Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chinese New Year

Apologies everyone for the lack of postings in the last few days. I'm currently enjoying the Chinese New Year celebration here in Malaysia. My days have been filled with meeting up with family, friends, house visits, eating, drinking, and more eating, gambling and collecting ang pows too! Ang pows are red envelopes containing money given out by the married couples to the unmarried ones. Been lucky at the gambling table too, won some money unlike the past few years - I sense 2012 is going to be a fantabulous one!

Yee Sang - a prosperity dish only available during Chinese New Year

Friday, 20 January 2012

What a long day it was!

I was invited to an Indian church wedding yesterday that was due to start at 9:30am. Got there only to find the church was empty! Apparently it was delayed (reason unknown as only the church caretaker was around). He said it could start anytime between 11am to 1pm. I patiently sat there alone with a full bladder and my stomach was beginning to rumble.

Told myself if by 11am the wedding doesn't begin then tough luck, I'm leaving. Out of nowhere, I heard someone say hello to me. It was 2 school girls coming to chat with me. I was pleasantly surprised by their boldness and friendliness and entertained them. The girls had come to church to pray before going for their exam.

Martina & friend

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Oprah Winfrey in town

I was so right about Bollywood mania - guess who is visiting our shores this week?? None other than the queen of talkshow, Oprah Winfrey.

This is Oprah's maiden trip to the country and I only found out about it last night. Apparently Oprah is going to make a coverage on India and Deepak Chopra for her new talk show Next Chapter. A lavish party hosted by a Bollywood socialite was thrown in honor of Oprah, attended by the glitterati and other Indian celebrities.

Oprah donning the gift sari from Aiswarya Rai

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Bollywood Mania!

Bollywood is increasingly gaining it's popularity in the Western movie industry. In the recent years, more Hollywood stars have starred in Bollywood production for example Slyvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards in the rom-com Kambakkht Ishq (which I have not watched).

It seems like Leonardo DiCaprio also wants to jump on the bandwagon according to a recent article in the local papers.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Pali Hill

This video clip is specially created for the friends who have been wondering what our neighbourhood is like. It isn't very much different from any of yours - there is a mixture of apartments, houses, shophouses.

This neighbourhood is rather self-contained, I can find most things within 10 minutes drive without having to make a trip into town. There is a good selection of grocery stores, restaurants of most cuisines, fruit & vegetable stores, roadside stalls (locksmith, egg seller, chaiman (man selling Indian spiced tea), clothes boutiques, salons and spas.

For those in Singapore, Pali Hill is similar to Holland Village (the slightly grimier version) with lots of expatriates living around here. But at the same time, there is another part of my neighbourhood which is highly populated with the locals at an area called Khar Danda (also known as the fishermen folk area).

It's a nice and peaceful neighbourhood, we are happy with our choice and feel safe here.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Picture Day!

Today's entry will consist of pictures only because
i) it's the weekend
ii) finally managed to sync my memory card

Haji Ali Mosque

Taj Mahal Hotel

Steady head

Happy sales boys who wanted their picture taken

Which one to buy for CNY? Spoilt for choice!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wake me up in 30 minutes...

Some of my close friends might have heard this story but to those that haven't, here is my first horror experience with the maid, J.

J was a referral that came to interview with us. I thought ok, let's try her for she claimed to have lots of experience working with expats, had a good command of English. I did find her a tad bit talkative but MC said it was as she was nervous, her hands were shaking throughout the whole time.

Our agreement was she would be a live in maid on 6 day week, and be in charge of doing all domestic house chores. I asked J about salary expectations, she said she was fine with whatever salary offered. Then, I was clueless on market rate on salaries so I told her I'd have a think and get back to her.  She said ok.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Our theatre experience

On my second week in Mumbai, I got invited to go watch Mission Impossible 4 as MC's company was organizing an ice-breaking event. How excited I got for I'd only being doing boring stuff then (i.e. unpack, unpack & unpack). Ok in all fairness, our movers did a great job in unpacking. They emptied all the 180 boxes of our belongings and placed them in respective rooms. All I had to do was reorganize how I wanted my things - clothes arranged in colour order, kitchen utensils based on usefulness etc.

So anyway back to the movie, we were going to watch it at an IMAX big cinema. Got there in the nick of time, there was the typical rush hour traffic. We rushed in but as usual, had to go through the body scan procedure. Here it is a requirement to have your body scanned before entering most buildings. There will be two queues - 1 for men and another for women. The women would be required to enter a small curtained chamber where their bags are checked and body scanned by handheld device.

Monday, 9 January 2012

I have no mummy, no daddy

Child beggars are a common sight here in India - they can be found in flocks at touristy places and major traffic intersections. Before migrating to India, I was warned by a local Indian to never give any beggar money. Apparently it is all part of a syndicate and they have been trained to master the art of manipulating people's sympathy. The local news have reported that some of these child beggars are actually kidnap victims who are put out on the streets to earn some money for the syndicate.

I believe that there might be some genuine cases of beggars who are subjected to such practices for whatever reasons. My golden rule is that I typically never give beggars money, but instead give them food. On days that I go out, there would be a stash of candies, chocolates and small packs of biscuits for give-aways.

Scene 1
While leaving the Haji Ali Dargah mosque, I was approached by a boy around the age of 8.
Boy: "Mdm, please give me money. I have no mummy, no daddy. Please mdm."
Me: (The strings of my heart were tugged) I gently shook my head.
Boy: "Please mdm, I have no mummy no daddy" (10x).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

One Month

Namaste! It's hard to believe it's been a month since I migrated to Mumbai - it feels longer! Am now living in our new apartment which is feeling rather homely with all our belongings in. My utmost priority now is to play the role of interior decorator i.e. spruce up the luxurious extra space we have compared to our previous home in Singapore. It has so far been rather testing due to my lack of familiarity with the good home decor shops, inability to find pieces that cater to my taste and the traffic.

For those who have not been to India or Mumbai might wonder what it is like. I'll be honest, my current perception of Mumbai is very different from when I'd first visited it August for recce. During my first trip to Mumbai, little did I realize then I was visiting it in it's worst possible light. It was smack in the middle of monsoon season and out of the 3 day trip I caught a cold and was plagued with the infamous Bombay belly!