Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Art of Playing Scrabble

Believe it or not, I like nerdy games. I have never downloaded Candy Crush or Temple Run game or anything that doesn’t need my brains to explode. I unwind by doing word searches!

Oh man, I feel so proud of that. You see, when you are the CEO of a household a.k.a. a housewife, you need all sorts of encouragement that you are no less than that Statistical Data Analysis person (Read: Chandler). And when you beat great minds in a game of words, your confidence reaches great heights.

Now I play scrabble like I am going to war. It began with a friend who use to cheat a lot. So I started to cheat as well. You know, when in Rome thing. Then it got really boring because we were making words like 'Mesoderm' which didn’t make any sense to my tiny brain with a minuscule vocabulary. Without explaining to each other, we quit.

Next was my dear husband. Now you know what position they are usually in. Even if they have the strongest horse and the sharpest weapon, they would hang their head in the battle-field if their wife was the opponent, because if they didn’t, God save them in real life.

But you see, my Boy is made of a different breed. He takes pleasure in being hit on his head and seeing me pout and sulk. In the process, he made me strong and smart. There have been times when he has been on a winning streak and seen the worst in me. But there have been equal number of times when I have thrown his IIT-IIM degree on his face and used statements like 'How’s that, sucker!?'.

To give my ego another boost, I started playing with a bestie who is a big journalist at Economic Times. I am proud to tell you my dear readers that she is now on sob-mode because she has lost all three games she has played with me. She even gave a virtual slap to the Boy when he commented 'Badi aayi journalist'! Oh yes, birds of feather, swear together!

That is not all. Since people I know don’t want to play with me anymore, I started using the random opponent ‘Smart Search’ option. Words with Friends Application tried its best. Most opponents I got had better records than me. However, since yesterday, three of them have resigned because they couldn’t keep up with me. And this last guy, I think he will quit today because I am a 100 ahead of him even though he has won 1950 games more than me. 

Yes, I don’t blow my own trumpet without proof. I think I need to play with a Harvard person now to get back to earth. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Saturday Biryani Party

The title of this post might make you think I am posting about a social gathering that I probably went to over the weekend. Well, you may be correct but only partly. This Saturday Biryani Party with Construction workers is special; I'll tell you why:

A few weeks back I came across a Facebook page by the same name. Out of curiosity I clicked on it and was hugely impressed. A certain man called Mr. Abbas Khan living in Bahrain had started this initiative a few weeks earlier. He would collect Biryani meals from a restaurant, add some salad and chutney (that's how it is meant to be eaten), pick a juice or a cola and go to construction sites.

Now these construction sites in Bahrain have labourers from different countries. Men come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Ghana, Uganda and other countries where it is easy to find cheap labour. Most men earn anything between 50 to 90 Bahraini Dinars. With the going exchange rate of 1 BHD = 175 INR that roughly translates to 13000 to 16000 Indian Rupees. These men sometimes have to pay for their own accommodation. Their meals are entirely their own responsibility. So that doesn't leave much in their hands to save and send home - the reason they are here for - to collect as much as possible for their families who live back home.

Not only this, the unbearable heat of the Middle Eastern sun is what they struggle with each and every day. We do have winters, but they are combined with high velocity winds and sand storms. Good weather lasts much less than the bad, and so, we feel badly for these people who live here alone, away from their families living on paltry income.

Mr. Abbas started visiting the sites with his family members and a few friends. People around him liked the initiative and started supporting him by helping him with funds. What started as a family event has now united a lot of people in the country who help him out by accompanying him to the sites and donating a part of their income.

Last month was very busy for us and we kept postponing our visit. This Saturday, however, we were not going to let anything come in between our trip! We messaged Mr. Abbas that we will be joining his 'party'. His usual trips start at around 10 or 11 a.m. and last for maximum 2 hours. We went out for breakfast and then headed to the meeting point. Something had kept us away from this - the first week we thought of going, my friend was hospitalised. The week after that I was staying with her in the hospital. And then, we had to go for our vacation. We were quite eager after 5 weeks of postponing, but we were stuck in an unusual traffic jam and thought we won't be able to make it in time! Talk about roadblocks when you want to do something good!

We reached just in time to see Abbas and his troop ready for delivery. I was impressed to see how punctual they all were. We introduced ourselves. The crew members were from France, South Africa, Australia, India and Pakistan. Lots of kids joined us too. Since it was our first time, we asked if we could accompany an older member in his car. Mr. Hasan readily agreed and we joined him. Actually it was a good thing - Hasan seemingly had been co-ordinating with Abbas since a long time and told us about the whole initiative. He told us how they resource food, their costs, the way they try to find funds, etc.

We went to our first site where we distributed food to 180 workers. The moment we entered the site, I saw so many happy faces! Apparently the SBP had been visiting this site since four weeks now and so they were kind of waiting for us. We were handed over our distribution items and the workers formed a queue within seconds! I think it must have taken us hardly 10 to 15 minutes to distribute food to so many. Everything was so well-organized.

After that we went to three other smaller sites where there were 10-40 workers. Over-all we distributed 300 packets of chicken biryani, chutney, salad, water and juice. It was indeed an over-whelming experience that filled me with pride that I am able to bring a smile to the faces of people who are probably struggling a lot in these conditions.

The crew took a lot of pictures that they share on their Facebook Page every week. I tried to invite a few friends to their page - what they do about it is completely upto them. I hope we can keep going regularly to the weekly event because it really does feel good to go. I'll leave you with these pictures. If you are reading this and you live in Bahrain, do like their page. It is a rare and impressive charitable initiative in Bahrain to help the labourers. If you wish to join the party, call Abbas on +97339874541 or email him at: You can even leave a comment here and I'll guide you through the rest! 

Biryanis ready to be devoured!

The crew that day

Have a great weekend, just like these labourers just did!