Thursday, December 27, 2012

Watching Dolphins Bathe!

It’s been one of my childhood dreams to go dolphin watching. Here in Dubai I live very close to a Dolphin park at the Atlantis hotel. For a princely sum, you could watch them up-close, swim with them and even get them to kiss you for a photo opportunity! Notwithstanding my inability to swim and unwillingness to pay, I somehow find the whole thing artificial. At least that was the excuse I gave myself for not venturing out to fulfill my childhood dream, all these years.

So I was overjoyed when we decided to go dolphin watching during our recent trip to Muscat. I would rather let you enjoy this 30 sec video than bore you with the details. Shot from the deck of the boat with a camera with no zoom – yeah it was that close, truly out of this world!

Oh before I forget, more than seeing the dolphins, Smera was fascinated at the white foam that formed around the boat as the powerful Honda engine ripped through the calm ocean. She kept leaping forward to touch the whitewater shouting ‘Mamma – Shampoo!’ Yeah it’s the dolphins bathing – said Mamma.

Video by Smera’s daddy and pictures by his brother

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Silly Saturdays: Yet another self-goal !

I speak three different languages – Hindi, English and Malayalam. It’s no secret that Malayalam is not my forte and Hindi is not my hubby’s favourite either! The trouble is, each time my mum (who is good at both, Hindi and Malayalam) is in town, there is a three-way verbal duel at home. Everything is jumbled up and some random sentences are formed with no logic.

I have one such instance for this week’s Silly Saturdays!

On a recent weekend, as we were driving back after picking mum, we instantly broke in to our monthly updates and catching up. Suddenly, the discussion took a different tangent, when I referred to the Hindi proverb “Ek anar sau bimar” when translated literately to English it reads “One pomegranate and 100 sick”. For the life of me, I can not remember the context now – anyway, to the best my knowledge; it meant one spoilt pomegranate seed and spoils the entire fruit.

Mum thought it meant one pomegranate is so priceless that it can cure 100 sick people. I was absolutely sure mum definitely wrong on this count.

However my Hubby, in his usual cerebral style, takes the discussion to a different level all together, telling us how the name originated. He further explained pomegranate derived its name from grenade. Just like when grenade blasts it breaks into small pieces, similar to the fruit once opened has many granules inside.

So I got really curious and asked Google what he thought of it. The proverb really meant “one woman and 100 suitors”.  I am however still not very happy with the explanation but I can live with it.

But what really overjoyed me is the fact the name pomegranate derives it’s origin from a Latin word 'pomum granatus' and not grenade as my husband thought! In really it is exactly the opposite. The grenade is indebted for it’s name to the fruit, because of its close resemblance to pomegranate.

Sporting a big grin on my face I went to declare victory and how he had missed the mark by a long mile. He calmly reminded the right version of events and the correct conversation syntax. It immediately hit me that I had recollected the events the wrong way around and to rub it in he asked if I needed my mum to testify as his witness.

In the hope of seeing that priceless defeated look his face, I successfully managed to fall flat on my face.

This is the edited version of the story, the original plot was to end in my favour. Just before this was to be published, as part of my victory march, I unfortunately showed the post to my hubby. He noticed the slight deviation from the actual storyline and suggested that I put the record straight. With Christmas gift at stake I didn’t want to be in his bad books! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rain, dear

I love rain! It’s one thing that I have always looked forward to every year, from the time my memory goes back.  I grew up in Delhi where temperatures in summer can soar up to an unbearable 48-49 degree Celsius. The rain comes as a saviour and also the perfect time to make paper boats walking and dancing in the rain. A true Delihite would welcome rain with chai and hot pakoras, while chai was never offered to us when we were growing up, we were compensated with a warm cup of bournvita.

Things remained same even as I grew up went to college, rain meant bunking class sitting at the canteen having coffee and hot samosas. Those were the best samosas I ever ate the, I am sure that’s in part clouded due to cherished memories from the college where I found great friends.

I have also seen the scarier side of the rains, the flash floods of 2005 in Mumbai. I was just a month old in the city, rain started to pour down heavily and I was stuck in the town with no chance of getting home to the suburbs. Life came to a standstill but even then the whole thing turned out to be a fun night with my favourite girl-friends by myside.

Divya a dear friend, who also happened to be my client working with the Tata group managed to get me and a friend a little place to sleep at Taj Palace that night. Most of the Tata group employees those got stuck were accommodated there, fun night with room of 10 or more girls chattering through the night.  After that, me and my bestie, Pinks were stuck at the company guest house for 2 nights and with no work!

Another night that same monsoon season me and Pinks walked 5 kms in the rain with no rain-gear on us to eat at a rustic restaurant Crystals in search of delicious  rajma and baigan bharta.  Drenched in rain and both of us shivering we ate like as if we had not seen food for  days, somehow the food that night made us feel as if we were home.

Cut to life post-marriage, l find myself in this desert land where thinking about rain is just being harebrained! It is not that it does not rain but maybe day or two in year. Last time we had big rains here in Dubai was maybe 4 years back!

There is another problem apart from this I am married to a guy who works for the insurance industry and the moments it starts raining his first thought would be, “there goes my bonus!”.

It’s been raining here in Dubai today and is predicted to rain over the next days too and I am secretly feeling happy. I wouldn't want to be seen hurting my husband’s feelings and so I have quietly stepped out to the nearest cafĂ© to write this post and enjoy some scrumptious food courtesy his credit card. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silly Saturdays: Earworm the home-wrecker !

It must have happened to you many times, you listen to a song and it keeps playing in your head throughout the day or if you are like me even for days. Being a mum now the song that usually runs in my head these days is “I love you, you love me, and we’re a happy family”.  This is currently my favourite, I sing this even when I am working out at the gym.  During my initial motherhood days “Wheels of the bus goes round and round” was so deeply wired that I think I could have even mumbled the song my sleep.

This is called earworm as described by the urban dictionary “A song that sticks in your mind, and will not leave no matter how much you try”.

And just as I got dressed today to head out with my hubby here is the conversation we had:

Me: How do I look?
Hubby: He looks at me then goes back to doing what he was busy with and says “Auntyji Auntyji get up and dance!”
Me: Stare at him with a big questions mark look on my face.
Hubby: Oh you look lovely, love the salwar-kameez! Sorry I heard that song this morning and it’s been running non-stop in my head.

Now the big question is which part of the answer should I believe in first or the second one! 

P.S. – To be fair to him, it me who made him listen this song on MTV’s unplugged featuring Ash King!

Image courtesy: Getty Images 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Worth taking a closer look

Tribute to a great man who still continues to inspire us in many ways. This is a recycled artwork at the Change Initiative, Dubai.  Zoom in and take a closer look :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

ComforTable and ProfiTable

You may remember from one of my earlier post, in which I expressed my secret desire for a home makeover – first on the list being my microwave. I managed to convince my husband to go for a new one but I could not make up my mind after getting lost in the myriad of options at the store. So it looks like until I make up my mind, I am going to be stuck with it for some more time.

To force my hand, I took upon the Cash Converters Idea. First get rid of the stuff and then I’ll will have to buy something.

Cash Converters buys anything that you want but the goods have to be in mint condition.  So, that’s explains why the microwave didn't go, but I went ahead and sold my 6-seater dinner table and a reclining armchair.

One fine evening the cash converters guys arrived, with a truck and without the cash (that comes later, I am told), to take it all away. My little one was a wee upset but she let them once she heard mamma was going to get a new one, a smaller 4-seater dining table.

In comes the husband in the evening, after a tiring day from, I open the door with a big smile, “you look really happy today, what happened?” he asked as walked in. “Where’s our dining table ?”, “I sold it, just as we discussed”. My husband looked really shocked and then we went back to the day I formally had taken his permission to do so, but there was problem - he didn't remember any of that, very convenient!  

My next question was “should I ask them to bring it back?” and thankfully his answer was “No”. Even he found the prospect of asking back the table from a thrift shop, tad embarrassing.

The way it works at cash converters is that every week they try their best to sell the wares. If they are successful, we split the spoils 65-35. If they are not able to sell in a week, they would slash the price by 10% and repeat it until they find a buyer.  The list price is currently Dirham 1500 – or according to my in-house financial analyst, if you are really patient and wait for a year you’ll able get it under Dirham 10!

The new dining table has arrived today. Still no word from Cash Convertors – my guess is someone has already spotted the table and is eyeing that as a Christmas present.  I hope they are not thinking of the next Christmas waiting for that elusive under-10 Dirham deal!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Silly Saturdays: A fruitful conversation

Me: Good morning Smera!
Smera: Morning mamma!
Me: Did you sleep well?
Smera: Hmm
Me: Smera you are the apple of my eyes. I love you!
Smera: Mamma banana
Me: And what about your daddy?
Smera: Daddy orange-juice!

Even she knows the family joke that I hate banana and daddy’s obsession with orange-juice!

Image courtesy:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thumbs-up to thumb-sucking?

Lot of the toddlers in Smera’s generation within my family have thumb-sucking habit. Statistically speaking, three out of the four kids in the family have or had this problem.  To be fair I am only using statistics from Smera’s paternal side of cousins.

I was not startled when Smera too found relief with this habit, whilst I was not a fan, atleast she was taking care of herself when she started teething. When relatives and others started noticing we felt the pressure of helping her to get rid of this problem. Typical sign of a parental peer pressure! We refused to bow down to it for a while – a year to be precise, but things must change now or so I thought.

I turned to internet for solution to get rid of this problem. Armed with all the google-guided knowledge, I have used multiple techniques to kick her habit – threatening, scolding, checking with her doctors, consulting other parents. Most of them tend to point to a bitter nail polish. However I was not very keen on it, as wherever I checked, the pharmacist mentioned that the child has to be at least 3 years to conduct that experiment.

During the latest of my thumb sucking anxiety bout, I walked in to a pharmacy to meet my savior. The lovely pharmacist gave me the bitter nail polish and the confidence to try it out on my little one.  I re-checked with her to make sure but was convinced with her reassuring tone ‘No problem Ma’am, this will work!’

And one day last week, I finally laid my hands on the perfect potion to cure this problem. So all excited I discussed my plans with the hubby to apply it on her thumb next morning before sending her to school. The day started on a good note, without much fuss she had her breakfast and even finished her milk, then I applied the medicine on her explaining to how it would help her.

All set we get into the car to drop her first at her school and then to meet up my friends for a coffee morning. As soon as she was buckled up in went her finger, this was the first time Smera realised what bitter taste is. A few meters into the drive everything that she ate came out, forcing me to go back to square one – home!

The problem didn’t end there, it wasn’t going to be so easy-peasy for me. God had made the prefect plan to punish me, I washed her with soap and water but the medicine did not go – it was water-resistant! Next I wanted to try the nail-polish remover but the crying child won’t even let me touch her, then I turn to but all that didn’t help either or maybe I was too hassled to even browse through the pages.

Finally I filled the bath-tub with bubbles and got her to play in the water, thankfully this trick has never failed me so far and it worked when I really wanted. While she was playing I try to scrub of her thumb with some soap and water and after good 7-8 attempts the medicine was finally gone, leaving me grounded for the day and with no coffee.

This episode left a bitter taste but gave me a chance to reflect upon things and a lesson to let go of things a little – as my wiser half says ‘Have you seen any grown ups sucking thumb ?, take it easy !’ 
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