kiss A@$ relatives but this bothers me much. And also my hair, I badly need a haircut- gosh I hate finding a new hair dresser.

Our sweet little family
Today we got rid of 88 kgs of old books, several clothes, hundreds of CDs, vessels and numerous other stuffs. Some we donated to our maid and some we sold. (In India we can sell used books/clothes/vessels and get money in return for each kilogram) We made 300rs (less than 8 USD) out of it. It’s not a bargain but our need is to revamp and clear some space in the house. Although I wish it could have been a bunch of my relatives rather than my college books. And I bet every penny in return would be a mega profit. In a way I am thankful to all these issues, they keep me alive and becomes something to fight about. Happy holidays to you all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Less is more

Hello my friend, how are you doing? After 2 long years I am home. This is supposed to be my break time but it’s getting busier than ever. That’s strange because mostly I am the one inventing the work like cleaning, fixing etc. On the very day I reached here I started cleaning the living room (for the records I am not clean freak, I am just jobless). I brought this home 2 years back and never got to live in it. Now that I am here I am doing a facelift (sometimes even surgery) to make it a better place for my family.

I am not the nagging-non-residential-Indian who complains about everything. But the noise here is bit annoying. While the road fills my ear drum with hundreds of horns (I bet no country makes best use of it) and roaring vehicles, Home does its part by blaring umpteen TV channels.

My Dad is retired and my mom is a home maker. So they have used to watching TV all day long. Worse is when they argue with each other on top of lousy soaps or upbeat Tamil song, which forms an irritating BGM. I have noticed that members of my family talk to each other only during commercial breaks!

Some acquaintances firmly believe that I have lost my mind. To quit abroad job and dreams of making into mass media seems very funny to them. My manager during a recent discussion said, I am confused and lost in the dream world. But I am keeping my hopes high. I guess I need to be positive now, more than ever. I have hit rock bottom, so there is only one way – way up.

I went to Bangalore to meet some of my friends in the weekend. That helped me to unwind and chill myself. I had fun just hanging around, eating in best restaurants or at friend’s houses. I also visited one of the malls and found this rare pick in Landmark. For 250 rupees (less than 10 SGD) this is mere stealing from the shop.

This has everything you need/want to know about FRIENDS
One other thing I had to remind myself these days is that I don’t earn in dollars. I am trying to revert back to my old and simple self; I am taking public transportation as much as I could and also cutting down unwanted expenditures. Sometimes I think I really need to slow down, relax and rest. But so much has changed in my life since last Tuesday and I am trying to keep up by reinventing myself.

This post might seem like a page straight from dairy; it’s just my way of keeping the blogging habit alive. You would definitely see posts, but less of them. Less keeps people wanting more, less makes it simple and less makes something very special just like those good old days!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

U guessed it right! - Singapore Series

King of skies, a show not to be missed in bird's park
There is a general perception that Singapore tourism is over rated. What is in Singapore that’s unique? It’s probably smaller than the city you are living now or countries you have already visited. Many call it the microstate of Asia. It does not have cultural monuments like churches of Europe or temples of India, There are no spectacular natural sceneries like that of Holland or Amazon forests, there are no blue beaches and definitely not much history or artefacts to compete with others. But I bet you cannot show me a country with similar background, attracting millions of visitors each year.

A culture that’s melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arabic communities. A central hub for travel & transportation, 4 national languages, several museums, a budget destination and a perfect example of the quote “It’s not what you got but what you give”.

Every brick of Singapore that shines today is result of constant planning, hard work and maintenance. The standards of cleanliness, countrywide landscapes and enduring hospitality coupled with manmade attractions are its strength. The chances of you getting robbed cheated or raped is similar to that of me writing a financial column in strait times.

World’s largest, in terms of its occupants and second largest in terms of the land area, Jurong Bird Park has every reason to be number 2 in the countdown. In the last forty years of its existence it has created not just happy customers but a home to more than 8000 birds from 600 different species including some of the most endangered one.

Birds n buddies show
They have many bird shows in different theatres in addition to cages and aviary enclosures. Be there first thing in the morning like a newspaper guy if you want to watch all the shows, feeding times as well as the park. Couple of not to be missed shows are “Birds n Buddies” and “Kings of the Skies”.

The world tallest manmade waterfall is situated in a aviary of the park. Water plunges from 100 feet at 140 liters per second making it perfect place for waterbirds, fishes and plants inside this enclosure. 
A historical event happened on this November 17th .I know what you are thinking, but hold your horses. 6 new chicks (not that kind though) in the park makes better history than me turning 30. The new hatchings include very exotic and endangered species such as greater flamingo and golden conure. I think that’s win-win situation between man and nature.

I am sure most of you would have guessed the 1st on the list by now. Yes it’s none other than Sentosa. There is so much to write about this attraction and I would save that for a different post. I am so sorry for not answering your comments or visiting your posts lately (I promise to do it after couple of days when I have all the time in the world).

It’s been very busy these last few days and my head is spinning over packing and finishing the formalities. The only reason I wrote this in such a hurry because one of my blogging friend is visiting Singapore just couple of days after my departure. Here is to life that’s full of arrivals and departures!
ps: Thanks to Savi, AJCL and aarti for helping me with watermark :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Change is permenant - Singapore Series

My mom was so dissapointed since the lion didnot vomit, on that day ;)
In the last few days I was so busy shopping, packing and couriering stuff that I forgot the change happening to ME. I have to adapt to different lifestyle, culture and people. You might think it’s not big a deal for someone who lived in India for 28 years and that's my sweet home. But if you have lived a perfect system like Singapore your standards of everything is set and it’s such a pain to revert back to the old ways. Singapore has become my home away from home.

In India I would be judged for all my actions, but here I can be myself and still be respected as a person. There are no questions about what time I go home, what I eat/drink and to which deity I bow my head to. When I came here, I realized the only way I could fit in, is be unique and different just like Merlion of Singapore.

A photo with Merlion is destined to be framed for the show case. And I bet people won’t ask you where but when it’s taken. This mythical creature represents the “singa” – the lion the king saw when he landed in this island and its fish tail represents the fishing village it used to be.

Travel to Raffles place MRT (east west/ green line) and take the UOB bank exit. Then walk along the river through Fullerton hotel to Merlion Park. From this place you can catch the beginning of the skyline of Singapore. The best time to go here is evening and you would know why in the next paragraph.

Then take the boat trip from here to Boat quay in Singapore River. You can witness many important buildings of Singapore like museums and parliament in this ride. Clarke/boat quay is much happening night life hub of Singapore. Here you can see funky clubs and bars that would interest you to spend time until wee hours of morning.

The Clarke Quay

Clinic, a themed bar where the nurses attend you with vodka bottle instead of saline

Does it need a explanation or title ?
If you are adventurous person, you can try the reverse bungee and extreme swing here. Initially I was very skeptic and scared to do this, but the thrill and the adrenaline rush is an experience not to miss. Reverse bungee might look scarier than extreme swing, but it’s actually otherwise. In extreme swing you would feel the free fall better than that of reverse bungee. Even if you don't want to do it, its fun watching people go wheeeee .Then you can walk along the coast enjoying the night life and skyline of Singapore.

Night safari is only available in Singapore and it’s on top 3 for some more reasons. This is an open concept zoo with natural barriers. Its one of kind lightings specially designed to look like full moon night is a not to miss opportunity to see nocturnal animals in their natural behavior. Over one million people visit this place every year.

Night safari houses more than one thousand animals, some of which are threatened to extinction species. Please put your camera in no flash mode while taking animal’s picture (believe me they don’t feel like celebrities when flashed dozen times) or better just enjoy the time without taking pictures (That's what I did). Cattle grids are laid all over the park to keep the animals in their habitat.

The tram stops in between for couple of walking trails.

Try to go there by the opening time around 7 pm, and don't miss the animal show. You would be surprised to listen to AR Rehman’s score while animals march in and out of the show. There is also a tribal fire dance attraction near the entrance of the park to enchant the visitors. Make sure to book the tickets with pickup and return transportation, so you don't have to worry about catching cab at 1 am.

The show, the one in the center is white fox, its blurred because of no flash
I used to think zoo is bad for the animal until I read “life of PI”. Freedom is very relative term, for even in wild, animals live only in restricted boundaries, fearing the opponent all the time. In zoo a perfect boundary is created artificially for the animal to feel safe and comfortable. In most cases zoo becomes the perfect place for them to survive the changing environmental conditions.

The z' bar, beware everything is priced according to the location.
No one likes change especially animals. They take days or even months to get used to new surroundings. And once done, even a bucket or mop stick left behind in their habitat can drive them crazy. In many cases the animal which has escaped out of curiosity or other reasons have returned by itself because that's where it feels home. And at this point in my life I can surely empathies with that feeling.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Om Mani Padme Hum - Singapore series

Serenity personified
You can make out the places someone travelled just by looking at their fridge door, thanks to invention of magnets. If you want to pick up souvenirs for self or for your friends at budget rates, the place to go is china town. You just need an evening to explore this 6th in the countdown attraction.

Get down at china town MRT and take the pagoda road exit. Above this exit, stands a beautiful garden bridge from which you can see the architectural beauty of the china town. All through Pagoda road there are 3 for $10 shops selling different souvenirs. You can also buy table top decorative here, beware some shops are exuberantly priced.

Once you are at the end of the road, quench yourself with chilled Thailand coconuts. Then take right and you can see the famous Hindu (Mariamman) temple. Keep walking and you would reach Buddha tooth relic temple around the corner. It's the biggest Chinese temple in Singapore (so you can’t miss it) dedicated to Maitreya Buddha.

You would be amazed to see hundreds of Buddha statues, in different forms adorning every nook and corner of the temple. You can pay respects and also get blessed by the monks here. There is also a museum in the same complex which has very interesting Buddha relics and idols. 

The eateries here sell mostly Chinese or international food. If you want to take good Indian food you can book a table in Annalakshmi that resides right at the exit of MRT, in China town complex. In this restaurant you can eat as much as you want and pay as much as you wish. If you are lucky you can catch celebrities who mostly visit here for its ambience and class. Once I saw Rahul Dravid with his whole family having dinner in the very next table. But none of the customers disturbed him.

At 5 is fountain of wealth. This largest fountain in the world is located at Suntec city. I have written about this lovely place in this post. The best way to go here is by cab (nearest is city hall MRT). They have laser shows in the evening and you can even dedicate a song and wish to your loved one, which will be projected on the fountain.

Can you read suntec city?

If you are tired after roaming around, the best thing you can do is go for foot reflexology. Foot massage and fish spa is growing attraction in Singapore. For about 30$ sgd an hour you can have every nerve of your feet attended in a relaxing environment listening to clinky clunky music. Its little tickling at the first time, but the after feel is so damn good. You would feel like floating at every step you take.
More to come...
Ps: Ajcl I am yet to learn the watermark thing, would do so in latter posts :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Its the final count down - Singapore series

Last night I was gifted a box Lindt Swiss thins from a friend. It’s a chocolate I would want to safeguard for me in locker. While returning from train station I saw this couple walking along. The dad was carrying a small and cutest baby. Being me, I opened a conversation. The one month old angel’s name is Valarie. Valarie then yawned, a most beautiful one and rubbed her eyes to look at ‘the talking’ me. That was enough for Lindt to find its way from mine to her mom’s hand. The most important things in life are not THINGS. And Giving is more satisfying than receiving.

Garden festivel - 08
Let’s start the countdown of the attractions you have been waiting so far. I narrowed it down to 10 places. For anyone who wants to visit Singapore the first website you should be looking at is this. It has got all the information you need for your trip.

We have already seen how green Singapore is in this post. One thing my mom liked about Singapore is that there is at least one park, walk-able distance for each bunch of apartments. And if these are only normal parks, imagine how the botanical garden would look like. Go green with Botanical and Orchid gardens of Singapore.

No wonder Orchids are adored
At number 9 is Marina barrage. Do you ever wonder how a small island that gets rainfall all through the year never gets flooded? Singapore is famous for many reasons and one of them is how they manage the water bodies. Marina barrage acts as a barrier during high tides. If Singapore river gets flooded during high tides, there are 1600kW electric motors (equivalent to that of plane) that can flush out all the water, keeping Singapore safe from drowning. The eco exhibition halls, green roof and fountains lit by colourful lights makes it perfect place to hang out by night. You can catch the beautiful skyline of Singapore from here.

Arial view - Courtesy

These pics doesnot do justice to the real experience
What is the point of being in shopping island without visiting its largest retailer destination? Vivo city – the biggg.. shopping mall, takes up the 8th place not just for its sheer variety of shops but also for the entertainment it offers. You can easily spend a day here roaming around, shopping, eating and also relaxing in the knee-deep-pool terrace garden. The architecture of this building leaves me speechless every time. The terrace is not flat but wavy and they grow trees on it! If you are here around Christmas you can check out one of the largest Christmas tree and startling stage shows.

Vivo City Arial view model - Courtesy

Children play area - Vivo City

Thats last year christmas tree at vivo city - its several times bigger than me ;)
The royal seven goes to the loyal orchard road. The Singapore’s trade mark destination for ages. It’s more than a shopping street to say, its lifestyle! You would be tired of counting the number of shopping malls and choosing the best of them. During Christmas /New Year the street literally lights up. Every year unique and creative decorations are made for the entire road, all the way to the President’s residence at the end of it. This year they have special lights that look like rain falling and dripping from the trees.

Last year at Orchard road

One of the decorations at a mall - orchard road

Traditional yet modren - can u guess the scene ?

More to be shared...