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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Themed Welcome Party at Krabi

During my recent trip to Krabi, one of the occasions that I truly enjoyed during the wedding celebrations was ‘The Welcome Party’.

It was the family wedding I was attending, and welcome party is the occasion where one gets to meet new family members and friends. Naturally, to break the ice, one had to be innovative. Every occasion had a theme, but the welcome party had an interesting theme. There was a dress code for fancy dress; the guests were expected to dress in the character that begins with the first alphabet of their name.

Since the first letter of my name begins with ‘P’ I decided to dress up as a Peacock. That would mean, looking for peacock feathers, stitching a proper dress and doing the right make-up. I was able to find peacock feathers at an art store. I stitched the feathers on my blouse that was dark blue with pink embroidery. My friend had gifted me a bunch of about 24 peacock feathers to take it with me to Krabi. It would look good to use them as a cape and maybe dance. But my brother warned me against it. He said it was illegal to carry peacock feather to Thailand. I am too afraid to do anything illegal and hiding it in my suitcase (as some friends advised) was the risk I was unwilling to take. Therefore it was just few feathers here and there. My cousin volunteered to do eye make-up and that was good enough for me.

So I went to party in long netted pink skirt, a long scarf, peacock-feathered blue blouse and colorful makeup with feathers stuck over my brows and some in the hair band.

I was satisfied with my appearance till I met others. There was creativity everywhere, some dressed up as TV characters, some as deities, some as Hollywood stars and some even as fruits.

My niece was dressed up like a doll with a proper eye-makeup, and beautiful blond hair. It looked strange to look into her eyes, they looked like glass eyes and she kept blinking like dolls do. 

Sometimes I had to look really hard to recognize the face. My niece made funny faces and actually resembled Crazy Susan that we have seen in TV serials.

My cousin was dressed up as Charlie Chaplain, and he walked, limping all the time, cracking joke mostly one-liners.

Everybody was in a crazy mood, clicking pictures in every pose, saving the memories for another day. Every guest was dressed boldly in a fancy dress, each matching the first initial of their name with the respective character they represented.

The party had just begun….

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Crocodile Farm in Bangkok

I would call crocodile big brothers of iguana, and fierce cousin of lizard. But they are lazy lot. They look like sculptures glued to the floor, with no movement for hours, stiff and inert. If you look closely at the crocodile, its skin is very beautiful with proportional geometrical designs equally spaced, a wonderful natural creation. It is farmed chiefly for its skin to make assorted leather products like wallets, belts, gloves, etc. Some eat crocodile meat, which is considered aphrodisiac.

A crocodile show was to begin, there were huge crocodiles in their pens, some in the water and few on the concrete slab in the middle of the moat. Two boys came and tried to wrestle with crocodile, holding them by the tail and trying to place them on the concrete island. It was quite an effort pulling the heavy croc, they tried with their hands or pushing with their legs. Once they succeeded in bringing the croc on the concrete island they pulled croc’s jaws wide open. Then they would do stunts like inserting their body or head in the open mouth of the croc and moving it out before the croc shut their jaw with a snap.

What if those boys were not able to move their body fast enough from croc's jaws? What if their body be stuck between the sharp teeth of croc? This was quite stressful for me and I wanted it to end as soon as possible with no gory accidents.

In another pen, I saw people buying meat and throwing to the croc. It would start a fight between the hungry croc.

I hate animal shows of any kind where somebody is likely to get hurt.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Lonavala Greets The Group Of Pretty Women

Remember the time when I jumped over the school wall to be in time for school prayers and I got punished for that?”

“And you remember the time when our class teacher came home to complain to my mom about my naughtiness at school and you defended me?’

“I used to love the two plaits, folded neatly and I really admired you for your interest in sports

I sat listening to the conversation of 12 grown up women in late fifties who travelled back four decades and were nostalgic about the times way back when they were in school together. I was invited by my friend to spend out-station picnic (reunion) at Lonavala with her school friends from St Teresa’s School, Santacruz.

Forty years have passed but the memories are fresh. Each one with a story of their own, the different experiences, some happy, some sad, but the comfort level was high and much too much laughter. The conversation was punctuated with music of the late 60’s and early 70’s and talk about their crush over the famous Bollywood star of that era, Rajesh Khanna, as they gyrated their body with seductive gestures singing “Roop tera mastana….Pyar tera diwana..bhool na koi hamse ho ja ye…”

I was in the midst of women, who preferred to sit cuddled in the room than to venture out on rainy wet streets, who preferred to cook the comfort food of Dhal, potatoes, rice and spicy pickle rather than to sit in a fancy restaurant and eat the unhealthy food, who preferred to sip slowly on red, fruity Sangria concocted to a perfect flavor.

Most of the time was spent at home in a beautiful cozy bungalow, ethnically furnished, surrounded with greenery and fresh air. There was aroma of freshly brewed coffee that escaped from well-stocked kitchen and kept us in good spirit.  Just a small fraction of our time was used to take a quick ride to the city to do a bit of shopping and to see those large gushing waterfalls. But there too, the child in them transported them to bathe under strong sparkling waterfalls, with slippery rocks to stand on. They came back with the bruises on their body (having lost their balance on slippery rocks), completely drenched, leaving a puddle of water wherever they stood, their clothes clinging to their body exposing their pale skin and a playful smirk on their faces.

In the group of like minded people, it was easy to share stories, to lay back and enjoy the game of ‘GK quiz’, a ‘Bingo’ and ‘Passing The Parcel’(with naughty punishments, like seductive belly dance or bold daring gestures) and winning gift was presented to the best performer. 

The time ticked too quickly, packing to head back home arrived too soon. Saying Goodbye is always painful but all good things come to an end. I sit here now, in solitude, on my own, but the wonderful memories brighten up my day.

I play the movie on U-tube to refresh the lovely time spend with girls from St. Teresa's School.........  You can watch on the link at tube . Thank you girls for letting me peep into your friendly world..May your friendship prosper till the last breath of your life.......

Friday, 1 August 2014

Floating Market at Bangkok - A photo Essay

Although I have made several trips to Bangkok in the past, I have never visited the famous floating market for one silly reason that I am too lazy to wake up early to go for shopping. Okay, I admit, I am not the shopping type too, but this is one of the ‘must-see’ tourist attractions, I had decided to make a trip this time.

It took us three hours to reach rural floating market of Damnoen Saduak situated 110 kms west of Bangkok. I started the journey at 6am, but reached only around 9:30am. (I am not an early riser, so I slept most of the way and missed out the fabulous view outside my window) Ah well!

By the time we reached, the sun was up, weather was warm, and some people had brought their umbrellas to float in shade

But the true fun is rowing in a paddle boat, freely down the river, surrounded by wooden houses and vendors on the either side, with hundreds of boats, paddling side by side, ready to bargain and sell.

There were some pretty houses on the route to the market, how interesting it is to sit in the balcony facing just waters...


Or watching the tourist from up above

The tourist seemed happy to just go clicking, they were sure they would find something different and some memories to take back home

For those who did not wish to go boating there was a market on either side and a bridge connecting sides, but the pretty sight was watching boats under the bridge

The water was dirty but nobody cared....we kept our hands closer to our body and water did not splash

Interesting part was the food stuff that was sold on land and also in boats

The boats rowed so close that we bumped many times

The vendors with fixed boats had a long stick with a hook, when our boat paddled closer to their stall, they gripped our boat with the long stick to bring it closer for discussion and selling

Those in larger boats could not shop, I think that was mainly for rowing experience

They bargain using their fingers, because they don’t speak English. But still it is easy to communicate with them

The woman cut fruits while she waited for some clients, she stored them in plastic bags

The man had a huge snake around his neck and he offered to rent it to a tourist for a photograph

There were pretty bags, I could not resist buying, but yes..I bargained too with just gestures

and Oh! lovely painting for sale too

I was veg on that day, so I just ate veg spring rolls with sweet was delicious

It was lovely afternoon, enjoyed a lot...a great experience too...

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