Random Ramblings

I don’t want to make this sound like a rant against Airasia. So, I’ll try to make this educational about how a badly set-up customer service process can lead to losing a long-time customer. Naah, I have a feeling that I might end up ranting anyway. I’ve been based in Singapore for over 5 years, and has also been bit by the travel bug since roughly then. Singapore is a great hub, and KL – just 5 hours away by road – is an even greater hub for low-cost budget travels through East and South Asia. There are atleast 4 major […]

9 ways that AirAsia screwed up my customer service experience

Koror palau 2
After the exciting island-hopping saga across the pacific ocean, reaching Koror at 11PM, I was eager and excited to check out the night-scene. I had slept mostly throughout my 4 different flights to get here. I could have been jetlagged, but I wasn’t. After all, Palau was just 1 hour ahead of Singapore, where I had started from. And the night was still young. All I had to do was get to my budget motel, check-in, and then go out for a few drinks. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong! Again! My taxi-drive from the airport to my motel lasted about 15 […]

I went to Palau. And didn’t touch the water!

Yap airport micronesia
Manila It was an uneventful flight to Manila. I was no stranger to the Philippines. I lived here for 4 years. And even after I moved my base from the Philippines to the urbanscape that people called Singapore, I had visited Manila a couple of times. So, nothing exciting awaited me in Manila, save a couple of planned meetups with old friends. If you are looking for something interesting to do in Manila, go offbeat and check out the Ermita region for some amazing street photography opportunities. Owing to some confusion in my seat booking, Jetstar gave me a free upgrade to […]

Island-hopping on an airplane: Singapore to Palau

Where's my boat? - Srinagar, India
5th September 2014 – Srinagar, India The floods have hidden my light of the day And the fever kept my wanderlust at bay. In a city where the water finally found a new voice, The macbook is all I have to lust for today. So, the hotel I checked in last evening, is called the ‘silver star’ hotel. I checked in because i had no choice. This was beyond my travel budget, but hey, the rain-gods and floods had decided to play havoc with my wallet already. They had no single rooms available, and the only double-room remaining was a honeymoon […]

Project 365: Day 66 – Honeymooning in the floods

The only green point of the day. - Srinagar, India 2
4th September 2014 – Srinagar, India From an idyllic holiday, to a wet, rain-soaked tryst Perspectives changed as long as there was time to pass. I had played all my tricks, with sleight, with careful planning. But the rains had dealt their final hand, and a straight flush it was. So, my plan was very simple when I started my day. Ride to the Mughal gardens in the morning, take a quick look. Then go to Sanwar, to return the rented enfield motorbike, and more importantly, take my passport back (passports are security deposits for bike rentals in India). Then find a […]

Project 365: Day 65 – Stranded!

Taipei 101 4
If there ever was a country which lured me with its food, it was Taiwan. Living in Singapore, I had many friends from Taiwan. And every time we met over a beer or a kopi o peng, they kept describing how they missed Taipei, because it was the undisputed food capital of Asia. So, as it normally goes, I succumbed to the sins of gluttony that ruled my travel plans, and booked a flight to Taipei. Visa for Indians to Taiwan The Taiwan Taoyuan International airport, also called the Chiang Kai Shek airport, was modernistic and developed, but it was […]

A rainy night in Taipei : Taiwan

I have always wanted to go Petra. When I was finally planning on my travel to Jordan for this, I could not help but mix it up with some of the other countries nearby. Are you an Indian traveller, who is tired of all the visa interviews that we have to do? Better, visit these 10 countries where we don’t need an advance visa at all! Egypt was a given, despite all the protests that have been rocking the country recently. And then, the tough call was taking a trip to Israel, which was kind of the link that connects […]

When an Indian went for an Israeli visa interview

Having been globe-trotting for the last 6 or 7 years and making like-minded traveller friends everywhere, one line that I have heard most of my friends say, and which I never had a chance to say myself, was: “I missed my flight!”   Despite being a sticky situation to be in, and despite me making fun of them almost immediately when they tell me, there was always a tinge of jealousy somewhere inside me when I hear that line. I mean, when you think of somebody missing their flight, the first impression you have is of someone who has travelled so […]

How I missed a flight in Cairo!

Some of my close friends know this true story, but sharing for all because it is very relevant in the current Singapore atmosphere of 2013.   During my first month in Singapore, I randomly met this Malaysian-Chinese girl (Lets call her X) while smoking outside my office one day. Her English was not fluent, and I obviously knew nothing in Chinese, but we still had a good conversation over a cigarette, and then continued to meet again on a few dates. I was not interested in seeing the Indian side of Singapore (because I grew up in India, duh!), so […]

A question of race in Singapore

In October 2012, I turned 29.   I had friends contacting me on different channels, and some of them making up some plans. But, what did I do? I stayed holed up in my room all day, accompanied by a bottle of Absolut, and a pack or more of Marlboro lights.   And what was the thought that kept me in that morbid state the whole day, detached from everyone I know? The fact that I was only one year away from turning 30!   Here I was, living up my life, in the prime of my life, and the number […]

Because life begins at 30!

When I held your head in my arms, shaking and trembling, I hoped to find, in some forlorn vein, a little throbbing. But there was none. Neither a pulse, nor a smile, nor did an angel of miracle appear to beguile. And amidst the panic rescue thrusts to your chest, you laid calm, almost like you were put to rest. I don’t know what it was that hit me first. Was it the scathing blades of sorrow, or unbenign, unrelenting waves of pure guilt? I should have pondered then. But I thought no more. “I was only a shout away”, […]

For you are now free

When everything is done, and December is dusted. When the protests go weak, and the voices silenced. When the dented veneers of a power-hungry capital, has painted itself with more hues of red. When the lustful lot have lived their lives, and will soon lay lifeless in a lawman’s lair. When the lawyers make and break those codes, of ethics, morals and bureaucratic delays. For the 23 years of dreams and smiles, that were crushed beneath an iron rod, We are angry, but we will still pause to shed, a single tear for a fallen dewdrop. ============================================================ (The Delhi rape victim […]

A tear for a fallen dewdrop

She smiled lusciously, barren lips breaking into a wet trance. Unspoken erotica, pouring turmoil on my psyche. Touching an abyss never explored. Wandering through forbidden fields of lust. And when I think of her, the lust is what I recall. Lashing waves against this evening shore. Again and again, till the pain turned to pleasure. The pain I never sought, nor coveted. All this forsaken soul longed for, was a drop of your warm touch. Break free From the moral chains of the hazy clouds And pour forth your lust Onto this cauldron of human needs. Fill it to the […]

Lusting for the rain

I have made quite a few gargantuan errors in my short life already, but nothing tops the episode early September 2012. So, I took up this job offer in Singapore, and moved in on the 1st of September, a saturday. I knew I had to rent out a house or a room. I knew I had to pay upfront a month’s deposit and a month’s rent, on top of  utilities deposit, altogether rounding to an exorbitant 3000 SGD. And I also had about 2 lakh INR in my HDFC bank in India. Any sensible man would have withdrawn the money from India, […]

An India-Singapore Financial tragedy

I wrote this short-story after being inspired by A.G Macdonald’s account of Village cricket in England, as detailed in his book ‘England, their England’. If MacDonald could write about Village cricket in England, someone had to write about the hilarious village cricket matches in my hometown of Kerala, India, between 2 competing panchayat wards. If you dont get certain words or situations, consult a Keralite.  ============================================================================= The young man from 2nd ward, sporting a blue Nike cap, had nonchalantly tried to flick the quickie to the leg-side. But to his surprise (and to the bowler’s), the ball slowed down on bouncing. […]

A day’s match

What has it been? A decade of decadence? All the sins I partook, All the whims, the lack of sense. They now seem meaningless. Grains of sand flirting through An age that has passed. A time lost from view. To the green leaves and russet roads. To the songs the farmers sang before. To the dust that rose, then settled to die. To the gleeful smile of a forgotten lore. To the trickling laughter of the lusting river. To the unseen bosom of the velvet cloud. To the singing bees and the dancing clowns. To the violent pen and the […]

A sense of belonging

A story that I’ve been planning to write for a long time, about someone I met in Manila. Thanks to a little free time, was able to complete it 🙂 Clay was not designed for the word ‘normal’. Normal men spent their Saturday afternoons in the beautiful couch that they purchased from market-market on their 13th month payday, while sipping san mig beer, playing around with their fingers in the home-cooked sisig, watching Pacquiao trounce any unfortunate guy who was gearing up to challenge him. Or watching some bloke discussing in length about Pacquao trouncing any unfortunate guy who was […]

Clay’s Burdens

There shall be no wisp of thin air between the end and the beginning. Nor shall there be any acrimonious good-byes. No sober hands can hold me back, nor can the wretched fingers extend their clasp. Plight is home for the nearsighted. Delight is home for the enlightened. I am home for the merry and gay. But not for you. You, like them all, shall pass. The naked leprechauns know shame nor guilt. Or the thousand things that people built. Hustling in the forlorn streets, Lusting for the forbidden fruit. They wander in my twilight gardens, like leaves of unknown, […]

They all, shall pass.

There is a kid in me today. He wants to break free, leave to ashes the shackles that bind him, break the virtual realm of the excel cells that surround him, slip into those slip-ons, dip into those forlorn waters, and surf.... on real waves, for once. ====================================================   Note: Who am I kidding? I can only write such poems, but have to come back to the office in the morning :-(

Thoughts of Surfing.

Towards the end of November every year, Klueless has me sorting through everything from Caesar boxes, cryptography, and countless Wikipedia and google searches. All the while searching through the official blog for clues of any kind that I can find. This year was no different. But, what turned out to be different was that I managed to complete it within 10 days of launch, remarkably different from previous years, when I would still sit on the websearch for months. The search was worth it, learning multiple things on the way.   What follows is not a spoiler. There is no […]

How Klueless 6 was conquered

Three stars and the sun
Being an avid (OK, you can define ‘avid’ as a past-friendly adjective) quizzer, I’ve had a keen interest in the Philippines flag even before I came to Philippines. I mean, go ahead and ask any quizzer, a good reputable one, which country has the distinction of not having a separate wartime flag, but instead just inverts their flag during a period of war? And pat, or maybe plop, would come the answer – the Philippines.     Anyway, I’ve spent a year here already, so I had to get a memoir of my time here. So, why not make it […]

Three stars and the sun : A tattoo in the Philippines

  Push! Push a little more. Oh, how I bear your burdens. And your hopes. And dreams.   I can’t take it anymore. Do you find a glimpse of consent on my wet lips? Or am I feigning ignorance to the pain? Pucker up! Says the world. Were you around when the world was left on my shoulders? You watched me on statues, you loved my stability. You admired the way I juggled life. Yet, did you share my burden? Or did you offer, a hand, an iota of support? If the answer is nay, then shouldn’t you just shut […]

When Atlas Cried.

Chariots of time race past me. And helpless I stand, before the charge. It has wings of fire, and wheels that never tire But time and its chariots never stop for me, but why? Time! Stop for your son. Your son is weary, your son is tired. Your son has commitments by plenty to keep. Time; stop for me. Let your son weep. Time! Stop for your son. In thine hands I was cradled. Your hands, to rub, they never rise. Oh time, the tears off my cheeks.   ========================================================= Must be all the beers I had on Saturday, but […]

Time! Stop for your son.

The night is stubborn and flinty. It refuses to let a whit of light Erase the darkness out of my blinded eyes. I solicit light, to sojourn For my eyes to see, but for a while. He replies, “The moon’s I am. Let him dispatch”. But alas, the moon is under servitude To hazy, nebulous, lumpish layers. People call them clouds. I call them a disturbance And when I ask them for mercy They laugh at me, perhaps tickled by pathos. But man and his quest has never tired And it never will, its god’s decree. It was this quest […]