Friday, May 15, 2009

A bit of this and that...

I've been away for a long time (the whole of April infact) and it was touching to know you all missed me :)

Things have been a bit hectic lately, with us starting a new venture and then travelling etc etc. So I though I'll brief you up with some stuff that I've been going through this month...

My saga on hiring continues. Only this time I have managed to interview a candidate in her car! She couldn't find a parking so I she invited m to interview her in her car. This one surely goes in the list of my "memorable" interviews. (Wonder how/what one would say about such a case. What would you have done if you were in my place?)
Went to Mumbai for a couple of days and back. It was a great trip and well the weather was as bad as it is in Dubai. Rather Dubai is getting worse with the temperature soaring up to 40 degrees this week!

Our new office is going to be quite far from home so I am looking at shifting homes. It's been on the cards for a while now but I guess we are looking out more seriously now. It is a tough task finding the right place, at the right distance, at the right price - but I am looking the experience. At least till now. With the real estate market being down, we hope to be able to secure a good place. Keeping our fingers crossed!

Following IPL and the Indian Elections lately. A new blog that I have been following regularly is the Fake IPL Player. It has become a must-read for me after every game - especially if KKR was playing (or should I say losing once again ;)). And it was dissappointing to know that Mumbai had the poorest turnout this time - only 41%!! I mean after the Mumbai attacks in November, what was all that "enough is enough" campaign, and gatherings at Gateway of India for?? So many citizens writing about it, protesting on the TV, Radio etc etc, but hardly anyone turned up for voting! A long holiday with family was more important or staying at home in A/C took precedance over voting! Many people said they didn't like any candidate - so then go and chose "No One" - but don't give up your right to vote! I mean this was one concrete action they could take but did not - how can you blame anyone else ever again??

I have also been reading your blogs off and on. I am so happy Shalom is pregnant - Congratulations Shalom :), Goofy Mumma returned from her trip loooong back but I haven't written to her as yet. Hey GM I'll be heading over to your blog right away. Renu was in Switzerland (are you back?) and Mumbai Diva stopped gymming. Just a Mother of two is running a blog marathon, while Agnes is travelling yet again. Nancy met a friend who bared her soul with her. Really sad for Mishy's loss. Don't have words to console her...

Now I am heading over to your blogs to catch up on what's been happening in your lives. I might not write as often for the next couple of days, but will surely try and read all your posts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rain Rain Come Again Another Day

Rain rain go away
Come again another day
Little Johnny wants to play
Rain rain go away...

Can't help but remember this poem from school, which we would say everytime it rained. Only unlike little Johnny, I love the rains...The weather has been lovely since the past couple of days and I HAD to go on a I did. Here are some pics for you to see...And Agnes Georgia looks lovely, and you inspired me to get clicking on my iphone today :)

This is the Jumeirah Beach Road where we stopped for a Chocolate fondant with ice cream...yummm...

In the car...
Yes you guessed it right...that's my friend with her freshly done pedicure...:)
View from my chair

Monday, March 16, 2009

Funny Times

Have you ever tried to make fun of someone and in the process start doing that very thing you joked about? It happens to me all the time.

After watching Javed Jaffery flaunting his English by adding a "the" in front of every word and pluralising them too - I soon picked up the lingo. So much so, that my sis and I would only talk in that way. Soon we found out that there are many more fans of this dialect and before I knew, I was interacting with all my cousins and relatives in that dialect! (I prefer to call it a dialect, cos it is a grammatically incorrect variation of the language, spoken by few people in a region - my cousins and close family in this case ;) )

Me: The Bhens! (well bhen - sister - has another on and you will know)
The Bhen: The bhens. How are yous? Where is the Rs? (R-hubby)
Me: He is the sleepings. so on it went

...till R put a stop to it taht is. He hated me speak wrong english (he still does, and I guess thanks to him I have kept many more such variations out of my language!). And well the habit was cathcing on. I found it difficult to not speak that way. Many a times in important meetings, I had to really stop myself from blurting in "the" language!

As for the bhens story, it started long years back. Back in India, the girls going to a hindi medium school would call their friends and other girls 'behen' (sister). Now there's nothing wrong with it, but when we were younger, we found it hilarious the way they referred to their friends. Guess it was the tone and style of talking that we tried to imitate...and no prizes for guessing, I call my sis Bhen and she calls me the same!

Then there is an acquaintance who pronounces a fish as a fis. There is no sound of "sh". I found it hilarious and even laughed on his face. I thought he was joking with me and we shared the same thoughts! Little did I know that he actually calls it "fis"!! And this same man, in the same conversation called "chop" as "chaap". You can imagine what I went through...From then on, I would call fish a "fis" and chop and "chaap"...till hubby put a stop to this too.

Then again there was a neighbour's house help, who would come and knock at her door in the evening. He had the most feeble voice and hand strength I have ever known. He would continue knocking and calling his boss to open the door for atleast an hour everyday. She did not have a doorbell for some time, and well this much time was enough for us to once again catch on the knocking-calling-scene and enact it everyday. Sadly hubby was nowhere in the scene at this time, so this habit of copying him went on for a looong time...

During my wedding time, we (my sis, cousins and I) were aghast to see one of hubby's relative dancing in the weirdest possible manner. It was our function and hubby and I had to be nice and clap for her, but instead I put my back to her and laughed my heart out. I am still laughing as I remember that incident. Once again, as soon as we reached home, there was a "practice" session for all of us. That dance became so popluar during our wedding time, that we even line danced on it for a special audience for another cousin's wedding. This time hubby joked along with us and he loved the performance...

As I write this post, I can't help but wonder - is it just me or you all do similar stuff as well?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Green Veggies Anyone?

I went to a supermarket today. To a supermarket which I had never stepped into till last month. I have lived here for almost 8 years now and was probably one of the rare variety of species who never visited this Indian supermarket! And must I say, I was so proud of not stepping into that boring, messy,cheap place?!(Yes I was a judgemental). Till someone told me how nice the place is, how good the vegetables are and that how she drives 30km. just to come to this store which is at a disctance of 3 kms from my house! So you see the power of "word of mouth"? (Well more about it in the next post!).

As I stepped into the store, I saw green vegetables. Every possible Indian vegetable - neatly arranged for you to pick and choose. Long green bhindis (okra), peas, borcolli, spinach, methi (fenugreek), dill, coriander...everything! I got so excited! I know I might be sounding stupid here but I have to admit I get a high when do grocery shopping now!!

As an unmarried girl, I would get so impatient with my mom when she would stop the car if she found a vegetable guy selling good gobhis(or any other veg for that matter)!! She would stop and move from one hawker to the other, chosing and haggling all the way. To top it all, the driver would be as excited as her and guide her on the way - whenever she missed a hawker!

*"Auntyji papita 10 rupaiy kilo mil raha hai yahan par"
"Nahin woh ghar par thele wala 8 rupaiy me de gaya hai aaj"
After a short distance...
"Auntyji aam acchey rakhen hain yahan. Dekengi?"
(It was as if he was getting a cut from those sellers and he would'nt stop enticing her till she stopped!!)
(Another reason why I wouldn't drive her around. If I drove my condition was clear - the car would not stop anywhere mid-way! She agreed most of the times, but well she still made me stop everytime!! That's what moms are made of you see:))
This would go on till my mom would finally decide that something is actually cheap and good. Then the haggling would start and I would lose my patience. I would want to go home at the earliest so that I can do something better like watch TV, listen to music or talk to a friend on phone...
Life has changed in so many ways. Not that I regret it or anything - in fact I enjoy it much more than I ever did. But sometimes you remember old times and small things in life which bring a smile to your face. Today is one of those days. I mean literally - I was smiling and shopping. Guess the guys over there thought I am one lunatic woman! Or maybe they didn't...they were too busy working to notice me smiling away to glory...
Now I truly understand the thrill my mom would get from grocery shopping :)
*Aunty (that's how he referred my mom) papaya is for Rs.10 over here"
"No the hawker at home gave it for Rs.8" (In india most people buy from hawkers who come home to sell the veggies))
After a short distance...
"Aunty the mangoes are good here. Do you want to see?"

Pic Credit

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some *Gyaan!!

When I started this blog, I named it media-wedia. Since online media is my line of work, I thought this would be a good extension to it. But I have been writing about everything but online media till now! So now I have decided to share some knowledge every now and then. Hope you enjoy it :)

Over time I have met many people and discovered that they want to develop a website but do not understand the importance or otherwise for it. They like the idea of having a website but do not know why they want it. For most of them they want it because everyone else has it and it looks good on a card! Makes the company feel big. It is true to a certain extent - every company worth its salt has a decent website nowadays. But there is more to it than that. To start with, it can be a medium to brand your products/services, a way to interact with your customers, provide customer service, customer support and have a global reach. A website can be one of the following kinds:

A coporate website to represent what the company does, it's location etc. This is an extension of a brick and mortar company to the online world. Typically such a site would have just enough information about the company, its services and contact numbers. It is mostly static with no interaction with the user. But now more and more companies make it interactive so that they can provide technical support and customer service to their customers. If you notice, most electronics and IT companies put up their product manuals, and other support knowledge-base online. So whether you need to download an application, a driver for installation, or need help assembling or operating your product, help is at hand - online. It cuts down on the repetitive work done by support people and they get to deal with only desperate cases! These websites can also be used to extend the services online where a customer can purchase the product without having to visit the store physically.

Then we have websites which have no link in the physical world. The whole business model revolves around this website alone. Such websites can be content based which earn revenue through advertising. Or it can be a product/service based website which earns revenue by selling something online (ecommerce).

There are many options available to a consumer and it takes some time to match the wants and needs with their budgets. Some answers one should know before proceeding are - what do I want to achieve with this website? Do I want to sell online? Who will benefit from my site? How will it add value to my business/work? How much time and resources are available to build such a website? Will I have someone who would update it for me? What is the skill level of thes people.

The last two points are very important because if you make a site which needs constant updation/inputs from your end, and no one is allotted to do so, it is a waste of money and efforts put in to make such a system. Everyone wants to have the most modern and interactive site - but if the site is not updated in a timely manner it doesn't help the business.

Then we also have the social and business networking sites which are gaining fast momentum as a medium for marketing your products etc. This is a very interesting topic and I would defnitely share some knowledge about it in the near future.

Tell me what has been your experience while building a site? (I'm sure most of you would have made/got one made at some point of time...) Did you eventually get what you wanted?

*Gyaan: Knowledge

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Randomness Tag

I got tagged by Goofy Mumma. And I must admit I was wanting to do this one. So here I go with some random things about me. But before that, here are the rules.

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

  1. My husband is my biggest motivatorBut and critic. I hate him as much when he criticises, as I love him when he encourages me.
  2. I am paranoid that my kids would feel I don't understand them. That I am of another generation - just like I thought of my mom!
  3. I get bored of things easily. My favourite dialogue? "I'm bored"!
  4. I love going for long drives esp when it's cloudy or raining.
  5. I looove amount of buying can ever satisfy this want for me.
  6. I want to travel the world-not in one go-but one place at a time.
  7. Big groups make me uncomfortable. I enjoy it more when fewer people are around.
  8. My husband and my brother are the most important men in my life.
  9. I am a spoilt brat. Spoilt by my mom, sister, brother and now by R my hubby.
  10. When I was young I argued a lot. So my dad would say he will make me a lawyer when I grow up. This is one of the few things I remember of him.
  11. If there is a song playing, I have to - just have to - sing along.
  12. I tend to remember the lyrics of almost all the songs I hear. Funnily I cannot say the same for everything else I do :(
  13. Everytime we sisters get together, we sing our old favourites together - including hymns we learnt in school and the school anthem!
  14. When I was young, I had a diary where I wrote all quotes and lyrics for songs. Yes I would rewind and rewind a song, till I got all the lyrics. Then sing along reading from my diary! (I still have this diary with me)
  15. I can laugh at the silliest of comedies. In fact I love Govinda/Salman type stupid comedy.
  16. My siblings would tease me that I am not their sister and that they found me in a "kude ka dibba" (Dust bin)!!! And I would believe them!
  17. If I don't like you, you will know it.
  18. I cannot flatter someone - even when the situation demands me to.
  19. Life for me is made up of colours. Without colours everything is boring! (see here I go with the boring bit)
  20. Most of the time I have to work really hard to get what I want. But at times things come so easily that I wonder if I am lucky or not?
  21. I find it very hard to make money. But when I gamble I always do-very easily!
  22. I am usually an independant thinker.
  23. I have too many questions when I go for a spiritual meet. (So I refrain from going for one). One such question which I have not got an answer for is : What happens to people who marry again? In the next birth do they get married to the first spouse or the second? (Hindus believe that a marriage lasts for 7 lives.)
  24. I am crazy about houses. I can remeber their sizes, layouts and any such detail about it.
  25. I would like to learn dancing cos I suck at it.

And now I look forward to reading a bit more about you all:

Mampi, My Space, Nisha, Renu, Chammak Challo, Agnes, Mumbai Diva, Bum Bum Bhole, Piper, Shalom

PS: Happy Valentines' Day to you all :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recession Depression?

I have gotten very busy with work and that takes up most of my time. Everyday I decide I want to write a post and read some, but it never happens. Off and on, I have been going through some of your posts - sometimes commenting sometimes not. But I am still here and finding it hard to give up on blogging!

Recession has hit everywhere - but I hear it's not as bad in India? Is it true? Dubai is different story altogether. With the real estate sector booming in the last couple of years, most people were dabbling their hands in property. Many made tons of money (I am not sure how many of them have been able to retain those profits, as they always reinvested to get greater returns you see). Suddenly that sector is wiped out. Companies are downsizing and people are losing their jobs left, right and centre. Banks, Steel industry, Oil sector, Retail - everything has been spiralling downwards. Yesterday I was told by someone, a local bank announced to the top management that they will be downsizing. Within 1 hour they had a list of people to be fired. Those people were to empty their desks and leave the office in the next 30 minutes! And they fired over 300 people.

Dubai is a rootless place. When I say rootless, I mean the people living in this country are mostly expats. And they are here either for money or to break their journey towards West. Since one can almost never get a citizenship here, as soon as the job/business is lost, the expat is ready to leave. There is no real attachment or reason for one to stay back. In fact even if one wants to (for whatever other reason), one cannot because the visa is cancelled.

So as I was saying, a friend pointed a very different perspective. If people lose their jobs and leave the country, how will the economy ever pick up? Is job cutting the real answer to this problem? Is it possible to cut costs by cutting salaries of people rather than downsizing? That way atleast the person has money to spend and would thus keep the demand for things going (however slow that might be, atleast it won't be zero).

They say "the pain has not even started". I wonder what a real depression would be like. Not that I am dying for a first hand experience, but I am curious! And we are starting a new business - yes a new one - at this time. It's good because the costs are coming down, but then so is the demand. So keeping our fingers crossed!

PS: Saw and read about the Pink Chaddi Campaign. Fantastic effort by these girls. Ram Sena deserves a super "moohphat" jawab like this!! Check out their blog here

Edited to add: Did you watch the NDTV Greenathon? I wonder why none of the politicians came forward to adopt a village? I mean that would've earned them brownie points and some votes too! As much as I applaud the effort, I also wonder if this is in any way freeing the Government from doing their duty? Afterall we pay taxes for this very reason - so that every village/city/town gets a decent infrastructure including electricity. Right?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Love Is In The Air

This is the month of love - not only beacuse of valentines day but also because it is our anniversary this month. February remains special for us for this very reason. I still remember, eight years back, when we were on our honeymoon, on our first valentines together we fought. Yes we did. The evening started very mushy mushy, as hubby gave me an extravagant gift and off we went to a very romantic place for dinner. Everything was going fine till we got into an argument somehow and left the place early - both very angry! We made up by the time we reached the hotel (which was an hour away from the restaurant!), but the evening was spoilt. The next year was a more pleasant and hubby surprised me by first taking me to dinner and then staying back the night at the hotel. I was naive enough to not have noticed that he packed my things and kept in the car that evening! But it was a good surprise.

Usually Anniversary for us is celebrated with family and friends. Don't remember spending the night alone ever! But the anniversary eve is reserved for just the two of us. This time it'll be different though. We plan to go out for dinner alone and get drunk. And if you know me, you will also know that it only takes one glass of wine for me to get drunk! Last week, I suffered a hangover the whole of next day because I took a glass of wine. Moral of the story? I will drink 5-6 glasses of wine from now on. Because the next day is going to be just the same ;)

I am wondering what to gift hubby this year. Last year I made a scrapbook of all our correspondence and pictures and presented to him. He loved it but then that was the end of the story. I am the one who is responsible to look after it and make sure it is kept in a safe place! So this year it has to be something more materialistic. I've already gifted him a watch (twice rather), shirt, wallet, key chain, pen - are we left with any more options now? Maybe this time he will have to do with a hug, some flowers and cards alone...what do you say?

And R if you are going to read this post (which I doubt you will!) but just want to say I love you soooo much and hope we can share this wonderful time with each other for a long long time to come.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ram's The Way To Be?

Outrage over Mangalore attack; police forced to act

This is outrageous. Where is our freedom to live the life we choose to? Who gave them the right to beat a woman because 'they' thought she is indecent? What good is a supreme court judgement post the event? What is the difference between them and any other fundamental groups? Is it not an offensive to use Sri Ram's name to harbour such hatred and intolerance? Wasn't Ram's Sena the protector of all women? Shouldn't these people be punished to set an example for the rest of the 'Ram's Sainiks'? Or should they be sent for a Pscyhotherapy treatment to fight such unacceptable thoughts? Are they to be blamed for being ridiculous or for following instructions with a blind eye? Is this really intolerance or a game of politics once again?
We wonder and question while some people face the horror in real life every now and then...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Temple Visit

This thought has been lurking on my mind for a long time now and I really get agitated with it. I have noticed that whenever I visit a temple, the people guarding the place, as well as the pujaris behave in a very harsh manner with the people coming for darshans.

After standing in the queue for a long time when you finally reach the idol, you are shooed away briskly. And that half a minute darshan is almost always marred by shouts like "jaldi karo' "aagey badho" etc. Do the devotees not have even that much respect towards others to let them pray in silence for a moment? From Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal, to our very own temple here in Dubai - they all seem to be following the same procedure. It's as if if you dont shout and create a scene, the mandir is not a popualr one.

In Pashupatinath temple, I was appalled to see people spitting inside the temple area, throwing prasad everywhere, the most commercial pujaris doing pujas everywhere and not cleaning up ever after it - and one needed to walk barefoot throught this place. I felt ashamed. A place so sacred that you are not allowed to enter with your slippers on, but dirty enough for all and sundry to spit around!

Any place of worship is a place where one can unite with the divine, pray in silence and seek the guidance of the lord. It has to be a quite, humble and polite atmosphere where all devotees get a chance to pray whole heartedly - undisturbed. And everyone has to respect others. Instead of shouting and shooing people around, one can be humble and ask them to move faster in a polite manner. Some such temples that I visited were the AksharDham temples (in Delhi, Gandhinagar and Toronto) and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. No one utters a word, no one pushes you around, and every devotee is given their due respect.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year Celebrations

Before I start this post, I'd like to wish all of you a very happy new year :)

I have been itching to write a post on all that we did but wanted to wait for the pictures as well. Yes my camera ditched me so waiting to collect them from my friends. And I don't know how much longer I have to wait so I have decided to write about it anyways.
We started from Dubai on 31st afternoon and reached the desert camp by early evening. Since it was our first time there (the rest of the group went there for the last 2 years), we were warned that the place has very basic facilities and we should not expect much. But we were pleasantly surprised to find a huge area just for our use, with 10 very neat and clean chalets (all ours). There was a Majlis where we would be partying in the night and a dining hall (for all the meals and tea). There was a swimming pool which we obviously couldn't use because of the cold weather and then there was a separate area for team building activities like a spider web, wall climbing, skiing etc.

Chalets were lined up on one end of the property

The vast area had some well highlighted trees

The Majlis was our playground for all games, fun and frolic

Most of the evening was spent talking with friends, setting up the projector and sound system in the Majlis and general chit chat. This was followed by a barbeque and then dinner. After dinner we all were supposed to get dressed and assemble in the Majlis for our skits!

Much as I was excited about the skit, hubby ditched me last moment :(. He refused to do the skit and well so I just did a karaoke song to cover up. He had had a bad day and I didn't feel it right to push him too much. Rest of the group did some funny stuff. One couple danced on a song, one family did the Gujju thingy in Kal Ho Na Ho (G-U-J-J-U...Gujju...something - it was hilarious!), one family did the Jay Leno show where the wife became Jay, the hubby a guest (as SRK and then as Gabbar Singh) and the son was a rock legend and played guitar. One family did jokes the Goodness Gracious style and the other did mimicry of all famous stars as to how they would record their voice message. Then we all danced and welcomed the new year. This was followed by a bon fire which lasted till the next morning.

1st morning was very relaxed with most people getting up late. Then it was time for the guys at the property to take over. They divided our team into 2 groups (all couples were separated) and each team was taken to play one game. By the time we finished both the games it was evening and I need not mention the amount of rivalries that were created! But in the end, both teams scored equal. Evening again was chilled out with most of the time in the majlis doing karaoke, playing roulette and recollecting the previous day's performances. But the highlight was a quiz organised by one friend. The teams were in action once again and the quiz master had to take care of a lot of accusations ;)! By the end of the day, one team was leading by 2 points.

Next morning was devoted to 2 more games - one was a race on wooden skis which was a lot of fun. We had 5 people on each ski, who needed to coordinate their leg movements in order to lift and move forward. So one person would shout orders left right left right, and the rest would follow. We had to cross a particular path and reach the finish line. The other game was more creative. Each chalet was given a set of 8 captions. We needed to click pictures for these captions in one hour and submit. To give you an idea, here are some captions:

  1. A thumbs up to 2009!
  2. Look overhead
  3. Hum hain rahi pyar ke
  4. Pool dude
  5. If you were attacked by the terrorists

This was great fun not only while shooting but even to review everyone's pictures and voting on the best ones. After all the fun and frolic, we parted finally only after a group photograph!

PS: I will try and update this post with some more pictures as soon as I lay my hands on them.