Saturday, February 19, 2005

Farewell to everything and everyone

The journey continues...

I really don’t how to begin to write this week’s journal, honestly. But somehow there is a need for me to go on writing my discovery and experience. I hope it is not too much to say that I am having a writer’s block these days even though I am not a writer. There’s so much things to write but I don’t know how to begin. I wanted to write an opinion letter to Malaysiakini´s letter forum but I seems to have problem and time to piece it all together. Nevermind.

Last week when I came back from New Delhi trips and travelling, Omar’s mum was in town and she cooked us a very delicious meals. I felt like a welcoming back party thrown for me but I think for now, I better think it is merely coincidence. His mum is French and the name is Aida. So, most of the meals Aida cooked that night was French temptation and some Egyptian foods. Big pot of Pasta and Spaghetti, mix salads, salty white gravy, bread rolls, wine and beers. As usual, the candle light dinner was held in our chilling roofless balcony. The cushion lying dead on the floor while the candled was being lighted. The sky was completely clear with Ernie Smith’s jazz was played in the air and all the delicacies were patiently waited to be attack by the invited diners.

Among the hungry diners was Wim, Mario, a Canadian journalist that Aida met in German bakery, Erin, DJ Sharifi, Meike and all the inhabitants of A20 namely me, Thomas the Germans football hooligan, Omar the fucking pyramid, Marielle the dutch (Frances McDormand), David the camera man, Bernard the weirdo a.k.a Jack Nicholson, Nills the big guy and Anna the Halena Bonham Carter.

Right now, I am writing this journal with a cup of Greek coffee (prepared by Anna’s mum who happens to be visiting India) and my new music collection (Brazil Acoustic CD).

Happy ValenFuckin´tine Day

On the Friday night, we were having a party at A20. The party was “A Valentine Day Party” with the theme: “Love is in the air”. It was wholeheartedly and enthusiastically organize by the self appointed “LoveTeam” comprise only two members, which is Marielle and Meike. The rest of A20 mates were just a helper especially in the area of recording, musics, decoration, shifting the furniture etc.

Nills the big guy’s bed in the living room was shifted to the room, in order to have more space for the party. The wall on both sides was covered by big pieces of red colour soft linen. The red linen was up, stick against the wall, with a decorated words of the party’s theme. The other wall had a huge pink colour manila card up against the wall, for the invited guest to put up their love messages, with the red colour stick-on memo pad and red colour parker pen. Marielle prepared a big pot of alcoholic fruit cocktail. It was a slice of watermelons mix with one bottle of vodka. At first it seems strange to me but it end up tasted great. The sweetness from the juicy of the watermelon and the heat and bitterness of Vodka drowning through my throat and straight to my heart. It really kills. The watermelon vodka was accompanied by a bowl of chocolates, lots of chips and lots of junks.

I contributed quite a lot of creative love messages on the wall which some of the memos got stolen (perhaps because of its creativity) and some of them caused comedic and cynical laughs by the invited guest. As far as I can remember, some of the love messages were “Love me for 5 rupees only”, “Love me two times by Jim Morrison”, Love sucks”, “Love require man to go for broke”, “Today I fall in love with you, tomorrow I fall out of love, but tonight we make love”, “Call 9890 987946 for a great fuck” and etc.

The valentine party turn out to be one of the greatest party I attended or being part of it. We also had group of French people, about 3 guys and 5 girls attended our valentine party, somehow got invited through friend’s friend connection. The night was also a smoking party. There was this French guy who looks like Dean Cain (Ripley’s believe it or not) who hung out at the party. He was quite cool too, smoking and drinking endlessly and was one of the brat ended up drunk and stone. Erin, from the United States were also there with her new colleague from a country my brain didn’t know, The Iceland Reunion”, a country of 1 million population, located somewhere near Maldives. Her name is Nina and she had a shaven head like Demi Moore in G.I Jane.

This party originally, suppose to be a party full of love, with a lot of hugging and kissing but Wim and I would like to put it, kissing, hugging and fucking but sadly, at the end of the night, at around 3am, most of the people were drunk and stone enough and somewhat lost the ability to fuck. But one thing for sure that night was, kissing and hugging and dancing add up to be lot of fling. Mario was drunk until he loses his ability to speak like a normal person. As for me, I was little bit of both, drunk and stone. I was quite high that I kept shouting Omar’s name, be it from the bathroom, or from the living room or from the balcony. (the video of this party is really great)

Right now, the Brazil Acoustic CD had been replaced by Leonard Cohen’s greatest hits.

The valentine party was really great and fantastic but the saddest thing was, the valentine party turn out to be the last party held in A20. (Contract terminated 3 days after the party). All the songs that played during the valentine party were specially compiled by Meike, with the song title must contain the word “love”.

Let’s drive away…

The morning after the valentine party, as expected, I woke up with little bit of hangover. I woke up dehydrated and with headache too. I told myself the useless promises again, that I would never drink again but I know you know everybody knows, this will not be the end. But luckily, the hangover was not bad at all, just a light one and was gone few hours after that.

That Saturday morning, we were on the expedition to Panthim dam, a Godsent place, beautifully endowed with nature’s greatest make-up of the strong mountains, calm and huge rivers and lakes and the greens along the way. It is far away from the city rush hours and its mixture of sound and air pollution. It was planned by Omar and he was the most enthusiastic one with this expedition.

He prepared a pot of marinated chicken soup, with 2 kg of chicken, lot of potatoes and tomatoes, olives, vegetables etc. He was also the one that rented the 4-WD jeep for all of us. The groups of the so called expeditors was Omar & Thalib (on the super bike), David, Erin, me, Mario, Meike, Marielle, Wim and the new girl in town, from Colombia, the lovely Carolina.

The beautiful Carolina, always smiley, always cheerful and always so lovely. She kisses everyone as a token of hello as well as goodbye. I always tease her that she looks like a Italian girl but she is still proud of being a Colombian girl.

Anyway, at around 1.20 pm, we packed everything and dumped everything in the jeep. Mario was in the front seat, with one driver and one redundant idiotic Indian. On the second row was me, David and Wim, with lots of backpacks, guitar and bags while at the last row was the girls namely Marielle, Meike, Carolina and Erin.

We departed at about 2pm from Korageon Park. The jeep drove us through the rush hours of Pune, through the unorganized and ever messy traffics and lots of honks from almost every vehicles, four wheelers or two wheelers and of course the auto-rickshaws. We were driving to the furthest of Pune and for about two hours, through the slump houses, under the bridges, with the music of Tracy Chapman and Sting accompanied us and me, few chapters of Che Guevara’s “The motorcycle dairies” we finally reached Panthim dam, a place where sounds of nature can be easily heard with no disruption and no distraction whatsoever, as the noise of the machines gradually subsided.

We thought we had arrived but we still had to go the deep inside of Panthim. So, the real exciting expedition begin as our 4WD struggle through the bumpy, uneven, rocky sandy roads, up and down, through the serendipity views of the calm rivers and lakes, the lazy mountains, clear sky with Omar and Thalib stalking behind us. For me, I was deeply and peacefully dwelled into the lively and highly entertaining travelling biography of Che Guevara through the Latin America while Mario, Wim, Erin, Carolina and David were caught playing eyes with the nature’s views and the rest of the girls (Meike and Marielle) were singing variety of songs, constantly raping and butchering the originity of the songs with their out of tunes, keyless rendering of every songs. But none of us really give a damn because somehow the crazy polluted rendering was being treated as a norm of that journey.

At one point of cliff, just right at the cornering, where the view from that point, a viewpoint towards the calmly lake and mountains that will overwhelmed your imagination, Omar & Thalib´s bike tyre burst and there it goes, the hell of the nightmare when travelling with bike; punctured!!

The empty road behind us and ahead of us was empty, occasionally seeing some passing bikes. Thalib managed to wave help from one of the local motor biker which happen to passing through our unlucky route. So, Thalib went off with the unknown yet kind stranger to the outer part to get helps from a mechanic. Omar started to roll a joint, the first joint of the journey while I was kicking a empty box of Kingfisher until it thrashed really bad. Omar insisted our jeep to proceed to our destination and convinced us that Thalib and he will find us. Because of the confidence, we went on and we never see Omar again that night after that fateful event.

The journey got even worse, bumpier, more confusing as the jeep struggle through the small roads, smoky red-sands. The local kids were playing together and when they saw group of aliens passing them, they waved at us happily, hoping that we will remember them always. Their greeting seems like a hello without worries. Along the journey, we also came through some cows and goats enjoying their endless lunch on the crunchy grass while the dog and the shepherd boy directing the big animals back home. It was already around 5pm already. The jeep driver and us had trouble in reaching our spot for camping but after few rounds of asking and confirming with the locals as well as David’s memory recollection on the spot, we managed to reached the spot.

The journey to the deep inside of Panthim dam was blessed with the God-gifted beautiful landscape. It was so fresh, so calm, so serene, so beautiful that at anytime, anyone can contemplate their life journey.

With the confusing route, we were convinced that Omar and Thalib will never find us, let alone us. The spot of our camp was really deep inside, about an hour of driving from the outside. The jeep stopped at the small gate and all of us had to shift all of our stuff to the spot, about 500m up and down the small cliff and through the small bushes.

We were amazingly overwhelmed by the beauty of the natures that lay in front of our pair of flashy eyes. Beautiful Joshua trees (about few of them) with concretes and flat rock-cement as its feet were our spot for camping. David started to gather the woods for fire and cooking, marielle, Meike, Mario, Wim, Carolina and Erin stored the beers into the big lake and started to dip themselves into the cold lake water while me, still contemplating at the beautiful nature around me.

After the woods were gathered and string had been tight from one tree to the other, David and I started to enjoy the cold water of the lake. We clean ourselves while the rest just chilled. While gathering the dry woods, David and I met up with the Shepard old man with a small playful creature call puppy and though we didn’t speak the similar language, we seems to understand each other through our mimicking and body gestures. The beauty of the nature seems to be the messenger among us.

The day was almost over, ushering the night to be with us. All of us already befriended with the lake water and are letting the atmosphere drying us up. When the sounds of the jungle, and the creepy crawlies talking in their own language and the silence of the dark are being heard, the day were over, dead as the lively night begin.

David and Wim lighted up the fire while the rest of us either did something from nothing or nothing from something.

Omar still never appear at any of our sight so the game of guessing and speculating about whatever happen to Omar started. The questions like did Thalib came and get Omar?, Did Omar still lost in the dark and the million dollar question, who kill Omar? Or maybe Omar set the whole things up, conspire with Nills the big guy (pulled out of the trip at eleventh hour with stomach upset as a excuses) and Bernard the weirdo to kill all of us.

The video started to record the moment of our silence together, the guessing game, the cooking and the spontaneous moves, the wordless script and occasionally us breaking the silences of the night.

After a simple yet delightful dinner of chicken soup with bread and chapati (thanks to Omar for wholeheartedly preparing the meal), we started the drinking session. While we were playing the drinking game, we saw a light signal from the other side, faraway, light signalling us for emergency helps or trying desperately to communicate.

With the increasingly eerie sound of the night, we replied the light signal. The whole light signalling event really reminded us of one of the American teen spooky movie where we predicted one by one of us will be kill by a psycho killer. We though of Omar giving us the signal but it was impossible because he didn’t have anything with him except for a pack of joint (when the bike broke down, everything was in the jeep). We started to scream for Omar at the top of our lungs, hopefully if it was him, he would heard us somehow but at the end of light signalling, it was all in vain. The sound that replied to our screaming was a sound of a tractors.

The landscape came livelier at night. The moon was illuminating the Clearwater of the lake from the above; the leaf of the trees was dancing while the wind blows lazily and the night starting to chill us to the bone.

After the drinking game and a round of guitar strumming, killing and raping all the legendary songs, we decided to call it a night and there it goes, the night died young at us.

We slept on the concrete cement brick, on our backpack, under the trees, accompanied by other living creatures of that place. Sleeping beside me was the beautiful smiley Carolina (on my left) while on my right was Meike. At night I woke up without space and chilled to the bone. Carolina too was chilled, shivering and hide inside her sleeping bag. I extra blanketed her and cuddled her to sleep (also to generate free heat from her to me) and before we knew it, the morning sun hit us with its shining light and I was awake. Yesterday was a history and had been forgotten with today’s unpredictable journey. The new day has come hence the new beginning.

After a simple breakfast (cans of sardines and breads and butter), few chapters of Che Guevara’s motorcycle diaries, naps in between, bathing chillingly at the lake water, I woke up again from my golden nap. Everyone was worried because the jeep driver didn’t come and pick us up and they were late for almost 4 hours. (We were supposed to travel to other end and to the highest peak) but they were late).

At about 4pm (the jeep are suppose to come at 1.30pm), everyone was started to give different opinion of escaping our camping spot. David and Marielle suggested we cross to the other side by the crappy boat and get helps, some suggested we keep waiting but the latter suggestion was risky because the jeep was already late for 3 hours, day was approaching night and darkness was about to fall on us again and we had no food left.

So, we adopted the first suggestion but just when we about to start the plan, the jeep arrived, but with different jeep and different driver, we were shocked and dumbfounded. With that we bade farewell to Panthim and felt thankful for the beautiful landscape rendered to us as our surrounding.

We were picked by the strange guy with the same useless redundant guy as the assistant. When he started to drive us home straight, ignoring all of our original plans of going to other places, small commotion arose without knowing what was the worse happen at home in koregeon park.

The jeep driver didn’t speak English, so the commotion got even worse with more miscommunication. I started to call the runner and fucked him big time on the phone about the whole things. To cut the story short, we were despatched home at around 8pm. What happen was the first jeep cancelled the deal (of driving us there and picking us up) because he felt cheated and the hellish roads had apparently mess up his jeep. Omar on the other hand had safely reached home the night before. He and Nills the big guy almost got into big fight with the runner and his buddies from the travel agency.

They were demanding for more money and we refused because of the fuck up service. The new jeep guy was not at all involved. He was hired by Omar separately to pick us up. We apologised to him for the miscommunication and slight commotion.

Until today as I am typing this, the case has not been settled yet. The agreed settlement had been reached but now the runner (which was fucked big time from me on the phone) didn’t turn up to collect the settlement.

That night, the day before A20 surrender back to her owner, I, and so are the rest was packing up for a new house.

Goodbye A20 and hello Mumbai

After three months of balcony chilling, parties, friends and friendship being made and endless list of event, we finally bade farewell to A20, a heaven for everyone.

A20 is definitely more than a home, enough said. At the ungodly hour of early morning, I took a auto rickshaw to Ambica pump station to board a bus to Mumbai, for my business trip. At the station, I met and chatted briefly with the very beautiful Indian girl and before I could get the name and jog down the contacts, she had to rush up to her bus (also to Mumbai) but 15 minutes earlier than mine. She looks like a girl in the 20 and are leaving Pune for Bollywood stardom. (Most of punites girls leaved their hometown for Bollywood stardom and golden dream)

The Mumbai branch was located in MG road, opposite the British architecture building of Standard Chartered. The whole surrounding of MG road, plus the whole area was very British and for the first time, I fall in love with Mumbai. (The previous two trip was so mess up hence I disliked Mumbai)

Around MG road, I saw a huge field with a small concrete road separated the field into two parts. The concrete walkway serves as an easy access for pedestrian who want to walk to the other side. The field is about 5 times bigger than our Dataran Merdeka. The design and architecture of the buildings looks like our Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad and the railway station which is very British but they were bigger. Kids were playing cricket on every part of the fields, despites the hot weather. University of Mumbai was across the road as well as lots of colleges and educational institutions. This part of city like any other developed city. Everybody seems to be walking fast without a destination.

First day at work was cool. The branch manager we suppose to meet wasn’t made available until 4.30 in the afternoon. So, we were wasting our time of walking and discovering the beautiful yet busy Mumbai. The branch manager turn out to be a very fine man, from the Bollywood list of heroes, a very articulate and precise person, speak a very good English and the look doesn’t match the age and the position. The meeting took about 2.5 hours and we were treated like a external consultant.

At night, we walked about 1km to our company guesthouse (Kasturi building), walking and passing through few colleges, small alleys, roundabout and classy restaurant and café. We saw lots of young Indian dudes, who pretty much explored by the western value; smoking, piercing, speaking English, spiky hair, tattoo and most importantly, the views that pause our attention away from other matters was the young gorgeous chicks. For a moment, I thought we were in the land of Bollywood. (Bandra of Bollywood is similar to that of Beverly Hills of Hollywood, located about an hour drive away from our office, where lots of celebrity resided)

At evening, we went to dinner with one of the engineer from head office; happen to be in Mumbai for some business. His name is Vinog. We went to church gate, a restaurant serving beers and decorated like a British pub but nothing British about it except for maybe the London Pilsner beers. They were playing Indian music, serving Indian foods (and other western food too) and no bar counter and catchy posters, so unlike the British pub I came to know.

The bill was taken care off by Vinog. We walked to the nearby bay. This straight and even road and the buildings along it look exactly like Gurney drive in Penang. But both theirs and us have different good point. Theirs “persiaran” is bigger, longer, curvy, fully lighted by the neon. You can feel the chilly wind and see the mountains of buildings and skyscrapers on the other side of bay, across the sea, which is one of Mumbai beach. Occasionally, I saw a horse-wagon passing by, as one of the city’s public transportation. (This part of city banned the operation of the crooky auto rickshaw).

Persiaran gurney, I would say, smaller, lots hotels and pubs and sidewalk café. Though theirs is consider beautiful, but I think I would very much prefer Penang´s Persiaran Gurney.

In the morning, we woke up at around 9am and immediately switch on the TV. The company guest house is just like any other high class house or a pent house in a 3-4 star hotel. Enough said. We checked in the branch office at 3pm, after cruising the city nearby. (Appointment with client was scheduled at 4pm, until then, we were free)

We went to the library of Mumbai University. The architecture of the building was fantastic and brilliant. Imagine Harvard’s old classic building, and then you will get the whole picture of their library. There was also a clock tower, high up, almost touching the sun. It was quite well known since the British built it before independent. In the history of the India, there was only one person who managed to hit the cricket ball from the huge field I mentioned earlier and hit exactly at the clock tower and this incident was deemed, the impossible event. The cricket player went on the be a national cricket player.

We had lunch at the same restaurant we had night before, church gate. Thomas and I ordered a pitcher of beer and some main dishes.

At 3pm, together with the branch manager, we drove from MG road to the client office, located about 30km away. We drove through the longest expressway in India and through many exciting moments of that day.

Everything was over and we reached home at around 6pm and by 6.30pm, our asses were rested on the guest house’s couch watching “The American chopper”, about a dad and two kids using wasted metals to build a giant Harley Davidson, while being serve by Paul the caretaker, a hot coffee. After the show, we were hook until 8pm with MadTv classic jokes. It was really funny. You will know what I means if you ever read MAD magazine.

We left our guest house at around 8.15pm and tipped Paul about 50 rupees for his excellent service. We reached Central Mumbai railway station and after a dinner at McDonald and 90 minutes of waiting in the upper class waiting room, we boarded a train, a vadodara express to Baroda. The night train took approximately 7 hours to reach Baroda, our next branch visit. We were at baroda train station at around 6.15 am and the small town was already pumping out for business. While waiting to be pick up by Pradeep, the branch manager, I came across this beautiful “unpolluted” Indian girl who looks like Salma Hayek (Frida, Fool rush in) but in traditional Indian costume. Her big boost and tight ass really “motivated” my little brother and hence the little devil woke up, so wide like never before.

Pradeep came shortly after and he drove us the the company guest house. The guest house and the operational office is one entity. It is a bungalow with upstairs as a guest house and downstairs as a office. In short, SOHO concept. (Small Office Home Office)

The Salma Hayek look-alike still mingling in my mind and eventually lead to a wild imagination of sexual thrashes of Rock n´Roll. Little Johnny couldn’t stand anymore. With no sex around to serve my sexual lust and passion, I did what man does best, masturbation.

Yes, no shame to confess about it. When man is helpless, we go back to the basic, to the core, essence of the essence, the thing we do before sex invasion, masturbation. Young people these days tend to shy away about masturbation act. They thought it is something taboo or something shameful to confess. For me, confess or no confess, man are born to masturbate, to relieve their sexual need and desire when there is no sex around, nothing “loser” about it. Even Paul Stanley, the lead vocalist of KISS, who in his life time had fucked more than one thousand girls but still confess of his sometime masturbation act.

Badora is a small city. And to work in SOHO, high discipline are highly required. We started our meeting with Pradeep, Mary the secretary, and two senior sales engineers for about 2 hours. After the meeting, the working day was consider practically over, not including 2 of 15 minutes appointment with a clients that day, DNL and Siemens.

The first client we visited was about 25 km away. The area where DNL located is a industrial area. On the back from the appointment, the tyre of our car burst and punctured. So, we stop by at one small shop, in the middle of nowhere, to patch up the tube. What around us was just a small village, dusty and smoky roads ahead of us where the dust seems to fly around, fiercely and fearing of the hot sun. While the mechanic patching the tube. I walked around, feeling the atmosphere of the village life, snapping some exciting photos. Kids were playing gasing and there was this particular kid was intimating some superheroes by putting a plastic bag onto his head. He reminds me of me when I was a kid. I showed some of the skills in playing gasing but too bad, the skills were long time gone before I even realize it.

I can still remember when we used to draw a circle on the ground and each of the kids put about 10 to 50 cent and whoever who managed to hit the coins outs, wins the coins and I was quite good at it. Another gasing game was spinning our gasing in the circle, and the player tried hard to crush opponent’s gasing by hitting hard on it. Others was half spinning it and pull it out high up in the air and let it spin on our hand, “mouse catching”, “V-spinning on the hand” and so forth.

Another event that fateful day that reminds me of my childhood was when I accidentally step on cow’s shit.

In the village, I saw a very beautiful and cute; 2 years old Caucasian kid was helping her mum washing the dishes. I wander who is the irresponsible Caucasian dad…(or maybe the dad was around somewhere, winning the bread but highly unlikely)

We went to a nearby Chinese restaurant and had a great lunch. My appetite was served. The bill again, was taken care off. The town where our office located was quite dead. At around 8 something, the whole town almost went to sleep already. It was hard to get a dinner with meats (non-veg) and all alcoholic drink is banned in this part of India. So, we went to InOX cinema where there is one McDonald and we ate sinfully, chewing the meats down out throat and to our stomach.

At night nothing much to do, no good places to sight seeing, no happening places except for cinema who shows only Hindi movies. I spent most of my evening surfing the net, chatting, checking and rechecking emails, reading good articles at Malaysiakini etc. And since the phone is just nearby me, I called some of my friends faraway. I called Gesine in New Delhi and chatted for about 25 minutes.

I retired to the bedroom at around 1135pm, but not yet. Thomas was smoking in the room, drinking mineral water and HBO was showing “Back to the future”.

After Michael J Fox successfully saved his family from nonexistent, I retired to my bed and my soul fly away into the cosmic world. I died that night and born again day after.

Nothing productive had been done until 4.30pm except for surfing the net, telephone calling, watching TV and listening to XPDC, Crossfire, May and other Malay bands in the room, breakfast and lunch and lots of naps.

OK, I am about to finish this crap. White Lion’s “When the children cry” is playing in the air and I need a cup of tea and a cigarette. BREAK.

Though my break is not officially over yet, but I feel the urge to get on typing since my favourite song in rocking in the air, Motley Crue´s “Time for change”. Those were the days when Vince Neils, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx drive me crazy.

That night, we left Baroda and back to Mumbai, another 7 hours train ride. We reached Mumbai (Dadar station) at around 5.30am and managed to detrain in the nick of time. (The train moved immediately after we detrain)

We reached Pune by hopping up a private car. Rod Steward, Sting and Bryan Adam’s´”All for love” is in the air now.

We checked in our new apartment. It was quite a big apartment, located side by side my chairman’s classy pent house. The apartment name is Mit olympus. It had 2 balconies, 3 bedrooms (all bed rooms have a balcony and attached bathroom) and a spacious living room. Forgetting about A20, I am starting to like this new apartment after a day in this house. Despite the hot weather, this apartment is very cosy and quite chill in the morning (and afternoon too). My first pet friend was a brown colour dog, named Bobby, in remembrance of my crazy cat, Bobby.

That morning, we skipped office, and we met up with Wim the Dutch guy to bade farewell to him. Wim is going back to India that day. We had a breakfast at Prem, a mid-range, very cosy half open air restaurant nearby our new apartment. By the way, our new apartment is just 5 minutes from A20.

Wim passed me lots of CDs which I required him to burn from his rich music library namely, Eric Clapton and U2´s full records (12-15 albums each), Shrek OST, John Mayer, Buena Vista, Cd, MP3 of famous Dutch music and the most controvesial movie that caused the clash of Muslim-Christians relationship in Netherlands recently that resulted in the killing of the director, Theo van Gogh and burning of mosque and churches. The short movie is “Submission”.

And again, we bade farewell to Wim, a very cool guy. I mentioned lots of name here and most probably the names will confuse you, when I am back, I will show you lots of movie (thanks to David) about our happening parties, everyday life, activities and the faces of Pune trainees as well as visiting trainees from all around India.

That night, Anna (from Greece)´s mum cooked us a Greek dinner. The first trip Delhi was celebrated with Omar’s mum with French/Egyptian meals and now the second, the Greek dinner. I would still wanna call it a coincidence, rather than a welcoming back celebration.

She speaks no English but she is a very good mum. She treated all of us like her own kids. That night, all known faces and some unknown faces were there to enjoy Greek´s delicacies. Some of the meals were Greek coffee, Greek’s liquor (oozuk), potato/tomato stuff with marinated rice, great pasta and spaghetti with special chicken gravy, pot of chicken and few bottles of wines and beers. Not only cooking, she cleaned our new apartment whole day. What a mum…

We were watching movie from Valentine party and panthim dam weekend trip. Lots of the clips featuring me (and girls), me talking craps, me smoking, me swearing, I couldn’t recall most of them or maybe I didn’t realize them. Like I said, it was a great party.

Tonight, I will be going out with Erin, the girl from United States (one of the very rare democrat supporter in the state of Louisiana) either to a jazz pub or hanging out at my place, with lots of beers. Most of my housemates are now gone. Marielle and Nills and Mario from C1 is already in Mumbai, to meet some trainees from baroda, Thomas is occupied, Omar is hanging out in Goa (his third time) with his mum.

About Erin, she is a very smart and knowledgeable girl. Pinky size and like to smoke and drink in the party, stuff she rarely do back home. The award winning movie “Dead Man walking” was shot 10 minutes away from her house. The other award winning movie was also being shot there, “Monster Ball”. She had see them in person, Billy Bob, Helle Berry, Heath ledger etc.

So, lots of farewell to everything and to every ones.

OK, I think I am going nowhere and this time; this journal is taking up too much of my time, my tea, my cigarette and my everything. So I better stop here. (The last song before I signed off is Lynard Skynard´s “sweet home Alabama”)

God bless!

Love and regards,


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Journey to the North India [part 2]

Day 7

Last day of working in Delhi. We woke up around 10 a.m. and picked up by one of the sales guy (also one of the dead drunk night before) to three-scheduled appointment.

The first place was about 20km away from Sunset mart, where our guesthouse is located. The place is Nehru place, one of the business commercial hub in New Delhi.

To cut the story short, we done all the three appointments by 4 pm, all of them are big time company and the person we met are from the senior management level.

I was rushing and searching around Connought place to buy a ticket for my next travelling trip. Somehow someway, I managed to get the ticket. That night, I left the company guest house to be with Gesine, my favourite girl with so much of simplicity of living her life and in appearance and yet, rich in values, principal, attitudes and most importantly, one of the gorgeous girl I met in India. She is so unlike most Germans you will come to meet. And she is definitely not your drama queen girl. She is the only girl I see who live a life changing experience, live life like a Indian, going to the wet market, taking local run-down bus everywhere, will not unnecessary spent her converted Euro money like most trainees do. And she travelling like crazy.

Being a simple girl she always is, we ate our supper at one of the dirty corner street. We ordered a freshly and still hot Dal gravy and few pieces of chapati before we boarded the bus.

Together, we went travelling to upper North India, further up from New Delhi. The place is Dehra Dun, about 700 km from New Delhi. We boarded a night bus and we reached Dehra Dun at around 7 am and needless to say, it was even much colder than Delhi. (The northern you go, the coldest it become).

We bump into this girl from Russia at the Dehra Dun station. She was travelling alone. Gosh…how the hell can this kind of drama queen, clumsy girl travelling alone?. She sticked with us because she didn’t know where to go and was so indecisive. With one big backpack and one huge bag, she came with us on the rickshaw to the bus terminal. (The cheapest rickshaw ride in India I even hop on, about 1km for only Rs 5.)

From the bus terminal, we took a run down bus up to hill station in Mussouri. About this clumsy girl, she reluctantly left us halfway when she suddenly freaking out of the direction our bus took. Thankful that we didn’t meet this girl again.

The hill station of Mussoorie is perched high above the town of Dehra Dun. We took a bus all the way up the hill station. It was about 40 km height. This hill is well known for summer retreat for Delhi residents. When at the top, everything was so cool and serene. It was snow days before. So we saw lots of snowy mountains, flowing down the hill, the greens and the rocks. It was breezing and the windy. The weather was about 5 degree. Being the small person, from a warm tropical country call Malaysia, 5 degree is consider cold for me, not to mention its occasional swinging degree to even lower than 5 degree. And being the person from a small area called Ayer Itam, the snows were my first time. It was my first time touching and shaping the snowball. Never thought of India could be so cold, what more about snowing. And now, I am seeing and touching the snows in India. It is fucking amazing. Lots of new stuff I discover everyday.

For a moment, we felt completely flying at the top, lost in space with nothing below us. We walk about 5 km around the camel back road, passes through lots of trees and a rock formation that looks like camel- hence the name.

At the top of the hill station, there is this hill call the Gun Hill, which is the highest of the highest. We walked up (instead of taking the cable car) to the peak of gun hill, and experiencing with our sight seeing of romantic portraits against a backdrop of Himalayan peaks.

At that moment, everything is super-fantastic, beautiful, full of happy people and couple hanging around and wandering at the serenity of the natures.

After Mussoorie hill station, Gesine and I decided to precede our unforgetful journey to the city of Rishikesh, about 40km from Mussoorie. We took a local bus to Rishkesh and the bus ride took us about one hour.

Rishikesh, the Yoga capital of the world, setting on the banks of the Ganges river (the holy river), surrounded by hills on three side is perfectly for meditation. The Ganges river is completely clear here and in the evening, the winds blows down the valley, setting the temple bells ringing and adding to the contemplative atmosphere.

There is two side of Rishikesh, which a very long bridge connects two of this side across the Ganges river. The river is being used as a passing route between this two side by the two wheelers and the walkers. You can see the fishes swimming in the Ganges River from the bridge.

We immediately checked in at Moon hotel. A very nice room with attached bathroom. After some washing up and changing, we went to a nearby restaurant for a very clam and relaxing dinner. The restaurant name is Hard Rock Café. Instead of Rocks music, they were playing some meditation instrumental songs and there was only one female traveller in the rooftop restaurant, a very beautiful girl from Germany, but working in England. We ordered lots of meals namely the Greek salad, Mexican chowmein, veg. Chuppa and hot mint tea. While waiting for dinner to be served, I decided to change the sound of the instrumental meditating music to my own CD collections of Sting, Buena Vista and Tracy Chapman. I guess the songs help increased the diners since after I played my music; lots of diners suddenly just appeared from nowhere.

After our long and enjoyable dinner, we went to another café, Ananda restaurant to have a sweet Lassi, and also to heat up our body. Then we proceeded to a moment of togetherness (we were always together anyway) by walking alongside the Ganges river.

That night, after a very long day, we went to bed quite early and we woke up fresh day after.

Day 8

We had a breakfast at the nearby German bakery. Perched above the bridge in Lakshman Jhula, it has great views over the 13-storeyed temples. I ordered a cinnamon roll and apple strudels and a cup of mint tea for a breakfast.

As we were walking along the bazaar, we came to tried the sugar cane juice, squeezed with mint leaf and lemon and the result of this mixture, was fucking great.

From the town of Rishikesh, we proceeded to Haridwar, located at the point where the ganges emerges from the Himalaya. Haridwar is one of Hinduism´s most sacred cities in India.

From the station, we took a cycle a rickshaw to hai-ki-pairi (the footstep of God), which is suppose to be the precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enter the plains. The locals here couldn’t figure out how could one white girl be together with one Chinese or Japanese guy (me), so most of them keep on assuming that we were husband and wife. Then Gesine and I decided to play along as a lovely husband and wife honeymooning in Haridwar. Save all the explanation.

We waited until evening at sunset, and the priest were performing “ganga aarti” (The river worship ceremony), where floating lights are set on the water to drift downstream. I managed to bottle up the Ganges water before I left the place. I also brought some old coins, also can be consider historical artifacts from coin traders from the street. Among the old coins was a 20 grams coin from Mughal empire, an empire that built The Taj Mahal, few pieces of EIC coins (East India Company), Pakistan coin dated 1616, India coins dated 1944 etc.

After the river ceremony, the husband and wife went to a local restaurant and ordered a cheap Thali and few pieces of naan. Our train back to Delhi are suppose to entrain at 11.45 pm but sad to say, we were practically done with this town and the town was practically going dead around 8 something.

We waited at the waiting room and that´s when I introduced a Malay songs to her like Wings greatest hits namely Semalam yang hangat, Suara Kita, Sejati, Biru mata hitamku etc, KRU´s Janji tinggal janji, malam kita, negatif etc, Lefthanded, Sweet Charity, Junction as well as our local English band like John Mistress and Amir Yussof. To her surprise, she was quite shocked by the way our language goes. She was somehow expecting it to be sound something like the Chinese, or the Japanese or the Korean, something king, kong, ting, tong, ma, nien, san, lian etc etc. To her, our Malay language likes the mixture of French and Portuguese (at least to her understanding)

She like it immediately and ripped it when we reached her home. With me, Wings, Search, Amir Yussof and the rest are widely spread among the Germans, the Dutch and others.

The night train to Delhi took about 8 hours and we reached Delhi at about 7.30 a.m. and it took us another 2 public buses and about a 90 minutes to reached her house in southern Delhi.

I was so tired and drain out almost completely that I slept the whole afternoon after Gesine and I had a breakfast. She cooked a tasty tomato soup and simple boiled eggs with toaster bread.

My heart already missing her already now that the second half of this journal is mostly about me and her. Actually the reason why we abandoned our original trip to Jaipur, Rajasthan was because initially we wanted to visit Gokce the Turkish girl but luck was not with us, or rather was not with me because Gokce already went back to Istanbul few days before my visit to Delhi. She told me she is coming back somewhere in February to travel India but somehow I doubted it.

In the evening, after burning some photos and Mtv into CD, Raveesh, the Fashan look-alike cooked us a very simple yet delicious dinner. Raveesh, a guy, from a small village in Rajasthan, where daily power cut, disruption in water supply, pre-arranged married and stuff are widely practise are norm of life to him or to the society around him. He is a small village guy, a very nice guy indeed, at least through the short span of time knowing him somehow managed to left town to university and pursuing a higher degree in IT and now he is a software engineer with TCS, India’s biggest IT company. But like they said, you can take a kids out of the town but you can never take the town out of the kids, Raveesh with still clear value of his yesteryears, cooked us a dinner, a simple dinner with Paneer rice, eat with sauces and pickles. Raveesh, Gesine and I were all seating on the floor and eating with hands.

This kind of dinner kind of remind me of those day when we were really poor, back to the day of 46-D, Ayer Itam. My dad was a teacher and this noble profession never paid sufficiently. My mum back then was a full time housewife and a freelance tailor and when she have time, she will play mahjong in the neighbourhood. Our dinner usually very simple. My mum would cooked us a simple plain rice, some soup without meats, only vegetable and all the kids would seat together and eat the meal of our life. I remembered one time when through my elder sister’s creativity, with only one package of Maggi noodle, she cooked that portion of noodle and all siblings shared the meals. It was not a fancy meal, it was never a fancy meal, but somehow despite the rough neighbourhood, the kids grown up healthily. Whenever I look back at yesteryears, I never forget those happy days, those values gained through the upbringing. I will never forget those crazy kids from around neighbourhood, running and playing police and thief, blind searcher, kali-toi, pai kha poh, fighting, life struggling, cheap meals, peeping my friend’s parent making wild love at our tender age (together with their son), shoplifting, play in the wood and down the wild river etc. All of this experiences somehow shaped the values of life along the way. Like Raveesh, you can take a kid out of Penang but you can never take Penang out from the kid. You got me?

Speaking from the experience, this is the best time of life. I mean, c´mon, we only live ones and being a kids is only ones, never twice. So, let’s the kids go around and discover and experience everything for themselves, don’t restrict them. Eventhough sometime things might harm them, so let be it, that’s part and process of growing up, you cannot stop it. Only when you try to stop it, you will start to harm your kids. Look at all of my friends, regardless whether my childhood friend or high school friends, those where the parents are illiterate and selling foods, those who live around by gangster and crooks, corrupted places, gambling houses, those who live without set of disciplinary rules but somehow managed to grown to be a successful working class man, graduated from the top university, with professional degree. On the other end, I had seen those friends, who was tightly guarded by the parents, forced to study and excel at their tender age, often breakdown at their later age. Why? This is because this poor kids never taste freedom, never have a trust from the parent when growing up, so when they finally a youth and have the freedom to live the life of rebel or doing bad things (which often good and which they deprived when growing up) the bad things became something they like, something to dwell on because it is cool instead of something worth experiencing through your growing up. Lots of my friends ended up a crook, useless and small time crook and wasting lots of family assets.

I thankful to have a liberal parents, believe in freedom and freewill. Eventhough at time, they might seems inadequate and often not around, especially my dad but now I see his way of bringing his children up. He is the kind of dad that never instil any kind of forces into the kids. He will share with us the opinion and let us decide. I remember when he caught me smoking, he came to me calmly and told me about the negativity of smoking and that he can’t stop me (I would smoke anyway if I want to) and leave it up for me to decide.

When he found out I was starting to consume alcoholic drinks, he would come to me and say “Don’t drink and drive”, just have fun!!

When He found out I had a girlfriend at the age of 14, he would remind me of playing safe, indirectly.

When he was informed by our school headmaster that me and few buddies were caught attending a private party, where we were involved in a gang fight and drugs, he would told the headmaster to relax, that these are just youth experiencing life, that we will give up all this and would eventually come to know the negativities when they reach the right age.

I respected the facts that he knows he couldn’t undo things even though it was harmful one (Eventhough he could if he want), the facts that punishment and forces could only do more harm than good to the kids.

I could ramble on and on but although my old man was never consider a model dad, but I think he had his own special way. Speaking of the old devil, now he is 64 and are enjoying quality time with his grand daughter.

I feel good to have a parents that belong to the revolutionary 60s.

Back to the night with Gesine. We went to Nehru place, to a Delhi trainees party. It was a wild party where almost everybody was drunk, throwing out and rooms and bathrooms were locked, for a obvious reasons. Lots of Polish, lots of Germans and Canadians. Funny things were I met this two French guy, who looks like those ass holes from the movie, Trainsporting. They were youthful and funny and knowledgeable but I was shocked when they suddenly talking about their wives and kids. There was also Anna from Brazil, son of African ambassador to India, spoilt brats, rich kids, some assholes aiesecers or at least they looks like one and one nerdy Hongkie girl.

Day 9

Sometime in life you will come to a point when you have to make a important decision, with utmost rationality. Gesine went to Sting concert; live in New Delhi while I stayed in the house. Though I had enough money but I came to my rationality, state of mind where I figured the opportunity cost of going to Sting concert (even though it might be one in a life time opportunity) will be high. Anyway, it was a pain decision for me to made for didn’t attend the great concert.

Raveesh and I cooked a dinner after brought a chicken, fishes, vegetables and all the stuff required. I cooked a fried marinated slices of chicken meats with half fried eggs, and a big portion of chicken soup while Raveesh cooked the fishes, fried, gravy, marinated and Indian rice.

Day 10

It is always hard to say goodbye especially to a person you adore and admire so much. I can feel the sadness and melancholy feeling in the air already when Gesine came back from the Sting concert, wet (It was raining crazy, rain symbolize the end of winter). I was so melancholy that I threw myself around her the moment I saw in the doorstep.

We went to Nizamudin train station where I am suppose to entrain to Mumbai. We reached there 4 hours before the scheduled time. We spent quality and final time together during that short span of 4 hours together, without knowing that it pass us so fast. I invited her to a proper lunch at Comesem. She ordered a chicken momos, a Tibetan food while me, huh…a chicken fried rice and veg. Kebab. She later invited me to a cold creamy coffee and vice versa. We were talking so much about love life friendship relationship travelling family sex and everything else under the sun while the time on the clock tower was ticking faster than usual.

And without realising it, it was already 4.15 p.m. and I need to board the train already. After claiming my luggage and sleeping bag from the cloak room, we hung until the last moment before the train left Nizamuddin. I remember I was down sad the first time I said goodbye to her, and that was two month ago but for the second time, I wouldn’t it was sad. I would say it was kind of melancholy because somehow I was convinced what the alchemist had said, that whatever that happen for the first time, will not happen for a second time BUT whatever that happen for a second time, will surely happen for a third time. With that thought in mind, deep inside me, I know I will somehow see her again in the near future. Everything is unpredictable, my Delhi trip was unexpected so I will leave it the way it is. And when I see her I hope things will be somewhat different. Travelling with her alone was great and unforgetful and definitely a memory to treasure and cherish. She is a great girl, a great companion and this is a confession of a dangerous mind. The end is the beginning is the end is the beginning …..

So we hugged and kisses goodbye, one of the hardest goodbye. At least I was smiling all the way to the train.
That’s all dude, the travelling journal, perhaps a boring one and lots of bullshit to endure (16 ages long). Another 17 hours in the express train. Throughout the train journey, I finished up the rest of Jim Morrison and 3 quarter of John Grisham´s latest, The BROKER.

Jim Morrison is truly one of the legend I ever came to know. He live short but never in vain. Thought he might a ghost somewhere, but he left the world a great lesson to learn from. His death in 1971 in Paris marked the end of Rock music and the end of the revolutionary era of 60s. His death was the last of the sequence of rock star extinction that had begun with Brian Jones (guitarist and founder of the Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. His death had made way to the then younger and talented musician to stardom like Aerosmith, Bob Marley, Trex, David Bowie and Bruce Springteen. And by 1975, the rock movement that Jim Morrison helped invented grown into multi billion-dollar recording, touring, and merchandising industry that was nominated by the Led Zeppelin until the end of 70s.

His written poems had finally been recognize by the academia institution as a higher degree of poems and are now is being taught at the reputable university like Duke University, Yale and Stanford university. Jim for sure, was not only a legendary rockstar. He was more than a rock star, he was also a knowledgeable and intellectual person, a poet and a rebel that created the scenery of the 60s.
His former classmate at filmmaking faculty in UCLA, Francis Ford Coppola had made the award winning movie, Apocalypse Now! After being inspired by Jim Morrison. In 1994, Jim was being enrolled into Rock n´Roll hall of fame.
As a closure to this travelling journal, I would like to dedicate this, in remembrance to the great Jim Morrison, which his bio had inspired me to write some of my yesteryears memories into this journal. I would like to include an excerpt of his greatest artistic work in his lifetime, the celebration of the lizard, which was read by his girlfriend/wife at his funeral, Pamela Morrison:

Now night arrives with her purple region
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready

-Jim Morrison- (1943-1971)
(True to his own spirit)(A man that never sold out himself for whatever)

You may never understand this, You will need to understand the evolution of Jim Morrison to understand the celebration of the Lizard.

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again
And thou be conscious-calmed-see here it is
I hold it toward you-

Loves and regards

Journey to the North India [part 1]

9th February 2005

At the end of each travelling trip or at the end of every weekend spent in India, I will always spend some quality time in my living room or in the kitchen or sometime in the office, reflecting on what I had done for the past seven days. I will try to pun it into words hence this journal on practically everything, on the person I befriended, on the happening event, on my train of thought, on my feeling, on the book I read or the music I listen to, at that exact moment. Usually, the must things that will accompany me through this personal moment will be hot tea or a cold beer, cigarette and good music. Right now, I am writing it with Tracy Chapman´s songs, a cold beer and about to light a unfiltered cigarette.

On this journal, I will write about my unforgetful travelling journey to the North India, on the beautiful places I visited namely Agra, New Delhi, mathuran, Vrinduran, Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar. As usual, I will start it from day zero.

Day 0

It was 25th February and Omar, Kamal, Thomas and I were invited by our boss for a dinner and round of alcoholic drink in his classy condo. Needless to say, the dinner was great. It started after few round of whisky and beers. I started it fast and just before the dinner begin, I was so afraid that I might embarrassed myself by getting drunk and talking nonsense that I started to cool it down a little. We were talking about everything under the sun, about the economics, the politics, religion, the thought etc but none about working. We left at about ten something.

Kamal is a visited friend of Omar, from the land of pyramid. This Kamal guy was a result of British Egyptian parentage. Trust me when I say he looks 99% like the great Russell Crowe. Not only he looks like him, but the way he talks, the way he moves, his English accent and everything else are also the same. And this is the opinion of every trainees, not just only me.

Anyway, after we left our boss, Thomas left to be reunited with his Iranian girlfriend while Omar, Kamal, DJ Sharifi and I went to this place, about 5 minutes motor biking away from our residential area where various kind of drugs are being sold, openly. It was my first time of visiting such places. All kind of drugs namely, the hash, the weed, the pill, the ecstasies, cocaine, crack cocaine were being trade off openly, on the street and with few policeman around. It was crazy to see India in such a way. But I was being told, the operation time for this pusher are limited and tightly controlled by the local police. It makes me ponder, what´s the different Amsterdam and Pune since both are selling drugs openly.

We left the place with 4 packages of weeds and a very long hash. Back in A20, the night was chilled away like every other day.

Day 1

Thomas and I woke up as early as six in the morning, to see the street as dead as dead fish and the weather was very cold. Our bus left Pune around 7.00 in the morning and was suppose to reach Mumbai around 10 something. Our train were scheduled to leave Mumbai to New Delhi exactly at 11.45 a.m.

The bus took us for a ride and when it finally reached Mumbai, there was this old lady in the bus was directing the bus driver in Hindi to drop her at somewhere out of destination and to our surprise; the bus driver stupidly followed her direction. What a nimrod. We already late because of the detour destination the bus driver took and now just when we thought everything will be OK, we bump into such a idiotic driver and a old lady. We may as well forget about the long anticipated trip to the North if we miss the train but luckily the bus managed to reach Mumbai bus terminal 10 minutes before the departure time. From the bus terminal, we were supposed to go to Bandar train station to entrain, which will take us around 20 minutes by cab. The crook cab driver already came up with a plan to drive us around (so he can earn more rupees per km). We already knew about all the tactic so we told the cab driver frankly and straight to the face, “Look, we are late and we don’t want any cheating. We need to get to Bandar train station in 5 minutes to entrain to Delhi. We will pay you a lot if you can make it in five minutes hence no driving around”. To cut the story short, the cab driver managed to reach the train station, driving through the rush hour of Mumbai, through all the small roads and we paid him for about RM 20, for just less then one km. The train left exactly at 11.45 am and we were relieved that we were on a journey to what must have been a unforgetful trip to the North.

The morale of the story is, never trust the Indian! Never give them even the benefit of the doubt and if you did, you will be the one that end in doubt. It is in the culture. If you ask them how long will it takes to walk from A to B and if the answer is 10 minutes, then you add another ten. If you ask them how long will they take to prepare a meal and if the answer is 20 minutes, then add another 15 minutes. And you ask them how many km from A to B and if the answer is 50 km then you add another 20km. I hope you got me. This is what exactly happens to us in every things, time, date, timeline, km and etc. Enough said.

The train was a upper class train. It was a AC 2 and everything was great. It was complete with bed, pillow, blanket and everything else you need for a comfortable 24 hours journey to Delhi. Thomas got the upper part while I chose the below part, with window. With lots of time to spare, I started my journey with a mission to finish my Jim Morrison´s biography and so I did. The CDs that accompanied me through the journey and through the reading was Jimi Hendrix´s “The axis outtakes”, Tracy Chapman, Eric Clapton´s “Chronicles” & “Blues”, X-Japan´s “Ballads”, Guns n´Roses, Buena Vista Social Club, Wings, KRU, Kompilasi lagu Melayu Rocks, John Mistress, Amir Yussof´s “Aquarius” and a few more records.

So, the 24 hours bluesy train journey was with Jim Morrison´s legendary life and nap in between. There was this guy with lots of beard, like Osama and his family members. Some of the passengers did come up to him and showed him kind respect like he is kind of a religious priest.

Anyway, in 1968, Jim Morrison was at his peak, attracting more and more enemies than friends, that would like to see him disappear off from the face of the earth or being put in the silence including the CIA, the FBI, the secret service and the Nixon administration. The same people who were harassing John Lennon at that time for his staunch anti-war or to be exact anti-Vietnam war (Make love, Not war protest). Jim Morrison shared the same opinion too hence the threat. And for the record, the whole court lawsuit against Jim Morrison about his on-stage sexual misconduct was all political conspiracy which prompted him or left him no choice but to live in exile in Paris, France which later in his life, was found death in the hotel in Paris. (In the revolutionary era of the 70s, France didn’t have a good diplomatic relationship with the United States.)

At night, it was a perfect moment, perfect time when Guns n´Roses´s “Night train” was played. I was still reading about Jim Morrison. At about midnight, I decided to put down Jim Morrison and to retired into sweet dream. I was awoken in the middle of the night by the beard guy, who snored like a camel. To cut the story short, I woke up at seven something and the train reached the Old Delhi train station at 10 a.m.

The moment was finally arrived, to met with the most gorgeous girl I had been anticipated to meet up with, Gesine the Gytneth Patrow look-alike, the girl I admire and adore so much that she left me hanging when she went back to Delhi.

After exchanging hugs and kissing on cheek, we wasted no more time by sight seeing New Delhi.

New Delhi is India’s capital, is a political and business hub as well as the country’s major getaway. The city is like any other big and develop city, spacious and well planned with 5-6 lanes roads, expressway, modern transportation, first class infrastructure, lots of modern architecture skyscraper building and also a centre of governance and administration.

The first place we visited was Jama mosque or also known as Masjid jama, in Old Delhi, the biggest mosque in India. Just for the record, 20% of India population is made up by the Muslims which statistically about 200 million approximately. This figure made India the second largest country with Muslim population, more than any Arab nation or Pakistan or Turkey. The first being Indonesia.

Masjid Jama has three great gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m high and is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. Its courtyard can hold up to 25000 people hence the largest mosque.

The area was a busy streets, packed with street traders, lots of people, markets, restaurants, stores, craftsman.

Opposite Masjid Jama is the infamous Red Fort which was the second places we visited in Old Delhi. Red Fort or its sandstone walls extend for 2 km and vary in height from 18m on the river side to 33m on the city side. We were appalled by how the ancient people could built something huge like the Red Fort. It was really huge inside.

After these two places, we stopped at one of the Muslim restaurant, order mutton briyani rice, butter naan and a bottle of mineral water. The whole day, we were walking quite lots and in the afternoon, around 4pm, we stopped at this very classy restaurant and I ordered a cup of coffee to soothe up my inside. It was equipped with a beautiful garden, few benches and lots of green.

Finally, we decided to call it a day and we took a public bus back to Gesine´s house, which was in Gurgoen, southern Delhi, about 90 minutes away from the main city. We reached Gurgoen at about 7pm and we hung out at India´s most famous coffee-house café, Coffeeday. As a boring man with not much to choose from the menu, I ordered the usual Arabian Height. In CoffeeDay, they have this MTV jukebox that contains lots of songs from all kind of genres namely pop, rocks, blues, jazz, oldies etc. I tried to dedicate Aerosmith´s “crazy” to Gesine but was in vain somehow because of the machine.

The night weather in Delhi was so much colder than in Pune. It was started to get below 10 degree. We walked for about half an hour more to Gesine´s house.
We met up with Gesine´s friend, Raveesh who work for TCS (TATA Consultancy Services). This Raveesh guy, look and talk like Fashan. Fashan my friend, I know you never read my crap but if you do, I just wanna let you know that this Raveesh looks like your clone.

Together we went to a nearby Punjabi restaurant for a very nice and hot and spicy dinner (against the cold weather). I ordered Roasted chicken and Aghani chicken and needless to say, it was fantastic.

The night was completed with a bottle of Rum and whiskey.

Day 2

Gesine´s house was really cool. The house have one small balcony and two roofless balcony, on top of each other (a double story roofless balcony).

We woke up around 8 a.m. We had milk, chocolate bars from Germany, toasted bread with butter, marmalade and fried eggs for a breakfast.

Then the beautiful morning, blessed with morning breeze and sunshine prompted me to do what I do best, writing a script for my travelling journey while listening to Tracy Chapman´s “Fast car”.

Day 2 was Friday and Thomas and I parted with Gesine, to proceed our travelling journey to Agra and she went with her group of friends (Delhi trainees) to Panna National park, about 15 hours train ride from Delhi. So, Thomas and I went to the bus terminal to board a bus to Agra but somehow ended up in a completely wrong place. The bus ride took us about 40 minutes to realize we we heading to a wrong place. We were completely clueless about the route and all that stuff. Somehow someway, being the survival and traveller like we always are, we managed to reached a Nizamudin train station instead. So, we decided to board a train to Agra instead. While on the bus to the wrong bus terminal, the government bus which quite a run-down, there were this guy, together with kids and friends were shifting house through the run down bus. Imagine the whole bus was full with his old stuff like bags, metals, fans and all that household stuff. It was a crazy bus ride.

Thomas and I managed to visit two of the famous place in New Delhi before boarding the train to Agra which is the India gate and the parliament. The former is a big arch, contain thousand of names of Indian heroes that died during the world war 2, located just opposite the parliament and are situated along way the big and long road. The latter is the parliament itself, the Putrajaya of Malaysia but I think two times bigger and the road leads to the parliament is 5 times longer than the one leading to the building of our Ministry of Prime Minister department. It took us about 35 minutes to walk from one end to the other end.

We entrained from Nizamudin railway station after deposited our luggage onto the railways cloak room at 8.30 p.m. and reached Agra at around 1.30 a.m. and the weather, as expected was at the coldest, in between 5 to ten degree. We were dumbfounded and surrounded the bunch of crook, bloodsucker, tongue-twisting motherfucker auto-rickshaw driver. Also known as the ugliest bloody slasher in India. Think you can find only one or two honest one in a hundred.

Reaching the crookiest town of Agra in the middle of the dead night, surrounded by all the slasher can consider dangerous for your pocket. Different crook would tell you different hotels (often a bad one simply because they want to earn a commission) and the rate to get there is a blood-sucking rate. Lucky for us, we were having the most important survival kit for traveller, the Lonely Planet (LP), also known as the travellers bible. From LP, we decided to check in to Kamal hotel, somewhere very near to the Taj Mahal. And Kamal hotel turn out to be a very good one, a recommended one, no regret.

Kamal hotel didn’t have budget room and since we didn’t want to travel around town to in search for others, we decided to check in the relatively expensive room, fully equipped with tv and 50 cable channels like CNN, MTV, Channel V, Star World, Z movies channel etc, giant size beds, chairs, attached bathroom etc for about 450 rupees.

We jumped onto the big bed and outstretched all part of our bodies like a cat while CNN Conect was showing a live debate about the relevance of the Arab world in Islam and world economic, politics and the Iraqi issues. The invited guest to the program were crown prince of Bahrain, Sec-Gen of the Arab world, the Vice President of Israel, NDP of Egypt and Jordanian foreign minister.

Day 3

We woke up to see the thick breeze and experiencing one of the coldest weather in Agra. The winter season was still continue. Thomas and I went to the roofless restaurant, The stuffmakers restaurant (also recommended by LP). It was really a great place with a direct clear view on the Taj Mahal. I ordered a plate of half boiled eggs, omelette, chocolate milk and banana lassi for a breakfast. After breakfast, we changed room to the budget room which is also very good for money.

At that moment, I was still watching, not believing that I was that close to the Taj Mahal, one of the wander of the world. I still recalled those days when I was studying it in the history books, how it was built, and the cost and price of building it and all that stuff and now I was about a few miles to the infamous building of the wonders.

Right now, the kitchen left Meike and me only. It is quarter to 1a.m. and most inhabitant of A20 already went to bed. John Mayer´s song is playing in the air and Meike just done with her guitar strumming while I am sipping my second cup of hot tea. Two bottle of beers had be consumed earlier. The cigarette is still burning on the ashtray.

Earlier, they were discussing about the camping stuff. Anyway, I actually don’t plan to sleep hence lots of tea and cigarette, so I could finish up this seemingly endless travelling journal.

OK, back to the story. We hired a rickshaw driver to drive us to and around Agra for whole day. His name is KK. We hired him after he managed to convinced us about his specialty, about how well he understand the feeling of traveller and bla bla bla…

At the end of the trip, we felt that somehow his service didn’t really justified the cost, which was about RM 35.

First place was the baby Taj Mahal. The Mughal empire built this baby Taj before they build the real Taj. The baby Taj is much smaller and serve as a kind of prototype to the real Taj. Nothing much to boast about. Second historical place we visited was the Agra fort. Agra Fort is located on the bank of Yamuna river. The auricular fort’s colossal double walls rise over 20m in height and measure 2.5 km in the circumference. They contain a maze of buildings that form a small city within a city. The most impressive building to survive most of the damages is the legendary white marble Pearl Mosque.

We took so much of photos that when we reached the real Taj Mahal, Thomas´s digicam almost ran out of battery. It was a real emergency. Basically everything was confiscated and being kept in the cloak room except for camera.
The feeling of seeing the proud, the arrogant, standing tall and proud, the Taj Mahal was indescribable. It was fucking unbelievable. The one monument I used to look at in a book or magazine now came to life, standing in front of my eyes.

It was huge and we were appalled, amazed and somewhat overwhelmed. The Taj, often described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love is needless to say, India’s de facto tourist emblem. The building is so perfect and extravagant that some of the masterminder who help built the Taj had their arms or thumb amputated, to assure a similar design never repeated in any part of the world. The Taj is accessed through an outer courtyard which has gate facing west, south and east. The south gateway is inscribed with verses from the quran in Arabic. Lucky for us, we visited the Taj at the right season which is the winter. So the surrounding was hazy and windy thus we were chilling. Enough said. Let’s move on.

At the end of Taj visit, we took a cycle rickshaw back to our hotel. Thomas and I decided to walk the night market and we ended up eating lots of local varieties and junk foods along the way. We brought couple of beers back to the room and after a few chapters of John Grisham´s “The broker”, we went to Yash café, another rooftop café for a dinner. Tomato garlic spaggethi, hot lemon tea and sweet lassi was my dinner. The café was showing the movie, “Monster” starring the beautiful Charlize Theron. Later, after the movie, I asked the boss to play the best of Mr Bean and there the night goes, laughing at the old classic comedy of Rowan Atkinson. Remember Mr Bean in the church, in the restaurant, on the beach and so on? Ha…It was a great laugh.

That’s the end of day 3.

Day 4

We woke up at around the same time. This is what we will usually do when travelling. Open our eyes as wide and as long as possible so we could keep discovering. When the eyes close, the discovering stop, so it would be consider a waste of time. Sleeping time is when you are not travelling.

After having a mushroom soup, sweet lassi, 2 fried eggs with butter toast and hot lemon tea, we proceeded to a bus terminal to purchase a bus ticket, further up from Agra, call Mathuran. It was a local bus, transporting hundreds of Indians to and back daily from Mathuran to Agra and vice versa.

The bus ride took about 2 hours and we reached there around 4p.m. This Mathuran place had so far, the worst and ugliest road in India. It was bumpy all the way. We took a rickshaw to a wrong temple which was about 30 minutes from the mathuran bus terminal. We were suppose to visit Iskon temple or also known as the English Temple but was being brought to Krishna temple. Ironically, this Krishna temple in Mathuran had the strictest gate checking, even more complicating than the Taj. None of the state of the art technologies including digital camera, mobiles or battery or lighter or cigarette were allowed. This temple is the birth place of Lord Krisna.

At about 5pm, we went to the real artistic temple, the Ishkon temple (the picture was one of the selected photo in LP 2004). It was magnificent. There was some European pilgrims or newly converted to their new religion there, busying practising the chanting.

The highlight of day 4 was when we were brought to a Vrinduran train station where we were suppose to get a ticket and back to Delhi. It was around 6 something and it was already dark. But what happen was the train was very quiet which quickly gave us a sudden suspicious that the train station doesn’t work. With few beggars, rusty railways, no passengers and no one to speak English (unlike most railways in India), it was confirmed to us that the railway station never work. And suddenly, we were out of the usual noisy town, stranded in the un-operational railway station, and worse still, the sky was already dark and we were clueless on our whereabouts. The time was meaningless to the locals and everybody seems to rush back home, thus neglecting everything else. And just when you need them, the crook bloody motherfucker auto rickshaw driver, for the first time, they were nowhere. GREAT!!

Luckily, we came across this mid thirty guy who cycle a cycle rickshaw, rode us deep into rural area to one auto rickshaw driver which drove us for about 45 minutes to the real train station. So, were finally, out of the place and caught ourselves safe again, and were ready to entrain back to Delhi. We had only 5 minutes before the train leave to Delhi, so we eat everything our hand could touch namely biscuit, vadapao, chai and all that stuff.

The train ride back to Delhi was already packed so it was miserable for us not to have any seat. The journey took us about 4 hours and during that 4 hours, Thomas and I were just squatting and seating on the floor, shoulder to shoulder with the Indians, near the train’s toilet. I managed to read few more chapters of Grisham and newly brought book about Karma and stuff (for Omar), listened to couple of CDs including my all time favourite malay band, WINGS and Eric Clapton.

We reached Delhi at around 11.45 pm and it was a city never sleep, so there was lots of crook motherfucker. We took one of them, that drove us to the main bazaar, which according to LP, are nearby our branch office where we are suppose to go to work day after.

We checked in at King hotel which had a very big dog, very friendly, grey hound species. The room was also equipped with tv and attached bathroom but the rest was just basic and adequate.

The channel was showing one of the episode of The Simpsons family, the most dysfunctional family in the world of comedy, and also my favourite cartoon of all time.

Day 5

Day 5 in our first day at the branch. We took a auto-rickshaw to our branch office at Assaf Ali road, one of the messy street in Delhi. The building of our branch look like one of the war thorn building in the Eastern Europe. With lots of debris, holes through the walls, smash glasses and stuff like that. No wander they are in the midst of shifting office. Through the holes, you can see kids running around the roofless top, women were caught chatting while hanging up laundry, and youth were just laying flat on the roof, enjoying the chill weather.

In the branch office, we met few of the sales engineer and most of the salesperson are cool people including the branch secretary, Ms Susmitha, who looks like one of the good looking Bollywood chick, but in the mid thirties.

We were suppose to work in the branch for three days but we managed to gauged and obtained all opinion and ideas on the branch-HO-client coordination in our first day. It was funny that when we were in HO (Head office), the various departments was complaining about the branches in all inefficiencies but now that we are finally in one of the most top performing branch, the Delhi branch, the branch people said otherwise. Suddenly, Thomas and I felt like a consultant hired by the CEO to solve all inefficiencies because even the regional manager, Mr Sudhagar Shetty was trying hard to put forward on HO´s inefficiencies, with a hope that our report will go to the chairman, which we will eventually present a report of our finding.

The first day was just mere talking and taking down notes. Then during lunch, we went to the most happening place in central Delhi, the Connought place (CP). It is like a huge roundabout, separated by blocks of building. The size is about the whole of our Bukit Bintang. CP is a very classy place and in CP, most restaurant are all top end restaurant and most store are all branded. Shops like Reebok, Adidas, banks, Gucci, Polo, Thomas cook, Airlines agencies, expensive restaurant and lots more. The cheapest restaurant we could find was Subway, which happen to be one of the most pricey restaurant in Korageon park, Pune.

In the evening, the most senior salesperson, Guru, drove us to our company guest house. We were expecting some ciplak house but were shocked when we were sent to this big kind of pent house, reserve only for company’s big clients. The house was at the highest floor and was well equipped with huge living room, furniture, tv with 50 over cable channel, big bedroom with big attached bathroom. It is similar to any of the 4 star hotel expensive room.

That night, as usual, it was cold and windy, we went to the main bazaar and I ended up brought a sleeping bag. We had a dinner at hotel shilton´s rooftop, overlooking the street of the busy bazaar. French onion soup and chicken chowmein was my dinner while heating up my hand and body on the fire heater beside our table.

Day 6

We woke up at around 8 something and CNN was reporting a courtroom updates about the Jackson trial. CNBC was reporting about Malaysia’s latest measurement about deporting her illegal immigrant as a headlines.

Speaking of the Jackson trial, I really think Michael Jackson is innocent. Whoever the accuser it is, he or she is up to Michael’s wealth and fortune and determine enough to kill his reputation. How can a court again and again allow any Toms or Dicks to press charges on the same account? This is all conspiracy and full of twisting political strategies, to destroy a living legend. Just like how they manipulating medias and peoples that resulted in the assassination of John Lennon, the death of Marilyn Monroe, the death of Jim Morrison and God knows who else.

Second day working at branch almost the end of our visiting. Since we almost obtained all we wanted from this trip except for the appointments with clients (which scheduled on the third day), we practically did nothing. Thomas was starting to compose his diary and arranging his photo gallery while me, was caught openly surfing the net, checking and rechecking my emails, updating my blog, replying all emails, and reading lots of Malaysiakini articles especially Sim Kwang Yang and Farish Noor articles.
In the evening, Thomas and I met up with Gesine again for a dinner at the same rooftop of hotel Shilton. Restaurant’s name was Kitchen café. After dinner, we went back to our company guest house to celebrate Deepak´s farewell party. Deepak had worked for Forbes Marshall for almost 5 years and now he got a better offer from other big company. So, there farewell party had lots of Rum (Bacardi), lots of Whiskey, lots of Tandoori chickens, chips, nuts and lots more of junk foods. Needless to say, most of them was drunk, dead drunk except for me and Thomas and most probably the regional manager and Guru. I guess all salesperson had the same nature, smoking like hell and drinking like crazy and swearing like no one cares. If Lee Chi Wei the salesman is like that, so is the salesman in India.

Part 2 of this journal will be available shortly.