The Olfactory Factor : insight on Arabic perfumes #Gulf Times

When Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, looked at her bloodied hands and cried that all the perfumes of Arabia could not sweeten them, perhaps she too knew that the scent of rose, jasmine and amber have the mystical power to wash away almost anything.

Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Egypt but was developed and further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs.

It’s an Arab tradition to use aromatic oils as a base for perfumes, called attar. The word ‘attar’, ‘ittar’ or ‘othr’ is basically an Arabic word which means ‘scent’, derived from the Persian word ‘Atr’, meaning ‘fragrance’.

A 9th century Abbasid scientist, Abu Yusuf Yaqub bin Ishaaq al-Kindi, is considered the founder of the Arabic perfume industry.

Ittars, long been considered one of the most treasured of material possessions, are popular not only in Qatar, but throughout the Middle East. These natural perfumes are affordable because they are so concentrated that a small bottle will last for several weeks, if not months.

For the same reason, they are usually offered for sale in small quantities, traditionally in decorated crystal cut type bottles or small jewelled decanters. Due to the purity and the nature of oils, there is very little chance of spoilage.

Additionally, since these perfumes are highly concentrated, a small drop makes the aroma last the whole day. It is also amazing how the aroma’s intensity changes with the changes of body temperature. Their peculiarity is that they are made only from natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any alcohol.

Perfumes are very powerful agent in our social life.

Read more here :

http://www.gulf-times.com/fashion%20and%20style/237/details/351204/on-the-perfume-trail

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Article in Gulf Times : All that blings is Gold

Gold never goes out of style. It can be worked into nearly any shape, from tiny strands that do not break easily to thin sheets, nearly anyway a jewellery artisan desires.

Gold is bought for a variety of reasons such as for auspicious sentiment, as an investment, hedge against inflation, asset allocation etc. It also carries a high perceived value and an emotional quotient. It reinforces closeness of relationships. Gold coins in smaller denominations are also considered apt for corporate gifting and rewards for contests or for commemorative giveaways.

In betrothal, an important part of the Chinese wedding tradition, four pieces of jewellery including a gold necklace, a pendant, a pair of earrings and a bangle are selected by groom’s mother and presented to the bride. The golden colour symbolises wealth and happiness.

One of the ancient traditions of Western Europe which is still going strong today in the Christian community is the idea of the engagement ring. It was way back in 860 AD that Pope Nicholas I proclaimed that not only was an engagement ring required to seal the agreement to be married, but that the engagement ring must be made of gold.

The making of the ring out of gold signified that the groom was willing to make a financial sacrifice for his new bride-to-be. Since then engagement and marriage ceremonies in the West include a small piece of gold jewellery.

Italian gold jewellery, on the other hand, is synonymous with style and Italy is well known for its yellow gold jewellery and classical designs. Italy is known as the world leader in gold jewellery production for its outstanding technical skills. Gold charm bracelets have a strong presence in Italian gold jewellery.

Everyone likes to make a statement and wear jewellery with a meaning behind it. It is an intelligent way to show one’s history or beliefs. A good example of this is the symbol of an inverted hand, where the hand extended forward is a symbol of divine force. Another example is Celtic jewellery where the Celtic knots can symbolise the eternity of life.

Read more here :

http://www.gulf-times.com/culture/238/details/350374/gold-is-never-out-of-fashion

gold coin

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a design by Shaily Bracelet - Italian Style Whirlwind - a design by Shaily Agarwal

FEAR : an analysis

It is undeniable that we humans live in constant fear.

However much confident, independent, solitary or loved we are, there exist an ounce of fear within each of us. The fear some share openly, the fear some hide mysteriously, the fear some admit consciously and the fear some know unconsciously..

So what are these fears?

I made a small list of my own here, trying to explore different types of fear found in the deepest corners of our hearts.

1. Fear of losing a loved one

This is the most commonly found fear in humans. Maybe in animals too, but I haven’t thought about that (yet).

Be it a person fearing his/her old ailing parent would die soon. Or a teenager head over heels in love with someone, fearing its just infatuation and won’t last. Fear of losing a loved one stirs up anyone – even if they claim they’re emotionally strong. Losing a child or spouse or parent / grandparent is the most natural fear, and natural because it is defectively installed in us to love our family. The ones who nurture us over the years, the ones who stand by us all along.

fear of losing a loved one

They say break-ups are hard, because even lovers become emotionally attached, falling prey into the fear of losing each other. This type of fear in fact, causes many other issues like being possessive, over protective or addicted.

Fear of losing a friend is also found in many. Some friendships do last long, but some are lost in the sands of time.

2. Fear of being lonely

Man is a social animal, which needs to be occasionally, if not constantly, fed with emotional interactions with others.
The fear of being lonely results in actions like seeking attention from family/peers, be always surrounded by people, or even being a party animal.

All these, and even more circumstances signify that people have a need to interact with others. And devoid of it causes mental imbalance too.

Nobody wants to be lonely. Its i different thing, to be alone for a while – to maybe sort out a problem, or think peacefully. Solitude is essential, but prolonged solitude is harsh on a person.

fear of being alone

Moreover, as there is a saying – with sharing, happiness multiplies and sadness decreases. To be not able to share and celebrate one’s happiness is disheartening, and similarly, not being able to share the burden of a problem or worry also consumes a person from inside.

Hence everyone has a close-knit circle of family and friends, and the idea of losing them is always scary.

3. Fear of failure

Failing to meet expectation, repercussions of not meeting a deadline, losses of a failed project or continuous bad luck/timing – all these are perfect examples of fear of failure.

Giving up a dream because it doesn’t seen feasible, not taking up a task or not taking risks in a project/investment – these also imply that we are scared of failure.

fear of failure

Success matters so much, that we resent on miscalculating and not take an unplanned step. Uncalculated decisions taken without much weighing of matters can cause failure, but it is short-term only. For the long race, it teaches us what not to do which adds on to our experience and wisdom.

Staying on shore won’t fetch you pearls. And staying aboard won’t give you the experience of swimming. So dive in!

4. Fear of being judged

This is fairly common too, in all age groups.

A student might not raise a doubt in class, because he is embarrassed that it might be a foolish doubt and what others might think of him. A high school student hides from his peers that he writes romantic poems, because he fears they’ll laugh at him. A college graduate looks at the mirror before stepping out of his room, because he doesn’t want to be the laughing-stock. A manager doesn’t suggest improvements because he doubts if they’ll be implemented or even considered, and the management might dismiss him saying its a waste of time. A professor throws out a student from his class because of asking an irrelevant question, but actually because he dint know the explanation for it.

fear of being judged

There can be a million instances in everybody’s life, when we act according to others. Because we fear what will others think. How many people have you seen singing in the public openly? Very less right? That’s because they fear they’ll be laughed at, or looked down upon, or be stared at.

We judge others and we are scared of being judged. It’s a vicious cycle which needs to stop.

5. Fear of conscious

A famous person once wrote, I sleep peacefully at night because I have a clear conscience.

If you haven’t borrowed or stolen, why will you fear anyone? Who can harm you, unless you have harmed someone? The inner voice won’t leave you alone if you know you’re guilty.

That is the power of conscience. It’s not in self-control. We can’t shut the constant nagging of our mind reminding us of our sin.

fear of conscience

This fear of conscience, I say, is the best fear. Because it keep a check on us, guarding us from our own deeds and protecting us from decisions we might regret.

If such a fear of karma exists in all of us, this world would be such a peaceful place to live in.

6. Fear of death

The biggest truth of our life is death. Even though death is inevitable, there isn’t a soul who accepts it wholeheartedly. Everyone wants to live just a little longer.

Maybe the old and ailing wish to end their lives, and the ones who commit suicide don’t actually know the worth of this beautiful gift called life, but for the rest of us the fear of death doesn’t go.
Even our cultures and religions don’t preach us particularly to accept death with open arms with a smile on our face.

Indeed, our holy books narrate about the wonderful afterlife, lure us towards the glorious heaven and tell us how angels will take care of us, but these hardly leave an everlasting impression on our minds to fight or curb the fear of death.

fear of death

Maybe I am wrong, but at least I haven’t read anything which tells people to give up the life and be dead instead. The holy books can guide us, how to lead our lives, so that when we die we don’t suffer (in death or life after death). They can even tell us how committing sins will hinder our transfer to the other side of death. But none can teach us how to accept the ultimate destination of death.

Some people don’t travel by airways, some avoid water, some prefer walking than sitting in a machine called car and some just keep bodyguards. All because they love their life and don’t want to die.

To a certain extent, this emotion is justified. We humans make emotional bonds with not just living beings but also non living things. So just the fear of leaving it all behind does stir up some unpleasant feeling.

But how far can we fight death?

7. Fear of future

Got final term exam tomorrow? Or results?
Or a thesis presentation?
Or maybe an appointment with your manager?
Or a meeting with your employees to tell them their allowances are reduced?
Or maybe its your baby’s first day at school?
Or a new collection of clothes releasing tomorrow?

And are you having butterflies in your stomach? Not able to sleep?

Well my friend, then like all of us you are excited and maybe fearing the future.

fear of future

There is one thing to look forward to future – which is a positive aspect. Because you have worked hard for it, and you know nothing went wrong and you did it all absolutely correct. Then you look forward to future, waiting for the fruitful results.

But if you have doubts, you are not confident or you’re confused, you have done something wrong, crossed someone, they you fear your future. Because you worry what hell might break loose tomorrow!

As to how to avoid this, I really don’t know. Maybe with a clean conscience. But then, actors or fashion designers etc they do their hard work, but they fear the critics and audience on day of release. That has got nothing to do with conscience because an unknown factor is judging you and deciding your fate. Conscience has no play then.

8. Phobia

Google can list more than 100 types of phobias found in people.

See here for the complete list.

Some are afraid of the dark, some are afraid of being lonely, and some are scared of crowd. This is a play of hormones in a person’s body, in my opinion.

As far as I know there isn’t a cure of phobia or other types of fears for that matter. And definitely there is a limit to which one can control his or her mind. Lets agree not all of us have a tactful control on our minds and hearts. Then how do we deal with fears?

faith-vs-fear

Faith. Facing the true facts, looking right into the eyes of our fear, and keeping in mind the truth of our living, may help some fight some of these fears. And that is what therapy also does. It makes us believe in ourselves. Believe that we are the sole writers of our fate, destiny, life and death. And come what may, we have the strength to face it.

Live life in each moment with whatever you have around. Maybe lesser people tomorrow, maybe fewer loved ones by your side, but its you my friend who decide the terms and conditions for your life. Tomorrow I may die or I be so embarrassed that I wish to die. But at this moment I live this moment. With no fear. With no fear.

somthing-to-lose

time for “New year Resolution”

new-years-resolutions

We all make New Year Resolutions.

And we all have broken one or all our resolutions. C’mon one can’t be so strict also. Loosening one’s self leash is okay 😉

So here is a list of my past year’s new year resolutions – which I successfully implemented and plan to continue doing so. (Three cheers for self) 😀

* no shop-lifting

* no lying on the face

* eat healthy – put on weight

* say NO to aerated drinks

* no begging-borrowing-stealing : maintain accounts

* call relatives at regular intervals

* lesser *lc*h*l 

So now, the turn for this years’ resolutions. Here we go

* implement the vows taken on Bday

* shop lesser

* say less negative things/think positive

* pray more often

* wake up early 

* work out once in a while (enough with putting on weight)

With that – I pray for a peaceful and blissful 2013 which brings harmony, success and wisdom in all our lives.

2013

Have a good day y’all.

*An update from 2015*

  • implement the vows taken on Bday I don’t remember what it was i vowed on bday :/
  • shop lesser no woman sane would add that to a resolution. 
  • say less negative things/think positive To a certain extent yes! I think more positive. 🙂
  • pray more often Have given up on this one I guess.
  • wake up early Done 🙂
  • work out once in a while There there!

Plus, I am still keeping the resolutions from way back in 2011 and 2012 🙂

a revisit to the land of FAIRY TALES

A few days back, my mother referred to herself as fairy godmother. While we notorious kids laughed at her, there was a pinch on truth in what she said.

Fairy tales. We have all heard them. But when I started writing this post, I could not list more than 4-5 I remembered. My list was:

1. Snow white  and the seven Dwarfs

snow white and 7 dwarfs

2. Aladdin

aladdin

3. Red Riding Hood

red riding hood

4. Cinderella

cinderella

5. Rapunzel

rapunzel

When I hit the Google, I found a huge list of fairy tales. So I could fish for a dozen more fairy tales- the I have heard before sleeping at night. I loved those tales, all of them. The idea of happy ending lingered on even after the tender years of childhood. Thanks to my mom, and her reference to herself 😉

So as a tribute to her, I made a list of qualities of the Fairy Godmother, as told by Disney. And compared with my mom 😉

  • Personality :
  1. Sweet – Check
  2. Kind – Check
  3. Motherly – Check
  4. A bit absent-minded – Check
  • Appearance :
  1. Short – Check (she is the shortest in the family)
  2. Obese – Check (not really – but we love to call her that)
  3. Elderly – Check 
  4. White hair – Check (a few only actually)
  5. Aqua robe with pink inside hood, large lavender bow on the front – hahahahaha NO
  • Occupation : Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (in retrospect, she does that for a living)
  • Goal : To help Cinderella , To look after Cinderella (Oh, she does that all day long)

Thanks to her, I re-visited my sweet memories. The blissful age of going to sleep without tension of tomorrow. The splendid age of no worries and a belief in perfect endings. The fun age to compare ourselves to the protagonist fairy 😉

Oh, well, that fun age isn’t gone I feel. I mean, aren’t a few of us still waiting for our prince charming 😉

**

Interesting links :

a fairy tale on YouTube 😀

Fairy God Mother on Twitter 😉

a cute website on FairyGod Mother 

***

# thanks to the illustrations which I found here

smile at strangers : probably make their day better

Many a times it has happened, my heart was breaking inside and I had to show no emotions on the outside. I know how difficult it is, and I have (believe me or not) been in such situations way too much.

What pulls me along on such a day, is a reason or excuse to smile. Absolute stranger, who was probably thinking about someone else and smiling, or was remembering a sweet memory and smiling, or talking to someone on phone and smiling. But somehow ended up smiling at me, and out courtesy and reflex, I smile back.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, momentarily I forget the pain inside me and its easier to pretend that nothing is wrong with me today.

Blame my over thinking nature, this occurrence and phenomenon struck to me only after I sat and thought at the end of the day, how come it dint go THAT bad. And the reason would be simple.

Some stranger made me smile!

A smile said it all- she realized her mistake!

girl playing on road side

Around 2 years back, I got heavily scolded by my mom for pulling back to roadside a kid who strayed away to the middle of street while playing.

She scolded me because according to her, that job was of the kid’s mom, who at that time was busy bargaining at a roadside shop, just like us. My mom said, if the mom of that kid was careless, she should learn than lesson, I should not step in to do her job!

little girl playing

I hated her inside my heart, to say such a thing! Because when I pulled that girl back to safe area, she smiled at me. And guess what, even her mom smiled, and I felt she realized her mistake. There was no need to get that kid hurt to make her mom realize her mistake.

The smile said it all, she was thankful I stepped in to take care of her daughter while she splurged into shopping, taking a break from her routine housewife-duties.

And I rolled my eyes at my not-so-happy-with-my-actions mom and carried on with the rest of shopping. I knew this moment is etched into my memory for a long time.

little girl