Hand Skills

Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?

Automation may be possible for a lot of things but some things that are made by hand simply cannot match a machine-made product. Hand made things  like carpets, hand embroidered clothes, shoes and other handicrafts are more expensive and valuable. I love collecting handicrafts and I have lots of them from my own country and around the world.

I also love creating things with my own hands. It may take long but the results are there for everyone to see.

The finished work

Hand embroidered collage of Allah and His Attributes

I have to admit though, that some things are better automated, the biggest example being that I can always make cake using Betty Crocker’s Cake mix instead of having to make it myself. It’s always so perfect why bother to do it yourself?



Back on January 21st, we asked you to predict what day #211 would be like. Well, July 30th is that day — how have your predictions held up so far? If you didn’t reply to the prompt at the time, is this year turning out to be as you’d expected?

On January 21st these are the predictions I made:

My husband would be settled in his new job: Check

If we moved to another country we would be living together: In progress

We would be spending the summer at home: Check 😦

I would be making some money: Check (but not on my books 😦 )

Thanks to Daily Post I got to revisit an old post that I had forgotten about. It was fun to see that I had a fairly good idea what we would be doing in the near future. Of course I had no idea that we would be going to Bahrain of all places, I was thinking more of Europe or Asia Pacific, but what really matters is that we will all be together and my husband will not be commuting any more.

I think it would be interesting to do this exercise more often. Predict what will happen x number of days from now. Write it down somewhere and store it. Revisit it on xth day to see how accurate your prediction was.



Friday Fictioneers: Handy Work

Before I post my story, I would like to request my fellow Fictioneers to please participate in my poll which I posted on my one year WordPress anniversary. To participate please click here.

And now for the story:

view-from-the-planeHadia dreamt of becoming a successful businesswoman one day. But when she got married it was as if someone had clipped her wings. Her day was spent trying to please her mother-in-law and cook and clean.

One day she met a woman who said she could embroider but couldn’t find any work. Hadia at once employed her and some others to work with her. She gave them designs to make, and then sold the handicrafts at 3 times the cost in the city. Every month she would buy her mother-in-law a gift, help out with the running costs and pocket the rest.

She couldn’t be happier.


Pakistani embroidery. Photo Credits: Wikipedia

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


Weekly Writing Challenge: Fatal Twist

red rose

Photo Credits: Public Domain Images

It was the 10th anniversary of their wedding. It seemed like yesterday that Steve had taken Maria to their favorite park and presented her with a red rose and a diamond ring. It was the happiest moment in his life that she had agreed to be his wife. How time had flown by. Their son Mike, was now nearly 5 years old and asked questions that they couldn’t answer without consulting the internet.

Steve and Maria wanted to have a special celebration and booked a flight to Paris for the weekend. The Eiffel tower at night had a special romantic allure for them. They left their son with Steve’s parents with promises to bring something special for him from Paris.

Somehow neither the River Seine nor the Louvre lived up to their reputation. Even the Eiffel tower seemed ordinary and they were stuck in queues for hours to go up to the view point. Maria kept wondering whether Mike was eating his food properly and Steve kept cursing himself for forgetting his French every time they needed directions. Even the food was mediocre.

On the second day it started raining and the couple spent their day at the hotel. Maria was worried that their flight might be delayed but when they checked online there were no delays. They boarded the airplane with the pilot warning them of turbulence due to thunderstorms during the flight. The plane crashed soon after it took off. Steve and Maria breathed their last holding on to each other. From their belongings a tiny replica of the Eiffel tower was recovered. It had been the special present for Mike.

Some days later, as Mike visited the graves of his parents with his grandfather, holding the tiny Eiffel tower, he prayed with all his might. He prayed for God to look after them and he prayed he would never forget them.


The Bradbury noun list technique:

Our nouns. Choose at least five nouns from the following list and integrate them into your new piece: The balloon. The squirrel. The river. The clown car. The thunderstorm. The Peking duck. The airplane. The mouse. The red rose. The French pastry. The wedding. The tombstone. The camper van. The bee. The caltrops.

The Vase

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

chinese vase

Photo credits: Pixabay.com

I take one look around and am immediately captivated by what I see. Chinese vases with fiery dragons enveloped around them, statues of the pharoahs in black stone, Turkish lamps with colored glass, decorations carved out in marble and copper and curious pieces of jewelry, all beckon to me.

“Hello!” I say to the proprietor to which he gives a grunt and a toothless smile.

“How much is that for?” I ask, pointing to the Chinese vase. When my husband went to China I asked him to bring me a vase and he brought something which looked more African than Chinese, not that I have anything against African vases, but I wanted a Chinese looking Chinese vase.

“It’s not for sale. Nothing is.”

“But I don’t understand..”

“These things are collections from my travels. I have no family and I don’t know how many years I have left. I just want to make sure they go to someone who will take care of them. I don’t need the money, I have enough to buy food.”

“So you’re just giving them away?”

“Yes.” He takes down the Chinese vase, wraps it in brown paper and hands it to me. I hesitate, but he pushes the vase into my hand.

As I walk out of the store I take special note of the address. As soon as I get home I write out a check and mail it.

A few days later the check is returned to me. It has “Address Unknown” stamped across it.


Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak to all my fellow bloggers celebrating this festival. I wish the moon sighting would not be so complicated and not leave us guessing till the last minute about whether it’s Eid or another fast to keep.

This Eid my house has a forlorn look as we are in the middle of moving and I have already sold most of my stuff. Our voices have begun to echo in the empty rooms, but we are excited that everything is moving according to plan.

Each Eid I have a family lunch at my place but this Eid we will be going over to my sister’s place as I literally have no place for guests to sit. I feel so blessed to have a chance to celebrate Eid with family just before we move to another country. A month of 15 hour fasts was not an easy task and now it’s time to celebrate!

The new moon

The new moon

As Old As You Feel

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

My mother had her first child after 16 years of marriage. But she still looked so young that anyone who saw her could not tell that. Somebody came to congratulate her in the hospital when her baby was born and my grandmother who also looked very young was in the room at the time. She thought that she was the lady who had had the child after so many years!

My sister and I have both inherited the same thing from my mother and grandmother. When I tell someone that I’ve been married for nearly 11 years their eyes almost pop out since they were assuming that I’m a newly wed. I must say it’s extremely flattering to see the surprise on people’s faces when I tell them my age.

I turned 38 yesterday and the number doesn’t really bother me. I still feel the same as I was last year or the year before that. I strongly believe that you are as old as you feel.

However, my doctor keeps telling me that I should have my second child as soon as possible because time is running out. Medically, for women, age can be an issue.

My sister, my mother and me last year. My mother is nearly 80 here.

My sister, my mother and me last year. My mother is nearly 80 here.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

When the summer sizzles in Dubai with 40+ temperatures, outdoor activities become restricted. However the beach is always an option in the evening when the cool wind blows across the water. Here is my favorite little person running on the beach. He’s coming to show me a shell he’s found…
…and here it is!