Just Emkaying: December 2013

Dec 29, 2013

Diary Entry on 2013.

Dear Diary,

This year has been normal. Going by the general standard of every year, doing nothing that has saved lives of got more than 10 likes on Facebook. I did manage to get out of the country and back alive, un-scarred and without an accent. I've managed to keep my resolution of last year - not to have any resolutions for this year, so Yay me. Book reading has been pathetic, managing just 10 books to last years 40, but blame it on Congress (that seems to be the in thing these days). On the internet, am doing well. The blog has suffered here, but has done else where. *wink wink*

TV watching has considerably increased, largely for distraction. You remember that Star channel has now added new ones - Star World HD, Star World LOL, Star Sports 1, 2, 3, 4, (n-1) and as a result the new channels are showing re runs of programs that were watched when Michael Jackson was still...umm....Non-white. They also repeat the shows every third day, so I now know 2 and Half men episode 8,9,10 by heart.

I've also taken dearly to "Vodafone presents Big Boss season 7 presented by Dabur Chyawanprash only on Colors" which had its Finale today. The show is hosted by Salman Khan, that dude fellow who did that belt dance and that towel dance not so long ago. (You'd remember by my marvelous imitation of it post which I retired from dancing). I agree this guy has an amazing stage presence, so much so, that the organizers decided to make a stage that was 2 ft wider than his height.

In other news that Aam Aadmi fellow has become the Delhi CM. No, no not Rajnikanth re, Arvind Kejriwal. I have high hopes for him, he has really done very well for himself, hope he does so for the country also huh. Meanwhile these other political parties are shitting their cash laden pants, falling over themselves on what to do. But now we have the option of not voting for any of these parties, much like that "none of the above" option we had in Exams in college. Going by that logic, every time that option came in the exam paper, we knew it had to be the right answer. Pretty true for our country's politics too if you ask me.

And we come to the perennial issue diary, people are getting married left right center. I can no confidently say that the average has tilted in favor of people already hitched. After I wrote that last post on Shaadi.com I think they have put my profile in the recycle bin or something, because am getting all "Wan cute gud boy who lyk me and wil luvz me" type requests. #Facepalm only.

I got a new phone recently. The Nexus 5. I gave away...the iphone. It was getting too difficult you know, to keep holding the same thing. I know I promised to get the iphone 5s when it came out, but seriously I don't think I could pledge all my life savings on that thing. It also did not have a microwave built in so, Meh.

Next year, I am going to do something drastic. But am not sure how that will go. But as you know, planning for anything makes it harder to achieve. So let me leave it at that.


Dec 26, 2013

Boracay - The South East Asia Trip Part 5 Finale

Read Part 1 - Malaysia
Read Part 2 - Langkawi
Read Part 3 - Singapore
Read Part 4 - Philippines 

Borocay. The most beautiful piece of earth I have ever seen. Beige Sands, crystal clear water tinted blue and green like the sky, and such a lovely nightlife. It was not once that I contemplated buying a sail boat and settling down here, even if I had to become Madan Kumar MBA, Nariyal Pani Wala.

I can't stop gushing about this place. We stayed at a beautiful cottage right on the beach, come to think of it everything is either on the beach or not in Boracay. You will find all kind of people here, from the mainland as well as lots of tourists.

The Sky and water is JUST SO BLUE
One of the best things you can do is just walk around the pristine sand. They do not allow any food or drink on to the sands, and any one, usually locals will stop you from going on to the beach if they see you carrying something on to the sand. Apart from the view of natural beauty, you have lots of other activities like boating, scuba dyving, snorkeling, bid watching *wink wink* and the likes. The nights light up with all the pubs, bars and shows coming on to entertain. Each and every bar is different, some play live music on the sands, there are fire dances and drum solos, shopping of knick knacks and live food. (Check instagram on @2emkay) Getting a back massage in the sun is something you will never regret ever, especially if there's a cocktail near by and a cool breeze.

But enough about that boring stuff. Lets get right to the exciting part.

Fire show at the beach 
We decided to go snorkeling because we didn't have enough time for a full course of Scuba. Also my "Friend" almost lied his way to a dive, till the moment the instructor told us about impending death if we don't wait for a full 18 hours before catching a flight. (Nitrogen gets into your veins and it explodes and shit). So we merry 4 caught up with a friends, friends group to snorkel around the seas. 

It was beautiful, and as we dived into the water, I must say it was like swimming in a 360 degree aquarium. The oarsman basically throws bread crumbs and you see all these colorful little fish swim right up to your nose and its just mesmerizing. We then moved to an island for some rests and general buffoonery, before we headed back.

Now it was quite dark by the time we could see the shore lights, which was still a good 500 meters away when the boat suddenly stopped. Apparently, the tide was too low for the boat to go any further. We just ignored the guy like we ignore traffic signals in India. After 5 min of silence, it suddenly sunk in.


I watch discovery channel a lot, and my memory at these occasions quickly recalls venomous snakes, paralyzing Jellyfish, puffed up fish, etc. Not to mention pit holes, currents and clothing more appropriate for a bath, rather than adventure sports of this kind.

Slowly one by one, we got into the water, waist high. Putting all our gadgetry into plastic bags held high across our heads, and holding hands as we moved in single formation s-l-o-w-l-y across dark, murky waters. As we did so, we took a solemn vow to not take photographs, lest some evil sea creature attack us.

(Also wanted to avoid the utter embarrassment of 12, 29 somethings walking holding hands for dear life)

We tumbled, yelled, screamed (You'd be surprised at the squeals of some of these "stud" type guys have. PS - ladies, do a voice test before you get hitched) I got pricked twice by something on the super fine sea bed, because being taller meant being leaned on for support. 

FINALLY, we made it to the beach. Alive. In the process, we had a few injured people, 3 lost slippers (BC was losing the second pair in 2 days) and hurt pride. 

The Shooter menu for the 15 rounds
But this was not the end. Later in the evening we went to this place called Cocomangas, Shooter bar. For every round of 15 shots that you have, your country gets a point on the huge Score board. We had three rounds, and I don't remember a lot of the rest of the night.

Ok I Do, but am not telling you. *Insert sly smile*

Just note that we added 3 points to team India, holding up the pride of our Nation, as compared to certain people in the USA doing all hira kiri with maids and stuff. 

They Played Hindi numbers, we did the world famous in India train dance sequence and manged to hop out to another bar where some English douche was playing weird music. The rest of the night, without much detail as below.

- Fight breaks out
- Music stops, Spot light on fighters
- Fighters turn out to be 2 from our extended group (WTF?!!!)
- The opposition is a foreigner (Imagine Andre the giant)
- There are bouncers now
- Guys fall over a table
- Random female almost clobbers a guy with a bottle for spilling her drink from aforementioned table
- I don't think the guy knows
- Wait, someone punched the bouncer
- People are being arrested and cuffed, I hear references to Sisters / Mothers in Hindi
- WTF is number 2 doing joking with the Foreigners friends?!!
- Sanity check - where are all core members. 1, 2 ,3....wait wheres 4?!!
- Panic for number 4. Number 3 confirms number 4 is with him
- All Clear
- Music is back on. Everyone's dancing.
- UPA is still in power in Delhi What the hell just happened?!!

I manage to reach home with number 2. What he said, in 7.1 Dolby Digital sound to the population of Boracay, Americans, Indians, Dogs, Random Rickshaw puller, Motorbike rider, Bar staff and the Universe is now between his conscience and them. I cannot say anymore. Time 4.30 am. I had been awake, dancing, a little tipsy (You have to believe me here, I was strangely sober) for about 28 hours now. My Camera was the only thing in my hand functioning normally. (Except for the dead battery)

The next day I fell sick. We were back in India in 3 days.

And that my friends, was the conclusion of our epic trip. From getting stranded at the airport to walking crazy distances, barging our way through to an airplane seat 9 hours after departure time, Racist slurs at a Casino to being held at Immigration, to the epic events in Boracay.

It was LEGEN *Wait for it* DARY!!!!

I also learned that no time is as good a time as now. You know those friends you have? Hold them close. It's hard to start from scratch, and a little here and there is fine in the long run. 

And remember kids, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!! 


Dec 25, 2013

Philippines - The South East Asia Trip Part 4

Read Part 1 - Malaysia
Read Part 2 - Langkawi
Read Part 3 - Singapore

The last part of Trip consisted of landing in Philippines and moving around to different islands, catching the awesome night life and enjoying cheap luxuries.Philippines is seriously quite cheap. But as usual when things can go wrong, they will always go wrong exponentially.

So let me admit my mistake, starting off with basic Geography 101.

Next, Philippines is always at the center point of typhoons, so it would be wise to not go there in the monsoons, unless you really hate yourself or are taking your Ex there on a one way ticket. (Presuming you are coming back) We went there because we probably hated each other.

Anyways, we too were unfortunate enough to catch the rains, and a large part of our trip got busted, including a trip to Coron islands (which got substituted by a one night day complimentary stay at the 0 starr airport) and a dormant Volcano. (Sigh, I know) We missed a freaking Volcano. (Point to note, I and BC were the only two standing on two feet at the point of departure to this venue)

Anyway, the most exciting part of this whole trip is when we were detained at immigration.


*Dark Room with lighting only on partial face. Unknown identity asks a a question.*

"I Thought it was easy money. All we had to do was carry a suitcase of drugs across the border, and we would be millionaires. They promised it would all be good. It was supposed to all taken care of. But when they get you, you're all alone"

Locked Up Abroad on National Geographic Channel


My mind, dear friends, is a virtual time bomb of thoughts. At any given point of time, I am riding on a sleigh fighting dementors, or could be romancing a noble lady on a stage in Paris. So when I came to know that the airport we were landing at, was a well known hub for all these kind of TV shows, well, all these episodes and dialogues come rushing...

The airport we were landing at, NAIA is rated the worst airport in the world (FYI, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai are in the Top 10 worst airports as well). It is also one of the most busiest airports in Asia. T3, the latest terminal is meant only for international flights, so if you land at another terminal from an international flight. Well, God Bless you.

Anyways, we landed at the right airport and were aiming to get Visa on Arrival as we had Singapore Visa's. Let me reiterate, that this is a known hub for drug smuggling and shit, so the officials are always looking for shady characters. And when it comes to shady, no one can beat my 2, eager to please, never traveled abroad alone, half groggy unshaven spectacle wearing Indian friends.

All we had to do was walk to the counter, show them the passport and visa, and the air ticket, and move.

But NO. My dear friends HAD to do some "Khujli". They HAVE to ask the most sternest looking cop some imbecile like questions.

"Sir we don't have Visa" will probably go down as the worst thing ever said to a customs official by a tourist in a foreign airport known for smuggling.

We submitted all our documents to three cops, before a senior cop with 3 stars on her uniform (and looked very much like Farida Jalal ) took us to an inside room. We sat down on comy Sofa's while they kept asking us questions.

Cop 1 to me - What's your name?
Me - Madan

Cop 1 to me - Where are you from?
Me - Bangalore

Cop 2 to BC - Who is he? *points to me*
BC - Madan

Cop 3 to Cop 2 : Sounds like *snicker snicker ha ha gibberish gibberish*
Cop 2 to me : How do you know him? *point to BC*
Me - We are friends

Cop 2 to Me : Who are you?
Me - Madan

All the Cops - "Hmm..."

After 5 minutes

Cop 3 to me - Who are you?
Me - Sigh. Madan

Eventually, after all possible combinations and permutations of who asked whom were done, the grilling was over. I got off because I had a huge Multinational backing my employment, while the other two jokers were employed by a company who had a billboard right in front of the cops, and the cops had never heard of the company. #Facepalm

Finally, we come to know that our return tickets have been cancelled, because the government cancelled the license of the Airlines 2 days ago. #PANIC. Our host meanwhile was pretty sure we were arrested or something because we were 3 hours late, and was all set to call emergency services.

After another good hour more we were let go. And this is picture best explains relief that we felt at that point of time.

Manila is very much like a Mumbai. The only difference is that people here look different and eat different. The Americans have basically changed the whole country during the wars and occupations into a "entertainment" destination for their soldiers based there, so you will see a lot of American influence in the culture. The girls want to marry Americans, the guys want to go to America accept that America doesn't see this place as anything more than a speck.

Its like the famous historian and inter racial cultural expert Russel Peters once said "BESHT Bro, IT IS BESHT. AMERICAN BRO, BESHT"

This has already gone for too long, So I will write one more post on Borocay (Where we swam across the OCEAN in the dead of NIGHT to reach shore) before I conclude the series. Am also planning to put together a Pinterest board of all the stops we made, that might be of interest to you guys.

So here's to then, Merry Christmas.


Singapore - The South East Asia Trip part 3

(At this point there can be no excuse for not writing this part of the trip, a good three months after it happened. So I'll ignore verbal abuses and move on like nothing ever happened, or as it's happening in Delhi these days - send you an SMS for your opinion later)

Read Part 1 - Malaysia
Read Part 2 - Langkawi 

Now the third leg of our journey was to the magical city of Singapore. Magical because for some reason, I had made the connection that Mickey Mouse was born here. I know, its ridiculous. We all know that a mouse that big can only be born in Chennai.

We had the good fortune of having a few juniors of BC (yes its a name) in Singapore, which made us more comfortable. Except for the part where my learned friend couldn't figure out how to use a pay phone, a credit card, a travel card, an English speaking Human being and a phone number, to reach his junior waiting outside the airport. Changi Airport is like UB city mall (Bangalore) multiplied by Phoenix mall (Mumbai) with a few airplanes thrown in for free. It is freaking Amazing. I mean I could have roamed the airport for a few days and still returned happy.

You remember the Manforce condom ads? The bill boards and vinyls of the perfumes & Cosmetics here will put Sunny Leone to shame. But in a nice way.

We were hungry so we decided to grab some food at Burger king (Hoooray!!!) since we were hungry, and that is when we realized Singapore is expensive. No kidding. 4 of us and the bill was 42 SGD, which is like 5000 bucks. 

In Singapore, you will be surprised to see that Tamil is the second language after English. I have no idea they pulled this off, and am pretty sure the Malayalis are pissed. So now you know why Rajnikanth's third largest Fan base after the Aliens, and Tamil Nadu is in Singapore. 

And here's a good warning. Am not sure, but I think its compulsory for women to wear shorts, and that too no longer than 6 inches, so guys please. No Staring. You have the Google Incognito mode for that. But on a serious note, they do dress very very well both professionally / casually so its a kind of a learning in trends. If you are into that kind of stuff. 

We stayed at Little India, which is basically a small section of Singapore where most of the "Asians" live. The Taxi guys hate it, the citizens hate it, almost everyone hates it. Am not being over sensitive. In a city which has banned chewing gum to keep the city clean, I saw Indian people peeing on the roads, at which point I promptly started conversing in French. #TrueStory

Me an Po Sharing a laugh at these other
mortal humans at Universal
Anywhoos, we got a decent hotel in this place, and trust me if you are on a budget, this is the only area where you can manage to be on a budget. On the itinerary was Universal Studios, The Singapore flyer, Marina Bay Sands hotel & Casino, Sentosa Islands and this cool underwater sea place (which we got confused with in Sentosa and missed) All travel is via metro, which is extremely convenient.

Am not going to write much about Sentosa Islands, its basically a large park which houses different sections, one of which is the Universal Studios. Universal Studios was my first time to a theme park, with rides and stuff. I was very apprehensive about it. As a kid the only ride I went on was the merry-go-round, and that too holding on to the pole for dear life. 

You keep fish in between your fingers, and she
swoops up your arm and sucks it off. Amazing
But man, these rides were totally awesome!!! The Merchandise even better!!! Highly recommended rides - the Mummy and Transformers. And here's the trick. If you go as a group, you need to wait in a huge line. But if you go in the single line you can go all the way to the front and they will accommodate you in any seat / trailer. Debi went 10 times to the Mummy ride, and by the 11th time they offered him a job and a hat. He declined because the Transformer guys offered him food instead. 

I however was more enamored by the park itself and the detailing. And the merchandise. It isn't worth the price, but please buy it if you love it. And another trick - carry Master card. They have awesome offers on Master card. Not so much on Visa.

We were back by the End of Day and were exhausted. The next day we went to another part of Sentosa, which was the water world. My highlight of the Singapore trip was this - I fed and touched a 8 foot Stingray!!! I love animals. And I also hate humans who can't take a decent photograph (all the numb skulls who traveled with me) 

The View from the Singapore Flyer - Marina Bay Sands Hotel
and the Bay area
Apart from that, we caught the Singapore Flyer, one of the largest in the world. The view from the top is amazing, and I highly recommend that you go at night to catch the lights. 

We also took a long walk around the beautiful Marina Bay, caught the lovely laser show that is done from the top of the hotel on to the water fountains below (check my You Tube channel for the video) and met Mommy and junior Merlion. (Papa Merlion for some reason is at Sentosa) There's also this huge Uber rich looking mall with all the brands that you can think off, including Ferrari cars and Ducati. The restaurants lining the bay look so good and luxurious, that I felt quite intimidated by the mere thought of trying one of them. (Remember Burger king story?)
With Jr. and Mummy (Back)
I have now forgotten all the fantastic comic opportunities and stories, but I must tell you this. We were at Singapore for 2 nights, and we made the absolute Maximum of the time. It was by far the most expensive part of the whole trip, so I suggest you plan appropriately. 

I've promised myself that I will finish the series this year. 2 more posts to go!!!