Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A night-out I kept the husband waiting

Okay, so this was a busy weekday. Monday, to be precise. I rushed back home from work, cooked dinner for my girl, instructed her for the following morning, checked my mail, set out my clothes for next day and hopped into the car for a night-out. My man drove me for some most treasured moments…

It was a perfect setting. The sun-kissed heritage site that nestled the Orient Guest House was at its serene best as I hugged my partner. The gleaming sandy low-rise was the only witness to our emotions.

Even as I felt the busy Bur Dubai road, where stressed-out motorists were wearing out their patience on respecting bumper distance, and heard the brakes screeching, children screaming, vendors ranting, a wave of solitude billowed our senses, the moment we felt the coarse tiles beneath.

We have passed this place a hundred times since we moved to Dubai, but never realised the wealth it beheld.

The stillness the courtyard held nudged awake memories of our childhood. The narrow alleys led to spacious courtyards that had benches beneath trees, similar to the ones we rushed to grab with our tiffin boxes in school during recess. We clicked. One for the album.

We walked past another alley when I saw a limb jutting out from the roof of an open door. Eerie. I instantly leaned for support. But after spotting two security guards on the bench at the far-end, courage seeped in my cells and I took another look at the roof. Now, I saw a palm protruding from the ceiling, as well. Eeks! I let them hang and hurried behind, when I saw the board in bold – it was an Art Hotel within the premises.  

With a renewed spring in our steps, we now decided to check out the Bastakiya area, before appeasing our tummies.
We experienced a bygone era as the sikkas led us through tall wind towers and window less walls and hanging lamps on the beautifully restored almost-century old architecture.

A little away, across the street, the Arabian Courtyard was another world unto itself. Amid cafés, galleries and antique shops, we wandered soaking in the experience.

I even picked up a unique hand-made set of seed jewellery as a token of our visit.
Dinner was yum...

By 11pm we decided to retire for the night… the courtyard that took us to our room had neatly arranged antique tables and chairs, with yet another tree and, in this one was, a beverage counter.
The small-framed carved wooden door opened into an aesthetically done room that sang Arabic. Right from the décor and colours to the smell and the feel, it was old-world Arabia wrapped in modernity.

We spoke into the wee hours until our eyelids slurred our vocals…

… I was jolted awake when my phone rang.

I turned back to sleep, when it buzzed again.

“Umm”, I said dropping the gadget on my ears.  
“Good morning. I’m waiting for you.”

I sneaked out carefully so as not to wake my partner up and wobbled toward the waiting car.
The husband tucked me beside him and I slept on his shoulders as he drove me back home.

Breakfast, lunch, work…My day unfolded just like another!




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Morally conscious papas and mamas @ work

Becoming a parent is bliss. The act of nurturing the bundles into young adults is a blessing.

Tradition, culture, values, beliefs, faith, empowerment, education, vocation, passion… name it, we guide our kids the best way we can in all ways we can at all times we can until we ever can. I know of mamas and papas who are so obsessed with parenthood that honorary doctorates would fall short for their priceless research on offspring rearing. From the best curriculums, the best teaching methods, the best schools in towns, the best extra-curricular activities that can put the kids directly on that spaceship…they know the best.
Here are some comments of such ethically and morally conscious parents I have been privy to.
“Oh! **** ***school. I don’t like that. Have you seen their uniform? You just need to look at the way those students walk.”
“I’ll never look at *****. Do you know they hire housewives as teachers there?”
‘Children should settle abroad. They have no future in India.’
Interestingly, these are parents extraordinaire who will wash down culture, manners, ethics and morals down their kids’ esophagus with their daily Bournvita.  Check these out…
“I punish my son, if he doesn’t do his bed every morning before going to school.”
“I call my neighbour’s kids every weekend to play with my daughter. It’s important she learns to share her toys and space.”
“I ensure my girl washes her undergarments herself.”
“I reward my son with an ice-cream every Sunday, if he keeps his toys in place through the week.”
Courtesy: TFW
Now, these mamas and papas after disciplining their wards and planning for their future, when they turn up at workplaces, play brooders. Place a clutch of eggs under them and rest assured your tea-time sandwich is taken care of.
The office boy should collect the print-outs from the printer. ‘That’s his job’, they remind you and yell,  ‘where the hell is that idiot!’
He should offer coffee, guessing their sugar swings, at regular intervals without being told. That’s his job. ‘How many years, you’ve been giving me coffee. You still can’t get it right!’
The cleaner should wash their lipstick-kissed or cigarette-smelling cups after their last sip. That’s his job. Otherwise, the stained cups will accumulate beside their keyboard for days!
If newcomers commit an error, they are corrected loudly and clearly. ‘We also started like this!’
If juniors show enthusiasm, then they are passively bullied. ‘He needs to be shown his place now, else tomorrow he’ll shit on our scalp!’
Once they are done with disciplining co-workers they get down to executing their own future plans…They will block all calendar holidays in advance and if an emergency befalls any colleague during their pre-planned holiday, they will fall ill with a contagious disease!
And, yes, when they sense work pressure increasing or deadlines nearing, their kids would be performing in a surprise orchestra and they would have to be present at school right away...'to boost their morale'!
M...orally-conscious florals!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Every dog has its day…today!

The Financial World published this on June 18 under the title 'What makes News in this viral world?'

But I prefer the doggy title...

....because as you see even I've had my days...

‘Dog bites man’ is not News. ‘Man bites dog’ makes News. So I was taught and I have been following diligently until the virus corrupted my sense of judgment. I woke up to the fact the ‘man biting dog’ can be insipid in this age, because every dog is having its day. If you thought one is worth his salt a pinch more, you will regret having formed an opinion too early. The viral world doesn’t let you see a pattern, forget setting one.

If you thought something did well and attempted at mimicking the same you will be left chewing the bone. Alone. You never know what word or action will catch the fancy of billions. Any idea why Psy’s Gangnam style got infants and the aged alike to lift their feet? When our very own Kolaveri happened, I thought better of it. But now with the Korean going bonkers, I prefer our Tamil beats. May be it’s got to do with native virus in my ears that’s hung itself.

One suicide has caught the fancy of the whole nation, whose many citizens opt for similar endings for, again, similar alleged reasons. Yet Jiah Khan and her boy of afriend have captured curious public interest. Probably it was the heart-felt note that was uploaded for public viewing that did the trick. So, will another high profile suicide with a love-torn note create such frenzy. No betting on that!
When IPL scandal exploded in multi-colours and cricket lovers gave up in sighed resignation, one player sprung up more popular for reasons other than the alleged case. His Dawood Ibrahim jeans! Trust underworld to make light of issues? You may end up counting stars, if yours are not aligned right.

Attempt speaking about the bombs that blasted in 1993; add as many gory and insensitive adjectives and adverbs to the incident, and you will still have people groping for the connect. But open with Sanjay Dutt and emotions, reactions and actionswill explode unto you that you will regret even having mentioned it. The actor has covered the real faces behind the blast. Wanna stress home the futility point in an unfortunate incident by using glamorous face in future. By all means, at your own risk!
In fact, risk is the only constant in today’s times when success is defined not by how much of what you possess rather by how much of what you possess is out at what speed. The secret to the risk is, just let go. Even those umms, aahs, uhhs and eeks… record them all. They may just about click the senses of a billion.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mingling with husband’s women colleagues

So there was yet another get-together this weekend and I was at my social best. From picking up the right ear drops to matching my dress to selecting the footwear that stood me at a decent height with my better half, I carefully planned my evening before setting out to play the guest wife.

The venue: One of the husband’s colleague’s living room; The group: His office friends cum colleagues. Occasion: Informal hang-out with families of a formal group.
We were the first couple to arrive and the host greeted us with all their freshness. A 20-minute of individual attention I enjoyed, when walked in the next couple. I shifted from my place to sit opposite facing the new arrival. The woman started off hurriedly about the invitees expected. I was quiet to give her time to finish gossiping before the accused arrived. When she stopped to breathe, I asked, how she was, and she replied something on the lines, ‘always fine’.

I smiled.

Then three women arrived and sat with the earlier one on the two-seater sofa. I shifted from my earlier position and pulled a chair and sat rubbing my knees to one of them.  
Then the volley started. The one in the centre said, ‘That areshole, what does he think of himself…' and I pitched in that I have an equally stinking boss. They smiled and one at the extreme left said, ‘Don’t know why teachers give projects. I have no time…' and I pitched in that kids need to be made self-sufficient. They smiled reluctantly, and the extreme right said, ‘I’m joining the online networking group. Easy money, that is…' and I pitched in that one needs to be shameless. They almost smiled, and the one second from left said, ‘I’m planning to go on an all-carb diet. Look at this tummy…' and I pitched in that diets don’t work. They ignored me.

In between arrived the star attraction of the group. She sat 30 inches away from the foursome, 15 inches to my right. Every time, she spoke, one of the sofa-seaters voiced her thoughts by leaning over to poke her. In quick succession, the other nudged her thigh and started, ‘You know what…’. Three minutes later, another scratched her hand, and said, ‘Did you hear…’ One minute later, her feet was kicked at, and said, “By the way...”
The act continued until dinner was served and I rushed to grab the two-seater. My three seat-sharers started the menu dissection. Spare a thought for the hostess, I said and they ignored me scooping one another’s dessert over my plate.

In the wee hours, when we bid our byes, they opened their arms and craned their necks. Refusing to smell their earlobes, I waved my manicured fingers, instead and smiled.
The next evening when the husband returned from work, he said, “They think you are a stuck-up person.”

I smiled.

PS: All puns unintented because I prefer being stuck-up to sticking out!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jiah Khan killed over and over again

Courtesy: TFW
So it’s a week since Bollywood starlet Jiah Khan’s untimely death. And she has been killed several times over since last Monday. Every time a journo decides to write a hypothetical analysis comparing her end to stars who committed suicide in the past, she is mercilessly killed yet again.
So what if the girl’s family and friends are just steadying themselves up from the shock of her demise? Media was headlong into cashing in on Jiah Khan’s death, gleeful that headlines and eyeballs for the following few days has been taken care of.
Indeed, media should inform. It was a young talent that has gone waste. And if the case warranties investigation and when the same is concluded by competent authorities, then the results should be splashed across.
But no! There was alcohol and anti-depressants put into her system and work pressure and depression measured in her cells. Alright, there can’t be smoke without fire. So let the media get the benefit of doubt, but shouldn’t they keep the reasons across the table for someone in the know of things to speak.
Agreed only those who ‘Break’ News can keep up with the heat of competition and survive, but isn’t there something called ethics? ‘We were the first to report about who found her hanging…’; ‘We were the first to report about the suicide note…’; We were the first to write about the boy whom she last spoke to….’ It’s not an unprecedented trip to Jupiter that warranties exclusive watermarks. PLEASE!
The breaking news phenomenon, unfortunately, is not confined to mainstream media alone. All and sundry today want to break into two-seconds of fame. Legendary singer Manna Dey, who is hospitalized, was mercilessly RIP-ped by Tweeps, before his doctor tweeted his “condition is stable at the moment”.
Sad, but true, if disastrous incidents make News, then celebrities’ pathos and plights make bigger News. But that’s catering to public interest at large. So be it. But we sure can exercise more conscientiousness and stop being ruthless savages. Consider these comparative stories that made headlines riding on Jiah Khan’s coffin. Like Jiah Khan… List of celebrities who died young; List of Bollywood dreams gone sour; List of little known wonders who had spoken of depression; List of those made eternal by suicide…PATHETIC!
Cashing-in on someone’s death is a form of cannibalism!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gen Next kids...funky, sassy, mini-adults with touching sickness!

[This appeared in today's The Financial World]

Courtesy: TFW

I have worked with four generations – the baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and the current Gen Z or more popularly called the Gen Next.
Looking at them through the present-day lens, I find the Rock n Roll Boomers the ‘boastful types’. But if you cultivate the patience to let them tell their story first, rest assured you can count on their support. And you know how their stories begin? “In 1961 when I was with…”
The Gen X is the ‘I-told-you-so types’. Most of them are self-made men who woke up to seeing a rising women force. You can count on their support, too, provided you live through their opening lecture. “In our days, we never had such…”.
The Gen Y is the ‘in-the-fast-lane types’. Born in the digital age, they will not hesitate to call their twin, old generation.
Now, coming to Gen Z, I’m lost for a description. The more I try understanding them, the more they confuse me. And the least I try analyzing them, the more fun they are to be with.
No conundrums here. Think of this. Until a couple of years ago, dudes were restricted to alpha males. Today, even girls as young as eight love to play dude.

These miniature models are anything but fastidious in their manner.
‘Just chill, I’ll do it!’ [When reminded its study time]

‘You guys carry on!’ [When asked to go out with parents]
‘What the heck!’ [When the TV was switched off, mid-programme]

These are common exclamatory responses to any parental communication. If you are wary of which ceiling they will break when in their own company, you just have to sneak into their space.
‘What man! Even I did not finish the project. BTW, many will not do. You see otherwise.’

‘O God! Your hair is so wet! You had head bath morning, morning?’
‘Ee, you are so dirty. Drinking water with your mouth!’

‘Don’t act like a queen. It’s nice, take a bite. I have no touching sickness!’
At each instance, by the time we hold our belly and restrict the urge to scoop them up, they turn adults.

‘So mom, tell me how was your day in office today? ‘
‘I’m selected for the choir. The full-sleeve shirt I’ll borrow from my friend. Why buy just for one day.’

‘You can give me toast for dinner. You take rest for some time more.’
And just when your heart aches, there they roll…
‘Dad works so hard. Not like you updating Facebook in office and saying you are tired.’
‘Wear that orange dress when you come for the art exhibition, okay. My friends will see you.’

Guess, that’s why they are also called  Gen Next! You can never be sure of what they come up with next. Lol! 

PS: Must roll over and check if lols are outdated, now that I've learnt to use it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Discovered old Arabia in glitzy Dubai

Apart from falafels and hummus, the only other authentic Arabic flavour I was aware of was the smell of desert dunes. I would say a desert safari was the ultimate adventure if you haven’t yet imitated the French Spiderman or thrown yourself into water fastened by a waist loop. Holding a churning tummy and clinging on to dear life, you wouldn’t forget the trip for the experience.
Pic Courtesy: Ahmediaguesthouse.com
That’s it? Okay, then I bragged about the glitz called Dubai – with its malls and plethora of brands that lured anyone from kiddos for their next gen console and abs-smacking men on lookout for their hot Ts to lasses scouting for that designer lingerie. Commoners can also haggle the world out for steals at the annual shopping fest, I would throw in for convincing measure.
Pic Courtesy: Ahmediaguesthouse.com
Or I shared the next best knowledge - parroted the records crowning the emirates beginning with the latest addition the world’s tallest tower - Burj Khalifa.
Pic Courtesy: Ahmediaguesthouse.com
I was surprised to find authentic Arabic hospitality preserved amid the bustling Deira street. The place is layered in culture, beginning with the ambience that serves as therapy to mind and body. The structure about 100 years old is carefully renovated to assure safety while preserving ethnicity. If the traditional courtyard exudes the grandeur of Arabic culture, then amenities and services they offer balance it out for the modern-day holiday makers who love to be luxury-spoilt for choices. Again, for the elite there’s the art gallery to splurge on. For foodies a traditional spread with an in-house restaurant. Or just wanna laze around, dunk yourself in the sauna…@ Ahmedia Heritage Guest House in Dubai.
Pic Courtesy: Ahmediaguesthouse.com
No more will it be just beach holidays and shopping or sight-seeing on those one-off weekends for me or for those visiting...

My Lil lady at the in-house school