Playing Santa in January.

Today was Samie’s last vacation day and lo ! feeling so sad that he wont be enjoying the relaxation with us from tomorrow. This vacation although was the first where we were in Dubai but it was so much fun and calming. There were no obligations, no stress, no forced shopping, and definetly no early mornings !! It was truck loads of fun.

Sam arrived rather late after picking up Eman from school and before I knew it, there were heaps of presents he bought for all of us. Okay so let me start with me, he got me this marinade tray with board, a full set of knife set AND, AND AND ………. He also bought this really handy tool box. You see sam generally offers his salat in my studio and wonders how I manage to create anything in the middle of all the  clutter and chaos in my studio. This nice man wanted to make it easy and get my space alittle organized so voila, what a lovely and thought ful gift.

Oh yeah, and the kids got something too, they love washing Sam and my car, but by the end of it, there are gallons upon gallons spend on the shower so he got them the pressure kit for washing the cars to make the chore fun and more economical for us.

Oh and how could he forget “the other” kids. Pepper has claimed the new catnip and cat scratch tray as his own. He has strongly placed it as not limit zone for poor Keiki. 

There isnt a day that passes by when I dont thank my Allah for blessing me with the most compassionate and thoughtful man. I wanted to share the pictures with you’ll.

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On the other hand, have you wondered why husbands come up with the most practical and productive gifts for their wives and where does all the romance disappear with chocolates and flowers ???

If I were one of em thankless women, I would be thinking there are vibes I am getting from these gifts like

” Lady. We need to eat more bbq meals ! 

” Get your chaos Organized. Woman !!

” Wash the car more often boys” !!

Last but the most important : Get those paws  outta my couch and into your own turf !!

 USE that scratching pad !!!!! 

But thats just the humor in me .. have to have the last laugh now 🙂

New Year’s Eve at The World’s Tallest Tower.

A Very blessed year to all of you reading this post ! 2010 came with a mixed bag of fortunate and very unfortunate events like salt and pepper but finally we can put all that behind us and move forward.

To all those of you, feeling low right now, please remember, it could be worse. Please try to see where you are fortunate in so many other ways and dont despair your situation. There is so much more we should be thankful about. Good health would have to be right there on top of that list ! Loneliness is a dread but atleast being alive and in good health is better than being with selfish and calculating companions. Please friends, Keep the faith.

Well for me the last couple of weeks were total relaxation.

A couple a good news : 

  • I won the basic grey blog candy. Which was a first for me ! If you havent won anything yet or if you have won too, you know exactly how excieting it is winning something. Especially something you really like. It may be sometime before which I receive my prize though.
  • I am cleared of my tumor which I was on treatment for over the last 6 months for. That is really “GREAT” news and a relief !!!

For the last decade we have spend every New Year eve in our home country but really felt so alienated and dependant on others becoz we really were there in our own country only as ‘visitors’ !  And finally this winter we are here and we spend the new years eve watching the fireworks at the super phenomenal Burj Khalifa ! It was just great ! Dubai was chilled cold last night. And just having the freedom to travel anywhere at any hour here, is so so great. We really are fortunate to be living in such a country without fear of carrying our national documents, or fear of being stolen, fear of not carrying enough eatables coz nearly all the petrol pumps have a fantastic grocer which is 24 hours.  Counting small pleasures. 

Here are just a couple of pictures of the celebration last night :

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Dubai Tube family has a picnic.

We’re having a 4 day long long loooooooooong weekend and We have been completely enjoying it. Its really very rare to get so many holidays one after the other. First Eid holidays and now the UAE National day weekend have really been stress relievers.

I dont think we are a very traditional or rather conventional family. I realized this truly when on Friday, I suggested that since the weather is so super fantastic, why dont we go to the beach and thats when It popped to me, that we havent had a beach visit or a park visit in like ……… forever. Maybe once when the boys were 4 or 5 ! Thats nearly 5 years back ! Why have we become such a tube family. Mom ~ tube, dad~ tube and kids~tube oriented.

Suddenly there was an urge .. a need to break the spell. Although We were getting a bit late, I decided that we just had to enjoy the cool waters. Some of these pictures speak volumes of the fun that we had this friday. It was such a bliss. Scores and scores of families were there. Some in the water, some playing with the kids, some without families,  were just roaming around aimlessly.  Probably remembering their families and hoping they were here to share the moment with them.

One thing I never understand about some particular arab states of the middle east is their need to always carry the foldable chairs and plonk themselves and their shishas to enjoy any scene. But the good thing about the locals and the GCC folks is that they would carry their beautiful carpets with them and gladly spread it over the sand and enjoy their macrona meals over it. Different people different likes.

When we were a young Indian family living the dream in Kuwait back in the 70s. We carried everything from tea flasks, to soap with us in our tiny japanese cars. I suppose thats where I get it from. I too have my Yukon  stacked up with spare blankets, sheets, pillows, jackets, water and what have you ~ at any given time.   So much has changed, we have achieved so much in terms of progress but quite a bit is lost too. Amongst one of those things is that we have lost interdependence. We are more nuclear now, we prefer to move around as a single family as opposed to how we “needed” to move around as a group of families, dining together as “middle class restaurants” ~ far far from the reach of today’s fast food restaurants,  we found joy in sharing the hot homemade tea’s in thermos’s rather than hoping over to any one of the Eppco/Enoc fuel stations to grab a costa with some fuel ! All cars ran religiously behind one another and if one had a pit stop for the kids to answer the call of nature., everyone would wait coz there were no mobiles to communicate, remember !  And there were no bathrooms either 🙂

 For the older folks, it must be quite a change and they must never end with lines like,” back in our days . . . . . .  .”

 I am fine with whatever, I dont miss much, I am happy as long as “WE” are happy and having fun. To be very honest, I think life is so much more convenient now compared to then when mom used to spend half the night preparing for the picnic and a large part of the early morning packing everything.  It must’ave been so stressful but the women folk would do it ~ they’d do it for the family. If anyone has seen the movie “NAMESAKE” He understands what I mean and if you have not seen this movie, then grab a copy of the dvd at the earliest.

I broke the spell and absolutely enjoyed running, collecting shells, making a complete utter mess in the mud fight, making sand angels and just generally swimming around freely in the beautiful beach. 

By the time, the boys were ready to leave, it was nearly dusk and what a spectacular view we got, on one end, stood the gorgeous Burj Al Arab, and behind us was the magnificient Burj Khalifa. The shots, I got, are nothing short of amazing.

Lessons from 2010 ~ part 2.

Just a day before we had sam admitted for the operation. Twas Bilal's birthday.11 May 2010

Two days after Sam’s surgery, he was still in the ICU. I needed to stay close to him so I slept for a couple of hours in the common ladies waiting room in the night and kept waiting for the visiting hours the rest of the time. I had not visited the kids the first 5 days. There was a large, safe and clean cafeteria which was 24 hours so really almost all my immediate needs were taken care of.  Needlessto say, I hardly slept. I would be seen prowling constantly infront of the ICU, waiting for visiting hours to begin.

Most of the security guards and cleaners and nurses had come to know me very well by now. And one thing I was asked several times, is how I managed to keep so composed ! I remember, a distant friend of mine called once and tried to console me briefly; becoz she did not know all the details, she almost made me feel, “like its not the end of the world”.

It took a whole lot of patience and maturance to not snap back at her. Perhaps my state of mind and patience was already stretched beyond its capacity and here, I had someone telling me, that it could’nt be all the bad !! I must have been alittle sharp in my tone, although I said nothing offensive. This friend came all the way from Dubai to check up on Sam in the evening while I was in the cafeteria. By the time I returned, She had already seen  Sam.  She came over to me and just broke down in tears.   Human emotions are fragile. I learnt just how very fragile.  I found myself consoling her that evening !!

During those first 2 weeks, my telephone was flooded with calls. Calls from abroad, local calls, dozens of sms’s. At some stage, I almost felt like a telephone operator and at some other times, like telephone voice message. I nearly detested it having to answer the calls and repeat the same updates over and over !  Most of the calls that came from Sam’s friends had a similar feel to it.

It went something like this :

“How did this happen ?

” “Why did’nt he tell us ?”

 “I found out thru so and so ”

“How did you’ll diagnose it ?”

“Why dont you get it done in India?”

“Let me know if you need anything ”

Duh !!! As if !!!!!!! I realized that we should be careful in what we say to a person when he going thru an ordeal especially one which involves health. He sits there feeling “how would you know, you dont have this problem” while we ask all the silly questions and even offer our unwanted advice !!

Nobody really knows whats going thru the mind of a person sinking in his boat except he himself !! so why pretend to have answers. But I suppose its a polite etiquette or ritual to do so !!!

Trying so hard to ease his pain... young sawaab

In all of Sam’s friends, there was only one guy whom he has disclosed his condition to, and also explained in detail about the operation.  Instead of making the effort of being around with us, he calls two days later wanting to know how things were !!! His wife had the audacity to state that 8 months back, when she was in India where her mother was sick, We didnt call on her in India, we just visited her hubby here !!! Thats friendship for you.

I learnt that encouragement, support and compassion does not necessarily come from those whom we know for sure will show it. Many a times, there can be a big disappointment. And many a times, it can come from a totally unexpected corner !! Therefore, its best to pin hopes only from Allah swt. He is the creator, he will create a way. . .

The lesser your expectation, the better chance you’ve got a solid relationship !! In all honesty, I dont believe in what I just said.     How can one not have expectations from someone you speak to virtually everyday ??? Someone whom you share your domestic secrets and office hassels ???

I realized now, that someone going thru trauma, doesnt need our silly superficial talks, he just needs genuine concern and someone who can listen and perhaps understand. Not judge. Never Judge !

I’ve learnt that Health, Wealth and children are a man’s biggest assets and they are also his biggest weakness too. He is most vulnerable when there is a deficiency in either his health or his wealth and if his children are away or hurt.

On the left is samie's surgeon, Dr Ziani and on the right is Dr ousama at Sheikh Khailifa Medical city.

I also learnt that what ever our sickness is, the two extreme way approach is not really the best.

Either we focus on the sickness so much that all our positive energy is drained and we’re completly touchy and depressed all the time.

On the other hand, completly living in denial and trying to carry on with life as though nothing has happened is not going to take us anywhere too.

When a disease strikes, it is a way of the body responding and telling us that something wrong is happening. why ignore and live in denial that alls well. We have to make positive changes to cure our problem.

Earlier I never stopped sam from the quantity he ate, or the amount of his salt intake, or from munching those                in-between snacks or hogging on all those nihari’s and ghee smothered parathas !! How much could our body take ?? Naturally we made changes. How could we not ??

I’ve also learnt that staying in a hospital, no matter how plush and sophisticated it is, can be quiet a sad and lonely experience. There’s a reason why Muslims have a sunnah, which is to visit the sick and that too it states, how and for how long should the visit last and what should be spoken off when visiting.

While we were transfered to the private room from the ICU, a bunch of volunteers had organized an hour program for the long staying patients of the hospital. They got out their guitars and sang lovely songs, some played board games and some card games. It was so refreshing to see the smiles on the elderly patients, who had, by now, gotten so used to staying over long periods of isolation ! 

A visit to the hospital can really make a great difference in the life of the patient and it makes us realize how fortunate we are for being blessed with good health too. we may feel, what good would a single short visit from us do for a patient, what we probably dont realize is how he/she may not have had seen family, friends or relatives for so long and a short talk with them may make them feel “wanted” or “not forgotten”  Try it, you’ll know what I mean.

This post was not supposed to get long, but perhaps I “Have” learnt quite a bit. I really hope, what I have learnt from my experience helps you to make even one single change in your life.

Come back to read the 3rd Part of “lessons from 2010”

Diamonds, Pearls and a woman’s body.

Diamonds And Pearls

The following incident took place when Muhammed Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that are not modest. Here is the story as told in detail by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sent me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said,

 “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

Chore Chart ~ Rule of the game.

In preparation for the holidays, we had done a few “rules list”. We had it printed and pasted. It is really the usual kinda list that helps children focus with what needs to be done instead of ‘expecting’ them to do the “right ” thing when they dont know whats to be done.

I have realized, often we ‘assume’ that the child will understand, but we forget that we take it for granted at age 35+ but the kids are still only 9 yrs and how much did we understand at that age ??  Children need to be given specific tasks.

SCENARIO 1:

Example, when I ask the boys to clean up their room. As much as they would really want to, they attentively go back in and start playing with the first toy that they are supposed to pick from the floor … and another 2 hours later, the same scenario is repeated !

THEREFORE SCENARIO 2:

However, when I yell out,

sawaab – all toys from the floor to be placed in the baskets .

Eman, all clothes in the laundry bin

Bilal, make all beds …

The effect is Immediate and extraordinary.

Sam always says the same thing to the boys, clean the lounge room and they look around thinking, the louge room already looks great.  However when they are given specific instructions, and assigned chores, it makes more sense, not to mention productivity hits great heights.

eg: Eman, pick all wrappers and throw in the trash bin

Bilal : tidy the dining table & do the cushions on the couch ..

Sawaab : Vaccum the carpet  

Voila .. we sit back and reap the many benefits of having a chore chart ..

Oh and by the way, I dont wear horns on my head, not that, ‘THAT’ stops my boys from hating me for it. Hey they do get their ice creams and playstation time after all that effort is put in !

Kids rule !

FLIGHT CONVERSATION WITH A KID…

A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane when the stranger turned to her and said, ‘Let’s talk. I’ve heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.’

The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, ‘What would you like to talk about?’

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ said the stranger. ‘How about nuclear power?’ and he smiles.

‘OK, ‘ she said. ‘That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass -Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?’

The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, ‘Hmmm, I have no idea.’
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To which the little girl replies, ‘Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don’t know shit?