Sunday, January 29, 2012

Take care, not chances

There are few things that make me really angry. Somewhere on the top of the chart are callous actions of people who put their own lives at risk. Even worse, are the actions of people who put others life at risk. But an event I witnessed over the weekend made me re-think about my whole definition of callousness.

Imagine a busy street, really busy street. All you can hear are the noises of buzzing cars and screeching tyres. While driving down that street, I notice a young mother swiftly manoeuvring her 4-wheeler through busy traffic. Only a slight problem though, that 4-wheeler happens to be a pram! What are Mom, Baby and a Pram doing on a busy road? Don't get me wrong, there is a neatly-laid, well-marked, pedestrian walkway running parallel to their flight-path.

As if these antics were not enough, I was appalled to see the toddler was not even strapped properly on to the buggy. Just when I thought I had seen it all, the duo (or trio should I say) makes an even more daring move. Weaving through a barrage of impatient SUVs and jumping the median, they somehow get to the other side. They then continue their journey - no, not through neatly-laid, well-marked, pedestrian walkway on the other side, but on the road.

The Mom looked in a hurry and the baby who was stretching herself out of the pram seemed to enjoy the ride. I am sure they had something very important to do, was running late and was in a rush to exit the busy road as fast as anyone could. But really, is it worth risking your life for saving a couple of minutes?

Jaywalking may come across as a harmless act of darting across the road. Here in Dubai, jaywalking is illegal and would burn a hole in your pocket should you get caught. But the real point is more straightforward - it is just not worth it! And remember, our big city is not really known for careful and considerate drivers. Take care, not chances.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A dose of Mom's love as a flu medication?

Down with flu and trying to catch some sleep, I kept looking up at the ceiling all night, thinking about one person - My mother. Why is that we miss our mothers more when we are down and out? Isn't it just amazing how better you feel just by the very thought not to mention their physical presence. Last night I wished I could be in her company, running her fingers through my hair and comforting me with her magic words, she has this astonishing ability to make me feel good.  Not that yesterday was a particularly bad day - what is a wee bit of flu in life's overall scheme of things and yet I wanted to be at home with her.

I think Moms as mood-lifters are one of the life's greatest yet often undervalued pleasures.  She has made my worst days into joyful moments by sitting beside me listening to my rants without letting me ever feel silly. There is nothing to beat 'mom-made' when it comes to comfort foods - the taste of her Aloo-ka-paratha with generous helping of butter and Rajma-Chawal still lingers on my taste buds. And yes, the Hot Rasam with Pappadom used to be just the perfect cure for the cold wintery evenings in Delhi. See, you can't really blame me for craving her company.

From a willing listener to the word's greatest cook, my mummy thoughts then drifted on to an uncharted territory - spirituality. My mother’s life has always been infused with an element of spirituality which she tried her best to instill in a care-free daughter. Like any other teenage-rebel, I never paid much attention to this during that time but have since come around acknowledging the importance of it. The power to forget things and forgive people, that most problems could only be solved with a clear head, to be god-fearing and that karma is knowing that every action of mine will have an impact on my life.

I know I have not been the best daughter she could have asked for, letting her down every now and then. But I also know, now that I am mother to Smera, the role she played in my life. True it took me an occasional flu and a bout of home-sickness to reflect on some of these things. But hey, maybe that's the point.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunny side up

They say sunlight is the best disinfectant. And if you ask my Mom, she would say Sunlight is the best detergent, referring to the world’s first branded laundry soap. But this post is about the real thing, not the detergent variety.

Sun has a special place in Asian culture. Some of us see it as God, Sun is at the core of feng shui and vasthu techniques, we have a land of rising sun in here and even have an yoga exercise routine named after the Sun – Surya Namaskar.

Yet we as Asians, yours truly included, has overtime developed a pathological aversion to sunlight. We give all kind of excuses to get away from the sun – tanning, sun-burns, allergy, headaches and the list goes on.

It turns out that even in the sunny Dubai, ‘photophobia’ is prevalent. I was recently at the Doctors for routine check up and it so happens that my Vitamin D levels were less than adequate.  The only consolation was that I am not the only one, she reckons half of Dubai needs to go out in the sun more often – the only natural source of Vitamin D.

Deficiency of the Sunshine Vitamin at the very least could give you occasional moods swings or depression and at its worst can cause horrible things like diabetes and cancer. And for most part this can be cured by being in the sun for a reasonable amount of time.

In today’s ‘car to carpet’ culture it is so easy to skip the sun.  But we are missing more than outdoor fun when we choose the call of the mall over the time in the sun. As Sheryl Crow once sang, I'm gonna soak up the sun while it's still free……

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thank you

Bear with me through this unashamed act of self-promotion.

Thank you for having chosen my blog as the editor's pick of the day recently. It felt nice and made my day!

End of the commercial. Have a nice day!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Writing on the wall is fear

Sometimes I really wish that I can’t see things clearly. I mean literally, especially on weekends when my part-time help gets full-time rest. I don’t keep this is a secret, my obsessive and compulsive desire to keep everything clean are (in)famous – house and car are among my favorites. You must have figured out by now, the blindingly obvious reason why I wish for occasional opacity. 

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be far from being a cleanliness freak. While growing up, I was a constant target of my mother’s ire for not keeping my room clean. Now though, the tables have turned – my mother feels intimidated by how clinical I am when it comes to cleanliness.  Maybe it’s true what they say - that you become more like your mother when you grow up.

So when did this transformation begin? I think it was around the time I got married. I am assuming all the married women who are reading this have experienced this routine – throwing wet towels on the bed and using half the collection of kitchen utensils to make a cup of tea are just a couple of examples. After years of nagging, I managed to produce a reformed man and tidy house. But this was not going to last.

In a short span for a year and a bit, I have come down back down to reality. At just 14 months, Smera seems to taking revenge on behalf of her Grand-mother and Daddy.  Try as much as I will, she has this uncanny knack of messing things up – she truly is her Daddy’s girl, just like the way I used to be (refer to second paragraph!). I have this premonition that some day soon Smera would discover crayons and transform herself into a baby Picasso, using the white walls as her canvas and the colours to express herself.

For the obsessive compulsive cleaner in me, the writing on the wall is clear – there is going to be a lot of writing on the wall.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Italian for Dinner?

Few minutes into the journey back, our car smelled like a pizzeria.  I could recognize a delightful mix of appetizing Italian flavours and yet we were nowhere near a Pizza Hut, Papa Jones or Vapiano.  We had just been to a farm in the middle of the Arabian Desert.

A farm, none like what I’ve seen before – endless rows of Basil, Oregano, Dill, Ricotta and Parsley neatly spaced and stacked inside a greenhouse. Just like a new born, each bed of herbs are rocked, fed and cared at regular intervals. Staying with the baby analogy, each of the little herbs is kept warm with a string incandescent lights that hung just above their heads.

Let me assure you - this is not something out of a science-fiction movie, though occasionally I had to pinch myself into not thinking so. This is the magic of Hydroponics – method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. And the place that we had just been to is Emirates Hydroponics Farms in a place called Al Bahia midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

To a person like me who have grown up in a city, the farm certainly is industrial-scale and yet remarkably it maintains a small-farm-charm. And I would attribute part of that charm to the live tour given to us by the person who owns the place, Rudi Azzato.

Rudi gave us a walking tour of the farm, a crash-course in hydroponics, fielded about a hundred questions, gave us a bunch of fresh herbs (pictured above) and put up with our little one who did her best to wreck his workplace.  Thank you Rudi, you were a great host and made our day!

With my newly acquired collection of herbs, no prizes for guessing what’s for dinner at our place these days!

Post-script: If I managed to tickle your curiosity, you would be pleased to know that the Emirates Hydroponics Farms offers schools, families, & groups an educational and interesting field day trip. A fantastic learning opportunity and it is free!  You can find more details through the link below.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...