Wednesday

Great Expectations

Almost all of us usher the New Year with great expectations and hope that good tidings will come by. Unlike many of us, I do not have the habit of making New Year resolutions, this is because constantly I keep targeting for things, get it and keep moving for the next. So making resolutions just because it is "new year" sounds like hype, which will be short lived.

Looking back at this year, I feel that it has been a good one, especially it had shown my way out of misery and chiseled the path to live ever after happily. Yeah, for more than a year I was not pleased in working where there is very little challenge clubbed with "stylish management" that encourages "fault finding" sprees. Well, now am free and pick assignments in my own terms. 

In the personal front, we have succeeded in our plans as well and are planning for the dates to move, which should be by end of Feb 2009:) Everything comes true if we believe in it strongly. Now, I remember my first year in college and in the first class, our lecturer asked us how long do you wish to live. Each student said something ranging from 60 to 100 years. I was the exception and told that I want to live until I die. At that time, I was not sure why I said it and my friends used to tease me for being crazy and I just used to say well, thatz me. Yup, this is my attitude, live life to the fullest without any hang-ups. Why should you even think how long should we live?

Good that we watched Bedtime Stories as it manifests the concept that whatever we believe comes true. Believe in happy endings, rather happenings and it will come true.

Happy New Year:)

Friday

Sparkling Fireflies

A friend told that Malaysia boasts one of the rare firefly colonies in the world. It is about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur on the North-South Plus highway. We took the Sungai Buloh exit, went to Bukit Melawati and then headed for Kampung Kuantan and followed the signboard to the firefly park. It was a single track road like rural Indian roads and people were driving like crazy!


 
It was too early and even the ticket counter was not open. So, we had a chance to chat with the locals and boat men. Of course, took few snaps before dark.


This picture looks very romantic right? But, in reality the Selangor river at Kampung Kuantan is muddy and the boats tethered were too small. My first thoughts were, should I really go in that crazy boat?

When I asked about the depth of the river, first boat man said that it should be around 40 to 50 feet deep...scary, then another fellow contradicted by telling that it should be 20 to 25 feet deep. However, both of them told that it is very murky that is why the running river water looks so dirty.

At the ticket counter they assured me that there has never been a mishap since the boating service started 10 years ago. Further, they said that we will be provided with life jackets. To my dismay, all the life jackets had broken clips, which doesn't serve the purpose:( When questioned, the boat man simply came closer and tied the straps together like this ^^


With a short prayer I dared to climb the boat after it was completely dark. When we moved away from the boat club, the only artificial light faded off and I felt it like some adventure movie, as the silence was heavy and the weather sultry. Slowly the boatman steered the boat close to the berambang trees AND suddenly I noticed hundreds of sparkles dusted on the low bushes!

As we cruised, we noticed that all the flies in a tree were flickering in harmony like a controlled serial light:) The dark sky was studded with twinkling stars and were trying to compete with the fireflies in the river bank. What a sight, amazing! With all my fear gone, I started to chat with the boatman. He  said that the fireflies emit light as a signal to mate and commented that the fireflies were lesser on that night because of the bright sky. He added that it would be ideal to watch them on a no-moon night.

We spotted a couple of fireflies on the murky water and I thought that they had fallen off the branches and were dying, I felt sorry for them. But the boatman consoled me by telling that they were having a good time in the water, and I had to just blink hehehe... Later, I checked online and found that some of the fireflies are aquatic and they lay larve in the murky waters!

I wanted to take a snap of the glittering bushes but the visitors are prohibited to use flash, which would disturb the fireflies. Even with Night mode, I couldn't get a decent shot:( Though the painted banner does not do justice to reality, I took a snap as a keepsake:

A memorable experience, despite the odds:) Um, so happy that I recall the nursery rhyme:
Row row row a boat, Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.

Thursday

Friendly Silverleaf Monkeys at Bukit Melawati

In our quest to visit off-beat attractions in and around Kuala Lumpur, we heard about firefly watch at the Selangor river in Kampong Kuantan in Kuala Selangor. In this saga, we learnt that Bukit Melawati is on the way and is known for Silverleaf Monkeys and Lighthouse.

As I was not sure of the route, we took our regular cabbie and it was a pleasure to be driven like this. We started around 4.30 PM taking the North-South Plus
Highway, and took the Sungai Buloh exit. From there we followed Bukit Melawati signboard. Bukit means hill in Malay. We reached there by 5.30 PM. As we were winding up through the hills the short majestic lighthouse came into view.


This faces the straits of Melaka and is in use since 1907. Visitors are not allowed inside so we had to just click from outside. Before we could find a proper parking place we saw monkeys crowding the path and dared not to miss the scene so hurried to shoot even without unwinding the windows:)


The monkeys were not aggressive and to my surprise they were not even noisy. Unlike the monkeys that we commonly see, the adult silverleaf monkeys are dark grayish, where as their babies are golden brown.

 
In their natural habitat

 
On the fence

We met a local who comes to this place everyday to feed the monkeys. He was so close to them and had named 3 of them based on their nature! From him we came to know that the golden brown babies start changing color slowly and by 4 months they reach the same color as the mom and from then they start being independent.

There are petty vendors selling food that monkey likes. Though the monkeys are well behaved, at times they show their true color and grab the food packet if we hold it visibly. When I bought long-beans to feed the monkeys the vendor suggested that I hide the packet in the bag and show one piece at a time.


After taking few pieces from me, the bright chap identified the source of its treasure and lurched for my camera pouch and deftly took the remaining food!

On our way down, the panoramic view was breath taking. Below shot shows fishermen settlement. 

 
We came down around 6 PM and headed to Kampung Kuantan to watch the fireflies. Will rattle on that experience tomorrow:)

Wednesday

Organized Chaos

Last week we went to Museum Negara and did house spring cleaning. Two unrelated events? May be, but suddenly I was reminded of a dialogue from an Indian movie, where the mother complains that the son makes the house messy AND the son retaliates that house is meant to be messy (to get a cosy feel) and only museums are meant to be organized!


In reality the museum was equally messy, because they were doing a large scale house keeping! Nothing very interesting except these few shots (ahem, time to seriously upgrade my knowledge on anthropology/archeology, so that I can appreciate the collections).



 
The antique artifacts and the organization was equally primitive. 


For some there were English and Malay descriptions but for many there were only Malay descriptions. May be there is a dearth of translators:p

Coming back to my house cleaning. Every time I think of spring cleaning I just cant see from where to begin and then finally give up for another day:( Typical dis-organization syndrome^^. I can't run away for ever, so started on emptying wardrobes and to my disbelief, we had clothes that was not worn for years. Like treasure hunt, I found my old favorite baggy T-shirt. I had an urge to stop the laborious task and wash that first, so that I can use it, but refrained myself. After two hours, I seized my operation and I started to rattle, to unwind. 

Well, am reminded of a different kind of "spring cleaning/house keeping" that was scheduled so often, but with no use. Yes, there were endless hours of "planning" to clean up codes/contents. During this phase, the pointless meetings and discussions used to irk me. To throw away any unwanted stuff, you need prove that it is not needed and on top of it "convince" your boss. Phew!, that needed more time than to plan for the constructive stuff. So, I've even noticed some of them taking easy way out...

In a recent post Tom Johnson explains why and how Technical Writers (TW) can overcome the defects that arise from "trust". Well, I would say he is polite by using the term trust. I would say that TWs are totally ignored during the major stages of the software development cycle. This leads to major usability issues and low quality documentation. Most often TW thinks from user point of view where as the business and engineering team concentrates only in satisfying the so called requirements. But, towards the end of the project, they say that help is not helpful. An easy way out, right?

Monday

Remake

Until I came to know about remake of Hollywood science fiction The Day The Earth Stood Still, I taught that remake fever is high in Indian films but never expected that it has caught up in Hollywood as well. 

We were late for the movie, so didn't understand how the mountaineer manages to break the luminous sphere in Karakoram range, in Himalayas and what happens to him.    

The alien is shot the minute he is out of the spaceship despite his attempt to make a friendly hand-shake to the lead character Dr Helen Benson. Umm, trying to show the unfriendly and destructive nature of humans. 

Later in the military hospital, Dr Benson comes to know that the alien is Klaatu. She sets to find out Klaatu's mission and understands that he is there to save Earth from humans:) Much sought after concept, especially for those who are eco friendly. To support his cause, Klaatu says "If the earth dies the humans die, if you die earth survives". This is no exaggeration, if fact we are the only species on earth who contribute to global warming and other destructive measures.

Dr Bensons' attempt to ask for a chance for human survival sounds pathetic. She does not have any valid grounds as to how can she guarantee that humans will stop from exploiting the planet and make peace. Later, another character tries to argue that only at the brink of extinction humans would try hard to preserve themselves and earth. What an argument?

Thanks that the alien seems to be in Human form and refuses to show up in its proverbial getup, as it would only scare the humans AND we are spared from watching one of those nasty inventions.

Sunday

Enchanting Peacocks

Peacocks, especially their feathers are fascinating! When in school, we used to think that the feathers bring luck and keep a plume in our books so that we could score good marks, at least with good charm^^. Another bizarre belief was that the feathers kept in the books will double up!!!


Peacock is also the National bird of India. Further, according to Hindu belief peacock is the Vahana (transport) of lord Muruga and seen in Temples in front of the deity!



When someone looks down on others they say "he is as proud as a peacock...", may be look at this shot where he gives a haughty look with this head high, whereas other birds are busy with their tasks!


Generally they are all shy and never dare to date in front of human beings. But, at KL Birds Park, we saw this shameless fellow trying to show-off publicly and woo his girl friend by displaying his asset to his lady love in front of a crowd!

Yeah, in their world "beauty" is manly heheh. He is desperate in attracting his mate and keeps moving his feathers in a fan like movement and at the same time turns around and shows his back pose as well, like an experienced dancer!

Later we learned that the plain looking peahen falls for this kinda dance! Then, what next... romance AND here only the "man" is shy...

They roam all over the park (even outside the park) freely in groups but relax in solitude...

Tuesday

Caring Hornbills

It is a common knowledge that birds feed their young ones but hornbills are different!
At the feeding session in the KL Birds bark we were excited to see the Great Hornbill perching on the tree top and catching the food thrown to him!

Then, to our amazement, it started feeding the bird which was inside the wooden box!
We thought it was feeding the young ones, because when the it gave the small piece of meat to the bird in the wooden box, it gave it back! But, the park incharge  told us that it was feeding his wife, and she is asking him to soften the meat before feeding her!

 
Later we managed to see the romantic couple:)
 
 
Presenting this post for World Bird Wednesday.

Snail Mails

I was rushing to the car park and suddenly I stopped in my tracks as I saw something after a very long time!


The motorcycle loaded with hard copy mails reminded me of the days when I was still in college and how we used snail mails to communicate during holidays! Those were the days we used to wait for the postman to deliver us the mails... and whenever we received mails, it felt great and used to read and re-read until we were thorough with the contents. I still have some of those mails as a token of remembrance and I get nostalgic when I browse them!

Now, with the fast paced emails, most often we get irritated because of innumerable junks that we receive everyday...

I just envy the lucky ones who still get postal mails, not bills though^^
.

Monday

Mumbai Menace

The recent Mumbai atrocity has shaken me. My parayers for the family of those who died in the tragedy. 

When similar things were happening in different countries, I felt sad, period, but was unable to grasp the seriousness. Now, when it has hit home (though none of my family and friends were directly affected by it) I cringe at this intolerable act and get nightmares.

Now, Telegraph.co.uk has listed India among 20 most dangerous places in the world, just after Mumbai massacre. May be, the list should be refined to indicate the dangerous places in the country, instead of listing the entire country.

What could be the reason behind the attack? Is it against the Jews? This is a very minor community in India! or Is it against the economic growth that India has been seeing thorough, recently? This is not convincing as well, because of the current global economic recession! Then, is it really against the intolerance for another religion? At any cost, this kind of barbaric acts should be erased. May be, like in since fictions, the scientists should come up with devices to alter the deadly thoughts of terrorism.

See, my rattles are wayward and jumping at different angles! I still can't see how the authorities were ignorant of such a sophisticated attack. The key persons have come forward and resigned from their posts, am not too sure of what to think of this act? Is it an act of taking up the responsibility? In that case, is this a reasonable decision at the hour of crisis? If they just resign, it might make the situation even difficult as the new person who take over might not know the history and the intricacies of the responsibilities of that position. May be the best way would be to keep the outgoing person as an aide to the newly appointed person. And, this should be done with complete cooperation and with sole aim of getting at the root cause of the menace. 
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