Weekly writing Challenge: New (kids) on the block

On my walks around my block I usually encounter the same people, a nanny with a baby in a stroller, another nanny with a baby in the stroller and a dog on a leash, an elderly couple strolling and talking, a few young women obviously trying to lose weight as they zip past the others, and a family on bicycles ringing their bells.

However lately I’ve been noticing a new addition to my evening walks. There are two men dressed in white shalwar kameez (long shirt and baggy trousers) and a cap on their heads walking around the walking path holding hands. Yes, holding hands.

Now one of them seems to be older than the other but still not old enough to need assistance to walk and even if he did couldn’t he just use a stick? Their speed is quite fast so it doesn’t seem reasonable to think that the older one is sick. When I cross them I have to get out of the way because, well, two grown men holding hands take up more space.

After their walk (and while mine isn’t done) the two men seat themselves on one of the benches near the walking path and proceed to observe the others (myself included) walking around. They sit like you would sit on a “charpai” (a traditional woven bed) with their feet up on the bench and their hands resting on their knees.

So how did these two gentlemen get inside a gated community? Are they new residents here? How is that possible when the area I live in is only for families? And why on earth are they holding hands? Instead of going home with a clear mind after my walk, these are the questions spinning in my head. Sometimes I think, I really need to mind my own business.

Photo by Zainab Javid

Photo by Zainab Javid

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/blog-your-block/

Friday Fictioneers: Being a Man

sheep-and-carI heard the blaring of the horn intermingled with the bleating of the goats. Bhai had arrived.

Our mother had put up an elaborate feast that I knew we could not afford and I had been helping her for days to decorate the house and have it ready. One look at Bhai told me that he already belonged to the city and his visit would be as uncomfortable as the suit he wore.

That was when I decided that it was up to me to look after the farm and my aging parents. It would be against tradition but there was no other choice.

*Bhai is elder brother in Urdu

This story has been written for the Friday Fictioneers. For details see the link below:

http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/16-may-2014/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

My 4 year old son loves to draw and paint. I gave him a large piece of cardboard to paint and this is what he came up with. He called it a monster but it looks something like a crocodile (with a scary red eye and sharp teeth). I love his confidence with a marker or paint brush in his hand and his dark solid lines. He knows exactly what he wants to make and how to make it. For me it’s a work of art.
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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/work-of-art/

Photo of the Week: Sunset

Whereas Dubai is known for its skyscrapers, my neighborhood is in stark contrast, very flat. It is a bit far from down town and is the perfect place for families. As the sun sets on this chapter of our lives and we prepare to start a new one in Bahrain, I hope we can find such a beautiful place to live as we did here.
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A 4yr old and a Geisha

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My son’s Kuku

Why are children so complicated? I know adults are too, but for children their complexity to mass ratio is really huge.

My son used to be scared of this character he saw on TV. It was a children’s program and there was a Japanese lady in a black kimono and white makeup (possibly a geisha) singing a song which went something like “Kukuku…”. So he named her Kuku and would cry every time he caught a glimpse of her. We made sure that we would change the channel when that program came on but it was too late. Fear of the kuku was established.

Fast forward a year or two when he started developing a vivid imagination, he would also see the kuku everywhere and tell us to make her go away. He would be quite upset and this would happen during the day as well not just at night.

Some months ago we got a magazine and on the cover was a Geisha with the usual white makeup. At first my son got frightened when he saw her, but recently the tide has changed.

He now loves the kuku and calls her his wife. I think it is because he is obsessed with scary monsters these days so he wants his “wife” to be scary too. It’s so cute when he talks about his wife! The other day I was trying to stop him from doing something and he started showing me the magazine, “My wife will scare you!” I couldn’t help but chuckle at how serious he was.

I heard my husband agree with him. “Yes, wives are scary, you’re quite right!”

I also wonder what kind of a relationship I’ll have with my daughter-in-law if indeed he meets a real kuku and marries her.

Friday Fictioneers: The Wayward Trolley

copyright_bw_beachamMrs. Harrison lived near the grocery shop and couldn’t be bothered to bring her car and worry about parking when she came to shop.

So she would march straight past the “No trolleys beyond this point” sign and just leave her trolley outside her home.

Kumar was in charge of collecting any wayward trolleys in the surrounding areas. One day, while “helping” Mrs. Harrison with her groceries, he put something between the wheels. Half way, the wheels stopped spinning and Mrs. Harrison had no choice but to carry her heavy bags home.

The next time, she brought her car to the grocery shop.

P.S. In Dubai, we get help weighing the vegetables, bagging the groceries and sometimes even taking the trolley to the car and unloading. 🙂

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This story has been written for the Friday Ficioneers. For details see the link below:

http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/9-may-2014/

Working Part-time

I finally found a way to make some pocket money without having to step out of the house. Ever since my son has started going to school and I have got the mornings to myself, I have felt this urge to want to make some money. I worked for 10 years prior to my baby and made quite a bit of it and then suddenly to not make any at all makes me feel that I am not being completely productive. Of course looking after your child is a big responsibility and the pleasure I get when I see my son thrive is unmatchable. Still, at the end of the day, I feel like I could have done more.

I tried my hand at trading but this was too risky and although I made some money at the start, I soon lost more. It was hard to get out as they were not willing to let me withdraw my investment but in the end it was sorted out.

Most of the work-at-home opportunities ask for a fee to register in their program or for a tutorial that will tell you how to become rich. I have always steered clear of these.

I have now found some freelance writing work which is risk free if you use the given system correctly. I get paid promptly and the best part is that I can work from home and still do all my household duties and keep an eye on my son. You can get started without having to pay anything. The work is project based and once you complete one project you have the flexibility to take a break or bid for another project. You can get work according to your skills and if you’re lucky you can even find a long term employer who rehires you after one project is completed. If you can manage, you can do several projects at the same time, so you choose the amount of work you want to do. The money is not that much and could not replace a full time job but if you don’t have any job, any little amount counts.

I am very happy that I’m being productive. With our impending move to another country, my employer has scaled down the amount of work he assigns to me and this is really working out for me. I hope to get back to the usual routine once I have settled down.