Friday Wisdom

 

Friday. My end of week sanity day. A tinge of spirituality and going back to my roots day. It’s a constant reminder of who I am. Home cooked food, family and extended family faces round the dining table and the endless marathons of TV soaps with folks. 

24 hours of mental system back up and reset. A good opportunity to introspect, imagine and relax. 

 

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Why is the minion a Moody chef?

When you come from a family that spends more on it’s monthly menu budget that any other expense combined, you know  – what goes in the wok is a big deal.
I’m at advantage with both my parents who are aced cooks in their genre. While Dad is perfect imitator of all that is Asian and even Middle Eastern; Mom is more loyal to her roots. Her cuisine is a mix of Indian with a slight touch of the western expat influence.
And I, I enjoy both. Everyday, I have options. I relish dad’s creative aromatic surprises, while my soul’s finds it’s comfort in mom’s chicken stew.
Believe me, I’m not a big fan of fine cuisine. But, I love mixing a lot of them together. I was always a hungry kid. Can never say no, to a little treat every now and then. A desk job forces me to mend my ways.
At university, I cooked up what ever I found economically available at the vendor markets or settle with the freshest vegetable produce of the day. Sometimes, I’d religiously live on daily takeaways. Point made, the art of impromptu cooking runs through my veins and on several auspicious occasions, i tend to surprise everyone including myself!
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My humble tagliatelle (above) was seasoned with a dash of teriyaki and some old school ginger garlic sauce and sauteed onions for base. I also used red chilies puree just enough to give its red color. More so, my biggest asset this day, was the bright burst of sunlight streaming in as I whistled my way through the recipe. A good light source, is a great way of knowing how well the condiments have been cooked.
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The citrus crush (above) was a pitcher of Tropicana pineapple and orange juice with squared mandarins. All easy. It was a great sipper.

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And, berries. I could eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blue berries and kiwis all day. (above)Is an organic raspberry and honey yogurt mix. The mints add a refreshing punch. A little water to suit your consistency.

While convenience, easy access and time of preparation are key factors to my successful recipe’s. It’s usually the inspiration that’s abundantly available in the form of a shining sun or a breezy day, which is the winning secret. I always take my dishes outdoors. Savour them on the yard swing or the sun seats outside. Believe me, every spoonful tastes more fulfilling that way.

Magnolia Bakery comes to Qatar from New York.

Just got invited to the Magnolia Bakery Grand Opening in Qatar. It opens this week, Wednesday- 16th January.

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Located at the Dar Al Salam Mall, Abu Hamour, I shamelessly admit I will be the first one through the door. The first time I heard about Magnolia, was from the Sex and the City series, where I saw Carrie digging into one.

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Quintessentially, Magnolia will open to us a world of luscious, rich and comfort giving cupcakes , cakes, puddings, cookies, brownies, coffees, legit american coffees, fresh juices and a savory menu for later on.
Not only is the most anticipated event of the week, it is also the biggest Magnolia outlet to open ever!Image
If you love cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery is the place to be! Follow them on Twitter here and the invitation with a map.

Magnolia Bakery Invitation!

16th December 2012 – Shame on Delhi

On the night of 16 December 2012, a paramedical student, Damini was gang raped in Delhi. The victim and her friend after watching a movie boarded a bus in South Delhi, when they were beaten by a group of six males (5 adult, 1 minor), after which the female victim was raped.

The couple were on their way home after watching Life of Pi at a South Delhi multiplex. The couple boarded a bus at about 9 pm when a group of men, who were on the bus, began harassing her.

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When her friend tried to intervene, he was gagged and then hit mercilessly with an iron rod. Five men then hit the woman with the same rod and gang-raped her while the driver kept the bus moving. At about 11 pm, the couple was thrown semi-naked onto the road. A passer-by phoned the police which then collected the couple and moved the pair to the hospital. The girl had been hit with the iron rod for nearly forty five minutes.

“It appears to be that a rod was inserted into her and it was pulled out with so much force that the act brought out her intestines… That is probably the only thing that explains such severe damage to her intestines,” said a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital where the woman is being treated.

What were the First Questions that were asked –

1. What was the girl wearing?

2. Why was she out post 9pm in the night?

3. Why was she alone with a boy?

We live in a society where daughters are asked Not to get raped. As if it were an option they can avoid. We are told to hide our faces in shame, if we were to be abused, eve teased, harrased and sweared at. It is ok to live in wed lock comprising of physical abuse than to file for divorce.

It is “culture” to be tolerant and toil away as a women, as it is testimony to your femininity.

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Damini had her intestines completely removed. If she manages to live, she will live on intravenous fluids for life. Her partner will require extensive therapy to overcome what he has experienced.

I am furious. Enraged. I’ve been eve teased before. I’ve been bullied by coward men. I’ve been followed home and abused. And I have been taught to be perfectly silent about it. There would be repercussions if I made anyone “uncomfortable” with my woman problems.

If anything, I now feel the need to be more shameless. To be more impolite. To be more zealous and rebellious. I cannot sleep tonight. I do not think I will sleep in peace again.

To only think, I was in Delhi 7 days ago. *jitters*  Only 6 months after a minor Girl was openly molested on road by a group of men in Guwahati, enjoying every fistful grope and video taped for the world to see.

I do understand the process of Law takes time and the constitutional protocols must seep through layers of bureaucratic, bribe sucking, male chauvinist, porn addicted middle aged crises law makers.

I do understand, while the tinted Bus in which Damini was raped and her insides were castrated outside, passed three police vans during the assault, meant the Delhi Police has no better way of knowing how to do its job.

I understand, that now in spite of everything and the arrests made, the Delhi police is resorting to providing a “high security” getaway for the alleged. Life imprisonment is as good as it gets. Isn’t that perfect.

I understand. I’ve understood.

I’m a woman. Nuff said.

Update: 29th December 2012

I woke up to find several BBM updates screaming R.I.P. My heart wrenched because of what I was dreading the most. Last I knew she was flown to Singapore for treatment at the Mt. Elizabeth Hospital. She didn’t make it.

This was murder. Rape is murder. Murder of hopes, dreams. Murder of ambition, prayers and everything good in this cruel world. This young brave women, will never have another birthday, never go on a date, be married or live to have a family of her own. She will never complete her education nor will she live to support her family.

Her family will wake up to an empty room everyday. Her friend will forever remember the heinous crime, where he was beaten to unconsciousness and stripped naked, thrown out of a moving vehicle. This family has been scarred.

India is a place, where girls are neither safe inside the womb nor outside.

Damini a.k.a Nirbhaya died a fighting hero.

A little part of me died today. Weeping inconsolably I found the strength to get out of bed and walk to my laptop to know of her last.

Her body was prepared in a funeral parlor in Singapore, before the coffin began its journey back to India with her parents who were at her bedside when she was pronounced dead at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

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Just yesterday, a punjabi teenager who was gang raped in November (yes, we didn’t know of the crime until yest.) committed suicide, giving into the pressure by her attackers and the cheap police officers in Punjab, who would call her in the wee hours of the night and ask ” Rape kaise kiya unhone”? ( tell us, how did they rape you?). She was asked to visit the station alone, and pressurized to drop the charges. She left behind a video recording her ordeal and a letter with the name of the accused. Within, 24 hours, Damini left us.

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I wait for the day, we can walk the streets to buy groceries for our children with a promising contentment t return home safe and unharmed. I wait for the day, I can stroll in the park with him, without the fear of being battered by a mob and left naked and exposed to the eyes of the world to see.

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We have lost. Dear Daughters, Girls, Wives, Sisters and Mothers, do not cease to fight. We promised Damini we’d fight. We promised never to give up. We promised, that we’d look after even if she was gone. We promised.

Update:

On the 4th of January, Father of the victim Badri Singh, revealed her name to the world. Her name was Jyothi Singh Pandey.

HOPE – Glimpses in the state of Education ’round the Third World

I happened to stroll by the Sheraton Park for some Karak at a stall set up cafeteria. The following appalling picture exhibition spoke a thousand words without saying one.  

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The HOPE Exhibition is a retrospective of 30 years of visual narratives that, in the photographer’s words, “reveal the invisible boundaries where joy verges on despair, where conflict meets indulgence, but where life always triumphs.

 

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“The images show that even in critical situations, men, women and children find the hope to help endure the unimaginable.”

 

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It includes 80 of  Photographer Reza’s photographs and tells many stories, from the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan to the River Amur in eastern Asia and the heights of Algeria’s Assekrem plateau.

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The HOPE Exhibition will run on the Corniche at the Sheraton Park from November 8, 2012 to December 15, 2012. The public is invited to enjoy a cultural journey through powerful images that highlight life’s challenges, triumphs and expressions of hope.  

 

 

 

The Minion is now a Mentee

It is with great pride I announce that I am now a Mentee, I am even grateful I was accepted in spite of my late application. It was a scurry of trying to finish work and my never ending list of To- Do’s and add to that the challenge of a waiting car down in the office parking. 

A warm email was received next morning, confirming receipt of my application and requesting my patience of another two weeks till I am told of my fate! 

The QPWN (Qatar Professional Women’s Network) is a welcoming network for Women with an eye for professionalism. I am on the cusp of joining the workforce, since I graduate in December. Fortunately, I have been accepted in a fresh and vibrant team within a month of finishing my exams! In November, I received my acceptance as Mentee. I felt proud and excited. 

My first meeting with my Mentor, was a quick yet memorable experience. I think we walked  into the room with a difference of a few minutes. She’s a confident, good looking and sweet French woman.  Maybe I can pick up a few lessons in French during our meetings. 

We had an initial ice breaking session in a private room at the famous Virginia Common Wealth University in the lavish Qatar Foundation Premise. We had the official kick off just day before, with all the lovely new and existing members of the network. 

Now, I must say – this was my first time at a “womans” professional networking event. I have been to similar events before. But they mainly comprised of young, shy and unsure girls and boys like myself. 

I was a bit shy at first. Ensuring my name tag is visible on my shiny blazer. Carefully, nibbling on sandwiches while a lovely Professional lady approached  me and we hit it off from there. We spoke. Exchanged cards and numbers. And i now comforted, dissolved with the crowd. I had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing women. The restaurant was piping with energy. It was great sharing my Doha gyan with University Instructors, Education pioneers, Retails and Fashion Business Women, Young Grads, Managers and the list goes on. 

I barely realized time had passed. It was such a lovely experience. My only regret was not being able to chat up with all the ladies at the event. That’s me smiling away to glory in the grey blazer, shortly after I was introduced as a Mentee. The cute lady in red to my right is my Mentor. I am her latest Project. As another mentee cheekily pointed out!Image

 

I am sure this is going to be a great journey. I already have plans with my Mentor. Who lucky me, has her office in the same building as mine! Talk about meant to be!

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(Above) Karoline introduces us to the QPWN Network. She is an ideal coach. I am so glad to have met her. And I am gracious for the effort she makes to keep us all connected and informed. 

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(Above) Me, anxiously waiting to join the team .

Finally, the diligent thing to do, is to always go through your notes, your anecdotes and make efforts to connect with the women you have met personally, exchanged cards with and numbers etc. I have added them on my personal linked in and  twitter.  Always keep the business cards!

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Good Night! The Minion is now off to get some shut eye before a busy day tomorrow. 

 

 

This is Suleiman, the child jockey