Thursday, 30 July 2015

I love when it rains

Rain in the streets b/w
A greyscale day out in the rain

In the middle of my stargazing session last night, the stars were soon shadowed by dark-bellied clouds. The moon that shone so bright was now nowhere to be seen. The breeze had a cold, humid feel to it while it played with my hair. Eventually, it began to rain.

I stopped doing everything and stood there.

As a child, I have always played in the rain. Whenever the clouds turned dark and the thunder was heard, I used to run outside and dance in the rain until it stopped. That was my moment of ecstasy.

Somehow over the years, the rain did not amuse me. Rain then meant inconvenience in all phases. It meant humidity, it meant flooding of the streets, it meant traffic on the roads, it meant the difficulty to walk my dog and in all this I began to detest rain.

Until yesterday, when I made my 10-year-old self happy by just standing there and looking at the rain. I looked above and felt the cool water of heaven tingling my bare face as it seeped down only to make my clothes cling tighter to my skin. I jumped and danced with the breeze whooshing past me. I love rain and will continue to all my life.

The rain has always captivated me. It's been my romantic inspiration or just my excuse to be closer to nature. I'm a pluviophile. 

Let me tell you why....

The darkness of the sky is beautiful. I don't quite understand why rains are termed as gloomy. It's a symbol of rejuvenation as the world around us turns a little greener and a little brighter. 

The 'after rain' scent. Oh my, can I talk about that for a second? I wish that scent can be bottled up in some ways. I love that scent of wet mud in the air when it rains.

The sound of the rain on my windowsill is such a soothing music to write or sleep. It's cozy and comforting to hear.

And yes, the rainbow. The last time I saw a rainbow, I was aged 6. I still remember that day when I saw that beautiful scene in the sky with my cousin. We both were kids and we were astonished to see such a sight. I still yearn for that same innocence, that amazement we all hold as children.

Growing up, we lose this excitement for little things and get lost in the bigger picture. We stop being happy because we stop doing the things we love. We get into the monotony of routine and kills the child in us. 

When was the last time you did something your 10-year-old self would be happy about?

Last night, I did and was lost in the magic.

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Read a similar post: Happiness comes in small packages

Read more posts on rain: Rain Memoirs and Taste Of Rain

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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Women In Rural India

I met this beautiful lady in the fields of Rajasthan. Her story inspired me to write this poem. It's a shame to see such contrast in a country which aims to be at the developed stage. Change the mentality of the citizens and the country will progress.

O the women in rural India,

You're strong and responsible,
making your way through all obstacle,
an inspiration to many, 
I'm surprised how they don't realize your importance already.

Cursed when born,
instead of celebrating everybody scorns,
your mother is called a sinner to bear a girl in her womb
the pencil in your hand is replaced by a broom.

To them educating you is a waste of money
the same cash would go to your dowry,
married away at such a young age
you're now trapped in an another cage.

You're now expected to multiply
having even more to satisfy,
beware, don't bear a girl child
else your in-laws would get wild.

Still, you bear the torch of ever burning flame
making your own destiny, having no one to blame,
you help your husband in earning the bread
so your children can always stay ahead.

O you women in rural India
you're an inspiration to many, 
I'm surprised how they don't realize your importance already.
--

Also in the poetry series: The Princess Warrior

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

#KLDiaries: Experience Malaysian street food in Jalan Alor

Night view in Jalan Alor

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur running parallel to the fashionable Bukit Bintang (Golden Triangle), Jalan Alor is the most popular food destination in KL. A quiet place in the daytime, this street comes alive when the sun sets down and the street fills up with the buzz of the restaurants packed on both sides of the road and the aroma that makes this place a true gastronomical delight. The hawkers fire up their woks and the chatty tourists make their way to the plastic table and chairs placed along the roadside.

This place is something that I find it quite hard to describe in words.


 I was quite awestruck when I first got here. I saw loud vendors promoting their produce while different aromas filled up the place. The restaurants and their menus were named in Chinese and it was hard to communicate with the localities. It was an utter chaos!

Before I visited this place, I had only seen the shimmer side of KL namely the malls and the posh areas and I was quick to realize that this place is so much different than those. It was formerly the Red Light District of KL and since then it has undergone many changes but this area was enough to make me uncomfortable and see a different side of the city. The other side.

It was a huge cultural shock.

There are so many eateries to choose from that I was confused as to where to start but that confusion didn't last long as I'm a vegetarian and there weren't many options for me. That was frustrating enough to add up in that loud busy and crowded environment.

At least they had freshly produced fruits :)


One of the must-eat that I had to try in KL was Durian. A foul smelling delicacy is a popular local fruit.

I didn't like the taste of it and strongly feel that it's an acquired taste. It had a sweet yet spicy tinge to it and even though many people seemed to enjoy it, I wasn't a big fan.

This made me even worried to find a place to have a decent dinner at. Feeling adventurous, we settled down at a random restaurant and since the menu was in Chinese, we asked the waitress for a vegetarian meal though most menus have a picture attached of every dish available. Now most of the people in KL speak little or no English and there was this huge language barrier that I found which made it so difficult to convey them that I need a vegetarian meal.

After sending a lot of plates back which had meat or egg whites in it, I had a plate of Singaporean Mee Hoon which was the only vegetarian option there.

It was a decent meal. I settled down on the fact that this place is not for me.

At the end to my utter surprise, I had the best ice-cream of my entire twenty years of existence.

I seemed to stumble around the Sankaya Creamery. They provide a egg and dairy free coconut ice-cream which is a reminiscent of Bangkok's street dessert. Their signature ice-cream is served in a coconut husk cup with four scoops of mini coconut ice cream sitting below on tender coconut cream with a choice of toppings. I chose the roasted peanuts and I tasted heaven.

Now that's what you call a game changer, right? ;)
--

Jalan Alor is a sharp contrast to the fabulous shopping district of Butik Bintang. It has a distinctive atmosphere with an old sense of charm attached to it. It is full of florescent restaurant nameplates and little red Chinese lanterns strung up in the trees.

This is the true taste of Malaysia.


This place is not just for localities but is a huge must-visit place for travelers who wants a glimpse into the food culture of Malaysia. Inspired heavily with Chinese food and Malay with a hint of Indian, you need to bring your appetite if you come here. There is so much to taste and eat here.

This was a once in a lifetime kinda experience for me and the best that I had in KL. I went through a roller-coaster emotional ride and learned the actual meaning of travelling, this is why I love to travel

How to get here?

It is just a stone throw away from Bukit Bintang. If you stay in the area, your best approach is to explore it on foot. It gives you a better idea of the culture of the city. Otherwise, you can take a monorail or a taxi to the Bukit Bintang area.

Also in the series: The iconic Petronas Twin Towers

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Monday, 20 July 2015

#KLDiaries: Waterfall Trekking in Templer's Park



A 15 minutes drive from the Batu Caves is the Templer Park. Known for it's waterfall, it's surrounded with lush greenery and reminds you of exploring a developed forest. I was really surprised to see so many green areas in a modern city that seems to be dominated only by skyscrapers.

At the gate, they charged us RM 12 without any tickets.

The way to the waterfall is made up of long stone slippery steps which seems never ending.



Inside the park, it seems like you're walking into a dense forest. The birds sing their songs freely and the monkeys live in their own world attacking you only of you have food which is a problem for people who come here to have a mini picnic.

As a nature lover, I love how the park made me feel.



At every interval, you'll find small shelters to rest which can do with some repairing. At the base of the waterfall, I found people taking a bath and having a good time at a picnic. This and the poor management of the park has led to an unkempt park. The place is full of litter near the waterfall and ponds which is a turn off.

We climbed higher for a cleaner and less crowded area but every level of steps felt the same. At the end, we were greeted with this:


Is it worth it?

If you happen to visit the Batu caves which is a must and have a few hours to spare and are a nature-enthusiast. Maybe you can give this place a go. Take care of the monkeys though, they seem to attack you and your food. There a lot of them. A lot.

Located 22 km north of KL, I won't suggest to visit this place if you are not visiting the Batu Caves. It has good scenery and fresh air to breathe. However, the hot spots here are too crowded and there is nothing really here to do much.

How to get there?

The nearest monorail station is Batu Caves or you can always take up a taxi!

--

Also in the series: The iconic Petronas Twin Towers

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

#KLDiaries: Climbing up 272 steps to the Batu Caves

Batu Caves
Click to enlarge
After visiting the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, our next destination were the Batu Caves. Located 13 kms north of KL, this destination is one of the most important Hindu shrines outside India. The highlight here is a 43 meter tall Lord Murugun statue painted in gold, the tallest in the world.

I have found Kuala Lumpur a city of contrast and Batu Caves is no different. Fighting between the natural and the man-made, the caves remains a popular attraction for the localities and the tourists alike.

The Batu Caves is a limestone formed cave which dates back to around 400 million years old! Yes, it's that old. It wasn't a place of worship until the 1800s. It's a point of focus on the Thaipusam festival in late January/February where pilgrims all over the world, kavadi bearers with skewers in their flesh carry milk on their shoulders to offer to Lord Murugun (the god of war), climbing 272 steep steps up to the temple cave.

As we proceeded to the stairs, we were greeted with a flock of pigeons who didn't seem to bother about human interaction. People clicked photographs around them as they posed with a certain charm.

Pigeons
So many pigeons!


We then proceeded to the stairs and the entrance looked something like this,


Temple at Batu caves
Look at the details.

The climb consists of 272 steep steps, marked for your convenience painted blue and red.


272 steps in batu caves
Climbing the stairs
 In your way, you'll find enough monkeys to distract you, fearless of humans. They'll climb with you, descend down or worse, steal your food items! It is very important to take care of your belongings, especially food items or a plastic bag. Maybe they associate plastic bag with food. I have seen these monkeys attacking visitors and snatching away their food or drinks. BEWARE!

But she seems harmless though :)



After dodging from a lot of monkeys, clicking some photographs and smiling at the strangers indicating that the pain is mutual, we reached the top and the view from their was incredible!



We reached the temple cave! The interior was huge. There were temples which carried on their religious ceremonies and monkeys who seemed to care only about food.

Interiors of the temple cave in batu caves
The interiors of the temple cave


Focusing on details...



At the top, we were greeted with an amazing scene of the limestone caves.


This view of the sunshine filtering in the cave was one of the most beautiful view that I have ever seen. I can pretty much stare at this view all day.


While walking back you can also find the dark caves somewhere around the 200th step. Also known as the cave of life, it takes you on a guided tour which will educate you about the limestone formed caves and the rarest species of flora and fauna present there.

It's not tough to see why Batu Caves is such a popular tourist attraction in KL. Being just 13 kms away, it provides you a complete different experience than the steel clad buildings in the heart of the city. The beauty of the limestone is worth climbing those steps!

Ticket Prices:

Batu Caves requires no tickets. Anybody can enter.

Dark Caves tickets:

RM 35 -Adult
RM 25- Child

Timings (Dark caves):

Closed on Mondays
Tuesday- Friday: 10:00 am- 5:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 10:30 am-5:30 pm

How to get there?

Batu caves is well connected to monorails from the city. If you seek comfort, you can always take a taxi. Just make sure to go on a metered taxis or else they can cheat you.

You can also go to templer park which is a 15 min drive :)
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Are you liking the #kldiaries series? They are quite long than my normal posts because I want to share my photographs with you. The world through my eyes :)

I would love some constructive feedback on the series so far as it would be on the blog all this July.

Share with someone who is going on a KL trip or bookmark it for future reference!

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Friday, 10 July 2015

#KLDiaries : The Iconic Petronas Twin Towers


Petronas Twin Towers

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may know that I traveled Kuala Lumpur (locally known as KL) to celebrate my birthday week. Starting from today I'll be your host for the entire July, giving you tips and tricks for your future trip to Kuala Lumpur.

The first destination I visited was the most magnificent Petronas Towers which along with the KL tower dominates the KL skyline. The Petronas towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and still remains the tallest twin towers in the world. The dual towers stand tall at 452 meters, with 88 floors in total. It's design is largely influenced by Islamic art which is a reflection of Malaysia's Muslim religion.

The Petronas is Malaysian national petroleum company and occupies all of the tower 1. The second tower has other MNCs and works as a large office building.

Can you go up the towers?

Yes, you can. At tickets priced MYR 84 for an adult, you get a 45 minutes tour of the towers, taking you to the skybridge, the observation deck and the gift shop where they Photoshop your image from a green screen to the front of the Petronas at ridiculously high prices.

The skybridge is a double-deck bridge located at levels 41 and 42 of the towers which connects both of the towers and gives you an opportunity to see the landscape of KL at 170 meters above street level.

At the skybridge: Petronas twin towers
At the skybridge

We were then directed to a second elevator that lead us to the observation deck which is at the 86th floor, 380 meters above the ground and provides a complete 360 degree bird view of KL. You can also know more about the history of towers and the surrounding area of KLCC displayed on the video wall. There are also augmented reality screens to have fun at before you get astonished by the beautiful view.




You can also have a closer view from this pretty device...



A photo posted by Sakshi Raina (@capturesunshyne) on

This has to be the best experience I had in KL. The buildings are magnificent and the view is breathtaking. The towers are HUGE! I mean it, they are so huge when you look at it from the foot of the towers. The detailed design is sexy and it looks as better in the night as it looks in the day. i just had to click a cliché photograph with the towers in the day...


and in the night ^.^

A photo posted by Sakshi Raina (@capturesunshyne) on

This is a must see and should be on your top priority when you visit KL. Write in down on your bucket list NOW.

Visiting Hours:

Tuesdays-Sundays: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fridays: Closed from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Closed on Mondays

--

If you seem to be visiting at night, you can catch the musical colorful fountain behind the towers at KLCC.




If you have any questions, feel free to ask me :)
Allow me to take you to a trip to Kuala Lumpur through my eyes :)

Next Destination: Batu Caves

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