Thursday, August 16

Lunch hour footy, no more!

The footy match I used to organise at work has come to an end. No more footy at lunch hours ......Numbers were going down week after week down - work, meetings, broken and recovering fingers and thumbs.

It was great whilst it lasted. It kept me live - something to look forward to. Was my primary source of fitness. The steps, the tags, the rants, the tries, the laughs. I was good at it - atleast, I thought so. It got me excited - it got my adrenalin pumping.

Mick, James, Nigel, Clint, Anthony, Lach, Todd, Todd, Rob, Jon. The early set of guys I used to play with - the groups that expanded into so many more - none of it would be anymore.

Time to move on, time to start something new - new adventure awaits!

Saturday, July 9

Saying goodbye to being 30!

So I turn 31 this Monday. Despite using cans and cans of L'OREAL MenExpert all this time, I still get a year older - soo NOT worth it! But, then looking back the past year was the sweetest of all. Things I actually did when I was 30 include:

(in no particular order)
- Quit my job without another one in hand
- Packed my bags and moved to another country
- Started fundraising for the first time
- Got introduced to Saturday afternoon games!
- Had a major relaionship failure
- Joined Fairfax
- Got my driver's licence
- Stopped biting my nails
- Joined a run club to target city2surf within 80 mins

I cant wait for my the adventures in the years to come.

Friday, July 1

When expectations get inter-twined with hopes and dreams

A bit crushed. I didn’t get the response I expected for second time in a row. Why? Is he busy? He doesn’t care anymore? My mail wasn’t worth a reply? Why am I working so hard with hopes and dreams. I don’t want to have them crushed. I can’t have all my eggs in one baskets. I have got to distribute. That is exactly what I am gonna do. Once I am done with the move I am going to have a plan B. Having hope and expectations that are crucial for my own life’s success cannot be solely laid on a single plan. There has got to be a plan B. Plan to make a plan B is my personal goal for next week. That would make me happy.

Tuesday, July 13

Solace for soul without a partner.

Having come out of a relationship recently, on one hand I feel like life has come to a pause and on the other there is a sense of relief. While the former is widely expected and accepted in any social landscape, the latter is something which I am compelled to explain. My new sense of freedom arises from knowing that you are no longer hurting the other person and neither party is trapped in the heavy bounds of love. Although, ironically love was the heart of reason to get together in the first place.

But is love that hurting? Is its quest a fatal addiction that you yearn for and cant have enough of and yet secretively deep down you despite? Abraham Lincoln's parenting's skills preached, "Love is the chain whereby to lock a child to its parents". Then, why do teenagers who have the luxury to bask in their parents' love want to fight it and choose freedom with a determination that matches a bud wanting to bloom?

Is this the curse of love or is it some hypnotic spell on a few who are never content with the love they receive and loose themselves finding it? Some get lucky to find it at a young age. Falling in love in the early 20s has its own benefits. It more or less leads to matrimony, then it leads to having kids and then the usual traditional vicious circle of growing old together. Escape in this cycle is almost never an option. Greener or lovelier, you do not cross the fence to taste any forbidden fruit. There is a social structure that surrounds you which you are answerable to and helplessly do the right things as you are expected to. Even so, if by chance, you strayed - you walk right back to where home is and are the participant of forgive-and-forget-and-happily-ever-after story pledging and renewing vows.

On the other hand, if you aren't that lucky to find love in the early sections of life, then you settle for more compromising relationships in all shapes and forms - short-term, open, affair, live-in and all such that fall shorter in the eyes of the prude and unforgiving society. As a social dissident you move from one relationship to another on your own with a heart as light as a butterfly that is unsettling, unhappy, ever-searching and lost. The older it gets the more demanding and impatient it is to let anyone close to it, for it has tasted the forbidden fruit of independence which makes one follow helplessly to its selfish desires.

There is a single distinction though between the two groups. The pressure to be in line with the convention can let the steam off in form of mid-life crisis to the content heart which eventually gets tired of the domestic routine and demands compensation. The ever-so-lonely heart on the other hand, although lost and found multiple times, exercises resilience which it has taught itself from the lessons it had learnt on its own, unguided by the pillars of the time-honoured views and beliefs.

If you are reading this and are single and seeking, I cannot guarantee that you will have the family abode with a lawn and grandchildren to fuss over but I am sure that you will make your way to find your own place of peace one day, no matter how tumultuous your heart presently is.

Wednesday, July 7

Can you defy aging?

I will be 30 years of age soon.

Not feeling it yet - possibly since I am not just 30 yet. I am still 29 and 361 days old. It is almost upsetting to realise that very soon, I am going to have to stop using, "I am in my late 20s" when asked for age. I had stretched my 20 something status and had gone overboard living life freely and evading all responsibilities! Can I continue to do so and have a chance to re-live my youthful life?

I remember reading somewhere that there are 3 things to consider while getting older. The chronological age, the mental age and the physical age. You cant help your chronological age ofcourse as controlling that would mean you having to stop the earth from rotating – which, ofcourse is impossible. Though not any more impossible than Tony Hayward getting to stop the oil from spilling.

The mental age on the other hand, apparently can be stopped from aging and you can have a control over it - by hanging around with younger people. There seems to be some truth in this. You often find teachers brighter than people their own age. There is a reason behind it - they spend a lot of time with high school students who help to keep their minds youthful. You also see 50 something beer bellies being able to party hard and late with their 20 something affairs. So, the mental age seems to be taken care of.

But what about physical age? How can we stop our bums from sagging and save our heads from balding? They say, you need to be black to not crack or have terrific genes to avoid wrinkles. Or maybe be rich enough to be able to bathe in SK2. But what if you arent? There is a secret – exercise! As if you didn't know that and wouldn't you do it had you had the time?

To be honest, I have mixed feeling about turning 30. Some say that age is just a number, some say old and young are just words. But I say, getting old is like getting a wake up call – one that wakes you to remind that time is ticking and instead of trying to defy aging, I could set goals and achieve them before I disappear from this world. Now, really, as if you didnt know THAT!

Wednesday, February 21

Oro, plata, mata!

Mabuhay! (although it really means 'welcome/bye' in the Philippines...I used it as I liked)

So there you go again! Mabuhay! and hope you have a Mabuhay time reading this post!

"Make sure your passport is with you all the time. Dont drink water off taps! Dont talk to strangers....."

I listened to my Mum's never-ending advice, as always (and in literal sense), as they never tend to change one bit. After assuring that I would be extra cautious, I boarded this flight to Cebu - The Queen of South! An island filled with beaches!! Well, thats all about I knew of this place .....honestly, work had taken its toll and I had no time to do my research.

In the aircraft, I was suitably seated by a window. Behind me, a German couple, and this I gathered since they were speaking German and had mistaken the passengers to be an audience to their domestic squabbles. Next to me, an American family of 3, father, daughter and son. All of them with their laptops switched on with stereo headsets plugged in. Now, who said the world wasnt ready for wearble computing and electronics?!?

In front of me a Korean family whose kid had already began to ask her mum."Are we there yet?" just after 2 min after taking off. The parents, equipped with pencil and eraser, were in their own world with their advanced Sudoku puzzles book. My flight, rest assured was going to be a peaceful one.

This was followed by the aircraft pilot introducing himself and informing us when we would reach the destination. I heard the watched click behind me and yet another loud chatter. Given all this, I could hardly hear the pilot's name. Such dominating conversationalists really - no, not the German couple behind me but the pilots, in general. There was no way for him to hear me when I said," I beg your pardon, whats your name again, can you please give me that redundant piece of information again?"

Anyways, with no homework done (as you already know which wasn't my fault), I was scramming through the brochures in the flight when I first discovered I was actually going to an island which has historical events dating back to 16th century! Not wanting to be further discouraged, I abandoned the brochure immediately and tried to get a little snooze. The rude pilot however, felt the need to announce that were 36000 feet above the ground and were travelling at a lightening speed. Sure, now move on!

The flight was otherwise uneventful - had a few laughs and pretended to read this book by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Number of pages covered on flight - 8.
Number of glasses of orange juice - 3
Number of visit to the loo - 1
Number of times to be reminded to wear the seat beats - 4 (there is annoying thing about the flight stewaredesses (gee that was something typing on my left hand alone for a bit!) that
I would love to mention. They can get ....)

We landed at the Mactan International airport which I quickly assessed not to be bigger than a cricket pitch. Well obviously not! On my way to the hotel, I couldnt spot a single multistoried building. Coming to terms with the fact that I was almost in a village (with an airport, somehow) I felt something is not right here. It just took a brief 10 mins for me to realise that people drive here on the wrong side of the road. Must be the American/Spanish influence! I mean who drives on the right hand side of the road?! I was very much worried by as this meant additional caution required while crossing the roads! Then ofcourse, there werent any traffic lights in vicinity! Why should there be any?

I was welcome warmly at the hotel. My friend and I quickly planned our tour for the next 2 days and spent the rest of the evening at the beach. The sight was awesome. The water was cool and the weather was just warm and nice.

The locals seem to be very genuine and friendly. The next day we went on a tour around the City and were introduced to Magellan (the first spanish sailor to chance upon the island) and the local hero who fought him. This dated back to 16th century as I had figured previously. Following that there were some museums and churches that we visited, which dated back to about the same era. The place as such has so much Spanish influence that Rico, Pedro and Antonino could jolly well be the local equivalent of Tom, Dick and Harry. Yes, each person I met had a full blown complicated Espanol names. (I have delibrately left the accent there since such is the case here in Philippines - no Spanish accent in the names/words)

With Roman Catholic Churches in each town, it was more than clear that locals here were mostly Christians. The local dance, music, language and so much more - everything seemed to have been infuenced by Spaniards. People seem to embrace the fact that the Spaniards ruled them for about 300 years and were happy to have the foreign culture integrated to such a large extent.

Throughout the trip I often felt why are these people were still hanging on to something as old as 16th century? Until I found this near one of the Church that claims to have Santo Nino.

So anyways, the historical day trip was ended with us visiting a Taoist temple at 'Beverly Hills'. By then, thanks to the scorching heat we were drained of energy. The guide seeing our enthusiasm took upon himself in driving us up the hill instead of asking us to climb the 81 steps.(referring to 81 chapters of Taoist scriptures) Some of the richest locals live there - well obviously! The temple has this note at the entrance," Keep Clean. Immoral acts are prohibited in this temple.'

This caused my friend to immediately hide his cigeratte pack and me to wonder in which temples are such acts actually allowed?

Finding the day in general a bit of a drag, considering how sporty and adventure-driven we are, my friend and I decided to muster ourselves to water skiing which was just one of the several sports made available at the numerous beaches that Philippines boasts. It was great! As always, I felt like THE king! Although, most of the times, I could have been easily passed off to be a clown to a passerby - with me landing on the water surface on my face each time. My friend was better than me but injured his knee which required him to hobble around for the rest of the trip.

The next day we set off to the island of Bohol (yes, the words are used in that order - Filipino style? Spanish style?), where we saw these unique hills (Chocolate hills - only names so since an American tourist in the past was reminded of Herseys chocolate upon seeing those hillocks and it seems the locals just felt it was most appropriate to name these natural wonders after such a whim) made of limestone (then, under sea). I instantly ranked them amongst the most marvelous natural wonders I have ever witness.

We then met the tarsiers, and most visited creatures here one could ever imagine. Very cute but scary nonetheless. Reminded me of Dobby from the from H.Potter series. Large owl-eyed, long monkey-fingers, long rat-tailed, with bat ears these handful sized primates are one of the 4 species of their kind found in this world. They are off the endangered species list but I guess can be added to the most-annoyed-by-the-human-fancy list.

The rest of the day-trip isnt worth any mention although we met some amazing locals. Very very kind people and so content. It was a bliss to spend time with them and just to chat to them. They are very proud of their country. Did I mention the food was fabulous! The local fiestas which take place rather regularly are grand; this, coupled with the dance and music (which by the way was delightful) seemed to me, to be the nation's soul.

We came across several instances where we felt that this country was doing so much more for the environment. It has several local small scake-industries - cottage-weaving, tyre recycling, forestation etc.

Often on my own or with my friends I have never really had a chance to interact with tour guides on my trips. This time however, we hired a local tour guide on day 2 to show us some of the local industries. They seem to have this resorvior of information and just seem to have the perfect answers for everything. Our guide, Gwen was a very cheerful person and very committed to getting all the information across. This seemed fine till the point I felt the need to ask her to customise her scripts in the future. (No, I wasnt as rude and didnt mention it). But the reason why this came upon was only since she wouldnt listen to me. Inspite of me telling her that I am from India she went on to explain how buffaloes are farmers best friends and how they help the farmers.

Anyhow, we returned quite content back to Mactan island.

The rest of the time was spent by the beach with my book. The Booker Prize winner's content matched my expectations of it and I felt the author ably demonstrated his literary skills having kept me company for the rest of my stay in Cebu.

Random anecdotes -
No. of Spaniards I bumped into = 0
No. of korean/Japanese tourists = some 10,000
Number of books read - 1
Number of flags seen owing to the ASEAN smmit = 17
My fav dance: Tinikling
My fav spot: Bohol's Chocolate hills
My friend's fav ship: Oceanjet (and only since it stated he was 21 years old)
Most commonly available beer: San Miguel
Popular sport - Basketball (Local boys sporting the game below)

And if you have read so far and have wondered what relation does any of this have to the title of the post, the answer is none.

It seems while contructing a house, it is essential to count the number of steps such that the final rung falls on either “oro” or “plata,” for the well being of the inhabitants. Gold, silver, death or some equivalent like that.

Saturday, February 10

Overwhelmingly surprised!

I call Naidu at 5AM.

"Have you checked if the flights are on time?"
"No but my phone's battery is low, you would better wake up."

I hang up and call the airport.

Much to my delight, I was greeted by a recorded voice which instructed me to dial '2' for flight schedule. After some 20 keypresses and several nail-biting decisions, I managed to find out that the flight we expected our friends to arrive in is actually on time!

Darn! Which really meant we had to move our butts and get to the airport quickly.

Earlier that week, Naidu and I had this grand plan to be executed to surprise our friends who after being declared husband and wife (not that they needed any such declaration!) were returning back to Sg.

Our plan was to get their new apartment cleaned and all their furniture and bags moved to their new place! The execution, led by me, needless to say, was flawless. Except for this one time when the cab driver took me to 'Tanglin Road' when I specifically told him to take me to Bow Wing Rd. And this other time, when we were driven out of a florist's. (Naidu managed to pluck some flowers.....well, he claimed that he just touched it and blamed his muscle power). And this other time....

So after several such minor, unnoticible glitches we decided to receive Suchi and Ravi at the airport which would be their first surprise! I was staying over at a friend's and was
assigned to wake up Naidu on the D-day. He had prepared a schedule for me. I was to call him at 5AM, 5:15AM and then 5:30AM such that he actually wakes up. I am often mis-understood....but this was my first to be assumed to be an alarm clock.

Miraculously, we managed to get to Terminal 1 ahead of time. Not knowing how to kill time....

"'Desi bandis' look awful in the know? Immediately after waking up with no make-up and all."

This was after the drooled over 'bandi' had walked past Naidu without even a glance at him.

Minutes passed.

Suchi and Ravi arrived. They were, as thought, overwhelmed by our presence. We in-turn are over-whelmed by their luggage! The first cabbie refused us which made us lug it to the 2nd who drove us to their new apartment. Mind you, at that hour, we werent thrilled to re-discover that their new flat had no lift!

However, the new arrivals were yet again thrilled to find Nimms and her beloved waiting for them at theirs! Nimms had woken up earlier that morning without any 'snooze-calls' from me, prepared b'fast and decorated the new flat's living room! How sweet.

Lunch was at ours, and thats when we gave Suchi and Ravi whatever we managed to get from the florist's who had chased us away.

Happy ending really! Very content we all returned back to our normal routines of life.

Chinese New Year around the corner, we are all flying to various destinations. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cebu, Phuket here we come!!!!!!!!

I can't wait for the surprises when we all return back.......