Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memories of Myanmar!

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Entering the Pagoda
I still remember reading old Bengali novels where protagonists traveled to Rangoon. Since then I had developed an intriguing fascination for Burma, now Myanmar. But then Myanmar slipped into a state of political turmoil and I never got an opportunity to visit the country.

However things have started changing. The country is opening up. A revolution is waiting at its doorstep. Spot on time I had a chance to visit Yangon (Rangoon) during the last week to implement a project with the British Council, Myanmar.

At the first glance, it is no different from any other neighbouring Asian developing countries like Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines. However, as you go deeper, things begin to look special. There is poverty yet you will not find beggars on the streets. People are hard-working yet warm, a rare combination. A handful of skyscrapers have cropped up here and there but small houses dominate the skyline. Red and yellow gulmohar trees line up along the winding streets.

The city is not yet “mall-nourished”. You could still find road-side vendors, small shops and local brands. It has its share of touristy spots. The Bogyoka Market for example is meant for the tourists. Therefore a little pricey. The small shopping joints scattered over the city are cheaper and ideal for buying local products. Being a shopaholic, I had to buy a small box with Burmese tapestry and two wooden statues.
Inside the Pagoda

Surprisingly enough, two-wheelers and tri-shaws are not allowed inside the city centre of Yangon. Every second car is a taxi. I was amazed to see the diverse range of taxis in the city, starting from air-conditioned limousines to frog-like japanese small cars to an almost ramshackle piece of an iron box with a functional engine and rolling tyres.

There is only one word to describe the local food - “awesome”. I loved it primarily because it has a lot of East Indian influence. Being a ‘Bong’ (from Calcutta) I was completely swayed by the taste of the fish and chicken curry and palm sugar pan cakes with coconut garnishing. “Indian and Burmese mangoes are the best in the world,” shared a local. I like both. However since I haven’t tasted mangoes from many other countries, I could not second this comment.

Local restaurants are cheap and tasty. You can have Burmese traditional food, Chinese noodles and soups, and Indian cuisine. I fell in love with the avocado juice from a roadside food stall. Shockingly, the durians don’t smell as pungent as I find them here in Singapore - but that didn’t inspire me to try one though.

On the last day of the workshop, I managed to steal some time to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. Its golden glittering top is probably the first thing you will see as your aircraft lands at Yangon. It looks like a golden mine from the top. It is also a nice kiss of memory as you take off. Inside, the Pagoda is so peaceful. You can spend hours sitting in a corner watching the moving reflections of the sun. Unfortunately I could not visit the Pagoda in the night. Friends told me it looks beautiful with the lights. So if you are planning a tour to Yangon, don’t miss it.

There are no ATM machines in Myanmar. Money changers are available in the city. Local currency is Kyats. However big places accept USD. People including hotels prefer cash payment. Make sure your notes are not creased, worn or marked.

Good news is, from 1st June onward, Myanmar will grant Visa On Arrival for the following 26 countries at Yangon International Airport - Brunei , Cambodia , Indonesia , Laos , Malaysia , the Philippines , Singapore , Thailand , Vietnam , Australia , China , Denmark , France , Germany , India , Italy , Japan , Korea , New Zealand , Norway , Spain , Sweden , Switzerland ,Taiwan , United Kingdom , United States of America.

So pack your bags and get set go! Destination Myanmar!

Bon voyage!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

app of the day!

more than 1000 downloads for 'a mini fish tale' :)
it also appears as the app of the day on TheiMum.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

illustration friday: faded

faded memories, 
unturned pages
morning dew, 
clinking of bangles
melting wax, 
beaming light
finger painting, 
dampen nights...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

memories from myanmar

Recently I participated in a workshop 'Skills for Social Entrepreneurs' in Yangon, Myanmar. Here are the glimpses from the event http://www.flickr.com/photos/asia-europe_foundation/sets/72157629872262024/

'a mini fish tale' iOS app for children

Carisa Kluver reviews 'a mini fish tale' http://digital-storytime.com/review.php?id=592
You can also download it at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mini-fish-tale/id526097690?mt=8

Sunday, May 6, 2012


good thoughts are like butterflies. In your cluttered mind, filter the flies (negative thoughts) from the butterflies. Unlike the hovering flies, butterflies are free-floating and love to dwell in beautiful minds. So chase the colorful wings, clean the trash and interlace your mind with dynamic positive thoughts…

Monday, April 16, 2012

Arts for Health promotes 'mini fish tale' android app

My blog and recent free android app for children are supported by Clive Parkisnson from Arts for Health at http://artsforhealthmmu.blogspot.com/

The app is available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.bakul

Sunday, April 1, 2012

download the free android app for children!

my latest graphic novel 'a mini fish tale' is now available for children as a free android app.
download it from this link
and share your reviews @google play.

let the kids enjoy and explore marine life!

Other links:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bakul Books

get ready....something fishy coming up...
stay connected with Bakul Books on facebook

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

towards a shared future...

Over the decades, Asia and Europe have evolved together through political dialogue, economic cooperation and social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, seeking a common ground while putting aside differences. Such sharing has gained momentum with deeper cooperation between the two regions ushering in a new era of relations between Asia and Europe. In today’s interconnected world, the two regions are living a common reality.

A common destiny, which is strengthened by multilateral cooperation to address shared concerns and challenges such as pandemics, environment, health of world economy, among others.  With social networks and other technological advancements, developing by leaps and bounds, we, as societies and individuals, are becoming more closely connected than ever before. And beyond technology, the richness of our cultures, with similarities and diversities, bind us together.

Since 1997, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has been instrumental in deepening such political and intellectual ties between Asia and Europe. After the historical first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in 1996, ASEF was established to play the strategic role in connecting civil society with governments encouraging mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit between the ASEM member states. This year marks the 15th anniversary of ASEF. A time to look back and cherish the successful outcomes of that cooperation between countries and regions. At the same time to celebrate the spirit of sharing and setting common goals for a connected future. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

স্মৃতি ছাড়া যোগাযোগ নেই আর...
কখনও চেনা রিং টোন,
সিন্দুকে লুকিয়ে রাখা সংসার ;
ঘুম ভাঙে আজ ও অনেক ভোরে,
চেনা শব্দ স্বপ্নে শুনতে পাই;
কাছের দৃষ্টি ঝাপসা হয়ে আসে,
দূর থেকে স্পষ্ট দেখতে পাই...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

feeling different

This morning was different. Usually it is corroded with an ubiquity of problems. I step out with heavy feet without expecting any miracle to happen. But this disparate morning was fresh with the touch of the velvety wind. It started with the aroma of a perfect cup of Darjeeling tea as the crimson daylight filtered in my room through the folds of the drapes. The streets and train stations were brimming as usual. But today, the busy faces in the crowd looked content. It was good to realise that they haven’t forgotten to smile.

I am happy it was a different morning. I am happy to see them smile...