Saturday 17 August 2013

Ramdan's Jetlag

You remember from few blogs away when I mentioned that we were staying up till five in the morning in Ramadan? well, that killed every drop of sleep from our heads, and most of us were really tired.  Now that nine days had past, we started to feel ok, and we can sleep in our regular sleeping time, and wake up in our regular waking up time.  One person had no problems at all, it was my husband, he will not budge, he sleeps on time and wakes up on time, Ramadan or no Ramadan.

When I started to travel long distances and started to feel the jetlag, I couldn't understand it, I didn't know that the body has a certain biological ticks, that work like a clock.  Once you change your habits the clock will not function, you need to start moving backward (or forward) slowly till the clock adjust itself.  I wonder if there are tablets for this? as its quite annoying really.

This year Eid was really great,we had two for the price of one.  Even though two of my kids were not here, we still enjoyed it, and with the advent of technology, they could see the food, check the photos and know who was gathering and what they were wearing, etc.  Of course as one professor once told me, we can never hug a picture of a son or daughter, we can never smell the rose that we see on TV, and we can never feel the sand of the beach unless we are actually walking on it and not through someone else's eyes.

Also, because we follow the lunar calendar, it means that we must see the moon then we break our fast, those that don't see the moon continued their fast, which meant that we must have two Eid lunches with friends and family gathering in our place for those two days.  It was wonderful, my friends from Abu Dhabi were here and while their little son was chasing Micky, and their little new born baby was crying, we were continuously talking and chattering away about so many things that I don't really remember, and I don't think that what we were saying needed to be remembered.  To me this is the best thing about any gathering, we talk for the sake of talking and not for arguments or for scientific research.

Two points are worth mentioning here, firstly we give money to kids during Eid (instead of gifts), this year I got 3x 500 dirhams from my daughter, her husband and my brother Hasson (who we adore as he is the organiser and technology geek in the family).  I felt like a child really, and enjoyed my money by spending it.  The second point is that we must wear new cloths during Eid! yes we must in actual fact when we were little we had only three times in the year that we buy new dresses, once when we start school, once during Ramadan's Eid, and once during Eid Alhaj, but with my menopause, I need cotton and lightweight materials.  My mum, decided that to buy me a dress, what she bought was lovely, it was red (my favourite color) and was made of georgette material.  I wore the dress, took the pictures, modelled it to the group for 5 minutes then apologised and changed into my comfortable robe made from cotton.  Everyone laughed at me for doing that, but I for once didn't care about having a new thingy on.  My comfort was more important. However, I hate menopause.

Will talk to you again about our customs and traditions next Eid.  Indulge in the pictures as they are really nice.

Companies with a heart

I am putting my corporate hat on today, I am sorry to say this, but I truly hate how I look with that hat, as it reminds me of how I felt when I was working in the corporate world.  For some reason I never felt like myself there, firstly I hate routine, I don't like to wake up early every day, I want a holiday every once in a while and I don't like others poking their noses into my work.  I also never liked the lack of the human factor in companies, they deal with us as if we are from Mars, they treat us as if we are owned by them and they only increase our money when they feel like it.  So I said goodbye to the corporate world where politics plays a big part in the life of every person that works there.  There is a wee lie of course here, I did try to go back, but someone told someone who told me that I knew too much coupled with being a very straightforward person, so I will never be taken back.

Yesterday one person I know was fired instantly from his job after spending only  couple of weeks there.  The person was upset, but he couldn't tell anyone, as no one wants to be exposed.  The rules of any company are clear, first you give a warning, then a second warning then a final warning then a dismissal.  But all of these warnings will only be given if the employee did a grave mistake.  Even then the mistake should be tolerated and the human hat should be put on, to distinguish between a genuine slack behavior or a genuine mistake that one didn't know that it is a mistake.  To make things worse, this person was not hired to do the job he was doing when he was fired, and he was never been told that he shouldn't do what he did.  He was not able to even defend himself, and say why he did what he did! also in the letter that he was given, it mentioned something like "gross misconduct".  When I read the letter I asked him: "did you have a go at a girl or steal something?" he said that he didn't shave as he had lots of pimples and couldn't shave.  Voila, gross misconduct for not shaving?  how can that be a gross misconduct or a reason for instant dismissal?

If this person was in USA he will be able to sue the company, over here, he didn't know his rights, as this was his first job.  Of course I cannot tell him this, so I told him to not worry, many jobs will present themselves to him, and maybe the person that fired him woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or had a fight with his wife.  I tried to console him, and told him few jokes till he laughed.

This is not something that we sneeze at or shrug off, I think companies should wake up to the fact that without the people's work the company will not exist, unless of course they have robots that do all the jobs.  The Hawthorne effect is tremendous, we must apply what we learnt in business schools and never forget that even machines require gentle care and some times speaking to (see

I must leave you with this thought, if the reader is a CEO of a company, please ponder on the "Companies with a heart" concept else people will be weary like me and will go work for themselves.  

Monday 5 August 2013

Family gathering in Ramadan, the sequel

I laughed so much tonight to the extent that I peed in my pants! don't ask me why, as it is obvious from the name of this post.

Firstly I must say that people must have missed my writing, as everyone had commented on how funny it was, and even my son, who is hard to please, said that if I ever write a book he will read it.  Mentioning my son, I must tell you what happened when he and his family spent about 10 days of Ramadan with us.  We all had so much fun with the baby, she was carried from one hand to the other, and we all enjoyed the chanting of my husband when he carried her (habash haban hanatoon, dada dada banaton, hantoosh albantoosh, and so on of his unwritten un-understood made-up words that made everyone happy apart from my son in law, as my husband will chant when he was sleeping in a very loud voice, if there was a contest on loud voices we will have a tie (you can guess who are the two who will win).  Also one day I gave the baby a piece of french fry, oh my god, you should have seen what happened, the baby looked around, noticed that her parents are not watching, ate it so quickly, so I gave her another one, she was almost going to stuff it in her mouth but spotted her mum looking at her! so she looked at me, and exclaimed if she can eat it? my daughter in law's lips dropped to the floor, as she and my son were trying to raise their kid on what they read on the internet?? wake up children, what is wrong with you? you had all sorts of mud, sand, rubbish on the floor and fried stuff too, I don't see that you are missing an ear or a finger!! kids of the internet!!

However, back to yesterday's post, the most rewarding complement came from our loud sister, who translated it word for word into Arabic to my other sisters who do not like to read in English (they are still old school who read, then translate to Arabic in their mind to understand what was written!! I know! they will thrash me for saying this). I almost died from laughter, as the whole situation was so funny;  my friend Shoula who came from Abu Dhabi to attend the Quraan gathering (I will tell you about it in a minute) was sitting a bit far and was talking to one of the guests, she eavesdropped on the translation and smiled, then she eavesdropped again and laughed, then she jumped from where she was sitting, pulled a chair and sat next to those that were laughing at what had been uttered by Nunu, and almost fell to the ground from laughter.

Of course some were upset on why I hadn't mentioned the good stuff that they do in Ramadan, I mean other than watching soap opera and discussing menial matters on whatsapp.  So I will tell you what we really do in Ramadan.  We spend about 5 minutes a day reading some prayers, and then jump to either the IPAD or the TV to watch our shows.  Haha they will say, as I am understating their good deeds.

I normally hold two sessions of Quraan in my house every year; its fun as we make it a point to finish the whole Quraan in one sitting; then we eat each others food, and each one of the attendees carries some of the stuff in containers so their families taste it too.  We make nice dishes in Ramadan, and during the Quraan gathering we make even nicer food; so there will be lots of desert and lots of savories.  we also have a constant supply of tea, coffee, karak tea and green tea.  Water is also a must and fruits of course, but tonight no one touched the water or the fruits.  The bowl of fruits was almost untouched, so Nunu felt bad, and took the biggest mango fruit and stuffed it into her bag.  Few nights ago, she also took our watermelon from under the chair in the kitchen and went home with it.  The next day, I felt like having watermelon, we were frantically looking for it, and we all thought that Micky (our cat) was playing with it or took it to the Garage, then the housekeeper spelled the beans.  No one can say anything, as Nunu is our youngest sister and no one dares to say anything to her? do we want to be spitted from the dogs mouth??!! (this is a Bahraini proverb by the way and it means that we will be chewed if we say anything).  Thanks Nunu for saving me from waking up at night, as the silly watermelon is known to make the person frequent the toilette after eating it.

Tonight we had a very nice gathering, as we had some charity stuff for sale too.  Shoula modeled the cloths for us, and Sawsan wanted to bring her already worn dress to exchange it as she found that the suitcase had the same dress in a bigger size! of course apart form the part that Nunu will not allow that, for Sawsan to admit that a dress is small on her is a catastrophe, its a first as she always think that she is thin (me too of course, I end up buying dresses and shirts that are few sizes smaller then me, just to make me feel good about myself, then come home and sulk because I spent money on nice dresses that I cannot wear;  so I go again shopping for weight reduction formulas from the Chinese shops).  Ok back to the subject: the charity stuff was to be sold to outsider, but we ended up buying them ourselves, Shoula is one of us of course as by now, she became a part of the family (Shosho, next time you are being scolded by Nehad please be very happy as she only does it to family)

One of the attendees tonight was a doctor, so the session ended up s a free medical consultation, Sawsan had to do operation to remove the lumps in her chest, I have to take tablets for my knees, and others had their medical advises too!  I am sure she kicked herself for showing up, as she had to treat patients in her free time.

I must say something about Maria (my niece), she didn't know what to do and what havoc to create, as all the attendees were adults, so she just moved around, checked on things, started to chew her nails, ate some sweets, listened to what we were saying, laughed a bit, but we never heard her voice. Poor thing, I must bring more kids to the house next time, I don't want her to be left alone.

I must go to prayers and sleep, everyone is praying except me, punching away on my laptop.  I feel so sleepy, so must pray in the Majlis, and then go to my room, I am sure if I go to my room and see the comfortable bed, I will just drop and snore (I do snore by the way)

Happy Ramadan everyone and will keep you posted next year.  I hope that we have similar and more interesting stuff happening with us.  We are a happy bunch.


Sunday 4 August 2013

My Family gathering in Ramadan

I must confess, we are not just like any other family we are close but loud, we are affectionate but can slash each other to pieces, we are loving but hate gossip and small talk, we talk the truth to each other even if we don't like it, and most importantly, we all complain but end up conceding to everything that one or the other had suggested.

Ok, enough of this preamble, I want to tell you about our Ramadan; not sure how others celebrate this month, I am sure that no one does it like us.  To me Ramadan is difficult, I can do all the religious stuff, but fasting is very difficult because I hate routine.  I don't want to wake up and not have my coffee,  I don't want to feel sleepy in the afternoon, and I don't want to feel thirsty.  I have no choice though, I must fast as everyone else is fasting and its PC.  Also, all the good stuff happen at night, so if I don't fast I will be missing out.

Good stuff? what are they I wonder?  well, since the past three years my mum has been spending Ramadan with us (she lives in Bahrain otherwise) so we all gather around mum, as she is the flower to the bees, she is the honey to the bears, she is the essence of our being, she is the loveliest person in this world.  We tell her off, and she tells us off, but we end up laughing; she has these oldies who frequent our house when she comes to Dubai, and they are all lovely, stay quite and look at us while we do our own things!! ok, are you curious now to know what we do?

To begin with, I am on my laptop, have both my phones next to me, typing away, replying to students' calls, whatsapps, and like now, writing my blog.  My daughter looking at her IPAD snooping at the pictures her friends paste on Instagram.  My other sister watches her soap opera series on her IPAD too, mum sitting next to her on my chaise long and watching the same series.  Ramadan in our country has a special flavour, I call it the series flavour!!!  my husband finishes Iftar and goes to our living room upstairs, watches his football matches (sometimes my son in law watches them with him, and sometimes he watches his series on either his IPAD, or on his new TV installed in their room; he left today so not sure what he is upto in Bahrain).

Then my other three sisters finish off their work at home, and come here.  A lot happens but the truth is, nothing happens, the technology is even heavier with these three sisters.  Sawsan plays on her IPAD, while talking on her phone, answering the whatapps on the third phone; Nunu, lucky for us, doesn't bring her IPAD, but her fingers types away at the speed of light while she shouts at the maids, scolds Maria (my little niece who decided she will spend Ramadan with us this year and regrets it to the bone, her brother left us ten days ago as he couldn't take it any more), screams if the Turkish coffee is not upto her standards.  But we love Nunu, she is the sugar to the tea, and the salt to the salad.  Lulu, on the other hand is busy with something, we don't know what it is, she comes and leaves like a thunder, she thinks my house is too far and we all think that her house is too far.

We have one brother who lives in Dubai, his family travels to US every year, so he comes and has Iftar with us, then he spends like half hour in the toilette, we thought that he has constipation until we found out that he actually reads my magazines that i keep in the toilette for constipating individuals in my family, and plays his solitaire game during that time.  Okay, its his relaxation time (he had enough of us in another word).

While all of this is happening, we are having red tea, green tea, Karak tea, fruits, nuts, dried fruits, cakes, Lugaimat, znood alsit, cherry pies, and any other goodies you can think of. we also have a constant supply of coffee.

I am changing our name guys, we will call ourselves the techfoodology family instead of the Halwachies.