Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

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Light and colors – these two make or break the ambience for me.

This photo was taken today at Dubai Mall’s “The Village” and converted into HDR using Photomatic for a surreal effect.

I’m adding a few more for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

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Photowalk @ Dubai Design District’s #meetd3 Event

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Dubai design district recently hosted their open-to-public meetd3 event a couple of weeks back, and I had the privilege of (ab)using my camera to my heart’s content. With interactive installations by extraordinary artists and plenty of activities for adults and kids alike, it was a must-attend event; I blew my first ever glass globe thingy and it was amazing.

Here’s a glimpse of meetd3 and the Dubai Design District through my lens. Enjoy!

A Lemony Twist On Fresa Colada

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What a typical Londoner might call a bright sunny day, we, the residents of Dubai, call a well-deserved break from the blistering summer sun that beats (mercilessly) down upon us for a good six months each year (five-and-a-half if we’re lucky). I personally love the Dubai winter, especially because it brings with it, a plethora of fresh seasonal fruits from the Middle eastern region, the most noteworthy of which are the strawberries flown in daily from Egypt.

I couldn’t resist myself from buying a kilogram of these tantalizing berries when I last went grocery shopping. Needless to say, we got tired of eating all these strawberries pretty soon, so I thought of making a refreshing drink out of it. I added some coconut water and lemon syrup to compliment the sweet and sour berries and the drink turned out better than expected.

Here’s the recipe if you want to replicate it at home. It serves two people.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh coconut water (I use yellow Srilankan coconuts as they are a bit on the sweet side)
  • 6-8 medium strawberries
  • 2 tablespoon lemon syrup (alternately, you can use 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey)
  • For garnish:
    • 2 medium strawberries (coarsely chopped)
    • 3-4 mint leaves
    • 5-6 ice cubes

Method

  1. Wash the strawberries and remove the leafy part; add them to a blender
  2. Add coconut water and lemon syrup the blender and mix well
  3. Pour the juice into mason jars and add in some ice
  4. Top the jars with chopped strawberries and mint
  5. Serve immediately

Hope you enjoy this drink as much as I did making it. I’d appreciate your comments if you do try this at home!

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Superstars of Middle East ComicCon 2016

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This year’s Middle East Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC, in short) had a star-studded line-up of celebrities and experts from the comic industry. People actually queued up and paid to get autographs or selfies with their favourites. On the other hand, media representatives, including yours truly, had an exclusive interactive session with all these people. Here are a few shots from the event!

The list featured heavyweights including:

  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (I didn’t know who he was till I met him; I don’t watch the show – Game of Thrones / Jamie Lannister ring any bells?)
  • Christopher Lloyd (Back to the future)
  • Randy Orton (WWE)
  • Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: Sarah Connor)
  • Nick Frost (Shaun of the dead)
  • Veronica Taylor (voice artist extraordinaire – April from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Max Landis (Victor Frankenstein)
  • Darryl McDaniels (a.k.a. Run DMC)
  • Stan Lee (last, but certainly not the least, who made an appearance over a live video stream – creator of  Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men)

Here are a few shots from the event. Enjoy!

Shayan: Persian Hospitality With A Lebanese Twist

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Shayan, part of the Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, is famous for serving an authentic Persian dining experience in the heart of Dubai. It recently relaunched with a new menu, featuring a host of Lebanese introductions to its stellar Persian line-up and I was fortunate enough to be invited to this wonderful event. Food is perhaps one of the things I love photographing most and opportunities like these help awaken the photography beast within me. There’s no harm taking great photos while enjoying good food. right?

So without further ado, I’d let you feast your eyes on these mouth-watering temptations; if something does catch your fancy, head down to Shayan and try it out for yourself.

Who Is She?

Never Let Go

She carries you around for months
She brings you into life
She holds you when you need it most
And makes sure you survive

She loves you with no strings attached
She is your first true love
She shivers when the cold sets in
Makes sure your hands are gloved

She keeps leftovers for herself
She feeds the best to you
She sits patiently by your side
When you’re ill with a flu

She is the only ray of hope
She shows you what is right
She pulls you up when you’re in blue
And brings you to the light

She is your friend when you need one
She mentors you through life
She lends her shoulder to lean on
When things don’t turn out right

She works hard for you night and day
She ensures you advance
She sacrifices all her life
To give your life a chance

She meets your infinite demands
She helps you make your mind
She pushes all her hopes aside
And leaves her dreams behind

She safeguards secrets within her
She is the one you trust
She can be tough on you sometimes
Never is she unjust

She’s always close-by even when
She may be miles apart
She’s known as mommy, mom or maa
And lives inside your heart

– Yousuf Bawany, July 2015

NOTE: Being a mother is one of the most demanding jobs yet doesn’t pay a dime; our children should be able to recognize her role in shaping up their lives and learn to respect her. This poem is for my kids so when one day they ask their mother, “What have you done for us?”, this can serve as the perfect answer and also help them understand her true value.

I dedicate this poem to my mother and all the mothers out there. I love you maa!

My Name Is ‘Trust’

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Trust is my name, let me be loud
Thee who seeks me, just hear me out

I’m faithful to the one who knows
With time my value only grows

Worth more than all the diamond mines
And all the gold on earth combined

I, my friend, what I have learned
Can not be bought but rather earned

Though mostly lost, I’m rarely found
More tightly than love I am bound

Cannot be seen through naked eyes
For me many will gladly die

I’m present in your children’s cry
I’m in your mother’s lullaby

More fragile than a bowl of glass
Once broken, no repair could pass

But only when someone breaks me
I shatter lives into debris

Power’s a blessing and a curse
Those who abuse me oft get hurt

I’m your best friend/worst enemy
Mysteries aplenty held in me

Trust foes to hurt you when you fail
And friends to bail you out of jail

Trust is my name and you should know
To no one shall I ever bow

– Yousuf Bawany, July 2015

NOTE: My wife and I strongly believe that trust is one of the qualities that define a person and it is something that must be cultivated in children from an early age. As a rule, I never make false promises to my children so that they can understand and appreciate the value of trust. 

Never Let Go