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status update anyone? February 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 6:59 pm

Social networking sites. Like it or hate it – once you’re on it……YOUR HOOKED!! Whether you’re on myspace, twitter,digg, friendster or facebook (the latter of which i’m on…and I’ll be making the most references to it on this blog) you cant help yourself from just logging on for a few minutes to check on whats going on with fellow social networkers.

Kudos to the ones who started these sites. Never has it been easier to track old friends, classmates, former flings etc. Fb has risen above phone calls, emails and even sms’. You can either wall message, comment on their status or send them a message through the fb mailing system or even just poke them to know that you’re thinking about them and theres even a birthday reminder.  The status updates – it ranges from the boring “I am so sleepy today” to the more exciting “there a 75% sale tonight at the XYZ Mall” to the plain bizarre “I am wearing metal underwear so that aliens cant take away my vital organs”.  And if ever you forget to carry a camera to an event – no problem- chances are that there are atleast 10 other facebookers at the same shin-dig that will post those pics on their album and tag you.  Bottom line is Fb is entertaining and it certainly gives you a sense of belonging to one big happy online family.

The corporate world recognizes its significance too – nowadays new products, events etc are all marketed using either or even both twitter and facebook. Facebook is so popular in the West, HR firms use it to make background checks on prospective employees (hmm..best not to upload those drunken pics when you are on the job trail…) and blackberry devices and iphones both have softwares that are facebook friendly (proving yet again that information is just a click away). The celeb world have taken up this trend too, fans love to keep up with their fav. stars online and media keeps a constant watch on status updates on twitter/fb accounts to find out more about superstars.

Ofcourse as is the case of all things popular – Fb has got its share of controversy, the privacy issue is one that is under constant strutiny. But  theres also the  rise of the facebook junkies. While its a great tool to keep in touch with friends, its so easy now for fb to become your best friend. Hours can pass by with random browsing and suddenly you can find yourself going thru a friends aunty’s sisters-in-laws son’s wedding photo album (stalker much?).  Facebookers complain bitterly on the constant changes of looks and features in order to “better its performance” but yet it doesnt stop them from using it. And then there are those online facebook games… them horrid, annoying games (although i think if i ever played those games i would be one to be on it all the time!). There’s Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafe world, Playfish, Texas Holdem Poker and the list goes on. Farmville alone  has over 75.2 million active users and over 18.1 million fans in January 2010 and its users constantly posting messages of wanting more chicken, or cowdung or something in order to keep their farm going! And we cant forget about those online quizzes, horoscopes and gifts that are constantly posted on walls.( I recently got a bucket of KFC posted on my wall – huh? ). People now get the shakes if they havent done their daily hourly log on.

While its great to know whats happening in your friends circle – sometimes the info thats put into the status bar can just be TMI or even offensive. Theres even a spin-off website www.lamebook.com where they make fun of such status updates (really, some info is just best off being private!)

Ofcourse, its all harmless fun to some – but when your facebook usage border lines obsession – then i guess its time to call for a time out!

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Crazy lil thing called love February 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 8:19 am

14th February 2010 – and once again the world got filled with the buzz for valentines – lovers holding hands, hearts decorating most shops, people getting mystery gifts, flowers shops stocking up on roses and aspirins (for themselves) as they braced themselves for the onslaught of people for what was probably the busiest (and most profitable) day of the year for them!

And once again, I found myself dateless – or without a significant other to get all lovey dovey with. Hmmm…..its all so easy to dismiss this day as commercialised rubbish or ignore the fact that this day exists but the bottom line lies that on this day where romance is so prominent – the feeling that lingers amongst most singletons is simply crap!!

What makes it so gloomy is coz this day is about love….and the greatest need for the human heart is the need for love – to give out love and what it desperately desires is to receive love.

Love. What does it mean really? That word has been so used and abused that people dont even know what it means anymore. I guess thats the problem with the english language, we have too few words that mean far too many things. The Ancient Greeks had four distinct words for love and broke it down:
1. Agape: meaning unconditional love. Agape is the word used in 1 Corinthians 13 which is known as the “love chapter” of the Bible. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love.
2. Eros: Now here is a word we are all too familiar with. The word erotic is derived from it (really, need I go on?). Also known as marital love.
3. Philia: meaning friendship in modern Greek. In ancient texts, philos denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
4.Storge: meaning “affection” in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

C.S. Lewis “The Four Loves” talks about these four types of love : Charity, Eros, Friendship and Affection.

And as I’m looking at that list above, i’m grinning…..coz at this point in time i realise that 3 outta 4 isnt that bad. And though its a not-so-nice feeling being a singleton as I see so many of my peers are tying the knot or getting into relationships.

I need to remind myself that its an even yuckier feeling getting out of relationships that turn sour and I dont really need to get desperate, and that I do indeed have love in my life but just not in the form of mr.right at the moment! 

So am gonna end this one with a quote from the movie Love Actually where Hugh Grant’s character makes this opening statement -“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around. “

 

Chompunuch and the power of a good review February 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 4:21 pm

Whenever I’m given the task of deciding where to eat with while meeting friends – I often find that my responses are pretty mundane and ordinary….i dont stray far away from the well known coffee shop around the corner or Adliya Avenue which lets face it – is known to be restaurant central.

My friend “D” however is notorious for luring us into joining him for dinner in somewhat debauched-looking eating outlets….while we tease him mercilessly for being a dodgy character for taking us to these places there is a part of me that is grateful that people like him actually do make an attempt to go out of the box and try out different restaurants (and hence my excuse for going there…).

One such place was the Thai Restaurant “Chompunuch” in Gudaibiya. Now, driving in Gudaibiya traffic on a Friday night  is one heck of a feat and finding parking, well…a sighting of the loch ness monster has better prospects! The restaurant is a small sized making it perfect for a quiet night out (we were a group of 7 so that wasnt on our mind). The interiors give off them impression that the people did put some thought into decorating, and the plasma screen tv showing Thai tv proved to be quite entertaining  for me – (but then i do have cheap thrills and love them Thai ads…). When not cooked properly, Thai food gives off a very pungent almost vulgar smell that is a definate turn off for me but Chompunuch’s food was far from obscene. The tom yum soup was one of the best that I’ve tasted and the rest of the meal was really delightful (again…didnt get around to taking photos and the actual names….am just not in the habit of doing so). I did wonder on how this place actually survives but I guess most of the business comes from take-away and delivery orders.

Which brings me to the second Thai Restaurant I visited last week, (yeah I know too many Thai places!*) let me start by saying I’m a big fan of Time Out Bahrain (its a magazine here for those who dont know!) and Feb 2010’s edition featured a restaurant review about the restaurant Honey’s. So my friend “A” and I decided to try it out after an evening of treasure troving the Souq (i love the Souq…but will rave about it in another blog perhaps..). As I stepped in the restaurant, I wondered whether I would have actually tried this restaurant if it werent for the review (incidentally my dodgy friend “D” – hence to be referred as Dodgy D – did recommend that we try this restaurant the week before, and was shoo’d off). The neon lighting of the place kills any hope of the restaurant even looking like a decent one. However, where the decor lacks, the food makes up for it and with good sized portions too.  Being centrally located in Manama – the clientele of this place ranges from Thai’s looking for home food without breaking the bank, locals, tourists, curious review readers and unibrowed “working” girls!

*While on the topic of Thai food – Ohlala! February 2010 edition features a review on the best Tom Yum soup in Bahrain and investigates 7 restaurants that has Thai cuisine and Honey’s and Chompunuch  wasnt in one of them(although Thai Chi was one of the restaurants covered!)…guess I have more Thai restaurants to cover huh?

 

The itch! February 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 11:52 am

There’s gotta be more to life – Stacie Orrico

I’ve got it all, but I feel so deprived
I go up, I come down and I’m emptier inside
Tell me what is this thing that I feel like I’m missing
And why can’t I let it go

[Chorus]
There’s gotta be more to life…
Than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me
Cause the more that I’m…
Tripping out thinking there must be more to life
Well it’s life, but I’m sure… there’s gotta be more
Than wanting more

I’ve got the time and I’m wasting it slowly
Here in this moment I’m half way out the door
Onto the next thing, I’m searching for something that’s missing………….

All of us are looking….searching…..wanting for that something not knowing what it really is.  Its like an itch but you dont know where exactly you need to scratch. So we itch……we itch different places (hehe…wont get too descriptive on this one!) we itch with activities, with different people, with different religions, with new age philosophies…..somehow the itch doesnt go away…

 

Whats in a name…. February 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 12:57 pm

So I recently got the meaning of my name on urbandictionary.com and it read – “A reena is typically a female that spends excessive amounts of time watching House and reading MLIA.

A reena tends to find mundane, stupid things exorbitantly exciting, such as Snuggies and bubble wrap.  The reena can be very mean when it wants to be, and has a sharp tongue, which it has most likely adopted from Simon Cowell and/or Lily Allen and/or Greg House.

It also tries to be badass, but has a sticky, gooey inside that has a weakness for cute things, like puppies and donuts.

Be extra cautious while approaching a reena, as they are known to be volatile and violent at times. If you by chance run into a reena and it shows signs of anger, slowly back away keeping your hands above your head and offer it some colorful items that you probably find stupid (ex.: bendy straws, raisin bran, animal crackers, dinosaur stickers, etc.)
The reena has also warned many people that it is important to be prepared for the incoming zombie apocalypse. It requests that you keep an adequate supply of multi-layered clothing, face masks, ducks, and venus razors.”

And I was like wow….that sums me up…..almost but not quite….and then I went through names of other people I knew…..some were spot on ….and the others …not really.  But it got me thinking about how each one of us are named………and how we are identified by a word that our parents chose to call us (unless you are one of those people who chose to legally change your name or go by a pseudonym…)

Loads of people ask me what my name means…..(dunno whether its to make conversation or whether they are genuinely interested) and I always tell them that my dentist once told me that it means “sun”(he really did). A quick google search says it means “reborn”… uh-huh…..i suppose thats supposed to make me feel like my name has depth….that it actually means something worthwhile…..but i doubt my parent put that much thought into what name they gave their kids….or maybe they did…..

So my story goes ….. I come from Goa, India….and although my parents have decent Portuguese-esque names they decided to name me after….after….well i dont really know…i guess my mom just liked the name. But after hearing some of the names some of my fellow Goenkars have got, I must say i got off lightly – names like Petrocin, Arkanj, Pobreen, Caitan etc …while my physical appearance got me few points when i was in high school, had I got one of those names i dunno what would happened to my then already low self-esteem….

I watched a trailer of a hindi movie called “my name is khan” and from what i got about the movie (well other than the actress Kajol looks better as she grows older…) it is about how an asian family in the US struggles through suspicion of being terrorists because of their last name. Even Bollywood gets..(or rather is cashing in on) the fact that the name you bear can have consequences on the life you have.

And then I think about those celeb-spawns……they’ve got names like Zuma, Chastity, Sparrow, Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo and I wonder how life is gonna be like going through high school for them (but then ofcourse they’ve probably got trust funds that can aid their therapy sessions!)

The problem of weird name giving is a trend that dates way back to biblical times. Jabez was a name given to a kid then coz it meant pain because his mom bore him in pain – (now I’m thinking there was psychological pain coz otherwise we’d have a lot of moms using that excuse…..) Fortunately for Jabez – he got so tired of it all that  he cried out to God to bless him with prosperity and to deliver him from the torture that came associated with his name and God did! Although there are only 2 verses in the Bible that actually talk about him, Jabez is now considered a success story and an example of how God can turn a really messed up name into something worthwhile.

So I guess for those stuck with names like Pinky, Twinkie and Agapita….theres hope ……

 

is justice really blind? February 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 1:54 pm

Ok, so when i first got the idea to blog. I thought I’d just put up light hearted stuff here – stuff like restaurant reviews etc. But this piece of news caught my attention and I couldnt shake it off my mind. 

I recently watched (more like got addicted!!) a Singaporean/Malaysian soap opera called “The Little Nyonya” where one for the female characters got raped and the man agreed to marry her in order not to face criminal charges and this was agreed by the girl’s family so that they would not to go through the public humiliation of having a daughter disgraced as no man would want to marry a woman who is not a virgin. This story was set in the 1940’s.

Year 2010. and I’m reading an article on the local news (1 February 2010) about how a man was arrested for raping his housemaid. However, he has since married the victim and based on the Punishment Law “criminal charges will be dropped if the suspect marries the woman in a rape case.”  

The article also goes on to write “Judges jailed him for three years despite the woman dropping the charges against him.” and how his defense lawyer has argued that it should be dropped now that the marriage certificate has been producted and presented in court.

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! and as I’m shaking my head in disbelief – I’m wondering what can be done for this woman.  That poor, poor woman, who came into this country to make money – most probably to send to a family back home, now has to live with the trauma of being forced upon – and is suddenly married to the man who defiled her!

Having gone through a season of attending weddings and anniversaries, I have heard constantly of how the institution of marriage is sacred and is based on love and mutual respect for each other and how it should not be taken lightly….but when its basis is one to escape punishment for one’s own crime – it raises questions as to who exactly performs this so-called marriage. Has it become that easy just to obtain a marriage certificate for people to go through the process without it playing on their conscience? And while couples who love each other deeply often go through rough patches – what about this couple? what exactly will change between them now that he’s married to her. Will she be accepted by the rest of his family as one of the family? (who now know her to be the housemaid who took their son/nephew/uncle to court) Is he taking responsibility by marrying her?

Maybe I sound naive by the questions I just raised but I’m trying to be optimistic for the sake of the woman involved in this case…but having lived here all my life and heard of way too many similar stories – am pretty sure of the next steps this man will take (once the charges are dropped) it’ll start with divorce,then deportation and she’ll be back in her country- disgraced and damaged! And while this housemaid is gone…..he (or another member of his family) will apply for a visa for another housemaid……

May God help those in need………

 

Practising Thai chi – 29th January 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — memoirsofaneater @ 8:42 am

So my weekend plans weren’t much other than to have a look or listen to what seemed to be the revival of a locally formed band that played at parties and concerts during my high school days called “Purple Headake” but now have revamped and polished themselves to “Pure Prophecy” at City Center. Plans soon changed (as they normally do in my case) to have a listen and then go off to eat in one of the many places that are there at the mall.

 Ok, the malls in Bahrain are known to be swarming with our neighbours from across the border and with families on weekends but this particular Friday the traffic outside the mall was almost ridiculous. Fortunately, City Center is a big mall and you can get enough of space for yourself to breathe (not in the case of the visitors at the Autumn Fair taking place nearby). The sound of a saxophone playing John Meyer’s “waiting for the world to change” drew us near Saks Fifth Avenue and the band lived up to my expectation of kick-@##! (For those who haven’t heard them yet – you must – they’ll be playing this weekend as well!)

Our restaurant of choice was Thai Chi Restaurant which is located near the other somewhat trendy eating joints at the mall. The place can be best described as modern oriental-chic; and with its hues of lavender and wooden interior décor it makes it hard to believe that it is located in a busy mall. We were lead to our table which was at the center of the restaurant and being one easily amused I took a liking to the metal mesh curtain that they had there. From what I remembered, we ordered dim sum, one green curry, one red curry, shiitake mushrooms in sauce with rice (didn’t really write down the names of the dishes that we had – sorry- next time will do!) but it was simply delish! We could have done without some of the fried items that we ordered as it seemed too dry but the curries made up for it and although the portions seemed small for the voracious eaters in our group, it did suffice leaving us feeling well-fed without being overly stuffed. Before our dessert could arrive we were served with traditional Chinese tea with dried oriental fruit inside – I did try to bite into them but still could not make out what it was but later found out that it was Chinese dates! For dessert, we had fresh mango with sticky rice soaked in coconut milk which gave it a pudding-ish texture and was absolutely divine. Although I will leave out the other dessert item as it was so substandard that it didn’t leave any impression on my mind.

 Being a big fan of both Chinese and Thai cuisine I have to say that the overall experience was a good one and definitely one that I could recommend to friends.