On top of clouds

When I was on board AirIndia Express from Kuala Lumpur to Chennai, my daughter was peeping through the window when we were taking off and she exclaimed "amba see Google map!!!" without realizing that,we see the land scape almost zoomed out from this height in Google maps:)

I wanted to capture my favorite clouds at close. I was unsure if I can take photos when flying and on second thoughts my camera was in the cabin luggage and I cant even get it. Then, I remembered my Motorolo HP! and asked air hostess if I could activate my HP just to take photos, what a surprise! she said yes!:)
And here we go on top of clouds...

Am I imagining seeing the curvature of our Earth in the above shots?! Well at one point my kid commented, "amba wow, I wanna walk on top of it" When I saw the scenery, I too felt that the clouds and the azure blue of the sky were very inviting:)

By the time I was satisfied taking pictures, my daughter too was dozing off, leaving me with my own thoughts. As we were sitting in the 4th row, I could see the crew members darting in and out of the private area to fetch food n drinks. Suddenly, I was reminded of Haan's visit to Air Asia cockpit, and I too wanted to try my luck in visiting the cockpit. After much thought and hesitation, I decided that I should have no regrets before leaving the air craft, so I asked a member about the possibility of visiting the cockpit. He informed that it was against the rules to allow anyone inside the cockpit when flying but he agreed that he would try to talk to the captain about my request. After that I kept looking at that member in great hope, whenever he passed by. But felt shy to remind/inquire about the status of my request.

There was no response and we were already landing, so I'd given up my hopes. Then came back the crew member with a smile asking me to stay back, until all the passengers disembarked! I was extremely ecstatic and my daughter was puzzled about my broad grin:) When I told her the news, she too was pleased and asked if am kidding:):)

After the formal introductions, the pilots spoke a bit about controlling the aircraft and added that
the control room/panel was small, as it was a small plane (B737-800, 170 seater). But the hundreds of lights flickering on top of the roof and on the dash area were mind boggling. When I viewed from the cockpit, it felt like standing on the upper deck of a double-decker bus! Last, I pushed my luck for taking photos, but they politely stated that due to security reasons they cant let me photograph.

On my way back to Kuala Lumpur, I was sitting on the tail end of the air craft and the crew had different members. As a finishing touch, when I was disembarking, I was recognized by an hostess near the entrance, which was in itself a pleasant surprise, and we exchanged pleasantries!


Madurai Meenakshi Amman - My all time favorite temples

When I was young, I used to gaze at the majestic Gopuras (temple tower) of Meenakshi Amman Temple, till I'd to squint because of the hot sun! Being one of the largest and high holy Hindu temples, it was listed for online voting as one of the seven wonders of the world!

This time, when I visited, the thatch covered gopuras were a bit disappointing, as I could not view them, especially the South, to my hearts content. Yea, maramathu or renovation was going on because of the kumbabeshekam and hence covered. Three main towers are filled with artistic statues and the fourth Motta (plain or devoid) gopura, without any statue adorned is a sight for a life time.

When I stand in front of the main deity Goddess Meenakshi, I can forget myself and gaze at her endlessely, despite the crowd and noise. In fact I dint shoot much photos here mainly bcos I feel at peace inside this temple and never thought of clicking until I finished my prayers.

Golden Lotus,
based on which my granpaa used to enthrall us with endless mythological stories.

Nandhi, facing Swami sannadhi.

Navagragha, we Hindus believe that the nine planets are responsible for our destiny and hence they are a part of our temples.

Belief on child birth - There is a belief that if you apply oil on the lower abdomen of this deity and pray on behalf of the pregnant woman who is about to deliver, the delivery would be smooth and both the mother and child would be safe.

Amman Sannathi, famous shopping center inside temple premises, where you get typical Indian ladies and religious related stuff.


Colorful Madurai

Whenever I set foot in my home town Madurai, I feel at home and a sense of belonging rushes to me though I don't get all the creature comforts that now am used to! Day starts with typical scenes like cows tethered in the neighborhood or milking:

and Milk vendors carrying milk cans for home/shop delivery

Madurai is synonymous with good food that is available round the clock. Yea, I did enjoy the delicacies. But unfortunately, I dint snap I was busy tasting it;) Shot only a few like this roadside fruit salad vendor at night, bcos I dint eat it!

Karumbu chaaru (sugar cane juice) n yelani (tender coconut) are the must have...

Then, we cant run away from the rickshaws, which are similar to trishaws of Penang!

As there are lot of villages around Maduari, you can see villagers/daily wagers traveling like cattle, come to think of it, I might enjoy this ride as it might be a joy/thrill ride!

Still in some parts, there are no bridges on top of rail tracks, instead, railway level crossings are still in use.
Still bullock carts are driven on road,

I can keep rattling endlessly, but now am a bit sleepy, so will continue later


Identity Crisis!?

When I entered my favorite temple ( will rattle about this in another post, after I download the photos), a tourist guide rushed to me and offered to be my guide in the temple, in broken English. When I refused, he tried to convince me in Hindi!! I had to shoo him away by talking in MADURAI TAMIL. What a shock! This IS MY HOME, and am not even attired in western or fancy outfit. Generally, locals will not be bothered bu guide. Then why am I bothered by a guide?

Later, I was reminded by my sister - in -law that I was still holding my sun glasses inside the temple, which is not a common sight among the locals. Well, I told myself, that I will watch out and be a "Madurian when in Madurai", as I dont wanna loose the identity when am in my home town^^


Best Bargain Books!

Roadside shopping in T.Nagar Pondy bazzar is always an unique experience to me. This time around I was scouting for books and see what I managed to buy for just Rs 710, which is around RM 50!!! Moreover, all these are new paperback versions and not second hand books!

The Interpretation of Dreams - Sigmund Freud
The Word - Irving Wallace
The Miracle - Irving Wallace
Doctors - Erich Seagal
If Tomorrow Comes - Sydney Sheldon
God of Small Things - Arundhathi Roy
To Cut a Long Story Short - Jeffery Archer
The Kitchen God's Wife - Amy Tan
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - Robin Sharma

I'd just started on the Freud's book. This is a English translation from the original German version. Though am intrigued and captivated on this subject, I find difficult to concentrate on long winding sentences. I wish the translation was done using simple English rather than the archic style!


Traditional Stoves

In our rush life, we use electric or gas stoves to cook, microwaves to reheat, hot packs and cool kegs to maintain food at our preferred temperature and n number of gadgets mainly to increase our comfort level

Here, take a look at the primitive stove and traditional vessels that are still used in most of the Indian villages. These were taken in one of our farm hands hut.

Mud stove

The villagers claim that the food cooked using this type of stove tastes better:)

Water storage

The water stored in brass pots has a distinctive flavor, even in my house we do that!


Terror on road!

Any sort of travel was a thrill ride be it Chennai or my home town Madurai. In Chennai I had the pleasure of taking the auto ride and I was reminded of a local saying "people drive auto in a cycle gap", no no now even a bus goes in a cycle gap! Look at the snap below, you can see traffic coming out from every possible direction:


We went to one of the Hindu holy places, Thiruchendur, which is a seaside Murugan temple. After very long time the sight of baby elephant, local food n snacks, seashore, and all looked attractive, & I was reminiscing about my childhood days and wondered if I can do a time travel!

Here are some of the best snaps that I caught!

Prayer items

Taking holy dip

The beach was not maintained hence, dared not to try, especially as the sea keeps receding often after tsunami!

Elephant food- Rice cooked with more than 10 types of herbs

Mahut feeding the baby elephant
Typical Indian ice cream, which is called as "iceprute"Sliced Mango seller


Mini market - Village style

Self sufficient petty shop, taken in a Indian potkat, which means kampung or village!


Home sweet home

Its great to be at home, in spite of pollution and crazy traffic that comes from every direction. Its so nice to be here:) Yea, I'm trying to avoid going in the car and instead opting for motor cycle rides!

Still the the bullock carts, bus and pedestrians go on the same road! The fun part was, we had to chase and overtake a bullock cart and then we went in front of it to take a snap! Am yet to transfer the photos, will post it soon:) Now, need to rush as I've a hectic schedule.


Other Side of the Shopping Spree

Besides real shopping, window shopping and tasting gastronomic delights has become a part of my shopping tradition!

In this round of spree, I happened to capture this cute lil doll in one of the boutiques in The Gardens, at Mid Valley.

Later, we had Kuay Teow, a type of flat fried noodles.

When I tasted this food for the first time, a few years ago, the smell was putting me off as the strong aroma of soya sauce and the sesame oil was too strong for me. But now, it has become an acquired taste and I've come to like it! Of course, this is a vegetarian version.


No Tension No BP

XMLs and Wiki content keeps swirling in my head! Tried to relax, by looking at my photos collection that I shot in Penang and see what I hit...

Ah, ironical content that changed my mood and I started rattling. Of all the places, this was taken at the War Museum in Penang!


Going HOME - Shopping spree

Had a shopping spree over the long week end for my unplanned whirl wind trip to my home. Yea, just my daughter and I am going to India next week! lalalalala

Don't be surprised, if rattler keeps rattling about home for a few days. Fond memories keep rushing and I cant stop from rattling tut tut tut!


Celebrating Vinayagar Chadurthy

As per our Hindu belief, today is the birth day of the First Deity Vinay/Ganapathy. Typically we make special sweets called kolukottai, modagam, they taste like Malaysian cueys etc., This flower is used for the special prayers:

In my community, the newly weds celebrate this festival at the girls house! Usually, the girls parents buy gifts for all celebrations, except this one! Yea, this is the occassion, where the guy is supposed to present gifts to the inlaws and observe religious rites at the girl's house.


Super model - Hornbill

Vaguely I remember that an old renowned photographer praised nature as the best model. The reason is, neither does it fuss to give proper pose nor it demands to capture only the best, like most of us. I must add that this cute hornbill was a super model as well:)

I was just a few feet away and hence dint zoom!

Suspect that he was eyeing me cautiously!

Finally convinced that am no harm, hence came over the railing!

No complaints he was giving beautiful poses, until it was disturbed by excited children who rushed towards it!


Funny frog

This funny soft toy was passed down from Reno to MG, when he left. Now as MG is traveling, he seems to peep high and search for company!

Wide eyed beauty!

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