Thoughts on getting fancy schmancy nails done

People who know me very well will know I can’t really be bothered with make-up, or manicures, and so on. But with a three week-long holiday upon me, including a full-blown Indian wedding and then Christmas, I decided to take the plunge and try this long-lasting nail polish thingybob I’d heard about.

I was told by reliable sources that there are two types of long-lasting nail procedures: Gelish and Shellac. My parlour (YES, YEGADS, I HAVE ONE!) does the former, so I was set.

I chose to have a French manicure, which was a big mistake (more on that later). Essentially, they keep applying goop on your nails, then plonk it in a little box that “cooks the nails” (the parlour lady’s words, not mine) and then voila… nails that don’t chip. Which is, frankly, a miracle when it comes to me. I’m the girl who gets a manicure once a year then smudges it within 7 minutes of leaving the parlour. I have, on occasion, done it while still inside the premises.

But nope, errant zippers and my own clumsy will were befuddled this time as my nails lived on. As if they were done yesterday.

So why was the French manicure a mistake? Mostly because after two weeks my nails obviously grew longer and there was this weird shadow effect on my nails where the white bit of the manicure was shorter than my actual white nail underneath and it just looked odd. If and when I do it again, I’d probably go for a block colour to prevent zombie nails from returning.

And I didn’t even take a photo…

Cars, carrots and coping

People watching is an interesting thing, and when you’re cooped up on a flight for nearly seven hours, it is inevitable. Especially when watching a movie that bores your brains out. This post has two parts – a spoiler-filled review of Fast & Furious 6, and thoughts on my fellow passengers.

PART ONE: THE MOVIE
I’ve a confession to make, I’m a fan of the Fast & Furious series – I love the cars and the action. I hated the second movie, went against the tide of haters for the third (seriously, I thought Tokyo Drift was a whole lot of fun), and kept going back for more.

I’ve been trying to watch the sixth one for ages, but never managed it. So on a flight when I saw the movie in the list, I had to press play.

And how royally have the franchise screwed it up with this one! I got so bored I started getting distracted by people around me.

Okay look, you have to understand it takes a lot for me to not pay attention to a movie. When The Rock started spouting lines about wanting wolves, and protecting chickens from the foxes, I wanted to set dogs on him.

And when the climax scene with the tank (c’mon everyone has seen that scene in the trailer) came to an end, I actually laughed at the absurdity – behold, Vin Diesel can fly. When Han mentioned Tokyo, I was all, DON’T GO YOU WILL DIIIIIEEEEEEEEE! When the stupid cheesy last scene as played I felt more awkward than the actors on screen looked. When someone mentioned going to “the other side” all I could think about was Jason Derulo’s song courtesy it being overplayed on our radio stations. And I don’t know whose idea it was to outdo the tank in the movie… But WAS THAT RIDICULOUSLY UNREALISTICALLY MASSIVE PLANE THE MOST SENSIBLE IDEA?!

PART TWO: MY FELLOW PASSENGERS
I had an aloo (that’s ‘potato’ for you non-desi folk) sitting next to me. An aloo means more than just the vegetable – it can be used to refer to desi men who look like overgrown potatoes. Not only did this aloo take up my space, he kept dropping things near my feet, and drank around three mini-bottles of vodka. Bear in mind the flight left Dubai at 9am. Looks like someone was intent on riding the free train! Then him and his wife spent five minutes trying to decide what to eat. It’s not an extensive menu, geniuses. The aloo then asked, when the lovely stewardess came by to ask what he wanted for breakfast, why the lunch options were not available at same time, and looked genuinely disappointed he only had limited choices. This is economy class dude. You’re lucky you HAVE a choice.

Anyway while I was getting bored shitless with uninspiring quips on Fast & Furious 6, my attention was caught by a man two seats over watching a South Indian movie with English subtitles, where a man whom I guessed was the hero was wooing a woman in a song by eating a carrot in slow motion. No, really. Someone, anyone, explain this. This was followed by the girl he was wooing doing some kind of light aerobics in salwar kameez on the street with around 20 aunties behind her doing the same. Then the hero decided kissing a baby while grinning creepily at the woman on his dreams was the best idea. She was not impressed. Neither was I. Then some men appeared on screen talking about hair dye. Ummmm.

On the other screen, a man was watching Star Trek into Darkness and I kept getting distracted by the mesmerising eyes of Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch. Mmmmm.

I’ve survived yet another flight. Hurrah.

These shoes were made for dancing…

Those who know me well know I’ve been indulging in the one form of exercise that doesn’t make me want to gag with boredom: zumba and/or dance-based exercises.

I have grown to love doing this, so much that it’s become a regular activity for me, not a fad. And so I realised once my two regular pairs of sneakers had to be thrown (due to overuse over 9-10 years!) … I needed new shoes.

After those two flat-ish sneakers were thrown away, I had two pairs left. One is an open-back-but-with-elastic-thingybob and a weave pattern, which is great for casual walking, and super comfy. However, I could try dancing in it but because they aren’t completely closed, they will probably detach themselves from my feet and become projectiles aimed at someone else!

Then there’s my pair of running shoes. I tried these in class for a bit but they made me feel like I was slipping on the slick dance floor, and my exercise mostly was about trying to balance myself and not fall flat on my face as opposed to actually getting my booty shaken. As running shoes, wow they’re so awesomely padded and so comfy…running has never been so good. As dance shoes… ummm, maybe not.

Then I researched, and found that most brands have a range of ‘dance shoes’. I even found ones I liked… but all the brand’s stores in Dubai didn’t have my size (I have giantess feet). So I stumbled uncomfortably until last week … they had my size…

I PRESENT TO YOU … THE SKECHERS DANCE WEAR!

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I’m really, really happy with these now for my dance classes in the studio. They’re flat – as they should be – and shaped right. I dance with more confidence now, and don’t have to worry about slipping anywhere. They’re called Jazz Hands in some places, but here they were called “dance wear” and that was it.

Anyway, if you’re looking to indulge in studio stuff like zumba, hip hop, etc, then seriously, get yourself a pair of dance/studio shoes. And you can stay brand loyal … most brands, as I said, have a range of these!

Remembering to laugh at myself, aka ‘playing cats and ladders’

I used to blog a lot – not here, somewhere else – and it was fun. I had time to write, I had time to recount experiences … but today I realised that perhaps I’d forgotten to laugh at myself. My old blog posts used to make fun of myself and of ridiculous situations I found myself in. Of course my anonymity made it easier. But hey, something absolutely ridiculous happened to me yesterday … so why not share?

I’ve blogged before about a stray cat in my garage. Well she’s still in my garage and I still feed her and give her water and clean out her litter tray which is in our garden.

I call her Vader and whenever I park my car outside my villa, she normally rocks up, miao-ing and rubbing herself against my feet, or if she;s hungry, mewling rabidly until I give her something. Last night however, that didn’t happen. She was mewing all right, but nowhere to be seen. I felt weird about it but went in. Ten minutes later I went back out, calling out to her. More mewing but no Vader.

Now really worried, I Skype my friend. He urges me to go look for her but I said I couldn’t see her anywhere. Panicking now, I demanded he taxi over to help me look. He does. We use torch lights, we find her in the neighbour’s … on the other side of the six-foot high wall after we peer over with a ladder. And behold, the cat who can’t jump walls. *facepalm* as they say.

We dangle a long bedsheet on her end hoping she’d latch on to that. We try and reach for her. Nothing.

My friend suddenly says: “Did you ring the doorbell before you called me?”
I wailed: “BUT NOBODY’S HOME!”
Him: “There’s a light on in their kitchen.”

Oh.

I wander to their front door, ring. The owner opens the door. More *facepalm* at this point. WHY DIDN’T I RING THE DOORBELL BEFORE?!*

I mumble: “Well there’s a cat, she’s not my cat, she’s a stray but she’s sort of my stray cat and she’s stuck in your garden, there.”

The owner looks at me amusedly: “The door to the garden is open.” **

*MASSIVE FACEPALM*

So, to recap: I hear the cat mewing, I know she’s stuck, I know WHERE she’s stuck. I didn’t ring the doorbell, I didn’t try their garden door just in case. Instead, I call a friend over in a cab, climb ladders, dangle bedsheets, and wail.

Vader is safe. My friend is amused/annoyed at me for my stupidity. And I’m just laughing at myself for ignoring the obvious and being a silly billy (SEE WHAT I DID THERE, DESI PEEPS?).

Whatever. One day I’m going to have two cats – one called Kirito and the other Kogami.

*I should add that I moved to where I live in 2004, so nine years later and I’ve spoken to my neighbour like…three times. And waved to him if I’ve ever seen him or his family maybe 10 times. Which probably led to me hesitating in the first place. Massive fail, as the Twitterati would say.
** The idea that their garden door would be open was unthinkable to me mostly due to my family’s OCD-esque behaviour of making sure everything is locked and double locked, and nothing is open ANYWHERE. I mean, my Mom refuses to even leave the key out under the doormat on nights when I’ve forgotten my key. She insists I wake her up. So you can imagine how guilty this method makes me when I rock up at 1am having to call her to let me in just because she refuses to put the key under the doormat or hidden in a plant pot.

Meet Vader. She’d like a home.

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As I mentioned in my last blog post, there’s a cat coming around near my house and I want to find it a home.

I thought she was a stray, and two weeks ago, with the help of Bin Kitty Collective (thanks for the suggestion Karla!) I managed to get her to a vet so she could be neutered and saved from any pregnancies. Massive shout-out here to Feyaza who loaned me her cat carrier for that purpose.

But a few hours after I dropped her off to the vet, I got a call which went something like this:

“Hello, this is regarding the stray cat you dropped off this morning? Well, we prepped her for the neutering, and as part of the procedure we clipped her ear. But when the doctor opened her up, we found there was no uterus – she’d already been spayed. And when the doctor looked further, we found a microchip.”

When I met the doctor that evening, he said that while the microchip details have been passed around clinics, it’s highly likely she’s an abandoned cat. She’s six years old. And if you haven’t read my first post, I’ll tell you again: she was starving when we found her, she was like a bag of bones.

Needless to say, I was seething. Boiling mad. Hopping angry. Her owners abandoned her and left. She had to go through a pointless surgery…and she’s alone.

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Again, if you haven’t read the original post (please do), she is currently living in my garage and front garden. I feed her and put water out every day. I’ve even bought her a cat litter so she stops pooping in my garden (which was making my parents very, very angry).

I’ve named her Vader – she’s got a black coat, but a white underbelly. THE FORCE IS STILL WITH HER!

She’s a really calm cat. She loves the garden, but I think she’d like a family where people will love her and not leave her … she’s pretty low maintenance as far as I can tell, she likes to rub against your feet when she hasn’t seen you for a bit. Even the vet said she’s one the calmer cats he’s had to deal with.

She’s six, and yes, she now, unfortunately, has a clipped ear. But she’s clearly already trained in things like using litters, using her food and water bowl and will return to the family that feeds her and loves her.

Anyone who’s interested in adopting her, please, please, get in touch. You can contact me through this blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Black cat roaming

Perhaps two months ago, a cat started coming around my house. This is not unusual – there have been many cats who roam around my house, some venturing into the garden to relax on the big swing we have, and once one cat decided to birth her litter there. She was getting food at her real owner’s house, so no idea why our garden was deemed fit to have her babies.

But this one was different – this black cat kept mewling when she saw any one of us leave the house, and looking rather sad. She also looked really hungry. I felt really, really bad for her. Especially as she seemed to belong to no one, and was clearly hungry.

I kept ranting about how mean we were not to feed the cat – and my Mom caved. We got cat food.

Now she’s started pooping in our garden and my parents are beyond unhappy. I said I’d clean it up, but they’re still not convinced.

Anyone want a black cat? She’s fairly calm … I don’t know how old she is, but she definitely is not starving like she was when I found her. You can contact me via Twitter @DevinaDivecha or email me at contact[at]devinadivecha[dot]com if you’d like to give her a home.

Black cat

Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi

The latest water park on the block in the UAE is the Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi.

I was extremely lucky to get to attend the grand opening on January 19, 2013. Getting there is quite easy, it’s about a one-hour-and-a-bit drive from the Dubai Media City end of town, and signs on the road will tell you how to get to Yas Island (Alternatively, I can tell you that Google Maps was spot on).

I was surprised at the size of the park; it was like a TARDIS … It looked small on the outside and was huge on the inside! It’s a lot to do with, I think, the way in which the rides sometimes intertwine around each other, making it look compact, but actually it has a lot of things for you to do.

I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat, so I was unknowingly pushed onto the insane rides – the Falcon Falaj and the Dawamma, the latter of which is MENTAL! You enter a 6-person raft in both, and basically get pushed off a cliff on a never-ending screamfest. In the Dawamma, there’s this huge barrel thing that you eventually end up in and it’s so big, you wonder how it’s possible to escape. Yet you emerge laughing out onto the pool. I LOVED IT. Top marks for those rides…I kept wanting to do them again despite being scared out of my wits every time.

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The other stuff is cool too – there’s the Liwa Loop, which I didn’t try but entails getting into a little capsule, and having a trapdoor released underneath your feet, with the momentum making you go feet-first into a loop and emerging gasping. Most people who came out from there ended up screaming, “I DID IT!” or “I SURVIVED!” or “WHAT WAS THAAAAAAT?” So. Pretty good then.

There’s a lazy river, and another lazy river filled with waves. There’s the snake slides, with the Rattler being the one that throws you into a mystical cavern with laser lights shooting all around you before releasing you from the creature’s mouth. Then there’s the slides where you clutch on to a sled-like thing and jump headfirst into the slides, almost as if you’re flying on a magic carpet. And then there are more slides, one called Halool’s Humps (Due to its shape) and another called Jebel Drop (it quite literally drops you down). And a roller coaster… and … a surfing area… and… a place for kids only…and…

My point is, there’s a lot to do at the water park. I was in a position where I didn’t have to deal with too many crowds at the event I went for, but with the awesomeness of the rides, I can see it being a wait for some of them. So be patient, you’ll have some fun regardless of queues.

I’d like to see some more food options at the waterpark though; maybe some pizza like my friend suggested?

If you’ve gone to Yas Waterworld, let me know what you thought…but till then, check out some of my pictures!

Check out the official website for all the information you need; the price of a general ticket for an adult is AED 225.

Save The Humans

Love this post by my friend Shaahima. It’s simple, but gets across the message instantly.

The Kaftan Writer

Save The Humans

The stateless Palestinian. The Rohingyan asylum-seeker. The Syrian refugee. The defenceless in war zones. The unwanted girl child. The Dalit. The raped. The gang-raped. The child being molested and too afraid to speak. The starving. The ill-treated labourer. The discarded orphan. The jailed without justice. The physically abused. The emotionally beaten. The homeless. The victim of hate. The children killed at school. The children killed for going to school. The soldiers dying in a war they don’t want. The voices silenced. The journalists white vanned. The cheated sports fan. The innocents killed at the hands of an authorised weapon. The political scapegoat. The unpaid worker. The jobless. The addict. The woman unmarried for lack of dowry. The misunderstood disabled. The philanderer’s spouse. The trafficked. The citizen of an oppressive regime. The mothers of children who never returned home. The misrepresented. The uncounted.

 

But before all else. Save the apathetic.

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My magnet obsession

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It’s hard to remember where it started.

I know I had the “Underground” magnet when I went to the UK on a holiday in March 2009. But it really took of when I bought the “Dubai” piece for when I was moving to Sheffield, UK for my Masters degree. I wanted a piece of the city I grew up in and a magnet perched on my fridge there seemed ideal.

And then I went magnet-mad. 

According to Wikipedia:

There is no generally recognized term (e.g. numismatics for currency collecting) for magnet collecting. A Russian collector has proposed the term memomagnetics (Russian: мемомагнетика), derived from the words memoriale (Latin) and magnetis (Greek)[6] A collector of magnets would be called memomagnetist. These terms have been used by at least one Russian online community for magnet collectors.[7]

I slowly started collecting magnets from various cities/countries I visited. And then asked my friends to bring me back a magnet wherever they went.

I’m a bit of a magnet snob too; I prefer magnets that have a quirky design, something more than just the city or country name, So my Istanbul magnet, which I picked up on a stopvover at the Ataturk airport, it has the name of the city spelled out using the architecture of the area. That’s cool. 

Likewise, I got the Loch Ness monster with bagpipes and attached chimes in Edinburgh, as I was walking around one foggy night. Then there’s Sri Lanka, spelled out inside an elephant shape (thanks Shaahima!), and so on and so forth.

Thanks to all my Twitter folk who have contributed to my collection: @TDAllonsy, @Shaahima, @VonSkunk, @movie_mafia, @hannah_farah, @completefoodie, @shru_, @benfurfie and even my father (who, under strict instruction, got the one from Rome).

Can you spot the countries I already have? And yeah, if you travel anywhere and remember me, pick a magnet up for me. It’ll get a loving home 😀

PS – And…this doesn’t even show my OTHER magnet collection – it’s all about quotes and funny sayings. But that one, I curate myself. 🙂

How to cosplay like Princess Leia

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Photograph courtesy Muzammil Majeed

A historic event happened just two weeks ago – the first Middle East Film and Comic Con took place in Dubai, UAE.

See all the pictures from the two-day event here.

I won’t go into detail about what happened; I’m hoping the pictures are sufficient. I will say though, that if you like John Rhys-Davies, Luciana Carro, Jason Momoa, Mark Sheppard and Max Landis, you WILL enjoy those photographs.

The second day of the event, I’d decided to cosplay as Princess Leia from Star Wars.

After months of being asked the same question over and over again when…wait, just read:

XYZ-person: “Oh are you cosplaying for MEFCC?”
Me: “Yes! As Princess Leia.”
*pause*
XYZ-person: “The…uhh…gold bikini?”

I quickly learned my answer needed to be this: “Yes! As Princess Leia from A New Hope, NOT the Jabba’s lair version.”

I still got gold bikini comments though. 

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Photograph courtesy Carlin Gerbich

So HOW does one get the Princess Leia look?

First, don’t do what I did, which was make my Mom run around Dubai’s shops looking for a white dress that could work. For one, that can make your Mom slightly annoyed (mine wasn’t thank goodness, but I could sense through the Force she was soon to be), and second, you will not find it even if you do look. Honestly, we looked and looked and looked, and NOTHING looked right.

What you should do instead is this:

  • Google Image Search “Princess Leia white dress” and print off images that look closest to the look you want and as large as possible
  • Procure a mother like mine who, without me asking her, comes up to me and hands me her 6-yard white sari and says, “Make your dress from this.” Alternatively, go to Meena Bazaar or Satwa and find white cloth. Coz let’s face it, my Mom is something awesome.
  • Also buy “butter crepe” the same colour as your dress material, for lining.

AND NOW FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT:

  • Call this number 050 349 2209 or email bhambra.preeti@gmail.com. Save this number because it is the single most important thing this blog post is giving you. That number will lead you to Mrs Rani Kaur, who is my friend Gurvinder aka Preeti Bhambra’s mother, who stitches like something out of a dream. Her fitting is perfect, her ability to sense what you want and how you want it is impeccable, and it doesn’t cost you a bomb.

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Photograph courtesy Carlin Gerbich

She took one look at the photographs, and I could see her creative brain whirring away. I came back a few days later and the dress was ready! Also, the belt I used is Gurvinder’s, so having cool friends with awesome accessories also helps.

Now for the hair.

  • Find a friend like Shruti who, like my mother, just comes up to me and says, “Find me a YouTube tutorial and I’ll do your hair.”
  • Find one that involves socks. Like this:
  • Realize that while it takes three minutes in the video, it will actually take close to an hour.
  • Find clean socks.
  • Become the Princess when the buns are done!

It was a lot of fun cosplaying; also because so many people recognized who I was meant to be, and came up to me. I took pictures with Yoda, Chewbacca, along with random visitors at the event who asked if they could click my picture, if I could stand in a picture alongside their kids (yes, really!), and the best part was when two people came up to me at different times and said, “Your costume is the best we’ve seen throughout the event.”

And for that, I shall thank (in Oscar-acceptance speech style): my Mom for the white sari and introducing me to Star Wars, my friend Gurvinder and her Mom for the awesome work on creating the dress, and Shruti for completing the final piece of the Leia puzzle and making me rock my buns.

In other news, Star Wars day is coming up… May The Fourth…and there’s an event to celebrate it. Click this link for more info on NerdyCon DXB 2012. I’ll be there, though not in costume. I’ll be in one of my awesome MEFCC t-shirts I bought: “Luke Habibi I am your father” or “Shou Droids?”

See you there, and may the Force be with you. Always.