Friday, September 2, 2011

Picture frame from recycled magazines

Wow - I'm overwhelmed with the kind of feedback I've received on my previous blog post!

In that post I promised to let you know what I finally did with my set of black, red and white round bits. Well, this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I made:

I absolutely love the way it finally turned out! =)

The inspiration behind this project was, well, from all over the place!

But if you go to my Pinterest page, you'll see projects I've pinned like this, this and this that really inspired me. My biggest problem with these was that I couldn't really find decent frames. So I thought long and hard about what I could substitute for the frame and came up with the idea of using old magazines.

I'd like to add that this frame is completely made of recycled (magazine) paper. Quite proudly so, I won't lie! =)

But at the end of the day, I ended up mixing and matching a number of things I've come across and just jumbled them all together to create this. A bit o' this and a bit o' that and bam - a masterpiece! =)

I must admit, this post deserves a tutorial in itself.

You already know how to make the round bits from this post. What I'm now going to do is give you a quick run down of what you'll need to do to re-create this one.

What you'll need (supplies)
  • stack of old magazines (that's right, some more!)
  • old newspapers
  • glue stick / white school glue / home made glue / any other form of glue you prefer
  • knitting needle / long pencil / long stick or rod
  • poster paints and paint brushes
  • old rope (if you have any spare old rope around) or thick thread or yarn

Procedure / steps

Follow steps 1-6 from this tutorial - pay special attention to step 6. =)

Once you have your stacks of rolled up magazine paper ready, get ready to get the ball rolling! =)

7. Take two of these cylindrical paper rolls and put one inside the other. There's no better way to explain this than to actually show you. So, do this:

Place one paper cylinder on top of the other and then, well, put one inside the other.
Voila! They stay!

Don't stick them all the way inside each other, but make sure they're firmly placed so they don't fall out. Don't worry about gluing them. The next few steps will take care of that bit for you. =)

8. You'll have rolls like these. The tiny ones are there just for comparison.

For the frame that I made, I used three cylindrical paper rolls one-on-top-of-the-other for the length. And two of 'em stacked up for the breadth.

9. Then I glued three of these cylindrical stacks together in a row and waited for them to set. And I created another such stack. At the end, I had two stacks of three cylindrical stacks together. That is 2 x giant cylindrical stacks composed of 3 individual paper cylinders.
I placed these 2 identical stacks on top of each other and glued them together. And then I let this duo set.
If none of that made sense, take a look at this picture - it might help you figure out my gibberish! =D

I hope that  makes it clear!

10. Once I had all my four sides created and set, I got out my painting gear and let the Picasso in me out.
Basically, I coloured the length of the frame black and the breadth red. And then I let these dry off.

11. The next step was tricky. This is where I struggled the most!
I had a tough time trying to figure out how I was ever going to glue these four sides together. Doesn't matter what glue you use, it's rolled up paper and will just tear apart the minute there's any sort of pressure applied to it.
And there would be pressure on this little baby, given what I had in mind.
So after a lot of thinking and pondering, it finally hit me - tie the damn ends together with some good old string! Sturdy string, but string!

12. Once the sides are secure, you're going to need a mesh of sorts to clip your pictures or other stuff onto. I realised that I wouldn't be able to stick a mesh like this or this onto a paper frame. So I thought it's best to go ahead and recreate a mesh with my newfound secret weapon: string!
With the ends attached and mesh created, this is what my frame looked like:

13. Bland. That's what the string looked like to me. 
*shrugs* Sorry, but I put in a lot of effort and I just didn't like it looking plain smack in the centre of all the gorgeousness! So what'd I do? I got some golden dust (acrylic) paint thingamajig and went straight to work. I painted the strings tying the ends of the frame together as well the strings creating the mesh.

Brush on some tap water onto the string before you paint over it.
The string won't 'drink up' any of the actual paint when you start painting.
Also, it'll make the painting go smoother.
There you go - works like a charm!
Nice glittering gold paint!
And it goes really well with black, red and white!

14. Once this is all done, it's time to add the little round bits from this tutorial onto your frame! Figure out what placement looks best and glue 'em on nice and strong. Pretty straightforward, really. =)
The result? This:

You can touch up the little round bits, if you want. I like mine like this - giving a hint of what's underneath. 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that, ladies and gentlemen, is my first completed crafts project in the UK. =)

Needless to say, if you recreate this, do drop in a link or a picture to share with me. I'd love to see what you guys got up to. =)

And of course, if you have any comments on this blog, drop in a comment below. 


Recycled magazines

They look quite raw here, but there's so much more you can do with them!

We all have those stacks of magazines we've held on to for heavens knows how long. We're not quite sure why we've held onto them, but we just have.

Maybe for that one idea someday somewhere that'll get us to recycle them in the most creative way possible?

Well, here's one such easy, quick and quirky way to recycle and reuse them old magazines! =) And it requires very little skill (which is a very important criteria for someone like me that doesn't have much skill!).

It's rather simple, to be honest, but a tad bit time consuming. Which worked out well for me given that I have a lot of time on me before I hit uni in less than 20 days. =)

You can find many many mannnny more ideas on how to recycle old magazines on this website that I came across thanks to Pinterest: 100+ Ways To Creatively Reuse Old Magazines.

There are some absolutely fantastic tutorials there! I had a quick read through some of them and decided to mix and match and create my very own version of crafts from recycled magazines! =)

Without blabbing any further (I can really get carried away!), lemme give you a quick round up of what I did with those magazines.

What you'll need (supplies)

  • your stack of old magazines
  • old newspapers
  • glue stick / white school glue / home made glue / any other form of glue you prefer
  • knitting needle / long pencil / long stick or rod
  • optional: poster paints and paint brushes

Procedure / steps
    1. Make sure your working area is clean. Get your supplies together and ensure that you place a layer of old newspapers on your working area before you start. This will keep the area clean and save you trouble once you're done.

    2. Now grab a knitting needle (or equivalent), keep it at one of the corners of the paper and roll along till the end.

    3. You'll be left with a tiny little triangle at the end of the sheet. Use your glue stick on this triangle and stick it onto the rest of the roll.

    4. After you've stuck the triangle, wait for a few seconds to ensure it's stuck properly. Then, carefully get the knitting needle out of the roll of paper.

    That's me - hard at work!
    And that's my little helper husband! <3

    5. Repeat these steps till you have enough paper rolls. You can never quite be sure of how many you need till you actually start making what you want. But you can always go back and make these and continue with your project. =)


    6. Projects like these take a while. And sometimes one tends to lose focus. Don't forget to keep yourself motivated at all times. I had my motivation with me throughout. *wink*

    7. Once you have your paper rolls in place, you'll need to roll 'em up and then paint them (if you want to paint them at all!). 
    Now, you may chose to paint the roll of paper first and then roll, or roll it first and then paint it. Either way is ok, but from personal experience, rolling first and painting later is a lot more convenient. But I've shown you both ways below.

    TIP: Whichever way you chose, try to complete one thing completely and move onto the next. For instance, if you're rolling first, then ensure that you roll all your paper rolls and then move onto painting. And of course, vice versa.

    Take a roll of paper and flatten it out.

    Roll this flattened roll of paper and glue the end shut. Hold it there for a few seconds (or even a minute) to ensure that the end is tightly glued on.
    TIP: When you're rolling these, try to roll them in different sizes - some really tightly packed, some farther apart. It'll give more character to your project. =)

    Once it's glued on tight, you can paint away! =)

    Start painting a roll of paper. Make sure you cover it completely. Also, ensure that you have lots of newspaper so you don't mess up your working area!

    Once this is completely dry, flatten it out.

    Now roll this up and glue it shut. Make sure it's tightly glued at the end.
    TIP: When you're rolling these, try to roll them in different sizes - some really tightly packed, some farther apart. It'll give more character to your project. =)

    It doesn't matter which one of the above two methods you use, the result is exactly the same! Tell me if you can make out the difference between these two little boys:

    8. I was just experimenting with the blue color here. I ended up using red, black and white colours for the project I made. I simply painted over these blue ones and made them a part of the stack. =)

    I like to have the TV / Radio playing in the background while I work - keeps me company! =)

    Now, once you're all done with rolls (with or without painting them), you'll find you have a nice mix of different shapes and colours with you. 

    There's a lot you can do with theses - create mats or coasters by sticking them close together, or create a nice little wall hanging (check this link) or you can even create a beautiful photo frame with these! Basically, they're yours to experiment with and use as you please!

    You can see I used two different kinds of red paint here!
    This makes a lovely mat or even coaster.
    An abstract wall hanging, maybe?
    Lovely picture frame use!

    There is one thing I would say, though - if you do create these and make something with them, please do share them with me here. I'd love to see what you guys make. =)

    Also, in case you're wondering what I did with these little babies, hold your horses - my next post is all about how I used them to make something spectacular - even if I say so myself! =) 

    As you can see, I'm mighty proud of myself for having made what I did - so don't forget to check back! Once I have the post up, I'll drop in a link here as well. =)

    I've just redone this blog to make it exclusively 'creative', which means that it includes cooking, crafting and any other creative ideas I might have (such as this one!). I'd love to know what you think of it so far - do please drop in a comment below and lemme know!




    Here's the link I promised I'd post: Picture frame from recycled magazines

    Hope you enjoy it!


    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    From Aloo ke Paranthe to Aloo Tikki's

    Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I'd be writing a blog post on anything remotely related to food.

    And yet, here I am talking about aloo (potato) and gobi (cauliflower) ke paranthe (stuffed bread) and tikki's (patties?). Whaddaya gunna do, eh? *shrugs*

    To be fair, I've always enjoyed cooking. Never had much of a chance trying my hand at it while I was growing up (that's what happens when you have the world's best cook for a mother!), but when I moved into an apartment with my best friend during our M.Sc. days, I did my fair share of cooking.

    That's where experimentation began. And boy, was it fun!

    And now that we (my husband and I) have moved to the UK, the experimentation with cooking has begun yet again. =)

    Two nights ago I gave my Mom in India a frantic call asking her to email me recipes for aloo and gobi ke paranthe. It was, after all, Rohit's 'cheat' day, which meant carbs galore. No wheat, no gluten, but good ol' carbs.

    I made the aloo mix for his and gobi mix for my paranthe, got out some gluten free aata (flour) and went to work on them paranthe.

    And what a disaster they were!

    I shall not dwell into why (but if questioned, I will blame gluten free aata entirely).

    So here I was with a lot - and I mean a lot of aloo and gobi mix but with no intention of trying to make paranthe with gluten free aata again. Ever again.

    But I couldn't let all that mix go to waste either. So what do I do? Why, I recycle, of course! =)

    I had this ingenius (ok, not that ingenius of even original, but hey!) idea to make tikki's from the mix. And despite what you're thinking, they turned out pretty damn good. =)

    Let's take a walk through the tikki preparation, shall we?

    What you'll need (or ingredients)
    • potatoes / cauliflower
    • onion
    • ginger
    • garlic
    • green chilies
    • garam masala
    • chaat masala (another link)
    • salt
    • chili powder
    • amchoor powder (another link)
    • aata (flour) - gluten free, preferably!

      Note: all masalas above should be readily available in a store near you!

    What you're going to have to do (or procedure)
    [This mix can be used for aloo / gobi paranthe as well as aloo tikki's]
    • Boil potatoes and allow them to cool off. You can run them under cold water to speed up the process. Once done, peel off the skin and mash the potatoes.
      Or, wash the cauliflower and allow it to dry. Once dry, grate the cauliflower.

    • Chop up an onion into real small pieces and add to the potatoes.

    • To this, add some grated ginger, garlic and green chilies. Make sure these are grated well else you'll bite into them.

    • Add garam masala, chaat masala, amchoor powder (just a pinch / pinch and a half) salt and some red chilli powder (optional if you have green chillies in there) to this mix.
      I won't give you a specific quantity to add but when you've added the different ingredients, grab a chunk and taste. If it's tangy enough for you, then you've done it right. =)

    • Now grab a bowl, pour some aata (gluten free!) into it, add a little water and make a thick paste.

    • Get some oil in a pan and heat it.

    • While this oil gets heated up, start rolling the potato + spice mix into little round, flat balls (or tikki's!).

    • Dip these tikki's (one at a time) in the aata mix and add it to the oil to fry. This layer of aata mix is required to ensure the potatoes don't disintegrate as soon as they hit the hot oil. =)

    • Flip these tikki's occasionally but not too much. Let them cook nicely and you'll have yourself some yummy tasting aloo tikki's! =)

    And there you have it...them tikki's! =)

    Boy, I can't believe I'm gonna say this, but if you make these at home, lemme know they turn out!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Send me a postcard!

    So, I've got a bit of a crazy idea. Not necessarily original, I'll tell you that.

    A bit of background (if you know me, you know I like backgrounds with most of my posts!) - I've got four blogs. I've got this one on Blogger, another one on Posterous, one on Wordpress, and the final one on Tumblr.

    There's a bit of distinction in my mind as to which host is for what. Posterous is for my #AwesomeHandles, Wordpress for the more serious me and Tumblr for a series of my favorite shots.

    This one, ideally, I would like to maintain for the craftster in me. And boy is there a huge craftster in me! =)

    Now, given that I've recently moved to the UK and will be setting up the house, I've been going insane trying to figure out what I can create on my own. My Pinterest page will tell you what I've been thinking! =)

    During this process, however, I came across an idea. A 'what if', as it were. Again, I know this one's been done before but there's no harm in taking this further and seeing where it goes, eh?

    What exactly am I on about? Well, I thought it'd be interesting get a collection of postcards from the lot of you!

    I sent out a tweet and had four people ask for my address within 20 minutes. Now that's bloody encouraging!

    So this is what I ask of you: wherever you are, whichever part of the world, whether you're at home or on holiday or travelling for work, just take a moment, pick up a postcard (hey, pick up as many as you want!) and mail them to me! =)

    If you are interested in sending me a postcard, drop in an email to me at "swatirandev at gmail dot com". Put "I want to send you a postcard" in the subject line and tell me a bit about yourself in the body of the email - heck, even leave the body blank! =) Once I get this email from you, I'll send you my postal address and you can send me the postcard!

    A bit complicated, I know, but I thought this was a bit safer than randomly advertising my home address here on the net!

    I'm going to keep a collection and constantly update this blog with the postcards that come in.

    If you've chanced upon this blog post and have no idea of who I am, you can check out my profile at to know more. And I would especially like to get a postcard from you!

    I'm a bit skeptical about the success of this tiny project, but hey, I'll be happy even if I get two postcards! =)

    *rubs hands in glee* I can't wait to get all your lovely postcards! =)

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 5.0

    Ok, so this post's been sitting in my drafts for a number of weeks! Sorry about that!


    Here I am with another set of #AwesomeHandles!

    In my last post (Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 4.0) I’d mentioned how the point-oh came into being. So, while this is the fifth edition of #AwesomeHandles, it’s technically the second edition of the point-oh system.

    You’re right, that’s got nothing to do with anything. That was just FYI. =)

    What, how, when, why and various other w’s and h’s are featured in the first edition, second edition and third edition. Skim through to get an idea. Or even if you just wanna see who’s been featured so far. =)

    That reminds me, another feature that’s emerged from this trend is a handle I’ve created: @AweseomHandles. This handle only follows #AwesomeHandles that have been featured in my blogs so far. Some of the handles on my previous posts no longer exist: some users have deleted their accounts, while others have changed their handles to newer, more interesting ones!

    In any case, all #AwesomeHandles that still exist are being followed by @AwesomeHandles. So in case you want a comprehensive list of which ones to follow, go on and follow this handle. But remember: if your handle isn’t featured on any of the #AwesomeHandle blog editions, then this handle won’t follow you. *shrugs*

    Also, I don't really tweet a lot from that handle. It sort of just sits there following a bunch of #AwesomeHandles. *shrugs again*

    For those of you who have no idea what I’m going on about: I essentially have a collection of Twitter handles (usernames) that are, well, kinda fascinating. Some of these I come across via numerous RT’s and mentions. However, most of these are on the list because someone recommended the handle. If it weren’t for these recommendations, I prolly wouldn’t have a list this long!

    For this particular edition, I had heaaaaaps of help from two special people: @0__1 and @md610. Thanks guys! #AwesomeHandles 5.0 wouldn’t’ve happened if it weren’t for your recommendations! You rock! =D

    Alrightie then…here goes the next set of #AwesomeHandles:

    1. @_
    2. @addicted_idiot
    3. @AmreekanGandu
    4. @bitiyakebabul
    5. @blinkandumissit
    6. @buttercheesefly
    7. @chalu_chori
    8. @chupchap
    9. @Coconutsurfing
    10. @cranialopulence
    11. @deathclause
    12. @DevilsRejection
    13. @disruptiveplay
    14. @doofus_
    15. @EscF12
    16. @Fhrooti
    17. @FiveRupees
    18. @freegeek
    19. @God_Damn_Batman
    20. @gora_khargosh
    21. @GothVag
    22. @HaltViolence
    23. @IAmHandled
    24. @IamSilverFox
    25. @iFUCKEDhimSILLY
    26. @JackAss
    27. @KdProQuo
    28. @LastManAndRound
    29. @LiteraryLapses
    30. @MaddoMomo
    31. @middle_Dt_fingr
    32. @NeoAaragorn
    33. @NonSlave
    34. @OyeHooye
    35. @papercutjigsaw
    36. @paperslut
    37. @peeketalli
    38. @Pickledsnob
    39. @pishipotty
    40. @PsychoSurd
    41. @punkpolkadots
    42. @StondImmaculate
    43. @stridewallops
    44. @Sweetly_Corrupt
    45. @thenoblemaster
    46. @thesulk
    47. @UnnamedEntity
    48. @utterflea
    49. @WolframZeta
    50. @Word_Witch

    There you have it – #AwesomeHandles 5.0!

    Remember – you can contribute to my ever-growing list by dropping in a comment below or by giving me a shout at @silv3rglee. In case you're wondering, yes, you can nominate your own handle if you think it's awesome!

    Let’s see how far this list goes.

    Total #AwesomeHandles count as of today: 432.


    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    United Egyptians stand!

    As Egypt fights towards a better tomorrow, Egyptians show the world what they are truly made of: harmony and unity.

    This picture completely blew me away. Credit for this picture goes to a friend of mine on Facebook (FB) who shared it on his wall. The caption underneath the picture is exactly as is on his FB page.

    Even as the government declared a ban on Friday prayers, Egyptians came together in communal harmony to protect their countrymen that practice a religion different from theirs.

    Oh, how much the world needs to learn from them!

    Truly iconic photo from Tahrir Sq. yesterday, before the chaos.
    Christian Egyptians protecting their Muslim compatriots during prayer.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    It's your turn now, Middle East

    As the day's events unfolded and over 2 million (estimate / rumored number) took on the streets of Egypt at Tahrir Square, it isn't a wonder that the first thing I thought of was Tiananmen Square. Will it turn out to be the same? It's now 5.51pm in Dubai, and Egyptians continue to ask for a respite from Mubarak. Will it turn out to be another Tiananmen Square, I ask myself again. I don't know.

    Egypt's Tahrir Square on 1 February 2011
    Image source

    Tweeps from all over the world continue to show their support on Twitter (hashtags #Egypt, #Jan25) and those on Facebook have set up
    a page for "A Virtual "March of Millions" in Solidarity with Egyptian Protestors". Live feed of what is happening in Egypt is available via Al Jazeera English's online link.

    This is the true age of social media. A revolution supported and promoted and carried forward via various social media platforms through the people. True power to the people. This is the age. This is the time. This is us creating history.

    As the world comes together to support and promote Egyptians and their protests, in some way or another, we are all now officially a part of history. History in the making. This day, needless to say, is going down in history as the day the world came together and supported the people of Egypt in their revolution, in their attempt to empower themselves.

    And even as Egypt continues to seek power, news of Jordan has just trickled in. King Abdullah has just dismissed the Jordanian government.

    The Middle East is waking up to a brand new world. To brand new possibilities.

    And amidst it all, I can't help but wonder:
    is this is the kind of "end of the world as we know it" scenario that has been prophesied for 2012? Is this the beginning of the end of political monopolies across the world? Or at least in the Middle East? Is this the end of oppression and the dawn of democracy?

    I suppose one will only have to wait and watch.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Insanity Over Sanity

    Tears of glory;

    Tears of pain.

    Contrasting people:

    Some agonized, some insane.

    Hatred, cruelty, destruction –

    In the path of humanity, an obstruction.

    Cries of anguish;

    Cries of joy.

    Playing with terror

    As though a child’s toy.

    Shattered, tortured, hurt hearts –

    Terrorizing people, part by part.

    Shouts of horror;

    Shouts of cheer.

    Horrifying the innocent,

    Attacking peace with a spear.

    Anger, retaliation, revenge –

    The only sane way to avenge?

    Smoke from blasts;

    Smoke from fire;

    With everyone in it together,

    Peace had to retire.

    Pain, horror, tears: the common trend.

    Insanity, hereon, shall lead to the end…

    *note: this is a poem I wrote a day after 9/11.

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    My email to Al Futtaim / Volvo in UAE

    For those of you who don't know, I bought a brand new Volvo C30 on August 10, 2010. It is January 27, 2011 and my car has been in the service station for almost a month and a half since I bought it. This is due to a recurring error ("Transmission Performance Low") that kept popping up, making my car go into limp mode.

    I have been in touch with Al Futtaim representative at different stages. I will be writing another blog post detailing the kind of experience (not pleasnat!) I've had, but this is an email that I just wrote to them after a very disappointing call with their National After Sales Services Manager.

    I just wanted to share it with you all.

    Also, if you have any contacts within Al Futtaim UAE or Volvo, do please share with me.

    A detailed post with the exact timeline of what has happened with me and my car will be up shortly.


    Dear Mr. X,

    I have reviewed the letter you have attached herewith for my reference. I refuse to accept this letter from your side.

    The meeting I had with you and Mr. Y yesterday has clearly been a complete waste of time. Whilst my request to you was to state that you give me a guarantee that the recurring error ("Transmission Performance Low") would not come back again, all I see in this letter is that you are "quite assured" that the error will not occur.

    Every single time I have reported the very same error to you or someone at Al Futtaim, I have walked away with the car with an utmost 'assurance' from your side that the car is fixed 'this time'. And yet, the error came up each and every single time.

    I made myself very clear yesterday that I needed a guarantee from your end that this would not happen again. Instead, I get Mr. Y's "opinion" that all the issues in my car are resolved.

    I had given you two options during our meeting yesterday: give me a letter guaranteeing my safety on the road in that car (wrt 'Transmission Performance Low' error) - that is to say, guarantee that the error will not come back again, or kindly take the car back. You have now reverted back to me with a letter that merely states what you have done with the car since I started reporting the error to you, along with 'assurances' and 'opinions' on the current and potential future state of its performance. It does not give me any guarantees, whatsoever.

    Not only am I disappointed in the letter that you have sent, but I am also disappointed in the way I have been spoken to by Mr. Y. He made no attempts to hold back his utter frustration while speaking to me on the phone. If dealing with a harassed customer that has reported the same issue to you repeatedly is such a hassle for you, then you should make that clear to us at the very beginning. If he has to heave a sigh of frustration when I tell him why I am agitated, rest assured it will do anything
    but bring my temper down! In no way am I assured of my safety on the road, and on top of all that, I am spoken to in a way that is most offensive!

    I no longer wish to receive any kind of an assurance or guarantee letter from Volvo / Al Futtaim. I have sat back and been extremely civil thus far. Whilst I will remain to be civil in the future as well, I won't sit back anymore.

    In addition, I no longer wish to deal with you both. Clearly these attempts have failed drastically and I am now being treated like a child that is throwing a silly tantrum. Instead of being reassured, my intelligence is being insulted by the way I have been spoken to. If you sat back for one minute and put yourself in my shoes, I am sure you would appreciate my plight and agitation. Alas!

    I wish to reiterate that despite the fact I reported the same error to you over and over again, it has not been rectified. Yes, you may say that it has
    now been rectified, but I cannot believe you because this is exactly what you have said to me each time in the past that I communicated this error with you.

    I would like you to kindly send me yours and Mr. Y's superior's contact number and email address so I can take this matter up with them.

    Again, I no longer want a letter of guarantee from your end.

    After the way I have been spoken to just about an hour ago, I do not want to interact with anyone, except for your superiors.

    Kindly revert back to me at the earliest with these email addresses. Under the circumstances, I'm sure you will appreciate and agree that this is the least you could do.


    Swati Randev-Verma
    One of your most upset, agitated and disappointed clients


    Copy of the letter from Volvo to which numerous references have been made in this email / blog post:

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Beyond The Black Restriction

    Behind the veils of injustice,

    Do you feel, as do I?

    Do you feel the passions, aches and needs;

    Do you then feel humiliated, ashamed, shy…?

    Do you see the blurry world outside

    And sometimes, silently cry?

    Do you look beyond yours,

    Wish, hope, pray; then just heave a heavy sigh?

    Do you feel the need to break free;

    Do you want to sometimes fly…?

    Do you sometimes look at you

    And simply wonder: why…?

    Do you sometimes wish that you,

    Yourself could go real high?

    Do you feel the lack of privacy,

    The presence of someone always there to pry…?

    Does life seem very unfair to you,

    Does it appear awfully sly?

    Do you feel you can help yourself;

    At least give it a try?

    Do you let it all get to you;

    Let the tear escape your eye?

    Hidden behind the veils of coyness,

    Do you sometimes feel, as do I…?

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Shhh…can you smell it?

    As a child, I always associated particular smells with the city I was in. We moved a lot, thankfully. Every new place I went to, I associated a smell with it. Seasons too. Every season has a smell…Delhi’s winters, Mumbai’s summers, Bangalore’s all-year evenings, Kuwait’s bone chilling cold, Budapest’s flowery June…

    Every time I revisited that city in that season, I smiled. I related ‘where and when’ with the smells around me. As an adult, I thank childhood me’s curiosity for this gift I carry now.

    The best part about winters in UAE is that I can finally associate smells to this country.

    As I roll down the windows in my car, I take in what this city is made of. As I go through the last underpass on Sheikh Zayed Road towards Garhoud Bridge, I can hear the city buzzing and echoing – literally. The blaring music in my car is shushed by the zipping cars, screeching ahead, hazards flashing. I hear the slightest brakes being applied by trucks around me, as I cringe my nose trying not to inhale the ugly smoke they let out as they halt in the traffic. What does Sheikh Zayed Road smell like? Smoke. Metal. And finally, character.

    I zip past the airport towards Khawaneej and hear the gentle roar of a flight about to land. A subtle gush of dust flies around me and I take I can smell the versitility of nature. I glance up, smile, and take it all in.

    As I enter Sharjah, the smells around me become far more profound. As my C30 crawls ahead on Al Khan, I glance to my left. I smell grass, sometimes freshly cut, on the mini-hill asking me to smile because I’m in Sharjah. And involuntarily, my lips curve into a lopsided grin.

    Rolla, smelling like tandoori chicken, shows me what it’s made of. My elbow on the ‘window sill’, if I may, and eyes all around, I see the transition that Sharjah makes from tandoori chicken to…well, manure. As I drive towards my house, the four lane road divided by a broad stretch of concrete screams to me in agony. And why not, when it is being overloaded with manure, forcing a man made chunk of land to suddenly turn fertile?

    In a few months this smell will become more pleasant. The stench of manure will be taken over by a pleasant, flowery one.

    Unfortunately, in a few months when I drive past the same road, all I’ll smell is my car.

    With windows rolled up, the air conditioner on high, I’ll drive past everything around me, and miss out on all of UAE’s summer smells.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 4.0

    As is the law of nature, everything evolves. We evolved from monkeys – although some would contest that a few of us haven’t quite evolved all the way.

    Regardless, as everything around us evolves, so must #AwesomeHandles.

    Not so much in the handles themselves, but in the way I blog them.

    It’s interesting. I was going through titles of my archived MS word copies of #AwesomeHandles editions (OCD? Yes.), and saw that I didn’t quite foresee this becoming a regular feature at the time. At least not in terms of the blog titles. The first one should’ve had some kinda “first” or “numero uno” kinda annotation or something of the sort. But it doesn’t. It’s very simply called: Twits and their #AwesomeHandles.

    I did become a tad more, umm, shall we say perceptive? Yeah, I like that. It’s a 50 dollar word, at least.

    So yeah, the next couple of rounds saw me being a bit more perceptive (*grin*) and titling them ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Second Edition’ and ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Third Edition’.

    When I was formatting and reformatting my excel document with the fourth and fifth editions (yep, 14 handles down, 36 more to go for the next blog!) while I simultaneously updated the ‘Master List’ (one that has all #AwesomeHandles so far, arranged alphabetically), I said to myself, nah…this isn’t working.

    What sounds more…what’s the word I’m looking for – futuristic! – what sounds more futuristic than just numbering out the editions? And that’s when I came up with this point-oh system.

    And now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present you with Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 4.0!

    1. @69fubar
    2. @acp_pradyuMAN
    3. @almostbutnotyet
    4. @arauser
    5. @asli_alsi
    7. @BitchPlease
    8. @BwahahaO_o
    9. @chulbul_pandi
    10. @churumuri
    11. @ConfuseusSay
    12. @Crotchingtiger
    13. @CrudeInterlude
    14. @hallucinations
    15. @HamraBihar
    16. @HotnessGodness
    17. @HotTottie
    18. @ijusthadsex
    19. @imfucked
    20. @imspidermonkey
    21. @JadoPado
    22. @jesus
    23. @jun6lee
    24. @little_chuckle
    25. @lovethewayulie
    26. @McDarkTwisty
    27. @NameFieldEmpty
    28. @offstumped
    29. @omg
    30. @pAaTsHaLa
    32. @powerpointgirl
    33. @probablytrippy
    34. @reincarnated_er
    35. @SantaComes2Town
    36. @Stark_Mad
    37. @tallikya
    38. @TheAngrezJailer
    39. @theevilp
    40. @TheVoiceOfNeo
    41. @TimbaLiyah
    42. @UberDoucher
    43. @unfairandlovely
    44. @unnamedentity
    45. @urbanturbanguy
    46. @UsmileIsmile
    47. @veryvitriolic
    48. @WhatTheFuck
    49. @yeayeaiknow
    50. @ZingXongVong

    There it is - the first point-oh edition of #AwesomeHandles.

    Like I said, 36 more to go for Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 5.0 to be blogged!

    Think you have an #AwesomHandle or know of someone else who does? Drop in a comment below of send me a tweet (@silv3rglee) and I’ll put your recommendations on the next blog!