Tuesday, December 25, 2007

feliz navidad

Merry Christmas & an exciting 2008 everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

going home

Less, than 8 hours to my flight from JFK to DXB and hopefully I shall be on my way home for Christmas. Busy with packing and some re-packing. I am almost done with last minute shopping, or so I thought, till dad threw in a few stuff (whilst I was on the phone with him ...... and packing)

Christmas in New York City is just amazing. Though, I have not spent a Christmas eve in NYC there is an amazing cozy yuletide cheer in the air. The city is brilliantly lit up - people shopping midst Christmas trees, lights, soulful carols and family get together. There are bits of snow and cold chilly breeze and at times crisp fall days with brilliant sunshine and blue skies - it all adds to the yuletide. A drive thru to the suburbs and you shall see beautifully lit homes with Christmas trees, lights & snow filled gardens - mom's dads', grandma's/pa's, cousins & friends, all home - in the hometown they grew up - meeting for Christmas, to reminisce the growing days & and treasured memoirs - share laughs, recipes, home cooked meals, love & care and more.

Had a few parties and dinners to attend, and there's plenty more should I stay back, however must spend Christmas eve with mom & dad, family, friends, home cooking, around the pine & presents at home and all else that matters.

Am quite excited this year on my trip - partly 'cause this year I've had a some added challenges with life and at work, however, it's all in the past and well now. At this point, I look forward to spending time with family & friends. Once home, I’ve got plans/trips thought out - hopefully I'll get to some of them. I wait anxiously for this time of the year. As soon as fall sets in, I am super excited as a little kid off on summer holidays - and start counting the days, book my flights - get started with the shopping and all.

At this point, I am all festive & happy - can't help humming away Amy Grant's sleigh ride - love the tune & lyrics ..... "just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling" .... :)


Thursday, December 13, 2007


This one's for you Joe - realize you don't fancy Wham or George, however I think you might like this oldie :)

I realize Christmas doesn't feel quite the same. Hold on/hang on to those wonderful memoirs, do whatever you have to, to move on. Treasure the spirit of Christmas & Nat. This Christmas is a whole new season - chin up & get festive!

Friday, December 07, 2007

accidents & loonies

OK, here's my beef - as the infrastructure gets better, road fatalities increase (?)or so it seems this is what's happening in the UAE. Yup, sure, traffic has increased ten fold - however the UAE, especially Dubai has some world class highways - they may not be perfect (yet),and may need a few touch ups, but it's damn good stuff.

Given the influx of folks from all parts of the globe, there exist the best & worst driving cultures in the UAE. It's amazing the varied driving cultures you shall see on a strip of highway. Accidents happen, but they are preventable - especially, when you know it could be fatal to an innocent party. Hence, I don't understand why some loonies are unable to extend that extra bit of caution.

The government is doing the best they can, so are Dubai cops (wish I could say the same for SHJ, Anjad) - and drivers must take an effort to co-operate. Loonies have got to understand, driving is a responsibility, as much as a pleasure/privilege. Lives are involved - somebody's dad, mom or kids. Way too many loonies on the roads these days - I see several every Christmas. I could go on, but have nothing new to add - there has been much debate on this topic, however little change. When in the UAE - nothing makes me more mad, than a selfish, ignorant lunatic of a driver. Folks need to mature, take responsibility and get on with sane, sensible & safe driving.

Quite sorry to hear some loonie caused you discomfort i*.. - wishing you a speedy recovery. Happy shopping for new set of wheels (me recommend the Hummer)- pleasant thoughts are with you.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy 36th Birthday - Al Emarat. Wish you continued peace, success & smiles ahead - always.

Fellow blogger, Blog Sheikh, has uploaded some fantastic videos on UAE, Sheikh Zayed and the early days - you can view it at his blog United Blogging

Friday, November 30, 2007

the truth in engineering

If an i* and an Al - went shopping!

(note how an i* visited every other store, except - the gap :)

NYC men & women, between the ages of 18 & 35 - am beyond convinced:)

I am at loss for words - yes, already!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Recently Movie Mania and CG had posts on "understanding" amongst all those you live/make up the UAE community.

Besides safety, the opportunity to understand someone from another culture, religion or background was a primary asset to those who grew up in the UAE. The ability to understand, comprehend and to an extent, accept differed ways of life is something which has helped most folks from the UAE, adapt better to foreign shores/travels.

My circle of friends comprised mostly of South Asians, Arabs and English - most of whom were Muslims & Christians and some Hindus. Often we understood the ways of life and cultures amongst our homes were "different" - however, each amongst us, learned to understand and therefore accept & respect such ways of life. Often, I'd have questions on certain aspects within my community/family as much as my Muslim/Hindu friends and in a way, we helped each other understand better.

Am not saying, we lived in perfect understanding, awareness & harmony with each other - quite honestly, most of us as children tried to do that and more, as any child growing up in such environment could. However, I've always sadly, accepted our parents lived within individual communities, for the most part.

But then, cultures always evolve - and given the prospect of having children grow up amongst a mixed community it shall give rise to a new culture of sorts, which is what I think exists in many fellow "uaeians" today. I believe Local Expat is a prime example.

Perhaps am going on a rant - the purpose for this post, was to direct some sense to disturbing comments at UAECB and SD's blog, 'cause most often it boils down to US v/s them. There is much hate & angst, and often am not sure where most of it is coming from. I don't think I've heard or felt such vibes growing up in the UAE. Most people who've lived there for many decades, still prefer living in the UAE - yes cost of living has gone up, so have traffic issues - but UAE continues to provide a safe, pleasurable place to live & raise a family. It is by no means perfect, there is much to do on several freedom aspects, equality, continued women empowerment, pollution controls, amongst much else to work on - however slow & steady things shall move towards the right direction, I believe that.

All said - nobody is perfect, a community has it's set of pros & cons. It's about taking an effort to reach out and understand one another - after all we are people, whose lives perhaps is created from the same source/creator, but born into different homes & cultures.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

worn out?

Not sure if am procrastinating or just worn out these days? I find myself more fatigued than usual. This year, specifically, more so the past few weeks, 've been taxing on the mind & body, given work & life.

There is much to do before year-end, and I find myself with little energy, drive or enthusiasm. For instance, today at work, the mind pushed to expedite a few deadline driven deliverables, however, the body just wouldn't budge. After a while, the mind gave up, well it sorta went dead, like an automotive battery and then it felt like an "alternator" within, went bust?

The norm is to leave work around 8PM - however, these days, I get home by 6, yet find myself too tired for anything.

Writing is on the wall - time for a break, need to recharge, re-evaluate and energize! Crawling towards those holidays in a month's time.

Kit-Kat anyone?

Monday, November 05, 2007

trip to toronto

It was a whirlwind 2 weeks - however, did manage to get a day off from the weekend. Drove around downtown TO, took a few snaps and met up with a few friends from the large social circle, I have in the Toronto area.

A few pics from the trip.

Snapped this, as we took off from NYC, love the colours of the sunset, just brilliant, subtle and, quite calming. Reminds me of sunset views from my home in SHJ (minus the elevation)

That city all lit up is downtown Buffalo, a city in upstate New York, which borders Ontario, Canada. It's just about an hour's drive from Toronto to Buffalo. Today, given the rise of the Canadian$ (or rather depreciation of the US$)many Canadians drive into Buffalo for quick shopping and huge bargains - some at half the Canadian prices.

The US portion of Niagara falls lies close to Buffalo. That dark black pitch, is lake Ontario.

The cluster of high rises is uptown Toronto (Yonge/Sheppard) area. I used to live in one of those buildings, whilst in Toronto, years ago.

View from the hotel room in downtown - the view faces north on Yonge street. I try and stay at this hotel as often as possible, and even try to have the same room - takes away some stress from constant travels.

Daily downtown Toronto traffic - there simply, are no roads!

A Falun Gong rally in downtown. Must admit, having grown up pretty much oblivious to live demonstrations/rallies, sighting one does make me a bit anxious - especially all that shouting by lead demonstrators. Feels so odd.

Fall colours in the city

Whilst taxing on the runway, I noticed this beautiful "lady", proudly draped in red, white, green and black - looking stunning at the Toronto's Pearson Airport.

Finally, glad to be home, sweet home.

flu, fall and all

So I've got the flu. Sort of knew it was coming, given it's the flu season, plus I haven't been taking care of myself given work commitments and all.

Woke up this morning, (quite early) with flu symptoms at it's best, a pounding headache, sore throat, congestion - the works. Unable to crawl off my bed, reached for the blackberry send a short note to my admin, am not going to make to work today.

Lay in bed thru noon. Feeling (slightly) better, dragged myself to the washroom, brushed & washed up, threw on my rob for some warmth, made some coffee, switched on some light music, walked over to my bedroom window, pulled aside the curtains for some sunlight and view.

The sun was bright, skies were quite blue, beautiful fall breeze, fall colours on trees, grass so very green - almost a perfect fall day. It sort of hit me then, that given my daily rush for the bus or train to work, the many (similar) pretty days I've missed over the past several days & weeks - and now, I had almost missed the fall colours, the beautiful sky and sunlight, and everything else, which makes days quite beautiful & worth looking forward to and life, that extra more pleasant.

Never thought I'd say this - am kinda glad, I've got the flu, at least I've got a chance to see daylight, nature's colours and appreciate simple things in life which matter.

A few casual pics from my bedroom window.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

naaaoooo :)

I've been hit with a severe case of HEARTBURN :)

Why's this stinker happening in the UAE? Is that woman wearing winter boots, in blithering dry summer heat? Oh wait, it's B'wood, nothing "should" make sense - blah fook!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

visiting ontario

Been in Toronto, the past week (and will be here) thru this weekend into the next week - it's one of those travels given my work. I like coming into Toronto, 'cause there are many ex-UAE folks who now reside in Toronto and parts of Southern Ontario -plus my mom's aunt lives in Ottawa, I'll visit her next Friday for some quality time.

It's been raining off and on yesterday and into this morning. I am scheduled to meet with some friends at another friend's new home this afternoon. She & her better half are remodelling their new home - in Brampton, a beautiful suburb of Toronto. Brampton and north of Brampton is quite mind blowing & beautiful during fall. I can't wait to see my her new home - she says, their backyard looks out into open miles of colourful trees and pine trees. She's put up a new deck, and we'll be doing some paintwork on that, plus help fit & paint some windows across the home.

I am staying at downtown TO, and there isn't much to do aside the usual downtown activities - most of which I've experienced, when I lived here a few years ago. Personally I prefer the countrysides of Brampton, Barrie, Peterborough and when I retire Muskoka - much more to the city life. I think when you live in a city for too long, it just makes one perhaps more materialistic, and hard from within - life tends to pass by much quicker.....and perhaps we lose in touch with all that really matters in this short period of life on beautiful earth.

Ah - the rain has stopped for now, the sun seems to be coming out. I better change and get driving to my friend's place. She's cooking some amazing Pakistani/Arab dishes this evening, given my visit. Can't wait to sit on that deck (it's going to be a bit chilly) have drinks, food and just splurge on good times with friends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Came across this post on Local Expat's blog.

It's true and funny at the same time. I relate a lot to what he says. It is strange how many newer folks are moving into the UAE today, and more strange that some think the place was perhaps uninhabited 2 decades ago :)

When I was in the UAE this past March-June on project work, every single person at work, would ask - "is this your first time to Dubai" and I'd say, "no, I was raised in the UAE". With a perplexed look, most would ask, rather inquisitively -"how long was that ago, and how old are you?". And to be honest, some are quite fascinated/happy to meet people who were born or raised in the UAE, primarily 'cause, today one hardly comes across many who've been in the UAE for more than 5 years or actually come from the UAE.

I remember this one time last Christmas, whilst at a desert safari campfire & dinner, my friends and I were introduced to some newer expats who've been in the UAE between 2-3 years, mostly from the UK, EU, India and Canada. When friends & I said we were raised in the UAE, they went - "Finally! some people who actually from this place".

The next question/phrase usually goes - "I didn't know people lived here back then, how was it here back in the days".

Saturday, October 20, 2007

tag time

I've been tagged by blogosphere bud BuJ on 5 reasons why I wish I was 3.

1. zero worries, lotsa similes, laughter and TLC
2. naps on granny's lap, listening to her lullabies (miss her lots)
3. a much younger & healthier dad & mom
4. uae was a young, beautiful 8 year old
5. kindergarten days with toddlers, some of whom are my friends 4 life, today

I've got to tag a few people - due honours to,

i* - spill 'em princess :)
7S - feel free to detail it all on this post :)
Al - am sure it was quite colourful :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

united blogging

Loved this post. Atleast someone is saying it with a balanced perspective to those around the globe.

Friday, October 12, 2007

golden memoirs

An outlet which has remained unchanged, given the *change wave* across the UAE today, is this tiny bakery on SHJ's Al Wahda** street. Since the early 80's (I was about 5 then) most Friday mornings Dad would bring me along to the Golden Loaf. Friday mornings is perhaps the only morning, when one can drive around the city and feel its ambiance and tranquility.

Back to the future. When back in the UAE every Christmas, I drive along certain spots of the city on early Friday mornings. The roads are empty and people still in bed. I try and catch remains of that old city ambiance and memoirs. Stop by at the Golden Loaf for some simple, yummy and fresh fruit cakes and chicken patties, the very similar ones we had back in the day. What captivates, is that the treats cost as much it did back in the 70's /80's, but also that the bakery interiors remain pretty much intact with the original decor / architecture. Often, when I step into the building, it feels like nothing has changed through the decades and time has sort of stood still, in a good way. Some may find this boring or dull, however, I do not. Sometimes it's the simple things that help relive those precious memoirs and nostalgia, which I think, is a good thing. So, I shall visit the Golden Loaf when back in the UAE this Christmas, for some more cake, coffee and good ol' memoirs.

**correction - Al Wahda was miss pelt, stands corrected (thanks i*maginate)

Friday, October 05, 2007

match makers

OK, so everyone knows New York City is the place for singles - single men & women move into the city from all over to meet prospective partners, hopefully for life. Whilst we all have specific thoughts on the better halves, there are also a fair share of wild ducks amongst the sane ones.

Below is an advert (and the response) from a single woman, on craigslist. There is much debate going on at the moment, between friends & I. I think the advert is honest to the point, it's a bit obnoxious, whilst the response is sorta funny & fitting ......well, I think :)

Advert Reads:

"What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around $200K - $250K. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

-Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars,restaurants, gyms
-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my
-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?
-Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?
-Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

-How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth."

Response from a guy

"Dear xxxx

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So,I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease,let me know."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

mind matters......

"Great minds discuss ideas - Average minds discuss events - Small minds discuss people."

Given the "Britney" coverage and all sorts of celebrity related media coverage these day, I personally believe, the above phrase, sadly says a lot about the common man.

Personally, there is an overwhelming media coverage on rather redundant and petty celebrity news/events. From Britney's MTV appearance, to losing custody of her kids -the O J Simpson 90's trial flashbacks to his recent arrest - Halle Berry's pregnancy, Brangelina and another buncha countless trivial stuff.

To me, it's all mind boggling - the extent of coverage for such petty issues and the number of *analysts* who come on these shows to give their *quantum physics* take on the chain of *events*. Top it all with million dollar paychecks of clowns who manage to *sensationalize* such trivial news to the average Joe & Jane.

Likewise, more recently in the UAE, I've noted Gulf News and other broadcast media covers similar redundant news on Bollywood. Personally, it's quite upsetting to read or watch stuff about a bunch of clowns with zero substance or talent - dished out much media coverage. I cannot understand, why someone would need to know if two actors are shacking up, wearing designer clothes, having each other's babies or just climbing trees. Aren't there alternative news & events of substance to cover within the UAE? Surely our minds need to know more than just celebrity news?

As soon as I sense anything remotely celebrity related on television, I switch channels. Sadly, there aren't many more channels to switch, given most of them broadcast such stuff.

Which brings me to ask - what is wrong with the picture tube today? Why do the average Joe & Jane love such such coverage - why let the media continue to cover such *stories* - especially, given there are a hundred alternative news events of substance happening across the world?

When Oman went thru Gonu, causing much havoc to life and property - here in the US, we had to a 15 second comment from CNN and FOX. The worst part - the FOX lady, read that portion, like it was *unimportant* - similar to how grannies discuss laundry or something. Instead, we were dished with coverage of some drunken, partied out, top heavy Blonde gone missing - with all sorts of analysts and private detective clowns giving their take on - "what could have happened to her" -mind you, these are national TV stations.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I am not sure what the tomorrows bring, hence suppose, we must simply take each day as it comes and be thankful for today? Wallah, I know, it's easier said than done, but we've got to try.

This is what got me thinking. Such announcements are not new, since they have propped up in the past, hence it's no secret to the hundreds who've lived in the GCC for many years/decades. However it's quite hard to reconcile and grasp. It's a sensitive topic for the citizens, as much as it is for folks like myself.

I speak from experience - as someone born and subsequently raised in one nation for the first 25 years of my life, I admit, the possibilities of an uncertain tomorrow has affected me in more ways than I'd want it to, and even though I've moved out of the UAE, live & own a home perhaps in the most happening city in the world, have fantastic friends and a career going - the feeling of *not* being home lingers on. It's like I try and wash it off and it's still there, I rinse and repeat, and it stays in me! Wish it'd just get out of my system, so I can go on with my life and be least affected given such news, however remotely possible such policies are.

At this very moment, if I had a choice, I'd let go, because am sick of being neither here nor there, kinda guy. I wrote this post a while back. Reading it, helps calm down. As much freedom and joy there is, living on your own, after a while it's equally hard being away from home.

Am not sure why am I even writing this post past midnight on a weekday - probably just venting away, before going to bed? Tomorrow is another day, shall see what another tomorrow brings - positive thoughts, positive events. Right now, tired & sleepy am off to bed. Good Night yall :)

ps: a huge *Shukran* to BuJ for his warm/understanding thoughts and an opportunity to vent.

Friday, September 28, 2007

charity begins at home

Indeed it does - and I am happy to have come across an individual and his selfless efforts.

The cause is positive and the efforts so very commendable. Would highly encourage those of you to put forth any spare change or contributions of your choice towards Jalal's chosen charities.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

freej fans

Freej fans out there - the new season is out. Will it tickle more than the first season? Apparently, there is a new character this time - Abood, Umm Saeed's grandchild.

It'd be splendid, if this series had an English version or English subtitles. The UAE expat community could be missing out on some fine homemade series.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am not an admirer of A'dinejad (or GWB) - however strongly feel against Columbia University president Lee Bollinger's actions.

It's not polite to invite a nation's president and be rude to the guest whilst addressing an entire faculty/university, that's just bad sermon. Bollinger's actions placed him quite low and undermined etiquette & credibility. There are multiple ways & tones with which to disagree. Columbia is a world renowned educational institution, not a public school for the juvenile.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

for your entertainment

WTF and a 1/2? Let's debate the southern way.

Friday, August 24, 2007

rush(ed) hour 3

Just got back from Rush Hour 3 with friends. Being a huge fan of the RH series - RH 3 disappoints. Primarily the movie tries hard to recycle same old stunts, scenes with hot women folk and jokes from it's successful predecessors. What's new is that it all happens in a new city - Paris.

I felt, there were way too many loose plots, some half baked theme about brotherhood and an ancient Chinese tradition going back a thousand years and other massive holes in the plot which are best left ignored. All in all, the plot & theme of RH 3 is ludicrous and hoping to take a message or indulge in forced laughter (why people laugh hard at recycled jokes seen at previews is beyond me?) - RH 3 is a complete waste of time.

Jackie Chan, at 53 may not be able to make the moves look as effortless as in the past, but the man makes a sincere effort. Chris Tucker's character makes an attempt to tackle the bad fellas more often in RH 3, than it's predecessors. However as in the past, he continues, to scream along like a little girl at least 50% of his on-screen time - and be paid $20 sweet millions for his efforts.

The few pluses:
- a terrific interrogation scene involving a French nun & a bad fella
- some neat action scenes on top of the Eiffel tower
- breathtaking views of Paris

Final word/bottom line - avoid the *rush* to a theater, wait for the DVD.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Done with the weekly grocery shopping list. Racked up a bill - not sure what I've bought or why I've got a few items (like tennis shoes) on a grocery list? I am into conversions, as in, cash conversions of monies spend to Dirhams. I could spend any amount of monies and I'd have to convert to Dirhams, almost instantaneously. I *realize* the *value* of monies spend, only after I've converted to Dirhams.

Absent minded conversions happen often at the local Walmart/Target store or a Starbucks or a banana republic, good 'ol Gap or the hair saloon or the most conversion prone area - the gas station and the grocery store - all payments go thru an instant mental conversion. I carry around a black berry (its calculator) on days am slow for quick................conversions. The only place I can’t think of conversions is while paying for a meal at a restaurant.

Not sure why convert every purchase to Dirhams? It does me no good, 'cause inadvertently or otherwise most things are expensive in the apple compared to UAE. Plus I get paid in $, so what's the point of conversions eh?

Ah, forgot to add that sugar-free cheesecake to my list, think it’s $9.99 (Dhs 36) – notta bad deal eh! yum yum!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

the weather today

Rather crazy day in the city today. Some sort of tornado hit Staten Island (one of the 5 boroughs that make up New York city). The sun came up in the morning, didn’t stay for long - in a few minutes it went back to being dark. A while later I could hear thunder & heavy showers and could see floods forming. An hour later, the showers stopped, but it was hot & very humid – with increased flooding.

Morning rush hour was bad (read terrible). Subways, buses, ferries all delayed given the weather. It took me an hour to get into work, which I think is much better than most people, since it took most 2 to 3 hours.

I've always known Manhattan is an Island, however realization (of some sort) hit today. Why do people have to come to work on an "island"? If you think about it - it's a bit strange, especially for someone like I, who has always lived & worked in separate cities, SHJ & DXB, but never have had to travel into an island for work.

Most corporations have worldwide head quarters in Manhattan, and though there are those fortunate amongst us who can afford to live in the city, the large majority of folks who work in NYC, live in the boroughs of Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn & Bronx, and in the suburbs of New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia (which is at least 2.5 to 3 hour bus ride). There are several tunnels, bridges and ferries commuting people into the city. I would say about 90% of people working in the city use one and/or multiple public transport systems to get into the city. I read somewhere the population in Manhattan goes upto 8 million on a weekday.

Hence today, given the weather it was quite unfortunate to witness, almost an entire city of people, dripping wet head to toe with rain & sweat given the humidity – yet patiently waiting, forming (long) disciplined queues for delayed transit systems and for water, coffee & breakfast.

I got into work around 10AM, and we had people walk in past 11AM. Thankfully the office has a shower – which had a wait time thru lunch and into the later afternoon. Some folks went out to the GAP & Banana Republic stores next door for new clothes - given that they were drenched.

I left work around 8PM and walked to the subway – the sky was clear, there were no signs of rain, the streets seemed dry for the most part, but humidity continued to stay on. As I reached my apartment building, I could see spots of flooding, a few trees down and some stores without power - praying the entire time my building had power - and it did. I got home switched on the air conditioning, took a nice warm/cold shower – made ice tea, threw a frozen dinner into the microwave - just in time for an episode of Law & Order SVU.

They say the weather should be slightly better tomorrow and back to thunderstorms & showers on Friday – however you never know, at times we have all four seasons on a single day in the city. Hopefully the weekend should be nice, am off to Florida on projects & meetings - strongly dislike bad weather when flying.

Am off to bed, exhausted, been a busy week. Good night folks.

Monday, July 30, 2007

decisions decisions

I've been trying to arrive at a decision over the past 2 weeks. I've got to make a firm decision and a response later this week. However, I'm just unable to do so, or think straight with my head. The heart butts in and strews all sorts of emotions into the process. I have to admit, I like thoughts from the heart - because, when I think about what coulda, shoulda, woulda happen - the ones from the heart seem much more appeasing - at least for a while. However, in comes the mind (you know like those nuns we had in high school) preaching away the potential realities. Both sides make valid points, I guess I sort of want to have the positives from both - have the cake and eat it too? Come on people, what is the point of having a New York cheesecake if you cannot eat it huh?

Confession: most often I suck at making decisions, I'm NO good at it. Usually sit on the fence, and someone/something just pushes me over. This is something I really need to work on, put on a brave face, and take that darn plunge. I'm upset at my inability to make firm decisions, because most often, I choose an option and backtrack, or start thinking on the "what if's" to possibly retract - arrrgh!

When hit with similar trying times, I usually ring up friends (spread across the globe), and age them a decade or two with my talk. It comes to a point, wherein I have some folks plead mercy. The ones who know me too well usually jump ship first -whilst the ones whom I can always count on continue to stick with me & my stress, for a quest :)

Anyhooo, I've got time until this weekend. I hope whatever I choose to do, or "whatever happens, happens for the better". It's funny, because this phrase is the motto of my life - yet, so out of reach in reality?

Yalla, time to call my shrink.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I've been tagged - 10 simple pleasures

Aight - I've been tagged by a princess – i*maginate, but ofcourse. Cannot disobey royal requests, hence 10 simple pleasures are -

1. evening tea & shisha with childhood friends, reminiscing growing memoirs - being in each other's company totally oblivious to the supersonic changes around us.

2. long drives into Hatta/Khorfakan and Oman in the winter with friends.

3. going for a run in my neighbourhood - staring at the trees & leaves swaying to the wind, reminding myself the number of times I have walked/ran past these trees, the flowers - the neighbourhood park and the very homes over the decades.

4. sitting at starbucks in nyc on a saturday evening, with a good book, my ipod, zero worries and the pleasure to afford a coffee under $2 in Manhattan - when everything else costs an arm, leg and your first born.

5. "dining" on fruit cocktails, other heavenly beverages and loads of shawarmas at Jabal Al Noor with friends.

6. sitting with mom & dad in the garden - just being in their presence, seeing them age, having those silent & “connected” moments with them - holding my nephew and see my childhood gone by, in his eyes.

7. strolling around my mom's garden, staring at her roses - her flowers, plants and this one particular tree, she planted about 23 years ago (which she treats like her own child)

8. the smiles on Ahmed's face - each time my dad or I’ve tipped him over the years (Ahmed, passed away last Feb, he was our laundry man since time immemorial, 34 years to be precise).

9. staring out into my mom’s garden from my bedroom window – and hear her call for supper.

10. lone drives into the desert in my dad’s SUV on a winter afternoon - just sitting on the sand, watch the sunset - just being with the sand, the blue sky, the chilly desert wind, a faint call for prayer faraway – the enigma of being home & the peace within.

Hmmmm who must I tag? oki – moi tag - inspire your mind & localexpat (muhahahaha!) – would love to tag Emirati, but I think he shall possibly drive a hummer over me instead :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

pushing the envelope?

"An Emirati family who must vacate their government-owned home in less than five days said they have no place to go and have urged authorities to address their grievance. " - click on the link below for the entire article.


OK I am not sure what to make of this? If one cannot find low income housing in one's own country, where else can someone have low income housing - Yemen?

I cannot believe more low income homes are being demolished to make way for more Jumeriah Joes & Janes and their trots? If true, this is appalling.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

i love this song

The lyrics of this song is just beautiful. I listen to this song when the going gets tough. It provides that extra peace & comfort - the belief that, life indeed is beautiful and no matter what, each amongst us has the courage & confidence to keep hopes alive - to keep living & pursuing dreams.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Like most men - I cannot show emotions from the heart, especially to my folks or most friends. Today, like most days, sitting at the big apple, I think of my folks. It is hard, sometimes very hard to be away from them - often each day away seem a mistake? There are times I hope to get on the next flight home - be with mom & dad forever. Sure, we'll have our difference of opinions and things can get quite intense at times and yes it does make me pretty sad & super mad when I get all upset with them. However I learn to reconcile and be mature - realize how much I care for them, how important they are and very insignificant everything else can be.

I have been thinking about mom a lot lately - thinking why haven't I hardly said to her, how much I value her presence in my life? How much I appreciate and am thankful for all that she has done for me. How sorry I am for not doing things her way - and not just because I've always wanted to live my life and "break free" - but because I wanted to learn & live - make real mistakes to experience life and discover myself - not have the luxury to live beneath her wings (even though I wish I could) and be protected from realities of life.

Dad may have made the big bucks, but mom who held us all together. She gave us our identity, protected us from all harm, she fought the battles - cared & have toiled for us. I cannot think of a moment without her in our lives. She has been so fair to even those who wronged her. She is capable of so much more in life, but never had opportunities to explore her potential.

Mom isn't keeping too well these days. I think of her every passing moment, I worry about her - and sometimes I find a tear or two passing down my cheek. However, everyday I say a prayer for her to get well - and though I am sure she shall recover soon enough, I wish I am with her at this moment - to attend to her needs, tell her how much she means in my life her & make her proud. I want her to know in her heart of hearts, that every passing moment she is in my thoughts & prayers. I love you mom - always.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

unintended misspellings

A misspelling can cause some grief, anxiety and unwanted discomfort between two parties.

Today, I received a short email from a CFO - who BTW is the nicest lady I have met in this city, well in this country, actually. The last sentence of her email should have read - "could you please come over for a sec" - sec as in second. Unfortunately, given that alphabet "x" is next to alphabet "c" within the keyboard, the poor woman typed in "x" instead of "c". Hence the sentence read - ""could you please come over for ....." well you can fill in.

The sweet lady was most apologetic & quite embarrassed - I reassured her, mistakes, errors happen, we are human after all.

Talk about misspellings eh? Please take MUCH care guys & gals, you wouldn't want to send the "wrong" message because of an alphabet, I know I wouldn't and now am a bit paranoid :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

it "shred"

OK I have to share this with you guys ('cause I have no one else to share it with here!) Last weekend I was visiting this firm, we are looking to acquire. It was a casual day at work and everyone wore jeans and casual T shirts/tank tops - some in slutty tank tops etc.

The FD (he is a Lebanese Canadian a bit heavy and a very very nice guy) had client meetings scheduled late in the afternoon - hence wore a suit with tie and all. In the morning, he met with me for about 2 hours or so and as he got up (he was sitting beside me) to leave - his toe inadvertently knocked over an office bin. The bin fell over with debris over the office floor. The poor guy bent over to pick up the debris and his (suit) trousers tore wide open from the behind!

It was pretty loud and in the middle of an open office floor! Everyone was sorta surprised, and just stared at each other - not knowing what to say and a bit polarized at the sight to be honest. Whilst he bent over, his back was facing this young aussie woman sitting next to me - and her instant reaction was "omg that's huge!!" :)

He went home right away and called me from his cell phone saying - he won't come into the office for rest of the day because "my trousers are shredded"! Poor guy, I felt so bad for him - he is such a nice fella.

Today, whilst at work he was just pretending nothing happened at all, but some mean folks (in humour) would ask him about his trouser :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

it's all in new york city

I'm telling you folks -- it all happens in New York City. We've got superman flying around town, and into outer space preventing asteroids from crashing into the city. Spidey swinging from scraper, to scarper. Batman and Robin pretending they are at "Gotham" which we all know is *really* Manhattan.

We've got the unfriendly (or misunderstood) folks from outer space blowing up things around this town. Yellow cabs blown away into oblivion - La Independence Day / MIB / War of the Worlds. Damn asteroids crashing into the city (Armageddon). Crazy ass ice storms freezing everything on its way (The day after tomorrow).

We also have the Fantastic four flying around. King Kong at the Empire state eh! Oh! Carrie and the girls spreading love (well sort of) and then some! The gang of Friends. Then there is Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. The Sopranos. Law & Order and many more.

However, everytime I look out my apartment window, or whilst just strolling out and about the town, I guess I am just surprised I haven't witnessed any of the above! Nope, no aliens (well at least none from another world) – no weird end of the world storm scenarios – no super heroes swinging, flying or skating around, nor the poor love struck Kong at the Empire state.

Most often I just see bunch of cops and car chases, firefighters, ambulances and cops running around, boyfriends caught cheating lol! and plenty of tourists walking the city this time of the year. Plenty of yellow cabs just honking away to oblivion etc all. It’s just business as usual at the Big Apple, and I like it that way.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Am sitting in some fancy office, surrounded by files and inane paper work (mostly on numbers and legalities) of acquisitions made across the world. There is plenty of work to do - plenty of calls to make - plenty of questions to answer and plenty of deadlines & living people to meet.

However am unable to bring myself to a task? Woke up feeling rested, had a good night's sleep. Traffic to work wasn't bad - the coffee wasn't bad - neither was this yummy slice of (Golden Loaf) fruit cake I managed to bring all the way from SHJ to NYC. 40 minutes into my day, and something just switched off within - not sure what?

Since then can’t think straight or have the energy to move around - walk into people's cubes/offices or keep a conversation or my speech going. I seem to be plain tired/exhausted. I am sorta wary when this occurs, cause more often my mind goes wandering away to oblivion and starts thinking up stuff I rather not think about such as -

- thinking of a "purpose" - yup a purpose to life
- thinking of things I've always wanted to do, but never could?
- thinking as to what am I doing in Manhattan, when all dear/near ones are on the other side of this planet?
- thinking of things I could do, rather than be "imprisoned" within a corporate office, mostly with people I rather not see again
- thinking that at 31 why am I not living my way
- the way I want to live my life
- thinking & wishing I had bags of million $ bills to get away from all this, travel around, see people and places, visit my mom & dad, hold my nephew again *sigh*
- thinking why am I single in this goddamn city?

Again am not sure why am writing all this down? Someone once said to me, writing down thoughts will help better realize what we want from our lives even more - don't think that's working today?

It's past 6PM and as I look down into the street from my office window I see people making their way to the bus terminals and train stations, after a hard day's work (well maybe not in my case) . But an aspect which never ceases to amaze me is that despite Manhattan being insanely crowded, why is it I find the loneliest souls in this city or the fact that most people with friends or in groups seem to be searching for "validation" in life - all sorts of validation?

Anyhoooooo why are so many of us lost from THE purpose(s) of our lives? I am not sure if I am lost, I know what I want to do - can never seem to bring myself to do it, given all that I've said in the first paragraph plus some more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

salik saga

Personally I do not think Salik is bad for the UAE or for most motorists. Bottom line, reality check - all these years we pretty much drove the fantastic roads and highways of Dubai/UAE for FREE. Yes Free - nobody paid taxes or a fil (traffic fines don't count) to help build this infrastructure. Nobody's paying anything for the world class metro system that's coming up. It is all government funded. In North America I am taxed 40% of my gross income (bonuses are taxed at 50%) - yet the roads are full of potholes - some the size of baby elephants. In addition to taxes we’ve got toll roads in most cities & inter-states. I just don't understand why the hue and cry for Dhs4 or Dhs 8 perday - isn't it worth the fantastic Dubai roads? I mean we all know there is never a free lunch - and we (expats & locals) had Dubai/UAE roads for free all these years.

If there is no Salik or alternative revenue for the Dubai government - then there may not be increased roads or highways or infrastructure i.e. its growth could be limited and may not meet UAE's growing needs, in which case, people will complain there isn't sufficient infrastructure in place.

So you guys decide: salik/alternative revenue = better infrastructure or no salik/ alternative revenue = limited/insufficient infrastructure.

….. and yeah - I agree salaries for the most part should be increased with this added cost of living, that's the viable way to go forward - this is my opinion.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

just talkin

A few weeks back I had lunch with (a really) nice Indian lady and her colleagues – all of whom are new to the UAE. We sat down, placed orders and got talking about the firm, business opportunities in the UAE, generic topics on life in in the UAE, in NY, our backgrounds etc all.

Most seem surprised to meet someone who'd lived in the UAE for a while – primarily ‘cause they feel most souls in the UAE are "new" i.e. arrived in the past 6 years or less?

Anyhoooo – the Indian lady seemed quite inquisitive about life in the UAE (her family & she moved to the UAE 3 years ago). She asked me about life in the good old days – ways of living, growing up back then, the structure of the city, the country – lifestyle etc all. Our chat went on for a while, before it took a turn along these lines....

Mrs B: do you like living in Dubai
rosh: yup I like living in the uae

Mrs B: do you think you’ll move back to Dubai from NY?
rosh: hmmmm, I don’t know, and if I'd answer that? 'cause there’ll probably be a lot of rhetoric attached to my response (smiling)

Mrs B: say everything being equal - would you consider moving back?
rosh: yes of course?

Mrs B: but isn’t NY better in almost all aspect?
rosh: I wouldn’t say that – each place has it’s pluses & cons.

Mrs B: well I am from Bombay and I think Bombay is so much better than Dubai
rosh: really? Why? what makes you say that?

Mrs B: well – you see we’ve got everything there. We have all kinds of food, festivals, the city is so much developed, it's real – the ambience, the party life and just so many things to do and live for.
rosh: well I’ve been there just once in ’86 when I was just 10. It was just for a day and a half.

Mrs B: oh you’ve been to Bombay just once and that too 21 years ago?
rosh: yea....?

Mrs B: so you don’t know what you are missing you see (smiling ear to ear totally surprised)
rosh: perhaps, but then I think we’ve got the best of everything right here in the UAE.

Mrs B: oh no – you don’t know the other side. It’s so much better there. The quality of life, cost of living – the food – everything is so much better. The city has a soul of it’s own. People value life, and you are so free – there is nothing to worry about, you’ve got your own home, things are so cheap…blah blah blah

rosh: (now getting a bit cheesed off) – and …… you don’t think that's not here in the UAE?

Mrs B: oh it’s not that - it’s just that there is much more in Bombay and life is better in every aspect. You should visit and you shall see what you’ve missed out. There is much Dubai has to catch up with Bombay – the city’s soul is unparallel….blah blah blah blah ….kids have so much fun, they grow up to be more mature and aware of life and peoples, they can actually play "cricket" (?)…..plus it’s my home …..blah blah blah ….

rosh: (now a bit more cheesed off) – pse don’t mind me asking you this – given all your sentiment I think Bombay is quite a lovely place…

Mrs B: oh yes it is…

rosh: ……and it holds the best of everything you are looking for?

Mrs B: oh yes it does – "Bombay runs thru my body" (or veins or something along those lines)

rosh: ……pse don’t mind this innocent question? so…. how come you are in the UAE with your family? I mean surely you couldn’t be happier in any place than Bombay and listening to your sentiments, it seems like such a happening place and I’d love to visit sometime.

Mrs B: (a bit embarrassed) – well..... I was just being honest about the city you know, we are all sentimental about our homes.
rosh:…….sure apologies I understand. Pardon my question if it was direct or seemed rude, that was not my intention. I am curious to know why people would continue to live and work in the UAE if there is a better home – that’s all?

Mrs B: well it’s a good place to make monies and after a while we shall go back.
rosh: oh oki? that’s good to know.....

Mrs B: I must apologize if my comments seemed insensitive. I didn’t realize you being raised in Dubai feel for the city, the way I feel for Bombay
rosh: ….awww not a problem, not a problem (smiling). If I may - it’s UAE, not Dubai and I was raised in Sharjah..... there is so much more to UAE than Dubai (smiling)

After work, on my way to the hotel – I sort of felt a bit bad on my chat with Mrs B – ‘cause I didn’t think she had bad intentions. However I realized this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard similar comments/sentiments...it got me thinking, and even a bit angry.

Angry 'cause there are so many new people moving into the UAE and whilst the vast majorities do respect the place – they are here for the short term, for short term gains i.e. sole intention of monetary benefits – nothing wrong with that. But (like the local population) it does put 2nd/3rd generation expat kids who’ve choose to be in the UAE, despite better career options elsewhere in a pickle?

Most return to the UAE because they feel this is their home - the place they grew up and would prefer to be here no matter what. Hence (say everything being equal i.e. in terms of education/experience) - these souls have such little help or zero preference whilst in the job market compared to hundreds of newer expats who moved into the UAE yesterday?

Point being - I wish there is a process wherein primarily the "local" pool is exhausted prior to hiring externally – because we did have many more who appreciate the place and work not for just the livelihood or short term - but also because they sincerely care for the place, want the best for it - and help better the nation's progress in the long haul.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I've been in the UAE for just about 2 months now - and yup there are lots and loads of new people moving into this country, especially to Dubai. I've visited about 7 different firms (on various consulting work) - and can't help notice the large number of peoples who've moved into the UAE in the past 6 years or lesser. On introducing myself (to the newer folks) I find it surprising they’ve met so few souls who are actually from here i.e. the city/country (locals & native expats, uaeians etc). Some take an extra liking or inquisitiveness towards me when I tell them I was raised in this nation. Most often they just ask me more about the country, ways of living in the past decades and why I've moved away etc. To be honest, often I find the inquisitiveness positive since it does gives me a chance to let them know there is a more sincere soul to the UAE than all the glam in Dubai.

In a way it is nice to see different personalities and cultures bring their own aspect to the UAE and for the most part, I think the flamboyant or exciting souls are clustered in Dubai. Whilst Sharjah has more Arab & Sub-con singles & families. However I acknowledge it does make me anxious & nervous as well (I don't know why - well I know why, but don't wish to admit it perhaps?) ‘cause there are times I feel like a complete stranger in a country I grew up. It is unsettling 'cause I feel helpless, anxious - sometimes frustrated and there are times I just want to block it all out and at times pretend most people are simply visiting tourists? It can get overwhelming really - the sudden & super sonic change. I mean we all know Dubai is taking the rest of UAE & ME region kicking & screaming into fast paced change and global map. For the most part, it's all wonderful - the growing economy, the vision to equip (step by step - though there is much more work to be done) an infant nation with tools & processes in place to help run well with leading global nations in the future.

However this perhaps is something most long term souls in the UAE have to reconcile with - however difficult the process. But then comes along an incident, like the Wafi robbery or news of body being found in a garbage dumpster or the constant labour issues - which derails a sensitive reconciliation process, and I often find myself wanting to go back to my home and "pretend" - nothing of this sort happened. Personally, there are times, I find "home" pretty much unrecognizable – and start thinking is the "price" for change, too high?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

just one point...

I’d like to clarify something to those few who’ve taken the trouble to write an angry, abusive email or two on why I’ve named my blog – uaeian.

So you know, uaeian – does not mean Emarati. I do not call myself an Emarati – because I am not one, I shall never be one. I am someone who, like a thousand others, was born & raised in the UAE.

This is the only nation I’ve lived in. Wherever I visit and choose to live, I do not feel "being home" – as much as being home in Sharjah, or whilst walking my neighbourhood – the neighbourhood I've grown up as an infant - the one place I can call "my neighbourhood". The place where all my lives memoirs are held.

In an amusing sort of way, friends and I came up with the phrase – "uaeian" – primarily, given casual discussions on second generation expat kids like myself. It is hard to call ourselves 100% Iranian, Jordanian, Indian, Pakistani or even English – given, most of us have lived our lives in a foreign nation, and not that of our parents. Perhaps you folks must know – most true natives of such nations, do not think of us as a true Asian, Western or Indian or Jordanian. I am not saying this is the case for all souls who’ve lived in the UAE – but for several it’s very true.

Hence, we sort of came up with a phrase and call ourselves part "uaeians".

Often, it’s confusing enough to have discussions on certain background & cultures and also have a sense of belongingness to some nation or place. Hence please don’t go all bananas on the phrase uaeians – it may not mean much to you, but it means plenty, to those amongst us.

roaming labourers

Recently I made a comment on bachelors (primarily laborers) moving into residential neighbourhoods of Sharjah by the hordes - within the community blog. I received some flak for my comment - as it was perceived by some as "insensitive".

I have the following to state to those fellow bloggers and all else who care to listen:

We've see huge scary looking buses, which carry the less fortunate souls drive pretty recklessly across the narrow (well kept) lanes of some Sharjah residential neighbourhoods. The buses drop off the labour folks - mostly in the evenings. This is the time moms & toddlers are out playing or out for walks in the neighbourhood and parks.

I am infuriated - sincerely infuriated by the fact we now have hundreds of labourers roaming about these well kept and perhaps some of the older neighbourhoods of Sharjah. I am upset these men stop and stare at the women and leave all sorts of debris - sandwich wraps, coke cans and plastic water bottles, once they move on. I am upset these men feel it is alright to tress pass into a private garden and pick flowers and more. This might seem totally harmless - but this is new to me. I have not seen so many people (not with the best hygiene or education or awareness) walk into my garden and neighbourhood parks (all pretty harmless) on their way home from work.

It's not comfortable or safe from any perspective, and it's not just me who thinks this way. My neighbourhood is made of up people from varied backgrounds - there are Emaraties, various Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and a few EU's. Everyone feel rather bolted - by the new "roaming labourers" and completely crazy buss drivers.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for labour rights and treating them humanely etc all. However I cannot just stand and watch the neighbourhood I've grown up in, turn into some horrible & unsafe place.

Most of the residents have lived here for 3 to 4 decades and along with Sharjah municipality we've all done our pennyworth to keep the place, clean, safe and developed. Hence it hurts and causes much discomfort to have these new visitors - who neither care for the cleanliness or safety of the residents. Call me cold - I don't care. This is my home, and my neighbourhood. All those who've lived here for decades have worked hard to keep it a safe, clean and a wonderful place to live.

I realize the souls are returning after hard day's work - but come on, there has to be better a alternative - such as low income and affordable housing, perhaps not within certain neighbourhoods of Sharjah. I don't want to see a lovely 3 bedroom home, down the road turned into a labour camp with about 30 men living in it!! This is one of the reasons why I feel affordable housing perhaps in the outskirts of the city is a viable option.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Well, I think I am back blogging again. I've wanted to do this for a while, but never got around to it. Work and travel steal most spare time. Anyhow, am going to take this slow and steady - just some casual thoughts on my mind - no logical flow, no grammar- just speaking my mind...

Today was a slow day from the getgo. I brushed teeth rather slow, showered/shaved perhaps slower and changed hmmmm perhaps a little slower than usual. The morning drive was cramped and traffic now seem to hurt.

Morning at work was slower - infact today wasn't a productive day at work or otherwise. It was one of those days where I couldn't get anything done - even though there was lots to do...and I had an agenda in mind ......hmmmm strange?

I sat thru most of my meetings, smiled, asked an inane question and passed a redundant comment once a while, whilst simultaneously browsing thru a few blogs (on my laptop) and looking serious & interested the whole time.

My admin, who has perfected the art of sleeping with her eyes open - slept thru the meeting, 'cause she didn't take notes or respond to any comments. Morning went by rather fast, and it was time for lunch. Walked into a Sushi joint on Khaleed Bin Walid road, had a quick but "slow" bites for lunch. I just wanted to get away from all sorts of thoughts from work, about issues at home.... I sort of miss my car, my friends and apartment in NYC - at times can't wait to get back, and at times, don't wanna go back (yea my shrink is still working on that)

Afternoon was slower - again. My admin went on dental appointment - unannounced. I was bombarded with calls. Not one amongst this was urgent, but people call anyway - to let me know they are "working hard" - I play along.

Around 2PM the office gossip Winfrey talk show lady (who I stay away from) walks into my office. All flamboyant and drenched in 10 gallons of perfume. She is known for office romance gossip and labelling people - with stigmas. I make small talk with her for about 5 minutes and slip to the kitchen for a cuppa.

Back in my office again, looking out the window - beautiful warm summer day in Dubai - miss Manhattan a bit more now?. I can see the neighbouring offices and people working, in meetings, have lunch, coffee breaks, water cooler talks etc all. I wonder how many are having slow days like me today?

It's almost 3PM and still not getting any work done. So I visit some of the blogs checking for new/updated posts and comments. Hoping to indulge in an interesting conversation or two. Nothing much happening at the UAE community blog - except for the usual whining as well as some genuine concerns being raised.

I have another 2 to 3 weeks in Dubai prior to getting back to NYC. I hope the days do go slow - cause I like being home for a change and savouring every moment - both the quick and slow moments.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Weekend to Abu Dhabi

Last weekend, friends and I decided on a road trip to AUH. We set off from SHJ around noon made a few stops in Dubai and en-route to AUH.

I haven’t visited AUH in a decade, hence was sort of excited and sort of anxious – especially after having seen the changes in DXB the past 5 years or so.

The drive was beautiful – it was a bright sunny day – nice breeze and zero traffic. There were lots of traffic cameras and my friend got clicked just once : ) The entire drive took us about 2 hours, including all stops. The plan was to drive into AUH and sort of have plans impromptu.

As we got into AUH we drove thru the city, taking pictures – asking for directions and looking for a place to lunch. Whilst driving across the city, I couldn’t help but feel an intangible aspect, which sort of caught my sentiments off guard – the city reminded me of hometown SHJ – in the 1980's and mid 1990’s (before the traffic jams, high rises and crowds). I noticed the roads were simple, the city had that amazing "homely" UAE ambience, which we had in hometown SHJ a long time ago. Not sure if this was the weather or some sort of effect after driving in from DXB/SHJ – however I sort of felt I was walking across SHJ as child - m
ost corners of the city reminded me of SHJ and my growing years – the street lights, gardens, quite ambience etc all - the simple life, the simple city, the melancholy & peaceful home I just about took for granted then.

For the most part the AUH city was made of average to a few high rise residential buildings with parking available (at least the spots we visited). A friend suggested lunch at the Emirates Palace (EP) – the rest of us agreed, as it’d be a neat opportunity to check out this 7 star hotel.

We drove into the front gate of EP, towards security – who inquired on purpose of our visit and if we had reservations (there was a royal wedding that day at the Emirates Palace). Given our impromptu weekend state of mind, we hadn’t made reservations! So we drove around for another 10 minutes, whilst I called Diwan L’Auberge – a Lebanese restaurant at the Emirates Palace for reservations. Fortunately they were kind enough to accommodate us. We drove back to EP – the guard cleared us on confirming with Diwan L’Auberge.

Parked at the valet – walked thru the hotel to the restaurant. Needless to say, the hotel is a majestic piece of Arab Architecture – it felt like a Palace, the ambience, the staff, the staff uniforms etc all – very well done and with much attention to detail. Personally I liked EP lots more - than Burj Al Arab’s interiors & concierge.

Since we walked in a little past lunch hour, Diwan L’Auberge was sort of quite. We were seated by huge Bay windows overlooking the pristine beach. The beach had lots of western tourists – (almost the entire hotel guests seemed western tourists). Ordered a few appetizers and drinks – followed by main course, dessert etc. The food was yummy, I had a grilled hummour which was quite tender and tasty. The desserts were slices of heaven, and more – all lovely!

After lunch we walked around the interiors of the hotel, took a few pictures whilst simultaneously letting out lotsa "Oooo’s" and "aaaaaa’s" at every detail of the architecture, the interior designing and just about everything – here is a hotel which was 7 star and beyond and very Arab.

We walked back to the entrance, valet brought up our car and as we drove out to the main gate, we took some more pictures and admired the rich detail given to each piece of the exterior – all lovely stuff.

We drove around for 10 minutes or so and parked at the AUH Corniche to walk across the beach – the weather was cool and beautiful with lots of sunshine. After about an hour we got back to our car, drove around for some nice tea (with rainbow milk : )

Whilst we had tea at a small Indian cafeteria– each of us could not help but feel the ambience in the city. It was quite, peaceful – very homely – just very UAE. We reminisced the growing up years in SHJ and shared experiences and memories. I have to say, it felt like I was in my old SHJ – it almost felt so real - I wish I could have just sat there hoping time would move back 15 years or so : )

The entire visit to AUH was lovely – not sure why I didn’t visit sooner? As we drove back to SHJ, I took a final look of the city streets, the city cabs – the ambience – all of which reminded me of the UAE I grew up, something I miss so much.

I am sure I shall visit AUH again, prior to returning to New York. My sister in law was raised in the AUH and her parents live in AUH – am going to call her mom for some home cooking and an opportunity to go back to AUH.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This moved me

Whilst casually browsing blogs I came across this wonderfully written post by BD (link below) -it highlights the plight of labourers, mainly in Dubai.


From personal experience - Christmas 2005, overheard a prospective client at my dad's tiny financial consulting practice doing the "math" - the inhumane math, which included provisions for possible "cash flow gains" - gains if a labourer fell sick or broke an arm, hence didn't show up for work - gains if the labourer missed his ride that day to work - and then some more inhumane math.

I remember, butting into my dad's office - having a heated discussion with an inhumane mathematician. I was stunned to learn he (an Indian) was a labour supply contractor - scheduled to bring in unsuspecting souls from his own hometown???? After much debate with the fool (a sorry loser of a soul) - my dad threw me out of his office for being stupid & unprofessional- and then the mathematician - bless my dad.

It's all quite sad - there was a time this nation & it's natives were known for hospitality - both, to the haves & have not’s. If you'd want to experience selfless & very giving hospitality, you should "have lived" in the UAE. There wasn't much then, however it seemed we had a lot and was content. Very few/none suffered this way - none/little was exploited as today. This is primarily why I keep saying - I miss the old UAE - the real UAE - it was the way how things "should be".

I just wanted to say thanks for writing this piece BD. There is inhumane exploitation by the middleman - the already filthy rich. Most of 'em are foreign contractors, some are fellow countrymen of these helpless victims. - perhaps, in each of our own small way - we can help the government and the powers-that-be bring about positive change for the future?

Stares & Glares

I am certain, this topic has been discussed to death – however I wish to vent a bit and get a few things off my chest.

In a multi-cultural country like the UAE – we seem to have more segregation & less integration. Segregation of souls, based on nationalities & cultures - be it on a "job description", crime reported in the media – raffle coupons, filling up an auto insurance form, room mates – etc all – segregation rules supreme.

What irks me most, is the fact when souls who do not care (or in some instances are aware) of such segregation, and genuinely wish to integrate as "peoples" frst, are stared at and commented. For instance – my brother, who is a Christian, born/raised in the UAE and his fiancé – a Muslim – born/raised in the UAE are subject to sets of stares, glares and comments from strangers i.e. it almost seems a "revelation" to these people that people of different origin & religion can be compatible. It’s almost incomprehensible to the general public - that these souls can share a walk in the park -walk the malls, visit the restaurants & movies as a couple?

I think my brother and his fiancé may have it easy – compared to my best friend an Indian –UAE born/raised - good man and his Palestinian – UAE citizen born/raised fiancé – despite the fact, they are both Muslims?

For instance, whilst having lunch with my friend & his fiancé at a well known seafood restaurant by the Sharjah Corniche last weekend - we were greeted with the usual stares as we walked into the restaurant - more stares as we walk past tables to be seated. Comments (often repeated one being - "haram") was loud enough that guests at adjoining tables could hear?

I felt terrible for these souls – there they were trying to have a meal – instead had pretty normal looking guys stare at them – whilst eating, drinking, chatting or just sitting plain still (and uncomfortable) – the whole bloody time. I've never seen such blunt display of polarization by different races in a "multi-cultural" environment? It was horrible – the comforting fact - my friend and his fiancé are strong individuals who seemed determined to block away the stares & ignorant comments.

After experiencing true multiculturalisms in cities like New York and Toronto, where borders/boundaries, skin colour, ignorance seem torn down (well for the most part) – I can’t help wonder (and feel frustrated) – why are we so polarized in this nation? Each community – be it the various Arab communities, western souls, Emaraties, Indians – Pakistanis or the Filipinos – all keep to themselves for the most part. There is little sense of integration - little sense that we are all people first – born into different homes, parents, cultures and borders – but created by the same heavenly creator - and if by choice, two souls from complete backgrounds are to integrate, they are in for an unpleasant ride?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Big Apple Stay

Often it's weird & funny the incidents & experiences from travels. Below is an experience whilst on my first visit/stay at a holiday Inn in the Big Apple....

On a Sunday evening I check into the Holiday Inn - showered, had dinner - was about to hit the sack, when say around 10PM - I have a visitor (no not a woman) instead a huge fat New York City rodent – a rat.

It came from beneath the door and went underneath my bed. I freaked, called the reception, they sent some guy up to get rid of the rat and changed my room to Room 607!

Now get this, I get the keys to room# 607 - open the door – and to my horror & surprise see this big hairy ass guy, in his B'day suit out of the shower and(presumably) his wife sitting on the bed watching Television?

I am yelled at, I yell back - shut the door behind me and catch the elevator to the reception, give a piece of my mind to the poor soul at the font desk (who, simultaneously is getting it from the naked guy in 607 via the telephone). I am put up, in room 707 – however, hardly caught some sleep for fear of another "visitor"!

Did I mention the rate US$399.99 plus taxes/night – received zero comp for the horrors :(

To chin up, I wrote a casual poem (below) on the events. Welcome to big apple – I guess?

Big Apple Stay

rosh - he was on his bed,
rosh - sleeping the sleep of the dead,

HARK! suddenly, there was a sound, something was around,What was it?

could it be a girl, keen on a nocturnal tryst?
would rosh know what to do with her? Or would he just get pissed?

but wait – it was a female, thou not of the human kind,
was rosh paranoid enough that a rat would bump and grind?
or would he be afraid and let out a scream?

rosh rushed down to the reception, not just angry but hopping mad,

he swore and he yelled - what the f**k is going on here?
he had a phobia of rats, you could sense his fear....

" we're sorry sir" said the dude at reception,
"'tis never happened before" says he trying deception,

there was a priest there, quietly looking towards heaven,
and the receptionist says " Sir, we're giving you room 607"

so rosh, relief spread across his face,
grabs the keys and to his new room does race

he wants to go back to sleep, get some rest,
but little did he know that fate had one more test,

he uses the key to room 607 - opens the door
there's someone in the room, some guy and his whore

the girl's sitting on the bed, watching TV, probably porn
and the guy's just standing around, naked as the day he was born

a few seconds of silence, 't was a comical situation for sure
rosh recovered from his shock and slammed the door

he ran to the lift, wondering what kind of people this hotel housed
as he could see the naked guy was all aroused!

rosh was disgusted, he was appalled,
so he went down to reception and the manager he called

"That's the limit man" say rosh in a very pissed tone,
" Just a minute sir, it's your naked friend on the phone""

We apologize Sir, of course we'll change your room again""
Ok, but no rats and no naked guys or gals please - they're really a pain""

Very well sir, we regret the trouble caused, it's a pity,
but enjoy your stay and welcome to New York City""

thank you, i think I'll be fine"" say rosh
oh Sir, here's your bill -that'll be $ 399"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


rosh on a lazy Saturday afternoon, walks into Starbucks close to his apartment in NY - orders a venti coffee black. About to sit down in a corner couch with a tennis magazine - when Ms X, walks by with friends, spots rosh, comes over and....

Ms X - hey rosh, what's going on? nice to see you here

rosh - hey Ms X - likewise - you look lovely today

Ms X - what in these? rosh you sweet - so what's the deal rosh, you come here often?

rosh - yea, this is my weekend sanctuary

Ms x - rosh you funny - I come here often with friends, guess we never ran into one another. so you by yourself?

rosh - yea pretty much

Ms x - well would you like to join us then?

rosh - sure

Ms x - introduces rosh to her friends - Ms y and Mr a

Ms x - guys, this is my friend from work, his name's rosh

Ms y & Mr a - hey rosh nice to meet you

rosh - likewise, pleasure

Mr a - so you live in the area rosh - yea, couple of blocks down the street

Ms y - are you new to NY?

rosh - no, been here about x years, sort off

Ms y - that's nice - I love your accent, are you an English?

rosh - thanks, am not English

Ms x - rosh is from Dubai

rosh - I am from the UAE

Ms x - I thought you were from Dubai?

rosh - I was raised in the UAE and Dubai is a major city in the UAE

Ms x - oh so Dubai is not a country then, like Singapore?

rosh – true it's a major city in the UAE - like NYC in America

Mr a - I know about the UAE - my uncle in the military used to be stationed in Abu Dhabi - it's a nice place, he loved it there

rosh - yes it's a well kept secret - well almost, these days

Ms x - so rosh you speak Arabic - you Arab or middle eastern

rosh - sorry, don't speak Arabic and no am not an Arab or middle eastern

Ms y - you are American?

rosh - nope, not American

Ms x - so who/what is your background rosh?

rosh - I was (born) raised in the UAE , attended school in NYC, worked in Dubai for a while. my parents are Indian and my dad is part English

Ms x - so you are Indian?

rosh - yes sort off

Ms x - have you lived in India, do you speak "Hindu" ?

rosh - no, I've visited India about 6 times - it's Hindi and yes I can follow Hindi

Ms x - so you are not a true Indian, like Mr b our Indian colleague at work then?

rosh - perhaps?

Ms x - see I thought you were some English Indian/Arab/Middle eastern guy?

Ms y - hope you don't mind me asking you this - you Muslim or Hindu?

rosh - neither am Christian

Ms x - but then I've seen you avoid bacon and alcohol at the office Christmas party - however you loved the steak?

rosh - I guess that's 'cause I was raised in an Arab/Muslim nation where we believe bacon/pork is bad meat and people didn't drink alcohol as much.

Ms x - so you are a United "States" Emirates citizen?

rosh – no – btw it’s United Arab Emirates

Ms x - but you've always lived there? are you American then?

rosh - no

Ms y - hope we aren't making you uncomfortable, so what are you? are an Indian citizen?

rosh - oh no, that's ok, not a problem. I am a xx & an xx citizen

Ms x - oh you've been raised or have lived in xx & xx countries then?

rosh - no, my parents have

Ms y - ok am a bit confused - you were born/raised in the Middle East - yet you are not an Arab or speak Arabic or United "States" Emirates citizen. You are Christian, you speak English with an accent - you have these multiple citizenships from countries you've never lived in. You "are" Indian - but have never lived in India. Plus you are not a Hindu or a vegetarian - you eat steak & meat but not bacon/pork or drink alcohol?

rosh - (now feeling a bit embarrassed/unsettling) - yes sort off I guess?

Ms x - well that's most interesting. We've all been born/raised in New York and Phili all our lives - so this is new to us (smiling)

Ms y & Mr a – yes it’s interesting -we don’t even have passports yet.

Ms x - I just requested mine last year, given our business travels - didn't have one prior to last year.

rosh - so you've never travelled outside the United States then?

Mr a - well I visited Canada a few times with my family

Ms y - and I've been to Mexico city

rosh - you must travel, it's a fascinating world out there

Mr a - so rosh, who are you then?

rosh - (thinking) - guess I am sort of a hybrid - perhaps a global citizen of sorts?

Ms x to Mr a - that's fascinating isn't it?

rosh - (now smiling) yes perhaps it is : ) - allow me to buy you all slices of banana nut loaf.