The Beach

There is one place that I haven’t found out where does it belong. I found it on the centerfold of a travel magazine. Twice, though in different magazine. Until now I haven’t a clue where it is. I spent countless times on the internet looking out for beaches all around the world from Europe to Caribbean to South America to Polynesian to even Andaman and Galapagos but still I haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I still hold on to my last piece of picture. It’s still in my scrap book collection.

It’s a view you can never forget, at least for me. It’s the picture that made me happy.

Have you had a tough time at school? You’re bullied, your classmates avoided you, they won’t even talk to you, your seniors laughed at you, called you to their room, make you sit in the middle of a circle of teenagers and scream their lungs out at your mistakes of not following a certain tradition until 3 A.M, belittle you, will not help you in anything, your parents are too far to be worried about this and if they were they don’t have enough money to take you back, and you try and put a brave face to class every single day while people jeering at your back, spit at the sight of you at the dining hall and will not touch anything you touched.

It makes me sick that people called it a prestigious school because I haven’t seen any prestige at all.

For one whole year all I did was cry. I had a tough time adjusting. I had no friends, nor family. Nothing.

It took just one picture to change me. The beach.

Amazing view, I have to say. The photographer took everything and put it in a glossy page of a magazine. There were hills and beautiful houses. One big bungalow on the hill that I could remember is shaped like a little Parthenon with 3 storeys. Seemed like a pricey place to be. And the sand were cream and there is a huge black pipe in the sand and the mouth touched the blue shiny sea with the little yachts on the background. Oooh..there were palm trees and tiny plants around and there are 3 people running on the sand. A mother with her two little infants, a boy and a girl, all dressed in white (the view is from their behind). Such freedom! So when you look at the picture you see 3 people running on the most beautiful beach, that I have no idea where it’s on.

And that picture made me happy, which is a big deal because I have no absolute good memories whatsoever. I held on because of a picture. I put it on my table and determined that whatever happens, I am happy because I chose to be happy instead of being sad.

Someday I want to be happy too. I will travel the world too. I want to run on those sandy shores and be merry, just like them. I close my eyes and feel it. It’s the wind on my hair and my white dress flowing, the sun rays burning my eyes, my feet crunching the sand and I tried to run though I keep fighting the gravity my weight put on each step. I stopped, breathless while squinting my eyes at the horizon.This must be paradise.

That thought made me smile. It worked. I know can do this.

Frankly I can’t remember who was my friend when I was 13. All I know is that I flunked all my papers and was put to another class, which I fit nicely.

I found new friends, comfortable with them and it’s them that I hold on to.

As for the bitches, they seemed to forget what they done. Amnesia perhaps. Too many concussions. They seemed happy with their life. Good to know.

I hope their children won’t receive the same treatment as I did. I wish them all the best.

As for me, I am still looking for the beach. I suspect it’s in Europe, maybe close to Italy because of the architecture layout on the hills.

Probably it’s in Amalfi but there is no way that I would know that until I go there and find out for myself.

Game on!


God help me.

Some people may not mind at all but I do. Why anyone would even care about it?

Why would you buy key-chains for other people? Just because you know them? Or maybe because they bought you key-chains before? Do you consider that a kind gesture, they remembered you while they’re traveling? Why won’t you think that they don’t pity you? Is that key-chain really important? Will you offend anyone because you don’t buy them key-chains? You had to buy it because you pity them while you’re out celebrating life and they unfortunately tied to their cubicles?


To be honest, I hate to buy key-chains (you can see that coming, don’t you?) and it bothers me when people voluntarily give it to me as a token of something. Quite lame gift, actually. I have money and I travel. Who would put that unbelievable idea in your head that I would be impressed or slightly happy to receive a key-chain/fridge magnet/tiny dangling stuffs from foreign places? Why would you try and impress people you don’t like (example: me) with stuffs that usually would be thrown away?

Is that the purpose of traveling? Carrying 1kg of tiny little stuffs back home to tell people you have been somewhere exotic? A remembrance, perhaps?

For the people who collects the dangling little things, do you seriously feel proud collecting other people’s key-chain? You have not set foot on airplanes but you have 7 continents worth of key-chains given by kind-hearted souls (they knew you collects them. You mentioned it many times in your last conversation) Your fridge is brimming with all kind of magnets plastered with designed of landmarks from all over the world.

Yes, that’s my dream. Collecting other people’s effort. I would keep on dreaming that I would have the chance to do the same thing. Then, probably I’d buy them something too.

Seriously? And you think that kinda ‘count’ as part of your adventure? Things dangling on your bags, keys and fridge, those are your dreams?

If I were you, I’d put them in better places.

You said you have family, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the time, whatever grown-up excuses you can figure out and the only way to achieve access to your almost forgotten dreams are by telling people to buy you key-chains?


Aren’t we supposed to be responsible to our own dream? I have plenty of those where it came from. I go get them now. Since you are tied with commitments you can wait until your children all grown up, your pension settled or your in-laws are dead. You’ll have the ultimate freedom, if your knees let you climb the stairs.

Dreams never die. You die.

You casually mentioned, on the last day before the victim catching her flight, oh I have been wanting to get some of those! Buy me one, if you remember and the unfortunate victim had to scour the market for your stupid souvenir. Of course they won’t ask you money for wasting their time and energy. Its too priceless.

So please, do not ask me for key-chains from Delhi. I don’t travel for you, I travel for me. Don’t ask for saree when you don’t bother asking how am I doing in the last 6 months. Don’t tell me it’s just a joke because it was not funny. Trust me, I know Funny. It tickles you in a good way, but this kind of conversation would make me strangle you early in the morning.

I generally like to assume good things in other people but asking for a key-chain like your life depends on it is just plain stupidity.

Oh, I hope you choke on it one day. Preferably on Monday, on the way to work.

The City of Marvelous Curries

What can I say?


I’ve seen it in Bollywood films. I really don’t know what to expect. I know India but Delhi would be another story. I was being unkind to India since I have been stereotyping the men because I had some bad experience with Indian men here in Malaysia.

Let’s assume they’re a bit pushy and…touchy.

I can’t imagine a country full of them!

And yet I still go there. Typical me.

All my wildest imagination came to a halt when nothing bad happened. In fact, we enjoyed our stay immensely. When you read the ad at the billboards and maybe some train station (Masjid Jamek especially) and it says ‘Incredible India‘ please believe it. They didn’t lie. It’s an incredible country with the most incredible people with the most beautiful culture.

And we had the luck to go several days before Diwali, one of the biggest celebration in India. In Malaysia Deepavali would be the equivalent name.

Me and my friend did the usual stuff. We took the public transport, eat the same food, breathe the same air, watch the same movie, we did everything we could to learn more about the country and I had to say this is a trip that neither both of us could forget.

My parents are both Bollywood fans so I had been exposed early in my life to Hindi. You can’t even flip the channel during 2 minutes of the intervals of publicity. So what I do is spend 3 hours reading subtitles and face expressions. Of course, logically I know several important words but when you grow up listening to Bollywood songs and films practically every weekend you cannot help but catch many words. I did not learn this formally but I am quite surprised to be conversing simple Hindi with several people who can’t speak English very well. The stupid thing is that I can’t understand their English but I do understand the same thing if repeated in Hindi.

My friend called me a geek and this is a title I can’t strip no matter hard I tried.

It’s what I do. I figure ways to understand language and try to make sense of what I’m listening.

But the most important thing in India is not just simple food and good hydration (tea, coffee, lassi, mineral water), it’s in the spices. In Malaysia you heard authentic banana leaf curry or paid high price of North Indian fine cuisine but Masala in India is not the same as Masala in Malaysia. So does the curry.

Really I don’t mind human excrete on my sandal or sewage up to my ankle or garbage on the sides of the road with cows blocking the traffic.

I would stay for the food. I would even convert to vegetarianism. That’s huge words coming for a person who eats anything on 4 legs (I hate chicken, can’t do the same with pork)

I ate lentil curry with the same enthusiasm and delight as if I got a free ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I would smile and giggle and wipe everything clean. This is done alone. I do admit that I look and sound like an complete idiot but it was worth every single drop of curry.

And that’s just lentil curry. Need I tell more about the mutton?

Now I’m just frustrated with Indian cuisine in Malaysia. It’s just not the same. The difference is like night and day. What lucky people they are, living in a country with such great food…

Many would say ‘oh how I pity the Indians. They are so poor. They literally have nothing!’ but do you hear them complaining? If we have so much in our country, why are we complaining so much?

Indians love their country. They are a proud breed of people and they should be. When you stopped and asked a man, there would come another man and another jostling hands and verbally abuse each other to recommend the best. In sum, at least 4 men would come and offer you help, even if for choosing a bicycle in the reserved bird park, or telling you which way is it to go to Namaskar Hotel. No money asked. No tips, nothing. Some would even bring you to the train counter to help you fill a form to buy the train ticket and if you tell them you don’t have the tuk-tuk prepaid card (you have a prepaid card?), they would haggle the tuk-tuk price for you and make sure you’re safe and sound and arrived at the Delhi Tourist Information Counter before it’s closed.

Indian gentlemen, I thank you.

Don’t go home without watching Bollywood movie in India. You will believe and understand completely that they would definitely start a fire to the cinema if the ending is not what they want.

So it would always be happy ending.

We had the chance to watch ‘Rascals’ in Jaipur starring Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Arjun Rampal (so gorgeous…hmmm…) See, I know my actors. The crowd cheered at funny jokes (they whistled, clapped and took pictures), sing along and some might dance too, yell at the screen when they don’t favor the scene and was entertained by the catchy songs. We were positively caught in the moment. We were entertained by them.

Oh, and they have 10 minutes interval in between the 3 hours duration of the whole length of the movie. So people went out and bought more popcorn and drinks and later continue with the cheers.

No English subtitles but you know just what to do. You understood. After all, it’s only a movie.

We spend more than 3 hours at the National Museum just on one floor. We missed 2 more floors. We covered old potteries, old ruins, Indian myths, Old Civilization findings at Mohenjodaro and Harappa (Indus Civilization) and some miniature Mughal paintings (priceless collections!)

We will need to come again and finish this. We need at least 2-3 days to finish everything.

Don’t forget to try the coffee, the milk smells like cow (which I am a fan). I love the butter, cheese and everything that has cow casein derivatives in it.

You have been warned about the curry.