People

Readers
And like a book some will glance
Others will delve
And to those who’ll take the time to delve
I’m sure you won’t be disappointed
No matter the book

Disappointments
Keep your expectations as low as possible so then when it comes around you’re either delighted or you’re fine. But the important thing is; you’re not disappointed. Cuz that’s the thing that pulls you down.

Forgive & Forget
Forgiving and forgetting are two separate things
Please keep that in mind and don’t blame me for not forgetting
Even if I have forgiven

Nothing Can Stifle the Feeling of Loneliness

You were the only thing that made my day
& now you’re gone

You hurt me in ways an enemy would

It’s sad
How far we came
& then
How it all went away

How long do I have to wait
How much more do I have to do
Till when must I squander
Waiting on a sign from you

I told you my fears
You said they were just in my head
But after a while
You turned them into a reality

I found a home in you
And when I lost you
I lost it too

I couldn’t sleep
For fear of meeting you in my dreams

 

Realize

Thinking;
A weakness is only a weakness if you think it that way.

Struggle;
Pain changes people, so be careful who you hurt

Prove It;
Words can be so full of meaning but when it comes time for action they can seem so empty

Get Up;
Maybe it’s time
You pulled yourself off the floor
Brush the dust off
And realize
You shouldn’t take this anymore

One

11:59AM
12:00PM

A minute between morning and noon. A breath between your current state, and an unexpected drastic turn that will change the course of your life. A person can inspire you so profoundly that his words would build momentum to follow ambitions you never knew you had. An action of nobility could convince a person to convert to Islam. A baby’s cackle can cheer up a depressed relative.

Respectively, a slanderous word can split families apart. A dirham only can save a poor man from unbearable quench. And who would think that a word of verbal abuse would deeply scar a girl’s self-esteem, never to be mended in the future? Or that a man’s overreaction to his wife’s innocent mistake would be the trigger for divorce?

Hear My Voice – @KalimatiSpeech

Two months ago, on 13th & 14th of October, Kalimati Communication & Rehabilitation Center, in collaboration with Dubai Healthcare city held the conference “Hear My Voice – Education & Innovation” for all people who have hearing problems.

We should all do our best to raise awareness about deafness and hearing issues, and the society should support and help those who have hearing problems. I’m so happy that I was a volunteer at this conference to help those who share with me that same problem. I had the chance to meet many wonderful people, and I was thrilled to see how all these amazing people communicated together and how they supported each other.

Below pictures are taken by the writer.

1_ 2_ 3_ 4_ 5_ 6_ 7_ 8_ 9_ 10_

Long Term Investment to Good Health

Spending time in nature protects against a host of dreadful diseases such as

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • ADHD
  • Cardiovascular disease and
  • Cancer

Ming Kuo a health and wellness researcher says that nature has the ability to enhance the functioning of the body’s immune system. It seems that there are 21 possible pathways between nature and good health.

Nature is like a multivitamin which provides us with all the nutrients we need. People! Do not forget that we are a part of nature.

The researchers say that nature switches the body into rest and digest mode. We feel safe when we spend time with nature. So our body makes long term investments towards good health outcomes, growing, reproducing and building the immune system.

When you do not spend time with nature stress sets in and the body is in the fight or flight mode. It shuts down everything which are essential for the smooth functioning of the immune system.

On the other side of the coin, when you enjoy indoor activities, it may seem to be good up to a point. But you won’t get the phytonicides, mycobacterium vaccae, negative air ions and vitamin D producing sunlight. If you find all these terms new, then simply put, you miss out on all the good stuff which nature has to offer.

So for wholesome health spend more time with nature.

MBA vs. CFA, Which Should I Choose?

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Blank stare, sweaty palms and a heartbeat that could be heard across the globe. Exaggeration? Yes but the pressure was quite accurate. As we age, that dreaded question frequents us as much as wrinkles and white hair. The former being more dreaded or at least I would hope so.

Replying, “I don’t know” isn’t sufficient nor does it scream motivated or anything remotely close. Everyone wants to be somewhere or something but the road towards that opportune thing or place is the tricky part.

I’m contemplating my next step. I already have my bachelor degrees in finance and rather than sit idly and wait to be hired I thought I should pursue further education in the meantime. With that in mind, my choices are narrowed down to either obtaining a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Both quite similar yet different in their own rights.

An MBA is the more traditional and familiar route. Widely known and available. On average it takes two years to complete, the cost can vary from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands and is practically available through any educational medium, be it a brick and mortar university or an online Institute.  So widely available, someone once said jokingly to me, “nowadays you can enter a grocery store and come out with an MBA.” Humorous as it may have been there was some truth to it. An MBA has become similar to buying a shoe or phone or whatever the “it” thing may be right now. It’s all about the brand. The brand or in this case the school is what illustrates exclusivity. Many people may have it but where they obtained their degree may play a crucial part on how far along it will get them in their career.

We then come to the CFA. The CFA is a 3 part exam each taken once per year. It is only offered by the CFA Institute and is based on self-learning. Each exam is around 2000 dirhams and you are given course material to prepare for the exam. The statistics are quite uninviting. Only half of the candidates pass each exam and only 10% of the candidates that started complete the process.  With those stats, it gives even the most ambitious some self-doubt.

I’m leaning towards the CFA, I think there is something about the road less traveled that provides more opportunity. In either case though knowledge is never useless and thus there is something to gain with any route taken.

Babysitting in Dubai – Is it for you?

Our children are a part of us; we love them, we care about them and we always want the best for them. When it comes to working parents, there is always a certain degree of trade off when it comes to deciding on being a full time mom or dad vs. a full time employee, especially in markets as competitive as that of Dubai.

So what are the real benefits that full time working parents get from hiring a part time babysitter? And is it really worth it?

Unarguably, a competent babysitter will be able to cater to many of your children’s needs and help them throughout their growing years. If you sit down with the babysitter and create a balanced timetable like, time for food, play, watching television, sleep, etc. that creates a routine in their life, which in turn will help you free more hours in the day as a working parent.

Another major benefit for hiring a babysitter is that a well-chosen babysitter facilitates your ability to foster your relationship with your spouse. Many working parents find it challenging to juggle work, kids and their relationship because they are consumed with daily tasks and responsibilities. Periodic date nights and conversations that don’t focus exclusively on child rearing are essential for keeping the relationship alive and well.

Moreover, if you are vigilant and smart about choosing a babysitter, she can also help lighten your workload. So if your house is a little messy but you don’t know when you can wedge in time for dusting, mopping or tidying up, your babysitter can perform light housekeeping while your little one naps. When you return home, your house will be spic and span and your baby will be ready for cuddles and play!

Babysitting and babysitting services have been on the rise in Dubai for the past few years. Although the trend is rising at a constant rate, still many working parents are against following the trend and prefer to leave their jobs or leave their kids with family members despite the inconveniences that may result.

Choosing what fits best for your family and its needs is all that matters but keep in mind that the advantages of hiring professional and certified babysitters can seriously outweigh the disadvantages. Do your research and be the judge!

Pillar Of Our Family

Grandfather, you will be missed. After the guests leave, and after the lights are dimmed, and we sit in the darkness of our rooms. You left a lonely space in our family. A pillar was permanently removed when you passed away.

His room upstairs is locked. Three years earlier, it was where he spent most of his time, amongst his children, grieving his late wife. In the solitude of his heart, he was weakened by age, and by the despair of loss. His smile, through his pain, made you feel everything is alright. That the world is at peace. His laughter, subtle, but sincere. The seat of my grandmother, empty, and now his.

His name will remain engraved in our hearts, in our passports, our heritage. We all love his name, repetitive amongst his grandchildren. His intellect, his mercy towards the weak, his appreciation for religious affairs, I hope we inherit.

Scene 1: Meeting in the Park

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

He was sitting on the chair, when she came from far away.

“Hello” she said. “Hi” he replied. Staring at her trying to imagine how she looks.

She thought he was flirting around. Yes he was a good-looking man.

Everyday same time and same place. They used to meet while she goes jogging.

One day she decided to ask, why doesn’t he speak up? Why doesn’t he ask?

“Excuse me” she came slowly with no sound in the ground. “Yes” he replied.

“Oh here she is” he said. He stood up trying to shake hands towards her left hand.

She started to feel awkward, how he is playing around.

Suddenly, it is that voice, the voice of his stick falling on the ground.

“Oh, no” she said. He is different. He wasn’t playing around.

“Oh, I am sorry” she said. “ I , I, I…” she was speechless.

Then she decided not to justify. He had a personality, nice attitude.

He was an engineer and knowledgeable person. In oppose to what others perceive.

He can always see what others can’t see.

The above scene is from my imagination, the moral is never to build a perception without personally interacting with a person and understanding his/her way of thinking. Judging people on appearance contradicts wisdom.

The Closet

Hang me up

Slide me away

Is all you do

Push me aside

Till you need me

For a rainy day

Like the wooly jumper your mother made

You don’t really care for it

Up until that cold wind blows

And your searching in your closet

For something to keep you warm

And your hand brushes against

That wooly fuzzy jumper

You pull it out

Pull it on

And feel the warmth it brings you

But once that cold wind has passed

You toss it back

At the back of the cupboard

Until another cold wind

Breaks

Wearing My Heart on My Tongue

You probably know the quote “I wear my heart on my sleeve”, but I prefer to think of it as I wear my heart on my tongue. Baffled as you may be by that, let me explain. As hard as it is to say it, it is even harder to admit to it. It’s always been the proverbial elephant in the room; presently there but not publicly acknowledged. I know you still must be trying to put the pieces together and make sense of what I am trying to explain, I think it’s best to finally rip the cliché bandage off and to put it simply, I stutter. Probably not the big climax most were expecting but that’s my elephant.

Stuttering is having blocks or repetition while speaking. It affects one percent of the population and four times as many males as females stutter. The cause is unknown but believed to have some correlation with genetics, neurological development and environmental impacts. There is no cure for stuttering but rather a variety of therapy options that can lead to fluent speech. Many stutterers find support groups helpful in their journey and in the UAE there is “Stutter With A Smile” which is a newly created group that focuses on raising awareness and providing support to fellow stutterers.

Stuttering may not sound so grim and it shouldn’t be, but for those who do stutter it comes with a life long psychological impact. Imagine not being able to fluently say what you want to at any given time. It’s frustrating to say the least.

Stuttering for me as a child gave me a green light, the ultimate excuse to have almost anything go in my favor. Just mentioning my stuttering and I avoided every single presentation and being asked to answer questions. Looking back I regret not having the opportunity to practice public speaking though the irony of it all is if I were placed back in that situation again I would hands down choose avoidance over publicly speaking.

I’m in my mid 20s now and currently evaluating my stuttering. I’m truly flabbergasted at what I am finding out about myself. A therapist told me to tell people that I stutter and in my head I was in such denial that I thought the idea was ludicrous. Somehow for the past two decades I had concocted up this theory of why own up to something that some people may or may not notice, that it was better to leave them guessing in their heads about what was wrong with me. I can’t begin to fathom what they were thinking nor would I want to.

So my first step, similar to overcoming any problem is admitting to it. Therefore, I will write it again…I stutter.

I am at a stage in my life where I’m searching for a job. My worst fear as a stutterer is interviews. An interview to me is the three headed monster antagonist in every children’s book, almost impossible to defeat but with courage and brevity it is somehow overcome. My only problem is maintaining courage to translate into fluent speech.

Life comes with challenges and this is mine. Everyday life presents itself with its variations of speaking hurdles and my emotions play a great role in how fluent I am able to speak hence having my heart on my tongue.

If I had a dollar for every time I have gotten a weird face as I was trying to speak, or had my sentenced completed for me or just wished I could find a magical blanket to disappear into because I couldn’t get a word out, I’d probably be sitting on my own sandy beach rather than stressing over what syllables make me stutter. Though life is what it is and the hurdles make you who you are.

You’re Okay

Some things hurt even though they shouldn’t

They just sting

While you sit there quietly

Taking it all in

Letting the pain seep into your bones

All the while wondering why

Why would it hurt

You know your place

And yet

It does

It stings

It pangs

All the while you’re quietly sitting

Letting it take a ride in your veins

Riding the currents of your pumping blood

From your heart

And back to it

All the while getting deeper

Thumping all around

Till it slowly

Thump thump thumps away

And you’re left with a numbness

And a slight feeling

Of being okay

Tips to Keep Your Child Safe While Gaming Online

Picture provided by the author, founder of www.wisenetizen.com

Picture provided by the author, founder of www.wisenetizen.com

As technology is advancing, our kids are getting more and more addicted to online games. Online gaming can be a fun way for kids to connect with others, but it’s important for parents to keep few points in mind to make sure that their child stays safe while playing online and video games:

  • Here are the practical steps which parents should remember:
  • Know about the game your child wants to buy or play. Check out game review sites.
  • Be sure your child has strong passwords for his gaming accounts.
  • Discuss with your child about risks involved while playing online games. Tell him about online bullying, frauds.
  • Instruct your child to report any bad behavior or bullying when he plays online and come for help to you.
  • Make sure that your child does not reveal his personal details like real name, location, gender and age. He should also use an avatar, not his photo while playing games.
  • Don’t let your child download any content like cheat file without your permission, they might contain virus.
  • Use parental controls which are available for all currently sold game consoles to manage online gameplay.
  • Keep the computer in a public area of your home, such as the living room, so that you can check on what your child is doing online and how much time he is spending there
  • Instruct your child to take your permission before making any in-game purchase that involves cash, and not points.
  • Monitor your child’s activity while he is online.
  • Keep your computer secured. Make sure that your computer is regularly updated. (Update firewall, anti-spyware software, and anti-virus software).
  • Check game’s ESRB rating.

What is ESRB Rating?

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide guidance about video games and apps so that consumers, especially parents, can make informed choices about the ones they deem suitable for their family.

ESRB ratings have three parts:

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness.
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
  • Interactive Elements inform about interactive aspects of a product, including users’ ability to interact, the sharing of users’ location with other users, or the fact that personal information may be shared with third parties.

By following these simple tips, parents can keep their child safe while playing games online. Happy Playing!

Liquid

You were like water

I tried to hold onto you

You can’t hold onto water

Not without a container

And I was not someone to contain you

So I let you go

Hoping you would come back

But like water

It always comes back

But not the same

It’s different

It is not the same

And it does not stay

Finding My Flow

The word “flow” has a lot of meanings; it may refer to going along with something, moving steadily or even the pressure of a flowing liquid. However, the flow that I am referring to is another type of flow. It is the one that I feel the happiest in, it is my desire in life and it is the thing that I am constantly searching for.

Have you ever been in a crowd full of movement and noise, full of energy and life? But you were disconnected from your surrounding. It is not because you were not Interested or social. It is because you were so immersed in the thing that you were doing, to the point where you felt that all of your attention, concentration, mind, feelings and spirit are strongly fixed on that thing. Yes, that feeling, that moment is what you call “Finding My Flow”.

When I find my flow, to me it is as if I have found myself, my long lost self, which I have been searching for constantly. Myself that was so busy with life and its demands. Myself that gives up things for others and forgets about its own needs and wants. Myself that cannot breathe and take a break.

When that moment of reconnection with myself, me & I happens, just then I understand the true meaning of peacefulness, security, pleasure & simplicity. It is the time when my mind, soul & body finally reconnect and meet at the same place, at the same time and at the same moment. Synchronized just like a melody or a rhythm, just like when an orchestra plays. At that moment, my heart flutter and knows that I am in my natural habitat; the place which I belong to, doing the thing that I was made for or to be more specific, doing the thing that was made for me.

Just like now, I am in my flow writing this piece with joy and amusement. How about you? When and where do you find your flow?

Play It Right

Think of life like a video game. You keep going and it gets harder and harder but you learn more and more how to play the game as time goes on. You learn some tricks and cheats. So then when, and you know this is always gonna happen, you lose and it’s “game over” you know the technique you have to use; be it a whole new one to the one you just used or a tweaked of the one you just used.

But either way, at the end of the day, you’ve gotten a bit better at the game, even if your score hasn’t changed. You go to bed with the satisfaction that you’ve learnt something and you can’t wait to put it into practice the next day so you can get even farther. So think of life as a video game and don’t take “game over” to heart. Take it as a challenge.

Awkward

It’s just..

Awkward.

I don’t know how to explain it..

That word explains it all

Awkward…

Sitting here..

Feeling so outta place..

I don’t belong here.

I don’t belong here and I didn’t belong there..

I feel outta place everywhere..

I just don’t belong..

Why is it so awkward?

Why is it so weird..

I just gotta find a place..

Where I can just be myself..

Be myself and not be judged for it..

Where it’s not awkward..

Where awkward doesn’t exist..

Where I just…

Fit.

Natural Beauty

As we go about our daily lives and rather chaotic schedules in a world with the latest technology and developments, we never actually stop and take a moment to enjoy the natural landscapes, miracles and mystical enchantments of our surroundings. Silvery stars twinkling in the night skies, the salty ocean air with waves lashing against the shore or the daily spectrum of colours at sunrise and sunset that turns the sky shades of gold, violet and dusky orange. We tend to see it all, but never observe and appreciate the beauty of nature. After all, it’s the little things in life that makes this world a beautiful place.

Early mornings by the Oceanside. Location:  Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

Early mornings by the Oceanside. Location: Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

Sunset at Musjid Quba. Location: Al Madina Munawwara, KSA.

Sunset at Musjid Quba. Location: Al Madina Munawwara, KSA.

Through the tree tops. Location: South Africa.

Through the tree tops. Location: South Africa.

Airborne. Location: UAE Skies.

Airborne. Location: UAE Skies.

Abstract Nature. Location: South Africa.

Abstract Nature. Location: South Africa.

Abstract Nature. Location: South Africa.

Abstract Nature. Location: South Africa.

African Sunset. Location: South Africa

African Sunset. Location: South Africa

The ocean at dawn. Location: Garden Route, South Africa

The ocean at dawn. Location: Garden Route, South Africa

 

ضفة الطريق

في ذالك اليوم كنت جالسا على ضفة الطريق…

ليمر النهر ويلقي التحية من بعيد…

انظر هناك يا أخي…

إنها الريح تحمل طائرا…

طائرا يفرد جناحيه ليحملني إلى الأفق البعيد…

إنها نحلة ترتشف من رحيق الزهر…

إنها زهرة تبحث عن نور الشمس…

إنه تيار يبحث عن موج البحر…

عندما ينمو الورق…

عندها يبرز العرق…

بعدها يثمر الشجر…

عندها يقطف الثمر…

هذه لوحة رسمها الخالق العظيم…

إنها جزء قد رآه البعض… حلم به البعض… ولم يره البعض بعد…

ما أبدع صنع الخالق…

You will always be their prisoner

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”

I came across this eye-opening quote while reading ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Frey, and my brain sort of took it in and devoured it into meaning.

Not only are we prisoners of our own, but we are also prisoners of people who serve remote purposes in our lives. It saddens me, how individuals out there choose to do “good” in order to get the approval of others. Some might do it to stay on the safe side, but is being on the safe side really worth it? Is it worth stopping yourself from being someone? Most importantly, is it important enough to stop yourself from being the person you are meant to be: yourself? I stop myself from taking certain actions, that would harm me as a person with an immense amount of self-respect, and so; I tend to steer my way into the path that would drive me into goodwill, because I am my own person, and appraisal is not what I feed on, especially when it is followed by an undeserving matter. I have grown up to face a plethora of challenges, and barriers that made me the person I am today. I am grateful for those who doubted me, or made me feel dubious, otherwise. Thank you society, I have learned to accept every flaw, and most importantly, the beauty of you.

Being an open-minded person is considered to be some sort of mind-eating/corruptive part of one’s personality. I most certainly did not sign up to be a robotic/brainwashed individual, even if the consequences drive people’s will against my own.

My society builds itself upon how it portrays itself to the world, regardless of what is beneficial to them, but seemingly hurtful to others.

If I base my happiness on irrational opinions, I will, without a doubt, cease to find happiness or myself in that matter.

Everyone in this world, is likely to be opinionated, they might have an idea but not the entire picture. I am not afraid of justice; of what others might consider shame, because what people think about me is none of my business.

Yesterday

Yesterday, a forgotten blessing we’ve sought to bury.

Yesterday, a past I am assiduous in grasping every memory.

Yesterday, a part of everything I was,

everything I ought to be,

everything I am today.

 

Oh, dear future,

Reminisce these beautiful memories and grasp every shade of what I have overcome to live by you, for the past is merely a heartbeat away.

-Today

الفصول الأربعة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

ما الذي يحدث يا ترى…أرى تصرفاته كالجو المتقلب الذي تحل فيه الفصول الأربعة…

يوماً يتأجج نشاطاً مع نسمات الصيف وهدير المياه…

يوماً يكسوه الجفاء واللامبالاة كبرد الشتاء…

يوماً كأنه غريب يسقط كما تتساقط أوراق الخريف…

يوماً يسري بلطف كما تهب نسمات الربيع وتتفتح زهور الحياة …

ما الذي يحدث يا ترى… هل يا ترى يرى ما أرى…

هل يجوز للإنسان أن يتصرف وفقا لمزاجه… أم أن عليه ترويض نفسه حتى لا تجرح من لا ذنب لهم…

من أنت يا ترى… هل أنت الورق الذي يتطاير مع الريح…

أم أنك نهر يجري في الطريق… أم أنت الربيع الذي يخطف الخريف…

أم أنك الجبل الذي يلامس الغمام… من أنت يا ترى…

فارس على الجواد… أم جواد بلا فارس…

أنت خيال… أم واقع محال…

من أنت يا ترى… هل تراني مثلما أرى…

تهب نسمات الربيع… وخيالك على الماء يرى…

تمحو الريح صورتك… لتترك العصفور يرتشف من الماء دون خوف…

لتبقى صورتك ذكرى تناثرت مع الورى…

Personality Traits Beyond Words

You lost me as I lost myself, yet found me in time’s best hour.

We found each other, between the mishaps, wrapped around the memories that were once a series of nostalgic waves.

Drowned by the days, saved by an impatient sunrise cracking its beauty through earth’s dirt.

The peak; a masterpiece one cannot cease to wallow in.

The rays; goodwill splashed into my forsaken days.

The clouds; mimicking your shadows, towering me with pleasures an oblivious being would come to notice.

You have saved me, turning my nothingness into an epiphany of every lovers dream.

Ramadan

Ramadan, the holy month, has come. Ramadan is the month in which you can try to be a better person. It is the month when the families always meet together.
Try to help poor people, people in need, your friends and your family.
Try to be honest, try to do go things that make other people happy and satisfied.
Ramadan Kareem everyone.

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

When I see you

when I see you_

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

When I see you…I feel…
The world is still…Safe…
The life is still…Nice…
And I am still…Alive…
When I meet you…I smile…
I fly as a bird…And I see…
The sky as a dream in the eye…
Believe it or not…Yes such thing exists…
Is it love or appreciation…
Is it only glamor…Or a feeling that would never end…

Masterpiece

I don’t know if this would make sense as much as it does it does to me, but my day was pretty dull and sunny. I have no idea how the both mix, but the blazing sun was no more than tasteless to my likings.

Dragging myself off of the bed, I walked into the kitchen while I allowed my thoughts to meander elsewhere. My glance couldn’t help but notice the couch that sat by the furthest window. It always looked like it had a story and a past of its own. It has been there for as long as my memories could trace back to. The rugs stitched to it to make it as a whole were slowly wearing off, leaving it to adapt a shabby appearance. Objects that carried no souls within still aged and became useless at some point.

Some things make complete sense in my head, as though my brain was painting a masterpiece with the remaining of my memories, but as soon as my tongue tried to relate it to words, that masterpiece was soon of nothings worth.

Meraas Launches Ramadan ‘Book Donation’ Initiative in Partnership with @UAEBBY #StoryToShare

CITY WALK, THE BEACH and BOXPARK, three Dubai-based retail developments by Meraas, have embarked upon a unique ‘Book Donation’ initiative to mark the spirit of giving during the Holy Month of Ramadan. A collaborative effort between the retail entities at the three destinations and the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), the initiative invites visitors to donate their favourite books at designated collection boxes during Ramadan.

The UAEBBY is affiliated to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and is a non-profit organization aiming to revitalize the art of reading among the UAE population, especially children.

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Saleh Al Geziry, Senior Director- Retail Management, Meraas said: “The Holy Month of Ramadan brings with it thoughtful opportunities for giving and sharing. We would like to dedicate the holy month to promote the culture of reading levels in the community through encouraging our destination visitors to donate their favourite books and share the gift of imagination. UAEBBY will use the donated books at book reading sessions during their visit to schools in the UAE. The books will also be placed in public libraries for children to access and enjoy in their free time.”

On her part Marwa Al Aqroubi – President of UAEBBY, said: “Our collaboration with CITY WALK, THE BEACH and BOXPARK in the book donation initiative is a great way for celebrities, key influencers and just about anybody in the UAE to give back to the community and help inspire a love of reading among children. The 2012 Arab Thought Foundation’s fourth annual cultural development report states that an average Arab child reads for just six minutes in a year. Given this concern, we hope that our collective efforts instil a greater love for reading among the young in the UAE.”

To ensure greater impact of the book donation initiative, social media users are invited to use the following hashtags to encourage the participation of the wider community.

Arabic: #تبرع_بكتابك ; English: #StoryToShare

Location of Collection Boxes:

CITY WALK THE BEACH BOXPARK
Location 1 Near Nar Lift lobby between Krispy Kreme and Fruteiro Do Brazil (Yellow parking) Between Poupette A La Plage and Cioccolatitaliani
Location 2 Near Ferre Café Lift lobby across from Sun Eye Optical (Green Parking) Near Big Chefs
Location 3 Near Argo Tea Café THE PIAZZA (Blue Parking) Between Typo and Urbanist
Location 4 Near Spinneys Red escalator across from Godiva (Red Parking) Near Ahwak

Press release and pictures provided by Meraas Holding.

الحياد منطقةٌ مباركة.. أحياناً

‏الآخرون يحبون بشدة ويكرهون بشغف، و ينهارون كحطامٍ يائس من أجل هذا وذاك، وهذا مالا أستطيع فهمه او استيعابه حتى الآن.
لقد اكتشفت روعة التخلي عن الكثير مقابل بعض التغيير الصحي، و أهميّة الاكتفاء بالذات عندما يجلدنا من حولنا حباً أو حسداً أو غباءً، و رغم كلّ التجارب الإنسانية التي عرفتها، إلا أنني عجزت عن إيجاد من يستحقون الحقد أو الحب إلى هذه الدرجة.
لا تكذب على نفسك، ليس ثمة شيءٌ يستحق الموت لأجله، ولا تبالغ في مشاعرك القوية لأشخاص أو أماكن أو أزمنة، كل شيءٍ معرّضٌ  للاستبدال والتحسين، و يمكننا دائماً استعارة بداياتٍ جديدة، أو تحقيق عودةٍ كبرى، أو نهوضٍ  عظيم مهما كانت سقطاتنا موحلة، نستطيع أن نولد لملايين المرات الأخرى إذا قرّرنا ذلك.
 الحياد منطقةٌ مباركة في مواقف كثيرة، و أحياناً تحتاج ألا تشعر بشيء قويٍّ أو جارفٍ تجاه آخرين، إن العواطف المندفعة، والشغف غير المبرر حتى لقضايا عادلة قد يصيبك بإحباطٍ عظيم، و لذلك اسمح لنفسك أن تكون أحياناً إنساناً عادياً سطحياً لتنجوَ من مسؤوليات الكون اللانهائية.
ستصاب بالآلام، و ستجرحك الحياة بشدة، كلّ المرارات التي أقحموها في حلقك ستجعل طعم الشهد أحلى عندما يسقيه الله لك، و كل نعمةٍ زائلة قابلةٌ للاستبدال بنعمٍ أفضل، الأشياء الجيدة ستستمرّ في الحدوث، وكذلك السيئة.
أحياناً أفكر لو أننا تعاونا مع القدر قليلاً و اعتنقناه بدل صراعاتنا الطويلة معه، لربما استطعنا إيجاد الجسر المفقود للسلام، ذلك الذي يشبه أرض الميعاد ليهود سيناء.

The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Sweat

You might work up a sweat at various times: a long run, sunny summer afternoon, or an important job interview, to name a few. Whether it’s refreshing or unplanned, sweating leads to a number of incredible health benefits, some of which may be surprising.

Perspire Much? Don’t Sweat It!

Glance around any fitness class, and you’ll see all kinds of perspiration. Some exercisers will be drenched from head to toe, while others will have nary a drop of sweat on the brow. Sweat isn’t exactly one of the great mysteries of the universe, but there is still a lot to discover about this amazing built-in skin system.

The human body is equipped with its own cooling system. The skin is covered with approximately two to five million sweat glands that run like ductwork in an attic. How much a person sweats is determined by physiological characteristics, including age and gender, room temperature, the level of exertion during exercise, how anxious a person feels, and whether the person is overweight.1

On average, humans can produce up to one to three liters of sweat per hour. Exercise and heat are the most common causes of perspiration because sweat’s main job is to cool down the body. However, stress, anxiety, and excitement can also cause sweating.2That’s why foods and beverages that increase anxiety, such as coffee and tea, can ramp up sweat production.

Let’s take a look at the chemical makeup of sweat and learn why we all perspire in the first place.

Source by http://www.fix.com

Source by http://www.fix.com

The Reasons Behind Salty and Stinky Sweat

Sweat is primarily made up of water but it also contains salt and, depending on a person’s diet, other chemicals. Ever heard of the saying, “You are what you eat?” That’s not too far from the truth for sweat. The chemical composition of sweat can be altered by food and drinks, the reason for sweating, and how long a bout of sweating lasts.

One of the highest mineral concentrations in sweat is sodium, which explains why sweat tastes salty. In addition, sweat contains moderate amounts of potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium as well as small amounts of trace minerals including copper, zinc, and iron.3

But not all sweat is created equally. The human body hosts two different types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine sweat glands work like ducts on the skin’s surface and produce a watery substance. These glands are mostly concentrated on the brow, hands, and feet (though they cover much of the body), and they function primarily as the body’s A/C unit.4

Apocrine sweat glands are found in the hair follicles located in and around the scalp, armpits, anus, and genitals. Apocrine sweat glands produce a thicker, plasma-like substance that also contains fatty acids and protein byproducts, including urea and ammonia. Emotional stress triggers apocrine glands to expel fatty sweat into the skin, where bacteria break it down. This turns into an odorous fatty acid substance, which makes certain types of sweat smell and causes unsightly underarm stains . These glands remain inactive until puberty, which explains why preteen children suddenly smell after recess.

Man vs. Woman: The Sweatonomics

Japanese scientists discovered that women need to exercise harder than men to get a good sweat going. The researchers placed four subject groups in a controlled environment and then asked them to cycle continuously for one hour. The study showed that men are more efficient at sweating and that untrained women had the worst response when it came to breaking a sweat.5

Previous studies have shown that higher levels of testosterone in men may increase sweat output. The study mentioned above was the first to suggest that women may be at a disadvantage when it comes to cooling off during heavy bouts of exercise or during hot conditions. Researchers have suggested an evolutionary reason for this: women carry less body fluid than men, and they may sweat less to prevent dehydration. For this reason, it may be advisable for women to take more precautions in extreme heat conditions or during long bouts of exercise.

Age-related factors can also affect the amount of sweat a person produces. As the skin changes during the aging process, the sweat glands produce less sweat. This can make it harder to cool off and may increase the risk of heat stroke.6

Sweat Glands: The Everyday Hero

Sweat glands aren’t just nature’s ice bath. From warding off bacteria to protecting the kidneys, perspiration is the inspiration for several healthy functions that extend beyond a good cool down.

Germ Fighters

While studying proteins involved in skin cancer, a team of researchers discovered a potent natural antibiotic called dermcidin. The researchers learned that sweat glands constantly excrete this antibiotic.7 Persistent skin washing can remove this natural protective barrier.

Though a long shower after a hot sweaty day sounds perfect, it may limit your defense against germs. University of California researcher Tomas Ganz notes that bacteria thrive in hot, moist conditions. Dermcidin can limit what thrives on our skin, reducing our risk of infection. But Ganz cautions that being sweaty all the time does not guarantee protection: “It depends on how much dermcidin a person exudes.”8

Healing Powers

University of Michigan researchers discovered that sweat glands play a role in the wound-healing process, including recovery from scrapes, burns, and ulcers. In a study published in the American Journal of Pathology, Laure Rittié, Research Assistant Professor of Dermatology, notes that sweat glands are understudied and that they may hold the secret to speeding up wound repair.9

The study found that eccrine glands store an important reservoir of adult stem cells that can quickly take action when a wound occurs. Rittié explains that sweat glands are understudied because they are unique to humans and not present in animals, which are commonly studied in laboratories. Rittié and her research team hope these findings will pave the way for a greater understanding of the skin’s healing process and lead to better targeted therapies – especially for those who experience skin ulcers from diabetes or bedsores.

Happiness Defenders

The act of sweating alone doesn’t ward off bad moods, but a good sweat in the gym or outdoors increases endorphin levels – those feel-good hormones that contribute to a runner’s high.10 Endorphins are related to positive mood and an enhanced sense of overall well-being. Endorphins are related to positive mood and an enhanced sense of overall well-being.11

Kidney Protectors

Sweating limits the accumulation of salt and calcium in the kidneys and urine, which can reduce the risk of kidney stones. In addition, more sweating increases thirst, which may lead to greater water consumption. The more water goes in, the less likely it is that kidney stones will form.

A study published in 2013 by the American Society of Nephrology found that small amounts of physical activity and reduced caloric consumption might decrease the risk of kidney stone development by 31 percent.12 Breaking a little sweat on a brisk daily walk can go a long way when it comes to prevention.

Source by http://www.fix.com

Source by http://www.fix.com

How Much Sweat is Too Much?

For the most part, sweating is necessary and healthy. But sweating more than normal may be caused by a condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis occurs when the body sweats unnecessarily, dripping perspiration from the head, feet, palms, or underarms.13 Though it’s not harmful, excessive sweating can put a damper on daily activities and cause added stress, which can lead to even more sweating.

Signs of Hyperhidrosis:

  • Visible sweat when no physical exertion or excessive heat is present
  • Interfering with daily activities (for example, sweaty palms make it difficult to open doors)
  • Soft, peeling skin from continued moisture
  • Frequent skin infections, such as athlete’s foot or jock itch

Tips to Reduce Excessive Sweating:

  • Apply antiperspirant (not deodorant) to dry underarms before bed. Sweating is less likely to occur during sleep, and this will allow the skin to absorb more of the ingredients overnight, which provides greater protection during the day.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that may cause excess sweating or anxiety. Some of these foods are caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea, and spicy foods.
  • Wear natural fibers that allow the skin to cool. Loose clothing can also help prevent excessive sweating.
  • Learn how to relax during stressful situations. Meditative practices can reduce stress and anxiety, which may help reduce perspiration.
  • When all else fails, a dermatologist can prescribe an antiperspirant or inject Botox in the affected areas, which can reduce excessive sweating.
Source by http://www.fix.com

Source by http://www.fix.com

Go Ahead, Break a Sweat

Offering a natural cooling system and unique healing properties, a little perspiration each day may be what keeps the doctor at bay. Remember to replenish what you sweat out by sipping plenty of water throughout the day and drinking a little more during and after a vigorous workout.

Article syndicated from http://www.fix.com/blog/unexpected-benefits-of-sweat/


Sources:

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003218.htm
  2. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0028824
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18156662
  4. http://www.derm101.com/inflammatory/embryologic-histologic-and-anatomic-aspects/eccrine-units/
  5. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/expphysiol.2010.053710/abstract;jsessionid=5334BEFFC756A0872519C9FBFBBC6830.f04t01
  6. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004014.htm
  7. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/41/14687.full.pdf+html?sid=01bbf9f8-ed21-484b-817b-e0453c4f8e89
  8. http://www.nature.com/news/2001/011105/full/news011108-3.html
  9. http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201211/sweat-glands-play-major-role-healing-human-wounds-u-m
  10. http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-199213010-00003
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
  12. http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/25/2/362
  13. http://www.hyperhidrosiscumc.com/hyperhidrosis.html

Art As Diplomacy, When Art Becomes The Ambassador #PastForward

We came across this incredible talk about “Art as Diplomacy” hosted at NYUAD earlier this year. The talk included the artist Noor Al Suwaidi, curator of an amazing exhibition called “Past Forward”, and Mary McBride, a musician & cultural envoy.

We’d like to bring attention to the great work done by Noor Al Suwaidi, which was launched by Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in the US[1]:

“Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, a groundbreaking cultural diplomacy program that brings Emirati artwork and artists to the United States (US). The exhibition tells the story of the UAE’s rich history, culture and rapid development through 50 paintings, sculptures, and other artwork by 25 notable Emirati artists.”[2]

You can view Noor’s statement as the curator of #PastForward on this link, and you can view the page dedicated to the exhibition by UAE’s embassy in US on this link.

Find out all about the exhibition, and it’s upcoming tour dates on this link.[3]

And now here is the video link of the talk. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed watching every minute of it!

 

Also here is a shorter video to give you a glimpse of what #PastForward is about:


Source links:

[1] http://www.uae-embassy.org/embassy

[2] http://www.uae-embassy.org/PastForward_DC_2014-3

[3] http://www.meridian.org/pastforward/

رفيق الطوب

rafee8 al6oob_

تسللت دمعة من عينه وهو يرى مدينته تصغر، ثم تختفي بين أكوام السحب، أخذ يتنهد مراراً وتكراراً مطلقاً زفرات ألمه العميق والذي غدى كسرطان ينهش أعماقه ببطء، يُعتقد أنه قد كُتب عليه البؤس.. فقدره شقاء ومصيره داكن موحش!

هرب إلى الماضي عندما أحزنه حاضره.. عاد له فرحه بمجرد ما زاره طيف أجمل عطايا الرحمن، ابنته.. لكن لطالما انشغلت السعادة عنه، ما لبث أن تذكر دموعها وهي تودعه حتى عاد إليه رفيقه، عاد إليه الحزن..

عندها، هرب إلى والدته.. حضنه الآمن، تذكر كم كان يشعر بالانتماء بجانب قبرها وكأنه خلق من طين ذلك القبر، تمنى لو أنه يستطيع أن يشكو هذا لأمه فينزاح ما ألمّ به!

تذكر دموع زوجته وهو يودعها، “عد بخير” قالتها له.. ابتعد مرغماً عنها.. فياعجب، كيف لجسد أن يبتعد أميالاً عن روحه؟

وصل إلى المكان المنشود ليلاً.. وهكذا ارتبط عنده الليل مباشرةً بالألم..

بدأ العمل بجد تام، لأجل وردته اليانعة الصغيرة، كيف لا وهو يرى فيها امتداداً لعمره وأملاً لحياته؟ كانت السعادة تتلبسه عندما يرى بسمتها..

وهاهو يحمل أكياس الإسمنت فوق كتفيه، وإذ بجسده يزداد هزولاً وضعفاً، واسمرّ جلده.. حزن لذلك فقد ورثه من أبيه الذي لا يذكر عنه شيئاً سوى وداعه له قبل أن يرحل، ولأن الموت لا يستأذن أحدا، فقد لحقت المنية والده قبل أن يلحق رزقه..

في يوم صيف حار، لا ترحم فيه الشمس أحداً.. وهو يصف الطوب.. إذ بالجاهلين يرمون عليه الشتائم وآخرين يجدون ذلك مضحكاً.. أزاح نظره بعيداً.. أودع دعوة للكريم.. ثم عاد يصف الطوب!

مرت سنين.. أخذ الأبيض يطغو على شعره، وبدأت التجاعيد تملأ وجهه، والرعشة تتدخل في كل حركاته.. عندها هجر الطوب وعاد إلى لعائلته، باحثاً عن عمره الذي ادخره فيها، هارباً من شيخوخته، وعائداً لأمله.. وابتسمت له الحياة أخيراً وعاد إلى وردتيه يسقيهما حباً وأماناً..

Little Did She Know

Little did she know, she deserved far more than what she stood for.

She had the immortal stars gazing down on eyes that resembled a spark of their own.

She had the sun shining down on her with the greatest rays it has got to offer.

The grass underneath her feet tickled her enough to paint a heavenly smile the wind was eager to brush up against.

She was everything; the universe was blessed with her existence, immensely counting on her solitude.

Her solitude was everything, not counting her as a recluse, but as a mystery the greatest particles of the universe couldn’t solve.

The Courage To Go Solo- interview with Marianna Boguslavsky

With the immense rise in Female Entrepreneurship across the UAE, I thought it would be great to feature these women and to talk about what drives them to take the step, bid farewell to employment, and build their own ventures.

She is one of the very few women who has achieved tremendous success, focusing on bringing latest digital innovations to benefit SME’s and startups.

Marianna runs a digital strategy agency based in Dubai, and she is working with premium B2B and B2C brands regionally and internationally.

She founded her small niche digital agency 18 months ago, and ever since she has worked with a variety of companies in the business hub Dubai to US film production agencies in Hollywood.

Marianna has a great impact on fellow female entrepreneurs, hosting networking events on a regular basis in this region as well as in South Africa, sharing her expertise and allowing other entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and network on a Senior level.

Marianna, you have recently been very brave to launch your own digital strategy consultancy. Tell us about your self and what made you take this bold step or starting up a company from scratch.

​I have a strong digital marketing background with digital skills gleaned in the UK, South Africa, and UAE during the past eight years. ​After working for almost a year at a corporate advertising agency in Dubai and seeing the demand for a skilled digital agency aimed at the SME and startup market, I saw the opportunity for my business and the timing was perfect, so I just took the plunge and went for it. I haven’t looked back since.

​Our core offerings as a niche digital strategy agency are our digital strategies and experiences that we create for our clients that engage based on research, data, insights and trends.

You have been very successful so far, what is you recipe being such a hard worker and still able to find balance between your professional and private life?

​Thank you, but as an entrepreneur and small business owner, I never think of myself as ‘successful’ more as a ‘work in progress’. I am a huge believer in the ‘work hard, play hard’ ideology – life is all about having a healthy balance and for me a big part of that is spending time with family and friends, and travelling to beautiful destinations all over the world. I give it my all during the working week but my weekends are sacred in the sense that I try not to work and disconnect/go offline and focus on my other loves including my husband, good books, travelling, and sushi.

What are your views on networking and what channels would you recommend to our readers who are considering to go solo?

​Networking is vital in this region, especially as a business owner looking to build relationships first, and sign customers second. People like to work with people they know and trust so authentic relationships underpin a successful business. Make sure to invest time and resources to attend meet ups, conferences, and events where your potential target market might also be and network, network, network.​

With the ever-changing environment and market trends would you recommend setting up a digital strategy for SMEs or also smaller startups? How do you distinguish between those?

​I would urge any business starting out to first spend some time on developing an effective digital strategy for their brand before becoming active online – have a tactical plan with key goals and objectives but also with clear KPIs that can be monitored and modified. ​In regards to different digital strategies for SMEs versus smaller startups, we have been seeing a trend of potential clients requesting more growth hacks tactics for their small startups as part of the digital strategies.

Devotion

My love for you grows like a rose in the midst of a colossal garden of your sweet, sweet aura.

You have perfumed my soul, with a smell my senses cannot fathom, leaving them to flow in lust.

A rose with no thorns; leaves as soft as feathers, petals those of the calmest rays

What are you? Turning my heaviest thoughts into the lightest of cries of my mind, you have turned me into an angel of my time, and the queen of my own kind.

You have locked me in a place I would never submit to flee; you have locked me in paradise, as free as a wingless bird can be.

You have filled me with love, enough to relent the days I have wept upon,

To you I belong,

                             forever I shall be yours,

                                                                          be my own.

Shrinking Violet- Truth or Myth?

Picture taken from cosmetologyme.com

Picture taken from cosmetologyme.com

With so many new weight loss products and services on the market it is not always easy to choose the most effective one that caters our individual needs.

Just in time for our summer vacation I am looking for a quick fix, that allows me to fit back into those jeans, I have come across Shrinking Violet- a UK produced body wrap that helps you to loose at least a dress size in less than two hours.

Too good to be true?

That has been my thought prior to the treatment. Upon arrival at the spa I receive a thorough consultation. While sipping a green tea the beautician explains the procedure and talks me through it step by step, eliminating all scepticism that is still lingering in my mind.

I have to complete a short questionnaire which includes my medical history and it gives me a small summary of points that need to be considered after the treatment, such as a high water consumption and no work out, nor shower for the next 24 hours. The reasons are that my pores will be open and in order to allow a full detoxification a lot of water needs to be consumed. The intake of high fat foods and caffeinated drinks prior and post treatment are not advised.

Before getting started it is absolutely crucial to read the manual as well as a pre- and post- treatment protocol in order to prepare for the treatment and follow the guidelines, as otherwise unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea and lightheadedness can occur.

Being escorted to the treatment room the lady measures my full body and makes notes in order to compare the results afterwards. She then oils my full body with soybean extract and wraps me tightly into cling wrap.

For the next 60 minutes I lay down and enjoy a relaxing head and foot massage by the same masseuse who massaged Kim Kardashian last week. Pretty cool!

I doze off to some soothing music and 1 hour later the lady awakens me and removes the cling wrap from my body. She then measures me again and what happens next is just unbelievable. All together I have lost 30 cm of body weight, all body parts included.

Excited about the outcome, I get dressed looking forward to unpack my beloved jeans.

More information on the product can be found under following link: http://www.cosmetologyme.com/products/index/brand/ShrinkingViolet/type/SlimmingSolutions

صديقي لا تستسلم

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

عندما أقول أنني قوية… تعجز عيني عن منع الدمع من الانهمار…

عندما أقول لن أبكي… يقول قلبي دعيها تنهمر لعل ذلك يريحك…

عندما أكون جالسا في لحظة أسمع فيها من صديق لي أنه مريض…

أشعر كأن الأرض توقفت عن الدوران… أشعر أن عقارب الساعة لم تعد تصدر صوتا عند الدوران…

أشعر أن الصورة قد مسحت من عدسة المصور… أتمنى بأنني لم أسمع ما سمعت…

كنت أظن أن الصديق والعائلة مختلفان نوعا ما… لكن كم من صديق أقرب للمرء من بعض أفراد عائلته…

تعلمون لقد تأثرت كثيرا وبشدة من هذا الخبر… كأن شريط الذكريات أعادني إلى الوراء…

ليذكرني باللحظات التي مرت كلها في ثوان قليلة… صديقي العزيز وأخي لا تستسلم…

توكل على الله… نحن معك دائما…سوف نعيش الحياة معا… وسوف تعود بعافية بإذن الله…

Lost

raya4new

Hello Dunia,

It has been a while since I last sought you and I don’t even have a valid excuse. When I first ‘created’ you, it was to help me off load all my feelings and thoughts, you were my escapism from this world but now I am finding myself lost between two worlds; reality and my Dunia world.

I don’t know what is wrong with me Dunia, actually not even sure if there is anything wrong. I think I just want or need a new thing or a challenge or maybe if I am honest and I know that here is the only place I can be completely honest, I realise that I simply miss Him. It has been 63 days since he vanished without even a message to say goodbye, and 40 days since I made the decision of giving up on him I suppose, no… no…no I don’t like the words; giving up is something I have always hated and tried to avoid. For me it is a sign of failure and a reinforcement of people’s assumption that the average disabled is incapable of completing a task. Taking time out is probably a better sentence I need to give myself space, rediscover the inner me and challenge my thoughts and emotion into learning to rely on no one but my own self.

Yet I have to admit Dunia, I can’t help but over analyse his disappearance. There must be a reason behind it, and call me paranoid if you like, but if you are a person living with disability and you get rejected by a person or a job or anything else for that matter, then your disability is the first thing that comes into your head. I begin to wonder if I had the physical strength would I still be rejected? Is it the exterior or the inner me that is the problem? Honestly, I don’t know which would hurt more, knowing that you are rejected because of your physical ability – something that is beyond your control- or because of your personality. It is a difficult one to choose from. Is it better to lay the blame at your fate knowing that there is nothing you can do to change it, therefore no hope, yet it is not personal. But if the problem is with your character and traits then there is a faint hope, because you can change or adapt your ways although I think it hurts more.

I don’t know Dunia, there are times when I think of my disability as not part of who I am, it is like an added feature that you carry yet it is impersonal, then there are other times where I strongly feel that disability has shaped who I have become and I doubt any person living with disability can claim otherwise. Humans are taught by experiences, so surly seeing and living this world as a disabled will affect aspects of your character.

All this debating has not solved my puzzle or answered my question why did he vanish suddenly? Without a warning or an explanation or even a sign. I have never given up on things that matter to me without a fight and I intend to discover why, even if the answer could hurt me beyond repair.

Hope Is Everywhere

Hope is everywhere around us, and we should not stop believing in ourselves and in our dreams, as we should not lose faith. So, in this collection I try to show that light is always close, just wait and you see the light that will take you on the correct path.

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

Artwork by Ayah AlShamary (Instagram: @ayah_photography, twitter: @AyahAmerAlShama)

عكس التيار

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

عندما أقول لا…

يخيل للبعض أني أتحرك عكس التيار…

إنما أسير في طريق يؤدي إلى ملتقى النهر مع البحر…

والآخرين يسيرون في طريق ليس له عنوان…

عندما أكون مختلفا…

هذا لا يعني أنني على خطأ…

إنما أنا على طريق الصواب…

سوف يعرفون حالما ينكشف التيار…

لا تخجل أبدا… لأنك مختلف…

لا تتراجع طالما… أنك تمنع نفسك من أن تنجرف…

عندما أقول لا…

يخيل للبعض أني أتحرك عكس التيار…

إنما أسير في طريق يؤدي إلى ملتقى النهر مع البحر…

The Secret Formula for a Balanced Life

We live in an age where women are vigorously encouraged, in fact openly expected, to instantly join the workforce following graduation. A phenomenon that is completely opposite to what our grandmothers and great grandmothers experienced. Today 77% of Emirati women graduating from high schools continue their education at university as opposed to 58% of Emirati men[1]. No doubt that females are feeling more capable and work-ready than ever. Be that as it may, this new brave movement introduced a number of challenges that we, women, must face on daily basis.

I recently was honored by the invitation of POAG (Promise of A Generation) to be part of a panel discussing work-life balance. This was part of an initiative called E7 Daughter of the Emirates. Our audience comprised of 35 young ambitious Emirati women from across the Emirates, between the ages of 18 and 25, who wanted to contribute to their emirates by creating socially impactful initiatives. I was blown away by the positive energy and enthusiasm in the room. We then preceded to complete an exercise with the participants that aimed at recognizing and understanding the various elements that make up their lives. Most girls rated career and family as their top two priorities. They clearly wanted to succeed in both areas equally. But is this achievable? And is there a recipe for a successful balanced life?

The answer is yes and no. Confusing? Welcome to the life of a working mother who is attempting to juggle million things at the same time. As society evolved to become more demanding of women in the public sphere and more engaging in areas that were previously reserved for men, it somehow forgot to adjust its expectations of women as mothers and wives. Corporations today do not offer day care facilities, maternity leave is limited to a mere 40 days, and the allocation of responsibilities between husbands and wives hold true today as they did 100 years ago. A woman is not only expected to be a super mom, an available wife, and an extraordinary cook, but also to have a prosperous impressive career! Let us admit it now, it is just not possible. Time is finite and so is someone’s energy.

There is no formula for balance that suits all. Every person needs to find their own personal balance that works for their needs and further their happiness. Today career might be a big item on someone’s agenda, tomorrow that same person might decide to take a break and dedicate more time to other aspects of their life such as family, travel, or volunteer work. They might decide to freelance, work from home, run their own business, or simply read more books! That same person may return to the workplace, build experience, and pursue a leadership role. The ability to have a choice is in fact a luxury that isn’t available to the majority of women around the world.

We are conditioned to judge one another based on what is familiar to us versus what is out of the norm. Or better yet, we judge others to make ourselves feel better about our own personal choices. In spite of that, let us keep in mind that one-day we might be on the other side of the fence. A working mother might become a stay-at-home mother if she experiences an imbalance in her life. A stay-at-home mother might be required to go back to work to supplement the family’s income. Circumstances do change constantly and so do the decisions that follow. Let us start accepting each other, sympathizing with one another, and let our hearts and minds be our guide to a balanced life. Remember, a happy you has a better chance of becoming a successful you.

[1] http://www.uae-embassy.org/uae/women-uae, 10th of April, 2015

ذلك اليوم

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

في ذلك اليوم كنت أقود سيارتي… لأتوقف ضمن الازدحام عند شجرة…

نعم شجرة تساقطت أزهارها… فلم أستطع أن أشيح بناظري عنها…

أردت أن ألتقط صورة لها… لأن المشهد قد سلبني….

كيف للكائن أن يرى جزءا منه يسقط ويبقى صامدا…

إنه لمشهد غريب أن ترى جزءا منك يسقط ليقف على الأرض…

والجزء الآخر مازال متشبثا بك…

بكى ليستريح

فتح عينيه بصعوبة، ما إن فعل ذلك حتى لعن ذلك المنبه المزعج..
كان يكره الإستيقاظ؛ معه تنتهي أحلامه وتبدأ التعاسة بالتسلل إليه!
نهض ببطء كان روتينه ممل.. جداً
انتهى من طقوس صباحه، ثم خرج حاملاً معطفه معه..
الثلوج كانت متراكمة، كانت صحراء من الثلج.. الصحراء.. يفتدقها!
هز رأسه بقوة بعد أن زاره طيف أهله، ثم بدأت موسيقاه تعلو، لينساهم ولئلا يلقي عليه “صباح الخير” أحداً..
 كل خطوة كانت مصاحبة بألف وخزة برد، كان البرد كسكاكين جزار حادة تُغرز في جلده!
أخذ يفرك يديه تارة وتارة ينفث فيهما لعل ذلك يقيه البرد..
وصل إلى جامعته وابتدأت محاضراته، كان يهرب إلى القهوة كل حين.. قهوته لابد ان تكون مُرة!
تأبط كتبه وتوجه الى المنزل.. رغم المسافة البعيدة بين منزله والجامعه الا انه كان دوماً يقطعها مشياً.. فقط ليقتل بعضاً من وقته..
بعد أن يصل إلى منزله، يحادث أمه، أبوه، إخوته، عائلته كلها..
بعدها يتجه إلى غرفته.. يرتمي على سريره.. يغمض عيناه بقوة، ويمسك رأسه بشدة ليطرد كل حزن عنه، ليقتل غربته ويوقف تفكيره..
لكن الحزن والغربة يتغلبان عليه.. دوماً..
تذكر كل حزن، تجمعت فوق ظهره جبال من الهموم.. وتراكمات من الوحدة..
ثم بكى ليستريح!

 

Sultan Al Qasimi Witnesses Sharjah Book Authority Identity Launch

The new brand identity for SBA

The new brand identity for SBA

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, witnessed the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) identity launch held at Sharjah Expo Centre on the sidelines of the 7th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.

حضر حفل الاطلاق صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي عضو المجلس الأعلى حاكم الشارقة و معالي الشيخ نهيان بن مبارك آل نهيان وزير الثقافة والشباب وتنمية المجتمع، والشيخة بدور بنت سلطان القاسمي المؤسس والرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة كلمات، الرئيس الفخري للمجلس الإماراتي لكتب اليافعين ، والشيخ سالم بن عبدالرحمن القاسمي رئيس مكتب سمو الحاكم

The ceremony was attended by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group.

Other dignitaries present at the ceremony included Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, Dr Lana Mamkegh, the Jordanian Culture Minister, and Egyptian Culture Minister Dr Abdul Wahid Al Nabawi, as well as a number of heads of government departments and media representatives.

In his speech, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman, said: “The Emirate of Sharjah has a rich cultural heritage – with historical monuments and landmarks that stand as living testimonies to its prolific history and cultural legacy being passed on from one generation to another thanks to its outstanding leaders throughout the past; the builders of the UAE’s renaissance who have sculpted the Emirate of Sharjah into a choice destination of writers, poets, intellectuals and all lovers of the written word.

Al Ameri revealed that Al Qasimiya Library, which is located in Al Hisn City, was established in 1925 and is one of the most significant historical landmarks that documented Sharjah’s cultural history, reflecting the interest of the first generation of Sharjah’s rulers in culture and philosophy, as well as their devotion to develop cultural and literary works and support authors and intellectuals. “His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah has established educational institutions, research centers, cultural monuments and museums which embrace the heritage of his ancestors. He has collected an array of valuable manuscripts which has been carefully revised and rearranged to become a wellspring of knowledge and reference for researchers and people interested in different fields of knowledge,” Al Ameri added.

The SBA Chairman pointed out that the launch of the identity of Sharjah Book Authority falls within the translation of the vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, who believes that the journey towards knowledge begins with nurturing one’s mind with culture and knowledge with the main source being literature.

Al Ameri highlighted that the Sharjah Book Authority would be a substantial platform for the book and publishing industry in the UAE, and for the region as a whole.

The SBA Chairman divulged that the Authority’s new identity involves the launch of Sharjah book city, which will be the first publishing free zone in the world that will offer all professionals and stakeholders in the book and publishing industry the opportunity to benefit from package privileges to boost the publishing sector and help develop it further.

The Sharjah Book Authority will also establish the first international distribution company in the Middle East offering services that cover both the Arab and African markets. Besides possessing its own printing press, the SBA will additionally set up a special Department for research and academic studies. All public libraries in Sharjah will be categorized within the Department of Libraries that fall under the umbrella of the SBA, so as to be a fountainhead of renewed knowledge for researchers and students in the UAE and other countries.

SBA is presently the umbrella for most publishing activities in Sharjah, most notably the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) which most recently won the Market Focus Achievement Award as part of the 2015 International Excellence Awards at this year’s London Book Fair. It will also preside over the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival and the SIBF Translation Grant, and will furthermore organise the Professional Programme for publishers (the first free training programme for Arab publishers), as well as a joint conference with the American Library Association (ALA).

Concluding, Al Ameri recalled the inspiring incident when His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, being a mere 12 years old at the time, pledged his beloved gold dagger to buy a book in his search for knowledge and science. He emphasized that Sharjah’s ship will continue to sail to shores of knowledge and science, captained by the first patron and advocate of culture and intellectuals – His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.

الشيخ الدكتور سلطان يوقع على الهوية البصرية لهيئة الشارقة للكتاب

HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan signing on the new identity for the SBA

The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) was established by Emiri decree No.13 of 2013, issued by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Under that decree, SBA is a corporate body with personal autonomy and enjoys full legal capacity that mandates it to carry out all kinds of legal actions necessary to achieve its objectives.

The Sharjah Book Authority aims to develop the regional printing and publishing sector and support the significant role of writers who bring to light technological advancements and the availability of various sources of information.

*The press release and the pics are issued from His Highness’s Sheikh Sultan AlQassimi’s media office – Sharjah Media Center

حاكم الشارقة يشهد اطلاق هوية هيئة الشارقة للكتاب

8 - SBA logo__

الهوية البصرية الجديدة لهيئة الشارقة للكتاب


شهد صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي عضو المجلس الأعلى حاكم الشارقة ، قبل ظهر اليوم حفل اطلاق هُوية “هيئة الشارقة للكتاب” الذي أقيم بمركز إكسبو الشارقة .

حضر حفل الاطلاق صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي عضو المجلس الأعلى حاكم الشارقة و معالي الشيخ نهيان بن مبارك آل نهيان وزير الثقافة والشباب وتنمية المجتمع، والشيخة بدور بنت سلطان القاسمي المؤسس والرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة كلمات، الرئيس الفخري للمجلس الإماراتي لكتب اليافعين ، والشيخ سالم بن عبدالرحمن القاسمي رئيس مكتب سمو الحاكم

حضر حفل الاطلاق صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي عضو المجلس الأعلى حاكم الشارقة و معالي الشيخ نهيان بن مبارك آل نهيان وزير الثقافة والشباب وتنمية المجتمع، والشيخة بدور بنت سلطان القاسمي المؤسس والرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة كلمات، الرئيس الفخري للمجلس الإماراتي لكتب اليافعين ، والشيخ سالم بن عبدالرحمن القاسمي رئيس مكتب سمو الحاكم

حضر حفل الاطلاق إلى جانب سموه معالي الشيخ نهيان بن مبارك آل نهيان وزير الثقافة والشباب وتنمية المجتمع، والشيخة بدور بنت سلطان القاسمي المؤسس والرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة كلمات، الرئيس الفخري للمجلس الإماراتي لكتب اليافعين ، والشيخ سالم بن عبدالرحمن القاسمي رئيس مكتب سمو الحاكم ، ومعالي حسين الحمادي وزير التربية والتعليم ، وسعادة عبدالله محمد العويس رئيس دائرة الثقافة والاعلام ، وسعادة أحمد بن ركاض العامري رئيس هيئة الشارقة للكتاب ،وسعادة محمد عبيد الزعابي رئيس دائرة التشريفات والضيافة ، وسعادة هشام المظلوم رئيس مجمع الشارقة للآداب والفنون ، وسعادة عبدالله حمدان بن دلموك الرئيس التنفيذي لمركز حمدان بن محمد لإحياء التراث ،والدكتورة لانا مامكغ وزيرة الثقافة الاردنية، والدكتور عبد الواحد النبوي وزير الثقافة المصري، وعدد من المسؤولين والكتاب وممثلي وسائل الإعلام المختلفة.

الإرث الثقافي لإمارة الشارقة

وألقى سعادة أحمد بن ركاض العامري رئيس هيئة الشارقة للكتاب كلمةً قال فيها “إن لإمارة الشارقة إرثاً ثقافياً ضخماً دونته سجلات التاريخ في أنصع صفحاتها، وتناقلته الأجيال جيلاً بعد جيل لتظل صروح الإمارة الثقافية ومعالمها الحضارية شاهدةً على ذلك، والذي وضع عِماده بُناة هذه البلاد وصانعو نهضتها، لتكون إمارة الشارقة وجهة الكُتاب والشعراء والمثقفين والمفكرين وكلِ محبي الكلمة المقروءة”.

ولفت رئيس هيئة الشارقة للكتاب إلى أن المكتبة القاسمية بحصن الشارقة التي تأسست في العام 1925  تُعتبر من أهم المعالم التاريخية التي وثقت رحلة الشارقة الطويلة مع الكتاب والثقافة، ودليل على اهتمام الرعيل الأول من حُكام الشارقة بالثقافة والمثقفين وبذلهم السخي في سبيل النهوض بالأعمال الثقافية والأدبية وتقديم الدعم للكُتّاب والمثقفين، مؤكداً على أن صاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة قد سار على ذات الدرب بتشييده للمؤسسات التعليمية، والمراكز البحثية، والصروح الثقافية والمتاحف التي تحتضن تراث الأجداد، وجمعه للمخطوطات الأثرية القيّمة التي أعاد تنقيحها وترتيبها لتصبح خير مَعين للباحثين والمهتمين بالحقول المعرفية المختلفة.

وأشار العامري إلى أن إطلاق هُوية هيئة الشارقة للكتاب جاء ليترجم رؤية صاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة التي تؤمن بأن رحلة الإرتقاء تبدأ أولاً بالإرتقاء بالعقل، وأن الإرتقاء بالعقل يتطلب إهتماماً بالكتاب فهو السبيل إلى ذلك، وأكد على أن الهيئة ستكون منصة إنطلاق حقيقية  لمسيرة الكتاب والنشر في دولة الإمارات والمنطقة بأسرها.

تأسيس أول مدينة حرة للنشر في العالم وأكبر شركة توزيع بالشرق الأوسط

وأعلن رئيس هيئة الشارقة للكتاب عن تأسيس مدينة الشارقة للكتاب، والتي ستكون أول منطقة حرة للنشر في العالم  وستوفر لكافة العاملين في حقل صناعة الكتاب والنشر الفرصة للإستفادة من حزمة واسعة من الإمتيازات، والتي ستدعم قطاع النشر، وترتقي به إلى مستويات أعلى.

كما أعلن العامري عن إنشاء أول شركة توزيع دولية في الشرق الأوسط والتي ستُغطي خدماتها السوقين العربية والأفريقية، إلى جانب إنشائها لإدارة خاصة بالبحوث والدراسات، كما ستندرج جميع المكتبات في إمارة الشارقة تحت إدارة المكتبات التابعة للهيئة  لتكون مصدراً معرفياً متجدداً للباحثين والطلاب في دولة الإمارات والدول الأخرى.

مشاريع ثقافية رائدة

وستتولى هيئة الشارقة للكتاب الإشراف على عددٍ من المشاريع الثقافية المهمة في إمارة الشارقة وفي مقدمتها معرض الشارقة الدولي للكتاب الفائز حديثاً بجائزة أفضل إنجاز على مستوى العالم ضمن جوائز التميز في معرض لندن للكتاب2015 ، كما ستشرف الهيئة على مهرجان الشارقة القرائي للطفل، ومنحة معرض الشارقة للترجمة، وستقوم أيضاً بتنظيم البرنامج المهني للناشرين وهو أول برنامج تدريب مجاني للناشرين  في العالم العربي، بالإضافة إلى المؤتمر المشترك مع جمعية المكتبات الأمريكية.

وختم العامري كلمته بحادثة رهن صاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة لخنجره ليشتري كتاباً وهو في سن الثانية عشرة وقال ” اليوم نكسب رهن ذلك الخنجر الذهبي بعصر ذهبي يشع علماً ومعرفة، وأكد على أن سفينة الشارقة الثقافية ستظل مُبحرةً بأشرعتها في بحور العلم والمعرفة  يقود دفتها الراعي الأول للمسيرة الثقافية والمثقفين  صاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة ” .

وقد تأسست هيئة الشارقة للكتاب بموجب المرسوم الأميري رقم (13) لسنة 2013 ، وتهدف إلى تطوير قطاع الطباعة والنشر على المستوى الإقليمي ودعم الدور المهم الذي يلعبه الكتاب في تسليط الضوء على مظاهر التقدم التقني الحديث وتوافر مختلف مصادر المعرفة، وتحظى الهيئة بدعم ورعاية كريمة من صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي عضو المجلس الأعلى حاكم الشارقة، وقرينته سمو الشيخة جواهر بنت محمد القاسمي، رئيس المجلس الأعلى لشؤون الأسرة.

وجرى خلال الحفل عرض فيلم تسجيلي حول العمل الثقافي لإمارة الشارقة وأبرز المبادرات الثقافية التي أطلقتها الإمارة بتوجيهات ودعم صاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة، والتي تكللت بالعديد من النجاحات والجوائز الثقافية التي نالتها الإمارة على مستوى الصعيد المحلي والإقليمي والعالمي.

الشيخ الدكتور سلطان يوقع على الهوية البصرية لهيئة الشارقة للكتاب

الشيخ الدكتور سلطان يوقع على الهوية البصرية لهيئة الشارقة للكتاب

ودون صاحب السمو الشيخ الدكتور سلطان بن محمد القاسمي كلمة في السجل الذهبي للهيئة أختصر فيها كل الكلمات حيث دون عبارة ” بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ” وكان خير استهلال لذلك السجل .

كما وأقيمت بهذه المناسبة مأدبة غداء على شرف ضيوف الحفل وبمناسبة اطلاق هوية هيئة الشارقة للكتاب .

*خبر صادر عن المكتب الإعلامي لصاحب السمو حاكم الشارقة مع الصور- مركز الشارقة الإعلامي

The Challenge

Hello Dunia,

Being alive and active is a blessing from God, along with everything that has been bestowed upon us, whatever we have within our grasp is a gift, and one should always accept gifts with graciousness and content. I understand that you will regard this as ‘mere words’ without sufficient connection to reality, as it’s not always easy to disregard what we are missing out on life’s worldly goods and concentrate on our current possessions. A year or so ago if anyone has said to me be more content and accepting then you will realise how good your life is in reality, I would have probably ignored them or more likely got annoyed and angry. I doubt there is a remedy or a plan of how to be happy, we are all different with unique needs living in various surroundings, but I am trying my best to identify things that give me positive energy, and in return make me happy.

I realised that there is no quick guide to happiness or a magical method, mainly because happiness is like any emotion – a temporary state that won’t last. Therefore we should strive to be content and at peace with the world. I decided that I should read more and so I started reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and came across this quote that summarised quite adequately what our mission in this world should be, “You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.” This I will implement no matter what the obstacles are, it is a challenge that I will embrace wholeheartedly. This book has inspired me a lot, I know it sounds silly and I always used to mock people who would say a film or a book or a play changed their lives, but seriously I feel this book just fell into my lap at the perfect time. Although I have tried reading it twice before but every time I stopped, once I reached the 5th or 6th chapter and never continued, I guess like everything in life there is a right time and for some peculiar reason when I picked up the book again this time I carried on and did not stop, maybe because I found similarities between me and the narrator or possibly because I needed a kind of guidance, someone to tell me what to do or lead me and I found it in this book. I am being silly, right?

Did I tell you that I started volunteering at a publishing house, they specialise in children’s books and I will be their feature writer/blogger/reviewer, and Dunia I am loving this role, it is fun reading children’s stories then writing a review of them, and a great opportunity to learn and improve my writing. I feel so blessed and lucky Dunia and feel this is a sign that once my thoughts became more positive and focused, things started coming my way and I should proceed with my challenging plan.

He can Feel

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

When I see you I smile…

Your eyes… your breath…

Your sound… your hair…

When you race the wind…

When you jump the fence…

When you just indicate…

That you can also feel…

You are the one who makes me forget & don’t regret…

After a long day… going around with you…

You are not a dream… you make me fly without wings.

… Dedicated to all horse riders …

جدتي

اشتقت لخريفها
وأوراقها المتساقطة
ففي كل ورقة سقطت
 حكاية من حكايا العمر!
..
اشتقت لسرد الماضي
لمسلسلات العشق القديم
لرائحة خبز الفجر وهي تحكي عنه
لبيوت الطين وشجر السدر!
..
اشتقت لتضاريس وجهها
بروز أوردتها الزرقاء
نعومة جلدها
وكل ما خلفته رياح العمر!
..
اشتقت لبركة وجودها
لدراهمها التي نتقاسمها
لقائمة الحلويات التي سنشتريها بها
لاجتماعنا حولها
كل أسبوع بلا ضجر
..

The Rediscovery

My Dunia,

I will continue our conversation from the last time, I hate leaving our talk half way, but you must realise by now that to large extent my time and life are controlled by others.

Anyhow back to what I was writing, I was once asked if being disabled makes my resolutions different to others, I was puzzled, I mean what will be the difference, I am a human being like everyone else, I have my own set of dreams and ambitions, why would my disability matter? After careful thinking I kind of understood that yes, as a person living with disability I probably do have other ‘resolutions’ that are connected to disability, for example this year my resolutions would be; sorting my wheelchair to make it more comfortable to sit on, try to fight infections without resorting to antibiotic, become more confident at using public transport – all three resolutions are disability related. The remaining four will be; to fly high on a magic carpet (secret dream which I am hoping to fulfil one way or another), publish more work on disability, create a change of some sort, and work to increase my self-confidence and decrease stress in my life. But you know the most important thing that I must do is let go of people that don’t value me, and in people I mean a particular one, I read once somewhere that if you can do without someone/something for 8 weeks then you can certainly manage without them eternally, and you know what Dunia, I will test this theory out and I hope and pray to God that it actually works.

Whether I manage to achieve any of these remains to be seen next year or rather in few months time, but either way I know that just like 2014, the new year will bring a new set of achievements, as everyday we are faced with new challenges and often we overcome it without acknowledging it as an achievement, simply because we had not set it as a target. Life is a continuous learning curve and not a rigid or static spot, therefore I must not get obsessed with these resolutions, I need to work at them by all means, but also embrace any new challenge that comes my way.

Do you want to hear what I also decided, to enjoy every second of life, and treasure all the tiny things that comes my way, so I made this plan, I know I am not the best at keeping plans but will try my best anyhow, I have split my day into different aspect of my self-improvement strategy or rather rediscovering myself, I need to know what I want, what I like, who I am and what I used to be. Most of my life Dunia I have let obligation, guilt and fantasy lead my actions, which I guess clouded who I really am. I don’t want my happiness or existence to be the cause of someone or to be linked to their presence, from now on, I must depend on my mental and emotional strength to overcome any obstacle and make myself content.

المتعجرفين

يا إلهي من هؤلاء المتعجرفين…

تعلو أصواتهم ظنا أنهم العارفين…

الحكمة ليست بالنصح دون الاستماع لما يقوله الآخرين…

إنما الحكمة في أخذ ما هو مفيد وترك ما ليس مفيد…

الناس مختلفون وأساليبهم تختلف…

لا تدع الجرح يتعمق لكيلا تنسلخ…

كن أنت كما أنت فتعلو بذاتك…

وقل أنت كما قلت مالي ومالي بكثيري الكلام…

خير الكلام ما قل ودل ولم يجرح أو يترك ندبا…

النصح جميل لكن الحلم أجمل…

النصح جميل لكن الحلم أجمل…

The Absurdity Of Life. Get Rid Of It!

During one of my Drama classes, the word “Absurdism” was added to my list of – interesting words to search for-. My dear Mr.Google said that according to Drama context, it means “what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down, alerting their audiences to pursue the opposite”.

I figured that out since the movie or should I call it the scene about absurdism that led me to write this was so irritating. It shows an irrational action and it always ends with silence or the audience has to think of an end for it. And that sometimes kills! But then, it gives you a chance for imagination, which brings you back to life. The guy in the scene would follow things that he knows doesn’t exist or maybe he didn’t know. Who knows? The world the character was in is a meaningless world with invisible forces that took control of it. It made him go crazy and suspect his being.

Which made me think. Could this happen in our lives too? We may deal with absurdism everyday or every once in a while in our lives but we never realize that. Your life might be based on it. Imagine? Irrationality? Illogicality? Imagine that on every day of your precious life you are chasing nonsense, things that you know are no good for you and won’t help you anyways. Things that are begging you to stop chasing them and change for your sake, for a better world sake. Would you like to live like that? Of course not.

Search within you. Ask yourself: Do you need that? Would it achieve The Dream Of Your Life? If the answer is “No” then stop! Immediately! I once read that the world becomes absurd when you put rules into it. I’d like to say, “get rid of rules”. But we can’t get rid of rules, can we? Keep the good ones, the ones that pursue you to make good choices and live a better life. And then get rid of the bad rules, the ones that are holding you back and making you the same old, same old you!

The guy in the scene stayed at the same place, by the way. Pretty sure he died without trying.

Seek change. Be unpredictable. Be creative. Exercise your mind.

أوراق الشجر

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

بعدسة غادة الشيبة

عندما تتساقط أوراق الشجر… لتعلن عن حلول فصل الخريف…

عندها تتساءل الكلمات… هل يا ترى تنجلي الأحزان مع الخريف…

هذه الريح كانت السبب… أم أن الورق قد ضعف…

عندها تأتي السحب… يأتي المطر… يبزغ فجر جديد… ليعود الورق الأخضر من جديد…

تبسّم إنها سنّة الحياة… لا نشعر بحلاوة اللون الأخضر… إلا بعد أن يمرعلى ناظرنا اللون الأصفر للورق…

لذلك علينا أن نهتم جيدا بما نحب أن يدوم لأطول زمن ممكن… فلنعش الحياة بحلوها وتحدياتها…

لنستمتع بركوب الموج ونصل إلى الشاطئ بأمان…دون أن نسمح للموج أن يتغلب علينا…

عندما تتساقط أوراق الشجر… لتعلن عن حلول فصل الخريف…

عندها تأتي السحب… يأتي المطر… يبزغ فجر جديد… ليعود الورق الأخضر من جديد…

Changing Times

Hey Dunia,

Let me start with the good news; I have finished taking the two courses of antibiotics, infections have cleared up, elbow is less sore, and my flu is gone, so I’m back in good health. The bad news the weather is atrocious, well slight exaggeration as it is not snowing thank God, I hate the snow because the last time it snowed in London I was stuck in bed for a long time as carers could not come, plus I can’t go out as my wheelchair won’t work in the snow. It is quite funny right Dunia? Snow is probably loved by everyone except people with disability, another reminder how your physical ability affects your perspective of simple things such as snow.

Oh dear, I have gone all philosophical on you again. I am sorry it is not my intention, but like I told you in my last entry, writing the new year’s resolution article affected me to certain limit as it made me think about myself, what I had achieved, how I have progressed and what do I want. The last question has forever troubled me as honestly I have never had an answer, at least not a convincing one, I always tell people what they expect to hear or what my family want for me but now, writing the article I had so many ideas floating in my head.

I have never quite understood why people make resolutions, we have enough pressure and stress in life without adding a self-inflicted one, yes, I recognise it is light hearted fun but for some it can be a sign of failure to keep a promise or a reminder that not all wishes can be fulfilled, so why the risk of such feelings? A friend once told me that resolutions are needed to give one a feeling of progress and a sign of living life – the result whether you fulfil these resolutions or not is the same; active participation in life, because if you achieve these resolutions then you have worked at them and if you don’t then it means you got distracted by other goals or aspects of life. Either way you are a winner.

I kept thinking about what I achieved last year – I did not want to think about life, I thought it would be a big disappointment, let me just concentrate on the very recent past, which was not that great either as I discovered. For a start, I failed to read x number of books that I had imagined I would in a year, I didn’t produce any work on my PhD let alone a written chapter, and I don’t think I managed to learn any new skill. Yet let us look on the positive side Dunia, I did manage to meet different people, tried new things (if riding a London Bus, eating octopus and king prawn counts?) cut down on sugar in my coffee (went down from 9 sachets to 6), and expanded my writing across various fields.

The last point is probably my biggest source of pride, the ability to transfer an already established skill to a larger audience, which will hopefully educate masses about living with disability and introduce new ideas and concepts. Oh no, I have let my hand go wild with typing and lost track of time, my carer is on her way and I must go.

خاطرة على لسان خادمة

خاطرة على لسان خادمة كفئة مغتربة وأحيانا مضطهدة

أبُنيّتي ،، اطمئني
فأنا بألفِ خيرْ
مادام نبضُكِ بالحياةِ يضُخّني
أبُنيّتي ،، غداً سأعودْ
لأُضمّدَ قلبَكِ المجروح
وأحكيَ شوْقِيَ المشهودْ
أبداً،،
لن أحكيَ عن ذُلٍّ معهود
لن أحكيْ
كم على صراخٍ أصبحتْ
وكم بمرارة البعد أمسيتْ
سأعود وفي قلبي ،، قصهْ
لا غصهْ
سأعود وقد وفيتْ
بتلك الوعود
أبُنيّتي ،، اطمئني
فمصاريف مدرستك أمّنتْ
وثمن علاج جدك ، قد ادّخرتْ
والكرامة
لا بد لها في يومٍ ،، أن تعود!!

ATS Travel in Social Media Push with Travel Junkie Diary

ATS Travel partners with the highly successful platform Travel Junkie Diary to promote exclusive women only travel across the region.

Deena Ghubash from ATS Travel with Michelle Karam of Travel Junkie Diary

Deena Ghubash from ATS Travel with Michelle Karam of Travel Junkie Diary

A new and exciting strategic association has been formed between the highly successful platform “Travel Junkie Diary” and ATS Travel, the leading Dubai-based travel and destination Management Company. The first kick off meet to launch this initiative was held with a dinner event at  Manzil Downtown, Dubai.

Deena Ghubash, Director of ATS Travel who is driving this initiative along with Michelle Karam, founder of Travel Junkie Diary informed “In this dynamic era, where women are making a mark for themselves in every sphere of life, she needs a space for herself to unwind and rejuvenate. What we are aiming to do by this initiative is to empower and encourage the women folk to explore the world and understand the different and vibrant diverse cultures across the globe.” We are creating the perfect platform for them to discuss and learn about the different destinations and what each of these destinations offer as a place to relax, enjoy and learn, added Deena. We are thankful to Yasmine Al Banna of “DTI weddings” for having created a themed set up for the dinner event that was unique and set the tone for a meaningful discourse.

I am excited to be partnering with ATS Travel through “Travel Junkie Diary” and giving the right platform for women to exchange their experiences that will encourage others to follow suit, quipped Michelle Karam, Founder of Travel Junkie Diary. “In the first event that we have organized along with ATS Travel, we held a dinner event at the Manzil Downtown, inviting carefully selected women entrepreneurs who would be influencing the society in cultivating this segment of women’s travel.” Informed Michelle. “We would be hosting this event every month and look forward to growing the number of women entrepreneurs and high net worth business women to take advantage of the knowledge bank that we will be creating through these exchanges, quipped Michelle.

ATS Travel are the leaders in providing high end and luxury holidays for a huge database of high net worth individuals. This has encouraged us to partner with them to reach out to our target audience, added Michelle.


About Travel Junkie Diary:

The journey of Travel Junkie Diary began almost 2 years ago when founder Michelle Karam created a platform for individuals to share personal travel encounters, inspiring experiences and life-changing moments and celebrating the global citizens. Since inception, Travel Junkie Diary has provided a place to showcase hidden gems, travellers’ adventures, enlightening getaways, exquisite cuisines and everything in between. at its’ chore, TJD unites people from all over the globe via pervasive social media platforms that act as a valuable travel resource.

About ATS Travel:

ATS travel is a 37 year old IATA accredited Travel Management Company, based in Dubai, UAE. Formerly known as Arabian Air Travel Agencies LLC, ATS has rebranded itself, as part of its global rebranding strategy. ATS has a network of business units across the United Arab Emirates, China, Far East and India. ATS offers complete business travel solutions, airline tickets, holiday packages, cruise, MICE, travel insurance, car hire and all travel related services. By virtue of its association with ATG of USA, ATS is part of a global consortium of travel management companies found in about 50 countries worldwide. ATS promotes student and educator trips worldwide, through their exclusive partnership with the accredited student travel specialists – Barton Hill, based in London. Khaled Ghubash is the Managing Director of the company and the business is headed by its Deputy Managing Director, Saleem Sharif.

Winter Blues

Ahh Dunia,

When will January end? That is the question I keep asking myself. It is not right, I know, but having 3 types of infections and being on 2 kind of antibiotics plus painkillers is taking its toll on me, plus I am not sleeping well, I don’t know why all the pain increases at night. Alright, alright, I will stop moaning but it will be hard, you have no idea how painful it is to type right now because my elbow is infected and very sore and just touching it is an agony, so imagine Dunia what it must feel like pressing on it, you can’t imagine I know, it’s like me trying to imagine what it is like to have blisters on your feet yet you walk on them. I will have no clue whatsoever, so don’t worry I understand.

I know the best way to get my elbow to heal is by resting it, and that means laying on my back but that is so dull and limiting, I won’t be able to do anything except stare into the ceiling, I am not an idle person, I like to be constantly busy with endless list of things to do, it makes me feel needed and basically alive. My physiotherapist is always telling me to stretch throughout the day, to lay down flat and constantly keep moving to preserve the little strength and muscles that I still have, but it is so easy for her to say just like doctors who tell me ‘not to use my elbow’; they have no idea the practical impact of their suggestions, their concern is in the actual result, only forgetting that I am a human not just a disabled person. I understand of course that I have to help myself, but what is the point of living a miserable life just to ensure it is longer? I want to enjoy and make the most of each minute I am on this planet and not waste it fighting the inevitable. Therefore I have decided that while I will make the effort to maintain what I have I will not let it dictate my daily life, I have always believed in balanced acts and moderate reaction, not that I have constantly practiced this, you see Dunia I can be slightly be ’melodramatic’, and at times exert so much time, energy and effort into something then suddenly realise that I gave too much for a lost cause. I am not being clear I know and therefore you are probably lost but I guess what I am trying to say is that we have become a society of extremes in everything we do and feel; even in love or mourning and I am guilty of that too, so I must focus and not let my pain drive me into an extreme of sadness or urge to rectify the path of life that has been destined for me.

I have been in a self-reflective mood this month, not quite sure of the reason but January is such a tedious month that it forces you to think about every aspect of your life, plus writing that article I told you about – for the Disability Horizon magazine about new year’s resolution from a disabled perspective made me examine what I did last year and what I want for myself this year. I will share with you next time what I wrote but for now what I really want and need to do is rest my very sore elbow.

مرهف الإحساس

الصورة بعدسة غادة الشيبة

الصورة بعدسة غادة الشيبة

أحيانا أشعر بأني مرهف الإحساس…

هل هذا شعور طبيعي أم زيادة إحساس…

أرى البشر وهم يسعون إلى المادية…

هل يا ترى نسوا بأن الحياة ليست مجرد علاقة عابرة والسلام…

الحياة جسر المحبة والوصال…

وسيلة للإتصال والإنتاج…

الإنسان مهما يمر عليه الزمن…

يبقى في النهاية إنسان…

إنك لست مرهف إحساس…

إنك طبيعي وغيرك بحاجة إلى جرعة إحساس…

كن واثقا يا صاحب الإحساس…

لأنك من غير إحساس ستصبح غيمة محملة بالأتربة والرمال…

 

 

الصمت

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

عفوا… الصمت لا يمثل ضعفي… أو قلة حيلتي… أو عدم معرفتي…

عفوا… الصمت هو الجواد الذي تم ترويضه لينساق لما فيه فائدتي…

عفوا… الصمت ينم عن خيار من خياراتي يسهم في توفير مجهوداتي…

الصمت هو مصدر قوتي… وإلهامي… وشجوني…

الصمت يسنح لي أن أعيد تقدير الأمور من حولي…

الصمت يمنحني الفرصة لأستمع لغيري…

عفوا… الصمت لا يمثل ضعفي… أو قلة حيلتي… أو عدم معرفتي…

الصمت ينير بصيرتي… حيث أن الكلام في غير موضعه يطفىء ود العلاقات…كما يؤدي إلى اندثار المعارف…

عفوا… الصمت لا يمثل ضعفي… أو قلة حيلتي… أو عدم معرفتي…

 

Relationships

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

Picture Taken by Ghada AlShaibah

Relationships are considered complications…

Is it the case in every situation…

Is it the time for evacuation…

Or it is the time for imagination…

Relationships are considered complications…

Are the people making it complicated…

Or it is the life that is sophisticated…

Or it is the norm that life is complicated.

Let’s pause…stop…think…is it really the life…

Or us who believe in that and make it happen…

Think simple…enjoy the life…

Without challenges…you wouldn’t have learnt…

Your personality wouldn’t have been shaped…

Relationships are not complicated…

Looking Back To The Past

raya4new

Hello my Dunia,

A new year has began 2015, but we know people are fickle, and just as they were excited and shouting 2015 in few months they will be lamenting it and wishing it goes away. That is why I told you before I will not let my destiny or happiness controlled by a year or date, why blame the title of a year for your predicament.

Having said that, I forget to tell you in my last entry that the last week of 2014 was rather strange, first I got a bladder infection which I told you about previously, then I developed a cold and flu, which all required antibiotic then for some reason my ear got blocked, I think it was flu and sinus related. When I went to see the ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor she told me I had a sinus infection, so another course of antibiotic for two weeks. To make my last week of 2014 even more strange my elbow started to really hurt – remember I have a chronic pressure sore on my elbow – so I went to see the nurse first thing on New Year’s eve, who decided that it looks infected and got the doctor to come and examine it who then prescribed two weeks course of antibiotic.

So here I was starting the year on two different types of antibiotics for two weeks. But you know Dunia, look on the bright side, at least there is a cure and medicine available, no I am not being a martyr or angelic, but this is the reality of things, yes I have pain, yes I suffer like millions and millions of people across the globe but I am lucky as there is a pain relief for me or a medicine that would ease my infection, other people don’t have such option. You see my point Dunia? We can’t dislike 2014 and get excited at its departure, because with every bad element there is a positive spark that people out of greed I guess dismiss, and I am one of these people sometimes, alright quite often.

I was worried about taking two courses of antibiotics for two long weeks. Sometimes, certain antibiotic have mild side effects on me such as getting breathless, tight chested or lose my appetite so I was very cautious. Also before the end of 2014, I had discovered an online disability magazine, which I contacted to see if they would want me as a regular writer, once they saw sample of my work they were eager for me to start, and my first assignment was to write about New Year’s Resolutions. This was not a topic I felt excited about because I have never in my life made New Year’s resolution or even believed in them so it is going to be tough, but I have to do it, it is my first task and I must impress them.

I thought the best way to prepare for the article is by thinking and looking back at 2014, for me, it was a nice progressive year, yes it had its down points, sad times but there were few happy moments too. I tried to think what I had achieved during the last year and where I had failed. Let me count the failures first, I remember saying to myself a while back that during the year I must read X number of books (don’t want to embarrass myself and admit the target I set to read – let us just say I was 11 short off my aim), failed to produce any work on my PhD, let alone a written chapter, and I don’t think I managed to learn any new skill this year. Yet on a more positive side in 2014, I met different people, tried new things (if riding a London Bus, eating octopus and king prawn counts?) cut down on sugar in my coffee (went down from 9 sachets to 6), expanded my writings across various fields and social media, and increased the followers to my disability awareness page ‘Careless’. I guess I am warming now to the idea of resolutions. Right Dunia, let me gather my thoughts and start writing.

جليسي

الناس نيام وأنا أهيم بين السطور والكلمات…

الناس نيام وأنا أمسك بقلمي وأمرر شريط الحبر بين الصفحات…

بالرغم من الليل وظلمته فإنني أرى النجوم كالمشكاة التي تنير طريق الكلمات…

سواد الليل يذكرني بالحبر المنسكب على الورق والمتبقي في يدي وبين أناملي…

ليذكرني بجليسي الذي ينطق بلساني ما يخالج جنبات قلبي…

لوهلة وقفت لأتساءل… لماذا يبقى الكتاب في الأذهان… ويغيب دور القلم…

هل يا ترى كحال الغيم والمطر…

 

The Day The World Celebrates

raya4new

Hey Dunia,

It is funny how when you fear and dread something so much that the anticipation and wait are actually worse than the experience, so when New Year’s Eve finally arrived it was in fact just a normal and ordinary day. I am not sure if mum just hid her emotions or as the old cliché goes ‘time is a great healer’. Don’t misunderstand me Dunia, a mother will never ever get over losing her son but God has bestowed on mum incredible amount of patience and tremendous strength that enabled her to carry on, and I think she has come to the realisation that the pain will be there regardless of the actual day.

It was just mum and I; my siblings did not come home for the holiday and our live-in help took a break too and travelled to Europe, there was nothing significant about the day just watching people celebrate on TV, which I don’t quite understand. I mean it is just a day that marks the end of one year and the beginning of another, but the world does not change, it will be the same as it was if not worse, so why get excited? Or better put, should we not feel that excited at the end of each day, week or even month for a ‘new start’. In my opinion, it does not require a change of year or date but a change within your own self. We should be in control of our own destiny and not wait for a ‘date’ to kick-start that change, positive development will not fall from the sky onto your lap; we must dream, aspire to achieve that dream and work hard at it withstanding all the obstacles and difficult times that will no doubt obstruct our path.

These were my thoughts as I was staring at my laptop screen, reading about the extravagant celebrations some countries have planned, while simultaneously, reading about the disastrous conflict that other countries are experiencing. Reminding me how during my family’s darkest hour the world was celebrating and dancing, such contradiction makes you realise this world is strange and not worth getting obsessed with all its features. That was my conclusion just before my carer phoned me at 9pm to say whether she can come early tonight as it is New Year’s eve. Realistically did I have much choice in the matter? I mean, I could not have said no I want to stay up tonight, because I don’t have another person to help me at night, so I said sure come at anytime, I wasn’t planning anything exciting anyhow, and to be honest I wanted this day to end before memories of 20 years ago start to fill my head.

Sleep is such a blessing to people who are deprived of it, I know you won’t understand me fully Dunia, even I would not have understood that sentence years ago, I used to hate sleep and regarded it as a waste of valuable time but now physical pain does not let me have a full night sleep. I wake up 4 to 6 times needing to turn over to the other side, or change position, or adjust my ventilator, etc. Sleep is truly a luxury I never realised the value of. I longed to sleep before my brain began recalling and analysing things, I did not want to be awake when the clocks rang at midnight I needed to escape and did not want to be part of this current world. I had made the decision to create my own world a while back when I ‘found’ you Dunia and I must carry on my mission. I will sleep now I bet you are wondering how I can still type in bed well I am using my phone then I will transfer it to my laptop tomorrow. Good night Dunia and 2014.

Six Senses Spa at the Ritz Carlton Sharq Village

Picture taken by Zehra Fattah (@zahragarden)

Picture taken by Zehra Fattah (@zahragarden)

For all of you that are seeking a rejuvenation getaway, the highly exclusive Six Senses Spa is the perfect fit. Not only suitable for a spa visit during a business trip, it is also perfect and highly recommended for an extended weekend in connection with a stay at the Ritz Carlton Sharq Villages magnificent premises.

70.000 sq. ft. of pure bliss located in the heart of the beautiful property decorated Ottoman style, the amenities of this Spa are one of a kind, giving an opportunity to completely disconnect from the outer world.

The high sealing throughout the Spa, soft lights and relaxing background music makes you forget time and space, therefore make sure to arrive at least 2 hours early in order to take full advantage of the relaxation and sauna rooms, as well as the indoor pools and the entire facility that can be used when attending a treatment.

Since the Spa therapies include an extensive variety of Holistic to Eastern Asian and Swedish massages to sports treatments, as well as health, wellness and detox therapies I would strongly recommend a stay of at least 2 nights in order to maximize your time and to take advantage of the spa menu.

Rooms where couples can get treatments at the same time gives the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience with your loved one in the respective couple treatment rooms. Alternatively if you are looking to enjoy this experience individually, the spa offers strictly separate facilities.

Being a frequent traveller I usually don’t act against my rule of visiting a property twice, but in this instance I could not help myself and till today this wonderful place remains very special and dear to me.

Every time I visit the Ritz Carlton Sharq Village in Qatar my expectations of the service offerings are not only met but also exceeded in all areas. My all-time favourite on this journey was without any doubt the Six Senses Spa, as having arrived tired and stressed, it left me with a feeling of total rejuvenation in just two days.

A quick and easy 45 plane ride and a 10 minutes’ drive with the hotels designated driver and voila you reach a beautiful property which is certainly a must- visit for anyone in this region.

 

For bookings

Sharq Village & Spa

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/SharqVillage/Default.htm

Phone:+974 4425 6666

اللقاء

اللقاء كلمة قد تكون عادية للبعض…وقد تعني الكثير للبعض…وقد تعكس مرآة الماضي والذكريات للبعض…

اللقاء يشعر البعض بالفرح… والبعض بالحزن… والبعض ببوتقة من الأحاسيس المتفاوتة…

اللقاء قد يعقبه الفراق… ولكن كم هو جميل أن يترك المرء ذكرى ترسم البسمة على شفاه البشر بمجرد تذكره…

ليتساءل البعض… لم الابتسامة… فنجيب ليست لصاحب الوسامة… بل لصاحب الابتسامة…

تبسم يا أخي… لتترك أثرا في قلوب الآخرين… وتعيد الأمل بأن الشمس ستعود لتشرق من جديد…

 

Picture taken by Ghada AlShaibah

Picture taken by Ghada AlShaibah

The ‘Double’ Dilemma

raya4new

Hey Dunia,

If you thought that segregation occurred if you are only disabled Dunia, then you are very much mistaken. As the month of December highlights another issue, being an Arab and Muslim puts you in a strange position as you are stuck between two ways of thinking; there is a group of Muslims who believe Christmas and the New Year should not be celebrated in any form and there is another group who buy Christmas trees, cook turkeys on the actual day and even tell their children Santa Clause will be coming on Christmas morning. In my opinion, both of those Muslims categories are wrong, I always believe that the best methods and solutions in life are the balanced ones; the middle ground.

How can you live in a country and isolate yourself from the wider community? Why stay amongst people you don’t approve of or relate to? I love London. It’s my city. It’s where I grew up, where I was taught and developed as a person. It is home. Despite the fact that I was not born here it is where I was given chances that accommodated my physical disability and where I was relatively accepted for who I am. Obviously I will never forget my roots or culture, but I will not segregate myself from the community I am living in. On the other hand, I will not adopt ideas or habits that are alien to my faith or culture. How can I, a disabled female, seek acceptance and inclusion and then isolate myself on the ground this is not part of my beliefs?

That was exactly what I told my friend who criticised me for buying Christmas presents, claiming it is ‘not even our festival’! She was not convinced by my argument but I did not mind, if it suits her to think that way, fine, but I made it clear not to judge or question my action as I am fully aware and happy with what I am doing.

You see Dunia, I told you, I will no longer stay quiet and let people criticise or judge me, I’ve had enough and that’s not a bad thing. The more you allow people to cross certain boundaries the less likely they are to respect your feelings.

I guess I took my frustration and anger on my friend, which I realise is wrong, but I could not help it, I am usually a very tolerant and patient person, it is just like I told you before Christmas and New Year’s eve are a difficult period for me plus the sudden disappearance of a person that I once thought was different to everyone else. A special kind of friend, and possibly more, one who knew what his presence meant to me yet had no qualms about vanishing suddenly without a reason or an explanation, and ignored any attempts I made to contact him.

Don’t worry about me Dunia, I often try to see the good and positive out of everything that I have ever endured, maybe not instantly but certainly when enough time has passed, except in this case I can see the positive already. It’s funny, I always used to mock girls who lose their identity because of a guy and I became like them, I allowed someone to dictate my mood, emotion and state of mind, I became weak and would feel like a fake person when they admired my so called strength! I wanted to shout and say you don’t know me, but I realised that no it is me who has lost sight of whom I really I am, therefore, I will not let anyone break, control or affect me, I must reclaim my real identity and rediscover the lost strength.

It’s not going to be easy I know, especially as I am ill with the flu and bladder infection – I often get it as I can only go to the toilet when my carers come. So if they are late or I am out and get stuck in traffic then the bladder gets affected. Plus, our live-in help has gone away for two weeks to celebrate Christmas so it is just mum and I at home, therefore, during this period mum will have to wake up at night to turn me and give me water which makes me feel guilty. Few days to new year’s eve, I hope to God that my strength will return in full force.

Remake of Life

A gust of wind whisks and twirls the leaves, then gently, lays them down for the final bow. I applaud the dancers beyond the gates of my gridded view inside the hotel. The show I had just witnessed was executed in such movie-like precision. I pause, taken aback by how I could possibly render an act of nature as something as unnatural as an orchestrated scene from a movie. Am I living in a remake of life, my own life?

My life no longer connects with nature but finds inspiration through recreations of nature. My imagination is limited to my Apple TV rentals and instagram hashtags, reducing my experience to second hand color frames in digital 1/0s.

This catastrophic realization came to me like the tripping over a rug. It felt like I was awakening from a bad dream, but not sure which is the dream and which is life. Along the way, I somehow lost myself amidst this digital euphoria, and abandoned the simplicity of living life through life.

نظرتي للحياة

 

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

Picture taken by Ghada Al Shaibah

تعلمت من الحياة أن لا أصدق كل ما يقال دون بيان، وبأن الإنسان لا يدرك ما يحسه الغير حتى يمر بما مر به الغير…

تعلمت أنني في الحياة قد أواجه أناس مختلفين، لكني على يقين بأنه مهما يفعل هؤلاء عليَ أن لا أعاملهم بالمثل. وذلك لكيلا تبدأ سجيتي بالتحول إلى مالا يرضاه الله تعالى ولا يريد أن ينقاد له العقل ولا يحسه القلب…

تعلمت أنني بشخصيتي أثبت وجودي وعليَ صقل مهاراتي وخبراتي لتتأقلم مع التغيرات من حولي، لكن ليس علي محو شخصي وكياني لتماشي رغبات غيري…

التمست أن كل ما يحدث في هذه الدنيا الزائلة إذا عدنا واطلعنا عليه سوف ندرك بأنها أمور بسيطة، ولا يتوجب علينا أن ننقاد إلى الغضب واليأس والكلل. فكلما فكرنا ونظرنا للأمور بإيجابية، توصلنا إلى الحل والمهم الوصول للحل وليس البكاء على ما مضى حيث أن المفتاح يكمن في التعلم من الذي مضى وتجاوزه والمضي قدما نحو المستقبل المشرق من خلال الواقع المبهر…

 

 

Understand Grief to Better Offer Your Sympathies

Do you find that you avoid people who have had a death in the family? Do you feel awkward when you are around them? Maybe you trip over your words or say something and immediately think how dumb it sounded.

One of the reasons it is so hard for people to know what to say is that they aren’t familiar with grief in the same way. They may not have lost someone close to them so they aren’t sure what words would make the person feel better or worse. When you take the time to understand the grieving process, it makes it easier to know what to say.

Grief Happens in Many Ways

No two people grieve the same way. One person may cry a lot while another may seem stoic. A mother with young children often has to pretend that everything is fine even when it isn’t. Just because a person doesn’t act the way you would expect doesn’t mean that they aren’t grieving.

Don’t be oversensitive. Don’t spend time analyzing your every word to figure out how the other person will react. Most of the time, the bereaved person appreciates the sentiment even if the words don’t come out the right way.

Be prepared for intense and extreme emotions. Don’t assume that what you say is the cause. The person is feeling all kinds of emotions and they can vary from one moment to the next. While something may trigger a change in emotion, sometimes it just happens. Unless you are intentionally cruel, what you say is not going to make the person feel worse.

When Silence is Golden

Sometimes a person’s presence is all the comfort that is needed. Just sitting in silence can let the other person know that he or she is not alone. This is especially true for the first few days after someone’s death. The family may receive numerous expressions of sympathy and just appreciate the quiet companionship.

Physical contact can speak volumes, sometimes even more than words. A hug if you are close to the bereaved or even a pat on the arm or squeeze of a hand lets them know what you can’t say in words. It’s a gentle reminder that they are not alone even though they may feel like it.

A Listening Ear

Sometimes the person who needs to do the talking is not you. The grieving family member may need to talk about his or her feelings and your job is just to listen. Offering a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen can be the best way to offer your sympathies in many cases.

You may hear stories about the deceased or other random thoughts many times. You don’t need to feel like you have to respond other than to show that you are listening. For the other person, the healing comes through talking.

Understand how grief works in different people so that you can offer the right message of sympathy to a grieving loved one.

The Season of Strong Will

raya4new

Hello Dunia,

So that sneeze in my last entry was as predicted the start of a mild flu, which is really strange as I have taken the flu vaccine and so far it has not been that cold in London, so I don’t really understand what and why this happened. The good news I managed to get all the birthdays done and dusted, it was a very tiring experience I have to admit, I am not good at surprises and rarely do they work, or rather as usual, I expect too much and want to give my friends and loved ones the best thing which is not easy.

December is now here; a strange month one that brings back painful memories yet is also a filled atmosphere month in London, where you actually get to see a different side to my favourite city in the world.

Like I have told you before I really dislike winter, as it means I can’t go out as often and there are more viruses, flus and illnesses around, so I am more likely to catch something. I have a weak immune system and respiratory problems, a slight cough could be lethal in my case. Yet, December is different, in my view it is the only month in the year that the people of London are seen smiling in the streets, their faces full of joy and excitement with an overwhelming feeling of giving; be it to charities, friends or family.

Although I am not keen on cold weather, I do love going out during December. Seeing all the pretty lights and decorations on the streets, shops, cafes and houses, hearing school children singing festive songs in the market, people shopping, smiling and generally looking happy. I was out buying presents for my friends who celebrate Christmas and, as usual, people were staring or looking at me, especially Arabs or Muslims. This is something that has always puzzled me, why am I, or why are disabled people in general, an alien creature in the eyes of Muslims? What made this incident interesting is it involved children.

As I was driving my wheelchair at full speed trying to beat the cold weather I saw three children with their mother who kept looking at me and pointing as they spoke to each other. When their mother came, instead of telling her children not to stare and point, she told them to thank Allah for their blessings.

I heard her. To make her realise that I’m an Arab and understand what she said, I laughed loudly and said ‘Hello’ then drove past. Ten minutes later I drove past another family, but in this instance they were English and as the son was staring at me, his mother pulled him to the side and told him: ‘It’s rude to stare, if you have a question ask’.

Honestly, I was not bothered by either encounters as I am used to such things, especially from children, but what made these instances stick in my mind was the reaction of the two cultures. Two mothers from different cultures, one told her children to ‘Thank Allah for their good health’ while the other decided to teach her son basic manners, the manners that Islam teaches.

I remember reading once that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH ) warned against staring at people with disability as it hurts their feelings more than the physical pain that they may be enduring. Why does Arab/Muslim culture tend to forget such examples set by the Prophet and get taken away with cultural ideas and society’s conventional rules?

I am sorry Dunia I am not in a very positive mood, like I said December is a very difficult month, and when I tell you I am sure you will think this is a dubbed Mexican soap but it is true. On new year’s eve my eldest brother died – weird the one day where the entire world unite in celebration and joy we remember one of the darkest days that we had to endure. This happened 20 years ago and we have accepted it and moved on, but seeing mama during that whole month as she tries to hide her pain, pains me more. Ten days to go to the actual day, I wonder what will happen. Nighty!

The Other

raya4new

Hey Dunia,

October has come and gone, my birthday has passed and autumn the best time of the year is about to finish but not before I prepare for November, the month of birthdays for almost every close person to me. It is my niece’s 10th birthday, the nearest person to my heart, plus it is my brother in law’s birthday, 5 friends and….hmmm someone special to me.

I think the time has come for me to tell you about ….him, I won’t name him to you because I would rather he remain nameless, no it is not because of trust, don’t be silly, but I just feel human attach too much information to things which decreases their beauty. Mystery has a special magic that is lost in the open and I want him to remain a mystery for as long as possible, or maybe I fear if I utter his name I will lose the ‘fairy tale’ aspect of this ‘dream’ I am fighting to keep, yet at the same time I know it is not meant to be. Maybe in another lifetime, or in a different world things could change, but in our world, my ‘person’ will forever remain a fairy tale that will never end, for there can never be a happy finale to it like all tales. It is strange, I always give names to all my gadgets and soft toys, even my wheelchair has a name; Speedy Spectra, but for humans I try to keep them nameless, I have no idea why I do that.

Although I am life’s greatest advocates for details, as they are the main source of information that guide one to make adequate decisions, but on this particular subject I don’t think details matter. I am not seeking approval or want guidance, I am simply telling you about an important person in my life, any other details about him are irrelevant. I will tell you the basic, though he is a mixture of personalities, and you can never guess what he will be like yet he has the kindest heart, the noblest of characters and one of the wisest people I know. He is my friend before anything else, I’ve known him for more than 7 years, I liked him the instant I laid my eyes at him, had this intuition that something special lies in him. Don’t get excited Dunia, it is one sided and in silence, and that is the way it will remain, because I believe he deserves someone different from me. I am not a pessimists nor melodramatic, but why pursue a path that will lead you to pain. Plus I have major guilt issues, I hate restricting or limiting people because of my special needs, so how can I be with someone knowing all that.

Anyhow back to November, few days after his birthday he suddenly vanished, stopped replying to my messages and calls, I thought maybe it’s his usual ‘time out phase’, I told you Dunia, he is complicated and moody so you never know when he will just take off suddenly. He likes to have alone time, so I usually just wait and I did that this time too.

I decided to keep myself very busy so I don’t dwell on his absence and I did that, pushed myself to go out with friends, started writing articles and blogs and went around libraries distributing posters of a disability awareness page that I have created. Simply I was not idle at all and that kept my mind occupied, I was determined to plan the perfect birthday for two friends who deserve spoiling more than most, and I also wanted to reach a certain number of followers for my disability page before its 2 years anniversary, which also happens to be the last week of November.

You know Dunia, I might not be the strongest but I am very patient and determined, so once I set myself a task I often achieve it, and I was adamant that I keep busy and active.

Atishoooo… Oh oh! I really hope I am not getting a flu…I better go and take a hot drink Dunia. Adieu!

Flying Cups and Saucers

I have wanted to write this post for quite a while now. No, this post is not about aliens or spaceships (pun intended, especially when a Bollywood movie about an alien is running quite successfully at the local theatres). This post is about the umpteen number of paper / foam cups that literally keep flying on the Dubai roads. Agreed that the mochas, lattes and karak chais are quite the local favourite in our city, especially in the ‘winter’ season, yet some of the educated masses forget all ethics when it comes to getting rid of the cups. This further adds to our city’s municipality’s woes, who are doing a commendable job in ridding Dubai’s streets of waste.

A look around our beautiful city will clearly depict an abundance of waste bins; be it streets, metro stations, malls, offices, shops. You name it, there’s a dustbin. In fact our city municipality has even gone to lengths to drape the city’s street waste bins with colourful images of flowers etc. Should we not then restrict the urge to let the cup fly by while driving on E11 or one of the other numerous roads? This problem gets aggravated especially on the highways, where the speed limits are higher, hence the motoring community feels that they can probably get away with it as no one will really notice a paper cup being tossed out of a speeding car at 100 km/h.

There is no doubt that our city is a beautiful one indeed, whether it is towering skyscrapers or gardens, snaking metro viaducts or the plethora of flyovers, none of them look good with flying cups. I humbly urge our community to continue enjoying the mochas, especially while the weather lasts; just be responsible enough to toss it in the bin, instead of letting it fly away and then collect as an unsightly dump.

That Day

I lost myself that day

The day you crashed and burned away

For years I kept it locked away

Till one day I was forced to face the pain

And I broke down that day

When I heard your voice on tape

Then I broke down everyday

Listening to your voice on replay

But I had a friend who never walked away

No matter how much I pushed the world away

She stayed and helped me lock it away

As she knew there was no other way

I could survive the rest of my days

Cuz I lost myself that day

The day you crashed and burned away

Goodbye

Lying under the stars

Lying in the dark

Even the moonlight was dull that night

We both knew we have to say goodbye

There was a lot of love

But that love wasn’t enough

To fill up our world

So we smiled and we cried

While we slowly drifted that night

There was so much to untangle

Our hearts were so fragile

It was more than we could handle

So we smiled and we cried

Knowing we had to say goodbye

 

Wondering Paths

Careless Birthday

I have kept you waiting to finally learn what happened on my birthday outing, well after the Chinese restaurant’s failure at providing a suitable table that would be of an appropriate height and their unwillingness in offering an alternative to what seemed like a wasted trip, my friend who in my eyes is a mix of fairy and miss fix it, went searching the other restaurants within the Shard for tables that were wheelchair friendly and to find out if they had an available table. Luckily she managed to find a place; it was an American restaurant with a much less rigid atmosphere to the Chinese one.

I am not very comfortable in big exclusive places; I guess such locations make me feel as an outsider, like it is not my world, rather a fake and pretentious atmosphere that lacks feelings. The tables were low and we had a big window opposite us that overlooked the whole of London – all I could think about at that precise moment was ‘is that what it is like to be on a flying rug that travels the world?’ and inside my head the Carpenters song was playing at full volume ‘I am on the top of the world looking down on creation….’ I could not stop smiling. I was sincerely happy and beaming. As a rule when out with my friend I have to try a new thing and move away from my comfort zone and so on this occasion I ordered two things that I have never tried; octopus which to my great surprise was very yummy, and another dish that consisted of humous, aubergine and cheese which was also quite nice.

I returned home feeling very blessed and fortunate, full of hope and ideas; I have developed a great hunger for achievement and eagerness to do so many things. But most importantly I had this deep feeling of content.

This was the first part of my friend’s birthday surprise, the second was an afternoon tea at a new and quirky hotel with a group of friends, again I was oblivious to what or where we were going and did not expect all of those people to actually come, then everyone sang happy birthday to me and I blew the candle with help from my friends as I don’t have enough strength, and yes of course I made a wish but not going to share it with you Dunia.

I am joking, I just wished that the happiness I was feeling never ends.

That week I realised many things that are too long to list, but I came across this anonymous poem which magically expresses everything that was filling my head and soul:

We look to the universe for answers we seek,

but the answers are closer than any of us think.

There in all we see, if you just look around.

and in a close friend they can be found.

I’ve been down so many paths,

and around so many rivers all dead ends.

I found and lost so many friends.

I’ve been from shore to shore;

now I’m on the road, I’ll wonder no more.

People are put on our paths each and every day,

some to help others to get in the way.

Some are complicated beyond belief,

others are there for some relief.

others there to bring you grief.

Some are there to help you grow.

The difference is for you to know.