Tuesday, 12 June 2012


The act of kindness can be practiced through words you choose to speak and your actions as well. Have you come across people who are consciously unkind in their speech and deeds,  because they are insensitive or they feel powerful and important when they able to hurt the feelings of another person.  Why is it important to be kind? 


Having worked in an Engineering consultancy firm (a long time ago before I went into teaching), I was surrounded by architects and engineers who created wonderful design drawings for clients and saw to the execution and completion of huge projects. During my travel, my fascination  for architectural designs, and buildings find me spending hours reveling at the marvel of architecture, be it old palaces, 15th century houses, monuments, museums and even modern day buildings. I enjoy capturing pictures of old staircases, doors and windows. They transport you to a different era.

Here are two photos of an old staircase, I took, during my visit to Aston Hall  (a Jacobean mansion built in 1635) in Birmingham. The staircases would have undergone restoration work.

Aston Hall, Birmingham, West Midlands


Laughing Buddha of Prosperity - with both hands raised, holding a Ru-Yi bowl of plenty in one hand and a golden ball of wealth in the other (Food Court, Mall near Niagara Falls)
According to Feng Shui and in countries like China and Japan and now  followed in many other countries too, Laughing Buddha is a sign of  joy and wealth. In Japan its known as Happy Buddha or Hotei and in China its called Pu-Tai. I  have noticed Laughing Buddha statues in different forms and positions like sitting down, with a fan, with hands up. A lot of people believe it's lucky to have a laughing buddha at the office, home or even business place. I have a friend who totally believes in Feng Shui and has everything in her house positioned and placed according to Feng Shui. Well, I must admit, though she is doing pretty good in life, however, she too faces ups and downs in life and challenges like any one else. I personally believe what works is your faith, your beliefs and convictions and a mindset to follow your goals or ambitions no matter what and a never give up attitude. They are miracle workers. 

While at Niagara Falls, it was late night, we were famished and looking out for a close by eatery, so, we went to this Food court that had lots of restaurants. While I approached the counter of a restaurant, I noticed a huge laughing buddha that stood at the side, whose  wooden sculpted face beamed with happiness and hands up in the air  holding a bowl of plenty (Ru Yi) and a golden ball of wealth.  It is believed that a laughing buddha in such a position would bring wealth and properity, by attracting a lot of customers! The laughing buddha reminded me of my mother's best friend, who is no more. She was heavily built lady, unmarried, lived alone; she was a teacher and an artist, whose personality burst with great positive energy and she touched the lives of many. Spending a mere five minutes in her company, would recharge you of depleted energies and make you feel happy and you begin to love and appreciate life. A visit to her house would leave one feeling so good. Now that was the kind of power she had over others.  Besides she had a solution for everyone who approached her with big or small problems. She helped people in need, Honestly, laughing buddha reminds me of this wonderful lady, my mother's best friend.

I must blog about Laughing Buddha, I thought. So here it finally...my post on 'Laughing Buddha' and it's meaning and importance. I'ts believed that the Laughing Buddha is modeled after a fat wandering Zen monk, named Ch'i-t'zu, from Fenghua, which is now the province of Zhejiang  in China. Ch'i-t'zu was an eccentric but much-loved character who worked small wonders. He was bald, with wrinkled forehead and a huge belly which he would leave uncovered . He later came to be known as Pu-Tai or hemp sack. He used to carry a cloth bag filled with candies for children. He had a cheerful disposition and was very popular with children. He was considered the protector of children, poor and the weak. His hemp bag came to be interpreted as filled with health, wealth, happiness, prosperity and abundance. Pu-tai or Laughing Buddha is often found near the entrance of Chinese Buddhist temples. The tradition of rubbing Pu-tai's belly for good luck is a folk practice.

If you have a laughing buddha or get one as a gift or even plan on getting one, you might wonder, how or where or where to place it. Feng Shui experts claim that laughing buddha is to be placed at a height of 30 inches, facing the main door, to greet the energies that come in and turn them prosperous. Never place directly on the floor or in the bedroom or dining room.

In case you are wondering, no I don't have a Laughing Buddha (yet).

Monday, 11 June 2012


'Little Children at Play' taken at Niagara Falls, New York.



In the end, it's our friendships that live in spaces between our biggest life moments. It's our friendships that hold the divide between life and love, fear and compassion, doubt and courage. And it's our friendship that crack open our hearts to the light within ourselves. - Kelly Rae



We paid a visit to the Adidas Showroom  in the Hamra Mall and it's a really  nice shop with lots of sport wear, sport shoes and accessories mostly for men. The women and children's section is rather limited. They have discounts on certain outfits. What interested me is the Men's Porshe designed Adidas t-shirts and sport shoes. They are really sleek and if you plan to visit Adidas at Hamra Mall or any of their other outlets be sure to take a look at the Adidas Porsche Design shirts and shoes. 


Adidas t-shirts - Porsche design

Adidas-Porsche design shoes


On Saturday late afternoon, we paid a visit to the famed and much talked about Hamra Tower in Sharq. The Hamra Mall housed within the tower is open to the public, but the place is quite empty, with just a very few shops and restaurants opened for now.  It would take a few months before all the shops would be open. Remember two years ago, when 360 Mall first opened - how empty it looked and now its bustling with shops, people and activity! Be patient, same goes for Hamra Mall.

The place doesn't look like anything I remember from my childhood. Time, economic boom and progress has made a huge change in the infrastructure of the city in the last 25 to 30 years. Somewhere in that place stood the Hamra theater and Firdous theater I frequented with my parents when I was a child. Among so many other wonderful memories, these theaters and surrounding shops would only remain a beautiful memory in my heart.

The grand  Hamra tower is 412.6 m tall (1,354 feet). Its believed to be the tallest 'sculpted tower' in the world, with  5 story retail mall,  food court, 10 screen movie theater complex, 70 floors of office space, roof top restaurant, spa and 11 story carpark. Hamra Tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. 

Well, you don't have to wait for the next few months until all the shops open in the Mall. Visit the Hamra and explore the place, you can take a nice walk with your family or friends, drop into the few shops that are open or relax and have some coffee at one of the coffee shops. 


Hamra tower at night

Sunday, 10 June 2012


It's important to remember that we all have magic inside us - J.K. Rowling


I would have liked to go on an open horse carriage ride at Niagara Falls but time was short and we had booked for plenty of activities to see and do. If you happen to visit Niagara Falls and you have the time, try to go on the ride and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. Here are some pictures.


There is an ongoing Sale at Centrepoint, in all their outlets on apparel, footwear, bags and artificial jewellery. When I was at their outlet in Hawally, what interested me most was their candles, home fragrances and serenity sets.  I really liked some of the home fragrances, that were not too strong, yet pleasant and soothing that would instantly put anyone feels relaxed and comfortable. I was checking out lots of testers until I had to tell myself, 'stop'. The have a new collection of serenity sets. Here are a few pictures I took. I feel they would make nice gifts either for your own home or for a friend.



During a certain loss that leads to extreme sadness or emotional suffering like losing a job, or not getting what you know you truly deserve,  loss of a loved one, ending of a relationship, suffering due to illness, it could be anything hurtful in your life that makes you feel you are inconsolable, and all doors have closed upon you, it actually would seem like the end of your world. Extreme sadness is a natural human emotion, every one of us go through at some point or some stages in life, except each person's experience differs, but human emotions and reactions remain so much the same. 

At this juncture, there is no other way of  getting over it, except  by going through it.  No matter how impossible it appears, you will  find the strength to go through this dark tunnel of sadness and reach the other side. Don't isolate yourself at this time; this is when, although no one can remove your sadness, you still need an emotional support system like family and friends . So,  don't reject those who truly love you. Your pain or sorrow goes out into the universe like a prayer and will be answered in time. In case of a loss that cannot be replaced, time will help you heal as we are biologically made up to adjust and accept things through time, which we cannot bring back or change. In terms of loss of job, you might discover in the depths of contemplation and pain, that you might want to explore other avenues that uses your skills and talents that can generate income. When you work with faith in your heart, doors begin to open.  Your desire and wishes are not in vain; the human mind is capable of attracting what is wants from the universe although it may take time and surprisingly puts you amidst people, circumstances and situations that help you shape your new life or destiny. Divorce or separation is a painful experience. If you feel you have tried your best and nothing works out to salvage or improve the relationship, then it's time to part than to suffer together. Not all marriages or friendships are meant to last forever. People change and along with it, aspirations, dreams and attitude also changes. Letting go a toxic relationship brings a closure to something that is not required in your life any longer. When you feel lost at his point, realize, you are seeking out a new path and there will be signs and you will be able to follow them, giving birth to a new you with a promise of a better future.

During extreme sadness, we may feel angry and disappointed towards life and oneself. Suddenly you feel alone and weary, while everyone else seems to be happy and content in life and you would think that no one understands your situation.  Several questions would ceaselessly haunt you, 'Why me? Why now? What did I do to deserve this? How can they do this to me?, this should not have happened to me'. Certain questions may or may not have rational answers you are looking for. Don't compare yourself with others, because you don't know the battles others are fighting in their lives or the challenges they face; for what you see about everyone is just from the surface or from the outside. In the depth of  your despair,  it's important to believe that you will recover from your loss, or suffering, sadness or sorrow. Because that is exactly what time and your inner healing will do for you. And look for the lessons you need to learn from this pain. They will make you stronger and understand the unwritten laws of life. The cycle of life does not stop here, it has to move into future, bringing  you feelings of joy, companionship, happiness, success and fulfillment. The present submerges into the past and the future becomes the present you never thought you'd have the courage to face and you will experience blessings you never imagined.