Tag Archives: matsuda mashimaru

Land of the soothing wind

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.”

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I have been home bound for months now. My last trip outside Malaysia was to Mongolia and Lake Baikal, Russia in March early this year. I am still not sure where is my next destination yet. I am ok with just anything …

Yeah … I do miss my traveling moment for sure.

The quietness, the feeling of being lost, the discovering, the learning and breathing the air of strangers land but I do believe in not exaggerating or over indulging upon something. Maybe because I get bored easily, too much of anything could kill my interest.

Well … I was not basically just sitting at home for this past few months. That travel addiction still stings me badly and I have a ‘secret’ way to sooth it down before I turned mental. I tagged along with my other adventurous soul group … my paramotor friends of course.

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At Kuala Selangor … enjoying the morning light

Of late they are into cross-country flying aka XC flying with paramotors.

I didn’t expect to experience such a rich and raw exploration moments while hovering low in the airspace. The landscape from high above is dreamy and mesmerizing, the air smells differently … it felt as if I am physically not here in Malaysia but somewhere traveling across different continental within 1.5 to 2 hours of each flight.

We would be in a deep forest for 10 minutes, in urban cities in another few minutes, on acres of acres of orchard, on some mysterious island, in a blue looking lake and sometimes just hover around a small town around Antara Gapi for maybe 10 minutes.

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From Kundang to Bukit Beruntung, Kuala Selangor on 2017.07.23

We flew in a small group … most of the time with well-experienced pilots, around 4 to 7 of them. As usual … I would be in charge of capturing the moments of us, flying. We started very early in the morning before the morning light is out, took-off from our flying base around 7:00 to 7:30 am so that we could catch the early morning light from the horizon … morning light is always our favorite.

For me …. the best way to end a hectic week is not through snuggling on your bed for the whole morning on the weekend but to do all this lol … mental? Yes …

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Inside a cloud at Tekah Airfield on 2017.04.15

 Unlike paragliding, thermals are not our best friend. The wind tends to be calmer early in the morning and we would experience the heat around 10 am when the sun is fully out. The heat created thermal heat on the airspace and our wings would swing according to the heat flow which is not good (dangerous too) for flying low.

So, by 10 am we are expected to land safely at our starting takeoff base.

And yeah … sometimes we drove out of Kuala Lumpur to the east and west part of peninsular Malaysia with our engines and wings and join our local flying friends from those areas.

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Kuala Besut, Terengganu from up on the air on 2017.07.16

Is it dangerous? Hmmm …

As I mentioned earlier in my previous post about paramotor, any extreme sport requires you to have a certain level of skill to ensure safety. And that skill is acquired from hours and hours of flying training or flying experience. And planning is very important.

Apart from making sure that the engines and wings are in its best condition … we tried to minimize our risk by ensuring proper planning before and during each flight with the help of technology.

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Is it scary?

Honestly yes … sometimes lol … but when you are already up there on air, your thought mostly would be on how to ensure that we are well prepared for the worst. I call it the survivor instinct …

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The shoreline of Kuala Besut, Terengganu on 2017.07.16

Flying cross-country gives us the opportunity to see the world in a way that most people would never will and it is a privilege for me to be a part of it.

And, sharing the beauty version of layers and layers of landscapes from up above through my lens with my viewers is very self-fulfilling. Some might get personal seeing me mingled around comfortably among my ppg friends … get it over with, after experiencing life I believe that there is more to it than getting hitched, In Sha Allah kot ha ha ha.

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From Kuala Besut to Perhentian Island, Terengganu on 2017.07.17

I might appear bias or might have inhaled too much dust while flying but I think it is a privilege for a human being to be able to fly at will either with a light-aircraft or a wing and glide on air doing paragliding or with an engine attached to a wing like a paramotor.

And I am not sure when this flying privilege could last as air regulation might change according to technological change or cost hike on flying kill enthusiast or in an extreme case, political change – so I believe that it is very fortunate for us to be able to fly at our own will today.

Sharing some snapshots from our GoPros during a few of our XCs here in today’s post as an inspiration and motivation for ourselves … fly high peeps! create your own moment.

To view photos from this post in better resolution … please click here

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Sunset flight from our takeoff base at Pulau Indah to Jugra Hill on 2017.08.13

Gotta run … tc and bye

MM

ps- some of our flying videos on youtube at here:

XC Kuala Besut- Perhentian Island

Exploring Antara Gapi, Kuala Selangor

Exploring Bukit Tabur, Klang Gate, Selangor

Tekah Airfield Taiping, Perak at 10,000 Feet MBOR challenge

 

 


Riding the Light

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A lady sitting on the floor of a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

I was in Jogjakarta, Indonesia for a few days in mid-November last month. Hanging out at Kota Gede with my local photographer friend, Romeography of Studio 76. We planned to wander aimlessly around the east part of Jogjakarta with our cameras.

It was already the beginning of monsoon season here in Southeast Asia … and I was pretty sure that the sky would be dull and the light would be challenging in Jogjakarta too, as the raining season is here to stay until at least towards the end of January next year

After a few failed attempts to hunt for sunrises and sunsets, we decided not to waste our time wandering around hunting for gorgeous landscape anymore… we were out on the street focusing on human interest instead.

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Plaosan temple at sunset

We hang around markets mingling with locals selling all sorts of daily items. We snuck around a group of people selling roosters or cocks for the gamecocks or cockfights. Uh … scary sight of bleeding roosters fighting for its life.

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Spontaneous gamecocks

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6-months old  rooster was for sale at rp600,000

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Caged birds were for sale

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Mbah Madio selling palm tree sugar at a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

Wandering around with motorbike hunting for subjects and lights has its pros and cons. Other than the pain in the butt (from sitting on a small seat for too long), it was also the risk of getting wet from the rain.

But … it was the easiest way to move around from point A to point B without having to worry about the condition of our routes plus we can just park the bike anywhere we wish. Talking about convenience right …

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The horses of Malioboro street were having their morning bath here at a river near Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Hunting for light at the nearby bridge in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Farmers along side of the road in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Spent a few hours here at Pak Sugiman’s workplace at Putat Village, Gunung Kidul, Jogjakarta

Well … the rain doesn’t stop me from achieving my primary goal for this trip lol … which was to have a stress free moment chasing the light. I had a great time … getting close and personal with my subjects, good food and good companion all the way … ahhh I couldn’t ask for more, alhamdullilah.

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My closing sunset for this trip. A dramatic sunset due to the unpredictable weather

We are planning for more future trips to explore more of the landscape surrounding Jogjakarta … maybe after the monsoon season is over. Who knows … In Sha Allah

And …. life goes on and on … and I am learning throughout the journey. Learning to be grateful for each moment that Allah presented to me. Learning to see and accept people as who they are. Learning to love every soul that cross path my journey … and letting go the one that decided to venture out of my path. People changed … a heart changed.

“Oh Allah, please ease my path. Guide my iman. Guide my every single actions. Guide me to love for Your sake. Protect what is in my heart. What lies in the future, only You know. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, Most Merciful and Most Gracious.”

Bye for now,

Cheers

MM


Street walk in Skardu, Pakistan

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A sundry store located behind the main road of Skardu town. 

Morning start late at most places that we stopped in Northern Pakistan. Business venues and markets started around 10am. The time where morning lights were at the most unforgivably harsh.

Not the best moment for a street photographer who love to chase morning ‘dramatic’ lights. But the opportunity to be here … and to witness the  uniqueness and authenticity of this place overcame all my “chasing the light” needs.

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The shop where restaurants or street stalls get their roti supply from.

Everything looked brown, old and rustic here. It felt as if I was in an old movie set.

It was 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to stroll along the street and watch life around this small town. The sky turned brown and dusty as a sand stormed has just passed through the town leaving behind a trail of thick lingering dusty air on the street … a normal occurrence around here I guess.

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Old and rustic looking sundry shops 

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Life goes on as always

Fine dusty sands laid everywhere here. My face was dusty and same goes with the rest of the people on the street. I bet I looked rustic too like my environment … I blend well lol.

But … we still looked ‘obviously’ foreign here. This town seldom sees tourist or foreign traveller walking on the street. In fact we were the second group of foreign visitors that stayed in the hotel (that we stayed in) for this year.

I like to walk like an invisible soul when I am on the street. I always imagine that I am invisible … when I am in public 😉 . But the four (4) of us caught too much attention while we were here … maybe because everybody knows everybody in this small little town.

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A fruit seller at the street side

Honestly, I am used to being stared at while I am on a strange or foreign land. Most of the time people would be curious seeing me maybe because of my head cover or my shawl … but I could overcome their curiosity with a sincere smile and a brief greeting.

But here in Pakistan is different.

In a male dominated society, women does not walk on the street without their men. We don’t see women wandering around restaurant or markets too. I saw one or two short glimpse of women on the street but most were fully covered by their long shawls.

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We attracted attention

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The curious crowd circling us

It does felt weird in the beginning of the trip to experience an intensive stares came from the male crowd but as always I learnt a few tricks to get around as I went along.

Maybe next time I should wear a cotton Kurta when I am on the street.

The morning before we catch our flight out of Skardu to Islamabad… we climbed up on our hotel’s rooftop to catch the full view of this town. Mesmerising view we got up there … this place is surrounded by gigantic mountains.

The thing that I like about travelling is … when I have zero expectation about a place and decided to take a risk … and I ended up falling in love with it. It taught me to be open … to stay receptive regardless of whatever condition that I am in … as the end matters the most.

“The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.”~ Rumi

I am signing off right now … 🙂 . Bye …

 

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chasing The Light

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Seri Mahawangsa Boathouse at Pedu Lake, Kedah

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” – Aaron Rose 

I learnt from observing and listening to people around me, therefore most people that I met are my teachers and mentors in their own way. Yup … a bit cliche, I know but well … a lazy middle aged woman like me doesn’t have much time to spend on trials and errors 🙂 .

I have been following Yaman Ibrahim for closed to a year now. Observing and learning from him, a great teacher who loves doing whatever that he is doing. He has that eyes for spotting good lights around him … he called it “Yaman’s Eye”.

By all means … the “good light” in photography yeah peeps. Not that near to death moment light or that spiritual spotlight or that seeking the light aka mysterious haunted light thingy huh.

So, I spent a ‘rich’ 3-days with him and a group of great companion at Pedu lake, Kedah, Malaysia last weekend. We were ‘chasing the light’ around the lake. Good light that can creates a sense of drama to our subject.

Yaman has been working closely with tourism Malaysia for years. He has the experience and opportunity to explore Malaysian culture more than other photographers that I know. Looking at his photos made me longing for the same opportunity to shoot and document my own home culture through my own lens.

Sharing some martial art moves from the boys of Silat Gayung Nusantara Kedah with y’alls. Fyi … I got a lot more interesting shoots around here in Pedu Lake but well, every picture has its own moment.

So, I had my first opportunity to shoot subjects that close to my heart. A traditional action-packed Malaysian Malay martial art. The morning light and the rays were superb.

I was enjoying my moment. The backlight from the morning sun rays were a bliss.  There were 10 of us … photographers from various genres. And listening to our camera shutters sound at the highest possible burst rate, at the same exact time … was interestingly comical.

Listening to them (and myself) again and again, commenting and admiring our own photos was hilarious too. Yep … photographers and their egos, right? We were ‘high’ with our own moment, self achievement moment … lol, I am guily as well, it felt pathetic now … as I recalled back the moment he he he

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My second favourite spot after the hammock

I had a good time while in here. It was super quiet … no phone coverage, no wifi, no TV … a total disconnected from the noisy life. And, having surrounded by a great companion was a bonus too. The owner of the boathouse is a very talented host. He is the boatman, the cook, the wireman, the karaoke man, the technician, the talent etc. Yaik … talking about him … I still owe him a collection of his portraits.

If I was not holding my camera … I would either chewing on food or daydreaming in the hammock … enjoying my quiet moment, snoozing. My companions were as noisy as always hu hu hu yep! a very cheerful and lively crowd but my mind was at peace … alhamdullilah what matters is the heart … right?

I will repeat this trip again in March 2016. Thinking of spending more time there … like a week of totally disconnected from the world. In Sha Allah …

Bye now

 

Cheers

MM

 

p/s … “You wander from room to room … hunting for the diamond necklace … that is already around your neck!” ~ Rumi

 

 

 

 


Perfectionist vs Rightist

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Tools vs Photographer

“People call me a perfectionist, but I’m not. I’m a rightist. I do something until it’s right, and then I move on to the next thing” ~ James Cameron

I kinda like this quote … and yes, I am a rightist for sure 🙂 .  An attempt to explain my super slow reaction on each job that require my thinking hat. Yeah … and I am blunt if I didn’t have my thinking hat on.

Alamak! (oh my!) … and I have not posted any new entry since November 2015, which was last year. Last year sounds like a long months ago. Happy New Year 2016 to all my readers and to my followers (small group of followers coz I am too shy to market myself lol), thank you for putting that extra effort to follow my writing aka babbling. I feel honored … thank you.

I fulfilled at least 1/3 of my last year 2015 New Year resolution (… I shall think so 🙂 ). And … I don’t have any new additional resolution for 2016. Thinking of not having any new year resolution this year … maybe I will let my options stay open and just follow my heart.

What was I doing in the past few months that kept me locked up in my own cave? I wonder too or must be that laziness syndrome again … I need to write often as the more I write … the more I read.

I settled down (not so peacefully) in my new home in mid November, traveled to Nepal in early December, flew around Cyberjaya and Kundang air space with my paramotor buddies during my free weekends, traveled to Krabi, Thailand via train/ van in early this month and now I am packing up my gears again for my next weekend gateway to Pedu Lake, Kedah, Malaysia.

My Nepal trip was very different and interesting at the same time. Giving me the urges to keep on coming back to Nepal. I will share more about my Nepal trip once I am properly settled with my new office and my new studio. Yes … I am having my own creative space now … uhh and am super nervous and excited about this too.

Sharing with y’all my moment with my new friend Nima that I met on my way back from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Nepal. Saw him at one of the street side coffee shop on our tea break and I decided to approach him for a quick street shoot. His beautiful “sad look” caught my eyes … and he had a cultural shocked too (I bet!), seeing a daring blunt woman wanting to photograph him lol.

The thing that I love about street photography is … meeting up with beautiful strangers on the street. Beauty is very subjective though. Beauty in my eyes will not necessarily a joy to your eyes.

I am so hooked up with faces now a days. Maybe this is just a phase …

Bye now

Cheers

MM

p/s:  …. blank

 

 


From courage to freedom

From courage to freedom

From courage to freedom

“Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house.

If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn” ~ Mike Tyson

…~- – – – – – – – ~ …

I had an ‘adrenaline burst’ moment with my PPG or powered paraglider pilot friends a few weeks back. A cross-country (XC) flight from Kuala Besut to Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.

The distance from Kuala Besut to Kuala Terengganu is approximately 1 hour 10 minutes drive along the seaside road.

We were on a slow-mo mode that morning as we want to enjoy our morning ride as it is. And up there, on the zero highway route … every direction is our highway. Amazing feeling … fear and survival instinct blend together with the most awesome view. And … the salty air smells FREEDOM.

Sharing some snapshot photos from my gopro videos with all of you.

It was a great pleasure to be able to take part in this mind-blowing adventurous way of exploring the world ;-).

PPG pilot needs to acquire an adequate engine,  glider and thermal handling skill to be able to do cross-country flight here at the Terengganu coastal area.

At 10 am onwards the heat was unbearable. If you are flying closer to the ground/ shore you might experience some turbulence due to thermal heating. Yeah … I know that I am just a passenger to my PPG pilot but after spending hours flying with them I couldn’t help but noticed the character of the wind too.

I used to fly early in the morning and late afternoon when the wind a bit calmer and colder.  Not used to fly at odd hours like this time around , I was a bit shaken by the unpredictable wind and the turbulence caused by the heat or thermal energy.

My advice to you before you decide to try riding with PPG tandem is to know your pilot skill level first (to be able to trust him with your life), study their equipment (engine/ glider) and to TRUST them with their skills. Extreme sport requires great skills to be able to execute each activity safely.

Yes … I do have fear and no, it’s not acrophobia (fear of height) 😉 .

Cheers

MM

P.S – Well … I am scared of the dark 🙂 . I used to have fear of being alone or monophobia but through photography I managed to divert my fear to my advantage. And, I noticed that I am more focus and creative when I am alone … guess that my survival instinct would start to kick-off whenever I feel lonely.

Sharing JanjiFly XC video @besut 091015


Color Overdose in India

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Light overdose at Taj Mahal

I survived India!

I still can’t believe that I survived India and surprisingly wanting more of India. 10 days playing with awesome lights and colors in Delhi- Pushkar- Jaipur- Mathura- Agra … amid by the smelly and dirty open toilet attitude of its people or by the rubbish friendly life( people and rubbish live in harmony side by side) … and surprisingly I am still longing for more of India. Argh … I want more …

I was nervous to the bone when we started our journey. Our bus broke down on our way from New Delhi to Pushkar and we were stranded for hours at a local back-lane Tata workshop. And, I had my first hand experienced being weirdly “stared” by the male workers at the workshop. That head to toe kinda weird stare … as if I am a ‘thing’ and not a human kinda stare. Or I might be exaggerating more than I should here 😉 … ya lah … after all those news about rape and ill-treated women in India, any sane woman should be worried.

I was blessed with a great travel companions again this time around … alhamdullilah and walking on the street with a good travel companion made my journey here in India felt safe and easy peasy.

P/S: I am recommending Yes India Photo Travel by Yamin Ibrahim to all of you who wanted to explore India through the photographer eyes ( … Cik Rita Aziz kena bayar I commission 🙂 )

Chasing colors during Holi festival celebration at

Chasing colors during Holi festival celebration at Shri Banke Bihari Temple, Varindavan, Mathura, India

We were at the ancient Shri Banke Bihari Temple in Mathura district, India to experience the colorful Holi festival celebration.  A festival of colors and loves celebrated by the Hindus and to mark the beginning of spring. There are more hinduism spiritual story behind this festival of love and I think uncle Google could explain it way better than me. Being a photographer, I was drawn more towards the colorful images of holi than understanding the full details about the festival.

Devotees crowding the temple floor

Devotees crowding the temple floor

Color powders of yellow, blue, green and red were playfully thrown to the air, wiped onto faces on the street and colored waters were splashed across the road onto just anybody on the street. Colors of all sorts filled the air … and I was surrounded and was overdosed by the colors around me. We were dressed accordingly (well prepared to be fully covered by colors) that morning and our cameras were well covered too. Amazing … amazing view when we first entered the temple. Devotees were crowding the small temple ranting in loud prayers (or sort … I am not sure) before the festival start.

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Devotees throwing color powder

Crowded places have never been my favorite and I am at my most creative moment when I am alone and at peace with my surrounding. That moment when I was at the temple was weirdly interesting to me. It was crowded, loud and wild beyond my imagination. Powdered color was splashed all over the devotees on the floor and we were pushed either from the left and the right or from up and down around the temple. My mind went total blank … not sure what to shoot and what to look at. It was wild … but very interesting.

The feeling? Hmmm honestly I felt annoyed being pushed and shouted around but considering that I was a stranger in a strange land … tolerant was the best remedies for this moment. Yeay … the big word is TOLERANT. This is what you learn when you travel to strange land other than your homeland … tolerant and understanding differences between us human. After all … we are sharing the earth, right?

Capturing moments around the temple

Capturing moments around the temple

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Capturing moment around the temple

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Capturing moment around the temple

Being in the middle of such places considered sacred or holy to a certain religion might looked alarming to some of my non-traveling muslim friends but experiencing all these spiritual moments from different perspective had enriched my soul and my personal belief. Yeah … I had my weird ‘why oh why’ moments too whenever I encountered something that totally against my belief system, but understanding why people do what they do help me to understand my Al-Quran more than before.

I am sharing with uols some images taken during the festival. “Learning is the eye of the mind” …

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Selfie in the temple

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A friendly crowd in the temple

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Another friendly crowd. It was not bad at all … you just need to blend in well with your surrounding

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Moment taken outside the temple

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Crowds outside the temple

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Cheerful crowd outside the temple

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Cheerful crowd outside the temple

Honestly, this trip has affected me a lot. Here in India, not only the contrast of lights and colors caught my eyes but also the contrast of life within its people made my heart ponder upon my own life. The poor and unwanted were piled up on the other side and the rich and powerful were up there on the ‘loft’. A huge contrast of life here in India … and it was so obvious, it makes my heart cringe.

I compared my life with them. I have everything that I needed and I am surrounded by people who care for me, yet I still have that selfish need for more. Especially for love and affection … I was looking for it everywhere … and almost all the time I seek for love and affection from a wrong direction. Selfish need that wanting something that was not mine at the first place. Do I need love or do I want love? Heart that bounce for a bit of thrills in life or was it love? The confuse me … aduyaii … looking for an answer.

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Holi celebration outside the temple

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My camera was 80% covered by the color powders. Thank God my D800 is a weather prove camera body … but my lens is not (but I managed to wrapped my lens well)

But honestly, I like the confused feeling that I had when I traveled to tough places. It encouraged me to re-evaluate my direction in life. It taught me to differentiate between joy and sorrow, the need to taste sorrow to truly understand joy.

And, when I am on the road alone with strangers and far away from all sort of life attachment (family, friends and materials), I tasted peace. The peace of understanding and experiencing God’s presence. That the Almighty will always be next to me in whatever situation that I was in … by protecting, guarding, loving and teaching me about the joy in life. And as I have tasted peace, I will recognize and understand anxiousness and worry in my life … better than before.

Enough ranting about complex thought. Life goes on and on. I am packing up for my next adventure to Batanes Island, Phillipines next Tuesday … hunting for great landscapes and gorgeous milky-way shoots. Wish me luck …

Cheers

MM

p/s … aftermath of holi festival

Sharing a photo of us ... looking like a rag after our holi adventure ;-)

Sharing a photo of us … looking like a rag after our holi adventure ;-). Photo credit to my friend …