In the Newspapers.

One of the many things great about living in a community is the “feeling” of belonging, of being a part of the community. One of our proactive residents at the Ranches, has started a blog directory for all the business women in Arabian Ranches. She’s been very enthusiastic and worked very hard to get everyone involved in providing services or exhibiting their talents, into this directory.  What an innovative idea… isn’t it ?

There are few women, who are involved in fashion wear, or accessories, party organizing, jewellry, gifts and handmade stuff. It is, now, so convenient to know exactly,  who is planning what event,  rather than having to go two highways away to pick a special gift !  We now have the information right under our nose and thats just brilliant. Its always that one person who is ready to carry the baton, claim the baton and in this case, pick the baton, that makes all the difference. And for the Ranches, its Clemintina.

Two weeks back, we were interviewed by Express times of Gulf news and finally, the feature appeared in last Thursday’s newspaper. Its such a delight ! I suppose there are several ways of being featured in the Newspaper, unfortunetly one of the many being, in the obituary or having done some thing obsene like straus kahn. But I’m glad in my lifetime, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by City 7 for a 15 minutes programe and now, I got a chance to have my mug in the newspaper and all for good reasons !!! Alhamduallah.

Here is the link :-

Please visit this link, to read what we had to say, here.

Also, here is our blog directory : Business Women of Arabian Ranches.

Thank you for visiting me today. So glad you dropped by.

Naush

To change or Not to change.

Having lived in the MiddleEast all my life, I have often questioned my own identity.  Sometimes I have to convince myself and look deeper into my roots. The Gulf countries have been our “foster” homes for decades and decades. As much as we have put into them, they have equally benefitted us. It is a foster home, but just how prepared are we, to actually accept our foster home regulations ? 

I can almost never include Dubai as a part of the “rest of the middle east” region. The similarities end with the topography, geography, climate, roads, road signs, bridges, building structures, language, national dress and thats that.  Dubai has been more “accepting” in nature. The local people have opened doors and opened arms to embrace us. Perhaps, more than they should. There are, however  “those differences” between them and the rest,  that really bothers. The difference between the rest and here, is that two most “sinful” things are permitted to be sold over here, which I patiently hope and pray would be abolished inshallah.  

Some more similarities : The joys of hearing the Adhaan at every prescribed time in every corner of the country, the deserted streets at the time of Iftaar in Ramadhan, the fact that every public toilet is equipped with water for istanjah, the freedom of not having to justify being a muslim are just a few of the key points I love about being here.  Dubai pampers us. Us, the expat and us the local community.

However when we came here over 2 decades back, things were not as “naked” as they are … there were’nt so many radio channels “questioning and almost mocking authority” … … .. there was genuine respect for the culture. Radio channels and tv channels, interrupted for the Adhaan break. Today, even the malls dont bother to run the adhaan audio at the prescribed times.  People refrained from eating in Ramadhan becoz they cared for their muslim fellow collegues or friends. Today, lavish iftaar parties are hosted by corporates but if one of the employees keeps a beard, he is easily and totally “targetted on the hit list” as being a “fundamentalist”.  People disregard “Ramadhan courtesies” ~ People conveniently eat and drink on the roads etc without any regard for the authorities.   Non muslims take advantage of the short working hours, eat openly during office meetings infront of muslim fasting collegues and still, grumble that they are inconvienced by the Ramadhan routines !!!

It saddens me to see that inspite the malls displaying graphic images of proper dress code for women, still they conveniently violate rules, “baring” the skin even in winters as a common practise. Do I think, there should be some pressure from the authorities ? Absolutely.

Opening doors, does not constitute dumping our culture from the back door. Why do the visitors forget that we are “VISITORS” ?? Surely no one goes to Spain or Holland and asks them to change their laws to suit our needs ??? Why do the visitors forget that we are in a “rulership state” ~ why does shariah bother them so much ?  Why do you feel democracy is the only answer ? When did Prophet Mohammed sallallahu alaiha wa salam and his believers accept democracy?  Democracy is only a way of getting a bunch of people to set rules for the rest of us to follow. Who is to question them, once they are in power ? Did anyone question George Bush ?  Why should rules that have been laid down from 1400 years back, become “primitive or backward or barbaric ” ?? Anyone knowing that the repercussions of rape would be death by hanging or gunfire, would think, atleast 10 times before commiting it.

It depresses me to see how westerners try to “influence” the culture here. 

One of the main areas of concern to them is that, the laws are strict !!!!! If only they had been to “proper”  Muslim states, they would then know just how liberal Dubai really, is.

We have noted a trend in friends who come here from Europe and Uk, initially they are super excieted and privileged with their jobs coz they benefit with their average education into cushy top notch positions. A sudden influx of luxuries follows, villas in elite properties, four wheel drives for the missus, a maid at hand, and ofcourse, nothing but the best bars and yachts for weekdays and weekends… Life is good indeed. Until, they realize that the color of skin has alot to do with their privileges rather than their qualifications.  I have seen friends who suddenly turn all “thats Dubai for you”  ~or ~ “Only in Dubai”  ~ whether it be, the traffic on sheikh Zayed road or the road safety practises or treatment of maids etc, until, they get so accustomed to being pampered, that alittle inconvenience becomes a statement followed by “thats Dubai for you” ~ they tend to forget where they come from and accept that every place has downfalls.  There is so much generalization and narrow mindedness on their part, that it is totally annoying just to read anything from them in “letter to editor” section of the newspaper especially in 7 days, which tends to add fuel to the whole attitude.

“We” make choices. Thats the choice we made to be a part of the system here. Then I fail to understand, why try to change that system ? Becoz it doesnt suit your convenience or ideals ??? In any case, you should be the one making the change coz you are the one who made the choice to stay here. Remember, there were no guns pointed at you to come here, no one really “forced” you. Its all about the choices “you” made. so while you have made the choice, it would be “ideal” for your own conscience and that of the others, that you learned to praise the candle instead of curing the dark. Learn to respect what you have, rather than constantly whining coz you have nothing else to do !!

A fun July weekend.

July is always a month of celebration in our household. Not only is it celebration coz school’s out, but coz we have 3 huge occasions. Sam and I took our vows on 5th. I was born on 16th, and sawaab, our middle man, arrived in this world on 29th !! Now how special does it get than that ! 

We dont celebrate birthdays etc so last weekend, we took the boys out for movies at Mall Of the Emirates. Yep, its the Transformers part3. I’m not exactly a great fan of 3D, but it was shocking to see that the place was swarming with people. All seats were being sold like hot cakes. So we just had the 3D ones available. Its been ages since we saw a movie and eversince the boys, we’ve only seen the Toy story or Terminator kinda ones !! May be one of these days, we’ll just sneak into one of the Indian movies leaving the boys with their bazookas and car stunts in their theater ! May be, who knows ! Not that, that they’d miss us anyways 🙂

Ok, so back to Transformers. The movie was good. There’s a term we use in slang hindi for a movie as such “paisa wasool” which means, the movie was worth every penny. Ofcourse I love GM cars and the corvettes and cadillacs were simply amazing. The stunts and graphics were mind blowing. Watching in 3D also kinda made it more “REAL”.  We had a blast with the movie and annoyingly I was the one, super excietedly saying awesome or wow or whatever when the stunts took place, while Bilal was simply glued to the movie with ONE expression ~   Talk about being childish 🙂

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Oh yeah, the boys had been craving for some Dubai ski fun, and its really been a long long time since their last visit so we decided to drop them over there too. Now for all those of you who may be interested. There’s a superpass available at Dubai Ski for dhs 200, which gives the child 4 of the major attractions in addition to the snow park. I think, it was totally worth it. The boys could not have enough fun.

They were too tired to go else where for a meal so we settled for chinese in the food court on the first floor. Wow, I was totally exhausted by the time we were home. But amazingly the boys just got so fresh once we were back home, Jumping into their study (I call it gizmo cav, these days) rushing to switch on their computers and PS2 and back to tapping keys and rocking joysticks and whatever till the wee hours of the night ! What I would’nt give to have that kinda energy !

I’m so glad that the summer is going smooth with their swimming and their guy friends visiting us frequently. Every year, I get stressed before the summer holidays worrying what i have to plan for the boys, to keep them occupied. This is the very first year, when they have taken charge of what they’d like to do and I think, they are enjoying it and I think, thats all that counts.

See ya folks ! Hope you all are enjoying you summers too.

Flea Markets in Dubai

Actually, its rather the lack of flea Markets in Dubai !!
 
I know, some of you may have totally different opinions about friends and making “real” friends in the blogosphere, but I have been fortunate enough to have bumped into some very thoughtful and creative friends thru the blog world. Its always a joy when you “meet” someone who is practical, creative, has the same hobby as yourself, and is a mom ! One such friend and I, have been enjoying exchanging a bunch of links.  What links ? you ask ? 
 
Well, one of the most fullfilling feeling I get, is when I see an old piece of furniture get a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric to cover up old spoils. Things like how you can reuse, recycle or refurbish a room are abosolute joys to me. I used to virtually spend hours dug in, links into links into links ~ lost in a beautiful world where common people like myself are making a difference, one object at a time. One such fantastic site is :http://betterafter.blogspot.com/ Amazing transformations here.
      
(This transformation is an absolute joy from “three boys“. Kindly follow the link to view the other amazing projects too. )
                                            
And another one of those “viewing” passions, is the Flea Markets in America.  Its amazing to visit just a few of them on the web and feel so enchanted by the vast variety of different period furniture, clothes, suitcases, antiques and what not.  It is a such an eye candy just visiting those booths with a cocktail of items from jewellry to boots to a swing !
                                             
In Dubai however, things are different. Being a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages and traditions, people of different mentalities feel certain inhibitions towards using second hand stuff. There is a large population of labourers and maids from India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philipines, indonesia, Ethopia and a few other countries too.  Then there are the clerical workers, mostly Asians again but not very handsomely paid for their 6 days a week, 10 hour a day job ! If anything, such sales would benefit them the most.
 
One of the most generous groups of people in Dubai are the super affluent locals (Emarati’s), who would generally handover their clothes and accessories to their drivers and maids, while the furniture is traditionally changed every year and the old ones are simply “dumped”. Thats right, you read it right, dumped by the dumpster !  They would generally consider it below their dignity to sell it in the second hand market. 
 
There is a large second hand market in Dubai which caters to mainly furniture goods. Some of the shops in Karama are the favorite haunts for new lower income asians to pick their furniture from. One of the things I love about Dubai ~ theres a place for everyone to find what they’re looking for, be it food, accomodation, grocery or clothes.
 
Ofcourse the advent of “Foreigners” ~ aka Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders did bring about the concept of garage sale or yard sales in Dubai. What with ads for garage sales in the Jumeirah and Mirdiff areas in the 1990s and ofcourse with the boom of the property era, areas like the Greens, Marina, Lakes, Arabian Ranches, falcon city ~ have all followed the traditional annual spring cleaning followed by garage sales. These sales are generally community based run by word of mouth or a flyer on the community market notice board or an advert in the local classified section of Gulf News.  They are so popular especially coz nearly everyone is benefiting from them.
 
Our Arabian Ranches Market Day is a huge hit, and you’d find everyone selling and buying toys, clothes, shoes, stuff, that kids have outgrown, or lost interest in, grown up, and sometimes, even unwanted “gifts” !!  People from all walks of life, are seen buzily buying and enjoying the family time together becoz the management sets the school ground as a family day park  for the residents, putting up food stalls and bouncing castles for the children.
                                                              
                                            
For a long period of time, The Feline Friends garage sale was hugely popular. You had people lining up from early hours of a friday morning in the sultry heat, hours before the gates opened at the factory outlet in Al Quoz where they would temporarily pile up heaps and heaps of clothes, toys, shoes, furniture, house decor and so much much more into a dozens of mini mountains. Word spread amongst the labour community and these became very popular. With designer trousers going for dhs 1 !!!!! why wouldnt it !
Now these sales are a rare event in some villa courtyard in Al Barsha, maybe once every couple of months but definetly nowhere close to the amount of stuff and crowd as it used to attract before.
 
                                        
I have been an ardent visitor to the FF Garage sales. It gives me tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have not blown away 3 workers salary on a single branded handbag or an entire years salary of one labour on a pair of branded sandals !! Its truly a joy, knowing your putting in your bit by trying to recylcle and reuse. For whatever reason, those sales are not held anymore, unfortunetly.
 
Generally folks living in villa’s, leaving the country for good, would initially give away most of the things to their maids and helpers and sometimes put up a “Leaving Country” sale. If your lucky, you could hit jackpot. Years back, I remember, I heard of one such sale from a friend of a friend of one Mary who was then running the scrapbookers network in Dubai and when she was leaving her house she put up a sale,  although I was late in attending it, I remember, feeling like I was in a crafters paradise !!!!  
For someone who was looking for clothes, purses and cooking utensils, her crafters scrapbooks or rubberstamps would’ve meant zilch, but to someone who saves for every copic marker, it was BIG !!
 
You’d be amazed at what is seen lying in the bylanes of Umm Sequeim or Jumeirah or Nad Al Sheeba !! To the westerner who cannot even come close to imagining, to what extent the Rich are Rich here, a close up of their garbage bins, is a good place to begin from 🙂
                                         
I remember, in the 2008 economic melt down, we remember, seeing a group of maids rumaging thru a heap of garbage bags in one of the communities of Ranches. On a closer look, I saw one of the maids toss a handbag behind which I recognized was a PRADA. No not the fake ones. Having been gifted the original thing, I knew how to differentiate them.  There were 11 such designer bags in that garbage bag !!!!!!!!   There were several such garbage bags scattered everywhere…  Naturally, they belonged to some filthy rich but unfortunate lady,  who had to leave the country in haste lest she get stuck in the jail for defaulting on her bank loan payments, decided Prada was not worth her freedom !
I was super happy some time back, when they started a flea market, in Safa Park, jumeirah. In the summers, they kept it in the adjacent school auditorium and it was attracting a crowd and people were leaving happy with their shoppings and vendors were not too unhappy too with their sales. It is a good platform. Unfortunetly, I feel they have not really marketted themselves well and I feel, alot of vendors are now bringing stuff from India etc trying to sell it there. Not alot of people are aware of them in the different areas of Dubai. Look them up here at : Dubai Flea Market. Dubai Flea Market
 
I know, there is one store in a small mall in Satwa, where ladies (the super rich class )  who if they wish to give away their “Original & Only Designer ” handbags, scarves, accessories etc can put them up there and they sell them for a relatively good price instead of dumping them in the bin. Imagine a Versace or a Channel, visiting something close to the dump !! Criminal, isnt it ????
 
In my experience, I have found, one good option in selling and buying second hand goods in Dubai is Dubizzle. Thats an online market, where, you just register without having to pay any fees. I have sold my ikea egg chair and a fax machine thru dubizzle and was amazed by the spontaneous response, I got. I never thought it was so popular but I suppose, online shopping has finally caught up in Dubai.
                                        10.1 Flea market,Athens
 
Ofcourse for those of you, who are interested in a good reading, dont forget to join the second hand books fair, that feline friends hold with the Arte Market at Times Square. Imagine a good book, and the proceeds goes in the upkeep and the feline neutering programe.
 
I still feel, there is a huge market here for selling used goods, not necessarily for workers but there are so many many, low income families who would benefit too. Having a proper flea market could and would answer alot of problems. Its a way, in which your trash is going to benefit someone. A hole in a sweater may mean a good bye from you, but for someone who decides that a 20 dhs sweater may be too steep a price,  would be overjoyed to have yours for free or even if it is for dhs 1 or 2 !! Please remember, what you give, (eventually after completing the whole circle) , returns to you.  
 
If you have enjoyed this article or benefitted from it, kindly leave a comment. I would appreciate it alot.
 
Naush
 
Photograpsh: courtesy Google Images.