Indonesia – one weird beautiful place!

25 Nov

before u mentally ask me if i went to bali, i shall answer. no. i will now, continue. there are 17,000 other islands in indonesia just fyi.
while in jakarta, i figured such interestingly strange things about indonesian culture and language.
for starters, in Bahasa, national bhasha of Indonesia, milk is called SUSU:) (imagine cold chocolate susu!), love is called CHINTA (now thats profound), and man is PRIYA (!!!)
If u want a super huge ego massage, among other varieties of reflexology; Indonesia is just the perfect destination, simply because 1Ruppee= 172 Rupaiyaa. so basically, i spent lakhs..daily! The currency notes make u want to pose like vijay mallya, well.. when he owned more than just the kingfisher calender.

Next revelation is particularly mental. so maked sure ur center of gravity is monumentally low so that toppling over wont be life-threatening. now, there are these express lanes in jakarta, use by the in-a-tearing-hurry office goers. on these lanes, the noble government has come up with a noble rule to save our noble planet from further pollution. Rule being, the vehicle has to hv 3 or more people in it, if the lane must be used. (pls note that the lane is worth using because it is blessed with traffic infinitesimally lesser than other lanes). now if u are drivign to work by urself, u need 2 more people in the car. here come the ‘JOCKEYs’. these are women with babies hugging their bosom, who line up just before the beginning of the express lane, waiting to get into ur car to make it a near round of figure of 3 humans. ofcourse, there are permutations and combinations possible. meaning..if its you and ur driver, a lady/man (jockey) will hop on minus baby…and u pay them 15000 Rupaiyaa (roughly Rs.90) for this courtesy! at the end of the express lane few kms away, they cross over, and earn another 15000. so their daily wages add up to One lakh Rupaiyyaa. dont trip. thats just abt Rs.500 a day. But that much for daily sitting in random AC cars albeit from dilapidated vans to porchés’. EPIC! Joke is- its super legal! cos the government just got noble-r. they think of it as a good employment opportunity for their citizens, while the prime motive can go take a walk. seriously. just think about it. the bacchaas there, have a unique choice of profession. beta, engineer?… Naah!… Doctor?… No way, i hate blood! … Investment banker?… too much work! Jockey? *woot woot*
This just reminded me another fun word. Dentist in their bhasha reads “Dokter GiGi” . LOL. cute!!
Let’s assume u go to an indonesian wedding. u know wat u are expected to traditionally gift? a floral display the size of a futsal table embellished with colorful flowers and a heart in the middle which says X weds Y. so outside the reception hall, all along the pavement of the road, will be lined up many a decorated futsal tables!
Finally, the most heart warming amazing info that provides fresh perspective.
It is nearly an oxymoron that 85% of Indonesians are Islamic and that the country is heavily inspired by Ramayana and Mahabharata. So much so that, many many Islamic women are named Shinta (SITA in Bahasa) and Dewi! They dress up they way they want to (read-super short skirts), and are super tolerant and pray 5 times a day. Über cool i think. and here we have Internet Hindus trending and Sagarika Ghosh in the wrong profession/country/both.
besides all these quirky facts, Jakarta to me is the bestest shopping destinations in the world. google “Bandung”- a result of which, i need a bunch of godrej cupboards.

from vegas, with love.

24 May

so 13 days into my maiden trip to usa i have a bunch of things to share; some good. some bad.  

– rude people exist here, seriously nasty. new york tops the chart. congrats, u work in the ticket counter at times square, but cut it out, u venomous prick. i am talking to both you venomous pricks. 

– broadway is gorgeous. so larger than life that i believe i can fly! brilliant sets, brilliant orchestra, brilliant performers adorning brilliant costumes, brilliant theaters! Have seen 5 so far in my time on this planet. beauty and the beast in london tops the charts; lion king in french in paris was well, interesting and in french !?!; chicago the musical at broadway was fantastic, mary poppins at broadway had great sets and magic but was like a never ending hindi movie (spcl mention- the new amsterdam theatre at broadway. lord. breath taking.) the 5th was the one i saw in bangalore, the name of which i forget. but comparisons to broadway is just unfair. 

– usa blesses even visitors with obesity. i have put on few pounds in the wrong places though i struggle for veg food and end up eating everyone in the bread family. the ham eaters i think will simply collapse on their own weight. obesity is so jarring, that i wonder what “go veg” education will help when gut-wrenching visual examples don’t suffice.

– BODIES exhibition. real bodies carved out to show us every system in our body. nervous/urinary/reproductive/digestive/bone structure/birth of baby…UN-FREAKING FATHOMABLE. we are walking talking magic. spiritual experience.

– blue man group, over rated. 

– niagara falls, desperately over rated. like hell i say. victoria falls. heard of it? in the border of zimbabwe and south africa, is the goddamn baap of niagara. easily 20-fold. but not half as famous. cos usa knows how to make its presence felt, though its not so much of a presence anyway. ouch, was i lil. too shrewd here. hey hey hey! u get what u give! 

– malibu, sunset boulevard, beverly hills, the pacific ocean view is so gorgeous. and i checked, a small home along the stretch is affordable for many many mumbaikars.!!  should be somewhere about a crore. only. also heard that the most expensive house in the universe is very very far away from the HOLLYWOOD sign…and closer to my home:) any guesses?? the sahi jawab is mr. mukesh ambani & fly’s holy residence at peddar road which is prized at one billion dollars. what they inhale gold flakes in there?

– just got to vegas, in the middle of the desert. already 10 times i have been told by various people that “what happens in vegas, stays in vegas”. well, i am really ok even if it doesn’t in my case 🙂 the tee totallar, non gambler, non interested in random wedlock me, is blogging, out of all things in vegas. i find that strange myself. haha.

13 more days to go in this super power nation. excited. cousins in google & microsoft; here i come! xoxo

 

 

an ode to chetan bhagat

5 Feb

the 1st post of this year, i dedicate to chetan bhagat, the invisible love of my life. it is a one sided affair, i know… but then true love doesn’t care.

a month ago, i read his most recent “revolution 2020”. the trees from which the papers for the book were churned out, ought to feel marvelous. cos the book made me think. and think big. think positive. think enough to take action. and if a fast read like that costing Rs140 can achieve that, albeit with a few f***’s thrown in for effect, then the writer must *take a bow*. That, dear Mr.Chetan Bhagat, is real good use of human life i say! Pat on back. High five, co-deshvaasi.

Chetan Bhagat’s other rubbish books notwithstanding, (except 5 point someone ofcourse for which he got more than his portion of gratification), i think the man is using his finite time on this planet darn well. As corny as it may sound, after reading 5 point someone and leaving no page unturned;literally;) i mailed him of being a canditate to consider if he believed in polygamy. sorry, wife and twin kids. young girls say weird things even without the influence of alcohol.

so people, i earnestly request you to not write off people under the public eye and more so people precious to you if they screw up a bunch of times. they dont enjoy doing it. so let them be and give them a chance. you dint create them. so stop posing like god. whats karma for! and icing on cake of gyaan; dont write urself off. ur super. see u follow this blog right? so even if the world hates u, you have an admirer 🙂

cheers.
few long happy breaths.

stuffed zucchini capers and burnt coconut macarons!

6 Dec

these 2 lipsmacking dishes i shall now teach u to make. if u are scared reading the names of the dishes. wrong emotion! as sophisticated as it may sound, even a mutant human can make no mistake creating them!:)

also i attempted pineapple up-side down cake a month ago that took so much more effort and turned out to be un palatable beyond belief. cardinal sin to put even a tinie winie bit in the mooh. even a dying child in west africa would choose death over the cake. bad eg. sorry. peace. but i am putting the pic for posterity. recognise the effort albeit from a distance:)

apne pe ehsaan karen. shakal pe mat jaaye!

‘STUFFED ZUCCHINI CAPERS’

A GOOD LOOKING MOUTHFUL STARTER (CAN SERVE TWO HUNGRY LOVERS to shut their mouth up thus putting a stop to jealousificating the rest of the population in the restaurant)

Ingredients: One medium sized zucchini (if u have lost me already, then pls move onto another post:)), a spoonful of dry herbs namely thyme/rosemary/oregano, abundant olive oil, philadelphia cheese (yummmm), pepper, salt, and yeah toothpick.

Procedure: Using skill of a carpenter or a stylish slicer, slice thin leaves along the length of the zucchini. u shud get around 6-8 slices.in a microwaveable tray, arrange these and throw in copious potion of olive oil. sprinkle the aforementioned herbs and salt for flavour. let it bake/grill for some 10min. in the mean while, mix a small katori full of philadelphia cheese with pepper and salt ( i also threw in 2 pieces of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes for the extra zing:)). so now u hv a thick paste filling ready. once the zucchini is ready, roll it using tender fingers and in the central hollow, stuff a lil of the cheese paste. poke the toothpick to hold the shape together. and the mouth watering ultra polished starter is all ready for consumption!

‘BURNT COCONUT MACARONS’

WORLD’S MOST EASIEST, FASTEST, TASTIEST DESSERT: mix milk maid in dry coconut powder such that it just about hold the mixture together. dont overdo it pls. and make small random shapes and bake it for 10min! Thats it!! Means it beats jelly or custard also!

 

10 places I saw before I died (…title courtesy “10 places to see before you die” :)) – PART 2

23 Nov

Disney land (the fake one in paris)
the place, as we all know or can easily imagine, is so magical that it can export you into a world painted with colors and no black 🙂
the carnival of disney characters every evening is like hanging out with illusionary superstars of our bachpan. one particular ride to look out for is “its a small world after all”. this one just fills ur heart up the brim so much so that it brings back the lost twinkle in the eyes of many a men. it involves a slow boat ride through a world of beautifully designed/crafted/arranged miniature dolls representing various countries on earth. when we approached the indian doll section, I gleamed with pride:) the cuteness quotient is soaring high with all the mini beings singing ‘its a small world after all’. the nicest way to make people realize this binding truth.
Best time to visit: when the flight tickets are cheap:)

Shimoga- “the divine place”
i was super curious to see the exact spot where guruji discovered sudarshan kriya that has and continues to touch and transform the lives of millions worldwide.
my buddy and i, were dropped off some 2kms from the exact spot and were asked to walk. frankly, i dint expect the place to be fancy or anything, and the path we were asked to take, seemed rather random and mildly put, ultra boring. so my expectations further took a giant negative leap. little did i know, that 100 footsteps later, my eyes would pop out at the desperate magnificent gorgeousness.:) an unexplainably beautiful river held our gaze, interspersed with lush green hills. the clouds up there were warming themselves with the tender rays of the sun. the landscape solidified something within. a small shiva temple right at the edge of a portion of the river, was where guruji had gone into silence for 10 days and got the sudarshan kriya! today, the spot is very appropriately named ‘the divine place’. just reestablished the truth that guruji only chooses the best; both, people and places:)
Best time to visit: righ now!:)

Florence: my mind was disintegrating and for the 1st time (and the only time) i had labelled myself ‘depressed’. this was on my family trip to europe where thomas cook boasted of taking us to the maximum countries in minimum time. this concept can only sell in india i tell u!
anyway, coming back to my depression. florence, one among those 97675894 countries that was covered, did wonders to my then-achy breaky heart. filled with art, ice cream and cycles; the dainty houses with its self engrossed inhabitants; bustling with activity with undertones of tranquillity, i am sure i belonged to this place some life times ago. i instantly felt at home, sorted.
Best time to visit: April-July, i like the weather ‘sunny side up’ u see;). if u are into snow (yuk!) then u could even go off during christmas.

10 places I saw before I died (…title courtesy “10 places to see before you die” :)) – PART 1

14 Nov

1. The International Art of Living Center, Bangalore!!
For all practical purposes (and extreme good luck!) this has been my heavenly abode for the past 2+ years.
This place is akin to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! No kidding!
Around here, the difference in energy levels is so palpable. And magic is so thick in the air 😉
Whenever I come back to ashram after a trip, I am hyper for atleast an hour.
I jump. I bite. I smile till my jaws hurt. I am so happy for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Best time to visit: New Year Celeb (a 2500 youth silence program called Winter Break)/ Chandi Homa day during Navratri/ Or whenever guruji is in ashram (cos the satsangs and the QnA sessions with him are simply EPIC!).

2. Kapu Light House
This quiet beach is some half hour by bus from Udupi, Karnataka.
Mostly virgin (if that’s a possibility:)) and supremely rocky, the view from the petite light house at Kapu is elevating. The view from the top consists of the orange sun and the magnanimous sea on one side and a never ending stretch of rock & sand beach bordered by palm/coconut trees on the other. Means you have no idea. 7-course meal for the soul! Infact if you stay on till little later in the evening, you can see the light house’s light rays rotating and attacking the deep blue sky much like a ghost movie:). By the way, even the walk to the beach through a pseudo village is pleasurable if you have less or hand-picked company.
Best time to visit: 4pm-5pm, on any not-so-hot-day.

3. Boat ride in the Ganga at Varanasi
Now at the cost of sounding very show-offy I confess that I have been to some real cool countries including Switzerland with its Lake Lucerne (holy shrine to all Bollywood romantic lake view songs) and Italy which houses Venice. Venice is allegedly the most romantic place in the history of all romantic places offering hot Italian singer as boatsman who rows you and your soul mate slowly around the place. They even have a specific bridge under which you are expected to exchange saliva:). But I say, once your done playing with the little ones, then you come to their mommy! Voila! A boat ride in the ganga at varanasi. Oh my lord! The personality of ganga in varanasi is serene and poised as opposed to her ferocity and flamboyance when she’s housed in haridwar-rishikesh. and here’s an interesting ‘did-u-know’- though the ganga flows from north to south; in varanasi alone, her direction changes and she flows northwards!
It was a near full moon, a day before guru poornima, 7ish in the evening, and we sailed from assi ghat to dhasashwamedh ghat where the evening aarthi is a sight to behold. while the boatsman gently rowed, i saw families performing the last rights of their loved ones on one of the ghats; and in another, people lighting diyas and letting it go in the ganga perhaps with a secret wish in their heart. Background score to the enchanting surroundings was provided by this co-sailor singing melodies on his guitar. i thought to myself, this is how god must be watching the show…the colorful little game we call life.
Best time to visit: full moon nights, 6pm onwards.

6.30pm

6.40pm

7pm

..to be contd.

and some final noticing..

15 Jul

RISHIKESH:
-i was proved wrong wrt 2nd last point in rishikesh in the last post. cos just before packing up, we attended a bhagavatham katha by a swami. for half hour, i cried tears of awe and gratitude, as each line he spoke pierced my heart. each line was like a refresh button cleaning my slate and rendering me pristine. like a goose bumps’ device. also it was the day i had turned teacher 3yrs ago. seemed like the bhagvatham session was guruji’s way of gifting me something super special.
-swami swatantranadji’s (guruji’s ardent fan) satsang starts with jai jai radha raman hari bol. funny;)

HARIDWAR:
-hoshiyar puri wala’s paneer parantha+lassi=power of ganga (minus the uric acid in all its forms, whisked in it)
-hoshiyar puri wala rocks.
-ayi hai!! yumm hoshiyar puri wala mannnn!!
-i want to marry hoshiyar puri wala and become hoshiyar puri wali!! brilliance. lassi!! ohho! *drool*

TRAIN FROM HARIDWAR TO VARANASI:
-sat in waiting area in station 1st time ever. violet-sari-clad-care-taker aunty did life story process with me. 4 kids, dead husband, expressionless face. i suggested remarriage. to this, she gave me some tips on living. one of which was “u can be with 10 men, but if you are not happy, then it is not going to help”. ok boss! if u say so! just an after thought lady..how do u know? naughty, naughty!;)
-all bihari men and women speak loud n clear with the exact same accent as laalu prasad yadav! i thought he was over doing it. but he’s being utterly natural!

VARANASI:
-varanasi weather is only fit for jaadu of koi mil gaya who is powered by heat rays. others need to install a/c in their chest region.
-guruji’s grand parents prayed before the birth of guruji’s mother at the vishalakshi temple here. hence her name. so the secret to getting to meet guruji anytime is by telling the lah-di-dah security/secretaries “banaras ke vishalakshi temple ka prasad layen hai”. its been tried and tested several times, sources say. *shhhh & high five;)*
-the high trebled,soaringly high decibel wale car horns sent chills down my spine. they were redudantly bajaoed every 3 seconds.
-the gems that are collected by guruji and polished exotically by rajesh jagasia. some of them i got to spend short but quality time with; hemant, himanshu, rishi, amod, madhav. they were like little gurujis who made our time in banaras magical.
-moon lit, row boat during sunset in ganga along the ghats, with a guitar is 108% more romantic than venice. (i have been to venice in physical form, i mean over and above travel and living)

GARIBRATH FROM VARANASI TO DELHI:
-garib rath is truly garib with dead rat aroma and 17 inch wide bed.
-bihar kid boy ran around calling out his sister “dhanno” effortlessly in sholay fashion.

FOOT NOTE:
I had the choicest of travel companions in kulpreet and anjali. their palpable love and infinite tolerance was so precious. small things, like the way they uttered ‘didi’, just the lovelorn texture to that was so endearing.. some relationships go beyond labels. i guess the 3 of us just wove something to that effect, around each other, through what we playfully called our crazy beautiful “navratri” trip! FYI: total trip cost= Rs.6500/-
On hindsight, i just became conscious of the fact that; my mind, heart and words was filled with guruji to the brim, all of 9 days, through and through.
Precious, precious times these.
Jai guru dev!
Happy gurupoornima!!

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