India; Soul Searching 1

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Mahabalipuram

My most visited country is India. One of the best reason is, it is the cheapest place to travel apart from Malaysia and the one and only place trigger me for inner search is India.

India is the dirtiest place I ever known so far. The highest polluted country I guess. (Maybe there are some other places in earth). Air, Water, Sound and everything you knew are massively polluted here.

a. Drink only mineral water. Don’t drink water even provided in restaurant.

b. Don’t eat any kind of meat in small or budget restaurant.

But I’m immune to everything 🙂

It is the best place to get lost. Even though many cities chasing to develop the country to meet the excitement provided by other developed country, it is still hold the soul of the ancient culture and philosophy (however many Indians are no more believe in it due to globalisation).

Here are few places I visited, mostly temples. Some which I going to tell may sound ridiculous but its personal. The experiences which I cannot forget in my life.

CHENNAI

Places

Chennai is the cosmopolitan city in Tamil Nadu, South India.  My favourite place is Satyam group’s cinema theatre. Their sound system are excellent compare to Malaysian cinema theatres. Especially the Atmos sound system.

There are many must visit places listed in the Trip Advisory. However the place I loved most is Mylapore. Every morning I visit Mylapore Sai Baba temple and had a walk till Saravana Bavan restaurant to have Mini breakfast with sweets, mini “idlis”, masala tosai and strong milk coffee. Must try and must try in Saravana Bavan. There after I will visit Kabaleeshwar temple. It is an ancient temple however as per wikipedia and some Tamil scriptures it was formerly based near seashore where the current St Thomas church is.  The current temple was rebuild in this new place after Portuguese demolished the earlier Kabaleeshwar temple.

Interesting information about the St. Thomas church is, it’s having the relics and tomb of St. Thomas. Believed that only three churches in the world have the tombs of the apostles of Jesus and one of it is St. Thomas church in Chennai.

December is the music session in Chennai where you can experience Carnatic Music concert. There are many concert halls in Chennai.

There are many ancient temples in Chennai and nearby Chennai. I visited almost 6 of 108 holy Vishnu temples. http://www.divyadesam.com/divya-desams/temples-01.shtml. The only temples having prayers and mantras in Tamil ( the official language of Tamil Nadu) are Vaishna temples. Others are in Sankrits.

And visited 3 of the ancient Shiva temples in Chennai. http://greenmesg.org/temples_chennai/paadal_petra_shiva_sthalams_chennai.php

As all these temples are ancient holy temples, you will get feeling of loneliness (if course not a pathetic feeling), peace and feel close to some kind of force.. hmm maybe.. I don’t know how to describe it. However you may lost the feeling if you go on festival or special prayers time where it crowded with people and many temples allowed you go near to prayer hall or deity with payment or have to bribe the guards. Some temple sell official entrance fee. The poor have to pray from far distance. Yes, you may lost your spiritual experience by noticing all these nonsense. Many temples not allowed foreigner to the temple.

I once buy a flower from street and offered in temple. But they refuse take it by saying it is “muslim’ flower and cannot offer to Shiva in Kabaleeshwar temple. The name of flower is called “muslim flower”. I was shocked and questioned them how they can simple give religious identity for flower. A priest noticed it and explained to me that this type of flower have no smell so it is forbidden to offer to God. Only flowers with smells or scents are allowed to offer to God. And the flower I bought is mostly used in Muslims funeral so thats why it got that kind of name.

So there are some strange customs followed in many temples in India. Some not allow Muslims and Temples in Kerala not allow wear shirt, t-shirt or any kind above hips. Don’t excited and book your trip, the rules only for guys. 🙂

You won’t be allowed to take any photos inside temples. You have to hand over your cameras and mobile phones at the entrance of the temple in most of the temples. If anyone notice you take photos, they will take your camera and phones. Some temples allow you to take camera inside but you cannot photograph the deities.

But in North India you allow to take photos in most of the temples. Only few temples restricted to do so.

Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is must visit landmark place near Chennai. You can even stay there in beach resort. as per wikipedia it is an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during the time of Periplus (1st century CE) and Ptolemy (140 CE), from where ancient Indian traders sailed to countries of South East Asia. The above photo in this post is from Mahabalipuram.

People

Mostly are very friendly people. Car driver and auto driver are very friendly to foreigners because we are the customer who not negotiate on the fares. Indian culture trained to treat worker as slave. Drivers and guards are ordered to do all kind of jobs at driver and guards salaries.  So they love us because we treat them with dignity.

However we need to be careful with some drivers as they try to rob us with their sad stories and extremely high fare. I have a good auto driver. His name is Baba Shyam. You can pay him base on meter fare. Baba Shyam Mobile number is +9193823 32469.

There is no taxi except in airport. There is call taxi service. Their charging are base on the KM.  Fast Track call taxi service is best https://www.justdial.com/Chennai/Fast-Track-Call-Taxi-Pvt-Ltd-Near-Ram-Theatre-Kodambakkam/044PXX44-XX44-111104114433-Z9Y7_BZDET?xid=Q2hlbm5haSBDYWxsIFRheGkgU2VydmljZXM=

Things Can Buy

Sarees, antiques, books and gold jewellery. Strictly not anything else.

My Favorite Restaurants

There are many restaurants listed in https://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Restaurants-g304556-Chennai_Madras_Chennai_District_Tamil_Nadu.html

However the most visited by me is Karaikudi Restaurant, Amma Restaurant (not the one with cheapest meal by government), Barbeque Nation (You can have great buffet with a cheapest price), Virudhu Nagar, Thalapakatti and Buhari. There are few seafood stalls in Marina beach. Looks like its not hygienic but I enjoyed it. Bryani is must try food in any non vegetarian restaurants.

Vegetarian is the best food in all over India. Hygienic and delicious with not heavy spices. Saravana Bhavan is my favourite.  Those listed in Trip Advisory mostly expensive than what I listed here. There are also some other vegetarian restaurants cheaper than Saravana Bhavan. Auto driver is the best people to advice on places and restaurants. Keep in mind; they call restaurant as hotel.

Hotel

If you are looking for decent hotel go for those with stars. Again you can check those in Trip Advisory. Budget hotels are expensive compare to those in Malaysia and worst in quality and service. I usually stay in Afsan Palace in T. Nagar. There are many clean budget hotels in T. Nagar, Chennai especially in Sarojini Street.

Almost all the budget hotel have no internet booking and credit card facilities.

I never visited museums, art galleries and few other places.  Must visit those in my next visit.

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St. Thomas Church

 

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Kabaleeshwar Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Favourite Breakfast Set

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Vegetarian Lunch Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIRUVANNAMALAI

In October 2004, without any preparation I was instructed to visit Ramanasharam at Thiruvannamalai for an official visit related to my music business. I never heard anything before about Bhagavan Ramanar and Thiruvannamalai. (The photos below show that the photos took on 2009 but its not. It is some kind of error in my camera. I remember that my first visit to Thiruvannamalai is on Oct, 24, 2010.

It was the hottest place in Tamil Nadu; I guess. But Ramanashram is the place I always dreaming to live in my old age. Surrounded with nature, wild animals like peacocks, monkeys, birds. Huge trees, garden and mountain fold with calm weather.

I saw many Westerner meditating at Ramanar’s Tomb and in the room where Ramanar lived. I never knew how to meditate but just for a fun of experience I just sit in the room where Ramanar lived and closed my eyes and focus in my breathing.  Actually a guy called Ezhumalai in Ramanashram told that this is the place where Ramanar rested and blessed everyone for 24 hours when he was alive; almost anything visited him including dog, cow or crow, he blessed them. Ezhumalai advised me to sit and meditate for few minutes.

I almost never belief in Gurus or Sadhu’s. And at the point of time I was more in to Vaishnavism beliefs and I totally not believed in Advaitha or Saivist beliefs or philosophy. However just to be polite with him I sit and try to meditate.  It was amazing experience in my life. I never believe in it until I confronted with my doctor about my experience there. Still I feel strange and I search for scientific explanation for that and I don’t get it till now.

Before I left the place to Chennai, again Ezhumalai forced me to visit Thiruvannamalai temple. This time I refused as I have to reach Chennai by that night. He forced me very hard and I have no choice and visited the temple. I never knew much about ‘Sivalingam’ worship and greatness about that ancient temple. But I still cannot explain to anyone what I felt there.  I never disclosed this to anyone. This is my first recorded experience about the Thiruvannamalai.

I was rushed just to visit the Deity (Sivalingam) and planned to leave Chennai. But once I entered the prayer hall and sat infront of Shivalingam. I felt strange, shaking and tear drops from my eyes. It is just a stone; a huge black stone but I felt that there is a love which I searched for all my life. I felt its asking me why I took so long to reach there as it was waited there for me for so long. Ha ha sound crazy !!!!  Ya, I too felt the same. But I cried for about 2 days I guessed. I don’t know why? I didn’t consumed or took anything before visited this place, believe me. 🙂

Thats the point where I started to believe that God is one and he is formless, nameless and not belong to any religion. Otherwise I won’t experienced such a thing in that unknown place and unbeliever of those customs, religion and philosophy.

There after I visited Thiruvannamalai many times,  Mount “trekking”, meditated in the cave, visited many ashrams surrounded that area.

It is about 300 KM from Chennai. Can go by bus or hire a car. There are many hotels but you also can stay in the accommodation provided by the ashram and you can give any amount as your wish and also can eat for free at Ramanashram.

http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/ashram/ashram-accommodation/

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Will write about other places in India in my next post.

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How To Combat Your Depression or Anxiety?

It is my guides for people like me who are fighter and always seeing things in different ways. It wont helped everyone because I know how the depressed people will be and how they behave.

Being a fighter doest mean we can avoid depression and pain in life. I like one of the dialogue from Netflix’s Arrow Session 3 Episode 3, which said “To be a warrior the first thing we should understand is pain is inevitable and suffering is optional”.

We all are warrior in this life and should hold a shield to protect our heart and mind from blow of criticism, judgmental, failure, unwanted circumstances and terrible life experience. My steps may help you. Its helping me. But I am not a doctor or researcher. So be careful in choosing your path.

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My father was past away when I was 5 years old. All my relatives, my mom and sister cried worst and I was playing on the branch of guava tree. My aunty who searched for me, found me there and with shocked she asked me “Don’t you love your father? Don’t you feel to cry?” I answered her at that time. But I was remembered that answer after 30 years when I had chance to met her again.

My answer was “Father told me that a man won’t cry”. I never cried and I realised how badly it shaped me psychological over the years. My first cry was; as far as I remember; when I broke with my second lover.

I never had friends because after school, I usually go to work to support the financial need for my education and never ever shared any of my feelings to any of my friends and never attached to anyone. They called my behaviour as “Agilanism”. I decided everything my own and I did things my own. Some saw me as a leader; some adopted me as their role model. But no one know how fragile I was inside. Even I don’t realised it.

 

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My mother worked day and night. She have never had time to show her love to us and she avoided it purposely for a single reason that “Kids grown without father will grow with no value for morality and discipline”. So my mother mean discipline master for me :-). I can understand how hard it was for her as well.

The child who grief inside for the love of parent grown into teen, young, adults; fall in love, broke, never attached in any relationship including friendship, failure in business, damaged financially, ashamed by friends and relatives, backstabbed by most those who I helped, cared and loved.

I never pay my respect to anyone’s funerals; never visited anyone while they admitted in hospital and I too never informed anyone when I was admitted few times in hospital. Like to travel alone, walk to long distance. Basically I always tried to isolate my self.

It pulled me down to great depression until I became a patient to a psychiatric. Of course that too I decided my own instead of open my heart to someone, comforting, supporting and motivating relationship; I search for psychiatric. The reason is my un-consulted and untreated depression made me more frequently fall in depressed moods, suicide thoughts and violent behaviours. And it grows like a dark forest inside me and later I hallucinate things. If you not treat it well sooner or later it will change your behaviour and character. You will loss your insight.

But I can make my self as happiest person in the world even a billionaire may not ;). I am still hold the kindness, love and care for others. The secret is I learn how to combat my depression/anxiety or bipolar disorder (as per my psychiatric) by my own. I learned that we are always have to fight it our own; alone and cannot expect a superhuman to save us from the flood of our depression.

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My depression, feeling down, worthless feeling all just stayed for a day or 2 or maximum 3 every time. Yet, I can manage to meet my dateline for my works, continues my activity towards my dreams and goals. Actively attending business meetings, manage to convey people with my pioneering ideas, legally fighting for business, smartly putting my steps in new investment and business proposals.

Here is the secret, with hope it may help you too and I like to help people who are in the same situation and unnoticed by those surrounding you. I know how it feel when you totally down and I know what will happened if you let it grow inside you.  Follow one step at once. If its not work for you, try other steps. Not all at once except the step No. 1; it is the core thing in our life we have to reach.

Here the list;

  1. Try to figure out what or where you want to be in your life.

    • Of course you cannot think of it while you are in depression. You have to do while you are out of that feeling. Allocate sometimes to think about what would be your dreams and goals.
    • The essence and purpose in achieving your goals must be Happiness. So dream your happiness, think what will make you happy and plan what you need to do to get it.
    • Our goals should not be always in money and fame. Mine are bigger like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, maybe thats why I depressed a lot. 🙂 Sometimes our dreams itself will make us clinically depressed. If so what point of having such goals. We know that many people who are fame and rich are committed suicide, died in drug overdose and some become more arrogant. So fame and money are not the foundation of the happiness; happiness should be.
    • This should be your first step to prepare yourself before you face the disaster. This ambitious mind set is your life jacket. If  you don’t have deep and strong desire on this you will be drown. Otherwise the rest of the steps Im going to explain wont help you.
  2. Try to go outdoor. 

    If you are in great depression for unknown reason or known reason, the important  thing you have to do is try to go to park, to movie in theatre, for shopping or to Starbuck. Sit there for while, walk for a while, buy things you liked most (careful when buying things as you may spent unnecessarily a lot. It is one of the side effect of depression).

    • Go for superhero’s, comedy, action and adventure movies or a brutal violent movie. If drama, please choose something like Secret life of Walter Mitty or Walk.
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    • Try to go for cycling.  That would be the greatest thing instead of going for movie or a day out alone. Try to go for long cycling in nature surrounded area. Of course we cannot shut our mind on the things which disturbing us at that point of time. So you have to keep think on the 1st step over the time.
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    • If you decided to go for Starbuck (I dont like other coffee shop’s environment but you may find one), go with a magazine or a book. To choose the book or magazine, refer again the step No.1. And please dont order coffee. Caffeine will increase your depression and will maintained you in depressed situation for long time. My suggestion is Green Tea Latte.
  3. Try to spend time with kids

    • Spending time with kids means, in kid’s way. Not in teen or adults way.  Don’t give orders and instructions to them. Play their games, agreed on whatever their requests are even if those are irritating and disgusting. Try to live in their world. Great thing about kids are they dont worry about tomorrow. Their only greediness is to enjoy maximum the present. You may become tired of course, we usually wont have the energy kids have because our hearts and mind are burdened and burning with 100 thoughts and feeling.  If you dont have kids, spent time with friend’s kids or relative’s kids. If you don’t have tolerance with kid’s attitude, avoid this step.
  4. Listen to Music

    • Listen to music which comes to your mind at that point of time. It will be always related to the feeling you carry at that point of time. If you are in sad and want to listen to sad songs, go ahead. Don’t go against your mood.
    • We are not here to fight with our moods, go along with the moods. Instead of swimming against the flow of the water, float on it. It wont drown you. People usually scared listening to sad songs will make you more sad, worries and depressed. Yes, it does. At one point of time, you will break into pieces and thats it. The basic thing here is you have to let it out.
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    • You may feel shame by sharing your feeling to someone. Or maybe we dont have someone. Or maybe someone already criticised you for your condition. So, listening to the song which sooth your moods and breaks you into pieces is better than sharing with someone.
    • Sure you will be raise again after a while because you know the first step. The unwanted feeling may drown you for a while but music will raise you back from the deepest sorrow because you already decided your 1st step.
  5. Try to talk to someone you think closer to you

    • If necessary.
    • Don’t assume everyone traveling the same boat with you. They may annoyed, may see you down, treat you down, may feel entertains with your problems or maybe they too in the same situation.
    • The words comes from us at the point of depression time always wont focus in the actual problems. We will blabbering for sure. So it is hard for people to really understand our feeling.
    • You may or already realised that no point at all in talking to others. Some even made the situation worst. So be careful on who you trust and who you choose.
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  6. Facebook

  7. Serial

    • Netflix
    • Follow some of your favorite serials. Mine is Daredevil and Arrow for the moment.
    • It will take the whole day sometimes; like in Netflix, the complete season or more completed seasons will be available and all the episodes are always linked the previous episode. So you can’t missed any episode and can’t stop in middle. Thats why I said it may take your whole day.
    • Movies and Serials now days are with great dialogues which can erase our pain, give more insight about life and sometimes gave different perception on the problem we are facing right now.
    • We can say for definitely that movies and serial are another form of literature in current generation. It works for me maybe to you too.
    • Other best series I loved most are X-files, Lucky Man, Vinyl, player and more. And realised that to can be an addiction to you, if you don’t prepared your self as in step 1.
  8. Sex

    • Sex will be another great relief while you are in depressed mode. But most of the medical related site mentioning that we may loss interest in sex. Its not true.
    • If you have partner, be loyal. Puppy love or feeling for someone or one way love not comes under the roof of loyalty.
    • It should be honest feel of love from both sides. If you don’t have one, hire call girls :-). Sorry I have no experience and knowledge in hiring call guys 🙂 So if you are girls, search through web, sms and fixed the rate and time. Get prepared yourself.
    • Most important thing is try to spent few hours with them in chatting before you go to your bed, hall, table or sofa ;-).
    • End of the day you have to come out from this shit kind of feeling, thats the point. You no need to be judgemental on this. Happiness is key point. They looking for money, you looking at a key or lock to get your self out from the present dark feeling.
    • Shy, scare, guilty or have no money. Masturbate.
    • Worried if other found it out? So what, are they are the one who suffering in depression. Understand one thing, you have no one to comfort you right now and you have to come out from it as soon as possible to focus on your above 1st step.
    • Most importantly; have safe sex.
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  9. Spirituality

    • Ha ha ha, it may sound contrary to the above point. Its not. Surrender to Him/Her/It/ fully. Believe the almighty will guide you to achieve the 1st step in righteous path.
    • To get ride of any guilty feeling for the step no.8, you have to convince yourself that if the Almighty exist, He will guide you to right path sooner or later. Or maybe you will no more feel guilty or sinner if you going closer to achieve what you plan in step 1.
    • I knew a friend who addicted to sex and he need it everyday. He depressed lot if he wont get it. He went to sexual experiences to overcome his depression but now, he fallen into it. To avoid such things happen to you, hold on spirituality.
    • Sometimes we may questioned of the existent of Him and doubt about the words on the holy books. Nothing wrong on it. Doubt is the first to guide you to His path. Darkness will lead you to seek for lights.
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  10.  Hobby

    • Do something you love most. Not movie. Hobby is a things you have to learn the skill and will grown your passion towards it. Some said meditation will be best thing for depression. If clinical depression, meaning if we are far beyond the normal depression, we cannot surrender ourself into meditation.  For those, hobby can be your best meditation.
    • For me is Fishing.
    • Find a hobby which can relax your mind instead of stressing you a lot.
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  11. Medication

    • Sometimes we maybe out of control. We may hurt ourself or maybe will hurt others or even will get suicidal thoughts.
    • If you went into that stage please visit psychiatric. Of course it is little expensive. Try to get government support or someone who really care for you.
    • Sometimes medication are the best thing. The reason is the depression maybe cause by our life experience and sometimes we may carry in our genes. It is called as a chemical imbalance in your brain. So the medication will make it balance and will raise us to chase for step 1.
    • But it can’t be solved in a day. It may take months or years. Some side effects are there. And strictly follow the doctor’s instruction.
    • Some side effects of the clinical depression medications are dizziness, insomnia and anxiety.
    • Make sure you medication help you to get you to your 1st step otherwise speak to your doctor again.
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  12. Drug

    • Weed is best medication for depression and anxiety. Its been legalised in many countries now days.
    • But I too noticed some who became addicted to weed. Because they not prepared their self for step 1. They simply blame circumstances, others and their faith. I hope we are not in that category of people. We are hero and so we are invulnerable. 😉
    • Don’t try it if you don’t have gut or without any experienced people with you. I tried in Varanasi, India and I though that was my last day of my life :).
    • As I said we are invulnerable because we build strong foundation on the Step 1. The building may collapsed sometimes, that why we depressed more and more or maybe our depression cause the collapse. But we still can rebuild it again and again without tiredness if we build the foundation strong (at least in our mind).
    • Some brain cannot tolerate to some drugs. So the best is go for step 11 first and if its failed then come to this step.
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  13. Keep some routine works on your normal days.

    • Try to exercise at least 30 mins per day. If you did heavy workout, skip the following day for your to tissue to recover back. Depressed people will easily lost weight or gain weight and exercise can make them in shape and strong. Also exercise will produce more endorphin to our brain which can make our brain chemical in balance and happy mood.
    • Start your every morning with some comedy quotes or videos. You can follow the step the 6. Like those finniest pages.
    • Read something related to your Step 1 or Step 9. Spent at least 30 minutes or minimum 5 pages per day.
    • And believe there is always people to love and care us back. Make sure they value, appreciate and support us for step 1. If you don’t have one; believe me, sooner you will find one.
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(C) 2016 Agilan Lechaman

 

 

 

Start Your Own Independent Record Label

To all Artists/Composers/Music Producers;

If you approaching me or If I approaching you for new album production, please understand that I have to spent Rs 1- 3 lakh/ RM 7- 20k, not including Manufacturing; which will cost me Minimum RM 3k and maybe goes higher depend on the inlay, sometimes have to spend extra for mixing and mastering. It will cost another RM 3k – RM 6k.

For Marketing and promotion – international labels spending twice or triple of their production cost. I don’t have that much budget and I won’t do coz I can produce 3 albums with that cost.

For Press release we should spent minimum Rs 1 lakh otherwise they won’t show interest Coz they always goes for sensational news; not for new artists, unless you have friends in media. International or Malay albums maybe different scenarios, Im venturing it now. Will learn it soon.

I visited personally each Tamil and English press people to publish the news in Malaysia previously. In India it is possible only through PRO, which again will cost lot.

I frequently visiting all the shops in Malaysia, India (Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore) and Singapore without revealing I’m the owner of the Agi Music; just to get their feedback on our releases, what are the top selling albums and how the feedback/support for original and piracy. How many major labels doing so?

Don’t simply come and approach me for your albums and end of the day blame me if it is not selling. Some artists sent their friends to all the shops to check and requests for the CDs; just to check whether it is available there or not. Shop owners telling me, they just checking but not buying sir. We always facing this, so please don’t force us to place your CDs because its not selling. Instead of invoices, we have more returned CDs slips. Further we have to wait for 6 months for sold CDs payment. But all our non film albums are precious. Im proud and satisfying with those releases. Thats keep motivating me to explore more and keep investing in this industry.

I had visited personally all the Indian radio channels for airplay of our songs. They showed interests only in film music or specific genres base on their target audiences. Gayathri’s Kanda Naal is first Carnatic New Age Album in the market which I released in 2007 (if not mistaken) or we may call it as an alternative genre (anyway most of the services are not categorising the albums/songs in accurate genres category). We didn’t got the airplay because they never experienced such genre before. For some of our releases; some radio channels requested huge sum as ad campaign to play our songs frequently. Some requested us to provide royalty free authorisation letters for airplay; even for film music, so they can avoid paying royalties to performing societies. Will it going to help the artists, label or songwriter, financially?

In Indian music scenarios, how many labels releasing CDs? Even movie songs in CDs? I visited shops and dealer in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Their replies are; many goes to pirates or original with 50 MP3 songs in one CD; Not Audio CDs.

Once we released CDs, I have to beg the shops to place our Non Film Albums to display in their shops. Those who knew me, allowed me to place the CDs in right; visible places/row. I did that personally most of the time. Even sometimes without their permission. 🙂

There after launching function expenses, distribution expenses, Facebook advertisement and print media expenses. Ad campaign will reach almost 6k people in my experience but those who click or like are just below 50 people. Yet, again it is another cost me for me. But in 50 clicks/likes; how many buying it actually? I deleted all the album ads campaign from Facebook as it exceed my budget and I’m unable to advertise my recent survey posting. Otherwise I will share those details as well but it is same scenarios for album ad campaign too. News papers ads too same but to sell 1000 CDs it took almost 2 years.

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In Malaysia how many legal CDs are available? You, as a creative person, ask yourself how many CDs you are buying legally; how much your spending on legally available music? Here is mine. Im still and always goes for legal.

 

 

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iTunes is my favorite because through family purchase package, 6 family members can enjoy everything I purchased. I 3 of my friends in my family sharing. They enjoying it for free.

My Second choice is Spotify because their playlist base on moods, my favorite genres and artists.

 

Ask yourself, do you buy CDs or Download Pirates or Just enjoying all the music via YouTube?. YouTube paying 0.00175 USD for per stream, if it is with Advertisement. Is it worth for artists, composers and label? Again have to pay to public performance society, tax for royalties, copyright regulations fees and court fees if there is piracy or copyright conflicts.

 

 

Market are evolving in streaming coz that’s the cheapest way to consume legal songs. It is not a valuable revenues for new artists or niche Labels like us, unless more millions streaming took place through premium subscription.

How many Indian labels are releasing non film albums now days? Those who releasing goes for quantities; not qualities. Im very much impressed with EMI music India’s previously for their none film albums. But unfortunately they left the industry and their catalogues went to Universal Music and Sony Music (and I think they still figuring out how to categorise/place/sell it :).  But again, same as streaming; releasing non films albums; depend on quantities. That’s how they making revenues. I don’t have that much budget to release, even an album per month. Just imagine, even EMI cannot sustain in the market :(.

As an Artist, Song Writer, Music Producer, I appreciate your talent and creativity. It’s gift from Almighty. And I too gifted with a talent to do hardwork to sell/push your albums. But the market responses and sales sometimes will be out of our expectation. Even major labels are facing the same problems after spending lot in marketing and promotion.

When MSV conquered the Tamil film music industry; Ilaiyaraaja came with new trend and wave with Machana Paaetheengala song. He ruled for 20 years. But not all are gems and successful financially. What promotions or marketing he did or the producer did? And what happened now to those producers?

There after AR Rahman with his Chinna Chinna Aasai from his debut album Roja became famous and he became as new trend setter and the wave still vibrating in Market. He gave hope for many new comer and non film artists/albums. What marketing and Promotions he did? Or the producer did?

In this current digital era; among many popular composers; Anirudh became new trend setter with Why This Kola Very song. It went viral through YouTube sharings. No money spent for any promotions or marketing and even the video recorded unprofessionally.

Santhosh Narayanan doing a great job but I dont think it is commercially successful. Think Music should knows better on this as they are the one mostly releasing his music.

Music business is a gamble. Some become hits and some loss. Some we thought will be hit but it will flop; some we thought maybe will reach niche audience but it will goes viral. I experienced it when I released Mayakkannadi by Ilaiyaraaja and Naan Avan Illai by Vijay Anthony at same period. Instead of Naan Avan Illai, I love Mayakkannadi but Naan Avan Illai became hits and it is still generating revenues :).

Tower Records, Music World (India), RDio, WowLoud, Flipkart and more have been closed and leave the music industry. How many Indian labels in Malaysia releasing albums or even film music now days? Veenai, Alai Osai, Suara network, JS Raaga, Five Star all gave hope in Music Industry long time back.

In India (if not mistaken between 2011 – 2012), when oversea venture capitalist show interest for investing in India; one of the industry they thought will be promising is entertainment, because the market size for Indian entertainment industry is bigger and the population. Thats the period, T-Series, Sony, Universals and others more aggressively playing big parts in Movie and Music market. Some new comers entered/established their self  in market like Think Music, Hungamma and others. We may know the results in near future :(. Coz biggest corporate players will take at least 5 years to realise whether their investment generating profits; same as Apple.

The only lone survivor and still keep the spirit is Agi Music. 🙂 I’m proud for that. And other labels who are same as me; give 5 :).

Thanks to Almighty and for all the fans who still supporting legal music purchasing.

For some albums, I committed and spent for my love towards their talents/friendship. If its not doing well; don’t blame me. I don’t have big, talented and great teams. I can’t effort financially to do so. I handle it all by my own. Everyone in the music industry in India and Malaysia knew that.

The scenarios will be different, if I release top artists’ albums. I don’t have that budget for that. No investors interest in music business. No Banks entertain music business. To approach and convince them, we have to show unrealistic plan and anonymous teams members :).

How Mozart’s, Beethoven’s and Thiagraaja’s music still sustaining in the market even after more than 200 years? They didn’t seek for popularity and fortune. It was their passion and they composed because of their passion in Music. And most of the time they composed to overcome their depression and rejection from the market/ audiences. They never did any analysis on the market and trends; never expect anything in returns. Every artists now days are earning and living through the revenues they earning from those geniuses’ compositions. Musicians are dead long time back. What we are hearing now days are just a product from some business people (composer/artist). I appreciate the street musicians more than those in limelight.

But of course I might be wrong coz it can be proven in 100 years later from now, to realise whether it is just a product or masterpiece; if it is survive for such a long period, more cover versions, more performances and if people appreciate it for such long period. Maybe Ilaiyaraaja or AR Rahman will be in the list. I dont know, frankly.

Those who talented and passion in music and not much interest in popularity or money; approach me. Lets spread the love to the world through music.

I stopped long time back to get albums on royalty basis coz they think they are great artists and composers and believe their albums doing well but thinking that we are making few hundred thousands or millions but showing them only few hundred or thousands on royalty reports.

After paying your royalties, I still need to pay my office rental, staff and other regulations costs. How much you think I can make out of it for me and my family? I’m still here coz this is my passion, dream and interest. I love and enjoy taking the risk and struggles. Many thought and thinking that I am not a business man. I agree, I’m not a business man; I am MUSIC MAN.

If you confident in your great talent, please approach Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music, Think Music or any other companies.

Agi Music have our own terms. Our releases are unique and niche. Coz that’s my passion. I’m willing to spend, if I believe you will be the next trend setter but of course with my own terms and condition; not with your terms 🙂

I believe you all are talented, of course. Boost your confident and start your own independent labels. Selling it digitally though CDBaby (others digital distributors are interest in huge catalogues and some are expensive to distribute your music).

Change music labels scenarios like USA and Europe where 100 of independent labels are keep entering as many major labels not entertaining and respect their unique talents, or sell it directly to those who praise your music/talent, I saw many of those kind of artists on my Europe trips.

Change it. Take the challenge. I too like to see many competitors in this industry. It will motivate me. It’s boring without competitors. 🙂 Otherwise compose like Mozart or Thiagaraaja for the benefit of future generation.

Read my Tamil blog to see how to start your own record label at http://meedpu.blogspot.my/2010/10/blog-post_02.html?m=1

I will write in English soon. Make resolution to start your own label and contribute to the music lovers. It’s still not too late.

Jai Ho

Jai Ho Via Love Path Through Allah-Rakha Rahman’s Music

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A.R.Rahman

Since 2005 I was in Great Depression. When I took the master of Godfather of ARR’s (Varalaaru) soundtrack, in 2006, I wished for his blessing. He said, you no need my blessing, “if you are honest, genuine and hardworking, you will successful”.

I believe it and did my business honestly, genuine and of course hard work extremely. It is my real nature since beginning. (It’s up to you to believe so). But I went through hard time, fall, stand, fight, and at one point of time I gave up all my believes even in God. I started to believe we cannot success in business if we are honest.

My experiences in the entertainment industry, made me believe that only  those with criminal mind, dishonest and unethical can be popular in industry and successful. Some even gained praise equally as God. I lost in that darkness surrrounded by me and never found light to went back to my real self.

Some said I became insane and adviced me to take medication. I tired and failed. Tried nicotine, alcohol, drugs and went deeper and deeper into dark path; hate path. I felt drugs made me sane at those hard time.

I was disappointed and confused whether God really exist. If so why he should let me went through this painful life and gave financial success, popularity and gifted genius mind to those who are fake and in false believes.

When I took my first master of Maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s Ramanar Gana Ratham from Ramanashram. The only prayer was “whatever happened, “wherever” I go, keep me be same as who am I now”. It’s came spontaneously. I never prepared for proper prayer. I never knew about Ramanar and Thiruvannamalai at that time. I strongly believe I will be successful, so I don’t know what to pray or wish.

Dr. Shanmugasiva told me when I started my music business that money and success can change anyone. That was came in my mind when I was in Ramanashram. So I prayed “don’t change my nature and let me be as who am I now; honest and genuine; even not wished for financial support although I seek help from many relatives’ and friends’ financial support (loan) to start the business.

I never thought will I be the same if I fall. So I think God testing me by failure not by success as I hoped. However I became depressed, sick, disconnected myself from all who love me, the hurts, humiliation, debts and many other outer factors, kept forcing me to darkest side of me.

But something keep telling me “Choose love path; not hate”. It is also one of AR Rahman’s quote. He told it when he received Oscars.

He also told in an interview after the Oscars that “After A Great Depresion, Great Thing Will Happen For Sure”

Only few knows what I went through when he won the Oscar. My part is nothing at all in that. But many throw hates on me because I knew him and I released his Godfather (Varalaaru). I took it as comedy. The doubts raised because of my international music industry connection. But I played no role in his Oscars.

He deserved it. It is God’s wish. I am no one. Why I should been victim in this? It’s may really sound funny but that’s the truth. However I dont know how to choose Love path while I’m surrounded by hate paths in all directions.

Kahaan Ho Main

In 1st January 2016, I sent sms to AR Rahman without any business intentions and without any expectations, without any requests. The only reason for the SMS is I was in very deep depression and detached from everyone and everything. I was transforming more more into arrogant, hate and immorally activities. The only voice keep sounding in my mind is “Choose Love  Path”. And I have no one at my side except some good friends of course, but their presences are not there, So I sent him message, without second thought. The main reason is I don’t know whether love path is exists and it will lead us to painless life.

The content of my sms to him is said somehow I still stay strong because you told to choose Love path.

Millions maybe billions sent him whises for happy new year. One of them his me, but not wish, I shared my pain. I received reply from him in a simple line but it changed my path and believes.

“Test make us stronger and fit for greater things” with 🙂 smiley – AR Rahman.

Nenje Ezhu

I never shared his sms in Facebook, Twitter or to anyone. It might looks like I’m seeking publicity. He took initiative to reply me and comfort me. I felt this quote specially made for me, to ease my pain, to give me hope once again. I’m not someone yet. Further, medias portraited me in very negative way and destroyed my company’s reputation. I never responded to anything, because somehow deeper inside, something keep forcing me to love path, through some music fans and friends, and most importantly AR Rahman’s Sufism Music.

I received the SMS 5.07am Malaysian time; I woke up when my phone sound. The first message in early morning from the one of the greatest  music legend; Motivated me, gave me once again a hope and in few minutes thereafter I heard Azhan from near by Mosque. I believe God has no name, form or religion. So Even though I’m not a Muslim but I believe God keep holding my hand and guiding me through the Azhan. I heard it coincidently everytime when I’m depressed. So his SMS and Azhan, make me believe that the Almigty always with me and guiding me.

Zikr

Once received the SMS and thereafter the Azhan, made me more energized.

Patakha Guddi

I immediately wrote some important resolutions for 2016, thereafter. However this time I prayed and wished God to help me solve all my problems and difficulties.

However, I confused what is Love Path, and even I confused what the real definition of Love. But I been active again, hired staff for my office and started my work again after 3 months of break. All happened because of a single SMS. I felt he not sending me just SMS but blessing and prayer too.
There after I started to meet my artists, working on Mohd Aslam upcoming (debut solo album of him). For first time I worked on mixing, which I always thought it is the most hard job in music production.

Yet, it was difficult for me to choose Love path. Hate, anger and revenge was conquered my heart.

Thereafter, I got an appointment from Amir Syawal, a Muslim friend who defined what is real meaning of Love and he told me only God can be our greatest Lover, not human. Once again coincidently I heard Azhan when I left his Studio.

Kun Faya Kun

Actually, I met Amir to collect raw files of my next release of Rajhula’s debut album. Rajhula.  It was again not pre planned meeting as his father was admitted in hospital due to heart problem. (Now his father is fine and discharged).

The meeting with him made me seek more deeper into God. He diverted me; made me focus more into me In search of the Greatest Lover.

Khwaja Mere Khwaja

The next day I spent time with my 10 years old daughter in playground, she shared with me lot of her doubts about why bad people exist. “If God created everyone, why he created bad people too?” Good question and I have to answer for her. So i refer to Maha Bharath which I read first when I was 17th years old age.

So I started share the story of Maha Bharath, a great Hindu Epic, as below;

“Once the war confirmed between Pandavas and Gourawas. Both gathered armies and allies all around the surrounding countries. Most of the powerful allies, armies and great warriors took side of Gourawas such as Beeshmar, Karna and many more due to many rational reasons such as relatives, friends ……. . Gourawas path is Hate path. Pandavas path is Love Path; so Pandavas and his allies are not strong compare to Gourawas.

Their last choice was Krishna. Arjuna (Pandavas) and Thriyothana (Gourawas) went to meet Krishna while He sleeping; and they waited till Krishna got up.

Krishna didn’t defend both nor chose any side. He just gave them two choices

A. My Entire Armies. The most powerful armies

B. Only Me

Arjuna chose Krishna (The Almighty). Thriyothana chose His entire armies and very happy as he felt he won the war even before its happen.
Krishna asked Arjuna, “why you chose just me. You had choice to choose my entire Armies?”

Arjuna answered, “I believe that I’m great warrior, but only You can be my best chariot Driver”. Krishna just smiled and agreed.

The reason for His smile is; if Arjuna beg Him to destroy Thriyothana’s entire allies, Krishna alone can destroy them in a second. Coz He is Almighty. Arjuna believed that. Even though Thriyothana knows that; he satisfied and happy with Krishna’s offer.

Pandavas (Arjuna) won finally.

Let us perform our duties and beg Almighty be our driver, let him choose our path. It’s may up and down but believe that you have the best driver. He won’t let you be in “accident”. Coz He is the best driver who know all the paths and only He know where is our destination.

When I told this spontaneously to my daughter; its enlightened me.

“Stop ask anything from Almighty; let it be health, financial or any kind of material things. Just perform your duties in best way; and leave the destination to Almighty’s wish.

Bhagavat Geetha

“I’m your best friend” – 9:18

Malargal Keaten

” I don’t hate anyone nor defend anyone. If you Love me, I will be your best Friend. I will be in you and you will be in me” – 9:29

“4 types of people seeking Me; those in great pain, those who seek for financial support, those with all doubts and those who seek the most higher knowledge. 7:16

“But for those who in love with Me; I will be their best LOVER and they will be my best LOVER too” 7:17

“If you offer me a flower or a leave or a fruit or water; with LOVE, I’m accepting it” 9:26

Aaruyire Mannippaaya

Once I realized it, I thank my daughter. She asked why. I said “through your doubts Lord enlightened me today. And you made me to read again Bhagavat Geetha after 20 years.

Mannippaaya

And great thing is I stopped wished, pray him for my material needs. Decided let him be my chariot driver, my part is just do my duties as usual as old days.

Oliyaaga Vandhai

Now, I accomplished one of my 2016 resolution. Will accomplish the remaining resolution soon if His wish so. Jai Ho. May the victory be mine and all of you too.

Jai Ho

I got fever running like a fire
For you I will go all the way
I’m gonna take you higher
(Jai Ho)
I’ll keep it steady, cause steady is how I do it
(Jai ho!)
This beat it heavy, so heavy you’re gonna feel it

[Chorus: PCD (A. R.)]
(Jai Ho!)
You are the reason that I breath
(Jai Ho!)
You re the reason that I still believe
(Jai Ho!)
Your are my destiny
Jai ho! Oh, oh, oh, oh
(Jai Ho!)
No, there is nothing that can stop us
(Jai Ho!)
Nothing can ever come between us
(Jai Ho!)
So come and dance with me

Catch me, catch me, catch me
C’mon, catch me, I want you now
I know you can save me
You can save me, I need you now
I am yours forever, yes forever
I will follow
Anyway, and anywhere
Never gonna let go
Jai ho! Oh
You and me, its destiny (Let The Victory Be Yours)

The LOVE won’t stop towards the Greatest Lover

Arziyan

AR Rahman chose love path and spreading it to everyone through his music. May almighty blessing always be with him.

Song: Maahi Ve

Lyrics: Irshad Kamil

Maahi Ve

Sunshine raining on water..

It creates shadows, removes them,

[as if someone is playing, doodling and removing and creating more]

I call, and you come (for me), pacify me,

and every distance between us gets embarrassed

[as in, all these physical distances become meaningless.]

you’re with me, and so, the days and nights are there,

(that is what these) shadows tell me..

you’re with me, and so the days and nights are there,
every shadow (tells me), O beloved, O beloved..

In every thought/deed of mine, you’re with me,

O beloved, O beloved..

You’re all my situations

[that is, you’re the reason of all my situations, and you’re there in them all too. This is not explicitly said, but more of an implied meaning here.]

O beloved, O beloved..

you pester me, you cajole me, pester (again),
make me cry and make me laugh too.

O close one, every distance feels embarrassed

[in the same context as earlier, the distance is meaningless as despite the distance he finds his beloved close.]

You’re all my secrets, my tomorrow and today,
O beloved, O beloved..

You’re every flight of mine..

This living, or even not living,
both are related to you only.

It’s me only who is your address

there is no other way (to reach you)..

Whoever looks for you, should come to me only,

You speak in my silences,

This living, and not living too,whatever has happened has happened from you alone.

In Lamhon Ke

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He is the most
Unluckiest person
In these universe
He is not allowed to
Grieve, sad, love
He is not allowed to
Cry
Sometimes he loses his
Control
But his tears burn in his fire
Before they touch his cheeks

He find his happiness
In the fear of others
And their dark secrets
They are not his favorites
But those are the options
He has
No, actually that’s the Only option
For him
given by these universe

But you are my
Hero
Friend
Lover
Coz
You too
cursed with the same fate
like me
As a Fallen Angel

– Agilan Lechaman

Pulau Besar, Melaka

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I went to Pulau Besar last Thursday, 19th March 2015 and returned back on 20th March 2015.  It was one of depressed period in my lifetime. Surrounded with lies and dishonesty. Some unethical pressmen in India defaming my name against the popular celebrities which they believe as God of Music. 🙂

They try to ruin my business and reputation. Even though many are still trusting, supporting and helping me to overcome this worst situation, my mind not settled and worried much on the future of my business and life.

My uncle Wilson, met me on Wednesday and invite me to visit Pulau Besar. I heard lot about it previously and some of my friend invited me previously but I have no intention to visit that place before. I was informed that the Tomb of Great Muslim Master Sultan Arifin Syaheed (Syeikh) Ismail is there and its giving mystic power for that place and we can attain great spiritual guidance in this place.

I was advised by some of my well-wishers to reveal the press and public the truth about the legal battle I’m facing in India and how the injustice was on me by “Music God” with his influence of popularity, politic and money. I keep refusing it as I don’t want to defame him for many reasons. Actually I pity of his current situation. But this call to Pulau Besar motivated me to reveal the truth. So I accepted it for first time because I thought this trip will relief me and give undisturbed time to prepare myself for the press release. The reason Im telling all these because I want you to understand what was my mental and emotional stage prior to visiting Pulau Besar and current. Otherwise you may not find the spirit of this island.

Before I write about Pulau Besar, I would like to mention here that I am not a muslim nor a Hindu. I dont believe in religious but still in search of God/ Truth (of course sometimes I have doubt of his existent). So please dont mistaken me if I write anything against any religious or beliefs. As I told I’m still in searching/learning process about God and Religious. If any wrong message shared by me, please enlighten me. So, I can learn and correct my self.

The popularity of the Island among Malaysian and Muslim in other part of the World are because of Sultan Ariffin Syaheed Ismail (r.a). Syaheed Ismail (r.a) is bloodline of Nabi Muhammad (s.a.w) and he landed in Pulau Besar, Melaka from Bagdad after instructed by Nabi himself (through a mystic voice from his Tomb in Mekkah) about 750 years back (if not mistaken).  His assignment was to spread Islam in South East Asia.

Tomb Of Syaheed Ismail (r.a)

Tomb Of Syaheed Ismail (r.a)

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Way To Tomb

Way To Tomb

I started to believe in Sufism and Islam after I experienced a guidance from Shirdi Sai Baba. Majority of his followers claiming that Sai Baba is Hindu but based on his life story recorded by one of his friend/follower/devotees, I strongly believe Sai Baba must be a muslim even though he didnt revealed it either his birth and where he came from. But his life story and incidents revealed the truth of Sufism and Islam to me. From then on I start to explore more on Islam and Sufism.  Therefore I decided to visit his tomb in my current depressing situation. I also thought this visit and rest will help me to write a proper reply to all medias as instructed by my well-wishers. So I traveled to this “world” by disconnecting all my worldly contacts :-). How we can do that? Simply switch off your phone till you finish your journey. :-).

We traveled from Puchong to Melaka by car with guidance of Waze, a smartphone apps (of course my Uncle’s). You have to set your destination at Waze as “Ikan Bakar Umbai”, if you like to hire motorboats. The chargers was RM 100 for return. Or you can go to Anjung Batu Jetty at Melaka Raya to take ferry. It will cost only RM 14. For more details you can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulau_Besar_(Malacca).

It takes only about 5 – 10 mins to reach the island. Ya, I forgot to mention, Pulau Besar is small Island in Melaka, Malaysia. We took a van once reached the island and reached the Tomb of Sheikh Ismail (r.a), in less than 5 mins. From there we walked to almshouse called Wakaf Sultan Arrifin which is located few meter from the tomb. And all these places located exactly at seashore. Just in few steps you can steep your feet into the sea.

You can stay at almshouse for free. No bed or air condition. Fans and lights will be turn on at 7pm. They will provide you breakfast, Lunch, Tea break and Dinner. All for free and unconditional. All you need to do is, just wake up at proper lunch time, dinner time and breakfast. :). However we donate RM 50 each for curtesy. Or you can stay in your own camp or you can rental from any camp providers in surrounding area. Free to do BBQ and any other activities (of course not something illegal or immoral :).) There is nice chalet also there. I saw only one resort providing the chalet facilities. D’Puteri Kurnia Resort.  Lot of small stalls and restaurants in surrounding area but the food provided by the almshouse are most delicious. Don’t expect varieties. It is very simple foods. Morning we ate fried mee, Lunch we have no idea as we reached there after lunch and leave the place before lunch. Dinner just a bowl of rice with 1 piece of mutton curry. Thats it. But the taste still in my tongue. The almshouse is maintained by some Indian Muslims who settled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Thats what I have been told.

2015-03-20 07.25.14 2015-03-20 07.24.35

Wakaf Sultan Arrifin

Wakaf Sultan Arrifin

Camp Rental

Camp Rental

After few minutes of rest at almshouse, I walked along the seashore and in jungles till 7pm (i guess) and there after I took my bath at the public toilet cum bathroom. I found  there is 2 public toilets. One is near Mosque and Tomb and another one is at almshouse. Both are very clean. You have to pay RM 1 for bath.

After my dinner, I went to a very quite and nice place with small and long wall which located exactly at seashore. I sit over there and turned on my iPod, created a playlist of best Sufi songs which I never enjoyed previously. Frankly to say my life changing experience happened there. Till 12am I was drowning into the sufi music. Will write separately my life changing experience which I think it must driven from the music I listened. However, even though I already had all those music in my iPod since many months and years, I never got this kind of enlighten previously. Im not sure whether its the music or the environment or the spiritual power of the island as the locals’ believe.

2015-03-19 22.56.29

Music

Music

All my preparation for press statement and about revealing the truth of my legal battle got vanished. Believe me. I realised that I no more bother about anything, only after my uncle try to comfort me. He worried watching me sitting at seashore in dark night and simply staring the un-visible sea. He though Im in sorrow but

actually I was in euphoria and it is still continue in me till to date. Hoping It should continue till my life end :-). I never felt the same in any other places I visited before. This one is far more enjoyable than Varanasi.

At 12am, we went to the Tomb and I sat on meditation. Mr. Kumar https://www.facebook.com/kumaran.krishnen?fref=ts taught me a simple way of meditation and I practised that for first time at the tomb. Okay, before I continue, I’m advising you that if you not believe in this story, please read some other useful things :-).

I tried to pray, asked for wish but I was incapable of doing so as a kind of peacefulness surrounded my mind/ heart. Just a deep and wonderful silence I can noticed in me.

A emptiness which not harmed me. A loneliness which not depressed me. A distance from every surrounding thing which not made me felt alone. I can feel the same while writing this. A complete Stillness in mind. My only wish which I can effort at that time is “Let me be in this stage of mind forever”.

Sad thing is many of my Hindu friends throwing flowers, rose waters and some placed the water bottles with the belief that the water will get a mystic energy if it let be there till morning. All such rituals and prayers are prohibited there but they still keep doing it. Paying respect to the tomb of great muslim masters are allowed in Islam (i guess so) and of course in Sufism. But praying to the tomb is prohibited. We have to respect other’s religious belief and tradition. In Malaysia, sufism was banned however they allow any to sit at muslim master’s tomb and allow as to show our respect but we taking more advantage on this.

2015-03-20 10.33.31

There is many tombs in that island with 100 stories. I dont believe in that all. It maybe a historical place. Some say it is birth place of Malay martial arts. And the Hindu visiters, visiting all those tombs and did rituals there. However I don’t like to call them as Hindu as I never saw any such ritual at any Hindu Master Tombs or even in any temples. It is all looks like a black magic practice for me.  Sorry guys, I’m not try to hurt your feelings. My question is who taught all these or which religious instruct you to do so? You are giving a negative perception about Hindu in Malaysia.  And even some Indian Muslims friends encouraging and allowing them to do so. They might have no choice, I guess.

Of course everyone can find their own path and ritual for their spiritual journey and I have no rights to question that but we have no right to trespass other’s belief, religious and tradition. Hope I’m right.

I bought a book about the island and about Sultan Ariffin Sheikh Ismail (r.a) but I’m not completed yet. So, till now I dont know much about his teaching and messages. He landed and settled this land with 43 people including his wife. But no one in this place or even any historical writers know about their bloodline after them.

At night, after the tomb visit, I find hardly to sleep because too many mosquitoes as I wore only a short and t-shirt and no blanket. I got up every hour. Finally I got up at 5am and after my bath I went to a rock under a big tree at seashore. I lay on the rock and simply listening to birds sound and sea wave until 8am.

2015-03-20 07.23.17

Morning

Morning

After the breakfast at almshouse, I took a guide, rent a motorbike and visited other places in this island. The bike rental is RM 15 per hour. Camp rental I think RM 70 per night. It was an adventurous bike riding :-). If you are weak heart, please walk, dont rent the bike. :-).  We went to Yunos Cave. I heard it is where Yunos, meditate. I dont know yet who is him. Need to learn.  There is big footmark on rock at the hill inside the jungle. Some saying it is God Hanuman’s footmark. I dont know whether it is man made or gift by nature. Many wells are there. No idea whether that too a man made or natural. However many was destroyed by ritual activities. We found one in deep jungle. There too I can see some trace of ritual activities been performed. The seashore at other part (opposite of the seashore where the tomb was placed) is very beautiful and never been explored much by humans. A small black lake was there with lot of red fish and many more nature surprises are there.

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2015-03-20 08.16.08

Jungle Tracking

Camp

Camp

2015-03-20 09.49.16

Yunos Cave

Yunos Cave

Pulau Besar is definitely a great place for jungle tracking. I dont know why Tourism Malaysia never promote this site. However if it is visited by thousand traveler and pilgrimages, definitely the beauty of nature and silence of the jungle will lost in human crowd and rubbish.

Pulau Besar also a great place for camp fire and Meditation. All the spiritual places I visited previously is purely spiritual but this one surrounded with undisturbed nature, birds sounds and sound of sea wave.

This land can awaken your “nature”. There is no need of heavy practice  and sacrifices in religious ways to attend Nirvana or Moksha. Pulau Besar simply can grant you that pleasure (I think the pleasure of Moksha must be like this. Correct me if someone already attained Moksha.

I returned to my homeland with full of joy, unconditional love, forgiveness, humbleness. Moreover a courage to go through all the awaiting future struggles.

While I was sat for a while after my dinner at almshouse, I saw a kid around age 3-5 carried a medium size ball and climbed the stairs of the almshouse. In half way the ball dropped accidently from his hand while he tried to climb the higher stair. I thought he will no more interested in the ball as he already saw his mother. After think a while, he ran down, took the ball and climbed again. The climbing is hardest for him as the stairs are higher for his size. When he almost going to reach, he mistakenly left the ball again. This time it dropped in little distant from the stairs. Without thinking twice he ran down and caught the ball and climbed again but this time, he purposely dropped the ball in halfway and ran back to get it. I shocked. Will I do? Will I ready to take the pain and struggle again by letting away this “ball” purposely? Do I have the courage to let go everything even my business? No, because I believing its harder to achieve those back and due to my experiences, I know what is the worth of these achievement.

But this boy showed me nothing is hard, nothing is end. I have to take this as a game. No need to feel worried when lost in and I should not stop the game as well. It is my game and I should enjoy it. Courage and Childish, yes thats what I need in this life. What a message? The small kid tough me about life without any boring and routine advices. I should trademark this “Courage & Childish” 🙂

For more information about visiting Pulau Besar

http://www.malaysia-traveller.com/pulau-besar.html

Celebrating Music Day With Ilaiyaraaja

I would like to introduce a great music composer of India, Ilaiyaraaja (2nd June 1943 -).  He composed more than 6,000 songs and musical scores. He started his career in early 70s and still contributing to Indian film music without lack of creativity. He composed more than 6000 songs and musical score till to date. The TasteOfCinema listed him at 9th place in their post about 20 greatest film composers (http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2014/the-25-greatest-film-composers-in-cinema-history/). However, he is not just a composer but he is the arranger and producer for all his music, which I feel none of the hollywood composers can do these kind of multi tasks on their works. Almost all popular South Indian contemporary composers (including Academy Award Winner, AR Rahman) and singers are worked with him, studied, inspired and even duplicating his songs till today (including the Bollywood composers). But this genius is still continue traveling in his own musical path with 1000 of new tunes even at the age of 71.

Anyway, I won’t talk here about his achievements, awards and his biography.  I just want to share the compilation of his songs which were remastered and release through Agi Music (www.agimusic.com) and excited to write about those on Music Day, 2014.

1. Best Of Raaja

Best Of Raaja

I feel this compilation is very special as all the compositions in these compilation giving different identity to Ilaiyaraaja beyond his film music career.  He did lot of experiment in each and every tracks in this compilation including tracks he released since 1980 till 2011. You can feel the distinctive in each tracks and nothing sound the same. These are very much proofing that even though in his 4 decades career, his compositions are still sound fresh, creative and his mind are capable of producing fresh tunes everyday.

2. Thiruvasakam: Symphonic Poems

Thiruvasagam_Symphonic-Poem_II

It is again another album which lift him to an International contemporary classical composer. It was first released in 2006 as Thiruvasakam: Oratorio. It was perfectly mastered to give the devotional feeling to those who love the poems of Saint Manickavagar (6th Century). However I felt there are many hidden orchestral pieces which can lift us to high spiritual stage even without the lyrics of Saint Manickavasagar. So I decided to release the remastered version by giving high priority to the orchestration sound rather than vocal. And I renamed it as Symphonic Poems. It was recorded with Budapest Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Lazlo Kovacs.

3. Enga Raasaiya Vol 1, Vol 2 & Vol 3

Enga-Raasaiya Vol2Enga-Raasaiya_Vol1Enga-Raasaiya_V3

Same like all of his die hard fans, I always feel he should get an international recognition like many other Classical Composers and Hollywood Composer. For that reason, we always try to compare and sharing his compositions which has similarity of western classical music, Punk, Boogie, Jazz and many. But the only music can be too much addictive to me is, his native sound compositions. International audience or even Bollywood audience cannot digest or taste his Tamil Nadu contemporary folk type music. But that is the only genre which makes me feel special, melt, energise, love and many other blessed feelings and emotions.

“Enga Raasaiya” is a Tamil word means a very special person in our life. The songs in these compilation are from period of 80s – 90s. All the songs in these 3 compilations are definitely will be a great companion to every fans of Tamil songs in coming decades. (Of course it already been their favorite since past 3 decades). Our Deezer statistic showing that the most who listening to his songs are at the age of 18 – 34. So, I believe his songs can travel through many listeners in coming decades like Mozart’s or Beatles.

4. Classic Raaja

classic raaja

This is one of my most favorite compilation of his 70s tracks.  It sound little Carnatic and leaving lot of nostalgic feeling. Of course I am not that old :-). These songs are creating a nostalgic mood in me but not bringing any nostalgic memories because I don’t have any in 70s. :-). The most favorite of mine in this album is Track “Kaadhal Oviyam Kanden, Kanava Ninaiva”.  It is pure classic (has a touch of Ghazal) and masterpiece.

5. Sri Ramana Maharishi

Sri-Ramana-Maharishi_I

This is my night time companion and relief whenever I am in depression. Personally, i don’t like any devotional albums in all language because there are lack of spirituality. All the devotional albums in the market are just to meet the demand of the devotees and their worldly wishes. My friend Mathialagan told me once that people buying devotional albums just to make it play on prayer time because they believing it is for Gods and not for us :-).

Sri Ramana Maharishi compilation are purely packed with spiritual sounds and frequencies. This is the only album which can give me the peace of mind and soul. Killer of all desires, Purifying me with love, departing me from modern technologies. Only those who really understand the teaching of Ramana can compose this kind of melodies.  I believed Ilaiyaraaja absorbed entirely the spirituality of Ramana, otherwise this melodies are not possible.

Ilaiyaraaja never earned any single cent from any of the albums he composed on Ramana. He spent entirely for the recording and production (As far as i knew) and donated the albums to Ramana Ashram in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, so the Ashram can collect donation for their activities from the sales of the albums. Its proofing that he left the worldly desire when composing melody for Ramana Maharishi and later transforming the same frequencies to the listener as well. All his fans praising him as music genius for many reasons but to me these are the only compositions which makes me feel that he his a music genius because anyone can achieve or already achieved whatever his fans are claiming that not possible by any other composers other than Ilaiyaraaja. But for me this is his real achievement (Compositions in Sri Ramana Maharishi compilation) as I didn’t found so far any composers who achieved this.

All these albums are available in iTunes, Deezer, Amazon, Nokia’s Mix Radio, Raaga.com and many other digital stores all over the world. Lets celebrate this Music Day with Ilaiyaraaja @ Raaja (The King).

Music To Sleep

Sometimes I really feel hard to sleep.  Can say a kind of insomnia experience. Even sometimes I keep awake for more than 48 hours continuously and keep doing office works because I cannot shut my mind off.

The insomnia not only cause by psychological problem but also cause by the memories we gone through in the day time. Most of the time our mind won’t get sleep as easy as we think because it was practised to be alert and rushing in meet the date line for everything in our day to day life. Further smartphones, face books and many digital devices and medias now days pouring too many datas into our brain without our conscious. Its keep forcing us to be more updated and keep reminding us to establish our status in this corporate world. Even sometimes we forgot how to express our feeling to others and ignore the feelings of others.

Recently I found great way to overcome this sleepless night with some great music. I won’t suggest you to look for “sleep music” or “music for meditation” in music stores. It was not helped me actually. I think it just a marketing lie from record label.  The music I’m going to suggest is not only to make us sleep but also to keep our mind forget all the day time hassles and outside world.

Here is my choices and I can say it will be really a helpful suggestion for you all too. Lets get prepare for the travel through our inner peace. The more deeper you travel in, it will give more strength in the next morning.

1. First and my all time choice is Philip Glass’s Metamorphic.  It will really stop your mind from unwanted inner journey, help you for relaxation and slow breathing. Put your headphone with very low volume, turn off your lights and listen to it. For sure, this music will turn off your mind in few minutes. We fall in sleep while listening to this music means it’s not to say it is a boring. Most of the minimalist music will do the same. The reason is it actually relaxing your muscle, nervous and mind. Thats the reason we fall in sleep otherwise we will get irritate and shift to other music.

http://youtu.be/8w6a8pfG0V4

metamorphosis

2. My second preference is Reflection by Jose Luis Bieito’s.  It is nearly sound like a lullaby for me, especially track “Carol Of The Bells”. I think it was composed by Steve Reich if not mistaken.

http://youtu.be/3I42kuHwUtU

reflections_front

3. My Third Choice is Chinmaya Dunster’s Buddha Moon. This is a kind of music which definitely makes anyone be calm and peace in mind and soul..  Even I feel its giving confident and promises for the next morning.

http://youtu.be/OQ3tLL8bjU0

buddha moon

4. Again another album from Chinmaya Dunster called Meditation Ragas. I love most the track name Heart Meditation.

http://youtu.be/Fwpbncld_JM

meditation ragas

5. Ahmet Bulent Ekin’s Sufi’s Journey is Turkish Sufi Music. Not all Sufi music are really make us relax. Now days lot of music got released in the name of Sufi but this one for sure will make you relax and vanish the memories of the day time hassles and rushes.

http://youtu.be/UQGnwWGZOr4

http://youtu.be/OAMEqt9Wpec

6. One of my favorite for night time is George Harrison’s slow psychedelic music. It is very hard to get these music in any digital stores or physical stores as all the titles in this suggestion was released by ISCKON (popularly known as Hare Krishna).

http://youtu.be/SfRpvP-PzUE,

http://youtu.be/gzlZEJrZ_TQ,

http://youtu.be/b8zY40MBW0M

http://youtu.be/p4G2RlBKbrM

http://youtu.be/bFsedk-h00M

http://youtu.be/J7aMEn8Bilw

http://youtu.be/HZGzGfn9efw

george harrison hare krishna mantra govindam

7. Niall’s Tibet Spiritual Journey is another great album to get relax and of course will lead you to deep sleep.

http://youtu.be/Gt9hsURydiI

niall

8. Terry Riley’s Atlantis Nath is another good album in my collection for night time.  All the tracks in this album are sound like a spiritual music but I personally feel its somehow help us identifying our real nature and enlighten us spiritually (I didn’t mean religiously) that we are not born just to meet our financial needs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVVwRHi3Io&feature=share&list=ALBTKoXRg38BBZ3Ci-Gqu7WxK1jkPPPhue&index=2

atlantis nath

9. Michael Nyman’s Drowning by Numbers is definitely a great album in minimalist category. This album sound like contemporary classical music, however it has all the elements needed for minimalist music and won’t give you any shock in mid of your sleep. Those who heard Beethoven may aware what I mean here. 🙂  Listen to it as it won’t let your mind keep trapped in the day time.

drowning

10. Finally Flower Goddess I. It is a Chinese traditional music with very minimal instruments, performed by Shi Zhi-you, Qian OuYang and Xiu-Lan Yang.

http://youtu.be/2CEeZzz9t3c

flower goddess

But of course you cannot keep searching and changing the tracks in youtube while laying in the bed. The best option is Deezer. You can download the apps in your iPod touch or smartphones. It is just RM 14 per month in Malaysia and you can download unlimited tracks. Further, you can play it even in offline mode.  Even though my first choice is iTunes, I like Deezer most because it gives me opportunity to access to millions of tracks from all part of the world and the best thing is it providing you an option to search for similiar artist. Thats how I end up from Philip Glass to Michael Nyman’s Drowning By Numbers and Jose Luis Bieito’s Reflection.

Finally, if you still cannot sleep, find a psychiatric immediately.

Sri Nagar, Kashmir in Winter 2

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In 2011, November,  I visited Sri Nagar in Kashmir, India.  It is most beautiful place and peaceful. Even though its a crowed place but you won’t feel you are in the middle of the crowd. You still can feel and enjoy the loneliness in the mid of the crowd. Thats amazing feeling you can have in Sri Nagar, which I don’t feel that you can experience the same in any other crowded place.

Its maybe because of the army placement in each and every corner of this city as it is hotspot of terrorist activities.  Even when you enter into the city or when you leave the city you have to pass by almost 6  security check points until you reach the airport. It is not a normal security check which you can find in any airport. It is far worst :). You cannot carry extra battery in you hand carry even your camera battery and so on. I almost forgot every single trouble i faced due to this security check but what i can sure is, it is worst checking i ever faced. If you are short temper person and don’t know how to enjoy you life or traveling, you may hate Sri Nagar’s visit due to this check point hassles.

I always like mountain view especially the mountains with snow. I planned to go to Himachal Pradesh however my friend Ankush Zannot, suggest me Sri Nagar. So i decided to go to Kashmir. As usual i search for the interesting places and hotels in TripAdvisor site.

Unfortunately none of the budget hotels provide me the option to make the booking using my credit card. So i call the hotels and make my booking over the phone. Oops sorry, they won’t speak English. I faced problems in booking the hotels over the phone and asked Ankush to book for me.

I landed in Delhi and took a flight to Sri Nagar. If not mistaken only 2 flights are available everyday to Sri Nagar through my usual flying companion Spice Jet. One in the morning and one in the evening.  All the way to Sri Nagar, you can enjoy the wonderful mountain views. As India usually recognised as Mystic Land, the mountain views definitely will change you mind state and will give you kind of meditating feeling.

Once i landed in Sri Nagar, after the immigration check point, i was approached by a guy for boat house accommodation. I told him that i already booked a hotel but somehow he convinced me saying that i can stay in hotel anywhere in the world but boat house is very unique one in Sri Nagar as it is a lake city and I can enjoy a wonderful scene and experience by staying in the boat house.  The charges also cheaper than hotel i booked and its comes together with breakfast and dinner.  So I agreed.

But he brought me to a very dirty river side boat house which has no wonderful scenes at all. All the promises in Indian most of the times turns in such same situation. But i didn’t refused it somehow and agreed to stay there. I think it will be a unforgettable experience and memory. But later I found they don’t have hitter even the air condition has no hitter. They have a traditional heater system which we need to burn the fire to make sure its giving you the heat the whole day.

I stayed in the boat house owned by a orthodox muslim family. Majority in the Sri Nagar are muslims. They told me that there was muslim leader came to Kashmir once a upon a time with huge disciples and converted many Hindus to Islam and all of his disciples are got married with the local people. And thats how the entire city turned into a Islam.

I visited many places in Sri Nagar. The most beautiful and interesting places are

Another distinctive feature of Srinagar is the Mughal Gardens with their terraced lawns, cascading fountains and bright flowerbeds, overlooking the panorama of the Dal Lake.
The Dal Lake is Srinagar’s most distinctive landmark. It is divided by causeways into four parts, the Nagin lake being one of them. The best way of exploring the lake and the sites on its shores by Shikara boat.
This one is very interesting because you can do shopping for traditional jewels from you boat itself as many salesman will approached you by boat only. You can have your tea or meals as you can find few boat restaurants. You no need to get down or walk to the restaurant. All will be delivered to you boat only.
The Shankaracharya Temple is built on a high octagonal plinth, on the hill known as Takht-i-Sulaiman
Saint Shankaracharya is the one who brought the Advaitha Tatva to Hinduisme and he revolutionist the hindu believe which what we have it till now.  You can touch the Shiva Linga and can perform your own poojas. It is not possible in any other temple around India.
Gulmarg is one of Indiaa’s premier hill resorts. Historically  a favourite haunt of emperor Jahangir, Gulmarg Today is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty – it also turns into India’s premier ski resort in winter.

The Hazratbal Shrine is a Muslim Shrine (Mosque). It contains a relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of the Prophet Muhammad.

The shrine is situated on the left bank of the Dal Lake and is considered to be Kashmir’s holiest Muslim shrine. They didn’t allowed me take photos inside the mosque. 

There is a rumour that the relic (hair of the Prophet Muhammad) was reported disppeared on 26 December 1963. There were mass protests all over the state on the disappearance of the Mo-e-Muqaddas (the Hair of the Prophet) with hundreds of thousands out in streets. The relic was recovered on 4 January 1964.

The only place which I planned to visit but im not manage to visit is the tomb of Jesus Christ (as per the Discovery channel). My Muslim travel guide refused to bring me to that place. He told me that it is not Jesus tomb and it is actually a tomb of Muslim Sufi. However when I forced him to bring me there, he told that there was a big clash between Muslims and Christian happening there after the Discovery Channel documentary. So he told me that the government not allowing anyone to visit that place right now.  So I had no choice.

In Sri Nagar, you can easily find almost all the guys with big tummy. Its look strange on the first day because their tummy look different. But the next day i found that they carrying a hot pot with burning fire and holding it inside their clothes to make them warm in the winter.

The first day was a wonderful day for me. The trouble started in second day where i found none of my card either ATM or Credit cards are not useable in Sri Nagar. I thought maybe my money was wipe out for some reason. I tried to call my friends in India and Malaysia but found that my mobile line too are not accessible in Sri Nagar. I tried to call my friend using boat house people’s phone and my GOOD friend Ankush told me that he actually forgot to update me that the mobile lines only accessible if we register a phone line in Sri Nagar. Even all the Indian lines which we registered outside Kashmir won’t work there. The restriction is because of the heavy terrorist activities in Kashmir. In East and North East of Kashmir is under the control of China and the other part is under the control of Pakistan, so the government restricted all outside mobile line in Kashmir. So I called my Malaysian friend to bank in some money (as i said i called using boat house people’s phone) into my account but still my card got rejected and again my friend told me that maybe they restricted the bank and credit card usage too to control the funding from outside for terrorist activities. 😦

Im now hopeless as I have to pay the balance to the boat house.  Further they are very much orthodox Muslims and they praise Islam and keep blaming on USA and Indian Government. Almost every night while we having dinner together they talk about the injustice against Muslim by Indian Government and USA.  Oh ya, i forgot to tell you about the food. It was a wonderful Kashmir home made style cooking and i really enjoyed it.

Anyway, now I have no money to pay them and cannot make outside calls to get help. And further I thought all the Muslims are terrorist 🙂 (Sorry for that. Im innocent but the international media taught me so).  Some how in the evening I found a solution and told them the problems and gave my Nokia Lumia phone which i used for my India trip. I bought it for somewhere around Rs 38,000 but i forgot about it and told them that the phone is Rs 3,800 rupees. They told that it is not enough and then i gave my watch which I though I bought for USD 200. The worst thing is I went with my wife and she looks very uncomfortable and terrified.

One of the boat house partner refused to take that and asked me to pay once I returned to my homeland. I was really surprise. I thought they are terrorist and won’t help Hindus but I really shocked to see that they treating everyone as human being.

However his brother not accept his suggestion and took my phone and watch and he returned the next day, gave back my watch and told me that it is more than USD 200 and he also told me that the phone I gave is actually Rs 38,000 but the second hand shop took it for Rs 11,000 only. He took their balance charges for boat house and trip about Rs 9000, and gave me back Rs 3,000 for my safe return.

I felt like im sitting around friends and nothing to be worry or scared and most important thing is I realised that not all the muslims are terrorist or extremist. They are good human too. They even told me that to check my ATM card once I reach Chandigarh (my return flight from Sri Nagar is to Chandigarh) and if it still not accessible means they can arrange some money for me through their contact in Chandigarh and ask me to pay back once I landed in my country.  It was a great experience for me.

Once I landed in Chandigarh, the first thing I did is, try to withdraw money from my ATM and relieved when I saw the money out from ATM :). I realised that the problem is not with my card but actually the restriction in Sri Nagar by the Government.

The family of the boat house is still in touch with me.  Trip to Kashmir is not a usual trip for me. It was gave me new understanding and perception about human being.

This is one of the boat house person contact https://www.facebook.com/search/str/Yousuf%20Shagoo%20Kooks/keywords_top