The complete #Travel #Photoblog from my trip to #Sahiwal and surrounds

1 06 2014

"Tracks Crossing" #TobaTekSingh

“Tracks Crossing”
#TobaTekSingh

"Clearing the Way" #TobaTekSingh

“Clearing the Way”
#TobaTekSingh

The weekly Teko #TobaTekSingh

The weekly Teko
#TobaTekSingh

Smileys #MianChannu

Smileys
#MianChannu

Way Point #Harappa

Way Point
#Harappa

Pathway #Harappa

Pathway
#Harappa

Through the past #Harappa

Through the past
#Harappa

#Harappa Museum

#Harappa Museum

Flare #Harappa

Flare
#Harappa

The Barrens #Harappa

The Barrens
#Harappa

Ruins #Harappa

Ruins
#Harappa

Peach in the Woods #Harappa

Peach in the Woods
#Harappa

Gone #Harappa

Gone
#Harappa

A simple meal #Sahiwal

A simple meal
#Sahiwal

Wood Workers #Arifwala

Wood Workers
#Arifwala

Rainbow Garland #Arifwala

Rainbow Garland
#Arifwala

Symmetry #Arifwala

Symmetry
#Arifwala

Bazaar #Arifwala

Bazaar
#Arifwala

The best food in #Sahiwal

The best food in #Sahiwal

A taste of the Oriental #Faisalabad

A taste of the Oriental
#Faisalabad

Sunshine #Faisalabad

Sunshine
#Faisalabad

 





The complete photo blog from my recent trip to #Sukkur and surrounds

22 12 2013

"Dusk Settles" Sukkur

“Dusk Settles”
Sukkur

"Desolate" Sukkur

“Desolate”
Sukkur

"The Worker Watched" Khairpur, Sukkur

“The Worker Watched”
Khairpur, Sukkur

"Tended Earth" Sukkur

“Tended Earth”
Sukkur

"Bipolar" Sukkur

“Bipolar”
Sukkur

"Hanging On" Sukkur

“Hanging On”
Sukkur

"Flowing Through" Sukkur

“Flowing Through”
Sukkur

"Twilight" Sukkur

“Twilight”
Sukkur

"Untitled 1" Sukkur

“Untitled 1”
Sukkur

"Lamplight" Sukkur

“Lamplight”
Sukkur

"Shimmer" Sukkur

“Shimmer”
Sukkur

"Eyes" Sukkur

“Eyes”
Sukkur

"Forever" Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur

“Forever”
Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur

"Indus" Sukkur

“Indus”
Sukkur

"Inside Out" Sukkur

“Inside Out”
Sukkur

"Inside Out 2" Sukkur

“Inside Out 2”
Sukkur

"Perspective" Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur

“Perspective”
Lloyd Barrage, Sukkur

"Model" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Model”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Library" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Library”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Wisdom" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Wisdom”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Census of India" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Census of India”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Etching" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Etching”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Rust" Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

“Rust”
Lloyd Barrage Museum, Sukkur

"Pigging Out" Sukkur

“Pigging Out”
Sukkur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Photoblog from my recent trip to #Lahore and surrounds

25 11 2013

Over the course of last week I was travelling across the Punjab to Lahore and surrounding cities. Here is the complete collection of photos taken over the course of the trip. All photography is via iPhone 5.

Night Light

“Night Light”
Lahore’s M.M. Alam Road at night, the high street fashion and food hub of the city.

"Hope" Pre-election graffiti at M.M.Alam Road, Lahore

“Hope”
Pre-election graffiti at M.M.Alam Road, Lahore

"Awoken" Lahore City, early winter's morning.

“Awoken”
Lahore City, early winter’s morning.

"Gulabo" Flower sellers, Sheikhupura

“Gulabo”
Flower sellers, Sheikhupura

"In the Bazaar" Main Bazaar, Sheikhupura

“In the Bazaar”
Main Bazaar, Sheikhupura

"Artisans at Work" Artisans colouring pots, Nankana Sahib.

“Artisans at Work”
Artisans colouring pots, Nankana Sahib.

"Pathway" Winter morning, Okara City.

“Pathway”
Winter morning, Okara City.

"Whirlwind" Enroute to Serai Mughal, as dusk settles on the Punjab countryside.

“Whirlwind”
Enroute to Serai Mughal, as dusk settles on the Punjab countryside.

"Reds and Blues" Serai Mughal

“Reds and Blues”
Serai Mughal

"Mystery" Serai Mughal

“Mystery”
Serai Mughal

"Haunted" Serai Mughal

“Haunted”
Serai Mughal

"Find your way" Jhallo

“Find your way”
Jhallo

"Winter Green" English Tea House, Lahore

“Winter Green”
English Tea House, Lahore

"Bliss" English Tea House, Lahore

“Bliss”
English Tea House, Lahore

"Pickets" Lahore

“Pickets”
Lahore

"Sunshine" Lahore

“Sunshine”
Lahore

"In Focus" Lahore

“In Focus”
Lahore





A collection of tips on writing

27 10 2013

Not only am I often asked for tips on writing, but I am also forever on the lookout for such pointers… so below is a collection of helpful hints from people in the know (a number of links re-posted from Brain Pickings):

Six tips on writing from John Steinbeck

30 beliefs on life and writing from Jack Kerouac

11 commandments from Henry Miller

Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules on writing

Guardian’s survey of contemporary authors on fiction writing rules part 1

Guardian’s survey on fiction writing rules part 2

10 tips from David Ogilvy

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 tips on writing

Susan Sontag on writing

 

 

 

 

Jack Kerouac’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life





Rediscovering #MohattaPalace #Karachi

22 09 2013

One of the things about living in a wonderfully multifaceted bustling metropolis that is Karachi, is that quite often you discover interesting things at places where you thought you’d seen completely. The city is full of culture and history waiting to be the inspiration for those who get a chance to explore.

One such place is the Mohatta Palace in Clifton, Karachi. It’s a lovely building, a gorgeous fusion of Victorian and Mughal architecture, and currently used as a museum and an exhibition space. The building was constructed in 1927’s Colonial India, and post partition has housed the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry and has been the residence of Fatima Jinnah.

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I had the pleasure of visiting Mohatta again recently to view the exhibition of Rashid Rana that is currently on entitled “Labyrinth of Reflections”. The exhibition itself is a very interesting display of modern art and the highlight for me is the use of individual small photos by the artist as pixels to create a large image that tells its own story.  It’s definitely worth a visit if you like modern art.

The building interior is absolutely amazing. It is brilliantly maintained, right down to the gorgeous old school black and white geometric shaped tiles. The exhibition is set up in a way that makes you traverse the length of the building, from small rooms to big halls, allowing you to marvel at both the art of the exhibitor and the art of the building.

What was most exciting for me, however, was the fact that this time I got a chance to explore the rest of the grounds. I wasn’t aware of the fact that at the back of the building there is an assortment of statues: from British Indian constables, to a creepy headless man in a tuxedo, a few lions lounging around and even what appeared to be the Queen! Glorious sights these are from days gone by.

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Move around and you will discover and old smaller building that houses a staircase that leads to the roof, from where you can see the main building and the rest of the ground better. Gorgeous view and a wonderful spot to collect your thoughts and/or to write a line or two.

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At least till the guard comes and tell you that you shouldn’t be up there!

Regardless, Mohatta Palace remains one of the places that must be visited if you’re in Karachi!





Mind’s a Mess

4 09 2013

The below is something that came to me early one morning during my recent trip to Bangkok. Gotye’s wonderful Heart’s a Mess provided the soundtrack.

Looking down
The panoramic vista envelops his mind as he stares into the early morning skyline of the city that is about to renew its bustle and commotion. The sun rises in the far distance, somewhere on his left, and fills up the sky with its golden hue as it injects a wistful pureness into the cloudy blue texture. He sees the gold as a pinpoint of a torch, a beacon that spreads the hopeful light of another day onto the waking city.
He stands there, looking out from inside his existence. In that moment in time, there is nothing but his vision and the world that stares back at him. The glass on the building to his right reflects back the golden light of the rising sun, becoming a shimmering fluid, an ornament to man’s conquests.
Below him, the city is a mess of modernity and traditional culture. The roads are beginning to fill up with cars and taxis and bikes and tuk tuks. Small alleys house tiny residences, street food vendors cycle up to their spots to begin their day, while all across billboards and hoardings try to remind all who look at them as to what the world is missing out in their collective pointless lives.
In that moment, despite being taken in by the sheer poetic beauty of the waking city, he is struck by the absurd pointlessness of everything. He looks down at the city, and he knows that it is HE who is looking out into the city. It is only HE staring from his eyes and his mind.
Does what he stare at, stare back at him or does it simply exist in metronomic universal precision despite and oblivious to his watch? He wonders if anyone in the world beyond even remotely considers him, this watcher from a glass tower of steel and concrete, rising above them all… Does he occupy their mind like his mind is occupied by them? Most importantly why does he look at them? Why CAN he? Does the world around him even exist as it appears in this seemingly gorgeous medley of eyes staring back, of people each with an individual consciousness? Or is it, could it be, an elaborate hoax… a tableau even of flowing images, thoughts, colors and patterns, all designed for some inexplicable purpose to give him the illusion of his not being the only life in this world… of not being the only being in the world with the ability to LOOK out from inside? Could it be that while he looks on at a world populated and busy, in fact there is no one out there but him? Could it be that at the end of it all he is the only one left in this world? Could it be that after all of this, he is in reality alone, while he stares at a multitude of people?
The thought shakes him and he blinks. The movie playing in front of him goes black for an instance and then returns in its full color glory. His mind’s a mess, and he wonders at the point of it all. Why can he? Why can he even wonder at it? Is there anything even to ponder when everything will keep ticking away, when the universe will keep moving the way it’s meant to move, regardless of him or his thoughts?
For an instance he thinks of opening the large windows and stepping out into the ledge… of raising his arms to the heavens as if to scream that he gets it… this great wonderful cosmic joke… he thinks he would then jump; no, he would fly as if to embrace the world he’s been staring it. Perhaps then, for an instance even, he can be more than just the sum of his thoughts and his sight. Perhaps then, for an instance even, he can matter.
But then he hears a voice from behind him, from inside the room. She calls out to him, asking him why he couldn’t sleep. He teeters on the edge… so close to grasping the useless absurdity of existence… but he lets himself be taken in with her voice.
He smiles and turns back to her.
Life goes on.

***
UN (19/8/13)





A week in Bangkok, Day 6: Thai massages and all good things!

23 08 2013

So here’s the deal, over the past week I’ve been talking about my trip to Bangkok on a daily basis, touching upon the memorable, the mundane and the surprising! We are down to final day!

Day 6: Thai Massages and all good things!

So here it is, the final day of the trip. Managed to get some sleep today, and after packing met a friend for lunch at the Piri Piri (Nando’s) in the Emporium Mall. The food was nice, and it’s always relaxing to have good food and good company together.
Something that I’ve missed out on talking about over the last few posts has been the massage parlors in the city. Now Bangkok is famous for its massages, whether genuine ones or not so genuine ones, so it’s always a bit of a challenge to figure out how shady a particular massage parlor is before going into it. You’ll find many massage parlors all over city, but the one that I’d recommend would the Bai Po massage parlor near Nana. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I can safely say it’s one of the more professional and expert massages I’ve had in the city. 19

It’s not too difficult to find, go to the Nana BTS station, and head in the direction opposite to where you would go to get to the Nana Plaza and the arab street. Cross one street after the Nana BTS station, and then turn right on the second street. There will be a number of Indian restaurants around this street, including Khaana Khazana. Move into the street a bit and you’ll reach the Bai Po massage parlor. The rates are slightly steeper than other ones, but I’d say it’s worth it. I’ve had the Thai Massage and the foot massage, and both relaxed me to no end!

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Spent the rest of the day packing and getting some of the remaining items on my list, and I’m going to be heading to the airport shortly, so it’s going to be a short post.
Overall it’s been a nice relaxing trip, I’d even say of all of my visits to this city this has been one of the better ones. I’ve felt more in tune with myself, and have managed to answer certain questions in my head as well. The daily blogging has been something new that I’ve tried, and it’s added a new flavor to my visit… I’ve certainly enjoyed it and I hope all who’ve read it have found it fun as well!
So, dear readers, I shall bid thee all adieu for now from Bangkok!





A week in Bangkok, Day 5: Walking in the Rain, bits about shopping and Reflections a plenty!

23 08 2013

Over the past week I’ve been talking about my trip to Bangkok on a daily basis, touching upon the memorable, the mundane and the surprising! We are down to the last two days!

Day 5: Walking in the rains, bits about shopping and Reflections a plenty!

The second last day of my trip begin with little sleep and another early ‘work’ morning, but a few hours later I was done. One of the nicer things about this trip has been the lovely weather in Bangkok. Unlike its usual tropical heat, the last week has been filled with sporadic rain and cloudy skies, which has made it an absolute pleasure to walk around in the streets. 15

Whenever I am travelling abroad, one of the my favorite past times is to put on my headphones, turn on my music and just randomly start walking in the city. It gives me a lovely flavor of the dynamics of the people and the heartbeat of the city. It’s also strangely relaxing… my love for music and walking combined! So today when I decided to do my music/walking session, the fact that it was drizzling slightly (as a result of which the traffic was totally gridlocked) helped in no small means for me to make up my mind. 16

With the traffic gridlocked, the public transport system was more full than usual, but no amount of waiting in lines to get change for money or to get tickets for the SkyTrain from a ticket machine (which suddenly decided to stop working) frustrated the people around. The Thais seem remarkably patient and mellow people.

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Needless to say it was a brilliant walk in the lovely slightly chilly breeze, with the drizzling rain and the shiny drenched streets.

Some of the songs in my playlist were Gotye’s Heart’s a Mess (from the Great Gatsby OST this is a song that has been in my ear throughout this trip),Titanium, Daft Punk’s Digital Love, U2’s the Fly, Franz Ferdinand’s Ulysses and Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothings to name a few.
A bit about shopping in Bangkok (and I’m just going to put in the places which I feel serve a certain purpose, not necessarily all the places to go to in Bangkok): in my first post I wrote about Chatachak, and that is certainly a very nice place to buy trinkets, artifacts and actually all sorts of things. From handmade stationery and bags, to floating lanterns and candles and even shoes; this is a good place for varying tastes. If you want to visit night markets, the one in Nana which I wrote about in my post from yesterday is one, and another one (possibly the most famous one) is Patpong. Now the thing about Patpong is that it is essentially the red light area of the city, but there is a thriving night market where you can get some very nice stuff rather cheap. Things that stand out are oil paintings and masks. Both Patpong and Nana’s Arab street stay up after 11.30, so good place to go in the night.

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If you want to buy branded items, then the Siam Paragon is the place to be. Almost any brand that you would like to get your hands on, you can find it here; but my suggestion would be to look up the location of the brand’s shop within the mall first online because the mall is humongous and very easy to get lost in. This mall also has the biggest Cineplex in Bangkok, including the IMAX 3D and a 4D cinema, so worth a visit for sure if only to window shop. If you want to buy cheaper items , including t-shirts, clothes, shoes, bags or even electronics, then visit the MBK mall. You can find some very nice discounts here, and branded stuff as well as knock offs. But the key is to have a good eye for what you’re buying.
Speaking of the 4D cinema, I ended my day with a visit to the said and it proved to be quite an interesting experience. The cinema has chairs that move, lights in the theatre that spark, smoke effects, water spraying onto you, and even a kick from the back when someone was stabbed! Fantastic… although the 3D is not as good as the IMAX one. The movie we saw was Percy Jackson 2, and the little I say about it the better. Suffice to say the only reason I saw it was to experience the 4D.

Finally, one of the themes of this trip in terms of what I wanted to do and what’s been talked about at a number of places in a number of situations (life has a way of connecting experiences and coincidences) has been personal reflection. A trip is a brilliant means to move away from your life and it’s good and bad… a great way to gain perspective and to find out what the bigger picture is. It gives you a chance to consider what’s working for you and what’s not, what you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind. Its a great way of letting go of excess baggage. Reflection in turn is the way to go towards the everlasting journey of finding yourself.





A week in Bangkok, Day 4: The Food!

21 08 2013

So here’s the deal, over the coming week I’m going to try to talk about my trip to Bangkok on a daily basis, touching upon the memorable, the mundane and the surprising! Hopefully it shall be regular and fun!

Day 4: The Food!

The ‘work’ part of the trip continued and resulted in another early morning and late evening, but afterwards the day or the evening for that matter, brightened considerably! Good food and good company, friends who were passing through Bangkok for a day saw to that!

Onto one of the things that I wanted to write about, the food! Now the obvious option that people coming into Thailand like to have is authentic Thai food. If you walk through most of the roads in Bangkok you will find a number of food vendors making and selling street food, which apparently is really good. I say apparently because I haven’t tried it, essentially because I’m not a huge Thai food fan. So for me a visit to Bangkok becomes an adventure in trying to find out food I like having, or possibly as has been the case this time around, trying out food that I haven’t tried before or normally don’t like to have. Seafood is one thing which I normally don’t like, but is huge in Thailand, so one has to try some eventually.
I got a chance to try something new today when we went for an early supper to a quaint little bistro called Vin Jai T’aime (Wine, I love you) which was a very nicely done place located in a set of restaurants opposite the Big C in Bangkok. I tried a dish that had Chicken with Mango slices. It was quite an interesting concoction and was definitely something of a new taste for me. Among other things good here were the Fish and Chips, the Cheese Spinach and the fried Squid pieces for starters. Please pardon the fact that I’m bad at remembering the exact names of these dishes, but this bistro is certainly a nice place to visit.

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If like me you want to have non local food, then there’s always the fast food chains at malls, or you could go to the area around the Nana BTS station where you will find a wide variety of international cuisine. Now the thing about Nana is that it is located in the central Sukhumvit Line, and is one of the places in Bangkok where restaurants and shops are open even after 11 pm when most of the city shuts down. 12

You’ll find throngs of people moving around, even after midnight, and loads of street vendors selling everything from MP3 speakers to slippers. Move a little further towards the JW Marriott and you’ll find the Nana Plaza, which houses a number of fast food chains, including Burger King. If you move into the street, turning right from Nana Plaza, you will hit a patch that has a high concentration of Middle Eastern, Indian and assorted non Thai cuisine. If you want to try Indian/Pakistani food, Iranian/Iraqi or Ethiopian food, or just have Shisha, this patch is the place you need to be. 13

The one place that I’d highly recommend is a little joint called Mahmood’s Shwarma, a 5-8 minute walk into the street opposite the Grace Hotel. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I have not had better shwarma than the one I have had here. You can never go wrong with this!
Bon apetit!





A week in Bangkok, Day 3!

20 08 2013

So here’s the deal, over the coming week I’m going to try to talk about my trip to Bangkok on a daily basis, touching upon the memorable, the mundane and the surprising! Hopefully it shall be regular and fun!

Day 3: Long Live the King, and the little things in the service industry!

The ‘work’ part of my trip began today, and resulted in a long long LONG day! A couple of things to talk about, firstly during conversation with my Thai counterparts at the office, the topic of leaders who are admired and respected came up. Interestingly enough, most of them picked the Thai King, Rama IX as someone who they look up to and revere. The examples they gave of the King’s work in and for Thailand were quite interesting. He is considered as someone who has done a lot for the economic stability of the country; who is highly competent in matters of the state, politics as well as being a skilled musician and a sailor; who can lead by example and is not afraid to get his hands dirty; who is considered an absolute selfless leader.10

The love that the Thais have for the King is quite evident, and the respect they grant him is inspiring. As another example of that very respect, before any film at the cinema, a clip is played showcasing the King’s rise and leadership, and the audience stands in complete utter respect.
It is quite brilliant, and again showcases the Thai people as individuals with strong traditions coupled with a modern outlook.
The second talking point occurred when I entered my room late in the evening to find the below note on my bed.

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It made me smile and a salute to the management at the AETAS Hotel! Reminded me of the old Ritz Carlton motto, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”.

Incidentally, the AETAS is a lovely modern hotel, quite recommended. The only drawback is that the MRT station is nearby rather than the central Skytrain line, so going to the eateries near NANA or the malls like Siam becomes a bit of a journey.








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