The daunting choice for women: Family or Career?

   Women have been faced with this question time and again: profession or family. Decades ago, marriage provided a deadline to their careers. Professional life existed only for the bachelorettes, which didn’t last for long.

    Education has not only opened gates to women, but provided them with wings too. Fathers and husbands have become more broad-minded to appreciate a woman having her own life beyond the four walls of home. Although the situation has remained stagnant in many under developed nations, Dubai has witnessed a lot of female staff at office and behind counter desks.

   Coming back to the question: profession or family, women have compromised time and again for their family. What they don’t realize is the effect of their compromise on their children’s future. Although the mother can shower undivided attention and cater to every kid’s needs, what they don’t realize is the kind of future they’re unconsciously setting for their young ones.

     People have the subtle ability to observe ‘how’ someone is performing an action rather than what the action is. The ‘how’ factor is what sets each human apart. Kids observe their parents more than you know. Watching the mother disheartened and defeated by circumstances doesn’t set a good example for their future. Girls are more sensitive towards the little differences in their father and mother’s life. Observing a parent dissatisfied with their life can set a bad impression on the child. Parents are an infant’s personal heroes. They are the easiest source to learn from and seek knowledge about the most mundane activities.

     Women have often sacrificed upon their own health and maintenance to provide their kids with the best. Heard of the phrase ‘Selfishness is a virtue’? Well, it is. Only after feeding herself can a mother breast-feed and nourish her child.  Mothers are known to be closer to children than the father. However, an insecure and disappointed mom would hardly be someone to approach to when the teenager is experiencing some issues. Instead, they reach for support outside home, which may benefit or harm them. Slowly a bubble begins to form where the parent becomes unaware of the child’s life outside home. Although teenagers are stereotyped to be rebellious and uncomfortable with talking to their elders, it depends largely on the parent’s treatment towards various societal issues.

   Sacrifices made by the mother for her children can also become very overbearing and a factor of guilt for many of their decisions. This guilt might protect them from engaging in unhealthy activities, but using the parent’s suffering against the child can devastate their relationship. The mother sacrifices and expects. Nothing is given away for free. And when the grown up children cannot meet her expectations, disappointment prevails, not only for the mother, but the children as well. It can harm their self-esteem and confidence. There’s a clear difference between the performance of a child with proud parents and that of a child whose parents discourage and complain.

   A mother’s personal frustration might be held well behind her walls. However, age makes them weaker, physically, mentally and emotionally. Slowly, their subsided resentment exits those walls in small bouts. And the nearest person is often the victim of her historic pain. Anger outbursts and insults hurled at the younger family members results in an antagonizing environment at home. As such, family dinners grow to the extent of endanger and then to extinction.

   The mother may be the easiest person to blame, but the father or husband has the bigger role to play. They are responsible for forcing the woman to choose. Men easily remain active witnesses to the daily abuses. Supporting their wives and comforting them not only improves her mood, but also gives the right impression of a ‘family’ to the children.

    Adolescents prepare their idea of a realistic relationship based on the one they view daily. Some base their opinion of a partner on the kind of husband or wife their dad and mom are. Hence a healthy bond between parents is essential in building the future bonds between the children.

    Albeit the situation has improved drastically across the world, let’s not forget that this is choice is still expected in a few countries. Let’s hope you’re lucky enough to not face this question, ever. But considering you do, after years, think carefully. You’re not doing a favor for your kids. Neither are they going to benefit watching you wither away in regrets.

“I prefer giving first priority to family as a girl. For girls, I feel compromises just go on for lifetime. When it’s a matter of career, we can have a career by having a mature life and keeping our family happy. If you’re good, your family’s going to be good to you”

 Ilham Naushad, University of Vocational Education, Dubai

“Contrary to the belief that girls are ‘not good enough’ my parents are so happy to have a girl. I’m not just cut out for housework. I can do what I want when I want. If I want to do it, then I can. Depending on his (future partner) financial situation, if I want to do something for me, it is my life. He can’t rule over my life. We are two different people. What he thinks does not have to be right for me, and what I say does not have to be right for him. We’ll work out a middle path.”

 Roohi Ibrahim, Advertising graduate, MU Dubai


Natalie Portman as Paul McCartney’s “Valentine”


Quite a surprise to have the charming Natalie Portman and the Dark Shadows‘ lead Johnny Depp featuring in a Paul McCartney music video. I wouldn’t have expected Depp to take his musical talent to camera after a stunt with his high school band mates in Florida for a benefit.

I must say it’s a classy Black & White rendition for the music video with the timeless Natalie Portman lip-syncing the song along with sign language. Directed by Paul Mccartney (no, really) there are three versions of the video. Personally I prefer the Natalie Portman version. Johnny Depp appears to be a mute heartbroken hobo playing the guitar, which just doesn’t suit the grace of this song. Portman, looks ravishingly elegant and more sincere expressing her affection for her valentine. The version featuring both A-list actors is a rather awkward combination given the differences in their costume and make-up.

‘My Valentine’ reminds me of the 60’s when everything had it’s own time. So are we looking at another classic from Paul McCartney? Time shall tell.

Game of Thrones episode 3: What is Dead may Never Die


Game of Thrones is back with the third episode of it’s second season. I cannot help but marvel at the aptly titled ‘Clash of Kings’, the second installment in the series ‘A song of Fire and Ice’. Chaos has ensued the birth of leaders, some more fearsome than others, but proclaimed to be Kings nonetheless by their people. Episode three did not feature some characters to my dismay, Rob Stark, Daenerys Targareon, Jamie Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, the red witch etc. New characters however, were suitably introduced, but granted my ignorance to the books, only the following episodes shall reveal their significance. When I asked a fellow GOT books fan to brief me on what the series is about, he described them as the story of people’s stupidity with their meagre differences and hunger for power when something much more horrible awaits them beyond the wall. 


What I loved about this episode is watching Tyrion Lannister back to what he knows best: manipulating people. Honestly, why didn’t they choose him to be the Hand of the King sooner? No spoilers, be assured, but the imp has a far better talent than his siblings. His way with words is what saved his life many a times in season 1, but with the second season we watch him use communication with wisdom that would best befit his role as the King’s advisor. 


Cersei, the other Lannister, is drowning in her greed to sep the crown and protect her family. Her brief conversation with Sansar showed a glimmer of Cersei looking at herself, but that was washed away with yet another taunting remark from the Queen regent. She knows to trust none but her family and has worked her way in season 1 to keep them together, at the cost of Ed Stark. The execution that inaugurated all havoc in the realm of Fire and Ice. It saddens me to watch Sansar trapped in a castle with people who conspired to behead her own father and walk the path towards considering them family someday. I’ve heard rumors that her naivety will soon be at a loss as she adopts a rather bold role, and I cannot help but eagerly await her to take a powerful position. Perhaps her new hand-maid would be the spark. As for Arya, I’m excited to watch the young lady-lad strike in action very soon.



Coffee shop review #7: Tim Hortons

Alas! The coffee shop everyone’s been talking about! Me and my friend were excited to check out this beauty at it’s new JBR branch. So we strolled down The Walk and headed inside the most talked about café. Little did we know we had simply picked the wrong branch. I ordered a chocolate muffin while my friend called for their café latte. After receiving the bill, the staff realized their chocolate muffins were out of stock. Is it wrong to believe that when you’ve paid for an item you should receive it? Or at least be warned of its unavailability before paying for it. Nonetheless, my friend substituted the muffin with their chocolate croissant and we headed upstairs with our orders. Perhaps sitting outside would have been a more suitable choice. Let’s just say the view upstairs was nothing out of the ordinary and so was their coffee. Considering the menu, perhaps, students would appreciate the prices, the variety and their efficiency at preparing orders in no time. No wonder, my peers and colleagues have been raving about this place so much! This coffee shop is growing rapidly and is soon to open more branches across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. If you’re a coffee addict, you must check out this bustling café at Sheikh Zayed Road.

Monster Cat’s debut at Pirate Bay


This is probably the second time I’ve noticed a band advertising their music with the portal of Pirate Bay. The first time may have been an experiment, I believed it to e an anomaly, but now that I’ve noticed the Monster Cat’s album poster, it suddenly appears as a very clever strategy. While media like Youtube, Facebook, Myspace have done well in launching many underdog talent (remember the kid on youtube who’s now Justin Bieber? Colbia Caillat anyone?) there’s also the luck factor which plays a huge role in underplaying the noise of their talent from the thousands just like them. And they had to prove themselves on a platform surrounded by millions of aspiring talent to millions of viewers.

Coming back to pirate bay, the website has been adamant on providing and sharing free content amongst internet users. The poster of an artists’ new album only de-clutters the noise to provide sole attention to the featured band. You can choose to give the band a few seconds of your time or carry on with your torrent search, but you won’t be distracted by the non-existent content of the same category. The band Monster Cat has uploaded a torrent of their original debut, making their music more accessible to everyone.

Every new entity faces an important question: to make their content free and get exposure, or make their product/service paid. Facebook faced it, and chose to keep their network free, amidst all rumors of having a paid membership access (which personally, would have been a very wrong move) and Monster Cat has decided to follow accordingly. Will the strategy deem successful? Only time can tell.

What I can say now is to give their album’s track ‘Underwater‘ a listen, all you indie band lovers, you just might love it!

Robert Doisneau (Video not mine, posted by tagSeoBlog on youtube)

Google celebrates the 100th birthday of this legendary French photographer with his photos Tug on the Champ De mars, Three little white children Parc Monceau, Dog on Wheels and his most striking image Kiss by the Hotel de Ville. If you’re an art student, you probably know him well already if not, check the video and google the doodle.

Taste of Dubai: A Cinderella tale to a Prince’s appetite


Dear foodaholics, if you missed out on Dubai’s food festival then let me inform you of how big a loss you’ve encountered. Three wholesome days of music, fun and lots of food for everyone! Pardon the excessive exclamation marks you will find in my narration since this was my first time at Taste of Dubai and I still haven’t recovered from the shot of pure-awesomeness that my appetite experienced.  For three days.

  Considering this was my debut at a food festival, I was unaware of the dress code, ethics or the table manners to be followed. So I went with casual in flip-flops and immediately realized just how wrong I was. Contrary to my belief, hundreds of people swarmed around me in the best of their wardrobe: classy and chic and there I was, standing in my jeans and Aeropostale beach slippers. So I decided to make amends for the next day. Little did I realize those weren’t the only amends to be made.

    My friend accompanied me as we discovered this food festival on foot. Stalls, more stalls, fashionable crowd, staff distributing vouchers and pamphlets, goodie bags, a live band which honestly could have performed better, live cooking stations featuring celebrity chefs (oo la la!) and people queued outside stalls on a work-free-Friday. Now that you know the summary, let’s get to the juicy details!

  The food stalls were cleverly arranged to feature retail outlets at the start, a few award winning restaurants further ahead and the world-renowned celebrity chefs’ creations at the very end. Since we were already familiar with PF Changs, Da Shi Dai, Chi Zen and other retail dining restaurants, we decided to invest in the unknown eateries. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion, we experimented with Gaucho, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Seafire and Mahek.

While we indulged in what appeared to be a samosa stuffed with minced beef from Gaucho, our curiosity drifted towards the funny steak from Ruth’s Chris. As for Mahek, I couldn’t ignore the reality behind the name of this luxurious Indian restaurant. Mahek is literally translated to aroma, and that is exactly what attracted us to this fine outlet. We munched on their spicy kebabs dipped in lentil sauce and decided to approach the lamb chops shamelessly with our hands. Which, we realized three minutes later after having sauce spilled on either shirts, was probably not the best strategy when you’re dealing with Indian food.

  And for the highlight of our day, drum roll please…….it’s Seafire! Atlantis is synonymous for having the best restaurants in the city but also the most expensive. And it took us just one restaurant to awaken the delight that such good food does exist in Dubai. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the best steak I’ve enjoyed in my existence: the Atlantis tenderloin wellington served with mashed potato courtesy of Seafire, also awarded as ‘The best steakhouse of 2011’ by TimeOut Dubai. We couldn’t ignore how absolutely delicious Seafire was and given their good customer service we came back for more, and more, until the Atlantis tenderloin was no longer served. It was now time, to move on.

  Live cooking stations were a visible success since people had queued for half-hour and some had to wait as long as an hour. And really, what’s more fun than getting your hands messy in the company of friends. Although we didn’t experience this signature event, our graphic designer Anton enjoyed it “The one-hour cooking session was most definitely the highlight of my day. Due to high demand, we had to queue for over an hour to get our space in the Miele cooking session. Luckily for us, our chef was none other than Suzanne Husseini, a celebrity Arabic chef whose specialty is creating an infusion of traditional and contemporary cooking. Amongst the lucky 30, we spent the next hour cooking meatballs in cherry sauce with honey and spices, in addition to a baklava with a modern twist. Most importantly, however, was to remember the main ingredient “Love”. And the fun didn’t end there; we got aprons and recipe cards to take home. Lots of fun, great idea, amazing utensils and a brilliant chef”

  Taste of Dubai was an interactive exhibition of what’s delicious in town, what’s coming up and where to invest for those occasions! For a noob like me, the three days were a Cinderella-ish fairy tale to a prince’s appetite!

  As published in One Eight One’s April issue. Written by Ayesha Akbar Ali-

My favorite magazines in Dubai

One can always customize the collection of magazines in Dubai. My genre leans more towards education, the youth and particularly in optimizing their potential. There are only so many publications when it comes to university, high school or education. My favs are the ones below:


A magazine for university students, UNI is the most vibrantly designed publications in the region. As such, the graphics only attract more students towards content. Let’s admit, getting students to read is a near-impossible feat, yet this publication manages to do so and with style. Can’t get a printed copy? Why not just check their website here.


Designed more intrinsically for high school students, ‘one eight one’ speaks on the theme ‘for youth, by youth’. The print platform has been a blessing in disguise for high school and university students to allocate their journalistic talent and experiment with it, rather than be showed the door for lack of experience. Covering all interests, one eight one also gathers more popularity in their interest to allow fans or readers to cover events of their choice on behalf of the magazine. Want to know more? Simple go here.


Now this one folks, is a gallery of the best artsy-fartsy work across the region. A local production, this magazine highlights design, craftwork, illustrations, photography and artwork you never thought originated from the Middle East, while some content features international artists. A flashy yet original take on art (and the winner of a bronze award at Dubai Lynx 2011 for Design) I can’t help but flip through the pages with the desire of wanting more…..(The electronic reader version of this magazine is available online here)

Coffee-shop review #6: Gloria Jeans

 A rather oddly placed café inside Dubai Mall, Gloria Jeans has played modestly with brown interiors, leather furniture, and comfortable seating arrangements. We ordered a rather interesting crème brulee macchiato with Tiramisu. Yes, I’d been missing tiramisu for a while and Gloria Jeans seemed like a perfect stop! Besides the rather small portion of coffee, my bare Tiramisu was drenched in more cheese than cake. If you haven’t tried out this heavenly pastry, let me tell you, tiramisu is MUCH much more than just good cheese, it’s the perfect synchronization of coffee, cocoa, sponge cake and cheese. But the pastry that lay in front of me was NOT the tiramisu I worshipped. My friend didn’t find his macchiato any different either. Gloria Jeans, maybe we haven’t found the right combination to discover your magic. Another time, perhaps.