Trip to India – December 2017

Nature is at its best in India – desert sand dunes, palm tree-lined waterways, snow-capped mountain ranges, and beautiful beaches.

My soft landing in India set the tone for my entire trip, in fact. I spent few days  comfortably in Delhi  looking at the heritage buildings, I saw the Taj Mahal, and it exceeded all my expectations. Many times over

and wondering how magnificent it is!

When you enter Agra, the first impression you might get is that it is a congested city with nothing “travel-worthy” about it. In fact, everything about it might seem quite ordinary till you remind yourself that this city is home to perhaps the most famous monument in the world. For many who have seen the Taj Mahal in movies or in magazines, or read articles about it, there is a charm and aura about it that grabs their attention. Add to that the fact that it is one of the most visited monuments of the world and it immediately finds a place in your list of destinations to see in India.

The Taj Mahal is the best-known building in the world and arguably the most beautiful. The architecture is sublime but it is the story that the stones embody that draws seven million visitors each year.

It is a monument to the great love between the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. They could not bear to be parted and Mumtaz would often travel with her husband even into war. It was on one such campaign in 1631 that she died after giving birth to their 14th child.

Over the next 14 years Shah Jehan employed the empire’s best architects, builders and craftsmen to design this vision in white marble, decorated with precious and semi-precious stones sourced from all over Asia.

Almost the entire trip was a magic carpet ride of excitement, adventure and learning — about myself, India and the world. I definitely had moments of challenge, frustration, and fatigue because of the heat as it was summer (48 degrees) but they were minor in comparison to what I was gaining and the fun I was having. And besides, growing up in India  has taught me to take things in stride.

India is a beautiful romantic country with lovely surroundings, good food, music, and kind people, and so it was too when I was there  – lovely, colorful, and with a particular charm.

This one-of-a-kind experience taught me to dream big.

Fashion Parade At The Southbank Buddha Birthday Festival 2017

The Buddha Birthday Festival is a 20-year-old Brisbane tradition, celebrating peace and happiness on Earth. This event invites everyone from all races, religions and backgrounds to enjoy the festivities, and learn more about each other. On Sunday, 30th April, Southbank Parklands was lit up not only by its signature red lanterns, but also by a fashion parade, seeing models of all ethnicities coloring the streets with each of their traditional attire.

Led by the Raame, this was the second time since 2016 that their multicultural fashion parade was featured in the Buddha Birthday Festival. The Raame is an organization that strives to bring Brisbane’s many cultures together through their common love of fashion, giving people of all backgrounds a chance and platform to proudly display their unique heritages. With models representing over 30 different countries, the parade showcased the beauty and intricacies in each of the outfits present, allowing spectators to appreciate the similarities and differences among the different cultures. In 2016, the fashion parade had been a big hit at the Buddha Birthday Festival, and this year it garnered equally positive response, as it helped achieve the purpose of the event: harmony within the community.

In the spirit of harmony, the songs “We are Australian” and “I still call Australia home” were performed, a true display of solidarity among the ethnicities present that day.

This is one of the many fashion shows the Raame has arranged since its conception in 2015, and the organization has successfully brought together different cultural circles in appreciation of their diverse customs and beliefs. One of the biggest events staged by the group was their Multicultural Fashion Show, an annual event that had commenced in 2015. The past two years’ shows were fully sold out, in support of the group’s positive message of cultural unity, and its second run of success in 2016 granted it the title of award winning fashion show by the Courier Mail. This year the Raame is planning its third Multicultural Fashion Show, and its promised to be bigger and better than ever.

For more information regarding Raame and their numerous multicultural events, contact Reena Augustine (pictured above and center), founder of the group, via email :

Photo credits: Aras Shots Photography

Indonesian Women Community celebrating Kartini Day In Brisbane

Recently, Indonesian Women community celebrated their important day called Kartini Day which was held on 21 April 2017 at Jakarta Indonesia Restaurant, New Farm.  Kartini Day is very important for Indonesian women, as RA Kartini is one of Indonesian women heroes who fought for women’s emancipation or equal rights with men.

The organiser, Ms Vera Pottinger has a strong belief of being ‘modern woman’ who working not only for her own well-being and happiness, but also supporting the community.  Vera migrated to Australia in year 1999 married with an Australian man with two children.  Even though she has been living and working in Australia for eighteen years, she never forgets her roots as a Javanese woman (Indonesian).  She is happy and self-reliant, full of enthusiasm to promote her culture to wider Australian by showcasing hand drawn batik fashion range and also be involved in multitude Indonesian and diversity communities’ activities in Brisbane.

Together with a strong team of Indonesian women who have the same vision and mission, the Kartini Day celebration was formed.    In this event, all attendees who majority were Indonesian women made this day so special by wearing Kebaya, a traditional Indonesian women costume.  Furthermore, Reena Augustine, Miss Quest 2016/2017 of United Asia Lions Club Brisbane was given an honour to share her story in relation to women empowerment.  Yes, women is capable to do the impossible thing.

The energy in the event was outstanding, especially when the ladies singing Kartini song together followed with dancing along with Javanese music to wrap the night.

Indeed, it is such an enjoyable night and unique way to celebrate Kartini Day in Brisbane.