Monday, 28 March 2011

Get on one's hobby horse

The ‘most exciting 2 minutes in sports’ in the American calendar is the Kentucky Derby, in the UK the Epsom Derby though it is the Royal Ascot Races which is more popular as the Queen attends it every year. In UAE we have the Dubai World Cup, a thrilling by-invitation only horse racing championship held at the Meydan race course. The brainchild of the Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad, the Dubai World Cup is in its sixteenth year now and remains a fitting tribute to his love of horses and horse-racing.

The Dubai World Cup 2011 had been grabbing all the attention the whole of last week with even the world cup cricket news coming a poor second in the sports pages. A fantastic 8 hour extravaganza last saturday had all the glitz of a bollywood movie……it had action, derama, emotions and masala, lots of masala and it culminated into a exciting finish with Japans Victoire Pisa galloping first past the finish line to take home a prize money of US $6 million of the total prize of US $10 million. The winning jockey was brilliant on the horse inspiring the animal from a bad start[the horse had hit its head on the starting gate just minutes before the race] to the forefront.
Victoire Pisa riden by jockey Mirco Demuro
And how does Nancy know all this???? She reads the papers ofcourse, keeps eyes and ears open AND………she was KEY witness to the whole event. The better-half & she went for the Races on saturday and she just can’t stop crowing about it. Upto 2 weeks back, what she knew about horses could be written on a single piece of paper which is Black Beauty, colt, big, filly, pony-tail, bill from Malory towers, horse-shoe, the highwayman, trot, gallop….well ok make it ¼ sheet of paper. But now you better treat her with a little more respect. She can give you history, statistics & tips on which horses to place your bet on. Why, even yesterday except for Kinsale King almost all the horses she predicted as winners…..ummm lost miserably;-D….but that doesn’t mean anything, even the most seasoned horse enthusiasts sometimes get them wrong you know.

[Getting tired of referring to herself in the 3rd person she gently touches ground]

I gave the 1st two races my all but after that my attention started wandering. The thing is, there is around an hour's gap between each race and how long could one be glued to the guidebook they provided. Shifting focus, I started clicking all the women who were dressed so elegantly with the traditional head gear associated with these do’s. Here have a look…..

Very few children were seen about & the only one I spied was busy playing some gadget.

I watched men smoothen down the turf and remove all obstacles inbetween races. After they finished their job they got into the back of that pickup & were driven away

There was a march-past in prelude to the stage show going to be conducted. A novelty for many of us as this was the 1st time I was seeing all-arab member march-past;-D

And how can I forget to mention……..the food was delicious. It was not the typical fare, more like hors d'oeuvres, tiny pies in ramekins and itty-bitty sandwiches. The desserts were sublime….baby cupcakes bursting with flavours, divine cheesecakes, tiny tarts & assorted cakes. I’m actually kicking myself for not taking any pictures here. The drinks were flowing freely and it reflected in the upbeat mood which prevailed. I have to tell you this funny thing which amused us to no end….there was this Malayalee waiter who was hovering around us from the time we sat at the dining table till the end. At first we felt a bit weird & then it dawned on me…..he knew we were malayalees & tried to look very busy serving us so that he was not needed to serve at the other tables where most of the diners were westerners. Why… guess is that he was not very confident or maybe he didn’t quite grasp their accent. So while every other diner was trying hard to catch the eye of the busy waiters we just had to look up & this sweet guy would come hurrying;-D

Towards the later part of the evening there was a beautiful stageshow in the form of a float with the history of UAE and their connection with horses interweaved.

There were also contests held for the best dressed woman, best hat, best couple and goodness knows what else with some fabulous prizes. If interested, you can view them all here.

And amazing fireworks, though I got the feeling it was a bit toned down this year. For the first time I wished I had a DSLR to capture the fantastic effects.

An evening well-spent, I went to sleep that night with a beautific smile on my face:-).

Monday, 21 March 2011

It was more difficult than I thought....

Been away for so long now that I’m finding it almost embarrassing to pen a post here…..I feel weird like I've never done it before. But I was determined to put up atleast 1 post before calling it quits. Seriously, I was cringing every time I went on somebody's page and saw my link with the so-very dated 'Merry Christmas' showing up;-P.

After nearly 25 minutes of trying to frame propah sentences I was just about ready to give up when I thought I’ll just keep typing whatever comes to my fingertips[a tip I always used to encourage fellow bloggers with;-P].
I remember Ashwini of Thoughtful Train warning me that taking a break was the worst decision I could make. According to her very few get back on track; well she should know coz its been almost a year since she has updated;-D. I have to reluctantly agree with her….I almost didn’t make it. Honestly if it wasn’t for Sulo, Bindu, lan, Manisha, Sakshi, Swaram, Uma and Preeti/Ramesh team hounding me I would still be dilly-dallying around. As of now I’m not sure how long I’m going to last but am going to give it a darned good try. So there!!!!

I’m trying to recall how in the world I managed to write stuff earlier & then again why on earth did I stop? It’s not like I achieved something earth-shattering during the time I was not blogging. When I look back there was no particular reason just a combination of things like the kids’ exams, visitors, vacation & trying to be a one-man army which made me think a break wasn’t a bad idea at all.

Getting back to what I did in these 8 months [gosh 8 months]….. nothing much really. The same ole stuff….sheesh thts sounds so very depressing. Oh yes my sister & family visited us….finally I tell u. Every year they would tell us that they were coming & then call it off. It was only when I talked casually about relocating back to India within a year or two that she panicked & took the first available days off to come over.

I was so thrilled that I spent a busy week sprucing up my house and scheduling ‘things to do’ so that they got the maximum out of their visit. And what an anti-climax it turned out to be. Totally non-adventurous types I tell u. After the 1st 3-4 days they were perfectly content sitting around & talking at home. The only place my sister asked to go was the zoo......and I was like "there is a perfect zoo in Mysore & so many spread all over India but trust her to travel all the way to Dubai[desert remember] of all places, to show her daughter a zoo;-/". Sisterly love warred fiercely with 'my unruly tongue' but sisterly love won[oh well she was here just for a week]. So we took them to the Al Ain Zoo and she was happy with that. I then had to literally drag them all over town showing them rest of the sights and then spent another 10 days trying to recover from it all after they left. I actually sobbed loudly & clung to her[my sister] when she was leaving. I feel like an idiot now when I think about it…. we as in, our family prides itself on not being those 'emotional types' you know.

And ooooohhhhhh how could I forget to tell you this, guess what the better-half gifted me on my birthday….a course in cake decorating and just not any course; it was the ‘Wilton Cake Decorating Course’. I loved the gift ofcourse but everybody else to whom I mentioned it looked very puzzled and had a ‘okkkkayyy but what are you so excited about??’ expression. The children on the other hand were ecstatic coz they thought they were also included;-). When they realized they were not[we did try to get permission but they said only US had the facility where children were included not Dubai] they kicked up a minor fuss. They contented themselves studying my course material thoroughly & second guessing me at every turn & correcting me on every mistake I made;-/. I also had to demonstrate to them everything that was taught to me in class after I came back.

So yeah, I now know how to decorate a cake…….with roses and all, cool huh. Before you think I’m an expert let me tell you I was one of the worst ones…..too slow for one & clumsy, though the instructor & fellow students kept encouraging me with ‘there is room for improvement’…..lots of roooooooms if you ask me. My children, blind to all the inconsistencies, gave me fulsome compliments and I was so pathetically gratified;-D. Posting a few pictures of my efforts below…… that time I didn’t think I was going to display it on my blog otherwise I would done a better job clicking them….…you know zooming in & taking pics of only the good parts & conveniently blurring the rest;-D.
My 1st effort

Cupcakes were fun to do

By the time I finished this much the rest of the class had already presented theirs & left

Wednesday, 16 March 2011