mcgillianaire: (Changing Guard London)
...I arrived in London to settle here permanently. The photos below were taken on the night and subsequent morning of that memorable journey. It was my first flight to Blighty in three years - and I only stayed a night on that occasion - so this was actually my first proper visit in nearly four years. I was over the moon, making childhood dreams come true and all that jazz.

With mum at check-in in Muscat (then Seeb) International Airport. Dad had a separate flight that night to attend a conference in Italy. I think my sis was still in India. You can see bits of my Liverpool jersey that I was wearing in honour of the Champions League Final that was taking place as we were flying towards the Continent. The Mighty Reds were taking on The Rossoneri (AC Milan) in Athens. The pilot was kind enough to give us two score updates along the way. Unfortunately, we lost 2-1.

Read more... )

Five years

Dec. 3rd, 2014 12:40 am
mcgillianaire: (Geetopadesham)
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in
the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free
the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God

- Khalil Gibran, "On Death" The Prophet -
mcgillianaire: (Motown Logo)
1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.

I was graciously conferred with the letter R:
1. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets [spotify; youtube]
2. Respect - Aretha Franklin [spot; yt]
3. Rag Doll - Aerosmith [spot; yt]
4. Rapunzel (Live in Chicago '98) - Dave Matthews Band [spot; yt]
5. Reptilia - The Strokes [spotify; yt]

As a fan of BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs programme, I really enjoyed this short exercise. All the tracks were chosen from my custom-made playlists on Spotify of: Pre-60s Classics, 60s & 70s Classics, 80s Classics, 90s Classics and 2000s Classics. I picked a track from each playlist but was surprised to find so few beginning with the letter R! The first track brings back memories of high school, the second track is an all-time classic that became Franklin's signature song, the third track takes me back to middle school when one of my best friends who had just moved to Oman introduced me to the band he was obsessed with. The fourth track takes me back to my first year at uni. I'd never heard of Dave Matthews Band until I met the people on my floor who turned out to become my best friends at McGill. This particular version of Rapunzel was my best friend's favourite and it quickly grew on me. And finally the last track reminds me of my mum. I heard it on the radio hours before flying to India after her passing away (which I didn't know of at the time). It gave me peace and comfort.

If you'd like a letter, leave a comment. :)

Sonnet 43

May. 1st, 2010 01:00 am
mcgillianaire: (Taj Mahal)
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
mcgillianaire: (Golden Gate Bridge)

The last time we celebrated my mum's birthday as a family, and a special occasion it was - her 50th! (10 June 2008, Muscat)

On the night of 9th April, my sister and her team of volunteers will camp overnight and take turns walking around the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life track to raise money, awareness and save more lives from cancer. It would be nice if you could make a donation towards their cause and the still larger cause of a cancer-free world! Thanks a lot for all your support, both before and after her death. :)
mcgillianaire: (Taj Mahal)

My sister's best friends at her uni registered a star in my mum's name as a Christmas gift. It doesn't get much better than that!
mcgillianaire: (Geetopadesham)
'THEN a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow. And
he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the
selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes
filled with your tears.
And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into
your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was
burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes
your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are Joyous, look deep into your heart and you
shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is
giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you
shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been
your delight.
Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say,
‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable.'


A good friend of mine sent me this. It comforts them when life's been painful. I should get a copy of the book. My sister has one.
mcgillianaire: (Geetopadesham)
Can other converts share a similar experience? Every so often I find myself questioning whether I've eaten meat without realising it. I haven't so far but I keep feeling like I have. Withdrawal symptoms? Over conscious of the fact I don't want to eat meat? Whatever it is, I hope I eventually get over it. I think I've trained my mind to only look for veggie options when I buy or order food. Is it just me?
mcgillianaire: (Default)

Getting blessed by the holy elephant in Madurai's Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Tamil Nadu. (July 2005)

In 48 hours I will be on a flight to Muscat. I cannae wait to get away. As much as I love living in London, sometimes you just need to get away from the hustle, bustle and big nights out. I've also been studying non-stop since October and I want a change of scenery.

In Muscat, my dad has organised a two-week training for me with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, an American-based international law firm. It'll be my first work experience in the legal profession. I'm quite excited about it. However from previous work and training experiences, I've finally learnt two important lessons. Firstly, don't go in with expectations of coming out with the perfect experience or achieving misplaced pre-conceived goals. Secondly, while it's always useful to learn things during the training, speaking to others and from my own experiences, I've realised that the real value of such experiences occurs sometime after the dust has settled.

I then have a few days to relax before jetting off to Madras. It's my first trip to the motherland since before moving to London in May 2007. As usual, I'm excited and nervous about it. But so much has changed in my life since my last trip, than compared to any previous trip to India. Most obviously, I have cemented my confusing twenty-three year relationship with the British Isles. It's got to the point where I hardly feel Indian anymore. I only have a handful of good Indian friends but I hardly see or chat with them for it to have any real meaning. I don't listen to Indian music or watch Indian movies much anymore. And besides the fact I eat a lot of Indian food, keep in touch with my family and follow Indian cricket, the former obsessions have dried up big time. I don't read or watch Indian news as much as I did before. I'm a Londoner now. I'm a part of the United Kingdom. This is my home. But am I British yet? I don't know...

It'll be an interesting week in the motherland. I won't have much time to think while I'm there because I'll be shuttling between Madras and the towns where my extended family live. There's even a wedding to attend, one of my second-cousins, which will be fabulatastic. I'll definitely be taking pictures and hopefully posting them on here before the return of Halley's Comet. Watch this Space!

And then exactly a month after leaving The Big Smoke I return a day before my solicitor's training course begins. I won't have much time to recover from jet lag. And the weekend following my arrival in September I travel to Newcastle. There really is no rest for the wicked!
mcgillianaire: (Scale of Justice)
I've been away revising for the biggest exams in my life. Less than seven months ago I began the equivalent of a law degree, and in just over a month's time it will all be over. The stress levels are gradually peaking and I'm going insane. I don't know how I'll remember all the case names, legal principles and definitions for the seven exams. I wish there was a shortcut. Life has been made much easier with mum taking over all non-revision activities, but it feels nothing short of a hell in my head. Bad dreams every night and the tension rising by the day. I hope I pass them all. A lot rests on it. I wish I'd spent more time learning the cases better as the year went along. Oh well, too late to worry about it now. Fourteen days to the rest of my life! Back on 27 May. Hope you're all well. :)
mcgillianaire: (London Weather Forecast)
PROs: Liverpool score 13 goals against Real Madrid, Manchester United and Aston Villa. Manchester United then lose to Fulham and 
      have a total of three players sent off in a week. Everton and Chelsea lose crucial games to Portsmouth and Spurs. Rafa 
      Benitez ends weeks of speculation by signing a new contract and the owners promise a summer transfer kitty of 30million 
      squid. SRT scores his 42nd Test century, his 3rd in 4 matches, as India cruise to a 10-wicket victory and their first in 
      New Zealand for over 30 years. London experiences sunny weather for a whole week without a break. And finally the icing 
      on the cake, my mum prebooks her ticket to London by three weeks.

CONs: I lose my wallet, camera and phone. Stress levels rise as final exams loom. Liverpool draw Chelsea and play @ Anfield 1st.
mcgillianaire: (Geetopadesham)

It's that time of the year when Hindus all over the world celebrate their version of the harvest festival. For Tamils, Pongal (lit: boils over or spillover) is their most important festival and this year more than 60 million of us will be celebrating our version of thanksgiving all over the world. Pongal is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the end of the harvest season and is celebrated for four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi (Dec/Jan) to the third day of Thai (Jan/Feb). [Tamil Calendar]

Unfortunately, it is more than twenty years since I last had the pleasure of actually being in Tamil Nadu during the festivities, but even while growing up in Oman I would look forward to it for two main reasons: my sister and I would always get a new pair of clothes and my mum would cook us all my favourite Tamil sweets and savouries.

In fact the 'boiling over' that takes place and gives us the name of the festival comes from the sweet boiling rice that is made by mixing it with milk and jaggery in pots topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins. The contents are then allowed to boil over and as soon as that happens, the tradition is to shout "Ponggalo Pongal" (see Subject above) while blowing a conch. It is considered good luck to watch the pot boiling over and that's how the festival gets its name and fame.

In the absence of my mum and lack of skills in boiling my own sweet rice dish, I will have to stay content with merely heating up a ready-to-eat packet of a different Tamil sweet dish. In years gone by, my mum would send a packet of pongal with me on my way back to university from Oman after the Christmas break and I would open it on Pongal. Oh well, maybe next year! Happy Pongal!

Sugarcane branches are used as decoration for the prayer-offering set up. We grew sugar cane in our house in Oman!

The traditional plates used in southern India are banana leaves upon which you can find the items used for the prayer (coconut shells, bananas and the Pongal dish itself - the yellow blob in the bottom-center of the leaf). The patterns on the ground are called kolam.
mcgillianaire: (Taj Mahal)
I didn't sleep well last night. I kept having bad dreams and eventually gave up trying to fall asleep properly. So I got up and looked up the photos my mum sent me of their trip to Mumbai. Five of the ten photos have geographical relevance to this week's tragic events:

Sis standing in front of the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, built in 1903 by Jamsetji Tata.

Four more pics under the cut )
mcgillianaire: (Default)
Mum & sis arrive here on Saturday, not Sunday. A full 24h before I expected them. That's fantastic news, but it's also 24h less than I expected to keep everything in order! The other good news though, is that my sis and I (and maybe some of her friends) are going to the Apollo Victoria (West End's largest) to watch Wicked on Monday! It'll be only my second West End musical; after Bombay Dreams in 2003! Incidentally, my family and I watched Bombay Dreams in the Apollo Victoria as well!


mcgillianaire: (Default)

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