Monday, April 29, 2013

Visiting Naim

On arrival at the Gopeng National Service camp, click Naim on National Service, Naim immediately called me. He sounded so down and complaint almost about everything asking me to take him home. It was a hell, he said, as what we, his parent expected he would say. Naim never left home before except to be on vacation with his buddy, Johan. It was his first time away from us all, so, it was expected of him to have series of complaints. Honestly (sorry Naim), we both were smiling after we given him words of encouragement and assured him that it wont take long for him to be there. It will be for a longer term should he postponed and decided to join at a later year. 

He called again the following Friday @ on his 1st week asking us to visit him on Sunday. I gave him an assurance that I will talk to his father. He further requested that we bring along all his siblings. Hubby was not agreeable to visit on the first week, it was too soon. He said he may consider on the 2nd week. He called again and again until we committed that we shall visit on a week after. I sincerely miss him.

Tower Clock to comrade 1957 Independence Day from the British

A car ride to Gopeng on Saturday morning was very pleasant. It was a cloudy weather though there's no rain. We stopped at Sungai Buloh rest area for lunch and headed straight using a North South Highway to reach Gopeng. We passed Bidor town where I took the above tower clock photo built in 1957. Looks likely that there's many places I should explore within North and East Malaysia.

As soon as we entered the gate, the guard was a bit reluctant to let us passed. We were told that Sunday is a visiting day, not Saturday. We have expected that answer as we were on the phone with Naim who has called more than 10 times that day. Given an excuse to deliver his thing that was left out, the guard finally allowed us in. When we made a turn at the lakeside in above photo, it was hilarious to see Naim's new look. He has new look, "nerdy" as he surrounded with his big group seen behind Syahirah.

The PLKN administrator has allowed us 30 minutes to be with Naim at the canteen cum hall of event for PLKN trainer. We had an opportunity to get to know some of Naim's new colleague. Naim asked us all not to laugh at him. I mean, well, of course we had to laugh seeing his new looks. His stylish hair has gone and I'm sure the school discipline teacher would be very pleased to see him now.

For some reason, both Syahirah and Nazhif are escape from National Sevice call. They are very lucky indeed. By the way, Naim said that there's a count down number "69" at the hall for motivation. He was saying that 3 months will gone by very fast. How he made us proud.

As for our family, 2 has escaped but 2 will perform their duty as Malaysian citizen and youth for National Service. It will be 3 months program for Naim but 6 months for Nasrul. In the car, Nasrul said there's no way anybody can force him to enter as he will run away from home when his time come. We shall see if he succeed in his attempt or will he survive without his IMac.

Before we parting for the day, few of Naim's friend came to see us off and helping Naim with lots of food including a bucket of KFC as requested by him. He promise to share his food with his dorm mate of 24 pax. We asked 1 of them to take our family photo.  

Lastly, before turning home, I walked a little bit to take 3 photos below so that Naim would remember his camp in Gopeng for long. Hopefully 1 day, he may be able to share his experience with his children's. Yesterday, he called saying that he will be back for 5 days off as given by PLKN officials. It will be the first and the last break of his 3 months stay in Gopeng camp. My son sounded so happy and confidence that melt my heart. The best part was when he told me that he is confident that he can quit smoking and promise to perform 5 times obligatory daily prayer as a Muslim. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Malaysian Fruits

Yesterday, 22nd April 2013 was my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have already been married for 22 years now. How time has fly. We did not, precisely take a big deal of the wedding anniversary day from the beginning. Maybe because our married life begins with hectic starts. We were conceived with Syahirah right after the wedding and throughout the first 6 years were busied with all the 4 kids. Hence, we never really celebrate even yesterday. Instead, we merely reminded each other what if we both may still had an opportunity to celebrate for the next 22 years, which makes it 44? The past 22 years rather a long destiny for us thus far, so, if we could make it together for another 22, it would be truly a bless. With that statement and understanding we look into each other's eye deep enough to feel our love.  

Sour Soup

Custard Apple

Alright, now let's get back to what I wanted to write today, it's about fruits, not the famous Durian and Rambutan but only half of the Malaysian fruits that we found available at Tapah rest area, seated along North South Highway. We stopped there for prayer after we visited Naim in Gopeng, Perak on 13th April 2013. 

Dragon Fruits

Over the years, the Tapah rest area and mostly all the rest areas along North South highway has been refurbished to a very satisfactory levels by the Concessionaire, PLUS Highway. Indeed, I was so impressed with the changes. The fruits seller used to have adjacent small areas for their fruit stall of the complex. Now, after refurbishment, proper stalls inside the plaza are provided for them.

This is the famous fruit, Pomelo from Tambun where it was commercially plant in a large quantity. Perak is well known for it's Tambun Pomelo. I remembered my trip to Ipoh for factory visit during my Smart Tunnel project many years ago, where we stopped by the roadside to buy Pomelo. As soon as the car gives a signal to stop, the pretty ladies automatically come out standing at each of the shops row. We called them Miss Pomelo. Miss Pomelo main duty is to attract peoples to stop at their shop, thus, you can imagine how pretty and sexy they were expected to dress. 

Sweet Pomelo

The fruit photos shared in this entry came from a different stalls seated along the dedicated areas inside the plaza. We noticed them on our search for the washroom and prayer hall. Allow me to share my opinions that the toilet too is in a much better condition equipped with proper maintenance. All facilities provided suffice to receive as many as the toll road users. There are many workers in their white uniform to maintain the facilities. Kindly take note that the fruits available in this entry are not represent all Malaysian fruit, it's only half of it. Our famous Durian, Rambutan, Mangoes teen etc are not here.

Crunchy green guava best eaten with sour plum

There are few stalls selling green and yellow mangoes. I thought it was imported species from Thailand. To my surprise, the stall assistant informed me that it was a local species from Bidor, Perak. From the smells, I sense that it was not that sweet. Yeah, Pakistan and Indian mangoes are now more to my liking. So, I passed them.

The red guava seen from below photo is called as "Jambu Air" in Malaysia and Indonesia. Siamese (Thailand) called called chomphu, whilst Taiwanese named them bellfruit. In English this jambu air is known as java apple @ wax apple and/or love apple. This was what we bought that day.

The most famous 1, red guava @ java apple

Monday, April 22, 2013

Love by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran speak on "Love"

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams'
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast. All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Nasrul & Naim with the snows

This would be my last entry for our Kullu Manali trip, especially dedicated to our sons, the youngest and above him, Nasrul and Naim, no. 3 in family. Hope the photos that mama shared here shall remain in your memory lane, forever. You too did not quarrel much, always gives and takes with each other. It was a pleasant journey when you tag along in our holiday as you both have less complaint and obedient to whatever decision we made. Always remember, that if Nasrul is not presence, Naim has to stay in our bed and becoming the apple of our eyes forever. We love you both so much! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kullu Manali - the Mountain, the Valley & the Forest

Being in Himachal Pradesh of the northern India state is like a mini exploration into the Himalayan mountainous valley, a home to the world highest peaks. The Himalayas adjoin or cross 5 countries, namely Bhutan, India, Nepal,  China and Pakistan, with the first 3 countries having sovereignty over most of the range. The Himalayas are bordered on the northwest by the Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges, on the north by the Tibetan Plateau, and on the south by the Indo Gangetic Plain.

The 2 photo of us above were snapped at a pit stop to Rohtang Pass in Manali. It was our attempt to take a rented vehicle, Innova to go up the hill but was not permitted by the local police. The rules are, tourist had to engage a local 4-wheel drive to enjoy the panorama and the tourist attraction up there. The time from the pit stop to Rohtang Pass would take more than an hour. Thus, we decided not to proceed with our plan due to time constraint. Instead, we enjoyed the Himalayan range view at this point. 

Whilst the above 2 photos of our boys were taken at the Hidimba Temples which surrounded by beautiful matured of Himalayan cedar trees, being part of the preserved forest. The rest of the photos in this entry represents the mountain, the valley and the forest of Himalayan range seen in Manali, Kullu district.

The colorful tales and saga of the mythological existence of Kullu Manali told in the Vedas and Hindu ancient book remain in the popular belief and heart of the people of the Kullu Manali hills. However, modern day Kullu Manali history began its journey, more precisely, with the coming of the British. They made this beautiful land their choice for staying during the summer months. The British brought forth the apple orchards and trout fishing to Kullu Manali that largely shaped the economy of this place. It was the British people settling here, which developed Kullu Manali as a tourist destination as it is today.

My husband is the most happiest among us all to be surrounded with Himalayan hills as it was due to his suggestion and decision that we were touring Kullu Manali in the first place. My original plan was to take them to the most famous tourist destination and/or attraction when on "Visit India", Delhi - Agra - Jaipur. Nevertheless, we are very happy to be there at last. The only thing missing from the trip was our 2 older children, Syahirah and Nazhif. If not, it could have been our perfect family holiday.

Kullu Manali is most recommended for honeymoon couple as it has the best of scenic views, climate, sightseeing and it's own hilly attraction, such as a view of the local horses eating a dried grass of winter season on the hill side. Manali is still in the midst of developing it's valley to meet the tourist demand not only from abroad but from all over India. I hope, given the next few years, the road and the highway facilities would be very much improves.

Last but not least is our special thanks to a driver of the rented Innova, seen in below photo with Nasrul who had bring us safely up to this point. In addition, after the Punjab state entering Haryana till we reached Delhi, it was a foggy weather with the visible distance of less than 100mm. It was a dangerous and extremely slow drive as everyone else had to slow down too. We travelled with him for 1,310km in 3 days 3 nights. Thank you, sir!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beas River, Northern India

One of the most impressive thing that we saw from our December 2011 trip to the northern India was it's beautiful lakes, seen from my earlier entry, the LAKES that is forming from a flow of river from the Himalayan valley. A specific flows of the river from a Himalayan valley is the "Beas River" as the name on this entry. The Beas River is a flowing river in the northern part of India, rises in the Himalayas, the central state of Himachal Pradesh and flows for about 470 km to the Sutlej River in through the Indian state of Punjab. Beas River total length is 470 km and its drainage basin is 20,303 square kilometres large, combination of small and big stream. I'm honored to share in this entry, various photos that I snapped along NH21 crossing along the Beas River. 

My husband was astonished with the beautiful colors of the Beas River as I was. We've never seen such beauties before, hence we asked the driver to stop along the journey back to Delhi so that we can appreciate a little while a river's beauty complacent with it's surrounding scenery. The river was also known as Arjikuja of the Vedas (Note: Vedas is an ancient book of the Hindus) or Vipasa to the ancient Indians, and the Hyphasis to the ancient Greeks (the place was part of Alexander the Great conquests). 

The source of Beas River

It's present name, "Beas" is thought to be a corruption of the older name and the original "Vipasha" name in the Sanskrit. The river got this name, Vi-pasha, meaning the "one who removes the bondage". According to ancient texts, the river was named after the incident in the life of the sage Vasistha. It was told in the ancient book that Vasistha, aggrieved at the death of his 100 sons, tried to end his life jumping into this river, after binding himself with a rope. But as soon as the sage fell into the river, the kindly river (feminine) untied all the knots, and he was safely set on the banks. Hence, the river gained the name Vipasha in Himachal, especially called so in Indian's myths and history.

The Beas River is rising on the southern face of Rohtang Pass in Kullu district (upper Manali) at 13,326 feet above the sea-level and it traverses into the Mandi district and enters Kangra district at Sanghol (lower end) of 1,920 feet above sea-level. The Beas river joins the Satluj river at the south-western boundary of Kapurthala district of Punjab after a total course of 290 miles. The Sutlej continues into Pakistan Punjab and joins the Chenab river at Uch near Bahawalpur. The waters of the Beas and Sutlej rivers rivers are allocated to India under the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan.

Another interesting story to be told is that, the Beas River marks the eastern most border of Alexander's the Great conquests to Asia in 326 BC. It was also one of the rivers which created problem in his invasion towards India. His troops mutinied here in 326 BCE, refusing to go any further as they had been away from home for almost 8 years. Alexander shut himself in his tent for three days, but when his men did not change their desires, he gave in and returned home. 

I met an old Tibetan man while admiring a connecting bridge to the other side of the river. There was another Tibetan monastery and that man was part of the Dalai Lama follower who had fled into Manali. Their presence are everywhere.

In the 20th Century, the river was developed under the Beas Project for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation purposes. The second-phase Pong Dam was completed in 1974 followed by the first-phase 140 km upstream and Pandoh Dam in 1977. The Pong Dam served initially to primarily provide irrigation below  Talwara but was soon developed as well for power generation of 360 MW capacity. The Pandoh Dam diverts the river through a system of tunnels and channels to the 990 MW Dehar Power Station on the Sutlej River, connecting both rivers. 3 below photos, snapped in Punjab marked the end of our Northern exploration in India. We hope we will have another opportunity going up to Leh (my dream place) and Kashmir (hubby's dream place).