Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry christmas

It is that time of the year again, when you are thankful for everything merry and bright. May joy and happiness snow on you, may the bells jingle for you and may Santa be extra good to you! May this Christmas be a delight!

Wishing you - your near & dear a Merry Christmas and an exciting New Year!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

americans in the emirates

Browsing blogosphere, I came across this post at young, Blog Sheikh's.

The post, and a linked article talks about lack of Americans in the UAE. It's true, sort of uncanny yet funny in a way. I mean, there really hasn't been many Americans living in the UAE, in fact very few. Yet, we've always had KFC & Pizza Hut - Coke & Pepsi. We've had all that amazing music & the movies. However, for those growing up back in the day, television shows perhaps had a larger impact in our lives. Shows that often opened up our world in ways other medium couldn't - sometimes by actually bringing to life American ways of life, stories, people and places we may never have known or actually venture to ourselves. In strange ways it helped connect with ways people live, think and feel - help us think outside the box and outside of ourselves.

I grew up on shows like - Maude, Leave it to Beaver, The Waltons, Starsky & Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Newhart, Fat Albert, Knight Rider, Murder she wrote, The Full House, 21 Jump street, Knots Landing, Dallas, Falcon Crest, The Simpsons, G I Joe, B&B, Golden Girls, 90210 and tons more! OK, so perhaps, some of those weren't the best shows. However, I think, we definitely had Americans in the UAE. Perhaps not in flesh and blood, but they certainly were amongst us :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

chuckle a little

Have a chuckle or two over at Nick's. Heads up! Must have fair share of humour and an ability to laugh at self :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

fall is in the air

It's Fall again, I am starting to feel that chill in the air. It lifts spirits and helps place a few aspects of life in perspective. Pretty soon it's time to go from sweaters to bringing out the coats and hats, gloves and boots. Yet there is something so calming and tranquil around this time. Not much else to say that hasn't been said before. I love this time of the year. I hope it stays on and colours up people's days & lives.

Past few months have been a weee bit crazy - work & travels and a few other issues, mostly in my head - nothing serious :) I seem forgetful, than usual. Last Saturday, I spend about 20 minutes looking for keys all over the apartment. Realizing I was running late for dinner with friends, I decided to continue search when back. Rushing out the door - viola! Just realized, I left 'em on the door back from work last evening! I am getting old heh. I can hear mom's thoughts across the oceans, "get hitched!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the past

"Feeling a bit sentimental lately. Missing the good old days when everything was just clear and simple. A bit sentimental that I can't slip back into those easier times, or can I? Perhaps I should track down those old friends and make contact? If possible visit old haunts, draw on the energy they used to supply. Perhaps one really can go home? It may not be exactly the same, but the old spirit still remains"

Why is the past quite so important whilst living in the present, and the future? I thought, the past, was just that - the past. I'm not too sure why am writing/debating the thought - sort of felt, I should.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

been a while

Apologies for my absence. Had a few issues kicking up a storm at work and in life. They say life comes at you fast, things change quite quickly - it's true. Life does come at you fast. I have finally realized things that matter in life are those which make our hearts long that extra bit. Life is definitely worth all those troubles and worries and more.

Co-incidentally, a fellow blogger had a post of taking her life short. Am not sure why, but felt I had to say something, not just to herself, but also to myself.

Ups and downs are part of life. Life is precious because we live only ONCE. It's precious 'cause, everything we've always known - ever, is from living it. The good and the bad. Those positive memoirs, our family, friends, dear & near - all those and more that we've experienced is because we've lived.

Talk of taking life short is short sighted - 'cause you don't know what tomorrow, or the day after holds. It doesn't take much for lives to change.

I have my share (and more) of downs every year. However am always thankful for the opportunity to live - to have lived, to meet people, to experience growing up, to have mom and dad in my life, for my friends, to have travelled and meet people I may have never known, for the lovely fall days and foliage colours, for the beautiful UAE winter days and those rare blue skies, for those long drives, for beautiful melancholy moments and tears and so much more - for all those very reasons that prove our existence and lives are absolutely worth it.

In short, take a look at all those lovely blessings in life. Take a look at how much you shall miss being with all those who matter, how much you shall lose out on - forever. Now say a silent prayer, and smile at tomorrow's coming.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I want to visit and experience Iran. A nation with it's rich culture and ways of life. I hope you enjoy this lovely post on Iran as much as I. Wonderful writing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

the lion sleeps tonight

One of my favourite albums is, Return to Pride Rock. The album has an age old soulful track - "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". The tune has a captivating African soul. Personally, the song reminds of kindergarten days, times with mom and carefree infancy memories of an era gone by.

Whilst home last Christmas I gifted a copy to my sister in law, who'd just become a mom for the second time. My niece, Norah, loves listening to the track - The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Norah turns an year old this August. Obviously she does not understand the lyrics. However, each time she hears this track, she becomes all cheerful, smiley and calm on her way to sleep. This one is for you angel, sweet dreams.

Monday, June 16, 2008

a post

Sometimes we try and write up intense thoughts & emotions within, and as easy as it may seem, it's actually not. However at times we sort of stumble on few simple words from fellow beings who probably are going through similar phases in life.

Came across this post at fellow blogger Yazan's blog. For me, personally, the simple words below capture much of the angst and melancholy within, especially the past couple of years in my life. Reading thru, I find bit of solace and some solitude. It's nice to be honest with yourself.

"I can't sleep until I'm too tired to open my eyes, and once I do, I never want to wake up. I have dreams of everything I wanted to do, and nightmares of everything I did.

I struggle to concentrate, I struggle, I truly, struggle to be interested in anyone, or anything around me.

I feel as homeless as can be. And it's choking me alive. There is nothing worse than this feeling of alienation from everything that used to be your home. This disconnection, this continuous state of denial. I think I've forgotten how to belong anymore."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

summer days

It has been a busy few weeks - work was a little more than I could handle, and personal life was just about OK, I think(?)

Summer has arrived with a bang! The city's been sweltering at 105+ degrees. It was pretty bad the past two weeks. Had a major thunderstorm this evening, so hopefully the heat shall mellow a bit in coming days. I must admit, am not a summer person. I turn into this completely different *creature* during summer - mostly do everything indoors, from playing tennis, running, or just chillaxing at home. My friends think that's odd, given I was raised in the Middle East (I don't get it either). Honestly, I don't know what it is about summers - I sort of want to stick my head in a freezer.

Beside the steamy weather, something I do not appreciate is summer wear. To be precise what some women wear during summer. Every year, the tops, shorts, skirts an' all seem to get shorter and shorter - from barely there, to the *not there anymore*. This year, I've seen tops & shorts/skirts, which in terms of size can only be defined as a headband and/or a wristband. It's funny 'cause the accessories (10 inch heels and extra large handbags, which could be used as a makeshift live in tent) are more in volume than the actual clothes on these women. Am not sure if it's to be comfortable, or attract attention - am guessing the latter. I understand it is summer, and people need to dress comfortably. However, I can't appreciate the lack of clothes on some people (both men & women). There are a hundred alternatives that offer comfort as well as modesty. Being modest or modesty in itself, isn't that subjective, I think.

Summer season is also brisk tourist season in NYC. People from all over the world flock into the city. It's fantastic to see the city buzzing with tourists. It's also nice to have random folks with different accents, gestures, greetings, approach me for directions, have pictures taken, ask away about the city, Broadway shows, central park, subway system and smile at what they think is a New York accent - which isn't true, 'cause I do not have an NYC(or an American) accent.

Am not travelling on work for the next few weeks, so that's good. Am thinking of selling my place and getting a larger one. Apparently home prices have come down a bit everywhere, except where I live and there is plenty of brand new inventory in the market. Mom was scheduled to visit this July - she changed her plans, again at the last minute. So am having n-o-b-o-d-y visit me from home, this summer as well - blah!

Well that's about it from the past few weeks. Usual city life, with work, friends, social life, summer and all - oh! I turned 32 on the 7th, so belated sana hilwa to me :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

saying no

Tons of thoughts, much to write - so little time, however here's something I've been thinking about.

Saying No. Am not good at saying "no", in fact, I've never been good at it. I give in quite easily to friends, family and just about whoever asks for help. And even though I say no, eventually I end up helping them, or risk feeling uneasy with an inane sense of guilt or something.

A close childhood friend, from good 'ol UAE, is visiting the apple this summer (again). I really wanna say *NOPE* to his plans. Don't wish to get into the details, however, shall say, he is a master grand slam *player*, great looking, loves women, plenty of home runs, well you get the jist. Last summer, I took him around plenty of parties in the city, introduced him to most women friends, (he caught on to the easy ones) and from all I hear, he had a Fab time, so did most women.

The issue. He is married, has been for less than 2 years. His wife, I think is just about 22 - naive, simple (also, sort of spoiled) semi-conservative girl. Am not sure if she knows of his escapades, I don't think she knows, or maybe she does, well I don't know for sure.

Anyway, he called last weekend, we discussed plans. I can see what he wants to do. He is very open and honest with me, however, if and when I oppose his views, he shall push back, disagree, prove me wrong, and distance himself for while - you know, sort of IRON the guilt with added molten asphalt, tar bitumens an' all. Ever since I've known him, he's been this way, things haven't changed over the years.

Am all for dating, flirting, whatever it takes for an open, full fest premarital search. However, not after you’ve taken the vows. Hence I just don't get why some married folks cheat and swing with multiple partners. I know a few here in the city, men and women.

Not here to judge - however, can't help thinking, don't people get hitched for love and *till death do us apart* given all the sacred vows anymore? or pick a partner, appreciate, compromise, understand, and align one another? If they are unable to do so, at the least, value traditions & sentiments on vows of ancestors, and their legacy.

So there – that's what I want to say *no* to. I realize it's perhaps the correct thing to do. Hopefully I shall keep up the strength & sensibility, over the next few weeks.

Am beat, off to snooze now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

get a room

Something to smile about - well in a way, I suppose :)

"Jeffrey Paul Bradford, 24, and Adrianna Grace Connor, 24, both employees of Pinnacle Airlines Inc., were at a diner on Sunday night before they apparently decided to take a walk, police said.

"They told the officer they wanted to go do it in the woods, essentially," said Lower Swatara Township Police Sgt. Richard Brandt. "That's the best answer they had."

Things went awry when people who live in the neighborhood summoned police around 9:30p.m., saying they had seen a naked man and an intoxicated woman."

Silly Gooses, if there is a next time, get a room or something eh!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

a load of nothings

Way too many thoughts in my head this evening. I was subtly forced into a rather heartless decision at work - feel low and a bit upset about it all. Don't feel like writing or thinking about turn of events today.

It's funny, life, really. At times you've got to do things to others, which you'd never hope, happen to you. Sometimes you have to make some sort of a wise ass call, to set things straight for everyone else, except perhaps for the individual whose future now seems quite possibly shoved in some dungeon.

Am afraid at times I sort of have an odd time recognizing where am heading or what I may become. Need a break from the present and head somewhere to think & feel things thru. This is not what I want to do. Man - growing up is hard!

It gets quite crowded with "friends" but horribly lonely near the top. Friends remain friends when they want something from you – especially here in the world's most populated city, where you’d find the largest number of loneliest souls. Very few are fortunate to find selfless/giving friends, those who take an interest in you, listen intently no matter what and stick thru the times.

I know about 200+ people in this city, and there isn't a single one amongst them I'd call or think as a true friend. I am, however, quite fortunate to have true friends, back home - the ones I've known since kindergarten, who know everything about my life - the present & the past. Sometimes just being in the presence of friends can uplift moods, bring about a hearty smile and wash away many worries.

Sorry if none of the above make sense. Someone at blogworld once said, writing down our thoughts, helps understand and identify better. No better place to do so, than my casual little blog space.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

flowers in the sand

Flowers in the Sand is one of those feel good blogs I've come across. Its author Frances Gunnison grew up in the suburbs of NYC and now lives in AUH/UAE. Personally, I find such pleasure and calm, reading thru her posts and view the photographs on her blog. It helps bring homes a lot closer - the world is indeed becoming a smaller place.

One of my favourite blogs is that of Ammaro, a top Bahraini blogger. This particular post, in my opinion, was quite well written, honest and well debated/argued - pleasure reading.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I like having an optimist,or perhaps two, around. Someone with a positive outlook on life. Someone who shall always find something positive in a given bleak situation, look at the sunny side of everything and make that sense of optimism shine an extra bit. Someone who can just be as enthusiastic/happy/content given smiles & success of others as you are about your own. Someone perhaps too positive to give into worry, anger, angst or fear.

I've always had an optimist who guided silently thru life. And though I've not had constant direct guidance come my way often, I've seen and experienced she help and talk people into a positive frame of mind. She spoke her mind and held her own thru worried times, neck above water and emotions at bay. And though she has extended more than she could afford toward those less optimistic and to those who've wronged her, she's often been an optimist to many I've known. She isn't perfect, given any stretch, but she is fine. She found words and help find the spirit, if not the perfect solution, and help those feel the spirit of optimism.

Personally, in a way, I find it sort of surprising, 'cause I quite didn't realize or think much of all the above, until way thru in life, more so recently. Hence this simple post & few casual thoughts to mom, whom I've come to realize as the eternal optimist.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

tequila ville week 1

I've been in Mexico City (MC) the past week on business, probably stay thru the following week as well. This is my second visit to MC, the first was about 5 years back for a couple of days.

Whilst in MC, one can sense the deep rooted culture, a sense of strong family ties, and respect amongst common folk (as far as I can tell from local lingo/gestures). A lot of social importance is extended towards education, certain professions and social togetherness in the community. Mexicans take a lot of pride in their nation's history, culture and lifestyle. Ways of life in Mexico includes many features from the nation's Amerindian past to the Spanish colonial days. And in a way, I sort of sense quite a few of the above missing in the US - probably given the US is a much younger nation and a melting pot of immigrants & cultures from a hundred nations or more.

The past week has been a mixed bag - unfortunately, I fell sick given the change in weather and apparent bacteria in the air & water. Supposedly an ancient curse (Montezuma's revenge) that falls on most newbies visiting Mexico :) Besides that, it has been quite enjoyable - am loving discovering Central/South American culture and ways of life.

Work takes most of time - people at work are extremely accommodating. We are chauffeured to & from work - none of that car rental, drive to work and possibility of being lost in a new city scenarios. Mornings, we are served with fresh pot of coffee and cookies, people stop by every now and then, ensure we've got information to complete what we are here for - all quite professional and courteous.

Given that I do not speak Spanish, and very few speak proper English - most go out of their way to accommodate, especially the folks at the apartment complex – all of which feel quite hospitable. I sort of have an odd time with room service - often they'd serve something completely different to that of the actual order. For instance, a request for plain pancakes with some syrup on the side - turned into pancakes and eggs benedict topped with bacon, all of which I send back. Request for a large cup of coffee and some cream on the side, turned into a tiny espresso shot and a large glass of milk. To ease pains, the front office manager took upon herself to translate room service requests - she is absolutely patient & lovely.

As for my ego and self esteem, well they've had an unexpected boost! Needless to say, some Mexican "Chicas" are quite exotic - apparently, the ones at work and at the complex find me in good taste (to put it mildly). I've been asked out for dinner by a few - innocent flirtatious queries if am single, age, background, family, accent - yup loving it :)

I have not had the chance to explore the city – primarily because friends continue to warn on roaming about the city by myself, apparently kidnapping of newbies/foreigners for ransom is a national sport! Hence on weekends, I read, watch tele or go for a run around the neighbourhood.

Experienced the first earthquake this evening. Being on the 8th floor the building slightly swayed on all directions - felt surreal. At first thought, it felt like a dizzy spell, but as the chap stick rolled off the coffee table, I went uh-oh? Earthquakes are quite frequent in MC - this one was a mild tremor.

Just got back from dinner with colleagues. Dined at the most beautiful restaurant experience ever - an Italian-Mexican fusion of sorts, with musicians and all. The restaurant's one hundred year old Spanish quarter home surrounds a magnificent tree-shaded courtyard. Its dining area scattered through the building afford views of the patio, aged trees, local cobblestone streets and culture rich romantic plazas - the walls of the dinning area are mostly aged, exposed brick - all of which brought about a soulful charm.

The weather is lovely, feels like tail end of UAE winter – the beginning of spring.

It has been an interesting week to say the least - am going to be in MC thru next few weeks. Hope to visit the pyramids, town of San Angel, where Frida Kahlo lived and the Aztec Museums.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


There are a few things most people look back in life and wish they could have done differently - there are also those who can look back on their lives and say if they had to do it all over again, they wouldn't do anything differently. I am not one of those, I've got the share of regrets.

As an immature 21 year old, who refused to spend Christmas with an unwell grandpa, tops my list. The following summer I learnt it was Grandpa's last Christmas. Regret taught me quite a bit on a single day. It did enhance value & importance towards people who matter. It helps mature, be stronger - yet remain humble and softer in this short visit called life.

The more I think about it, the more I realize regret is perhaps a forgetful, subtle yet powerful emotion. People hardly share regrets with similar intensity as love, hate, anger or frustration. That said - regret is instructive for you to a point. After that, it becomes self-punishment. What's done is done, and there's no escaping that fact, have got to move with the experience, which leads me to believe, regret is remorseful, yet possibly a melancholic success.

Monday, April 14, 2008

making up minds

Think, I have finally said something I have always known, but perhaps never chose to believe. Fellow blogger Proud Emirati had this post @ UAECB on demographic imbalance.

Just a heads up, it could be a touchy debate.

Though not a simple task given any stretch, I believe it shall be for the better for all (citizens & those expatriates) should the government put forth honest thoughts & prospective plans in order to have a demographic balance. Personally, in my mind, I believe the concept of constant temporariness, which has forever been attached to the UAE, shall be removed to a large extent. Below is a response to Proud Emirati's post @ UAECB.

"Indeed true PE: do the powers, believe in all this? I think whatever can be done to minimize the drastic imbalance is quite fine - after all, one shouldn't feel alien in one's own home.

That said, on one hand you've got all this crazy construction and the world's largest airport with Emirates beefing up it's fleet - on the other, you've got to tackle imbalance. Simple math, dictates imbalance is set to continue.

There isn't much the govt can do, unless they decide, to slow down growth and the economy. It is your leaders who wish to grow and propel the economy - I think it's a brilliant idea. However, bottom line, your govt or the UAE cannot do so, without external help. Think of it this way - an economy with say a million people isn't much of a market for major businesses to operate. People and their spending power make an economy.

"I don't think that expatriates should feel threatened because..."

You need to partly realize, end of the day, people shall move to work and make a living where they are comfortable. To be quite honest, the concept of "constant temporariness" what makes the UAE least attractive. For instance, I was born there, I was raised there - and I moved out 7 years ago. There have been opportunities, and I shall admit, plenty of heartfelt sentiments to return - however, I haven't given in. Am fine where I am.

What am saying is - take a stand, implement it, and be honest about it."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

week two

Met up with friends for lunch this afternoon at Paramount, a Lebanese joint at Mississauga (a suburb west of Toronto). Friends discovered the place recently. Food and drinks were yummy, the place was pretty full, with healthy flow of people – we had music and were treated to new drinks on the menu. Felt great to have some Arab cuisine after a while.

Felt nice to catch up with friends, who seem to be settling into lives of home, career and family. A few are expecting – so that was the news of the day. A few bought homes and hope to walk down the aisle soon and one decided to part ways with her significant other.

The weather hasn’t been great past couple of days - it’s been raining all day today. I've got to attend a dinner this evening at Hemingway's, a really nice rooftop patio/bar kind of place. Great food, drinks and ambiance. However, am just beat and lazy - feel like ordering in some Sushi, from across on Yonge (room service sucks) a decaff, a choc cake - and watch tele in my PJ’s at the hotel. Quite honestly, don't feel like socializing this evening, it's still raining and cold. Need a believable excuse and skip tonight’s dinner – thoughts anyone?

Being in Toronto is sort of relaxing. It does not have the mad rush, crowd and pushiness of NYC. Often, being here I learn to walk slower, be nicer and a bit calmer. The city has a much slower pace – personally, it feels a positive change, though after a while, I just have to get back to the hustle/energy of a larger city.

I’ve always believed Ontario/Canada is a healthy place to live, raise a family, though I do hopelessly wish the government did more to propel an economy – do away with the passiveness it's always had. Ontario is a nice place, it's huge. Toronto isn't bad, though not much has changed since mom bought me here the first time, back in '82, except there are newer condos on every inch of downtown, cost of living has sky rocketed and the infrastructure is falling apart. Compared to most global or emerging cities, personally, I find Toronto quite passive and perhaps lethargic - quite socialist, over shadowed by powerful cities of the neighbour south.

There is much Canada can achieve - given it’s vast oil resources across Alberta, the financial industry across Ontario and other natural resources across the country.

That said - it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. If and when I am done with career quest, have some extra $$ (and in the unholy event UAE becomes totally unaffordable, banishes me or both) I'd hope to retire somewhere around the Canadian Rockies. Yup, it’s been an alternative, ever since I took a cross country trip. Someday, I hope to have this cozy tiny cabin, over looking crystal pristine lakes, snow capped mountains, wild life, blue skies, pine trees as far as the eye can see - and my two dogs. Canada perhaps is a better place to retire - touch base with your soul and walk into the sunset of one's life.

Friday, April 04, 2008

rambling nothings

Allo peeps, apologies, been MIA.....apparently, no reason.

Been a strange week at work and elsewhere - nothing way out of the usual, teensy weensy stuff had me going - WTF, more than I'd like to.

Anyhoooo, it's almost quarter past 11 in the evening, am busy packing - heading up to Toronto, tomorrow morning (Saturday the 5th) for couple of weeks, on business (as well as a bit of bleasure).

A friend is walking the plank - I mean down the aisle. Even though I think she is doing it more out of s-h-e-e-r desperation, I have to be there for support - support as in talk her to abort, as well as throw in a prayer the groom doesn't show up. Believe me you, given the player history the dude's got on his resume, a prayer is for her own good (am not a bad person, really, I care a lot about my friends). Then again, who am I kidding – am done with all the talking/praying/*cough* threats *cough* *ahem* blackmail *cough* over the past 5 months, so now, I wish her the best, whilst fully knowing in my heart - two years, tops!

This time of the year, the weather in the city (as in NYC, the real city, TO in comparison, is a village) is heavenly. Spring is almost upon us - reminds of subtle winter days in the UAE - which, usually is my favourite time of the year. I was hoping to be part of a project and trip to the ME region this month, however plans changed, instead a few colleagues are heading to UAE, Qatar and KSA *throws head into pillow, sulks/cusses/whines* - saao now, am heading to TO, Chicago and LA - yup, on the road 4 to 6 weeks - wohoo! heh...

Anyhooo, need to wrap the packing, check documentation, and some more documentation –remind myself of a possible, piss off question/answer session, perhaps a luggage search or both (with a French speaking security superstar at TO's arrivals). Hopefully shan’t take long. Plan to drive into downtown, check in - unpack - get some sleep, yup that's right, some sleep - groom up a bit – slip into the Tux and head off to the plank walk.

Need to hit the sack - beyond beat, nightly night again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

catch 22

This week we had a senior individual from the London office visit NYC. Over the years I've know him, I've always been sorta evasive shaking hands (or anything which involved direct contact) just given the fact he flushes at the men's room and often walks straight out the door - to me, that's just nasty.

In an observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and The Soap and Detergent Association, slightly over three-quarters of men and women (77%) washed their hands in public restrooms – a six percent decline from a similar study conducted in 2005.

I seriously cannot understand why people DON'T wash their hands. For those of you who do, just remember these people touch the door on the way out. Am particular about cleanliness & hygiene - am not a germophobe and neither do I believe, the only good reason to wash your hands after doing your business, is to wash away things you've been collecting on your hands thru the day.

And this isn't just men. Girlfriends say, the amount of women who come out of the toilet, brush their hair, apply their lippy and then walk out is equally appalling. I suspect such folks are a step lower on the evolutionary chain than most of us or something?

Anyway, the senior dude came around to say goodbye since he was returning to London this evening (and retiring next month). Whilst leaving, he extended a handshake - I was caught in a catch 22.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

taxed out

It is that time of the year - time to file your taxes.

Having grown up pretty much oblivious to taxes, including the very concept of taxes, often, am in a bit of shock & agony, each time I see a shopping bill or a paycheck.

Don't get me wrong, after about 7 years of living in a tax paying nation – and paying taxes, I understand tax monies help run towns, cities and a nation. However, I sort of feel rather appalled Uncle Sam can pretty much walk away with say about 40%of my income (almost 50% if a bonus). Tax cuts are often promised, however, given the tax cut jargon politicians dish out an election season, the only nation (that I know of) who actually cut taxes in recent years, is Canada.

Being single doesn't help, 'cause, single people, get taxed at the highest bracket. The government doesn't care being single is perhaps hard enough, nope - they've got to make you pay up just for being single - or perhaps it's Uncle Sam's message to singletons - shack up or pay up. What can hurt as well, is if you are in the middle income sect, 'cause the rich, relatively, is taxed less – the low income doesn’t get taxed much or at all.

Often, I find myself asking - where all the tax monies go? And perhaps this is sort of opening Pandora’s Box of nasty questions. For instance, Social Security in the United States is a form of tax, which is used as a source of pension income for retires, as an anti-poverty program, a widow's survivor benefit, a disability check and so on (never mind it also rewards married couples more than single people, yup! sucker for being single again). However what gets my goat, is that people who are well & healthy enough to work and make a living, drive a Lexus towards the social security office and collect benefits – go figure?

Anyway, I filed my tax returns today. Fortunately I didn't owe any more, in fact had a modest refund. So am quite happy about that, never mind the sizeable chunk that's missing.

Have you filed your taxes yet?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

easter & spring

It was Easter today. A few friends and I attended Easter sermon, at a community church in the City - the church was packed. Am not a heavy church goer, truthfully, I barely follow or understand the sermon. However, from what little I follow, Easter service is a bit different from the usual, as in prior to the usual murmur before the service, there was silence, only the soft quell of cathedral music and a slowly transitioning slideshow with simple words to focus the mind on the significance of the day. As kids, mom would push us into attending church and significance of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday - again, most of which, I didn't follow much. In fact, at home, mom's the only one who follows Lent - topics perhaps for another day.

Easter at home, is something I've always treasured. Mom cooks up her Easter brunch and cakes. Back in the days, friends in the neighbourhood would look forward to her Easter (and Christmas) fruit cakes. Subsequent to Easter morning sermon, guests (most often close friends and family) would arrive home for Easter brunch. Mom would whip up her specialties - that of an Easter Turkey, Buttermilk hot cross buns, Easter pancakes and Chicken Stew (personal favourite). She decorates the dinning table with some edible flowers, easter eggs, cookies and some fruits so the table is bursting with spring cheer and all. The weather in the UAE is almost perfect for such gathering - it's neither too hot, nor too cold.

Back in the city. I had Easter brunch with friends at a Brazilian restaurant, Plataforma, in Tribeca, downtown. Brunch was great - Brazilian food has a lot of meat - we liked the food and ambiance. After brunch, headed for coffee at a cafe nearby, met up with a newly married couple from the UAE. I was now, becoming tired and a bit sleepy, hence took off after a while and walked home. Called mom, dad picked up, had a chat - mom came on the phone, filled me with Easter events at home and neighbourhood gossip. I could hear my nephew, and some guests at the background -sure seems like a typical Easter evening, and I do miss it all.

Happy Easter to you all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boney M

I have always been a diehard fan of Boney M and their infectious charm & craft of memorable 70's disco tunes. For those in the dark - Boney M used to be a 4 member pop & disco band in the 1970's. The group members were from the Caribbean Islands and consisted of Bobby Farrell, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Marcia Barrett.

The group didn't hit the music scene with a bang, in fact initial response was lukewarm if anything - hence performed at various clubs & discos across Americas and parts of Europe. With time, and word of mouth their melodious beats and brilliant vocals, brought fame across the Middle East, parts of Africa, Asia and the former Soviet Union. Along with Swedish pop group ABBA, Boney M is perhaps most widely known '70s Western music acts in these regions, though globally, ABBA and the Bee Gees ruled the 70's and perhaps thru to this day.

Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon are the more successful songs - though the former was banned in ex-Soviet Union, given obvious lyrics. Tracks like - Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday, Brown girl in the Ring, Daddy Cool and Ma Baker are such quintessential 70's disco beats, whilst the lyrics & vocals of Mary’s Boy Child and The Rivers of Babylon get festive when they hit the airwaves every Christmas.

When I was just about 3, dad introduced me to Boney M, via an audio cassette he brought along from his travels. I vaguely remember, the very first time he played the tape at one of our parties at home - few guests and dad, dancing to the beats of Rasputin. Each time I listen, these songs bring tons of memories. In my opinion, 70's disco was indeed a class apart. Thanks to blog friend, BuJ for bringing back memoirs, given his recent post of Rasputin.

These days, on rare occasions, Boney M hold concerts at select cities. Here's an early Christmas wish for a Boney M concert in the UAE :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

eternal sunshine of my thoughtless mind

BuJ said - "rosh dude, give us a proper post man."

The mind is blank as a cloudless sunny sky :) I am trying, there is stuff I wish to express / share / vent, however at this point, it's blank inside out! I feel nothing, well almost nothing. I have little nothings to rant or talk about. I'm not sad, mad or overtly happy about anything in particular, which is good. However, I did pen a few nothings given the eternal sunshine of my thoughtless mind.

Hey, you asked for a post! :)

I ALMOST clubbed a Diva in the bus home this evening. Here's why, I offered my seat to an elderly man. The diva, felt it was her god give right to take that seat. So, she uninvitedly moved at the speed of light, took up the seat I offered the elderly man. With no apology or care forthcoming, a heated exchange set in. She gave in, not before, screaming (presumably) Chinese curses back and flashing the proverbial finger. Anyway, screw her. I won that battle, ha!

Even, earlier in the day, I refused to partake in a debate at work, re: the Elliot Spitzer saga. For those in the dark - Spitzer, the now ex-NYC governor, who cleaned up some greed at Wall Street and brought about added accountability, resigned, because he hired services of a call girl, which is illegal in America. I prefer to see the good in people, and not judge given personal sexescapades (though in his case, Spitzer had it coming, because he was just too arrogant for his own good)whilst some friends felt he broke the law, and he deserved what he got.

Anyway, prior to that conversation, I went out for lunch with an ex-colleague who was recently made redundant. A single mom, struggling to keep her son and her lives afloat. Life is hard for her, but she is the most positive, cheerful person I know in this city of make believe divas. She's always smiling, and helping people, some virtues quite rare in this city. It's when I'm with people like her, I'm inspired, thankful and humbled at the core, because anyway I look at it, life isn't bad, I have tons to smile about.

With those thoughts, I'm saying my prayers and hitting the sack.

Nightly night people.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

sin-a-song quiz

My "sin" quotient has been measured. Happily sin profile leaves room for forgiveness, meaning, I "have" a chance to make it to heaven - Whoo hoo!

Take the sin quiz people, and avoid hell :) If you disagree with results, go HERE nahahaa! :)

Wrath:Very Low
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

drivers, weather and accidents

"At least six people have been killed after a series of horrific accidents on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway near Ghantoot on Tuesday morning.

Police have said around 200 cars were involved in the crash, which happened in heavy fog, with 25 cars catching fire. "

More here

Bad weather/fog is to blame. Even though, (personally) I feel it's quite unbelievable, something of this magnitude could happen in the UAE - am not surprised.

Realize a lot of people are moving into the country, and since driving largely, is perhaps the only option of transport, there are more cars on UAE highways. However, personally, I feel it is way time driving culture in the UAE is educated & disciplined. I have witnessed some of the silliest, careless & appalling ways of driving across the UAE.

Given the weather today, it is almost appalling why drivers weren't more careful or paid added attention - I just don't get that? World class highways, flashy cars, traffic points or fines alone, shall not prevent accidents and save lives - sane & sensible driving culture is so important, can't stress that enough.

These pictures perhaps extend a glimpse of the horrific carnage. May the souls lost rest in peace.

Update: read more here and here

Friday, March 07, 2008

tag 2

Tagged again, this time it’s Kaya-g. I find this one quite interesting - it's about 6 actions or achievements one should try and accomplish, before turning 18.

1. Post these rules before presenting your list
2. List 6 actions or achievements you think every person should accomplish before turning 18.
3. There are no conditions on what can be included on the list.
4. At the end of your blog, choose 6, or less, people to get tagged and list their names.
5. The tagged peeps write their own blog entry with their 6 suggestions.
6. Leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

Here goes:
(i) Pick a sport you are good at, try and have a career going at it. Do not be swayed given society's sentiments.
(ii) Always make an opportunity to travel, and see beyond. Heart, often is where the home is, however, travels help grow the mind & perceptions - and most importantly help, meet people.
(iii) Develop a few genuine friendships for life: souls, who shall remain your support system, childhood thru adult life.
(iv) Partly accept & listen to your folks: they have walked the "path" - hence, most often, mom & dad know what they are talking.
(v) Develop one's own personality/identity: just because everyone favours the flavour, doesn't mean you have to. Stay true to your views & honest thoughts.
(vi) Second chances: (this one is personal and perhaps a bit heavy) - being 18 or younger, may not guarantee second chances in life. Always remain thoughtful and caring to loved ones, saying goodbye isn't guranteed - maturing this thought, is important.

Hmmmm, tag, 6 or less peeps
1. the real nick (muhahaha nick, we wanna hear it from ya! feel free to list it on this blog if you prefer :)
2. BuJ (realize i* has tagged you, am sorta supporting her tag - spill it brotha :)
3. Ammaro - ditto, please give it a try :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

royal tag

Saaoo, I've been tagged by princess. It's got to do with reading a book and extending a brief review of sorts. Here goes:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages):
'The DaVinci Code' - Dan Brown
(Al, please don't draw that sword )

2. Open the book to page 123:
*flipping pages* - OK, am there.

3. Find the fifth sentence.
Hmmm, page 123 does not have 5 sentences, hence flipping over to the 5th on page 124.

"Sophie," Langdon said, "the Priory's tradition of perpetuating goddess worship is based on a belief that powerful men in the early Christian Church 'conned' the world by propagating lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favour of the masculine."

4. Post the next three sentences.
Sophie remained silent, staring at the words.

"The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever."

Sophie's expression remained uncertain. "My grandfather sent me to this spot to find this. He must be trying to tell me more than that."

Tag 5 people: (links to their blogs are on the right)
Al Sinjab
United Blogging (Blog Sheikh)
The Emirates Economist
Movie Mania

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

sharjawies gone silly

"Mannequins in Sharjah shops should be headless and only model "decent" clothing, a Sharjah Municipality circular has stated.

The municipality has urged shopkeepers to abide by a ban that prohibits the display of mannequins with facial features, said a senior Sharjah Municipality official.

"The only clothes on display now should be decent and the mannequins should be headless," said Khalid Al Jaberi, head of market control at Sharjah Municipality"

More here

The GN article goes to say - "it was a religious issue that raised many complaints from residents".

Hmmmmm, I'd really like to meet these residents. Perhaps, passive troubles for the average Sharjawi, 'cause me thinks it's heading the Saudi way.

Monday, February 18, 2008

sing along

Each year, thousands across America audition for an opportunity to realize dreams for fame via the American Idol show. Amongst talented singers, the folks at Idol also extend viewers, those unfortunate set of auditions on national television.

From the current season, my personal pick, is that of Eva Miller's audition gone bad. Though she fell (on her ass) part way thru - she continued to sing & dance away. Vanessa Carlton, probably shall sue - however, this girl displayed some love for Simon, and some heart, given the effort :)


Sunday, February 10, 2008


It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The sun was bright, blue clear skies and slight winter breeze. Thought shall have the car washed, since I've been ignoring it for 3 weeks and all.

Anyhooo, had the car washed and a quick stop at the local starbucks, for a decaff, and voila, it starts to snow heavily. Quite honestly, I was cheesed off, 'cause, after three weeks of rain and snow, I *just* had the car cleaned on what seemed, a bright, sunny morning.

Allow me to express it all via some pictures taken, as I sat thru traffic (and every goddamn traffic light) with the snow, on the short drive back to the apartment.

uh oh! snow!


double damn!

holy F!

......what hurt, the fact, as soon as I drove home - walked into the apartment, this was the view - NO MO snow & the sun's out - *duh*?


*update: captions 've been added to the pictures

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

picture perfect

I came across this amazing photo blog of Basil Khleif. Personally, I think he is quite skillful and has an inherent ability to capture moments that make a difference.

If you have not already, please visit his blog and treat yourself to some amazing pictures of the UAE and foreign shores - it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

job description - "mom"

A friend send this to me, it's quite funny and very true actually. I owe my mom a lifetime (and beyond) of gratitude, love, care and support. If it were not for her support and perseverance - my life shall not have turned out the way it is today.

Being a mom, can indeed be the toughest job in the whole wide world. So people - let your mums know the appreciation for everything they do on a daily basis, and let them know they are appreciated :)

POSITION: Mother,, Mama, Mummy, Mumma, Ma

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organisational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs £5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free love, hugs, kisses and smiles for life if you play your cards right.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

casual talk

Given that English language is widely used, and none amongst (my) non-Emi friends correspond wholly in Arabic (or any other language) – over the years, friends and I have sort of developed an informal set of phrases & expressions (friends joke, these can be uaeian phrases/expressions) Below are common & casual few from the uaeian vocabulary. I’ve listed a few, if used in dialogue/or a sentence.

Do pardon if I've slightly butchered two noble languages – however, I put forth (cultural) evolution as a meek defense.

1. Nikka-fied - as in Nikkah between a bride and bridegroom: "A & B were Nikka-fied last week". Likewise, "Talaq-ed" (hopefully fewer shall have to use that)

2. Inshallah-ed/Mashallah-ed: "Towards the end of our conversation, he inshallah-ed our views" or "I think he inshallah-ed it?". - (do note, this can be used positively, as well as a "passive" negative and if things are uncertain).

3. "Kaif halak/halik you?" - as in, how are you?

4. "Ana doing good" - as in, "I am doing good"

5. "Ma'assalama for now" - as in, bye for now.

6. "Tayyeb-ed it" as in Okayed: "We've Tayyeb-ed the weekend plan"

7. "Shukrans" as in Thanks - "Many Shukrans"

8. "Ain you goin" - as in, "where you going?"

9. "Khubz & Jam" - i.e. bread & Jam (well, this ain't new, it's been in place since kindergarten days)

10. Mabrootulations - Mabrook & congratulations conjoined: "Hey Mabrootulations on the baby"

There's more - however, I shall stop at ten, for now.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Nope, I didn't bake that - a friend bought it from this tiny (well kept secret) store in the city.

She's been talking about 'em for ages. The chocolate (with mouse) cake was sinfully chocoholic & beyond - loved it to the core - totally wicked!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

soul talk

Being busy can be an excuse, however, often reality. Am back at work and faced with deadlines, even before I've had the chance to sit on my chair and say "hmmm".

Late evenings (yes already), calls, meaningless meetings - people flying into the city - more meetings on numbers that quite well might make or break a deal - dealing with a hundred voicemails, emails and all. Out for dinner & drinks, appease/entertain corporate guests, small talk, kiss ass talk, empty talk and hollow laughter - whilst simultaneously easing out jetlag, homesickness and all.

Times like these, I ponder away - what is the purpose of life? When shall I get to do more of those simple things that matter as well - have all that sufficient time for family, friends and do things that matter to the heart, conscience and well being?

At this point - the purpose seems (mostly) destined to slave away given corporate slavery. Don't get me wrong, I like my job, and most folks I work with - plus am paid well - not much to complain, I guess. However, there is much more I'd like to do - and have. I am not talking material aspects of life, instead those simple pleasures most often taken for granted - which seem harder to come by as we get older.

There are only so many days we get on this wonderful planet, with people and places that have come to define who we are. When time is up - it's up, there is no going back. How can I have some of that cake and eat it as well - not asking much, is it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

underwater city

So SHJ has become an underwater city again!.

Whoever is involved with planning of SHJ need to realize, an efficient infrastructure is the lifeline of an Emirate. The lack of what clearly seems insufficient planning towards the city's infrastructure is appalling.

Issues given the recent downpour in DXB is not bad compared to underwater city next door -good 'ol SHJ. It seems we never learn from the past or the neighbour next door. SHJ is a disaster - residents are overwhelmed given the constant pour & flooding. A friend left for work this morning at 8:45AM and got into Dubai Damac offices at 2PM! Another friend's rental car outlet, is flooded, given SHJ's drainage system is clogged and/or overwhelmed.

Across newer areas of Al Nahda & Al Khan (the new Corniche area) there's just way too many construction of high rises and insufficient roads or sewage structure.

As you drive into SHJ(from DXB) - can't help notice close proximity of buildings, often built right on the highway - there is just no room for expansion - in some instances, residents step off the building lobby, right into a highway, I kid you not! There is little (read none/zero)concept applied, similar to DXB, wherein a buffer is maintained for future road (width) expansion.

SHJ can be the beautiful Emirate/suburbia, it once was - people need to stop/scale back on ill fated planning, pointless beautification projects & most often, greed driven high rise construction craze. Take a look at what they've done to the lovely Buhaira Corniche, once amongst the most beautiful places in the UAE. Collectively, it's killing this once beautiful Emirate.

Apologies on the rant - can't help it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

random thoughts

It's been rather whirlwind couple of weeks - am not sure how (or why) days pass in haste. Christmas, post Christmas/New Year parties amongst casual get together, took a lot of my time. It's quite heart warming to know people sincerely wish to with me, spend time, chat up and have me as part of their celebrations or casual rendezvous.

In many ways, it's been fantastic to be home and reflect upon a few aspects - from self, to changes in people's lives (many of whom I've grown up with) and also changes across the nation. At times, I feel quite distant from most - yet quite attached, just like old times. Confusing and understandable.

However, along with the positive there has been the share of unpleasantness. Most often, I think, I have matured to see & remember the good, and let the unpleasantness pass by. Over the years, I have come to realize, reality can be quite different from (preconceived) perception.

Spending time at home with mom & dad brings most joy. Simple pleasures - as having tea in my mom's garden, casual chats with mom, her home cooking, basic repairs at home or walking into the local café - to a brisk stroll through town or an action packed outing with friends seem precious moments I have always taken for granted back in the days.

Changes across DXB - SHJ leaves me breathless. Am not a huge fan of supersonic changes, however (partly) witnessing DXB transform itself much towards it's ambitious road map is inspiring to say the least. It's not all perfect, however - having lived with it from infancy - witnessing what it has become today feels surreal & inspiring - sort of tells you, nothing is impossible. As for SHJ, well it's home, am quite sentimental - however shall say, if people put a little more thought, a whole lot more can be done for the better.

I have several thoughts to blog/debate on - however (lame excuse) time is quite short. Many more folks to meet, many more newer places to see and couple of personal issues to deal with. I confess I have had some guilt for absence from blogworld.

All said I haven't been this happy for a while. It feels good to have a break, away from the capitalistic madness/rush of amazing New York City (at times I miss it all) and splurge on simple quality moments - quite refreshing, shwarmah for the soul indeed.