Friday, October 31, 2014

Mall rat

So I gave in to the craving for a furniture store and decided to go to Mirdiff City Centre (MCC). I must pat myself on the back for getting there without getting lost. I've realised that I'm really quite good at reading maps. If only I could figure out the shortest route to get back home too. And that's why every time I go to a new place I get a tank full of gas just in case I end up in Sharjah or worse. I felt like such a winner parking so close to the lifts I said a little"Yay!" inside.

 My favourite has to be Cottage Chic. I love the lavenders and pinks and lace and the frills. It's the ultimate girly girl furniture, home accessories and little knick knacks. Somehow every time I go into this store it puts me in a peaceful and wonderful mood. Their store in MCC is a sprawling space and so so beautiful. It was a pleasure to browse around and pick up a little something for hubby. I asked them to gift wrap it just 'cos they do it so well. Okay! Okay! I'll reuse the paper baba!! They were going to take some time so I walked around and concluded that I really like this mall. It's spacious, all the stores have plenty of space to display their products, everyone has loads of space to walk around without making sudden movements to get out of the way of oncoming traffic, and there are huge skylights everywhere which makes it naturally bright.

I walked in to Pottery Barn, another store I absolutely love. I drooled all over the scented candles and the pristine white and blue plates and that perfect dining table. These stores make you dream of a home where everything goes with everything and everything is a soothing colour with lots of wood and china thrown around. In my current home nothing goes with anything so I've convinced myself that for that very reason everything goes with everything.

I picked up a cup of Mocha from Starbucks. I mean you gotta love their coffee. I drink coffee so rarely that I loved every single sip.

And then I smelled 'Lush' the handmade soap and cosmetics shop. Oh how glad that smell makes me I cannot explain. I walked in and realised they stopped making my favourite soap 'Devil in the dark' a deep minty fragrance. Why God? Nonetheless I sniffed away with such delight. Those pink balls are bath bombs that put the fizz into a relaxing bubble bath. I ended up passing by 'Lush' three times and it took all my will power to not pick a little heavenly soap.

I browsed, smiled at babies and marvelled at the sheer choice of fragrances that Jo Malone has. I recently threw away an empty bottle of their fig fragrance. Such an unusual lovely smell. Of course it is unusually expensive too. I'm proud to say that aside from the little gift for my husband I didn't shop. So yay for me!

And then I got a little lost driving back home but that's only to be expected. I didn't fret too much and managed to grab an awful thali lunch at Sarvanna Bhojanshala and made it to my Doctor's appointment in time. And now ensconced in my blankie I'm watching one of my favourite Sandra Bullock fluff movies 'Miss Congeniality' as the dog sleeps with her little face resting on my leg and the little tealight illuminates two doves hugging each other. Perfect.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Harley

So I came down from office and saw this Harley sitting pretty next to my car. I took a picture of it and then spotted a guy smoking a cigarette. I asked him to take a picture of me with the mean machine before the owner turns up and asks,"What the fuck?!" So I hitched up my dress and got on it. The guy said,"I don't take pictures very good." I replied,"Take it quick!" Two men decided to walk in around the corner. One of them laughed and said to the other,"So cute." I was deeply embarrassed at being such a spontaneous idiot and utterly thrilled at having got my picture. Then on my drive home I wondered how many times have I felt both things at the same time!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Asshole of an afternoon

So for some reason I decided I needed to pick up something from Cottage Chic, a home accessories and furniture store. It's at the JBR Walk, a place I've been to many times and walked the length of it with great pleasure but then they began constructing the tram line and it became near impossible to get there. More retail outlets came up and it became even more difficult to find parking. Today I decided to risk it after almost a year. Big mistake. So here's how it went.

Drive to the walk. No parking found. Drive around the walk and get stuck in traffic. Crib about it on Facebook. Wait for the tram to go by at a signal like a woman in no hurry to deprive her admirers of her lovely new boob job. Go drive around again and find underground expensive parking. Twenty bucks an hour. Stop too far from the parking chip machine. Open car door. Try to reach out but seat belt too tight. Take off seatbelt. Get parking chip. Hurriedly change gears before barrier comes down. Safely keep parking chip in bag.

Realise have parked at the wrong end of The Walk. Walk all the way to the other end in search of the aforementioned store. Store not to be found. Ask random women if store still exists. Get unhelpful answers and one annoyed wave telling self to move along. Finally google store. No mention of the JBR branch. Opened big grand store in Mirdiff City Centre, the other end of the city. Curse self for not googling before leaving home. Try to call store in last ditch effort. Number busy. Walk into random furniture store full of golden things. Take picture of hideous puke worthy dining table. Post on Facebook.

Begin the long walk back to the car. Sun beats down on face. End up looking like monkey's butt within ten minutes. Feel hungry. Decide to treat self to a masala dosa. Enter Indian restaurant. Ask for Masala Dosa. India Palace does not serve South Indian food. Eat dal rice. Drink sweet lassi. Remember to ask for change for the parking meter. Walk back to the parking. Find car. Reach into bag for round and red parking chip. Come up with one dirham coin instead. Walk towards the payment machine with hand searching the infinite depths of bag. No chip. Sit down and take everything out of bag much to the amusement of two onlookers. 1 pen, 3 lipsticks, 1 hairbrush, 2 lipstick sharpeners (why?), 1 credit card receipt, 1 hand cream, 1 wallet, 2 passports. No chip.

Open car. Look under the seats. Move seat all the way back. Look under. Move seat all the way forward. Look under. Repeat process with driver's seat. No chip. Remember last time when had lost similar parking chip at Gold and Diamond park. Only 200 bucks penalty that time. Memory makes self nearly cry. Search under the car. Search under the neighbouring car. No chip. Walk to the office looking place. Get directions to the Parking barrier office. Walk to Parking Barrier office. Pay 250 bucks penalty. Get red round chip. Feel like taking a hammer to it.

Get in car and bang knee into dashboard as seat is all the way forward. Yelp. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Move seat back. Finally get in. Follow signs to exit. Stop too far from the parking chip machine. Take off seatbelt. Reach half the body out of car. Put bastard red chip in machine. Slide back in quickly, change gear and get the hell out. 

Friday, October 24, 2014


So I thought I was prepared for Diwali. The house all cleaned up. Diyas check. Lakshmi Ganesh idol check. Windows sparkling for a change check. Lay out the diyas and realise there is no oil. Run to supermarket. Get oil. Light diyas with husband. Say a prayer. Realise forgot to unpack the new Lakshmi Ganesh idol. Hurriedly unpack the idols and ask forgiveness. Pray again.
Light all available candles. Put diyas at the door of the house. Accidentally let the dog out into the corridor in the process. Chase dog back into the house. Make the second attempt to wear a sari for Diwali party. Make husband assist in the process. Husband shows uncanny patience through it all. Inwardly thank God. Spend one hour trying to get the pleats right and not look like an elephant attempting elegance. Curse the whole hour. Swear solemnly never to wear a sari ever again. Husband insists the result is worth it. Inwardly promise self to never wear one again anyway. Have niggling doubt will probably break promise next year once this year's memory is faded. Take many many selfies with husband. Try hard not to laugh at his antics. For the nth time fall in love with husband's boyish charm.

Finally get to the party. Attack the food directly. The fried Bhindi turns out to be superlative as does the paneer. Eat loads. Wait for about forty five minutes. Talk to sweet couple that I have not met for three years. Become FB friends with the promise of meeting for lunch at Gujju restaurant in Bur Dubai. Already look forward to the lunch not having had Gujju food since college.

Attack dessert. Eat quarter of a creme brulee cake shamelessly and thoroughly enjoy it. Wish everyone a Happy Diwali. Sit in car and curse the tight petticoat cutting big round stomach in two halves. Take off heels immediately. Dream of nightdress all the way home. Reach home. Die on the bed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Someone sings a familiar song
Cracks my heart like caramel
And eats it slowly
Relishing the molten centre 

I cover my chest with both palms
Just to keep the ribs from 
opening up involuntarily
to his touch

Why does he sing?
Why does he sing that familiar song?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

War wounds

So the festive season is here which means the ladies have gotten their saris together. I've spoken about my sari woes before but I'm happy to report that I can now manage to drape one but with the assistance of my husband to make the pleats. Now it's one thing to be able to drape one but it's quite another to carry off one with grace. The good thing is that an Indian woman truly looks beautiful in this yards long fabric, but the other side of it is that someone like me struggles hard to keep from becoming quite the opposite. After a couple of hours of deciding which side the pleats should be (despite having gotten a tutorial from Sameera) and managing a safety pin in place for the pallu (which was too long and trailed behind me) it took me five minutes to get settled into the passenger seat of the car.

The party at Phani's place was rocking with everyone turned out in all their Diwali finery. For the first time I noticed how creative the ladies are with their blouses. Gorgeous necklines and fabrics perfectly draped was a pleasure to see. My blouse sleeve kept sliding off till a helpful soul taught me how to keep it in place when I complained,"Everything is falling off." Yes there's a simple trick to it. You need to pull it down at the waist. Thank you helpful soul, wish I'd remembered to ask your name.

The kids had a party going on their own with strobe lights, Macbook and DJ gear. Most women managed to keep their saris in place and dance to the beat of dhinchak hindi music. I didn't care how much my feet were killing me. I danced and had a great time though my pallu tore a little bit in my heel. My husband joined me in the beginning and then left saying,"I need to drink water." Yeah right! The boys seemed to be content with the drinks but the women took to the floor like fish to water. There was this one absolutely beautiful and elegant woman (No I never got around to speaking to her) who had wine in one hand, her purse in the other and her pallu wasn't safety pinned and she danced with such fantastic poise and elegance that I could have saluted her. Bravo!

By the end of the evening despite getting out of my shoes several times my toes were beginning to feel like mashed potatoes. I walked home with my arm around Anshuman's shoulder like a drunk person yelping,"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! My feet hurt! My feet hurt! My feet hurt!" My darling husband smiled and said,"Baby these are war wounds for being the most beautiful woman in the room."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ismat Aapa Ke Naam 2

Just got back from watching Ismat Aapa Ke Naam and what a wonderful play it is! Ismat Chugtai's poignant, funny and controversial (for her times) stories were brought to life in the able hands of Naseerudin Shah. Not too many people can carry off a blue suit but Naseer does it with panache. There's a magnetism about him that you can sense from fifty feet away. The appaluse resounded in the lovely DUCTAC theatre for a long time when he walked on to the stage and introduced the three stories to be enacted by three players playing each role. He stays true to the way Ismat Aapa wrote them and after watching the play one can see that he couldn't have improved upon the sheer beauty of the way these tales expose the human condition in all its glory and mess.

The three stories about three different women were enacted by Manoj Pahwa, Seema Pahwa (Badki from Hum Log) and Loveleen Mishra (Chutki from Hum Log). I would love to speak about the three stories in detail but I cannot do that without giving away the plot. All I can say is that Ismat Chugtai was so far ahead of her time and her insight into a woman's heart, her spirit and ability to simply survive almost anything is truly amazing. I read her story 'Lihaaf' which touches on the topic of lesbianism when I was too young to understand it. I remember being quite confused by it but knew enough not to ask. But it stayed with me and now that I understand it I realise why it is one of her best known works. Poornima mentioned how we never read vernacular literature and that's such a pity and I agree. I promise to borrow my mum in law's extensive hindi literature collection the next time I'm in Bombay.

In other news I wore my blingy slippers for the first time and the straps nearly took the skin off my feet so I walked around barefoot in the mall, dangling the shiny painful things in my hand. I went to Michael Kors again. I liked a bag but it's too rich for my blood so I walked away like a good girl. My darling husband forgot where he'd parked the car so I had to walk around in the parking wearing my torture tools for almost twenty minutes by which time we were sweating.

VLCC was giving away free cosmetics. I also got a little bag with face wash and moisturising cream. I slathered it on my feet and arms and realised it's too sticky and then I couldn't wait to wash my hands off it. As always I dropped my change on the floor and then my wallet while buying snacks. It's a miracle I manage to put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis.

Friday, October 10, 2014

This and that

So I went to my very first blind date. Well, sort of. A friend introduced us on Facebook and I met Poornima for lunch. Facebook is really amazing that way isn't it? Imagine an old friend who lives in Bangalore introduced me to a woman from Bangalore who has lived in Dubai longer than I have and my friend in Bangalore met Poornima on a Parents' group on Facebook. They are yet to meet face to face. I mean it's mind boggling at one level the ways in which people connect in this day and age. The idea was to meet someone cooky like my friend and hence my name came up. We hit off very well thank God! Or else imagine the awkward lunch with uncomfortable
silences. At the end of the lunch as we walked out of More cafe, my absolute fave she said,"I was thinking pata nahin kaisi rahegi!" I burst out laughing. We meet again tomorrow for a play at DUCTAC. Anshuman joins us and I've heard such good things about 'Ismat Apa Ke Naam' directed by Naseerudin Shah that I'm really looking forward to it.

I drove down to Sharjah for a meeting and got there early so I did my favourite pastime and took a selfie. There's a little story behind that cross. I was looking at it at a kiosk in Arte and even though I really liked it I was hesitant to buy it thinking I'd probably never have the balls to wear a red cross. I chose two other pendants from the lady and when I opened the package at home she had mistakenly given me the cross. I took it as a good omen. I was meant to have it. I wore it for the first time and set it off with my red talons. Now they're no longer red. I really don't like red nails for too long is what I've realised. Natural or a French manicure is my thing and I should stick to it.

I went to buy some diyas at the BPBG Diwali Fair (Hope I got that right!). Last year I was running around at the last moment from shop to shop trying to find some and it was such a pain. This time I'm a lot better organised which is comforting. There was a Filipino band playing some music. Some kids were dancing and there were a lot of vendors selling all sorts of diwali stuff. I managed to find some diyas when I heard a woman announcing a contest loudly on the microphone. The person with the most Indian Rupees would get a prize. I never win anything but I found I had about 1500 Rs in my wallet so I went up to her and she said,"It's only for men". Bloody I never win anything!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Horrible Haider

So we went to the Ibn Batuta theatre because Anshuman wanted to see 'Haider', the latest offering from Vishal Bhardwaj. It began slowly and was on its way to boring by the interval. I couldn't believe something based on a classic like 'Hamlet' could possibly be that horrid. I admit I have not read anything by Shakespeare but I'm sure he must turn in his grave every time the opening credits roll in Haider. I feel really bad for Shahid Kapoor. I think he really tried his best and I think he overdid it. The director should have curbed his almost over the top performance but it seems like he encouraged it. I mean how does one go wrong with such an amazing story?  Yes you can see that the plot is gripping but by some stroke of utter failure of genius Mr Bhardwaj decimated it unmercifully. I was most disappointed after having watched Omkara and having loved it. I wanted to walk out of the theatre at interval but I stayed for the sake of my husband. I've unashamedly walked out of movies before and he's been left alone to watch the rest of it. It's just not very nice. All throughout the movie I kept wishing he would tell me how much he hated it and that we should go home but unfortunately he didn't so I had to sit through the whole debacle.

Anyway there's always something good that happens to balance things out. Just outside the theatre these three guys from Dubai drums were playing. I stood right up front during the interval and was nearly mesmerised by the beat. The African men smiled and sweated and made sweet, funny faces at the little children. Everyone broke into a well deserved applause at the end. I remember going to a New Years' party where these guys were present and about a hundred people with drums brought in the new year following the beat with them. It's an amazing and wonderful experience. If you've not had the pleasure of being a part of it, I highly recommend it!

Friday, October 03, 2014


And just like that fourteen years have passed since the day I got married. So many things have changed but one thing has remained the same. We have been the constant in each other's lives as the world transformed around us. There's so much one could say about marriage but I think the best thing about it is that it is so comforting.

I really enjoy going out to dinner on special occasions with my husband. He finds the best places in town and this time too he didn't disappoint. The only thing is that he needs more than a few reminders to make a reservation. I enjoyed getting my ensemble together as I always do. Finally I got to wear red. I usually stay a mile away from it but this Yolanda offering from Sri Lanka was really special. Let me thank the lovely Shikha for guiding me to the store. It's a special dress and needed a special occasion to be taken out to a special place. We went to Rhodes W1 restaurant at The Grosvenor House. I completely fell in love with the place. It was pristine white with subtle pale pastel chairs and walls sprinkled around ever so tastefully. In the middle of the room hung the most beautiful chandelier I've ever laid eyes on. Hundreds of transparent glass butterflies hung from it glimmering in the light. I wanted to take a picture of it but the six people sitting at that table would have certainly laughed at me. Not that being laughed at bothers me. Had I been alone I would have taken a shot but I didn't want to embarrass my darling hubby.

Our server, a young man called Alex suggested a ginger mocktail but I stuck to Lemonade. Anshuman ordered the mocktail. When the drinks came Anshuman wanted more orange juice in it. I loved his drink so he offered to switch. When Alex came back he was surprised,"Oh you switched!" He looked confused with the orange juice in his hand. I couldn't help but laugh and assured him everything was perfect.

As always I took selfies galore and made this one my profile picture on Facebook. Sometimes someone gives you such a beautiful compliment it makes your day. My friend Vishika who I have not met for the longest time commented on this picture saying,"Straight out of Casablanca". To be compared to Ingrid Bergman is the highest compliment ever. So let me thank you again Vishika for your kind words. Though I must mention that the camera on my phone is truly smart. It clears up the blemishes on my skin. Makes my pores disappear. And black and white pictures are just beautiful by nature.

Today we drove down to Ras Al Khaimah to meet Bhawna, my sole faithful reader. She has a lovely home in Al Hamra Village. It's a beautiful quiet place with streets named Berlin and Dublin. There we are Anisha, Jitin, Anshuman, me and Bhawna posing for a picture in her garden. I got a chance to wear my lovely moonstone necklace. Bhawna cooked up a yummy meal with Kadhi and Paneer Capsicum. I love home cooked veggie food and was so content after the meal I wanted to stretch out on the couch and fall asleep.

 I met Bhawna's friends Jitin and Anisha for the first time and as is the custom they brought her a gift. I forgot and felt like quite the jackass. I apologised to her for being a jackass and said,"You read my blog right so you know..." She laughed and said,"I wouldn't be surprised if you forget the candles you just got." I got two lovely Cardamom Palm Wax candles from her and she gave me my favourite Cedar one as a wedding anniversary gift. Anshuman liked the Cardamom fragrance better so I got those but Bhawna knows how much I love Cedar and she gave me that. Doesn't it feel amazing when someone does something so very thoughtful?
We drove back listening to the radio as the sun set over the dunes. It was a beautiful sight which stayed by my side for almost a half hour. I tried on Anshuman's shades and realised that they look a lot better on me as compared to my usual wayfarers. They fit better too. And are lighter. So I've stolen them.