What do you want to become in Life?

When this question was asked to me, by my Vice Principal,while I was having dinner in a forest at Kangra Valley in 1997, I was taken aback. Nobody had asked me that question. I didnt know what to answer. How would I know that or even thnk about that when I am on a summer holiday Nature camp trip to the Himalayas, in the chill of 3 degrees? I looked at my dinner and the rock on which I was sitting. I thought being a vagabond exploring new places seemed great, because in my non detail english reader, adventures in far-away lands brought me far pleasure than sucking up to Axioms and Theorems. I also thought being a cricket commentator was fun, as it meant watching cricket all day long, and visiting new places. BUT, was that an answer you could tell the Vice Principal? NO, not when the kids around me in class 9, were rattling off words like NTSE,BITS,IIT M and Blah blah...

I didnt want to think too much, and I said "Engineer". I knew heart of hearts, it wasnt something I wanted to be. Secondly I had not faced too much success in life. So I didnt even know whether my brain could take me to the path of being an engineer. I suddenly felt that I was carrying loads of guilt by giving that answer and that guilt carried all the way till my engineering.

Today I look back, and ask myself what would I want to become, I still no have answer. I still like being a Railway station master and a vagabond traveller, but thats probably a phase of life that I might enjoy.

So is the answer to the question always a profession that would yield money and keep you secure or that would give you happiness? I seem quite lost. One thing I see is its never to late to keep asking this question, as long as you dont carry guilt with the chosen path. Lets see how life progresses!


Twitter is spoiling me

Its ages since I wrote on my blog. Twitter and Facebook have me hooked on. I still havent settled into Chennai. The house still needs a lot of tweaking in terms of books/clothes racks and it badly needs a dose of painting. Since my purse theft, and salary dues from Mumbai, I have already flooded my credit card limit, so suddenly I feel restrained by the slow pace of life. Itching to do lots of things, but dont have the mood nor money to immideately fuel my interest.

I have started hating Google Tasks, as it keeps popping to remind me, how many activities still remain unfinished/unaccomplished. I'd love to set some order in life, but life rarely goes on in the way one plans it, so I guess Life is what you do when all plans flop.

I guess the post is getting too random. Time for some siesta!


Thailand Trip- Part 2

Thailand Trip- Part 2, continued from Part 1

We checked into TP Watergate hotel, in the area called Pratunya. This part of Bangkok near the famous sky scraper of the BMW tower, seemed like one of the bylanes of old Kolkata. After we settled into ablutions, I decided to cut my hair, as I couldn’t do it in Chennai, due to being busy with a lot of other stuff. It came at a princely cost of 100 Bahts (150 rs). I slept off, while the barber started cutting my hair, and got up and saw that my hair was cut to a basic satisfactory level( It is rumoured by my mother over time, that if my hair level goes beyond a cut off, i am more vulnerable to catch cold and fever. Sounds Crappy, but its always worked on me).
Along with the TP Watergate hotel stay (3 star and 4000 bahts a night), we also got a guided tour for a couple of hours in a limousine, with a Thai Chick. She showed us around some of the historical places from the cool confines of the vehicle, and for a few locations, we got down and saw the golden Buddha and the Wat Pho temple. Learnt from her that every king in Thailand over time was called Rama and the current king’s portrait/poster was splashed on every thing commercial in the city.

We even encouraged her to sing some Thai music to her, and she started singing something that had the words ‘phuk’ , coming very often. We later realised that somewhere in the Thai lingo, very inadvertently ‘phuk’ forms a part of their dictionary. It was a little tough understanding her English, and sometimes sign language and presumptions, was our only way to prevent irritation of not understanding. In return I sung "Kabhi Kabhi" in Hindi to give a glimpse of Indian music. Shyam and Jyothi, exchanged glances and thought..some one was flirting excessively.

After our mini excursion, we were lulled into visiting a gem exhibition, which we window shopped and were also directed to a travel agent who was quoting very high fares for planning our trip. She mistook us for tourists, but we travellers decided that the best way to plan, was to head to an internet centre and do our own research.

We had rough visions on what to do. One was visit Maya Bay in Phi Phi, where portions of my cult movie ‘THE BEACH’ was shot. The other vision was to laze around for a couple of days, gazing at blue-green waters, and get east to Samui islands and Koh Tao. Having heard of Nok Air and other budget carriers we worked out a rough schedule which was an all beach schedule. We had to drop off the northern Chiang Mai(Hills) plan because of lack of time. This is what we planned from 3 hours of research from 5 pm-8 pm in the nice net center that charged us only 20 bahts an hour.

Bangkok Hotel- Don Meaung Airport (400 Bahts) Taxi (Day 2)
Don Meang Airport- Phuket Airport- Flight for 3 passengers-5100 bahts(day 2)
Phuket Airport- Phuket Town/ Patong Beach- 400 Bahts (day 2)
Hotel Budget for night stay for 3 nights- Not more than 2500 bahts ( day 2,3,4)
Things to do for the next 3 days at Phuket- Lets go there and plan!

Day 2
We got up late at 10 am, and checked out by 11 am, and decided to reach the airport early enough for our 13 40 flight. This was a different airport (Don Meaung) from the one we reached on day 1(Suvarnabhumi Airport).

At the airport, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we were asked by bag attendants/airport staff on what had we planned in Phuket, and when we said we hadn’t planned, we were politely directed to the travel desk, where a lady was showing us various options to stay, while showing us a huge enlarged map of phuket.
Over the course of the conversations, I discovered that there a few islands west of Phuket, around Similan islands, where a lot of honeymooners go. The tourists invariably end up staying in Patong, enjoy the night life, head to the planned phi-phi tour, go bungee jumping, elephant-back tour, snake park and of course head to the go-go bars all around.

The backpackers would have done this

Wait for public transport or shared Tuk Tuks from the Airport to Phuket Town(south east), where accomadation is backpacker friendly and is quiet laidback from the commercialisation of Patong(west). Get on a boat to Phi-Phi, cut on prices by offering to sit on the top of the boat, and get on islands not in the tourist radar!

What did we do? Having taken the taxi to Patong, we decided to be tourists partly by getting a hotel in patong, and booking a trip to James Bond island, Phi Phi islands and Kata Beach. We tried the local night life, by going to bars red in colour and made the most of an offer that gave 2 Breezers for 100 bahts. You have women/men staring at you, trying to seduct you and the best thing you should do is stare back at them and escape as soon as you are done with your drink. ‘Never out stay your welcome as a guest’ was the lines from ‘THE BEACH’that I remembered then, and went to Patong beach at about midnight to taste the local flavour of 30 Baht Pancakes which are similar to our dosas/light Parattha and come with various flavours of cheese, banana, gnutella and strawberry and chocolate linings.

Earlier in the evening, we had gone to a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. I quite forgot what we had, but I remember a lot of cheese and nice green vegetables. We sat in a nice beach facing setting in the open air initially, but due to threat of rain, our Thai turned Mexican waitress asked us to have it inside the restaurant.

Day 3-

Shyam and I got up early, and decided to head to the beach at 6 am to have our bath. No challenge in doing that as the beach is as flat as the cricket pitches in India, with no/little waves to topple you over. After our session in the water and a long discussion on marriage relationships and our pre CAT/GMAT life, we decided to head back to the hotel at 7 15, to catch the 7 45 am van that was to take us to Phuket Town. Shyam and I decided against bathing again in order to save time, while Jyothi was getting ready. Shyam had used some time last night to go to the local supermarket (I guess it was called 7/11) and buy some bread and Jam, which we used for breakfast.

Shyam and I sat at the breakfast table laid out at the hotel, when we spotted to Ladyboys ( men who have had a sex change operation to become women for earning money through sexual services) in a gearless bike . They stopped the bike near our hotel and came near us saying “Masschage....” and shyam vehemently drove them away by shouting “No” 3-4 times. One of the ladyboys got scared and went away towards the other fat firang who was sitting to our right. The other ladyboy also went in the same direction and came near me and started to keep her hands on me, to which I resisted and tried to get away by placing my elbow in an effort to drive her, but she was quick and clever, and managed to find the purse in my backpocket and slid her hand, without me realising. I realised it when she went away and I found my pocket empty, and she was struggling to start her bike. By the time, I ran and lunged for her bike, she was gone-speeding on the bike. I ran and shouted for help and people around me didn’t understand English, so I danced to show in sign language pointing to my bum and show the ladyboy who was speeding away.(My actions must have looked like Kamal Hasan in Moondram Pirai/Sadma).

A policeman saw my predicament and offered me a ride, and he was doing well in chasing the ladyboy when he suddenly turned right. I asked him why, and he mumbo jumboed something which I couldn’t understand, and did a U turn to Patong beach and I was furous and shouted at the policeman and he stopped near the end of the beach, and another policeman asked me ‘what u want’. The policeman who took me said ‘ u want police’?. I said I wanted him to chase the robber to which he said “ u first tell police, we then chase robber’. I felt the whole world collapse around me, as I expected the police to catch the ladyboy over a hot chase and recover my purse. 2500 Bahts, 700 rupees, My business contacts and visiting cards, My 2 Credit Cards , My Debit Cards and my driving Licence, all gone... and the police now wanted to know where it happened.

So i directed him to my room at Add Mansion, and there my friend Jyothi asked me to quckly call up home and let them block my cards. I did that at 100 bahts a minute, and I realised I had spent 3000 rs in trying to block my cards, as HSBC and CITIBANK would not allowe me to say what I want and would irritate me with ads running upto 45 seconds and coming twice or thrice in a call.
I was listening to ads of insurance and money services paying 150 rs a minute and cursing HSBC and CITIBANK as I patiently gave all the details. The most irritating detail was the HSBC folks asking me to read out my card number, when I had lost my card, and asking me questions on the exact value of the last transaction down to the last paise for their verification. I could not remember most of the details of my cards, especially when the bus to Phi Phi islands is holding a gun to my head, waiting for the three of us.

Since the Ph Phi tour was booked, we decided to go ahead with the tour. The bus had to pick up some one else also, so Shyam asked me to go to the police station, while the bus would pick up the other passengers and come to town via the police station at Patong.
Enroute to the police station, the other ladyboy and I were on the open convertible police van, and she was saying “ why u complain, now me pay money, u pay money to police. My time waste, ur time waste”. She meant she was losing business and I was missing out on a nice holiday. As soon as we entered the polce station, she was sent to a mini jail, where some drunk prostitutes were there with a couple of policemen, while I was directed to another room, and asked to wait in a corner. 5 minutes became 10 and 10 minutes became 15, there was no response from any of the police officers who were busy examining a bunch of papers and talking Thai. None of them understood English. I was patiently waiting for them, to call me and rewinding the whole incident in an infinite loop.

The Rest of the Story continues in Part 3.


Checking out the book stall at the Don Meuang Airport, Bangkok...while waiting for the Nok-Air Flight to Phuket.

The place every TOURIST visits, the Golden and Sleeping Buddha.

Some tall structure that is helping me hone my photography skills. Bangkok

At the Temple of Wat Pho! Shyam, Jyothi and your's truly (L-R)

Checking out at TP Watergate Hotel, Bangkok

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