Wednesday, 20 February 2013


There was a photography contest in the newspaper encouraging us to shoot a picture reflecting our life in the UAE to win daily and bumper prizes. They specifically mentioned that it didn’t matter what camera we used as they were more interested in the subject than the quality of the pictures.

I carefully selected a picture from my album and sent it to them. And visited the site every day hoping my picture would be in the daily winners list.

But no such luck for me.

When I went through the pictures of other participants I noticed there were many who posted multiple entries when the site specifically mentioned only one picture per person. I shot off a mail to the concerned to ask if it was allowed. I got a nice reply back saying that it was ok in the preliminaries but if one’s picture got selected for the main prize then all these details mattered.

Since I was very sure my pictures would never make it to the final selection I confidently sent one more picture and watched the site anxiously to see if this picture would win. Maybe not the main prize but I felt my picture was good enough to be in the daily winners list. You ofcourse know which picture that was…

When the daily winners were announced at the site this picture too did not get selected.

And that was that.

Very dejected I scrolled through the earlier daily winners to check out all their pictures.

And then I see a very familiar picture, the first click I sent, nominated as a daily winner almost 3 days earlier.

I was heppy, happy, haaapyhaaapy and showed it off to everybody who made the mistake of asking why I was looking so pleased with myself;-D

I don’t know how I missed seeing it earlier…..all that disappointment for nothing;-P.

My prize was a 5 hour photography workshop at the International Institute of Art and Photography in Knowledge Village.

I registered for the workshop and chose to attend their ‘Basics of Photography’ session. The workshop was very helpful because until that day not much thought had gone into the pictures I took. I used to just ‘focus and click’ anything what caught my fancy. With the knowledge I gained from the workshop I now ‘compose’ the pictures in my mind before pressing the button.

Well I try anyway;-).

Now all this happened in December but for some reason I was reluctant to post the picture here even though I made a lot of noise about it in every post;-P. Honestly, everytime I decided to write about it I ended up writing something else and convinced myself that, that was more relevant and needed to be posted immediately. And everytime you asked about the prize-winning picture I was feeling sillier than ever because heart of hearts I felt it’s just a normal picture which was lucky to get selected.

And then somebody I know very cunningly insinuated that if I don’t post it, all of you will surely be thinking that I was talking in the air and there was no such prize-winning photograph after all.

What nonsense*N shaking her fist at the suspicious*.

Ofcourse there is one.

Please go here to check it out and while you are there, do check out the other winners too, some pictures are so beautiful.

Then click on link 14[sorry there is no direct link to get there] to get to my picture.

But if you don’t want to go there, then here’s the picture….

A few of us had taken our kids to the Ras Al Khor Bird Sanctuary last November to see the flamingos’ which the reserve was famous for but found it closed to the public because it was a Friday. Since the weather was pleasant we stayed there for sometime. The adults[especially me] spent time craning our  heads over the wired mesh to look at the flamingos’ while the kids collected shells [I think the authorities must have brought sand from the sea-side and laid it there…how else could seashells be found right in the heart of the city]. The little boy in the picture is Neil who was running about here and there hoping to get better shells than his cousins who were at that time hunting for them on the other side.

My new DSLR has instilled in me new enthusiasm & I’m raring to go. 

Hopefully in a decade or two I’ll master the complex buttons on the gadget and post some nice pictures like Sakshi and Hitchwriter do.

p.s: If you are wondering about the flamingos’ I mentioned earlier, I've put up some pictures here.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Celebrating Love

Naina gave me this card early this morning.

I loved it.

We hugged & kissed and stared gooey-eyed at eachother.

Nikita watched the lovey-dovey interaction between us with a mixed expressions.

She is….

#mad at herself for not making something for me
#wondering how to spoil the tender moment we were sharing
#how to take credit for the whole thing

Since I knew exactly how Nikita’s mind worked I gave her a warning glance. Correctly interpreting it  she contented herself by critically examining the card and interrogating why Mama’s colouring was 15 shades darker than Naina’s. And poked fun at the mis-spelt Valentine.

Better-half also got a card from Naina.

It shows him…

#curly-haired which is not true.
# teaching her how to do maths which is not a common sight
# bare-chested and full of details

I have tactfully covered him up to save him any embarrassment. Seriously he’s sooo lucky to have me in his life.

And Nikita got this…

#She was touched beyond words.
#And how did I come to the conclusion???
#She didn't say a single word for a WHOLE minute.

I know and agree we don’t really need special days to tell our loved ones how much we love them. But then again I think any excuse to celebrate love is a perfectly valid one:-)).


Monday, 11 February 2013

Food for the Soul

Last Friday, we were invited to a Show Jumping competition at the Emirates Equestrian Center, Bab Al Shams. So after church we rushed back home to get dressed to leave for the event. We had less than an hour to meet our friends. 

As the others got ready I quickly made lunch. I made stir-fry and fried fish and then on the spot decided to make some curry too to eat with rice. We rushed through lunch and made it 10 minutes late to the appointed spot where we met our friends who were patiently waiting for us. We profusely apologized for the delay and guiltily patted our stomachs to show why we were late.

Our friends had a late breakfast and hadn't bothered with lunch.

We looked at them with respect.

We couldn't ever think of missing a meal. The mere thought of it brings on horrible headaches, temper tantrums and funny feelings in the stomach.

It took us an hour to reach our destination; our friends’ children were making hungry noises towards the end of our journey.

I mentally patted myself for feeding the family before leaving.

The first thing which caught our eyes when we reached our VIP enclosure was the grand spread. Two huge tables alongside the wall were laden with food. Delicious, scrumptious, mouth-watering, lip-smacking FOOOOD.

I slumped down into my VIP chair in shock.

I refused to be consoled for the next 10 minutes.

It was such a mean trick. A low blow I tell you.

You don’t believe me????

Here’s a picture of the salads…

Still wondering what the fuss is all about????

Okay here’s another of the desserts…

Tears stung my eyes especially when I saw the desserts.

couldn't bear the painful sight of everybody cheerfully serving themselves and so took myself off from there to take pictures of the pretty looking horses with my new DSLR.

The camera was a good one.

It completely sensed my mood.

Almost all of the pictures turned out blurred, just like my vision.

What a lousy weekend, I thought despondently.

You guys are a suspicious lot, I am forced to add here;-S....

Yes it is possible to take bad pictures with a DSLR.

It’s simple really, all you have to do is not read the manual which comes along with the camera.

And never and I mean NEVER listen to the sensible advice your better-half tries to give you.

Tadaaaa…you got your picture in your hand.

Here’s a perfect example…..

And posted below is a picture of the VIP enclosure. 

Who are those people sitting on the sidelines???

The ones who didn't have VIP passes ofcourse.

Can you see them eating??? They had to buy their grub from the restaurant which is not there in the picture. Imagine that???

Feeling more upbeat now I went back to my VIP pavilion. I was ready to sample atleast some of the sumptuous desserts if not all.

I stared at the desserts table in shock.

It was empty.

It was tea-time.

Dainty finger sandwiches and elegant nibbles were rapidly filling up the same spots where the golden pies and tarts and delicious mango mousse once peacefully co-existed side by side.

I could feel myself reeling a little.

I vaguely wondered anybody would mind if I bawled my heart out. After all, crying once in a while was good for the soul.

I should have just sat at home and read a recipe-book or something.

What a terrible, horrible, lousy, LOUSY day, I thought desolately.

A waiter passing by looked at me enquiringly.

Abandoning all sense of shame I shakily pointed to the empty space where the dish I coveted at first glance was resting just a few hours earlier.

He looked blankly at me.

I schooled my voice to utter one word.


He turned and went away.

Within half a minute he was back with the huge bowl of Rasmalai.

Stop nit-picking all of you… may look small in the picture but it looked HUGE to me.

How many Madam?? The thoughtful server asked me kindly.

The knight who saved my day
“One please” I said politely, aware of my surroundings again.

Have some more, he urged.

Just one, I smiled thanking him.

I was eating rasmalai after many, many years.

Savoured every mouthful and went back home happy.

It turned out to be a GOOD weekend after all.