Saturday, October 18, 2008

India Trip 2008 (3)

It is saturday night. Time now is 10.32pm. I'm at home after a hectic day today. Yes Deepavali is looming but i was rather busy with work till afternoon before i headed home for hari raya open house organised by my immediate neighbour. Hari Raya is on for a month mind you. Yes, nice delicacies and now that Poratasi month is over effective thursday (buka puasa yesterday with some beers and nice food, not that i like beer) i enjoyed what my neighbour had to offer. Then it was out to Jusco to get supplies for the house.

I'm watching my team Liverpool play Wigan while i'm blogging now and to my dismay Wigan is leading 0-1. Hmmmm playing at home at Anfield and this is how they start. What made me decide to blog today was the fact that i've been having my pals visiting my blog and thus far i have more than 350 people or rather friends (i've only told my friends about my blog) visiting my blog and that reminded me that my India trip blog is 3/4 way through. I don't want my friends to come in and get stale stories and hence i've decided that my india trip has to come to an end today. Don't want you guys to refer me as tiga suku. Hahaha!! Please bear in mind that i am in no competition with Tun Dr Mahathir to beat his record of people visiting his blog now standing at an astonishing 8 million plus visiting his blog. Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. Dirk Kuyt has equalised for Liverpool. What a goal.

Alright lets get to business. I stopped the last time at Lord Vengadachalapathi's debt story. Lets go back to where i stopped on my trip. Fortune Kences was the hotel we stayed. Hotel rates in India has sky rocketed. The room was 2,900 rupees per night and that is without breakfast. That translates into RM 265.00 per night. If i remember correctly i could stay in a five star hotel in Malaysia. Why i say if i remember correctly is the fact that i have not stayed in a hotel room in Malaysia for some time. Rooms as i have mentioned in Tirupati is clean and good. So in that sense it was ok.

Anyway, we had organised for ourselves to get special tickets for entry into Tirupati. Which means we get special entry through a special gate which takes us faster through the queue whereby we join the others with no special tickets half way through. These tickets are only available to hindus who are NRIs and with people with letters from ministers from India or higher up. NRI translates to Non Resident Indians . We are given those tickets upon producing our passports. The tickets were to be delivered to us at our hotel room by 10pm that very day for "Darshan" the following morning at 4am.

But as you have it, the way god plays his games (Andavanin Leelai) our agent told us to collect the tickets at Tirumala at 4am the next morning and proceed to the temple. Tirumala is where Lord Venki is. We were told to go to the office opposite Canara Bank to collect our tickets. I called our driver Abdul and told him about this and he confidently said he will take us there. So, another early morning for us. Its up at 2.30am and by 3.15am we left the hotel to proceed to Tirumala. The security enroute to Tirumala is very tight and it being the Poratasi month which is a significant month to pray to Lord Venki, the traffic to Tirumala was even worse.

We got to Tirumala at about 4am. Round and round. Merry go round. Our driver couldn't find Canara Bank. I had to take the lead. Stopped the driver at the entrance of the special entrance accorded to NRIs, Bala and I went around asking how to get to Canara Bank and after about 1/2 hour of walking we got there and got our tickets. And half hour back to where my parents were waiting with the driver.

The driver checked with the police manning the special entrance and was told that we would have to take a longer route. I had enough with the driver and told him that i will take charge from then on. And so i did. Told my parents to walk close behind me as i approached the police manning the special entrance. Just told him "nanggu ticket unnayi, meru malaysia ninchi ucharu" and thats it he let us in. What i told them was i have four tickets and we came all the way from Malaysia....that too in telugu. Thank god, working with a telugu boss long time ago did the job. But just imagine what i had mentioned in my earlier blog about seeing the Lord. He has to give the go ahead. What was initially to be a 4am entry eventually became 5.30am. So what so special about the special entry? Nothing really. He makes you come to him when he wants to. No short route.

By the way, Wigan scored their second goal. What the fish.

As we went in and joined the others in anticipation of a good "Darshan", i was preoccupied at the tenacity of others who actually took the trouble of bringing their young ones going through the queue. While many infants were crying away as it was rather hot and stuffy queueing up, there were others who were fast asleep due to the timing. As we inched closer to the sannadhi, i was getting restless. I couldn't wait to unleash my grouses to the Lord. But knowing that we will not get a decent time to look directly at him and express my grouses, i started early. This time around the shovelling and pushing was less intense.

To my surprise, this time around a ramp had been built. Which means the moment we turn to the Sannadhi, the ramp built up to down allowing us to see Him from the beginning of the turning right up to the end. And as i have mentioned earlier we being NRIs and somehow the ushers would recognise that we aren't citizens of India, they allow us longer "Darshan". Longer here means 15 to 20 seconds. Thats all.

I had a good "Darshan", thanks to the fact that i am tall. By Asian standards I am tall. Standing at 5'10 3/4 of an inch. That is tall. After that it was straight to the "Undial" or tabung in malay to put in your part of paying towards Lord Venki's debt. I had many with me. My wife also known for her generosity had mentioned to her friends at office that i will be going to Tirupati and hence me carrying others donations. After that it was collection of laddu. Each ticket entitles you to 2 laddus.

Dad and mum had vowed to donate their hair at Tirupati and so they proceeded to have their head shaved. So, its my first time seeing my mum bald and apparenty from the day she knew herself it was her first. Well we all have our firsts. As for dad it was not his first time and so i am used to seeing him bald. While waiting for my parents to have their heads shaved, Bala and i decided to have the stall side Poori and coffee. My was scintillating. Very tasty. And how much did it cost? 10 rupees each for 2 Pooris. Damn syiok woooo.

Goallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll........Liverpool equalised. Liverpool and I have something in common. Coming back from behind. All this time Liverpool was probably going through 7 1/2 years of Sani. Hahaha. Let me stop on the beers and get back to blogging. What the...Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll......Liverpool have just scored again. more beer please.

Went back to the hotel to check out and it was to Padmavathi Temple after that. As i have mentioned in my previous blog, Padmavathi was the expensive wife of Lord Venki for whom we are paying the interest for loan taken from Lord Kuberan. Padmavathi temple is a must. If you visit the Lord, you must visit the wife. And so we did enroute to Chennai.

Can i promise you guys that i will finish this tomorrow. Really tired. I keep typing double of everything and Liverpool won. If there is a typo or some gramatical error, it will be rectified tomorrow.

Nite nite

Monday, October 13, 2008

The race is on

The title might suggest what went on at the Suzuka GP F1 race where Fernando Alonso won his second GP back to back in an incident(accident actually) filled race. But no, that is not what i meant.

I'm referring to what is happening in the Malaysian political scenario. Many Barisan political parties are having its elections. I'm not bothered about Gerakan and MCA as to me they are not relevant at all. Though not relevant just to point out that Lim Si Pin, the son of famous Lim Keng Yaik who is the former head of Gerakan, is the new head of Gerakan Youth Chief. Lim Si Pin became famous after his sensational loss to Tian Chua for the Batu parliament seat in the last General Elections while the father is famous for his spits rather than his wits.

UMNO is the party that interests me as it is generally known to us that the head of UMNO constitutionally will become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The elections which was to be held in December has been postponed to March. As to why it was done, we have to ask Abdullah Badawi. My guess is, he thought he could cling on to the post and somehow manage to contest. I don't see a reason why you can't announce that you will not be defending your post on the 6th, 7th or 8th of October as opposed to 9th October 2008. What difference will it make? For someone who says the parliament will not be dissolved tomorrow but goes ahead and does so, it might make the difference.

As of today the tally stands at 28 nominations for Najib for the post of presidency. No others have been nominated for this post. Is this worrying? You tell me.

The last UMNO elections Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku Li) went on to challenge the president but managed to garner only one nomination which was from his own division Gua Musang. In order to qualify for the elections for the post of presidency one must garner at least 58 nominations from 190 divisions.

Tun Mahathir was the one who mooted this idea of getting certain amount of nominations from divisions of UMNO and got the Majlis Tertinggi UMNO to pass this resolution. Each position had different number of nominations to qualify. It came into force after his narrow win when Ku li contested way back in 1987. What happened after that with UMNO Baru and Semangat 46 is well known to us and i shall not eloborate on that. I guess all of you would understand why Tun Mahathir did what he did and we all know why Tun's favourite song is Frank Sinatra's "My Way".

The hot contest will be for the post of Vice Presidency where eleven aspirants are contesting for 3 spots. As for the Deputy President, i think it will be a one sided contest with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin winning hands down. Just look at the other two contestant. One is Ali Rustam who is the Menteri Besar of Melaka which recently bestowed a Datukship to SHAH RUKH KHAN. What the fish. Shah Rukh Khan for Datukship? What was running in his mind? Do we want him to be our DPM? Geli geleman youuuuu. In time to come, a lot of us will be calling each other Datuk. Throw a stone in a large crowd and i bet it will land on some Datuk.

Need we even talk about the other aspirant? Well we should. Just to touch base. None other than the infamous Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, the former teacher who doesn't understand simple English as to how to fill up a declaration form in an airport in Australia. That was his rationale and the court in Australia actually acquitted him. Back in Malaysia, what was preplexing was the fact that no one quizzed him as to why he was carrying such a big sum of cash which as the Menteri Besar's pay cheque over the years could not amount to that figure. A transparent ACA, a free judiciary system among others which was promised by Abdullah Badawi back in 2004 which saw him winning a handsome majority and now we know why he will cease to be the PM of Malaysia in March.

The vice presidency nominations are currently led by the keris wielding Hishamuddin Tun Hussein followed by Shafie Apdal from Sabah and Zahid Hamidi. In the wake of the opposition threatening to take over the Government, Shafie Apdal had said that all the representatives (MPs) in Sabah will sign a form declaring their full support to Barisan which was defied by many. Now we know why he had said that. Garner support. Politic is dirty to the core. You will say things just to win support. But one must also remember that in politics one cannot be assured that his own wife will vote for him. One of the aspirant out of eleven is Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad. Did he even think before offering himself for the position? Here we are talking about a person who was found guilty of money politics enroute to numero uno position of vice presidency the last time around and was stripped of his position in the cabinet. Zulhasnan Rafique's star must have been really bright. From first time MP to deputy minister and upon Isa Samad getting stripped, a full minister. Anyway, no reason to talk about Zulhasnan.

UMNO Youth, the backbone of the party is seeing fierce battle. It is akin to the battle of World War II. Datuk Mukhriz, son of Tun Mahathir has secured enough nominations to contest the post. One needs 38 nominations and he has 40 thus far. When i look at Mukhriz, he comes off as a carbon copy of his dad. Complaining and whining that the UMNO youth is being prevented from meeting him. Didn't we hear all these from the senior some time ago?

The other aspirant is Khairy Jamaluddin, an Oxford University returnee and also famous as the current PM's son-in-law who at 32 will be the youngest Youth chief if he wins. He has not secured enough standing at 20 nominations. But my guess is he will well surpass the 38 needed. Many political pundits have blamed him as one of the big reason for Barisan's dismal showing at the last General Elections. I wouldn't dare deny that. He apparently is very arrogant. I don't know. I don't know him personally but judging from his famous "GEMPUR KELATE" press conference during the last General Elections one would suggest so in his personality. But come on. Will the UMNO youth want someone who rides on his father-in-law's name? Tell me, how else would he have won the deputy youth chief unopposed the last time around when he was just 28 and new to UMNO?

The other joker for this position is Datuk Seri Khir Toyo. Indeed he is a good joker. But if you remember the "joker" in the Batman series, you ought to be wary of this joker as well. A dark horse not literally as in his colour as he bleaches his face. Whatever happened to his spectacles? Owwww laser treatment is cheap nowadays. Must get mine done too.

Good day folks

Saturday, October 11, 2008

India Trip 2008 (2)

I stopped at Govinda Govinda at my last blog.... thats the chant that will accompany you all the way into Tirumala where Lord Venkadachalapathi is. Let me continue my journey there.

It takes approximately 3 hours to get to Tirupati from Kanchipuram. As India is going super fast, our car which was a Toyota Innova was equipped with a small VCD player. Although tired from the journeys from the air to the roads, I couldn't sleep. So, I asked our driver Abdul to play some movie. He had Dasavatharam starring Kamal Hassan and though I had not watched the movie I opted to watch Vadivelu comedy to further enlighten (laugh rather) my trip as I would prefer to watch a Kamal Hassan movie with full passion though many of my dear and close friends know that iI am a Rajni fan.

We arrived at Tirupati at about 2 pm. Well I left Kanchipuram at 9.30am and as i have mentioned earlier the trip takes about 3 hours. Was it traffic? No!!! Our car tyre got punctured and guess what? The driver did not have a spare tyre. We kept asking the driver how come the car not come with A SPARE TYRE?

We waited for an hour for the driver to get the car sorted out. And again without further ado, I went on scolding the driver for not having a spare tyre. And thats when he asked me what was a spare tyre and goshhhhhhhhhh thats when i remember watching Tamil movies mentioning "Stephanie" in this context "Stephanie" means spare tyre. No wonder he couldn't understand when we kept on asking if he had a spare tyre.

On why it is called "Stephanie" I don't know. Was "stephanie" a famous name for keeps? Or spare wife? God knows but i don't and i believe many don't. But i believe my theory is close to correct and so I think.

While waiting for the car for close to an hour, we were stuck at this crossroad town. A rather small town where we could not even get an ice cream. The roads so dusty that i believe my cough which refuses to heal originated from that particular town.

Anyway, we arrived at Tirupati close to 2pm. As we were not even able to get an ice cream at our previous unscheduled stop, we were dead hungry. Bhimmas.... that was a hotel plus restaurant. Please bear in mind that in India a hotel more often than not means a restaurant. But here we got both though we were not staying there. I as usual ordered my mini meals which is a lot for most of us and the rest ordered different items. Mum ordered "Singapore styled mee hoon". We in Malaysia know what Singapore Mee Hoon is and what I expected having ordered the food for my mum was to be close to that. Yes! Singapore Mee Hoon came but alas not close to what we have here. To my dismay or rather surprise the Singapore Mee Hoon is India come with small strips of "omam pudi". What is omam pudi? Little murrukku or mixer as it is favouritely called in Malaysia. Hmmmm!!!!! An improvement to a Chinese delicacy.

Right after lunch it was off to our hotel. Fortune Kences Hotel. All along my journey to Tirupati, the hotel had its advertisement vis billboards. As i had expected through the advertisements, the hotel was good. As it is the case with all hotels in Tirupati as it is my second trip is all clean and well kept. Why not? They have the hotel there with Lord Vengadachalapathi as partners. They better keep it clean and neat plus profitable. Why profitable? I will explain.

In my previous blog or blogs i would have mentioned that Tirupathi is the the second richest temple in the world after Vatican City if not sooner or later to be overtaken. The story is this. Lord Vengadachalapthi took a rebirth or another form where he is to take PADMAVATHi as his wife. Mind you, his first wife is Mahalakshmi and to Hindus we all know who she is....the Goddess of Wealth.

In this rebirth or what we can call reincarnation, our Lord is a poor guy who is a shepherd. Padmavathi is the daughter of a King. Somehow as we all believe in fairy tales, the poor shepherd and the king's daughter fell in love. To the King's dismay disapproving the love (not knowing the shepherd is actually Lord V), the King had proposed a big dowry that the shepherd could not afford.

This is when the shepherd went back his role as Lord Vengedachalapathi and had asked Lord Kuberan (the lord for wealth) give Lord Venki a loan with interest. While Lord Kuberan was hesitant to give Lord Venki loan on interest as Lord Kuberan believed that Lord Venki did not have to do so if he assumed being Lord Venki, it was with the insistence of Lord Venki that the loan was passed as it was supposed to take a natural process of Karma. Apparently the interest will not end its payment till the end of the world(kaliyugam) and hence whatever donations or gift we present at the temple goes towards repayment of Lord Venki's loan from Lord Kuberan.

I'll stop at this and continue later. Ciao

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

India Trip 2008 (1)

Jet Airways is good. That was the flight that took us to India. The whole night i was restless in excitement or in despair. I don't know which. Despair probably as i would not be able to see my beloved son for 5 days. Well my wife too (better have her documented as well). I couldn't sleep well. No thanks to Poratasi which means as i have mentioned in my earlier blog i'm a teetotaler for a month.

But i know that was not the reason. I was excited. Yes, excited. Not like i've not been to India but some kind of excitement. Was it because i was visiting Lord Vengadachalapathi for the second time or was it seeing Kanchi Kamatchi Amman for the third time? Whatever it was, it certainly kept me awake till 5.30am. Our flight was at 9.30am.

Got to the airport, checked in, had expensive breakfast at KLIA that cost RM 70 for four of us and boarded the plane. As we all know, planes are nothing different than an express bus, only that it plies the air. What is different though is the fact that we are served by beautiful waitresses and this particular flight yes indeed, mum told me to pull out my handkerchief and keep my eyes low. All the seats were equipped with mini tv where we can choose what we want to watch. KUNG FU PANDA. That was what i watched. My wife dearingly calls my son Kung Fu Panda because of his affinity to kicking.

The food served was definitely better than Indian Airways or Air India. After the movie it was soothing time as i was hearing to old hindi tunes most of which were my favourites. We arrived at 11.30am local indian time which means it was 2.00pm here in Malaysia. 2 1/2 hours difference.

We had lunch in Chennai itself at Vadapalani. Vadapalani is famous for its many actors and actresses staying there as well as the well know AVM Studio. From Chennai straight off to Kanchipuram, home of the famous Kanchi Kamatchi Amman temple and also sarees. Sarees here are cottage business like.

We met the priest that same night and had asked him to perform a special prayer the following morning and we were told to be at the temple at 5.30am. Which means we would have to get up very early in the morning. As the temple was near the hotel we stayed i set the alarm on my handphone at 7 am malaysian time - 4.30am Indian time. I did not change the timing on my handphone nor was i wearing a watch. At about 2.30am there was a knock on the door. It was my dad. He cautioned me that we were running late. I looked at the time. It was 5am malaysian time. Dad had not changed his timing on the watch. It showed Malaysian timing. I smiled, he smiled and we went back to sleep.

As was asked of us, we were the right smack on time at 5.25am. As you would all know and as most of us Indians will mention indian timing, the priest arrived only at 6.15am. But the special prayers went well where we were seated right opposite of the Goddess a mere 5 metres away in the sannadhi (the inner area). It was beautiful and lasted about an hour.

After the prayers it was off to Saravana Bhavan for breakfast. Please take note. The only thing that is cheap in India today are the handphones (cell as it is popularly known in India and mind you that that is the most correct word to describe it) and the call charges. Everything else is expensive. I had a Karra(spicy) Thosai, dad a set of Idli, mum also a Thosai and Bala a set of Poori plus 4 coffees (in India coffee or tea is only served upon completion of meal but as we Malaysians prefer it while having breakfast, we had ours as per norm) and what did we pay? 416 rupees which if we convert to ringgit would be RM 34.60. That is very expensive for breakfast. After breakfast its off to Tirupati. Govinda Govinda

Will update on this later.

Snippets By TDM


How have you guys been? India trip was a good one whereby i did my level best of pleasing the Almighty to have my fortunes of health and wealth enhanced.

Here's my comments to TDM's snippet which got published. Brimming.

By monkutty on October 7, 2008 10:12 PM

Dear Tun,

We (i probably speak for many whose questions and remarks have gone unanswered) understand that while you may not be able to answer all our questions or remarks, we believe that there were many important ones that have gone unanswered.

Correct me if i'm wrong. Was Anwar not your protege that he rose to the ranks of Deputy Premier within 11 years of coming into Barisan Nasional politics. First becoming an MP in 1982 and deputy premier in 1993. Weren't you one of the forces behind Anwar getting full support from divisions all over that Ghafar had to resign or rather leave in humiliation?

There are many questions that go unanswered or even published. I've had many of my comments not published. Hope this does. I am an ardent fan of you and used to be a silent critic of your previous administration and you. Not today though.