Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tough times were never tough because of you...


Dear Mom,

Everyday is mother's day for me!

Your smile, no matter what, warmed me with a feeling of security.  The hardships you faced in your life were full of challenges and constant hurdles, but not once did I see you complain or cry over them. You were always a fighter. Widowed at a very young age, with three kids aged 14, 12 and 8, you took all the adversities in your stride and like a lioness protected your cubs. The whole lifestyle changed from comfort to hardship. But there was not a day when you made us feel of the big loss. Now that I am a wife and a mother, I can very closely relate to what the loss was in your life and shudder at the thought.  

Every moment I spent with you has a wonderful memory attached to it. Those assuring hugs when things were tough at study or work; our on the splurge shopping trips; you cooking me my favourite dishes, such an awesome cook you were; the beautiful dresses you designed and stitched for me forgoing your sleep at night and had to be up early to wind up the household chores and rush to your work place, the school in the locality. Your friendly demeanour attracted people to you. The respect you commanded from your students and parents at school was simply inspiring. The helping nature at times made people take you for a ride but that did not deter you from continuing the good work and you stuck by your values.

You were always that giving and forgiving person. I always wondered what stuff you were made off! 


Challenges seemed to like you a lot. When everything looked settled and happy, with your kids well educated, married, grand kids and life was meant to relax and enjoy, breast cancer came into your life. Any other person would have been shattered, but you took it in your stride. Thus began the torturous surgery followed by a series of chemo and radiotherapy sessions. Hospital became your home, the doctors, nurses and other patients your friends. Again it was your endearing smile that was the bright spot. There was this phase when a tumour in the brain had muddled up your sharp memory. You got names mixed up, forgot many events, and remembered a few in bits and pieces but the smile remained intact. You were this sweet six year old polite kid. It was one of the most difficult times in the life of my siblings and me.  But also some wonderful memories of seeing the sweetest side of you and fighting pain like a true warrior will always remain etched in my mind. You were just 59, it was too early to say good bye but you gracefully drifted away after a two year fight with cancer.


You #MyFirstExpert have taught me to live life,and be a fighter. Thank you mom for every beautiful moment spent with you. I believe you continue to guide me and take care of me from up there, My Shining Star!

Love & hugs,

Your loving daughter.


Note: I thank Godrej Expert http://godrejexpert.com/single_used_pack.php for the opportunity to share beautiful memories of my mom #MyFirstExpert. It is my tribute to my super mom!






Monday, September 15, 2014

Dubai Metro - My Photo Contribution to Gulf News published!!!

I am in total awe of the Dubai Metro! So when I read that Dubai Metro was celebrating its 5th Anniversary, and Gulf News on its various social media platforms was inviting people to share their experiences and snap shots of the Dubai Metro, I enthusiastically shared my views and snaps of the Metro, I took during my trip to Dubai this May.

"I love Dubai Metro!!!

Way back in 2007,  during my visit to Dubai, I witnessed the ongoing construction work of the Dubai Metro, more closely near Burjuman. And on my next visit which was this year 2014, I was simply in awe of the Dubai Metro. The fabulous and well maintained Metro Stations and the Metro, the precision, the information kiosk, hassle free rides was thoroughly enjoyable. It was such a pleasure to be independent and confident  travelling as a tourist, with such ease. The umpteen rides to the various shopping malls, my teenage daughter and I took on the Dubai Metro was fun time together.

Not to forget the time and energy saved travelling by Dubai Metro!"

And Gulf News posted the snap on their Instagram handle @gulfnews  http://instagram.com/p/s67lvgqwjM/


The #Dubai Metro is likely to reach #AlWarqa’a if a recent proposal that is currently being studied by the Roads and Transport Authority (#RTA) is approved. Read the full report on www.gulfnews.com. Photograph by Manjula H., a #GulfNews reader based in Hyderabad, India.





Friday, August 22, 2014

Spectacular Shopping Malls of Dubai

My favourite destination "Dubai" is definitely a feel-good-factor, not just for its sheer magnanimity or a delight for an avid shopper like me, but for the time I can spend with my brother, sister-in-law and especially my 7 year old nephew, a Messi fan and my teenager niece, a diva in making!

I decided on taking my 13 year old daughter on a vacation to Dubai, as she hardly remembered much from her last visit as a 7 year old. She was very thrilled and eager to spend time with her cousins. Her agenda though, was very minimal -  visit to the beach and play in the sea waters, Burj Khalifa, some shopping, eat loads of Ice cream and basically fun time with cousins.

And on my agenda was to tag her along and visit as many places as I could, which included the places of tourist interest and the amazing shopping malls of Dubai.

The Dubai Metro is simply superb! It made our travel within the city very easy, comfortable and fast. A Nol Card, a Credit Card and some cash (UAE Dirhams) was all that was required to confidently venture out on our own to some destinations in this safe city.


The Shopping Malls in Dubai have an exclusive characteristic to them and are architectural wonders that leave the visitor mesmerized. Some of the malls we visited were:

Mirdif City Centre

This is located in the Mirdif residential area on the Emirates Road. Has more than 460 retail outlets, food courts, play stations etc. iFlyDubai is the key attraction here. Weekends are jam packed with people pouring in from Sharjah due to its proximity. We travelled by car to this mall.

Parking area
Inside the Mall


















Deira City Centre 

Dubai Metro Station
This is the first of the mega malls in Dubai with shopping, entertainment, hotel and  leisure under one roof. Started in 1995, it continues to be a favourite place for fun and shopping till date. We travelled by Dubai Metro train which takes you till the entrance of the shopping centre.

We did a fair amount of shopping at the French multinational retailer hypermarket Carrefour, which is buzzing with visitors looking for some awesome deals on everything under the sun.

Shopping!!!







At the entrance
Toy's store at the mall



























Mall of the Emirates

A lovely drive on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road and at interchange four, is located the magnificent Mall of the Emirates, the world’s first shopping resort, opened in the year 2005. The multi-level shopping centre features over 560 international brands including the department stores, fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing outlets and the largest Carrefour in the city.

The Dubai Metro takes you directly inside the mall.

The world-renowned Ski Dubai - the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park is the major attraction and biggest claim to fame of this mall.

The mall has two adjoining hotels: the 5-star Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and the 5-star Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel. 

The interior massive dome with natural light emanating is a feast for the eyes and an architectural beauty.



Ski Dubai

Dubai Mall




It is the world's largest mall in terms of the total area of 12.1 million square feet. Started on 2008, it has over 1200 retail outlets. It features different themed shopping areas within, like The Village, Gold Souk, Fashion Island, The Groove etc.

The major attractions at Dubai Mall are the entrance to At The Top Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with the world's largest Acrylic panel; The Waterfall;  Ice rink Multi purpose venue; Dubai Fountain.

The Emirates Official Store is located in the Dubai Mall.

Chocolate and candy lovers should religiously visit the Candylicious shop.






View from the 127th Floor of Burj Khalifa

At The Top


Burj Khalifa
Dubai Aquarium
Candylicious













































Burjuman
Across the road - Burjuman Centre

Located in Bur Dubai. It's home to the high end fashion and exclusive luxury brands. Saks 5th Avenue and Zara are my favourite. My daughter and niece freaked out window shopping at this fashion mecca. Starbucks was on our agenda, so enjoyed a relaxed coffee with the two young divas. The courtyard, food court, fountains makes the place magical.

Zara









Starbucks















Burjuman Metro Station
Divas





















The real posh Burjuman Metro Station is the second largest of the forty metro stations located in Dubai. 

Ibn Battuta Mall 
(Refer to the links of each court for the respective historical information on the Travels of Ibn Battuta)

Entrance of the Egypt Court

The World's largest themed shopping mall named after the Arab traveller and adventurer Ibn Battuta, located at Jebel Ali, took us 25 minutes by the Metro train from Al Karama Station. I recommend this fabulous place to anyone visiting Dubai. Just go savour the colourful  multi cultural experience along with some amazing shopping.


Cinnabon




The first thing my daughter did on entering the mall was to head towards the Cinnabon outlet at the Tunisia Court. We enjoyed the yummy Chocobon and Blueberry Cinnabon along with the refreshing Cold Coffee.

Now we were all energized to tour the six themed courts namely, Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China.



Journeys of Ibn Battuta
 



Tunisia Court (North Africa)

The blue sky ceiling, the village environment of the coastal town of Tunisia is simply breath taking. The picturesque streets with street lamps and lanterns; the souks of the typical African marketplace; the stained glass interiors gives one a pleasant feeling.






Andalusia Court  (Muslim Spain)

The "Horseshoe Arches" with intricate designs, the central ceiling shaped in the form of a star, the brass chandelier, motifs and more are inspired by the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the  Alhambra Palace in Grananda.














The main feature of this court is the "Lion Fountain" based on the fountain in the Alhambra Palace. The lofty marble columns surround the eight lion statues of the fountain.



Lion Fountain






Daiso
The Geant Hypermarket and also my favourite Daiso, the Japanese outlet with amazing, innovative stuff is located here.









Persia Court 

The huge arched wooden windows with natural lighting, the colourful mosaics made from glazed tiles, the brass lanterns adorn the street of the bazaar setting which is typically found in the Islamic town of Baghdad.
The huge dome with turquoise and dark glazed tiles all over the interiors of this court is very much in sync with the Persian tradition and architecture.








India Court

The Indo-Islamic style of architecture with the extensive use of red sandstone and white marble can be found all over the interior of this court. The floral and vine patterns, geometric ornate decorated walls and columns carved in marble with  semi precious stones inlaid, gives the aura of the Mughal period and architecture in India

The highlight of the India Court is Al - Jazari's Elephant Clock. It is a tribute to one of the greatest Muslim inventors and engineer of the 12th century  Al-Jazari. He specialized in water raising machines and mechanical clocks. He compiled all his designs in his book "The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices".


The elephant clock is based on his works 800 years ago! The intricately carved wooden figures, dragons, phoenixes all come alive and move together in a synchronized manner, every hour. It is indeed a technological and scientific marvel.

Al - Jazari's Elephant Clock

Egypt Court 

A colossal sandstone gate, at the entrance, based on the Pylon gates,  welcomes the visitors into the world of Pharaohs and Egyptian Gods. The interiors are inspired by the Islamic architecture of the Mamluk period in Egypt. The colourful display of painted frescoes depicting scenes of ancient Egyptian royalty, Papyrus columns, walls decorated with painted hieroglyphics add to the grandeur of the Egyptian architecture.





China Court

A riot of "Colour Red" greets the visitors as soon as one steps into the China Court. It is remarkably cheery and bright. A sign of happiness!

The pavillion like gates, the red and gold panels decorated with motifs of gilded phoenixes, dragons and intricate floral designs, huge medallion adorning the walls are characteristic of Chinese architecture.

The massive Chinese Junk ( sailing vessel) centrally placed in the main court takes the breath away. It depicts the voyage of Ibn Battuta on one of these Junks to China.


Chinese Junk


Chinese Chariot
Exterior of the China Court



More Shopping Centres 

The shopping centres for reasonable and quality stuff; the places I swear by, are:

Ikea : The Swedish company that specializes in ready-to-assemble furniture, home appliances and accessories is an amazing place to spend an entire day. It is located in the Festival City. Just shop till you drop! That is exactly what I do shopping in Ikea. Every room in my house has an utility stuff from Ikea.



















Lamcy Plaza:

This is a fabulous mall for shopping, eating and fun activities for kids.  The food court has some amazing varieties of cuisine. The Fun City is a delightful place for kids. Daiso, the Japanese outlet with mind blowing stuff is also located here, but is smaller than the one at Ibn Battuta.

 


Lu-Lu Hypermarkets and Supermarkets, Day-To-Day, Karama Souk, Karama Centre, Spice Souk are the best places to buy souvenirs. 


There are many more shopping destinations in Dubai, which I will visit on my next trip :) Till then Ciao!