Wednesday, January 28, 2004

When it Rains: Then and Now

Today: I have to kvetch now. It’s been raining since morn here. Nature decided it had been ignored long enough and came back in all its verdant glory. The roads are awash, glistening with the purest form of water, pitter pattering on roof tops of cars speeding on the highway. Plants sway with unmasked joy at being watered by Nature itself instead of a desalinated sprinkler slapping harshly at their delicate roots and shoots. Btw I did spot some sprinklers along the road trying to compete with rain drops! Then: It is a sin to sit inside in such beimaan weather. I miss the times with my family, the winter rains in Abu Dhabi and Pa taking us out for a drive, all of us comfortably swaddled in warm jackets, pockets filled with chilgozas and moong phali, Momsie and Popsie turning back every 15 seconds to check we aren’t trying to catch rain drops in our outstretched hands, us pleading and wheedling till Pa stops somewhere and then rush out in a flash, running wild. Rain does that to us, all of us, from Ma and Pa to the youngest brother, that naughty imp. We seem to lose all our senses, particularly the hearing ones, as Ma and Pa have had their share of getting wet and stand in shade, starting with pleasant smiles seeing us jump up and down with sheer wet joy, then move onto voicing their concerns of bathing in winter rain, and then go onto a warming exercise i.e. their tones get scoldier, until they’ve had enough and Pa has to come out from his shelter and drag and dump us in the car. There’s no way any of us can stay indoors while it’s raining, so we drive all around Abu Dhabi, timing our return with final raindrops of the evening. Warm baths, hot chocolate milk and then hitting the sack. Now: Have to fend for myself. Drive in rain is the journey from apartment to campus. No chilgozas, no moong phalli, no Mom concerned of enough layers of clothing to ward of cold. Hot chocolate replaced by a steaming cup of tea. Can’t stay indoors still, a walk in the rain leaves my headscarf wet. And a tell tale feeling in the throat announcing the amad of flu. No Popsie to get a panic attack at the first sniff. No Momsie to attend flu-induced food and drink whimsies and most of all, no bros and sis to get nasty at and attribute the grouchiness to flu. Shukr hai the Sun is out would have wallowed and gone on all day getting miserable missing my folks. I really hope you all are feeling as bad as I am without you, Ma, Pa, Behn Bhaion…sniff sniff…atischoo!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

My Contest DSF 2004: Think of an apt title to this post

You are disbarred from making any statements of having attended the Dubai Shopping Festival if you have NOT:
• Visited all the 38 country pavilions at the Global Village and bought at least a trinket from each of the stalls
• Had your insides jostled at the crazy rides in a) Global Village b) Al Riqqa and Al Muraqqabat Streets in Deira Dubai.
• Roared at by pre-historic reptiles at the Dinosaurs World, seen a violent display of inhuman behavior at the World Wrestling Championship, oohed at the The 2nd Police Academy Stunt Show Sponsored by Jacky's HP and aahed at The Modified Cars Exhibition & Workshop and Yamaha Motor Bike Zone, Al Muraqqabat Street.
• Laughed at the Clowns at The International Italian Circus, and appreciated the various troupes of street performers, Al Riqqa Street
• Spent all your weekend at the Night Souk, Al Seef Street, Deira
• Been greeted with Orchids at the Dubai International Airport
• Cruised on the Sheikh Zayed Road at 120+kph gaping at the glassy architectural monstrosities lining the Road.
• Traveled through time and witnessed everything traditional at the Heritage & Diving Village.
• Seen the wonderful fireworks light up the sky above Dubai Creek.
• Shopped senselessly at the various malls, bagging what you think are great discounts.
• Won at least a teeny weeny even insignificant item at the countless raffles.
• Driven along the Beach Road, marveling at the sleek curves and contours of the Burj al Arab in the day and snickered at its gaudy lighting by the night; seen the frenetic pace of work on the Madinat Jumeirah, a canalized project nestled right next to the Burj; stopped by to see the The Palms Jumeirah taking shape; been awe struck by the spires piercing the sky out of their clawed based on top of the twin residential sky-scrapers of Dubai Marina .
•And lastly, you can never say you visited Dubai unless you have marked it down in your itinerary and given me a chance at hospitality. To think you came so close to my office and did not have the courtesy...!

Monday, January 19, 2004

Have your Hijab ban and don it too

Frankly speaking I don’t see any hopes of the French revoking their ban of Headscarves/Hijabs. When has any govt. taken back any of its laws? At the most there is an amendment to placate the protesting masses. So here is the amendment I suggest to the French govt. and in my humble reckoning, it is quite workable too. Instead of banning headscarves, the French Govt. should ban ‘starched’ headscarves. These stiffy bits of square cloth, doubled into a triangle, are so difficult to manage aren’t they? I would know. Why did I ever decide on donning this attire this morning? My otherwise lifeless hair seem to have gotten a life of their own and insist of playing peek-a-boo both on my forehead and the back. After being smothered by a starched safety-pinned dupatta they lie down low a bit and then spring into action. Now isn’t this a cause of much concern?? How many minutes must a starched hijab clad lady must have to waste in her vain attempts to rein in unruly hair. And however much of an anguish laden exercise it must be to battle with a starchy hijab and force it to do its supposed job i.e. cover the head entirely and not join the hair in its erstwhile quest for freedom and more air even if polluted/corrupted? An unstarched Hijab means not having Bad-Hair-Days, ever, whereas a starched hijab robs one of this bonus and also adds to the problem to such an extent that when you do take off the hijab at the end of the day, the person staring at you in the mirror looks more like an Einstein forehead up and onwards. How does that add to feminine vanity? So banning starched headscarves will see to it that no woman is ever subjected to a bout of unnecessary angst and self torture by tearing madly at her hair. Both sides win too. The French can smugly sit aside and say that they effectively banned hijab, while the pro-hijab camp can do a :P and say thank you Monsieur Chirac for having rid us of the oppressive starch!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Quaid e Azam

One of my most prized possessions: A picture of the Quaid e Azam.Actually its digital picture of an analog picture of a framed picture of an archived, enlarged and framed picture. And I have more of him too. Will post them soon.

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