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!

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.

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

Ramadan Treats: Watermelon Strawberry Coolers

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With the heat-wave that’s causing abnormalities in the global seasonal patterns, we all knew what to expect this Ramadan, especially my fellow fast-ers (using this for lack of a better word) based in the Middle East. Just today, the weather in Dubai peaked at a whooping 47 degrees (Celsius, not Fahrenheit); I was soaking with sweat and completely parched by the time I got home from work. With still a good four hours to go before I could officially break my fast, it got increasingly difficult not to think about something cool and refreshing that would not only quench my thirst, but also give me the much-needed energy boost.

They say the best ideas come to you when you need something most. I came up with the Watermelon and Strawberry Cooler on a whim, without even giving the pairing of the ingredients a second thought; my hands automatically picked out the things from the refrigerator as they just ‘felt’ right.

The watermelon I had bought a few days back was slightly mushy (and I do not like mushy watermelon) so instead of throwing it out, I scooped out the flesh, placed it in a bowl, and mixed in a few ingredients instinctively. The result was a tasty sweet-and-tangy beverage perfect for Iftaar (breaking of the fast). Let me dive straight into the recipe so that you can try it out for yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg watermelon (with the skin on)
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-5 tbsp strawberry syrup (the one you use as a base for carbonated drinks)

Method:

  1. Scoop out the red fleshy part of the watermelon and place it into a deep bowl
  2. Using a hand-blender, puree the watermelon, seeds and all
  3. Take a sieve with a super-fine mesh and remove the pulp from the juice
  4. Add the lemon juice and the strawberry syrup to the watermelon juice; stir well
  5. Keep it in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving
  6. Garnish with mint leaves (optional)
  7. Enjoy the refreshing drink at Iftaar and remember me in your prayers

The quantity mentioned is good for SIX servings of roughly 225 ml each. You can adjust the quantities according to your serving requirement. For those of you who do try this, do let me know how you liked it.

Ramadan Kareem and stay hydrated!

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A Sumptuous Liwan-ese Iftaar At Al Ghurair Rayhaan: Photo-blog

For someone who’s fasting during Ramadan, Iftaar is a special moment, and what makes it more special is the company of some new-found friends over a spectacular culinary experience. I was graciously invited to a bloggers’ Iftaar at Liwan, one of several restaurants at Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, and I almost didn’t go before actually deciding to; turns out, it was a good decision.

Even though this is a photo-blog, not a restaurant review, I will not hesitate to mention that the tantalizing dessert selection is by far the best around.

Let the feast for the eyes begin!