Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shorba Aadas

After a couple of attempts that did not go so well, I finally perfected my home preparation of one of my favorite soups - cream of lentil. Gently cooked, violently blended ... a dash of lemon juice, a shot of coarse black pepper, and it's ready to eat.

July Rockathon 2010

Thanks to SanDisk for supporting, and Shelter Dubai for hosting the July Rockathon 2010. We had a collection of diverse acts by local talent, ranging from pop rock to Punjabi fusion rap to soft acoustic accompanied by beatboxing. I wish I could have stayed longer - some of the performances were so professional you could have closed your eyes and thought you were listening to a Top 40.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Opening during the recession was clearly not a great thing for Stargate, a kids-oriented entertainment center in Zabeel Park, Dubai. There are many vacant shop spaces, and many others ready to open but unstocked and unstaffed. Still, if not in terms of retail, Stargate has much to offer. There are plenty of games, a 5D cinema, a 3D cinema, an airgun shooting range, and a semi-indoor roller coaster. And those are just the attractions I could visit for my age. It's kind of hard to miss, as the five domes around the central pyramid can be seen from quite a ways away, and it is the central attraction of Zabeel Park. Three domes are made to look like planets, one like the moon, and one like a stereotypical UFO. Clearly someone put a lot of effort into the whole scifi getup, complete with walkway tubes, starfleet-like staff uniforms and neon lights.

Camel Burger

Spent the afternoon in Al Bastakiya and lunched on a burger of camel meat at Local House. It is actually pretty good ... quite dark and dense. Just ask them to go easy on the sauces if you plan to get one yourself. They also have camel biryani and camel ribs, by the way.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tea Party at Al Shaiba

Last night, I went to see Hairspray with relatives and friends (yes, it was awesome). To assemble attendees prior to the event, I decided to host a tea party. It has been my dream to do so ever since I read about the dark arts of tea sandwich preparation.

To begin with, that quintessential tea sandwich of thin cucumber slices between slices of buttered bread. I added a touch of finely chopped mint.

Next, sandwiches of salmon pâté sprinkled with fresh dill.

Finally, my own concoction to add a regional flavour: finely diced tomato, strained, with za'atar tossed in, placed between slices of bread spread with labneh.

And, of course, tea!

Indian rupee gets a symbol, joins elite currency club
(Times of India)
NEW DELHI: The Indian rupee will soon have a unique symbol — a blend of the Devanagri 'Ra' and Roman 'R' — joining elite currencies like the US dollar, euro, British pound and Japanese yen in having a distinct identity.

The new symbol, designed by Bombay IIT post-graduate D Udaya Kumar, was approved by the cabinet today — reflecting that the Indian currency, backed by an over-trillion dollar economy, was finally making its presence felt on the international scene.


Auroville 2010

Chennai Central

Auroville, a small township on the coast of Tamil Nadu next to Pondicherry, has ambitions of itself as becoming "universal city". Founded in the late 60s by "The Mother," a French woman who served as Sri Aurobindo's spiritual executive in his later years, Auroville's mission was to combine ecological sustainability with international harmony.

Hundreds of people came in from around the world to settle what was then a mostly barren plateau, planting and nurturing trees day after day. Decades later, the tree problem has clearly been spectacularly solved.

While not perfect in regards to both ecological sustainability and international harmony, Auroville still has many worthy accomplishments to the credit of its citizens, which will hopefully not be stymied by politics.

Anyway, during my week there, I got to stay in a very comfortable (but sufficiently rustic) guesthouse, eat yummy food, use a bicycle as my primary transportation (haven't ridden one for over a dozen years), wear a lungi, perform yoga, work on an organic farm, enter a UFO-like temple to concentrate in absolute silence, and generally experience a lush, fresh environment. And perhaps best of all, meet interesting people I would not typically run into.