Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sunny March: On the road again (Part 2)


The day after my birthday party, I departed to the Northern Goa, Palorem to be exact. Now hold on, before you go on and wandering, what? Goa again? What happen to this kid? Let me clarify that Goa is big and it have lots beaches. The previous trip I went was Bagan and Anjoona beaches in Southern Goa. As you may already know, Bagan and Anjoona is more to trance and psychedelic party all day and all night long, smoking up like crazy and beaches full of people, Palorem is completely the opposite.

Initially when I thought of going to Palorem, I didn’t expect so many people to come along but anyway, there was about 11 of us on the bus. Omar & Kristine is on their one month ghetto-travelling, which Palorem being the first place and the rest of us are me, Martin, Carolina, Yushi, Erin, Nina, David, Sharifi and unexpectedly, the last ride in, Anna.

We departed from Pune at around 5.30 pm and it was the same sleeper bus we were on the last trip. Before the bus could move on, I begin my favourite pastime to what would to become a long journey to Palorem (14 hours), listening to music and reading. This are the two most important things to bring along, so to accompany my ever bluesy journey. Earlier, I had finish John Grisham’s “The Summons” and it was great. What can I say apart from praising him a master of story teller. I am starting a marathon to read all of his books since the similar marathon of Jeffrey Archer’s books has been completed. At the same time I am also reading up all of Paulo Coelho’s collections.

Anyway, the books that accompanied me through the 14 hours odyssey were John Grisham’s “The last Juror” and the half way through Paulo Coelho’s “Eleven minutes”. The selected CDs were Search Unplugged, John Mistress, my all time favourite Amir Yussof’s “Aquarius” , Buena Vista Social Club, Coldplay’s “A rush of blood to the head”, Tracy Chapman, Beck’s “Mutations”, Guns n’ Roses greatest hits double CD, Joe Satriani, Kenya Langala music, Suede singles, my all time favourite compilation which featuring REM, Counting Crows, Toto, Aerosmith, Crowded house, Eric Clapton, Soul Asylum and etc.

So I started the journey with one of those CD and start reading “eleven minute”, a story that tell the story of a girl name Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocence encounter with love left us heartbroken and made her believe that love is a terrible thing that will only make her suffer. It is about her life, about the dream she want to persue but end up drifter further away. In this odyssey of self discovery (after encounter with a handsome young painter), Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness or risking everything to find her own inner right. This book is so far my second favourite of Paulo after “Veronica decides to die”.

In the bus, I was being approached by a very smart Danish guy name Yas. He was just trying his luck on me whether or not I have a supply of Valium for him. Unfortunately I didn’t have any kind of drug with me but anyhow, he is kind of cool. He ended up with Nina that night.

After a stopover for 20 minutes dinner, we proceeded our journey, with many CD and few chapters of “eleven minutes”, few sip of Vodka coke (by Sharifi), few sticks of cigarette, beautiful views by the upper window, I slept through the night, until the bus reached its destination at Panjim, capital of central Goa at around 7.30 am.

From Panjim, we took a hired bus which charged each of us (and some other backpackers) for Rs.30 per head. The journey from Panjim to the outskirt Palorem (the beach) took us about an hour and 20 minutes.

The journey to the deep inside of Palorem was serene and beautiful, filled with amazing landscapes of unpolluted place. The bus passed through huge and empty land, farm fields, wooden houses, with clear sky above us and kids were playing around and the animals were wandering around. I was lost in my own “rocking hard” world with first Joe Satriani’s guitar rift and soloing and after that followed by Guns n’ Roses greatest hits such as “Get in the ring”, “Paradise city”, “Live and let die” and so forth.

We reached the beautiful beach of Palorem, arguably the state’s most idyllic beach. Along the long stretch of its peaceful beaches, amid the lazy wind, shiny sun and waves hitting the shore weakly, you will see about 30 of small villages that offering huts to visitors. Some huts are facing the beach and some are located inside. In comparison with Anjoona and Bagan beach, Palorem is the complete opposite, more silent, less crowded, less trance and psychedelic and more chill out music.

Omar and Kristine check in by themselves and same goes to Nina. The rest of us rented two huts where Yushi, Sharifi and I shared the smaller hut.

Immediately after checking in, without further ado, I jump onto the beach and befriended with the water, the golden sand and the friendly waves.

This followed by laying lazily on the chair, with beers and music, inviting the sun to shine and cook the remaining of my exposed flesh.

Then through Nina, I met up with a Bombay girl name Sapna. Both Nina and Sapna were naked most of the time. I never thought of Sapna as a Indian girl. Her looks and appearance looks like she is from South American girl, perhaps Brazil. Anyway, she is the first celebrity’s celebration connection I met in Palorem. She is so cool and she rocks heaven and hell. I was amazed by what she had to said and all about her past and present. Night before, together with her husband (Sam) and Tonic, another Indian, we were smoking up on the beach and we were chatting about mutual respect for gender equality, without any sort of discrimination. Proud to say that she was impressed on my stand on this issue. How did I know? When Tonic, Sam and I were smoking up in the morning after that, Sam had told me that Sapna are so eagerly to tell Gouri Khan about her encounter with me. Gouri Khan is a wife of Shah Rukh Khan. I was truly honoured, thinking that Gouri Khan would soon know about me but Sam rebutted that NO, it is not about Gouri, it is about (matter of time) Shah Rukh Khan will know about me.

Sapna is a hairstylist in Bombay, owner of the infamous “Mad or what” in Bombay. “Mad or what” is a very famous expression in Bombay, just like “Keong Kan” in Hokkien.

Her connection with Gouri and Shah Rukh Khan and other Bollywood’s celebrities is just tip of a iceberg of her celebrity connection. She had the hair of Tina Turner, smaller size, beautiful body big boobs. Most of the time, we were either chatting on the beach or up the sand with her breast (topless) continue to stare at me uncomfortably. (somehow I got use to it in a very short span of time since I came from an island myself and had been skipping school many times in those days just to hang around the beaches in Tanjung Bunga and Batu Feringghi.

Her body was full of meaningful tattoos. The whole of her back was fully tattooed with a sort of Goddess, with the lotus flower floating on the bottom. Her upper arm was tattooed with “Daddy’s little girl forever”, a symbol of ancient love with the word “papa” imprinted in it and the lower arms is a combination of the image of Elvis Presley and his name. (very nice tattoo, professionally done). On her tight near her vagina was a tattoo of sperm leading to the direction of her vagina. On top of her stomach was a “Born against” outstretching from side to the other and a snake surrounding her stomach. On her both legs was full of trivial tattoo. And while Sam and Tonic was away to the beach and while were talking up the sand, she decided to get another tattoo then and there which her husband’s name on her breast. Most of the tattoos on her body was being done for her daddy, according to her.

She had live in the America for 14 years before decided to came back to Bombay. She was also a hairstylist in America and had lived in various places namely LA, New Mexico and Chicago. During her tenure as a professional hairstylist there, she had done some of celebrity’s hair. Some of them are Lenny Kravitz, Eminem, John Fight (front man of the rock band Tool which is her all time favourite band), Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Janet Jackson, Brandon of Incubus, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and so forth.

Talking to her you somehow can tell whether or not she is bullshitting. To me, she is way too humble to boast up all of this and I don’t think she was bullshitting. I called her “The rebel”. She walked from one pole to the other, on the rope while exposing her boobs and all her tattoos to the sun and every ones who cheered and lauded for her.

The guy who did the tattoo for her was her ex boyfriend, Kevin Queen, one of the top tattoo maker in the world. Kevin also did tattoo for Guns n’ Roses, my all time number 1 favourite band. (Remember Axl Rose, Slash, Duffy, Dizzy, Gilby Clark and Sorum?)

Other topless girl that I came to know is this German girl which right now I couldn’t remember her name. She is Neema’s girlfriend which I also came to know. Neema is a Persian and live in Germany, together with his girlfriend. Neema is a very nice and soft spoken guy. We were like a small community. This Neema’s girlfriend (I will call her Monica, for some reason) is fucking gorgeous. And when she went topless, I was fascinated by her gorgeous, sexy and oily body. Her shape of breast was one of the most beautiful I ever saw, after Monica Belluci. In facts whenever I looked at her or talking to her, seating by her chair while she was lying down sun tanning, my mind suddenly think of Monica Belluci (Malena, Irreversible)

In the later day, I went to the other side of beach, to this café name Banyan Café which allowed you to play your own CD and few bamboo chair tied and swing on the trees. Most of the time there, I read few more chapters of “Eleven minutes”, enjoying my own CD of Amir Yussof, Kenya’s Langala music and so forth. I also ordered my lunch there and few round of beers.

At night, all of us met up to have one of Goa’s famous dishes, seafood, especially its grill king fish and shark. I ordered a chicken sizzle steak while sharing with the rest the grill King fish and shark. It was great.

Tonic, another celebrity’s celebration or maybe celebrity himself, friend of Sam and Sapna, which stayed at the same village with us. She is quite knowledgeable as well. That morning, during our smoking up session before starting the rest of days, Sam, Tonic and I were hang out at Tonic’s hut. Lots of topics were conversed under the sun and one of them was Che Guevara. Coincidently, not surprisingly, all of them had read and watched the movie. (While me, I had only read the book).

Tonic is a screenwriter for theatre and independent movie and sometime, the Bollywood production. He is having writer’s block hence trying to get some new inspiration in Goa.

He is now acting on a theatre that would be coming to Pune soon in 2 or 3 months time. The theatre is about the origin of Martial arts are from India, Not China. He is holding the lead role of the Indian prince, travelling to Chine to spread Buddhism. When the prince reached China, he found out that most of the monks are very lazy so he developed a kind of living technique (martial art) to keep the monks healthy and build up. The theatre (which is still untitled) will be directed by the infamous director Mira Nair, well known for her international movie, “The monsoon wedding”.

Just for the record, I was losing track on time and days when I was in Goa (Palorem) and worse still, I was lazy enough to note down my diary. Therefore, whatever I wrote here are not in chronological order of time and days and are solely based on the recollection of my yesterday’s memories.

On the third day, if I am not mistaken, David, Carolina, Yushi, Martin and I woke up as early as 6.30 am to catch the sunrise and the morning breeze. We rented a boat and a driver. The boat driver drove us to the middle of ocean and watches the dolphins bathe in sea under the morning sunlight. It was beautiful to see the wonderful creature flipping and jumping off the ocean to catch the glimpse of light.

The sounds of the ocean, the sound of the waves hitting the rocks, attempted to separate them, that will takes hundred of years, were in the air.

From middle of ocean, we went to monkey beach and after that to Butterfly beach, which both are without monkey and butterfly respectively.

The boat ride took us about 1 hour. In the afternoon, I decided to separate myself to travel and wander the beach alone, to be with myself (thing that I regret because I never do enough of the entire 4 days in Goa). I went to the end of the beach and walked up the piles of rocks and across the other until I see entire new part of the further ocean. I started to be amazed with the God gifted landscapes and beautiful natures, so I snaps lots of photo and recorded some good short movies. (Thanks to Thomas who lend me his digicam)

At night, again all of us met up for a dinner. This time at the Drocadi restaurant. We tried the night before but were fully occupied. Again, we ordered lots of seafood grill shark and king fishes. I ordered Briyani chicken rice. Prior to that, I already downer 350 ml of port wines and that, had enabled me to talk like, either a fool or intelligent bastard. At the end of the dinner, I was almost there, gone but somehow managed to keep myself together. Dracodi restaurant had an endorsement of Matt Damon and the entire production crew of Bourne supremacy. Matt and the crews were at Dracodi most of the time during the time when they were shooting Bourne Supremacy at Palorem beach.

On the third day, everyone else left, back to Pune. In that eleventh hour and in the nick of time, Erin, Sharifi (who both had become closer and intimate), Nina and I decided to stay for another day in paradise. So, we checked out of our hut and check in with Nina. Nina, always cool, had already established contacts with people in and around her, so when we moved in, everybody started to asked about Nina, who most of the time, either disappear or appear nude in the beach.

The group of Israelis people in the village where Nina stayed. Our neighbour was Raft (Israelis) and his Australian girlfriend. They invited us to smoke with them, this time using Chalem. Raft is a stone guy. And then came his friend, another Israelis, who surprise to heard that I was from Malaysia. Not because he is not allowed to enter the country, but because of our harsh (death mandatory) policy on drug possession which images and treatment he learned not from books or factual basis but from a Hollywood movie “Return to Paradise” starring Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco), Jacquin Phoenix (Ladder 49, Gladiator), Vince Vaughn (Old school). I happen to watch these movie weeks before I left for India and some of the events are simply not true. This 1998 movie also starring Patrick Teoh as a Penang high court judge and Lina Teoh as a bitch.

On that third day, it was particularly boring for me. Maybe because I was tired, completely grilled and cooked (sun burned). One of the events on this boring day that can be highlighted is when Omar & Kristine, Sharifi & Erin and Nina & I rented a bike to cruise around the outskirt of Palorem. The feeling of riding the wind with only short and nothing else provided the maximum pleasure. We passed through the palm and coconut trees, villages houses, many kind of livestock and finally we reached a super grand 5 star hotel, at about 15 minutes drive away from Palorem beach. We were stranger and we were beggar at that place. I put on my dirty and smelly Coca-Cola shirt on while Sharifi and Omar was topless, only with short. Every one around us was either in proper dress, expensive perfume, with family, golf suite etc. Omar was walking like he is walking to his own castle, talking and shouting in Arabic to Sharifi that are faraway.

The hotel is the only grand hotel. It is Intercontinental hotel. Just imagine our Equatorial Hotel. This hotel needless to say is only occupied by “tourist” who is on business trip or holidaying and NOT backpackers that are travelling.

The beach here was so much silent and the only thing that can be heard was the sound of the ocean.

Fast forwarded to the last day morning. Night before I was tired and I slept quite early. I woke up and started to walk barefooted and semi naked along the beach. I stopped by at Tonic’s hut. After that, I proceeded to walked into the village area in search of cheap breakfast. I came to this grocery store and bought few pieces of creamy bread and fresh milk, for both me and Daisy. Now, who the fuck is Daisy??

Daisy is the small dog that always stalking and be with me whenever I was around my hut or at Sameer café. Erin and I named her. That morning before I left to wander around and to Tonic’s hut, I told Daisy that I am gonna get her a breakfast while she was still deep into her sleep.

Daisy was God-bless. Because when I came to my hut with breakfast, she was gone. So I started to feed other dogs around and just before I wasted the breakfast on other dogs, I decided to keep some of it in case Daisy came back. But I gave up easily, so I stood up and search for Daisy in Sameer café. And there she was, eating eggs scramble, feed by a very beautiful girl. So I sat there, waiting for the silence to be broke. Others dogs started to be friend with me, in attempt to convince me to give away the remaining of the food. So I feed them. And our compassion for dogs, fate brought me and the beautiful girl together. She is from Germany and her name is Jasmin. Since that morning, we stick with each other until the time had come for me to go.

I had fun talking to her and likewise. And the more time we wasted, the deeper our conversation goes. We talked about her past, her unlucky quest with love (which prompted her to come all the way to India, to persue Osho courses. She talked about her past wild and reckless life, struggling with the addiction of Cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, Valium and God knows what else? When we were talking about life and its existence, I suddenly became so intelligent to talk about the concept of our body, mind and soul, time relativity, heaven and hell and everything else I understand from Nealth Donald’s “Conversation with God”. I couldn’t believe it I was so well verse with the understanding of the content even though I never read that book. I guess it was after all the endless discussion with Omar whose fascination with the subject had lead him from one thing and another. I am going to buy and read the books (3 books) after I finish Grisham’s “The last Juror”.

And when she shed about her past love life with me, I told her that her story remind me of Maria, from Paulo Coelho’s “Eleven minutes” which book I was reading it then. Not surprisingly, She knew about it and she told me how she wept over and over again for Maria because the whole story resemblance so much of her experience though she wasn’t a prostitute. She entered her short story of her life experience into competition and that writing competition won her few thousand euro hence she is able to travel to India, as well as Thailand. Her other menial job in Germany was a receptionist, advertisement model for West (she earned 4000 euro for that one shot), selling gems as well as selling her professional photo shots to ad agency.

Jasmin is another celebrity’s connection. Her ex boyfriend is now the upcoming actor in silver screen in Germany. He is Birol Ünel, now starring the movie directed by Fatin Akin, entitled “Gegen die wand”. Her best friend which according to her is the most beautiful one among them and are now touring with Alicia Keys across the United States. Her name is Sasha Hoktan.

And then came along Clive Grylls. A photographer for various magazine namely Time, National Geographic, Focus etc. He is a very funny, intelligent and articulate guy. Just search his name on the internet and you will see his various article on snakes and other wild life appeared on the online magazines.

I am so regret that I didn’t travel and wander by myself that much. How I wish I could met Jasmin the night before not the day after. Anyway, we had a fun time together and tonight or tomorrow I am expecting her visit to Pune. Just got her email that she is coming, directly from Goa.

After kissing her goodbye, we departed from Palorem to the capital (Panjim) and reached there around 5.30pm.

On the way back to Pune, I met up with Sandra, from Sweden. She is, forgive me for saying this again, fucking gorgeous, the kind of gorgeous charmed with attitude and charisma. She reminds me of Gesine who is heading back to Germany in less than 2 weeks time.

We slept through the night and we reached Pune at around 6.30am. Everyone went separate way. Sandra and I shared a rickshaw to Koregeon Park where she would register herself with the Osho commune international and me, going home.

Goa, although it is only a beach but at the end of august, I will go back there again, at least this is my vow. But this time, I am travelling alone. My plan now should my visa is extended; I will work until end of August and travelling for one month. All by myself, with hope that I will meet more and more interesting people, particularly girls!!

With that, God bless and Happy Easter Day.

Love & Regards

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sunny March: On the road again (Part 1)


Hello, I am back. I couldn’t remember when the last time I posted up an update was but if my mind doesn’t fool me, I think it is approximately some two good weeks ago. Since then, lots of things had happen in my life; birthday party, travelling, arrival and departure, new people I encounter along my travelling, train of thought and many more.

My visa extension is painstaking pain in the ass. The commissioner of police or the immigration department had required me to go through many level of authority just to get the visa extension. My visa is still under process at the time of writing this and in either this week or early next week, I am heading to Mumbai and New Delhi to proceed with the pain in the ass process of becoming yet another alien, in the land name India.

For the past one month, I was back to the mood of cooking and preparing my own dishes, just like what I did regularly during my first two month here. I quite enjoy it and through my little creativity, I managed to create and cook a very exquisite dinner, not only for myself but also for others. It wasn’t a Malaysian food nor was it an Italian food. It is simply Peter’s cooking.

Usually I will only cook for the number of 3 to4 people in the house. I will slice onions, tomatoes, and papitas and cooked them with oil until the smell is in the air. Substantially, I will add tomato ketchup and some water, sprinkle it with black paper, thick Soya sauce, salt and sugar and eventually it will become some sort of Spaghetti’s gravy but it taste better. It will take around 30 to 40 minutes for slicing, preparing and cooking. Then, come the meaty part where I bought it from the butcher shop nearby. I will slice it into very small pieces, marinated it with thick Soya sauce, black paper and sprinkle it with small slices of onions. After that, I will fry it with little bit of cooking oil, butter and eggs. The smell and taste is always awesome. Last meal was to boil the noodle with the remaining chicken bones and liver. The method of serving is to put the gravy and the meats on top of the noodle and when everyone tastes it or rather eat it, it is paradise and high praises. It is strange; I never knew I can cook that well because back home, I never really try all of this and if my mum were to know this, she is going to cook me because I never cook at home. Apart from this, I also tried to prepare pisang goreng or in English, “fried banana” and usually serve before the main course. All of my friends especially the Caucasians like it.

The best about cooking is you receive much more satisfaction than if you were to order from a restaurant. It is funny that it took you so long to prepare and cook but it only took less than 5 minutes to see the food vanished, completely disappear. I guess after all, the joy and satisfaction is to see people enjoy the taste of my foods and that, all my effort and wasted time in the kitchen are not end up in vain.

I also couldn’t remember when was the last time I was on the road, travelling but as far as I can remember, it was maybe one month or so ago. And it was the Northern India trip. While every travelling trip was a unforgettable one, each with its own memory and experience to treasure and cherish, the latest trip I had been, which is to Ajantha caves, Buldana, Palorim of Northern Goa has its own memories and good times.

Buldana is a small town, a 12 hours bus ride away from the cosmopolitan Pune, where I am base at. Buldana is the kind of town where everybody knows everybody, especially in the small villages or community in Buldana. There is nothing fascinating about this part of India. The reason we travelled to this part of town, burning and wasting our money and time respectively was to visit friends rather than the places itself.

So it was midnight when Martin the Everclear, Marielle and I departure on the miserable, run down government owned bus to Ajantha caves, a historical place situated in between Pune and Buldana.
It was a bumpy journey all the way and thanks to our experience, we somehow manage to sleep through the uncomfortable journey. We reached Aurangabad’ bus terminal at about 5 in the morning and from there, we took another run down bus to Ajantha caves and reached there at about 7.30am. One hour after that, Maryla the Luxembourg girl and Nathan the American gay (trainees from Buldana) was there and together we venture into the rediscovery of Buddha and its glorifications by the ancient Ajantha kingdom.

Ajantha caves were built from around 200 BC to 650 AD. The huge mountain contains about 30 caves and was built to glorify Buddhism. The 30 caves are cut into the steep face of a horseshoe shaped rock gorge on the Waghore River. Each cave contains some of the oldest and still remaining to this day, historical monuments and artefacts, mostly tell us about the life of Buddha from the date he was born into the royal kingdom, until the day he abandoned the kingdom, seeking for enlightenment and everything after that. I am sure most of us still remember those murals we used to study in our historical places and I am now experiencing those remaining murals or wall painting and crafted Buddha in various meditated position (crafted from the rocks)

The works of people in the ancient day was super marvellous. If you are well versed with the teaching of Buddha or simple history, you will know that in early Buddhist school, the Buddha and his teaching was never represented directly- his presence was always alluded by a symbol such as the footprint or wheel of law. The Mural paintings in Ajantha caves that survived through many centuries were painted by animal glue and vegetable gum mixed with the paint pigments to bind them to the dry surface.

Some of the paintings, elaborate sculptures and narrative murals in Ajantha caves include scenes from the Jatakas (tales from the Buddha’s various life), Buddha’s birth and his mother’s dream of a six tusked elephant, which heralded the Buddha’s conception, scenes of people fleeing from the eight great dangers to the protection of Buddha and a lots more.

We spent about 2-3 hours to walk along the Ajantha caves, visited almost every caves while bathing in sweat under the sun.

We walked up to the highest peak and we overseeing the whole of Ajantha caves. It was gorgeous, simply amazing.

From Ajantha caves, we went with Nathan and Maryla (with their NGO’s jeep driver) to Buldana. The hot and sandy and dusty journey took us about another 90 minutes and we reached the small town of Buldana. Since Buldana is a place way outskirt of India’s famous places and no one seems to know where it located, not even the Indians themselves, it came as no surprise when we were constantly stared by the people. But thankfully, it was not that kind of jealousy stare, it was a friendly stare and people there were very friendly.

We reach the village where the Buldana trainees resided. The village and the whole community, including the school, the orphanage house was run by a local, voluntarily and social worker for over 40 years, championing the fundamental needs like hygienic foods and basic education deserve and being deprived by every kids. The community had a mini zoo. One cage is occupied with this big crocodile and I named him Johnny immediately. And to the monkeys, rabbits, dogs, peacocks etc, I named them all Johnny.

It was a completely traditional life and pollution was at its lowest level possible. The kind of town where the whole village turn dark and soundless when the clock pointed to 9.30pm and alive again as early as 4 in the morning.

All we did was just chatting with the rest of Buldana trainees (Maryla, Nathan and Marjolijn) until midnight. Maryla and I were mostly drinking vodka and smoking up, amid the quiet traditional life of Buldana. We headed to the bed and so my soul was once again, like every night, flying free across the cosmic universe, in search of another freedom.

When the morning sun rising up above the sky shine down on us, so gloriously while the birds were chirping and flying freely, I woke up amid the morning breeze and silences. Everybody was still asleep like a baby, so I decided to ride a bicycle, together with a kid from the neighbourhood, to round and discover the market which full of traders and the neighbourhood.

We were invited by a local chipmaker, which owns a chip factory in Buldana’s industrial zone to his house for a lunch. The industrial zone in Buldana is just a huge empty land, occupied only by few small factories and miles separated them. Around the tiny chip factory, was a cotton factory. We were being shown around, to all of their machines like we are the potential buyers. The Indian dishes were good, delicious. After lunch, we went to visit another NGO which is call Love trust, set up by Mr. Love of England to provide protection and care to abandoned mother, pregnant girls, outcast by society merely because they were pregnant without father (being rape mostly). In usual case, they were too desperate that they will just kill the baby just to return to their friend and family (society), meaning to get back their self-dignity. Love trust was established to protect and to provide mental strength to these unfortunate girls (so they can continue to cope with life) and babies) an opportunity to grow up)

In the afternoon, Nathan and I were playing football, on the sand (not field) with the orphanage kids while the rest of the trainees seating by the side, playing and entertaining the kids of various ages.

At night, we were invited to have a mass diner with the orphanage kids where all of us, seating in lines, in a hall, waiting for another kid to serve the meal. Remember the dinner of the orphanage kids in the movie Oliver? That’s exactly it was. The kids needless to say were so happy of our presence let alone dinner with them.

In Buldana, we also met up with Parthibar, a very old guy, which we think are around 85 years old. He is the longest serving caretaker of the village and he is now waiting for his time to come. According to the local, he was a Gandhi follower and was one of the participants in the Anti Violent movement.

We left Buldana at around 11pm. We bade farewell with Marjolijn the Dutch girl and Nathan. Maryla was ill and didn’t manage to accompany us to the bus terminal. She gave me a Luxembourg post card with special wishes (birthday and others) and we kissed and hugged goodbye.

Though I would say that it was a boring place to be at but the short visit we made, we will forever remember and being remembered. Weekend visit to Buldana is OK but the completely remote, traditional life with nothing to enjoy except for the nature’s nature and the kids and all the social works left me thinking, how in the hell these trainees can live in Buldana for such a long time. For me personally, I think I will go crazy because this place is not for me, at least for a long period.

But after a round of reflecting, of seeing how Nathan played football and talking and treating them, how the girls collected their money (most probably from their college fund) to buy sport and education equipments for the less fortunate, I manage to understand how and why these people can do it.

They live it through simply because they have each other, through the days and most importantly, the noble cause they were not only doing, but by living it through with the rest of the community, contributing and sharing their knowledge to the less fortunate ones, be with them, adding values, play with them. They showed it to them; especially the orphanage kids the greatest gift anyone could give in this world, which is love and hope. Nine month away from their first world country in Europe and the United States, to be secluded and completely remote, sacrificing their precious times and moment with friends and family just to live in some back corner of India. These things, the time spent, the love poured, tell the kids that there are people out there who care for their being and there are people who are willing to live with them, to dream with them and to aspire to achieve the dream, no matter how wildest they are. Don’t give up.

I believe, even though our trip may be short and soon we will most probably forgotten about Buldana but one thing I know for sure is our presence there had left a giant mark and big meaning to those kids and they will forever remember us. Even for the trainees themselves, I can see it through their eyes that they were truly happy and appreciated our presence to the back corner of India where most trainees promised of going but never actually made it. The remaining of the Buldana trainees namely Nathan, Maryla and Marjolijn will be leaving end of March and in June, Buldana will welcoming another group of people. To Buldana trainees, you all had my words and you now eat and chewed them because finally I made it there to your back corner and live and experience our times with the kids. The kids might know about Germany, America, Holland etc but now new country had entered their brain; MALAYSIA!!

As a token of birthday gift, Marjolijn gave me a pack of chocolate biscuit, for the road. And again, we were on our odyssey back to Pune, with the so-called semi-deluxe bus. Marielle, Martin and I were seat together and we were seating still, struggling hard to sleep through. It was so hard and the road was quite bumpy all the way that our asses were burning and we got to pull our knees close to our head to avoid the discomfort.

In the midnight, Marielle and Martin, woke me up just to sing me a happy birthday song. They got me a small “laughing Buddha” from Ajantha caves as a token of gift and together we open the remaining pack of chocolate biscuits and mineral waters, in celebration of my birthday. Though it was a miserable bus ride but the celebration was something very meaningful. After about 20 minutes, I close my eyes again and with Counting Crow & Blof’s “Holiday in Spain” and Toto’s “Rosanna”, I forgot the rest of the song tracks and the rest of the night was caught in between sleeping and awake until we reached Aurangabad and from there, we proceeded to Pune and we reached Pune at about 6 am. I slept for 2 hours and went to work until the day welcoming the dusk.

On Wednesday, one day before I went on the road again to Northern Goa (Palorim), I organized a birthday party, my 25th one. It was one of the greatest parties I had, beating all of my birthday parties in pub and disco.

Kristine, Omar’s ex girlfriend arrived in India that day while Omar was in Bombay. She, in my own opinion, the most hip, most gorgeous, outspoken, with much charisma and attitude, undoubtedly, the most beautiful girl among all of the trainees I ever met in Pune. She speaks very good English and French, accented Arabic, moderate Italian, Spanish and German. All in all, she speaks 6 languages.

Kristine and I went to market to shop for stuff I need for my birthday party. Since I was broke, very broke, I budgeted very little for this party. So I decided to cook for the 25 invited guests. So, we end with 2 kg of chicken, lots of onions, papitas, tomatoes, cucumber, tomato ketchup, and 10 packs of 200 grams noodles, butter, junk foods and lots more.

At night (night before the party), Meike helped me slicing and preparing my “Peter”’ specialty. With Kenya’s “Langala” music and later greatest hits of The Beatles, we spent about 2-3 hours of preparing.

And for the first time in my life, my party was fully sponsored by a beer company. Jag, the Indian guy who I got to know, so do most of the trainees, is the sales manager for “Castle” beer (South African beer) in Pune. I called him the day before and in less than minutes, he agreed to bring for me as a gift, two cartons of 650 ml of beers. I guess it is again, whom you know NOT what you know.

The dinner and birthday party started around 930pm and in less than 15 minutes, 60% of main dishes was attacked. The special marinated chickens were completely gone. All of the invited people were present including the famous one and the influential one which I was very happy and felt the honour.

That including DJ Sharifi (with his bags of CD and music, his rice bowl), Martin the guy from Botswana, Pune’s rapper, Pradeep, owner of travel agency, Jag, sales manager of castle beer and friend, his friend which is with Smirnoff, Nina, Erin, Anouk the French guy, Dean Cain look alike and lots more including the new trainee girl from Germany and Macedonia.

The party was full of people, some was talking to each other, in group, in the living room, kitchen, in the balcony etc. As for the birthday boy, I was with Kristine, Omar, Erin, Nina, Martin, and Sharifi in the corner of our big balcony, smoking up and drinking and exchanging views of general knowledge. And then came the surprises, Marielle stood up and gave a speech and followed by me, thanking everyone for turning up, thanking Jag for the beers and so forth. The people gave me a very nice and expensive T-shirt, which printed "Jerk" on it, and lots of Sony empty CD, for obvious reason. Sharifi gave me a Reggae swing bag, the Rastafarian one with Marijuana plant on it.

The party was a great one. I never thought of organizing a party like that. I was broke but I was determine enough to make it happen and since celebrating birthday out of the country is once in a blue moon, at least for a small boy from a back corner street of Penang Island. Again, what the alchemist said was right.

This will be the end of part one. In part 2 of Sunny March: On the road again, I will write about my trip to Northern Goa (Parolem), the great and ordinary people I met, with lots of interesting stories to tell, the nudity beach, Matt Damon, photographer, the beautiful girl I befriended with, the celebrity’s connection I met (Of Lenny Kravitz, Eminem etc) and so forth.

So stay chill always. Assalamualaikum!!

Love and regards,

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Good Riddance


Hello. Namaste. Salam sejahtera. Greeting from Pune. I hope everyone back home and elsewhere, no matter where you are, are at your jovial mood at the time of reading this blog. I don´t know how long this blog gonna last because to me every latest blog seems to be the last one and yet when the time come, there is always something in me or something I came through will prompt me to put into words. I am tired of recording my life hence for this one; I would like to keep it as short as possible.

Last week, we bade farewell to Mario (resident of C1) and Nills the big guy, resident of the then A20 and now Lucky 7 which both of the apartment, I was one of the member of the house. Nills, the big guy (Mr. Big), a charismatic guy with a friendly attitude and Mario, the ever funny party animal will definitely be miss by those who left behind by them.

It was too bad that I missed much of the opportunity to be staying together with Nills because in his short span of time in Pune (2 month), I was most of the time away, travelling to the North. But at least, I was the one that helped him integrate in Pune and India during his first day.

As for Mario (the same to Nills), I saw them come and go. Being 4 and the half month here, I can consider myself one of the oldest generation left. Times spent with Mario namely partying, good time and blackout in Goa, watching our first live monkey fuck in Matheran hill station etc will definitely be cherish forever. With Lars and Aylonna leaving end of this month (this will mark the end of the oldest generation and the beginning of new generation, spearheaded by myself and Thomas the German football hooligans, my colleague, my friend, my flatmate, my bank, my travel buddy etc who arrived two days after me), I would be the oldest trainee in Pune and hence the most experience one (except for Magda, which being hired permanently by his company, almost one year already)

So, on Thursday night, we celebrated Mario and Nill´s farewell dinner at one of the most extravaganza restaurant, near Nirvana pub. The restaurant’s name was “flag”, practically serving famous dishes from all over the world (Malaysia included). I knew it gonna cost some money for me but for event like this, I would not forgive myself if I were to miss it just because I want to save some bucks by forsaking gestures and friendship. This, I would not allow to happen. It is a shame. Only one person can do that and it was Bernard. He didn´t go for the farewell dinner, with no reasons whatsoever. We actually doubted that he actually knew Nill was gone.

Earlier and the day before, Thomas and I was too caught up with the last minute assignment, assigned by the chief director himself for a major meeting the day after. In was really an eleventh minutes assignment hence for the first time in our four month, we actually spent time in office until 8pm, gathering statistic and preparing powerpoint. We had a pleasure and opportunity to present our finding as well as to be involved in a major meeting where it involved the company´s directors, branch and regional managers (fly from all over India), departmental managers, seniors and etc. That night, after 8pm, Dr. Naushad Forbes gave us a ride back home to Koregeon Park (He stayed across the street, his new mansion is located about 5 minutes walking from our condominium) with his elegant Merz, with driver.

In the car, again, he repeated to me (and to all) that he would be delighted if we are considering extending our traineeship. He also expressed his knowledge of my intention to be extended and he basically are very supportive. As from my side, I would stay if my visa is successfully extended. I would collect my new visa this Friday. We reached home that night in the nick of time for a photograph session in Lucky 7. We departed to “Flag” for the farewell dinner shortly after 9pm. I ordered a Jamaican exquisite meal, simply name Jamaica sizzler. A dish with combination of slices lamb, pork bacon (I miss them), potatoes, tomatoes grilled, rice with some special gravy, served on the sizzler plate with lots of smoke still blowing out from the dish as it was still under the stove. Everybody was present at the dinner including all of lucky 7 people (except for Bernard, Omar was late but at least he came, and that´s all matter), all of C1 & E3 people. DJ Sharifi, Martin the Bostwana guy, Nina, Erin and all non AIESEC related were there. I would say it was about 20 over people and it was a long table dinner. Lots of flashes from camera and conversations and then come the moment of seriousness where Marielle prompted me to give a impromptu speech. She knocked her spoon several times on the goblet (as a sound of proposing a toast) and attention were given by everyone. I stood up reluctantly and without any prearranged notes in my mind, I shot out my impromptu speeches to Nill and Mario. It was a speech with a melancholy feeling as I would like to put it. At the end of the speech, I though it was bad as I never share enough moments with the duo, but some of my friend came to me including Michael CDD and Nina and praised my impromptu speech, that it touches them. Mario and Nill personally stood up and gave a short speech by expressing many gratitude and appreciation to all of us for making their life in Pune a memorable one. For Mario, he couldn´t imagine the idea of him going back to school after the happening traineeship life in Pune and for Nills, he left a heavy heart behind us as the next point of his life is to spearheading the setting up of his India employer in Germany hence a business partnership in making.

After the dinner, DJ Sharifi brought us in to Nirvana pub and we partied away the final occasion of Nills and Mario. Just before I left Nirvana, DJ Sharifi announced on his speaker box, a song tribute to me, from my own CD, “Roses” by Outkast. I was flattered when he told me personally and to Omar that he didn´t dig so much of Outkast´s “Roses” before, not until he heard me playing and groove to the beat of the song during one of our Lucky 7 moment.

At the time of writing this, Nills probably reached Germany already and Mario, now in New Delhi, will be meeting up with Meike, for a further travelling. Meike, is now on her 1 month travelling and had just left Tibet, having experienced a lecture from the Dalai Lama himself and a slight earthquake there. The next one who gonna bid farewell to us is Michael CDD, Omar for his 2 weeks travelling in India then another 2 weeks for a time in Egypt, to be with family before coming back for another year with Forbes Marshall. Omar and I are the only two that extended our traineeship. Marielle, the Dutch girl, my flatmate since the crazy A20 time, will be leaving us end of this month. She will be on her 6 weeks travelling across India, with her ex boyfriend, from Portugal. And by end of April, most of the current trainees, including those from my batch, will be gone including Thomas.

Well, that´s life my friend. The bitterness of saying goodbye and bidding farewell. That having said, nothing is permanent. When you living like this, you will meet a lot of people, from all over the world, listening to different kind of stories and life experiences but the bad thing is when come to disattachment. The only consolation is the life opportunity of being strong and learns how to deal with it. I was down sad, crash boom bang at the earlier stage when most of my crazy buddies left, back to home for good, as well as the ones I like and the one I love. I didn´t know then that too much of anticipation would harm you and do more damages than good itself. But I know now on how to deal with departures. I learn to say hello and to bid goodbye. For all of this, we are unsure of when our path will cross again. Maybe never and if it is never, then the times spent together, live together, travelling together, through thick and thin, good and bad, through many agreement and disagreement would forever be a memory, a memory that never fade away, a memory that will light a smile on your lips twenty years down the road when you look back at your life. I can imagine how I would be blessful and be so thankful to all these people, the peoples that taught and shared many aspects of life value, from all over the world that would made me the person I will be, in the future. Even for Bernard, I might seems to be unhappy with him many times over but there will be a time where I will just sit and smile and being thankful to him for giving me an opportunity to learn how to deal with an asshole.

Today, I finally come to term, to believe that I am still in India, travelling and meeting lots of people. I was always firm at the idea of leaving my comfort zone, to live abroad independently, travelling and sees of more world as this would make your life stronger and your knowledge richer. If I am not here today, most probably I would still be around PJ or KL, wandering and dreaming of travelling and sees of more worlds and relying on the things I might learn if I were to go living abroad and travelling. I might be speaking of the many assumed adventures (that will never take place in a first place if I still sticking my ass around back home) and at the same time, caught in the cycle of the norm society of having graduated, getting a job, pay a bill, lamenting at the later age of how life was so fuck up and meaningless and repetitive and so forth. It is not easy and in fact, it was never easy to be different, to be the only black sheep among the white sheep, having unusual idea about life and all of that. The society will scare you of the many assumed things you will encounter along your travelling or life abroad and the time you will be wasting, the pressure of leaving behind the people your age which are now climbing up corporate ladder in one way or the other. While admitting there´s nothing wrong about it, I, on this side, being the un-norm of the society, still being proud of my decision.

I survived through all the so called threats imposed by the society, the norm of society. They told me you will meet crazy tiger, murderous lion, hungry wolf, deadly diseases and many more threat to life and yet I survived this. Before I came here, money was the main challenges, so main that it could shut my dream at anytime and anywhere. It was almost an impossible dream. But my dream and will was strong, stronger than I knew. I wasn´t a kid where I want to go abroad and everything including money is sorting out under my nose. I have to work my ass out in order to realize my dream. I am not saying that my family wasn´t supportive. Of course if I were beg or beg to loan, I will get it. But I chose the hardest way, to work my ass out to achieve my dream. I almost falled many times over when seeing my friends enjoying so much salary, working for reputable company, being mocked by close relatives even my sister of my job with AIESEC and a low pay. It wasn´t easy to survive that period. But lucky for me, my parents especially my mother was so supportive. She knew I was dead serious about it and nothing she could do to change my decision. So she supported me and my idea to the end. She understood my passion of seeing more of world, the idea of travelling and right now, she is very happy of my travelling record. Mother´s love is the greatest love of all.

You can tell that the people who told you about many threats to your decision are the people who never been there and never done that. Because, the things you will learn is when you take and experiencing the winding route to where you intend to reach and having been there. No matter what the outcome is, at least you were there.

I believe, people will evolve and grow in and out, internally and externally, mentally and physically when you travelling and sees of more world. When you travel, you discover, encounter and experience many things that you will never have the opportunity to even feel it if you stick around your comfort zone. When you learn to be at peace with the nature, with the places and people you meet and encounter, when you meet and talk to people you don´t even know but end up gaining mountain of knowledge through travelling, your horizon will be expended. You will begin to think and ponder or contemplate at life and many little things of your everyday life in a different way that you could never imagine. This, I will call the ability of thinking out of box. If you read Paulo Coelho´s “Veronica decides to die”, you will come to know that it is OK to be different because life it too precious to be pretentious, too precious to worry about the nitty-gritty of what people might perceive of you.

All the world’s greatest travelled in their life in one way or the other, to be who they were. Buddha left his luxurious life to discover value of life, even more luxurious than his royal life, Jesus Christ travelled around to be with the people his loved, Che Guevara is who he was because of the experience and things he encountered when he travelled across the continent of Latin America. The same goes to Christopher Columbus, Vasco da´ gama and even my childhood favourite story book character, Dr. Gulliver in the “Gulliver travel”.

Vitas, the Dutch traveller who did his goodwill acts in Kenya left Pune few days ago and back to Kenya. His short visit had also been part of my life that I will remember one day. From him, I added to my CD collection some African raggae (Glen washinton) and “Langala” music from Kenya.

Just before he left, there was this two Dutch which Vitas and Dennis met in Jodhpur while travelling, stop by Pune and bum in E3 for couple of days. They are couple and from them, another set of life experiences and travelling being told. They managed to save up about 11000 Euro for their 1 year travelling. At this point of writing, they had completed Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, HK, Myammar and after India, they will go to China, Mongolia and all countries around that area and from there, boarding a train to Russia and somehow someway, back to Holland. Wow!!

The next two week, we will have two new female (ah….thanks to God) trainee, one from Macedonia (rumous had it that she is quite gorgeous, just like most of the Macedonian girls) and one from Germany, Mario´s successor. The Macedonian girls will check in C1 and the German girl will check in Lucky 7. (“Chi lan Chi Pua Kam cheng bei si sua”). Literally transfer from Hokkien, it means each one have half, relationship will not goes sour.

On Saturday afternoon, I was walking in MG road, shopping for books which I ended up buying another classic of Paulo Coelho´s “The eleventh minutes” instead of “The fifth mountain” because the latter was not available. As I was walking, I heard someone behind me was conversing in Bahasa Melayu. The excerpt of stolen conversation goes “Hey Mat, lat ni kita nak gi mana” or something that sounded like that. It was such a long time already that I didn´t hear my own language. I suddenly turn behind and asked them if they were from Malaysia. And Yes there were from Malaysia, first time seeing Malaysians in Pune or India. I ended up chatting with them for about 20 minutes, with my proud loghat penang. They turn out to be a government worker, attached to JKR, and were visiting Pune for one of their project. Funny thing about this coincident is these are the two faces that I will never talk to if I were to bump into them in one of our Malaysian street. You know…the arrogant government official look. But anyway, they turn out to be a very good guy. This taught me not to always generalize people, and that people are not what they seem.

Mark Knopler (of Dire Straight) just done his concert in Mumbai and I missed it again, just like how I miss Sting live in Delhi. But the rational decision I made didn´t cause me any regret whatsoever. It is more to financial difficulties. As for now, my aim is to travel and covering more of India. Though I might seems going places but there´s still lots of places I haven´t been which I would like to go including Rajastan (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jalsalmer etc), Minali, Jamu & Kashmir, Dalamsala, Southern India (Bangalore etc), Tibet, Himalaya and Nepal. Up to date, the longest travelling period was the two weeks to Northern Delhi, covering most interesting part of New Delhi, Agra, Rishikesh, Mossouri, Haridwar and etc. This weekend, I would go to Buldana, a cultural centre of India, about 12 hours bus ride away from Pune, to visit some of the places there and most importantly, visiting some friends.

Since I am extending my stay, which is for two purpose only, longer traineeship and travelling. So before the season end for Goa (one of the most beautiful beaches in the world), I would go again, ut this time is southern Goa, Polerim, coming this end of March (the season end at April) and lots of hotels, and beach resorts will be closing down because of the great monsoon. I will be going on the 17th until 21st of March, with Erin and Nina (confirmed). Martin the Everclear, Gesine my girl, Carolina, DJ Sharifi, Marielle is considering. Omar is confirming game for the trip. For this one, I am proud because finally, I am the one that initiate the idea of this trip and will be the one that materialize this idea.

At this stage of writing, I can proudly said that I am becoming more expert in drinking. Now, I no longer need beer opener anymore. The new skill to open a beer bottle (Thanks to the many Germans) is with any object namely another bottle, bottle of mineral water, spoon, lighter, broom etc. It was great especially the sound of “pop” heard in the air.

Saturday night, I was supposed to go to the dealer with Dj Sharifi. So I waited for him downstairs his apartment, along the street where German bakery located. I smelled something fishy gonna happen when I saw lots of African people hanging around and was chatting in their mother tongue. The only English word I heard was “one and one” and “Sharifi”. And when Sharifi finally appeared from the dark staircase, his hello to me was unusual and unenthusiastic. The guy approached him and Sharfi was muttering to him to stay away but he slapped him in the face and pang! That guy was a mistake, sorry ass when Sharifi turn around and swing a punch to hard that it “poop” heard in the air. The guy was corner, being kicked and punched repeatedly in the face until the rest of the gangs (from both side) started to resolve them. I was calm and was there until the brawl was over. I waited to see if Sharifi got any problem but apparently my help was not needed because he was attacking most of the time. (His hand was banded after that). Just when everything seems over, second brawl broke out again, between Sharifi and the same guy. They were struggling for a while before Sharifi got him down again, at the corner and repeatedly punching him in the face and cover him with his own shirt until he was gasping for oxygen. Sharifi asked for peace and he rebutted to Sharifi for loosing him up because he was unable to breath. Sharifi completely forgotten about me and went off. So I went to the dealer myself and gave him a courtesy call before I smoke out at Lucky 7. The whole fighting scene reminds me of those fighting days in school, during my growing up, the sweet and innocence sixteen/seventeen. I beat up some guy so bad before as well as having experience of being rounded up by six malay guy from the neighbouring school, being kicked all over and lying on the ground until one of my malay friend intercepted. I still remember his name, Mamat. But after that, we were at peace, during one of our football game. That was one of my fighting scene I could remember.

That night was a party at E3 apartment and it was Yushi´s birthday, the new trainee from Japan. Omar and I went there late and the party was over as they proceeded to “Fire & Ice”. Omar, me and the Dutch traveller stayed in E3 to whack most of the leftover foods namely Briyani, beers, brownie, chocolate cake etc. Magda and Martin had a new boxer dog, name Stacey. She is so damn cute. We were so addicted to her charm. We brought her over to Lucky 7 and she was hanging around in the apartment before she got stone from the smoke in the air.

Sunday afternoon, the weather was so fine that most of the trainee went to the Pyramid, the newly open swimming pool around the neighbourhood. It was a very fine place, with huge pool, and lots of palm trees and lazy chair. I didn´t go because I want to save some money for my travelling. I mean, I will go there someday but as for now, I would delay the gratification, for my one month budget travelling, tentatively at the beginning of September. So, the whole afternoon, I spent time copying some good music from Kenya, Germany, Holland, France and so forth. My love for Jazz and instrumental, blues, Raggae, chill-out music had achieved a greater height. I guess the love and interest for all this music especially the chill out music are from my many travelling trip across India, the time spent on the bluesy journey and being surrounded by a God sent landscapes and natures. Even now, as I am writing this, Spyro Gyra Jazz is played in the air while the ceiling fans was crazily spinning around and the mosquitoes, one by one being killed by my occasional luck.

Well, without realizing it, 4 and the half month already I was away from home and still, I haven´t have any homesick syndrome. I am looking forward to my unpredictable journey. And I can’t tell for sure what would happen when September come. Anyway, I am having the best time of my life here and I hope you have the same things as well, back home. Whatever you do, feel good about it. If you don´t, listen to your heart and go for it.

With that I end my notes. Good day everyone.

Love, regards & Rock n´Roll!!

P/s: If music is the food of love, then play on! “William Shakepeare”

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The show must go on...

28th February 2005

I must confess that the spirit of writing is heading more and more towards the back of my mind. I almost gave up of writing about my life abroad (I won the battle of convincing myself to write over the other me) because as life goes on and especially there isn’t much travelling to be done lately hence no discovering, life had been quite monotonous and repetitive, doing the same thing over and over again. This kind of repeated activities somewhat killing my enthusiasm of recording my testimony of living life faraway from home. It is unlike the first three month, where I kept the fire of writing on my shoulder and no matter how strong the wind were, the flame never go off. But at this point of life, the wind seems to be over the fire and I no longer have the enthusiam anymore. Perhaps, this is what they call the dark side of one’s path or route in life journey where the engine of courage stuck and jerk a little and will soon begin to slow down.

Thanks to Paulo Coelho and Ernesto Che Guevara which books I had been recently read. Their way of writing might be one of the reasons why I am still writing at this moment. In Che Guevara’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Paulo Coelho’s “The Valkries”, the masterpiece shows wonderful part of writing their life journey through their travelling and discovering and challenges, obstacles, people and places that stood along their wonderful journey. These are the things that they encounters and experience and that is what inspire me to do the same, which keep recording this point of life, of the people I meet, of the places I travel and of course on how life was so tough on me and how I still live on, which I believe soon to be the greatest masterpiece I ever produce to be treasure, at least to myself some 10 years down the road.

If last week was full of farewell, then I would I say this week is pretty much the same, losing more and more crazy happy shiny people. The farewell dinner of Thomas C1 (the one that broke my tooth and later funded the whole surgery) and Tom UK (the Paul Bettany look-alike) was held in one of the expensive restaurant somewhere in the neighbourhood. It was witnessed with awesome delicacies and dessert, speeches and farewell gifts.

At the end of the exquisite dinner, the restaurant tried to cheat us by charging us for 21 bottles of beers (instead of 14) but after some debating with the ke-ling-kia –tei (Indian attitude), the customer proved to be always right.

And if that is not enough, this week, Mario the Slovak/German and Nills the big guy, also German is leaving us. Michael the CDD will bid us goodbye one week after Mario and Nills. These are really cool dude to hang out and travel with and I have to say that it will be felt when they are gone. While didn’t have the opportunies to travel with Nills (except for pattying), travelling with Mario and Michael the CDD had been great (Hampi, Goa and Matheran hill station)

The departure of Thomas and Tom (they went travelling before leaving India for good) and the soon-to be depart, Mario, Nills and Michael the CDD marked the arrival of some new trainees. Trude, from Norway had been with us for about two weeks now and Yushi (crazy guy), from Japan just arrived two days ago.

Another new trainee, my rock buddy, Martin from Germany also had been with us for almost two weeks now. He played the guitar (acoustic and lead) in the band as well as the bass guitar. He looks like the vocalist/guitarist of the band Everclear. Also, the non AIESEC trainee, Erin’s friend, Nina from Iceland Reunion, the clean shaven, philosophical girl. (She asked me who gave me the right to kill the mosquitoes)

Wednesday night, Marielle, Nills the big guy, me, Erin, Nina, Omar, Dawson and Carolina went to the most famous club in Koregeon Park for a open air concert by Rabbi, the upcoming and infamous rock star of India. The atmosphere and the setting look like one of the Rock Festival, building of amplifiers, big stage, people lying on the field, boozy and chicks etc. The performance was open by local band who called themselves “Sankara”. Their type of music is a combination of fusion rock/progressive rock music with sufism. The drummer especially, was the star of the night. At around 10pm, Rabbi came onto stage, with his usual outfit and appearance. He is a Punjab. He was wearing turban and his traditional costume, holding up a Fender guitar with his bandmates, comprises of bassist, drummer, keyboardist and a lead guitar. He rock the stage with both English and Hindi but most of the songs were in local language. Though I didn’t understand most of the part, but I can sense that he is quite a entertainer and a joker. Anyway, he was a good guitar player who worships Jimi Hendrix. The disappointment was the actual record was all the same but without the rock jamming.

Nills and Marielle were drunk and they stay the same for the next three days to come (4 days in a row). After Rabbi, we went to the inside, to dance the whole damn night away. And as for me, I somewhat lost interest in clubbing lately. I wasn’t as lively as I used to be. Most of the time, I would prefer to chill in my new balcony, smoking, drinking and reading or contemplating at anything or nothing with of course, great chill out music. Or maybe because I feel the pinch in my pocket (I live with very little money and most of the time quite broke) every time I receive the invitation to the clubs. My mission here is to travel and sees more places as much as possible. In order to fulfil that, I need to live life as sufficient (or insufficient you may want to put it) as it could be.

We started talking about our reunion already and might be taken place at the end of the year at either Amsterdam or Prague. I had miss my first Malaysian trainees reunion at Prague last year (for obvious reason) but for this time, my own reunion, as much as I would like to go, I am already laughing at the possibilities of my presence there regardless of Amsterdam or Prague. But, as for now, I have so much stuff in my head so I won’t spend time having headache over petty issue like that and anyway, it is still long to go. Nothing is predictable, so I would leave it just like that.

I already lost tracks on which days for which event already but anyway, I will just keep on writing, relying fully on the memory recollection of my brain.

One of the deep, dead silence Friday night, if I am not mistaken, I was reading Paulo Coelho’s “The Valkries”, couldn’t remember of what I did before that, I finally decided to put off the book and goes to bed. It was a warm night and the pack of mosquitoes, always thirst for blood, were gathered and attacking all of our flesh, especially me, the only one who live without mosquitoes net. So I decided to die on the couch, in the living room that night and I did. I was about 15 minutes into an unknown world, maybe cosmic, couldn’t care less to remember anyway, suddenly, I was awaken by the loud door bell and within few seconds, I saw Nills, Marielle, Mario and two smart Indian (one guy and one sexy girl) ushering themselves to the house, completely high and drunk, shouting and talking between them. They were with few bottle of booze and one bottle of champagne and a big speaker (from C1) and without further consideration, they tune on the volume to the maximum, releasing the beat of HipHop into the air, so loud that it woke up the poor David. But you cannot blame them for such a intolerateable acts because they weren’t themselves, they were under the influence of alcohol. As for me, I was still peacefully wrapped like a corpse in my sleeping bag and when I finally came to my full awakening, I decided to join da´party. There’s a saying, if you can’t beat them, join them. Marielle was so drunk that she started to dance like a stripper.

Anyway, my relation as a flatmate (never friend) with Bernard the weirdo had gone straight to hell. It was bad before and now I think it is worse. He is the only pain in the ass and obviously, nobody like him and being a social outcast he always is, none of us never really heed or take his lamentation or favour. It all started from the same old issue, of storing weed in the house. India, like Malaysia, under their law, had made any forms of drugs illegal thus to possess them will consequence the owner of certain punishment. But like or unlike Malaysia, in many places in India like Goa, Hampi, Koregeon Park of Pune and many more, soft drugs are well tolerated. He, like always, freaking out on the possibilities of police raiding our house and ransacking all corners of the house and will arrest all of the occupants and sent all of them to jail for ten years because of the weed possession because some stranger or jealous neighbourhood will report to the police because he is too professional that he can tell from far the different of smoking weed and cigarette without even smelling it (I am being fucking sarcastic).

Technically he is right hence I am wrong but this fucking asshole didn’t ask is, if technically he is right and there is always a possibility of getting caught (highly unlikely), then why on earth the rest of the occupant of the house never care?. Why only him? It is because, they rest of them are normal like you and me. They chill, they don’t care, they don’t wanna be the pain in the ass, they know what is possible and what is not, they know it won’t happen. Anyway, since technically I was wrong, so I decided to feed him my word of not buying anymore. Period. These events follow up of many more disagreement which lead the relation of us to hell. (Omar had the similar problem with him on the same issue and had since stop buying any sort of drugs.)

Bernard is so fuck up that even the new trainee, housemate, Christian, hate him in his first day of arrival. (obviously because of his selfish act). Not to say Christian is any better than him but at least this mama boy is improving everyday. He looks like Stuart Townshend (About Adam), charming boy. At least he started to consume foods from the street, from the visitors, spicy foods and other stuff. Bernard, still eating tuna fish from the can and expensive foods and by doing that, he thought he is taking enough cautious. (yet, he is the one that on average, fall ill or sick at least twice a fortnight).

I was chatting with my friend, Allan, ex trainee to Malaysia (from Denmark) and we were talking about life and faraway. It is strange that one will start to ponder and contemplate about life, on how wonderful life is, how precious it is every single moment. That everything happens for a reason. Even though sometime, we might be defeated by the norm of society, but that doesn’t mean we should not get up from the fall. The best book that I can relate is Paulo Coelho’s “Veronica decides to die”. It is insane to be different and it takes lots of courage to do so. Be who you are NOT become what society want you to be. Be true to yourself. Listen to your soul, the essence of the truth because the soul doesn’t lie. If you are not strong enough, your mind (your second self, the element that have the power to absorb everything around hence influences) will manipulate your soul to do what you want. As for me, I always be truth to myself and I don’t care what people or society think about me. Why should I? Why being hypocrite? Why against your original self? In the book, “Veronica”, you will come to know that life is short and life is precious and there is no time to be pretentious or being hypocrite, that it is OK to be different, in order to be yourself. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be like those Chinese kids in university that always harp or emphasize on what the girls will perceive of them, about the clean image? What is clean image anyway? Who define clean image? I came to know lots of Chinese friends who want to smoke but are afraid someone (the girls) spotted them and therefore will label them, bad guy. Similarly to smoking, of wearing torn jeans, crumpy t-shirts, of swearing etc. I think that’s the greatest sin (if not the absolute greatest) is to go against yourself. I appear with outfit that suite me, I smoke because I want to smoke, I swear because I need to express my true feeling in the heat of the moment, I drink because I want to, I eat with hands in the college or in the restaurant and I hang around with the Malay whichever way I please as long as they are cool and click with me then they are my friend. Don’t ask why I mix with Malay or so and so. Society will often tell you this is bad and that is bad. Don't! Don’t listen to them, listen to yourself.

Do things that please yourself to please society not the other way round. Once you satisfy your soulneed, then only you will have the ease to do what you should do or contribute to the society BUT not doing things to please the society and then doing things what society want you to be, that’s unhealthy my friend. People always asked me why am I like that? That I smoke, or that I swear or that I talk openly certain issues that seems taboo to them or to the society I came from, for instance sex, religion, masturbation etc? And I said why not? To those who feel sorry for my attitudes or for my thinking and hoping I will change someday, I regret to inform you that I am growing outside my comfort zone, that what I think and act then is still what I am thinking and behaving now, maybe just stronger, more mature with little extra of compromises or toleration but never comply to what society want from me.

Dennis the Irish boy band look-alike had just got back from his one month travelling across India, with his Dutch friend, Vitas. He is currently bumming in my apartment. You see, traineeship and travelling is really good because along the way, you will meet lots of people, from all corners of the world, some from places you never even know exist and all of them have stories, thought and experiences to tell and share. Through them, you will come to learn life’s greatest lesson. Vita is only 22 years and he thinks like none of our university chinese dudes or (in general la…). He is now in the middle of his one year off his university and are currently residing in some remote area, in Kenya. He spent up all of his college fund, took one year off, to do what he believe is right, which is to be unselfish to the society that had mould and shape him. He is now with one of the NGO, championing education opportunity to the kids that all their life, depriving of basic education. He earns nothing there and is living off his college fund. While not denying that this is also his mission to live somewhere else with opposite situation to that of Holland, as well as for personal growth, he shared with us the actual value and of his actual satisfaction of living his life in Kenya. Through him, I also added some great materials to my music collection of some raggae music from Africa, some chill out music from the same continent as well as songs from Holland. We chatted a lots and in a few days, he will be going back to Kenya to do what he is now doing.

This reminds me of Ernesto Che Guevara´s motorcycle travelling across the whole Latin America, living and experiencing the poor, poverty, illness, deseaseness, hunger and hence learning and becoming one of the greatest revolutionary of the century to champion of what the people need. One of his passionate statement that touch me to the heart was “The life of one human being is much more worth than the total wealth of all the rich people in the world”, in his speech to the group of medical students, 1960, while he was active in the Cuba revolutionary group. This means, that no child should be left behind or being deprived by a fundamental needs of nutritious life, education etc while other march towards good life, under the mechanism of capitalism. Please note that I am not putting my stance on anything, I am merely sharing what I know.

On the Saturday night, Martin the Everclear and me went to a rock gig in Elysium. After Rabbi, I had set a high expectation for this gig. I had been to many gigs in my life. My first was when I was 14, at “Soul Fun”, Penang. Bands that time were Acid Rain, Poetic Amno, Cromok etc. And we were tranced by the music of Prodigy. Another one that I can remember was in Rock World, Penang. This is when I was in my teen, around 16, rocking with bands like OAG, Bollock, Acid Rain and some local punk bands. This was a memorable one because OAG then was starting to get famous with the Coca Cola contract and their major debut, “60´s TV”. See, Penang fans are not open for a sissy bands like OAG and such hence, the punks and gig goers were protesting and were booing OAG out of stage, throwing can and other hard objects onto the stage and finally, was burning the Coca Cola flags as a symbol of burning OAG as a band. The reason I gathered then was Radhi and rest of the band mates was labelled arrogant, disrespectful and hanging out only with groupies and were completely high on drugs minutes before the gig.

Then another festival in Ace Planet, Penang, New Year eve of 1994, where lots of Malay hard rock bands and some Penang bands (one of them were from my school) were performing. Some of the famous band were Yantzent and May, Rahim Maarof and lots more. The same things that happen to OAG earlier also happen to this pop group who then was on their way up (now the biggest and the most talented group who own their own business empire ), KRU. They were thrashed on stage and were booed off the stage. This followed by a bloody fight and commotion and to make matter more interesting, me and my best friend, walked back to our house, the distance that took us 6 hours. The rest were history.

Another one was in Unplugged Pub, Penang where I did my first stage dive, crashed and smash the amplifiers and mike stands so hard that it crash so badly, small fight with one guy when my boot accidentally hit his head when I dived off the stage, warned by the bouncer for smashing the amps and lights and lots more. I can´t remember the numbers of gigs I had attended, not to mention major concert like Deep Purple, Incubus, Linkin Park, Scorpion, Search, Godbless etc.

Anyway, I was expecting something like Rabbi, open air, full stage but it turn out to be the lousiest gig I ever attended in my lifetime. The band (from Mumbai) that promised to deliver covers from Nirvana, Pink Floyd, REM, Incubus etc were completely let down. They called themselves “Teenage angst” and they were without a bassist and a drummer. Only one vocalist and two lead, which didn’t play lead at all, only strumming, The sounds were so bad that they stop and paused many times, not to mention they started late. The singer was referring to the noted throughout the performance of merely 20 minutes. The setting and the PA system were all wrongly placed. PA system were in front of the stage. And for Martin, he was extremely disappointed too. Don´t give this shit to Martin, someone that had attended Metallica, RedHotChilliPepper, Tool, Motorhead etc. The only consolation we got that night was AFS, the only professional duo band who jam with only drum and bass, with extravaganza lighting and smoke machine and building of amps, it rocked the house down. They were original and playing only original materials and occasionally improvising some good materials on stage which kind of reminds me of Billy Sheehan (Mr Big) jamming with A Samad and the rest of the local musicians.

Mark Knopler of Dire Street is coming, live in Mumbai this Saturday. I want to go but I am not sure as the date is clashing with my tentative plan to travel to Buldana, 12 hours bus ride from Pune. Third week of March, I will be on the road again, this time to Southern Goa, Polerim, one of the most beautiful beach in the world.

Before I sign off, I would like to inform my blog army that I am extending my stay here in India. I just filed my visa extension last week and is now under process. My boss is also keen to extend my traineeship. So if everything is good, I will be staying until October 2005. After that, I will let life and love lead me through….till then, PEACE FOREVER!!!

Love & Regards,