Monday, February 8, 2021

Sunset & sunrise in Dubai, UAE


The winter sunrise and sunsets in Dubai are spectacular views that require a lot of patience and good timing. On a clear day, from a high building, we can view all the way to the sea.

Buildings start to glisten in gold as the sun rises. The birds awaken and start their morning ritual of being early to catch the worm.

My photography partner, Rahul Hariyani, and I decided to get to the creekside as early as 5am to wait for the perfect moment.


As the sun sets west, the color scheme is more reddish and we could see the sun dipping under the horizon.

Buildings reflect the light on its surface and create a canvas of amber

Beautiful sights that are awesome and memorable!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The romance of Venice


Venice from above

The reality set in as soon as I landed at the Venice airport. There is no metro train or 4-wheeled taxi to take me to my hotel at Grand Canal. 

The address of the hotel says "Hotel Carlton at the Grand Canal" and I needed a boat to get there! 

As I travelled by boat into Venice, I could see why it is said to be a romantic place. For me and my wife, it was as if we were there on our honeymoon. It was indeed romantic.

The whole place, surrounded by water and waterways, was very soothing and walks along the corridors presented excellent opportunities for my photography. 

I clicked away happily and ended my first day with 1,236 photographs of the "streets", canals and boats.


In summary, it was our 3 days well spent and a whole experience that remains as a sweet memory

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Malaysian Indians like me ... translocated from Malabar to Malaya by Great Britain!

People use all kinds of justification to "establish the truth" about Indians being marginalized in Malaysia. In today's Malaysia and Singapore, all of us (who are products of the past immigrant Indians) do not accept the current immigrant Indians as equal. We call them "Ooris" or "Oorukaaran" or "Indian Indians" ... and we do not take them as equal to us. If their kids are given the same fees in school we fight to change the system.

So in this context, why are we expecting Malays to go back to history ... analyse the origin of roti canai ... and give us an award that we are equal to them? Those are bygone histories of Chola, Srivijaya and Majapahit kingdoms. They lost some war somewhere along the lines and they are no longer here. We came because the British wanted "slaves" (who had no rights), supervisors (who were half English speaking Indians) and middleman (who were recruiters) to manage their plantations, railways and roads. The British took land (in 100,000s acres) from the Malay rulers of the time. Just because we were British "slaves", helping Britain exploit the resources of the land and adding wealth to Queen Elizabeth's treasure trove it does not make us contributors of Malaysian economy. We were mere selfish beings enjoying the newfound opportunity to make a living. If our forefathers were anywhere near having a "good life"in their village in India, they would not have "fled" the country and landed here ... and soon became citizens.

By the time the Japanese landed on bicycles, the British fled! Notably the Japanese sank two British naval ships within days making the British abandon all their "slaves" and battalions of Indian soldiers. When the British came crawling back, the natives slowly rose to the occasion and wanted independence. By this time, we who helped the British change the whole landscape of the country and caused the Malays to lose their land in the name of plantations, wanted equal rights!! In what era is that a fair expectation?? Inadvertently, we also "helped" the British to push all Malay kampungs into the interior by developing vast lands around them.

In the entire process, by 1957 we were the "pitiful Indians" who were left with 888 active Tamil schools, 112,000 Hindu temples, 3 Tamil newspapers, 1 Radio Malaya Rangkaian Merah, 1 Minister, several MPs, 1 political party, many Gounder/Malayalee/Telegu sangams and numerous toddy shops. We were also given RM1 medical treatments and free schooling. Astonishingly, our Tamil schools with 104,600 enrollment by 1993 and was allocated government funding of RM27 million between 1990-1995 ... and we still could not "change" the fate of the remaining "pitiful Indians" of 1957!

I am unable to "connect" to the constant argument of trying to fight for equal rights when we have not utilised the given resources properly. If our teachers (in Tamil schools) wanted to genuinely uplift the lives of Indians, they had 100,000 students with them each year to do so. Was this not enough to make a change?

We do have complete freedom to run our own business. And yes, just like any other country in the world, some benefits are reserved for the natives.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

An important wedding

On my way to an important wedding in Singapore ... I thought I will pen a meaningful wish to the groom whom I know for long and is an excellent "partner-in-crime"!!

Here it goes ...

"I am writing this from Malindo lounge at KLIA2. Sitting here after missing my connection flight to Spore. The Mumbai flight delayed by 1 hr.

Reflecting on my norms, this is by far the most complex logistics that I am dealing with to attend a wedding. I am a stubborn character by norm (as vouched by my uncles, aunties and relatives). I only attend events that I want to provided it is convenient. I have missed a host of weddings, parties and ceremonies.

But this multi event of your wedding was too important to miss. The chemistry we share is valuable and your dad is one of the few with whom I can speak my mind without the fear of being judged. You are more like my friend than relative and I can be totally myself without any acting.

Hopefully this chemistry stretches through the next generation. I was eagerly looking forward to the tea ceremony and church wedding but looks like I have missed it. But I am glad that my troops are there representing my presence.

This is to wish you a blissful married life and many years of happiness. The only way out of conflicts is to walk through it and not around it. And the only words that count is usually "I am sorry" even if the mistake is hers!! But we are man, we hardly learn or remember anything!!

Trust I should get there in time for lunch. See you then."

Friday, November 24, 2017

My varied status in Dubai

I have been walking the streets and tourist spots of Dubai since Nov 2014 when I officially became a Dubai "resident visa" holder. My stay here has been a mix of studio apartment, serviced apartment, hotel apartment and hotel rooms. I must say I enjoy less space rather than a sprawling apartment ... the brain has less to process in a hotel room as everything is taken care of by housekeeping.

I realized that I am an expatriate, tourist and immigrant at different times.

Expatriate - when I am in the Gold Class cabin of the Metro, having bfast at Costa Coffee and dinner at Uno Grill.

Tourist - when I walk out of the hotel with my camera & water bottle, get excited about photography at the Burj Khalifa fountain and shop alone in Watson.

Immigrant - when I underestimate the weight of the laundry and walk with 12 hangers with pants, shirt, T shirt and 2 bags of unlisted items.

Trail of my North India business visit

Looking back... left Dubai 2 weeks ago and landed in Gujerat (Bhuj) the home state of Narendra Modi, and the adventure began. Cows everywhere, camels in some villages and amazing how this town has resurrected after the major earthquake in 2001 that destroyed 400,000 homes and killed 20,000 people.

Passing the salt pans sent reminders of Gandhi's Salt March and the fact that salt is tax free till today ... had a quick lunch stop at Ahmedabad and soon landed in Jaipur the pink city with people wearing colourful winter costumes.

The hospitality of Asheesh Srivastava continued on with our road trip to New Delhi where IAL India's most modern office awaited. By this time my appetite was growing restless with the continuous flow of yellow dhal, black dhal, chana, boondi raita, pineapple raita, mixed raita and the likes. Yearning for the Elevation Burger of Dubai!!

Our next stop was Calcutta, the scene of jovial Bengali girls all dressed for their Saraswati Pooja holidays... and our local man Tapas says it is their version of lovers day!!! This town has a rustic charm and has appealed to me from my first visit long ago. Park Street is vibrant and always "alive" with crowd.

Going forward ... we have our next leg towards Bangalore then Kochi where the Budget Meeting of IAL is to convene and will take us through the numbers and charts for the next few days ... accompanied with Kerala food and Malayalee versions of Chinese food ... anything white is Hakka, red is Manchurian and always accompanied with bits of chilly floating in vinegar.

God's own recipe in God's own country

Many parts of Kochi are "invaded" by the "talented" people of Orissa and Bengal. Perumbavoor, a once sleepy town south of Kochi is now the administrative capital of Orissa migrants.

There are Orissa juice bars, restaurants, phone ships, barbers and mini markets. That is not exactly my complain of the hour as business globalisation is the new economic phenomenon. But what irks me is Orissa chefs cooking a storm in Kerala cuisine restaurants and serving us whatever they deem as "Gods own recipe" in God's own country.