You Choose What You Want To See

 

 

Bank Holiday Monday is off to a gloomy start…

But are you focusing on the shadows the clouds are making or the light that manages to peek through onto the fields?

The Asian Destination :: You Choose What You Want To See

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What is The Asian Destination actually all about?

Have a blessed day & #HappyMay💛

Ana | The Asian Destination

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Tuesday Travels | A Look Inside One of India’s Largest Slum

When I tell you that Dharavi is one of India’s largest slums, what comes to mind? Okay, hold that thought.

Now watch this video..& tell me.

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WANTED: Accountability Partner 2014

Recruit An Accountability Partner

So it’s nearing the end of November – How did that happen?!

We all know what that means; the holiday season is upon us & the New Year is fast approaching.

I hear you say: ‘It’s not even December yet!!’

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Do you suffer from this too?!

‘Do one thing everyday that scares you’

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

FAFE

It’s the start of a new academic year. At least in the UK it is, and it’s only just starting.

For some of us, this might not mean much, especially if you’ve had a long summer working, be it in at a full-time job or studying for a particular academic qualification. In my case, autumn approaching leaves me asking: where did the summer go and how is it September already?!

September is usually the start of ‘new beginnings’ in terms of the academic year. New goals are being set and new aspirations are made with hope.

September also means multiple new notebooks and that dreaded ‘first blank page syndrome’.

Not sure what I’m talking about?

Have you ever felt intimidated of starting work on that blank page because you were worried it wouldn’t be ‘perfect’?

The blank page may come in various shapes and sizes. It may be the team/part you never tried out for because you weren’t in ‘perfect shape’ and ‘it wasn’t the right time’. Or maybe you never started that project because you didn’t ‘just the right’ lighting, resources or money.

Sound familiar?

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the hesitance at starting something before we were ready, for fear of not being perfect.

I’ve been putting off  the ‘facing a fear’ series for that very reason!

Facing A Fear Everyday (FAFE) is aimed at doing something out of my comfort zone and taking a step towards being better, every single day.

It doesn’t matter how tiny the step is, as long as you keep moving forward.

So today: Whatever it is – START. Take that first step and test your FAFE!

If you liked this post or if it inspired you to try and join me FAFE then get in touch!

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Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

 

 

 

Is it all just a big coincidence?

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Is life full of coincidences? Often I find a piece of information, some guide or source of inspiration at exactly the right moment.

I may even have encountered the thought before previously, but I am only struck by its importance afterwards. That’s when I realise that when I’m ready to use the information required, I need not look far. It’s as though the universe is looking out for each and every one of us, equipping us with tiny titbits to add to our toolbox for ‘life’.

So, today: Have a think about what the universe has already equipped you with and be grateful for the divine abundance that surrounds us.

Chai & Chats with: Arjun Coomaraswamy

London-based singer, songwriter and producer, Arjun stands out from mainstream music. Mixing soulful R&B with his desi roots, it is no wonder his first four singles created such hype and has been described as one to watch internationally. The Asian Destination talks to him about his whirlwind of success and about being a rising star in the music industry.
Arjun
TAD: You were nominated as ‘Best Newcomer’ at the ‘Brit Asia Music Awards 2011’, chosen as one of ‘MTV’s Top 20 Unsigned Acts for 2012’ and your music has made it to global TV channels such as CNN, MTV India and NDTV, making you truly a ‘rising star’. You also won Best Urban Act at the UK Asian Music Awards in October 2012. We’re sure this is still only the beginning of your success. Tell us, how has the last 18 months been for you?

A:  I guess you could say that the last 18 months have been life changing for me.  I’ve been fortunate enough to perform all over the world and had the chance to meet and work with some amazing people.   Hopefully this has laid a foundation for the next step – the mainstream in the UK and US.

TAD: Your ever-increasing fan base means your YouTube music videos are being watched in the millions, you have the support of Radio DJs internationally and your performances are being requested all over the world. How does it make you feel to know your music has been so well and widely received?

Arjun

A: To be honest, it is still a shock to think that anybody other than myself and my mum could be listening to my music!  I consider it a blessing to be able to make the music I like and find that there are other people out there who like it too.

TAD: What would you say was the turning point that has marked your growing success over the last couple of years?

A: The turning point was definitely the moment when I decided to do a remix of the Tamil film song “Why This Kolaveri Di?”  That was a complete experiment and no-one was more amazed than I was  when I woke up the next morning and found that it had gone truly viral.

TAD: When did you first become interested in music? Were you always passionate about it as a career or did you (or your parents/family) have other plans for you? When did you first become interested in music? Were you always passionate about it as a career or did you (or your parents/family) have other plans for you?

A: From a very young age I used to play in various school bands, on instruments ranging from the flute to the drums.  I always dreamt of being a musician, though initially I went a more conventional route and studied Architecture at University.

TAD: As well as singing and playing a variety of instruments (including guitar and the flute), you also studied Music Production and Sound Engineering at college. The music business is a tough industry to make your mark in, yet your online popularity seems to have given you an advantageous edge. Would you say your versatility is what makes you unique?

A: I’m not sure how versatile I am!  Certainly it has helped to have had a varied musical background.  I definitely enjoy exploring different musical genres and am constantly experimenting with different options to try to come up with different sounds.

TAD: Who are your musical inspirations? If you had the choice, who would you love to collaborate with one day?

A: My main inspirations have been R&B artists like Craig David, Ryan Leslie and Donell Jones.  Right now if I had to pick a couple of artists whom I would like to collaborate with, I would say Frank Ocean and Miguel, because they are pushing the boundaries and forging a new R&B sound.

TAD: Your song about ‘Aishwarya’s Eyes’ made it to The Times of India! Are you a big Bollywood fan? You were born and brought up in the UK, how strong a connection do you keep to your desi roots? Your version of the popular Bollywood song, ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ includes covers of Nicki Minaj’s Superbass. How much does being a British Asian, influence your music?

A: I have become more interested in Bollywood music recently.  Earlier I used to watch the films for their own sake, now I am interested in them more for their soundtracks! I try to keep abreast of all the big Bollywood releases which come out.

I came to the UK at a very young age.   My parents are very Westernised, but I have a lot of British Asian friends.  I think I am fairly in touch with my Desi roots through music and through my friends.   Being a British Asian is the main factor which has influenced my music, because the music I listen to is derived from two different worlds.  This has led me to create music which resonates with other Westernised Asians around the world who represent a fusion of two cultures; this is what makes us unique.

TAD:  How do you handle criticism and rejection?

A:  The more success you have, the more people are exposed to your music and the more criticism you will face, especially when you remake classic songs.  It is important to take on board constructive criticism; you have to be strong-willed enough to take what others have to say without being put off your own course.

TAD: What advice would you give to individuals wishing to embark on music career or those that are struggling to get signed?

A: The advice I would give to individuals who want to embark on a music career is: make sure you learn how the industry operates.  You should not make getting signed your main objective.  You should develop your own sound & brand, and always try to be unique!  Focus on making music and on being you, and let labels come to you.   Use the basic tools available to you in this day and age (i.e. social media) to your advantage and get your music out to the world.

TAD: How do you react to people calling you a role model for independent music artists?

A: It is flattering if anyone considers me a role model.  Having gone the independent route thus far, I can say that one good thing about being independent is that you have complete creative control and can do everything on your own terms, without anyone telling you what to do.  It also means you can connect directly with your listeners/fans.

TAD:  Could you tell us a little bit about your new mainstream single, which is set to be released soon? Will it be available internationally? How do we make sure we know when and where to get our hands on a copy?

A: The mainstream single I hope to release soon is called “Take it Back” and is basically a tribute to old school R&B, since I would like to see R&B brought back in the mainstream.  Rather than follow what is trending and sonically in fashion at the moment, I thought it would be more interesting to carve out my own niche and make music which I genuinely believe in.  If you stay tuned to my social media sites you’ll definitely know when it’s coming out: hopefully it won’t be long now!

Arjun

Make sure you are following Arjun on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud!

Still can’t get enough? Here’s his website for more details!

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Chai & Chats with: Roshni Chugani

Chai & Chats with: Pavan Ahluwalia

Chai & Chats with: Malika Garrett

Chai & Chats with: Amilla Javed

Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

from Destination: Interviews

Happy Durga Puja 

 Happy Kali Puja & Diwali 

from Destination: Celebration

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Have you discovered IISuperwomanII yet?

IISuperwomanII

Have you discovered IISuperwomanII yet?

If not, we definitely think you should! Lilly Singh AKA Superwoman can ALWAYS make you smile, laugh and generally brighten up your day with her hilarious videos. She talks about real issues facing us all, from reaching a mid-20s crisis (see below!) to what brown girls have to put up with when fending off the ‘arranged marriage’ conversations!

We LOVE her honesty, T shirt references and of course her Canadian accent!

Take a look, feel inspired and be prepared to laugh out loud.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Chai & Chats with: Roshni Chugani

Chai & Chats with: Pavan Ahluwalia

Chai & Chats with: Malika Garrett

Chai & Chats with: Amilla Javed

Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

from Destination: Interviews

Destination: India 

Destination: Bangladesh 

from Destination: Travel

Happy Durga Puja 

 Happy Kali Puja & Diwali 

from Destination: Celebration

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Feeling blessed, overwhelmed and grateful at The Ramadan Tent

Yesterday evening, I went to The Ramadan Tent, situated in the grounds of The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Set up by Omar Salha, a SOAS alumnus, this Ramadan Tent welcomes Muslims to break their fast for Ramadan by serving iftar, the sunset meal.

The Ramadan Tent

News of the Ramadan Tent has travelled fast. One of my good friends learnt about it through her flatmate and now both volunteer there, helping in the iftar preparation and disposal, and ensuring that everyone feels welcome, and is accommodated with food and a place to sit.

Muslim or not, it does not matter. Committed volunteers have made this special iftar possible and welcome the public during Islam’s holy month, regardless of religious, socio-economic or political background making it truly an event that brings old and new faces together.

It truly was a special feast. Sustained by charitable donations, it was so inspiring to see so much food being provided for so many. As we sat on the ground around long mats acting as tables, it felt like a large family picnic was about to start. There was a sense of community, a sense of belonging and a feeling of togetherness. The homeless sitting amongst students and members of the public, no prejudice or judgment was placed. Each person was treated as part of an extended family.

Ramadan Tent

Before the call to prayer and breaking the fast, a speaker is invited to speak. Yesterday, Omar had invited Jehangir Malik OBE, director of Islamic Relief UK to talk. Malik reiterated how wonderful it was for so many people from across London to come together in the spirit of Ramadan. In a recent Huffington post article, Omar mentioned how not only did he hope this Ramadan campaign would challenge some misconceptions about Islam but also bring communities together.

Similarly, Jehangir Malik also feels that Ramadan Is a Time to Break Down Barriers, Not Build Them Up’.’ Having just completed a trip to Syria, his words had a lasting impact on me and I could tell on others too. Here we were sitting down, surrounded by a family we’d only just acquired, being provided with food and water whilst there were so many across the world struggling for just one of these basic privileges.

Dates were passed around to eat and symbolized the beginning of iftar. A change in the wind during the call to prayer made for a magical atmosphere. Despite not being Muslim myself, it was as if the summer breeze whispering around us had somehow cast an invisible spell, connecting everyone there. It did not matter what religion you were, where you had come from or what your economic situation was.

Ramadan Tent

As people, we were all the same; we all hoped and prayed for a world that we could feel proud to live in, we all desired an end to the suffering of those less fortunate and we all wanted to leave our positive mark in some way or another. It was an overwhelming and inspiring moment.

My friend told me how, on one occasion, due to the increased popularity and interest in The Ramadan Tent, there had not been enough food to accommodate all guests as well as committee volunteers. In this instance, volunteers refrained from eating to ensure every single other participant had food in front of them. Bearing in mind, the majority of these volunteers had been fasting themselves, it was moving to hear the extent of their charitable duties.

I have an immense sense of respect for those that are fasting during Ramadan. It requires dedication, commitment and perseverance -it is only when one is tested that one realises their true potential.

Ramadan Tent

Many are all too aware of how the media can misconstrue or demonise Islam and as a result alienate communities. This event however, as Omar hoped it would, disputes Islamic misconceptions and teaches non-muslims about the core values of Islam. There were times during yesterday’s iftar that I could not say a word. There was a spell I did not want to break. I felt proud and privileged to have experienced such sharing, generosity and sense of community. I left feeling happy that this was such a positive opportunity for others to appreciate the true spirit of Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak to all those participating!

Love, respect and blessings,

Ana at The Asian Destination xo

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Celebrate Being ‘Unique’

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Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

I’m a glass full kind of guy’

Jesbir

Graduating in 2012 and already climbing the corporate ladder, Jesbir Bahia (J) tells The Asian Destination (TAD) how he still keeps up his passion for music and what he hopes the future has in store.

TAD: Tell us a little bit about your new band. What’s the name of your band? How many band members?

J: The new band is a 4 piece, drummer, 2 guitars and a bass. No name as of yet – still working on one.

TAD: What sort of genre of music?

J: Indie, blues, jazz, rock and a bit of funk.

TAD: Do your Asian roots have any influence on the band’s music?

J: Asian roots don’t really influence the band’s music but you never know I might whip out the dhol for a song or two!

TAD: How long have you been a keen drummer? (We seem to remember you trying to teach some Uni friends in the halls library…!)

J: I’ve been drumming since I was 16 so not that long really.

TAD: Did you ever want it to become a career for you?

J: I would have loved for it to turn into a career but unless you get famous in a band or similar– there’s not much money in it. Equally, there are a lot of amazing drummers out there.

TAD: Where is your band performing at the moment? What does the future hold?

J: Not got any fixed gigs planned at the moment but it is still early days. The band has only been together for a few months but hopefully the future will go like so:

  1. Practise and become amazing (overnight if possible)
  2. Play a few gigs – get noticed – then signed.
  3. Get a number one hit within a year.
  4. Have a best-selling album.

-I think that might be a little optimistic but hey I’m a glass half full kind of guy!

Glass half full or not, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Jesbir’s band so stay tuned for regular updates!

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Chai & Chats with: Roshni Chugani , Chai & Chats with: Pavan AhluwaliaChai & Chats with: Malika Garrett and Chai & Chats with: Amilla Javed from Destination: Interviews

Destination: India and Destination: Bangladesh from Destination: Travel

Happy Durga Puja and Happy Kali Puja & Diwali from Destination: Celebration

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Facing The Fear Everyday…Love without limits!

So I’ve been meaning to post a blog that is a bit more personal. A bit more vulnerable. A bit more me.

But the one thing that has been stopping me, is fear.

Fear of being judged, fear of expressing myself properly.

I felt like this the very first time I published a blog post. That scary few seconds before I hit send, my stomach was turning…yet after I had clicked ‘publish’, I got a buzz afterwards. Why? Because I love to write. I wouldn’t blog if I didn’t. I haven’t done many ‘written’ posts in a while (this is hopefully the beginning of more!) But, as some of you may have noticed, each day, there is a new quote hoping to inspire you all on your way through this crazy world we call life.

I love my quotes. I relate to the spoken word in a way like no other. I am one of those rare specimens that require a pen and paper just to make sense of all the thoughts competing for my attention and focus. Many of you reading this will agree and find comfort and inspiration in these quotes, as much as I do. I love hearing how each quote has had a positive impact on your lives; it makes me happy to know that someone’s day has been brightened just by a quote that I’ve found and posted. However, not everyone likes them. Some find them ‘cheesy’ or ‘soppy’ and have given me negative feedback over them. Initially, I took this feedback personally. I hesitated before uploading more, I found shying away from certain quotes I used, just so that I would get more positive feedback and for my content to be liked and accepted.

In doing so though, I realised I wasn’t being true to who I was. Some of these quotes have helped me through some of my toughest periods and denying their impact on my life and my writing, would be denying a part of who I am. What I have come to realise is that you have to do what you love, regardless of the negative feedback. Your passion is worth any hate you receive. Why?

Because when people hate, it’s not because they actually have a problem with you. Whatever they appear to ‘hate’ about you, is actually a reflection of what they ‘hate’ about themselves. The first time I heard this concept, it confused me. Yet, as I thought about it, everything became clear.

In addition to this, every single one of us is trying to forge our own path – we’re doing the best we can given our own unique circumstances. A person is the way they are because of their own individual experiences and so we have no right to judge. All we can really do is to love without limits.

So today: Love & respect & smile. Celebrate being you and keep facing your fears everyday #FAFE!

Love & respect,
Ana at The Asian Destination xo

 

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Squash ’em!

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Your fears don’t define you, remember that. Are you facing a fear everyday?

Each fear squashed is a step closer to your main goal. So start squashing!

We want to hear from YOU!

A

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Are you Asian and just have a story you’d like us to feature? Are you budding artist, writer or have secret talent you’d like to share? Get in touch with us because we want to hear From YOU!

We love stories about following your dreams, setting up your own businesses alongside studying or working. We’re inspired by the people that work a 9-5 job yet still make time to pursue their passions.

The Asian Destination is interested in featuring your story so get in touch:
theasiandestination@gmail.com or send us a message via our Facebook

Happy Tuesday! xo