Monday, 31 December 2012

Bucket em up in 2013

I have to..
  • be able to touch my toes
  • jump off a plane or a bridge
  • Keep promises made to loved ones
  • take care of my ever aching back
  • ride a rickshaw
  • get a kick ass fancy pansy Medical Insurance for Mommy & daddy
  • Blog more.. and some good stuff please
  • Be humble
  • Stay up until the movie Dark Knight ends. (5 miserably failed attempts in the past) 
  • fall in love
  • Grow some plants
  • Teach under privileged children
  • go whale watching
  • drive a truck
  • Create an offensively named YouTube alter-ego and post outrageous comments that you always wanted to say. (wait a min.. i think i have done that already )
  • get in crazy crazy nasty shape
  • be a mentor
  • drive a nano
  • see a shooting star
  • camp under the stars on some/any/ all mountain peaks
  • get some great people to mentor me
  •  Visit all the continents.. from igloos to ayer's rock
  • Sip a hot cup of tea watching the sunrise looking over Tiger hills
  • Explore India's wildlife.. 
  • Send Mom & dad for Hajj
  • Meet Ellie in Maryland.. (i foresee that happening soon)
  • Transform my old school ways to hi tech ones
  • Sort the damn company website.. Its incompetence is making me crazy
  • communicate more.. 
  • swim like a fish 
  • Find time to read more books
  • dance in the rain
  • swim with the great whites.
  • be a good listener (scope for improvement)
  • at restaurants, try not to spill things over
  • let the bygones be bygones
  • be mesmerized by Leh
  • Make to Gujarat's Rann of Kutch festival
  • Spend more time with Daniyal & Safwaan *gaa gaa goo goo*
  • meet Elizaki in any part of this world. Its time now
  • paraglide at bir billing
  • Camp by Panagong lake
  • Volunteer for one whole day at the Seva Cafe, Sabarmati, Gujarat
  • make Dad proud. Amen
  • practice the broken lines of that one song i know on the guitar
  • do the zumba zumba
  • be more patient.
  • Find Saiko from jungles of Tamil Nadu ..and never let him out of my sight
  • Make an effort to write to old friends
  • Dance the "aye khudahafiz" dance on beaches of Pondicherry
  • Did i mention company website ? *tension*
  • take more photographs, videos.. document the year
  • be more tolerant
  • climb those iconic Rocky steps in Philly
  • strike off each item mentioned above :-B

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Flashback 2012

  1. Started the year with SURPRISES.. Little did i know the good times had began. 
  2. Took credit for sand castles made by strangers on the beaches of Gokarna.. Mint Tea, Aloo Parathas and tranquility.. Stay at Babika resorts changed me forever..
  3. Spent more time with my nephew, Daniyal. I had missed his first two years since I was away.This year i made up for every day spent away from him.
  4. Got soaked in jungles of Coorg with a Coorgie hottie.
  5. Welcomed my second nephew into this world. He is cute as a button.
  6. Went koo koo in Rajasthan. 
  7. fell in love with India, all over again.. 
  8. Struggled through a film. I had to act for Sharu.. Being in front of the camera was HORRIFYING !
  9. 'Fake Doctor in KSHEMA'  Spent time in a Medical University in Managalore.
  10. My first ever Scuba Dive at Netrani.. An eventful trip with my Lallus..  Im planning my next dive.. I loved every bit of being under water.
  11. Was a part of a mission to find yummy Paan in wee hours of the morning in Bombay.. A shady place so terrifying, once you enter the area , not many survive through. We did it !
  12. Bid my goodbyes to "Living in London". When  was saying goodbye ever easy ? *painful*
  13. Saw Dad being the best President till date in the history of Travel Agents Association of India 2011-2013.. Today, Love you Dad ! You inspire me..
  14. Learnt the ropes of business. 2012 has given me immense professional stability. There is a long way to go.. And i am ready for it.
  15. Practiced the art of doing nothing at Bintan Islands watching Sunsets to die for..
  16. Realized that money is not everything.. Live for those moments that make you feel alive.
  17. Waited for Grergory Roberts at Leopolds for far too many nights
  18. Led a Turkish TV crew filming in North India. (I could have been jailed). I fought , begged & pleaded the police in all states of North India to allow us to film, almost got beaten up for filming in restricted areas of corpse burning pyre on the banks on Yamuna , lack of sleep , lack of time.. we went totally crazy.. 8 days of Adventure !
  19. Watched Lucky Ali perform. And thats not the best part. He started his performance with my favorite song. What are the chances?
  20. Lost Ayee. I am the lucky one to have had a chance to walk the streets of Murudeshwar, the town she was born..She will be loved and missed forever..
  21. Witnessed Sharu baby , being elected as the first ever Rotaract President of her college.
  22. Realized that its time to move on. Learning to let go.
  23. Climbed (& conquered) the highest peak in Maharashtra.. Kalsubai under my feet.
  24. Learnt how to ride a rickshaw.. (thank you Bhikram). This has to be by far the coolest vehicle i have driven this year.. 
  25. Got a hug from Sir Richard Branson.  

    Wouldn't change a thing.. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Love Lock

Love it or hate it.. everyone of us wants to be in LOVE.  Crave for it or deny it.. Everyone wants to be loved.  
LOVE LOVE LOVE..  And if being miserable is a part of it , then bring it on fellas..  Just heard a friend pour her heart out about someone she loves and there aint any reciprocation..  It got me thinking. Whatever I said in return was just what i would tell anyone else with any other  love problem. If the one you love does not love you back then you let go. If you are in love and the ups and downs that you face.. one of you has to let go.. There are no rules right.

I read this quote in a powerful blog ..

"It's time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn't been so busy clinging to what you have already been through. Take a deep breath, put the box down, tie it up in a pretty ribbon if you must, and bid it a fond and reverent farewell. Life is passing you by, and you're in danger of becoming an old fossil before your time"

I couldnt agree more..

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Gathering Stories - A story that belongs to you !

I am not in my usual office cabin today. I am seated outside near the reception area of the office. Just. Its good to interact with the staff and work with them instead of being all day in the cabin.A man in his 60's walks in the office. He seems familiar, I look closely. I know who he is. Our printer guy, who gets all our printing work sorted for us. He sits down, we discuss what has to be done. Work is over. We get to talking about his printing press and how he started.  At the age of 17 , started his own press. I doubt he has even appeared for his 10th grade exams. He boasts to be the first one to bring Digests for hindi medium schools. "English toh say padhte chaapte hain.. haazron books bante gain , lekin hindi medium bachon ka kya ? Kya unhe kitabon ki zaroorat nahi hai ?"  About 56% of school children are studying Hindi medium across India. You what this means ? This gentleman contributed in such a big way. He is a man who takes one step in the office, delivers stuff and scoots back. We talk for 20 mins. He has been doing this for years. Now whenever he comes down to the office, he walks into my cabin and he has a story which i hear carefully sipping  a cup of tea.

A lady I know , witnessed her mom's death at a very early age in front of her eyes. She lost her mother, she committed suicide (i think) she was on the terrace and her mother jumped of the building.   She grew up with her cousin brothers. At the age of 14 -15 she lost her father. All alone, she learnt ways of life too soon. She joined J. J School of Arts. At 21, she fell in love with a handsome gentlemen. Brought two brilliant children to this world.  She put her Art in the back burner and focused on bringing her up children to the best. Now she is a successful artist. I have spent hours at end hearing her story. She has no regrets.. her smile that lights up the room says it all. When i listen to her talk about her experience, I cannot help but think she has lived. Every challenge that came her way she fought it. And that smile.. uff uff. Bless her.

Each one of us has a story. A story worthwhile. 
I am a non-fiction junkie. True stories fascinate me. There is always something to learn from them. The books i read, the movies i watch have always been brutal, reality-ridden, stories of sorrows, murder, deceit. Its not that, what fascinates me. I am not a sadist. What fascinates me is the fact that its happened to someone. Its real.

There is little in this world, i love more than a good story.
I am gathering stories. Are you ?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

SIngaporean Surprise

I had been to Singapore many times before, but this trip has been so special. Singapore has changed so much since the last time i was here.  What am I doing at this very moment ? I am seated in the balcony of my 19th floor room at hotel Pan Pacific. My feet up in the air and what do I see ?

I could sit here all night. Look at this. Lucky Ali's songs set the perfect mood. A hot cup of green tea makes every tired muscle of mine sway along with the beat.. 

I am amazed at the city that has  done so well. Its so cosmopolitan that sometimes you got to remind yourself that you aint in New York !

The Government is doing such a swell job. The public transportation , safety, infrastructure is at par with any mega city in this world. People are so warm and friendly.  They make you feel welcomed. 

I learnt that the Government charges a hefty tax/ fee on people owning private vehicles. So say if a car is on  S$10000, there is a fee of say similar amount for a license plate which is to be renewed each year. 
So the person who really wants a car will have it. The fittest survive, the others use the public transport. 
Thats a cool thing,  pollution levels & traffic would be kept under control. 

English being declared the first language , I see little toddlers speaking fluent english.  We all aspire for a change, very few of us let it happen. 

If you are a seafood lover, then do not fly out Singapore without having a feast at Jumbo, its at the East Coast and let me tell that the food in that restaurant would make you wish you were a cow with four stomachs. Its just out of this world. We ordered a feast comprising of crispy squids, fish in banana leaf, king crab , chicken in soya , pan choi in garlic , sweet buns, crispy chicken, prawns in hong kong.. and our order was totally normal. There were tables and tables around full with plates full of food.. 

Today , Marina Bay Sands is considered to be a man-made marvel. Its beautiful. With abundant rooms and a drink at its bar is in bucket list of many people across the world. I wouldn't want to stay there though, its a fish market to check in, a struggle to get into the lift and a battle to place an order. I am at utmost peace just in an adjacent hotel with the view.

Sentosa has so much more to offer than i was here last time. They inaugurated Marine Park on 7th Dec. It was buzzing with people. It boats the largest aquarium tank and viewing deck in the world. No trip to this is complete without walking until your feet bled at the Universal Studios.  However, it is smaller as compared to the one in Orlando. I was done by 4pm. The only advantage would be that you get try everything in a day. Orlando's theme parks leaves you upset for not having enough time to goof arnd.

I am sure when i am back , there'll be lot more to explore. Singapore never fails to surprise you.. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Travel at your own risk

Everything about Air India is wrong..

Staff :   I am not even talking about the hostesses, (that will be another point altogether) I can write a thesis on then. I am talking about the staff. A lady asks for a wheelchair to the aircraft. The wheelchair is arranged, but its being pushed by a man who seems older than the lady herself ! Now you can only imagine the guilt of her face. I think there was a point when the lady seated  must have thought of swapping places with the old man. "Ab teri baari".  And they are a rude bunch.  If business class passengers are treated like this, then , i presume economy ones travel in animal cages !

When its time for boarding ,we are escorted to a bus to get to the aircraft. Seated in that bus for more than 15 mins the bus wouldn't move. AirIndia officials are running about here and there with walkie talkies. A few mins later , a staff peeps into the bus, "Ms Mulla in here ?".  Damn right , Ms Mulla is here. I asked him "what is the matter ? ". He apologies for the delay. The staff at the boarding card scanning desk didn't scan my boarding card right. So in the systems Ms Mulla had gone missing. Hence they kept announcing my name so that i could board right. Can you imagine ? All one had to do is scan the damn boarding card right .. A co-passenger then pointed out, that while he was boarding he did hear a lot of " check again for Ms Mulla" going on around.  Thank the lord , they atleast check for their pax. 

Aircrafts :
Remember that shabby aircraft  where people usually would make out , children would pee in & tobacco chewers would love to spit in..that was displayed at Juhu gardens is not there anymore.  AirIndia uses it for Singapore sector. When you enter the aircraft, you are greeted by a whiff of pee.  Thai Airways greets you with Lemon grass fragrance, Jet with jasmine, Emirates with Lilies and  AirIndia is class apart..(ammonia organic). 

The interiors of the aircraft take you back into history. AirIndia ensures one a travel experience in the 80's. I am not kidding.  The fixtures, the systems, the television sets, the buttons everything is ancient and should only by displayed in museums. I sat in my seat star led of what i was seeing around me. Childhood memories came rushing back to me, then i was 4 now I'm 25.. and nothing has changed with this damn airlines. Out of the 24 Business seats, just 14 reclined, 4 of the  partially reclined. Unfortunately, I was seated in the other 6. 2 other passengers complained. The air hostess (granny) gave us the permission to choose our seats. The three of us went hunting for a good reclining seat. 
The granny has the nerve to ask me to compromise with a partially reclining seat. Grr. SO the leg rest comes up but the back stays erect. or the back reclines and the leg rest stays still. How could one decide ? Its a 5 hour night flight, sleep is dear to all of us. I grumbled and continued to look for a fully reclining seat. 

I repeat, these are the facilities for business class passengers. What the hell are we paying for ? 

Its a shame, India's national airlines is such a joke ! It is upsetting that Indians regard their national airline as the last option to travel, whereas other nationals always always choose their national airline first. AirIndia has the best sector connections out of India. The Government has put in loads of money and its all greasing the pockets of some laid back officials. Bureaucracy and red tapism has brought this airline to ruins. When will there be a change ?
I sat there in my partially reclining seat feeling ashamed of our national airline.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I am a Numbnut

DEC 1 was the beginning of my photo month.. I am so mad at myself. How could i  forget ? There is so much i love about blogging. And would have been a great photo each day month.. Grrr... 

Since 12 days have already gone by, lets shift this to January ?