Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love in the times of inflation

Tiku: A one-rupee coin
Piku: A five-rupee coin
Miku: A twenty-rupee note

Location: Pinku's piggy bank

Mood: Tiku, Piku and Miku were a bit sad today. Here is their conversation while lying together in Pinku’s piggy bank.

Tiku: Why are you both looking so sad?

Piku: I’m not sad.

Miku: You are, its so obvious from your face.

Tiku: And so are you! Look at your long face.

Piku: That’s how RBI designed him.

Miku: Shut up!

Tiku: Okay, so why are we all sad today?

Piku: Because we will be lying here forever in this piggy-bank and Pinku will never use us!

Miku: Yes! We have lost all value! In today’s world, you can buy nothing with twenty rupees!

Tiku: Then think about me! I am a one-rupee coin!!

Piku: Soon we will be extinct like dinosaurs!

Miku: I feel like crying.

Tiku: Don’t cry buddies, if somebody adds us together, we’re twenty six rupees. :(

Piku: Yeah, that’s also nothing. You can’t even buy the pocket of a pair of jeans with twenty six rupees.

Miku: But you know what, in the time of sales and bargain, we may be enough to buy some stuff still.

Tiku: Nah!

Piku: No, he has a point! Maybe not just by ourselves but we’ll be equivalent to more money that normal times!

Tiku: Hmmmm, okay, I see your point. Then maybe Pinku may use us to buy something…

Miku: Exactly! So we just need to wait for the time when coupons are announced and Pinku decided to use us to buy his school supplies!

Piku: But we will all separate from each other then! I’ll miss you guys! :'(

Miku: Awww, that’s true!

Tiku: No, wait!! These days there is this new concept called cashback at the time of shopping! Maybe after Pinku uses us to buy his school supplies during a bargain, he will get us all back as cashback?!

Piku: That will be amazing!

Miku: Yeah, we will all be together forever! <3>

This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! Activity by in association with
Images from Pixabay.

Friday evening Soiree

As a change from out usual monthly hang-outs, this time all of us colleagues at work decide to do a mini shopping escapade together. The plan was to leave office a bit early on a Friday and hop on to the nearest mall. There the girls were going to go wild in the designer stores and the boys could chose to shop or have a beer till everyone gathered together for an early dinner and lots of fun.

From Friday morning itself, there was a buzz in the office. Being a small office where people know each other on first name basis, we share a great camaraderie. Couple of people had meetings lined up for the morning, but given the general mood, everything was just about laughter and frolic. By around lunch time, people had started nudging each other to show heir watches. Some people had started packing their bags and making car-pool plans. Finally our bosses realized that there was no point trying to make us work. Nobody was in the mood!

So they gave up and told us it was fine to leave even earlier than planned. There was a big hurrah and the entire office was wiped clean in a matter of minutes. We all were in various cars within twenty minutes on the way to the mall. But the excitement soon started fizzing off. The traffic was a bummer despite it being afternoon. Thankfully there were lots of fun conversations to keep everyone engaged and in good spirits.

We got to our destination later than we expected. Parking was another headache because it was really pricey and yet tough to find spots. We all finally met on the ground floor a good one hour after we had started from the office. Everyone was already losing interest in anything but a pint of chilled beer. Just when we thought this will be a sad evening, our super boss exclaimed happily, “Wow this can be fun!”

We all looked at him, “What happened sir?”

I just got an SMS that all online shopping portals have started their summer sales! There are fabulous discounts for both, as well as cashback.

“Really?!” This came from the women mostly.

Another guy had meanwhile logged in to these sites so he added, “Yes, really, there are some coupons available for deals on clothes, shoes, accessories and a lot else.”

“How about we go to a person’s house – the shopping can happen online and beer can be gulped alongside all within air-conditioned comforts?” I volunteered skeptically.

“GOOD IDEA!!!” Everyone in the team cried together so that pretty much everyone in the mall turned to look at us. Within the next five minutes we had packed ourselves again the cars and headed towards the super boss’ lavish mansion. He had a well stocked bar, an awesome entertainment system and a fridge stocked with sinful food. This was the best bargain we could have asked for to make our Friday evening amazing!

This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! Activity by in association with
Image from Pixabay.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Go further to get closer

I was tiny myself when my little sister came along. I can’t specifically remember being excited about the baby, or feeling connected to it, before she was born. I just remember some fragments of the long stretch of time after it. Suddenly my space was being shared by a little speaking, crying, laughing little body that I did not recognize, understand and know. 

I don’t remember vividly but sharing my parents’ love all of a sudden must have been some kind of a shock. Given the fact that my sister was a cuddly baby growing up to be cute and pretty at the same time, strangers’ attention was never a problem for her as well. Before I knew it, a devil called
‘jealousy’ rented an apartment in my heart.

Psychologists say that it is completely natural for a child to be jealous of a new baby. They say that the elder sibling becomes inspirational for the new entrant and both play an important role in each others’ lives. If the parents keep their relationship with the older sibling as smooth and affectionate as possible, sidestepping power struggles and minimizing conflicts becomes easier. If the exclusive relationship of the parents with the older sibling which was natural before the other child came along is maintained to an extent, the older one finds it easier to accept the younger one. But all this is what I have read and understood over a period of years afterwards. At that time, perhaps I just felt threatened and insecure.

So I remember being vicious and mean towards her, and justifying all my actions using various excuses. I remember not being giving or sharing, and wanting the world from her nonetheless. All in all, I remember being an archetype of an ideal bad elder sister. But I don’t want to go into those details here because it will make me nostalgic and guilty as if often does, and I won’t be able to make sense of this article and what we have right now.

Right now what we have is something dynamic and unique, something which has evolved over the years, something which is real and comforting, loving and giving space at the same time. Right now, we are, in a sense, mirrors of each other. I'm not sure if we're role models or co-conspirators, secret-sharers or friends, but we have something. And that something I can never explain well enough here.

Living in distant parts of the world, remote from each other, has played a part in the growth of our relationship. A gradual understand of each other’s temperaments, attitudes and priorities have cemented it further.

In all this generality, there is one specific incident that I want to talk about when I describe my relationship with my sister. My sister’s college convocation ceremony was coming close. She was far away, across the seven seas. This period had been trying for her and she had come out of it with flying colors. It was an occasion that meant a lot to her. She sent me an invitation for her convocation. She did not append any personal note with it because she knew that I will understand exactly what she feels and means.

I had started working in a separate city but my salary wasn’t as much to be able to fly to her country and spend a few days away from work managing all those expenses. But that invite card left my body numb for the longest period of time. As I held the card, flashes of moments shared with my little sister appeared in front of my eyes like a slide-show. Moments where we laughed, cried, fought or just existed together – all of them juxtaposed themselves against the present, the here and now. My senses went lifeless as I sat remembering things which just revealed themselves from nowhere.

Mornings together in the school bus,
You always held my hand,
Was it your breath on my shoulder, or your mumbles,
That I found more reassuring?

Then after a king time, I got up and switched on my laptop. I checked my bank balance which was about to hit rock bottom, but basically allowed me just enough for air tickets at that time. I mentally made a note of the amount I would need to save in the next few months before I saw her, in order to be able to survive for a few days in her country.

Then I logged in to the British Airways website and booked my ticket. 

I decided not to tell my sister about it because it was the best surprise I could think of. I knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t ask me herself too. I knew that we both knew we couldn't lose time anymore, just looking back at old experiences -- we needed to make new experiences together.

We are standing on a threshold, 
Constantly looking behind for shared moments,
It's time to step forward, together,
Into moments fresh and renewed.

The only thing left for me to do now was the save up enough money and office-leaves to be able to share this part of my life with this part of her life, to form new memories, new impression, a whole new nostalgia to look back at. I knew that the next time I had such a card in my hands, I wanted to remember us standing after her convocation laughing over our childhood silliness or teasing each other about some boys. And the time to form those moments and memories was now. I had to go this far to get closer to the special girl in my life.

Would you go further to get closer to the person you love? Look deep inside and you may know that you need to do exactly that… and now…

This post is a memory whose recollection is prompted by British Airways' beautiful initiative to bring together people who love each other, in association with Indiblogger.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How to benefit most out of Visit Malaysia year 2014!

So as all of you know already from my previous post, 2014 is the Visit Malaysia Year! The Malaysian government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all visitors and tourists have the best time possible! Whether it’s the Rainforest World Music Festival, Hari Raya or the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, our calendar is packed with magical moments worth celebrating. So if a vacation is on the cards for you, now is the time to plan your perfect trip to Malaysia!

After writing my last post where I opened my heart about my connection with travel, I realized that I really needed to write another post based on the research I had done for my Malaysia trip. The purpose of this second post would be to share the top 5 tourist attractions that any visitor should include when they start their Malaysia Odyssey. As I froze my own itinerary, I used something lovely that the Tourism Malaysia team has designed for its patrons.

The tourism Malaysia website has a fantastic tool that they call: “Trip Planner”, which allows you to Add / Drag and Drop items from your To-Do list into your Malaysia itinerary. Once you select the place to visit / things to do from their exhaustive page, you can shuffle the days and adjust your itinerary accordingly. As you keen doing each of these things, the map of Malaysia on the right side keeps getting updated to show your overall footprint. Here’s a quick snapshot for you to understand what I mean:

As you can see, I dragged a few places to visit into the box in the central and got my map of places that I would be covering on the right. This was certainly a very reliable, informative and convenient way for me to plan my travel, and I would suggest you all to try it if and when you plan your Malaysia trip too. After I froze my itinerary, I found an option to book my tickets on the same website, again in a very quick and easy way. Here it is, under the “BookYour Trip” section:


Since I’m anyway on the topic, let me also show you the top 5 things that I have added and planned as part of this exercise today.

1. Langkawi Island, Kedah 

Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. The islands are off the coast of Kedah. My brother and sister-in-law recently returned from their romantic honeymoon in Langkawi and since then have been helplessly raving about this mystical delight that boasts of beautiful beaches, scenic sunsets and mangroves rich in flora and fauna. While my brother was also very impressed with the infrastructure that one par with the best cities of the world, my SIL couldn’t stop gushing over the wonderful and cheap duty-free shopping she did there!

My tip: If you’re planning to go to Malaysia, do plan a trip to Langkawi. The clear blue waters and serene skies enchant all who visit! And if you’re wondering where to stay, I’d have loved to share tips on where to stay, what to do and other logistical details, but I’ll refrain from doing on because it will be based on my research and not on my personal experience. While my research has been thorough since its our anniversary trip, and I have looked up many online forums and websites, other than talking to my cousins and friends who have all recently traveled to Malaysia, I always prefer to write travel articles after I have visited a place in order to include suggestions and advice on stay, travel, food, etc. But you can check this source that I found very helpful as I looked for accommodation for TH and me.

2. Mulu caves, Malaysian Borneo 

Many times referred to as the most spectacular caves on the planet, the Mulu Caves are located deep in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysian Borneo. Over millions of years, the flow of water draining from the slopes of G.Mulu towards the sea has cut deep gorges through the Park’s limestone mountains and, within the rock itself, this complex network of vast caves has been formed. The Sarawak chamber found in one of the underground caves is the largest cave chamber in the world. It has been said that the chamber is so big that it could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. 

My tip: Since 1978 these caves have been the focus for a succession of expeditions and this website holds a record of the discoveries made during that period. If you’re a history lover like me, the rich legacy of these caves and the associated discoveries at this website will spellbound you.

3. The Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur 

World’s tallest buildings before being surpassed in 2004 by Taipei 101, The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur need to be visited because they’re almost essential for anyone going to Malaysia. A part of my must-do list in Malaysia, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. Check out this enticing video from the The Petronas:

My tip: KL is a paradise for shopping lovers. If you have the shopping fever, then club your trip to The Petronas Twin Tower with an extensive shopping regimen!

4. The Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations, first developed by the British in the 1920s. Based on what I have discovered, the list of things to do and see is endless in this Malaysia's largest highland resort. Walks through lovely little villages, visits to the butterfly, strawberry, honey bee farms and sprawling tea plantations or meals at the delightful Tudor-styled country inns, are just some of them.

Apart from its jungle walks, the sanctuary is also known for its tea plantations and visitors can book several “tea factory” tours. The Malaysia Tourism website has this page that tells you where to stay, getting here, nearby attractions and who to contact once at this beautiful hill station.

5. Mt Kinabalu Via Ferrata, Sabah

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia. The mountain lies in the northern part of the State of Sabah, in Borneo Malaysia. This spot is a must-do for the trekkers, mountain lovers and outdoors-enthusiasts among you. You can lose yourself in the natural beauty of this place and get transported to heaven! If you are planning to climb the mountain, you should head over to Kota Kinabalu; which is the closest city near the mountain. For those among you who are new to climbing or outdoors, there is lots of support and guidance available, though there is a threshold requirements of fitness level and health.

I have some hardcore adventure and outdoors loving friends, and they all highly recommend Mt Kinabalu. I’m sure this will be a must-do in my trip this year. A lot of information on permits, mountain guides, climbing tips, check-lists and maps are available at this link. There are also couple of very interesting videos which instantly attracted me towards the sheer beauty of the trail. Check them out!

So that was my check list of things to do in Malaysia. 2014 is the year to Celebrate, Explore, get Inspired and Escape into a Truly Asian Paradise, and I intend to make the most of it! TH is busy juggling his schedule for this trip, while I’m typing this. I think I better go and help him now. For all of you who have read this post, I would love to hear from you on whether you found this post helpful and if you have suggestions or tips for me! 

I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with

Images courtesy:,,,