James Ramya Rajan

🥾Hiking at Sri Bintang 📍

A month ago when we were trying out Bak Kut The at Sri Bintang, I got to know about the trail nearby. Last week I got a chance to hike it as part of my Thursday hikes. I liked it so much that I went again with my wife on the weekend.

📽 Premalu, Disney Hotstar ★★★★★

Poster of the movie Premalu, where the two leads are seeing driving in the car

Yesterday, we finished watching Premalu. I absolutely loved it. It is such a refreshing and light hearted movie, without being frivolous or over the top. It was very grounded and finds comedy even on the mundane things of life. We laughed all the way through — what a fun writing it has.

The story is a very generic story, of a boy and girl across different strata falling in love. But the entire treatment of setting up their ways of life, how they cross each others path and then become intertwined is all done so well and in a new way that you are sitting there and watching a slice of those lives. The movie begins and ends in a matter of fact manner, so there is no introduction or climax scene as such.

And all this wouldn’t have worked out without the cast. Just spot on. The leads Naslen and Babitha have lived their roles, that you just don’t see them as actors. And everyone of those supporting cast, support the leads so well, that you left wanting for more.

#OhBoy made this at school for Mother’s Day!

A Mother’s Day bouquet made out of flowers.

My company @nfnlabs.in does a monthly curation of interesting tools and services that we come across. Here is this month’s curation.


#OhBoy is learning to enjoy road trips, particularly those breaks 😊

A little boy enjoying his McD softy cone in a car

Owing to a system malfuntion, the Air Asia staff at Lombok, Indonesia had to hand write every boarding pass for the flight to Kuala Lumpur 

A flight boarding pass with all details written by hand

Summited Mt. Rinjani yesterday (22 Apr 2024) at around 6.15am. I hope to write more about the trek when I am at my desk and have recovered from assault.

The Mt. Rinjani trek starts this weekend. Though I’m as prepared as I can be, still feeling the butterflies!

Now onboard the train to KLIA2

Bags are packed!
Bags are packed!

#OhBoy and the case of 🖕

Last week, it was just another day of vacation that was all fun, until we sat down for lunch. #OhBoy was arguing with my mom, I forget about what. But something she said irritated him a lot and he showed her the middle finger. 😮

This was not his first time. He did the same a few days ago, and I let it slide, thinking I misconstrued his gesture. This time, there was no doubt. There was a flash of anger in my face, but I was also sure that he was just showing off his anger, without knowing the actual meaning of the gesture.

I asked him what it was and where he learnt it from. Thus started our tussle. The entire lunch was a crying session, with him not wanting to talk about it or telling me where he picked it from. He switched excuses between — he does not remember, he does not want to tell, it meant a big heart, he read it in a dinosaur book, he dreamt about it etc. I kept at it, without shouting at him. I warned him that if I don’t get to know, then I will have to tell the school about it.

He clearly felt cornered. He understood it was a mistake, but did not want to reveal where he picked up this gesture from. At some level, I am amazed by his grit to not tell us the source. I wish he puts this grit to good use in his life.

He took his afternoon nap, under heavy threats and discussion. I spoke to my wife and also ended up reaching out to, what I call, my parenting council 1. I am writing down here the highlights of the points they told me, so it is helpful for those in similar situation.

  1. Don’t dig into the source too much, as these days there are a lot of stimuli, and it will be pointless to get the the origin of this gesture. And also you may never find out.
  2. Tell that the behaviour is unacceptable and in the family we are not hurtful or unkind to anyone.
  3. Make them promise this will not be repeated.
  4. If it happens next time, don’t react immediately, but bring it up later when settling down and tell that the behaviour was bad and not acceptable
  5. Talk about the anger and how they feeling and help them express it in a better way. Anger stems from a feeling of loneliness, not physically but emotionally no one is understanding them.
  6. Learn to stop ending arguments in one sitting and learn to stop and start conversations about it at a later point in time. Make him understand that while you are stopping the probe about it for now, it is still pending and you are awaiting for an answer. This will learn to take him, process and have the confidence to get back at a later point in time.
  7. This is just the beginning, brace yourself to do this routine again and again.

Armed with all these pointers, I woke up him from his nap and told him that I am letting go of the request for source, but I want him to promise that he will not do it ever again. And among us, no matter how difficult it is we will tell the truth and answer questions honestly. I also told him that I am not angry with him, but just trying to explain him what is right and wrong.

He seemed to be very relieved. He was all going overboard with his niceties in the evening! 😂


  1. My parenting council is a group of 3 moms, whose parenting style and ethos resonate with me. After my wife, they are the next ones I reach out to when I have a parenting crisis. Their thoughts and directions have immensely helped in how I grew up as a parent so far with #OhBoy ↩︎

Latest video from Paranjoy’s team. Their musical take on the current Indian prime minister.


🥾Last practice hike before Mt. Rinjani 🌋

On Sunday, we did our last practice hike before the next week's trek at Mt. Rinjani. We decided to start 6am at Bukit Gasing, since we wanted to practice the use of head lamps and hiking in the dark.

Us on the trek with headlamps on!
Us on the trek with headlamps on!

The hiking in the dark went well and 4 trips of the stamina hill was the limit for me. Otherwise, I felt happy at the way I finished the trek. We completed the 7km loop in 4h. I feel confident about next week's trek now.🤞🏼

The hike was immediately followed up by a breakfast at Kanna Curry House, Petaling Jaya 📍

Finally tasted Bak kut teh

When we got to know that we will be moving to Kuala Lumpur, I went on a spree of watching YouTube videos about places to eat and dishes to explore. That is when I first heard about Bak kut teh in Mickey Chen’s video.

Bak kut teh is a pork dish cooked in broth. It is very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. I has its origins among the Hokkien and Teochew community. The name translates as “meat bone tea”.

And when I landed here and told people that I wanted to try it out, almost everyone warned me about the “herbal taste” of it. I really wanted to try it, but with someone who knew a good place to go, how to order. I never found that guide.

Last week, our wonderful Chinese neighbour came by with some fruits for our son and when asked to partake a snack, she said she was heavy with the Bak kut teh breakfast. So natually I enquired about the place and told her, I would like to join her next time.

That conversation led to me finally I tasted my first Bak kut teh today and loved it. We went to a place in Seri Bintang. It was a collection of stalls referred to as Kopitiam 818 Restaurant. I was told this is Klang style Bak kut teh. Just a luscious and flavourful broth that I loved having multiple cups of. The meat was tender from hours of simmering and all the collagen 🤩

A claypot full of a pork broth dish called Bak kut teh, along with a bowl of plain rice Pork knuckle in Bak kut teh broth along with a bowl of rice It is a very hearty breakfast meal, so maybe next time I will combine with hike at the nearby Seri Bintang trail!

#MalaysianDiary #DiningOut

Such a wonderful piece of life advice that I found this post on Kotte.

Years ago, when I was in my 20s, a bold and artistically daring older friend who has since passed on gave me what I often think was the best advice I have ever gotten. I was worrying what ‘people would think’ of a decision I had made, and she said, “Amanda, There is no audience."

—Amanda Fortini on Twitter

🥾Hiking the Gasing Loop 📍

As a practice for the upcoming Mt. Rinjani trek, we attempted a longer hike at Bukit Gasing last Sunday. This was my 3rd time hiking at Bukit Gasing and it is one of my favourite spots in the city. It is challenging, but it is also straining. It has plenty of trails, so you are never bored doing the same route.

We started at 7.30am and did a longer loop, with multiple trips of the stamina hill.

While the hike was fairly manageable, the weather was extremely humid that day. The dresses were all soaking wet by the end of the hike at 11.30am.

The Rinjani 8, with one member missing :)
The Rinjani 8, with one member missing :)

We will be doing one more practice session next weekend here, before we set off to summit Mt. Rinjani!

This week #OhBoy has no school owing to Ramadan celebrations. So we went about our old routine of morning walks and coffee.

And this was his first time enjoying a chocolate filled donut. At each bite he was letting me know that it was very yummy!

A young boy, whose face masked is with an emoji, enjoying a chocolate filled donut.

🥾Hiking Taman Tugu

After a break on last Thursday, resumed our Thursday Hikes with the fellow diplomatic spouses here in Kuala Lumpur. With most of them beginners, this was a perfect spot to get them started, after warming up at TTDI in the earlier weeks.

It was just us in the entire trail, till be hit the last check point. The day was humid, but otherwise the trek was good.

It was a good start. I hope in May they all get to a level of doing the Gasing Loop!

This was the gang!
This was the gang!

The Red Vein Flowering Maple that we found in Ranau, Sabah

Day 2 of #mbapr : Flowers 📷

A flower of the Red vein flowering maple plant, which looks like a red bulb hanging down

🥾Hiking Gunung Bunga Buah 📍

As a practice for our upcoming Mt. Rinjani hike, we did a long duration practice hike. We started at 6.30am from KL and then started the hike from the trail head at 7.30am.

This was my first time on such a long trail and I was also testing out a lot of my new gear — Hydration Vest and Flask, Compression Pants, long sleeve shirt and new socks. All of them worked well without any complaints. 🙌

The initial part of the trail till the entrance of Bunga Buah was really good. We were walking through the clouds.

The Sabah trip begins with a “too late to board” scare and we sprinting to the gate. We spent too much time enjoying that Kaya Toast😂😂😂

Some stars aligned on my hiking luck and I found myself having a spot with a hiking group that had planned everything for summiting Mt. Rinjani ⛰️ this April.

So every weekend is a practice to build up strength for the 3 day trek of Mt. Rinjani. This picture was taken this weekend’s hike 🥾 at Bukit Gasing.

A snail is on a piece of log, eating a mushroom growing on the log

📺 Beef, Netflix ★★★★★

Poster of the TV Series Beef, where the two leads are facing off each other

A few weeks ago, we finished season 1 this series. We absolutely loved it. It touches on so many aspects of the mental health and with so much compassion.

This was the first time I was watching Ali Wong and Steven Yeun perform. And both were so good in their roles!

The last episode of the season, was one of the best “tripping” experiences brought out on screen.

📺 Criminal Record, Apple TV+ ★★★★★

Poster of the TV Series Criminal Record showing the lead characters played by Cush Jumbo and Peter Capaldi

We finally finished this series last week. It checks a lot of boxes to make pertinent points on racial prejudice, pressures in criminal justice system to “deliver” something, collateral damages etc. The tension between the two opposing detectives, is so palpable and enjoyable. Each episode ends in a nice cliffhanger.

Cush Jumbo and Peter Capaldi nail their parts and live their characters. Thoroughly enjoyed every episode. Highly recommend it.

Anak Baba, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur 📍

Earlier this week, a friend was stopping over in KL and was available for lunch. Since he was open to tasting some local fare, took him out to Anak Baba in Brickfields.

It is a quaint little place, with simple seating arrangement of table and stools and a lot of natural sunlight through the translucent roof. I had been there earlier once and loved their food.

This time around I tried their Nasi Lemak with fried chicken. Everything was spot on, but that fried chicken marinated in turmeric was just so rightly done—a light layer of fried coating on the outside and juicy on the inside!

A plate of Nasi Lemak which contains a cup of cooked rice, fried chicken, half a boiled egg, shredded raw papaya, fried egg, sauteed water spinach and sambal

The friend has Nyonya Laksa, which I had tried previously here. He loved it too. A bowl of Laksa that had rice noodles in a coconut curry gravy with fishball, prawsns, tofu skin, bean sprouts, etc.

We also had their Popiah (Peranakan Spring Roll), Pai Tee (picture below) and Cendol to round it all off. A plat of Pai Tee, a crunch top hat pastry filled with raw papaya, fried egg strips and a tangy sauce Cendol , a bowl of shaved idea topped with coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, red beans etc.

Overall the food and the interesting conversation, made it a memorable afternoon! Hope to bring the family here soon!

#MalaysianDiary #DiningOut

Lunch at Chowkit area of Kuala Lumpur

A cancelled meeting of The Missus resulted in we getting to do a quick lunch date on a weekday. We met at El Cero📍 first and had a bunch of of tapas. While Tapas were good, the mains did not interest us, so we went out looking for another place.

This part of Chow Kit is peppered with restaurants and we landed at Gavel📍 just that was a couple of doors away from El Cero. Gavel is a quaint little place. We wanted something quick and hence picked Fish & Chips, which was the dish of the day. It did not disappoint. I really want to come there on Sunday for their Sunday Roast!

Fish and Chips served on a wooden board, along with mushed peas, a wedge of lemon and tartar sauce

#MalaysianDiary #DiningOut

Started watching a new 📺 TV Series — Criminal Record on Apple TV+ this week. We are just 3 episodes in and what a brilliant series it is already!

Cush Jumbo and Peter Capaldi are acing it as expected! Their scenes of face-off are such a treat.