25 December 2010

My new home

Some great photos of our new stunning offices in the Bahrain Financial Harbour. We are very lucky to move into the H3Sixty space for our first office. It will be almost two months now since we moved in and it has been such a great experience so far. I love having breakfasts in the kitchen, and using all our conference spaces for our meetings. I am really looking forward to introduce the new H3sixty project which will be held in our office lounge, along with a new entrepreneurship program for budding businessmen. Watch this space folks!

The conference room, chillout areas

The reception area and golf putt

The lounge area

The kitchen

My TV first

I finally have a few hours set aside to catch up with my blogging. My life has seemed to take off in such a rapid rate since I made the move back home. One of the most exciting developments of my career was to appear on live television for the very first time. Even though Hala Bahrain is a local morning show, it was still an incredible experience to be able to discuss my work and recent project developments on a live show for the very first time. I had to be on set at about 8 am where I got makeup and hair done. I was terrified and really nervous, it was insane. Everyone was a little worried including Duaa my PR director who was running around getting me water and trying to find me biscuits to calm me down. I had written all my potential answers in Arabic the night before and practiced all night with my mom and after that by myself in front of the mirror.

But as soon as they were ready for slot, I walked into the studio away from the chaos of hair and makeup into the complete silence of the studio. It was fantastic. Once on the large couch I relaxed and just tried to have a conversation with Noor , the presenter. My Arabic was not as good as I hoped, but I remember feeling so great afterwards and scheming how to get on TV again. I really want to thank everyone who saw the show from Kuwait, Saudi, Oman, and all my Bahraini buddies who showed support by texting/facebooking/emailing.

More to come on Obai and Hill projects!

22 September 2010

"I was … unmoored by that. I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape. I knew I had to get back in school and back in some kind of structured environment and … continue.''
Jon Hamm

21 September 2010

I am lucky
to have mastered
the act
of turning anything
negative to positive

One Fine Day

Probably the most awaited post of the history of this blog.
I really struggled to find great images for this movie.
I love this movie till death do us part.
Am listening to this track right now
Natalie Merchant's One Fine Day

15 September 2010

Paul Vallely: Why poetry is as essential as air (via the Independent)

One of the most amazing articles I have recently read in the The Independent by Paul Vallely. If this doesn't make you scramble for a pen and paper I don't know what will.


Two thousand feet below ground the 33 trapped Chilean miners have developed a rhythm to their daily life as they wait for a rescue which may not come until Christmas. And they have allocated themselves jobs and roles. One, an electrician, has rigged up a lighting system to create a semblance of day and night. Another travels through the tunnels and caverns constantly monitoring the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Two are in charge of maintaining the fibre-optic phone lines for phone calls and daily video conferences. Two are first-aiders, administering medicines and vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and pneumonia. The group has appointed a pastor to lead religious services, an official cameraman and a biographer to keep a daily log of their long ordeal underground.

They have also designated one of their number to be the group's official poet. A miner named Victor Zamora is regularly sending rhymed compositions on single pages to the surface. His missives have become the best-read of all the communications from the subterranean prison. His work has progressed from an early cry of despair that the men would never be found by the outside world to outbursts of hope and humour which have lifted spirits below and above the ground: "Under the earth there is a ray of light, my path, and faith is the last thing that is lost... I have been born again."

There is something about the human spirit which, it seems, can only find voice in poetry. Extremity underlines that. You only have to look at the Births & Deaths column in the local paper for evidence; at times of celebration and, most particularly, bereavement, people turn to poetry to express themselves. It is almost always bad poetry, it must be admitted, but it performs a function in which other language is deemed inadequate. Poetry is different and the form we turn to when intensity, exultation or grief at its most profound needs expression. It hints at the intangible, the transcendent, the inexpressible and all those deeper trawlings of the human psyche.

By coincidence, last week saw the publication of a masterclass in the poet's art. Human Chain is the 12th collection of poems from Seamus Heaney. It is the first since he suffered a stroke in 2006 and it explores connections not merely between the surface and the subterranean but between individuals, across generations and between the past and present. It is full of beautifully observed, vividly recollected and exquisitely turned poems which review Heaney's familiar themes through the lens of old age and the sense of life's fragility, which the great man's brush with death has amplified.

It tells us something else about how poetry works. Famous Seamus, as his compatriots affectionately dub him, has an extraordinary eye for the detail of Irish rural life. But it is not merely detail which speaks nostalgically of the past. It is detail which imbues the present with a new significance.

A good poet has an attentiveness to life, and a way of observing the world, which sees what we all see but sees them differently. It is as if the poet is seeing what is familiar for the first time and discovering new riches in the language of the every day. And when a great poet such as Heaney revisits the past – recalling his mother emptying ashes from the fire, his father herding cows, the fountain pen they gave him when he went to grammar school, or a bus route from his adolescence – he doesn't just shine a light into the darkness of memory but illuminates a path for the future. And he does it all with such mellifluous melancholy mouth-music.

It does not fall to many of us, thank God, to experience the kind of enforced reflection on our life that the 33 Chilean miners are now undergoing. But poetry can offer us a metaphorical equivalent of that, as one of the miners' compatriots, the fine Chilean poet Pablo Neruda suggests:

Leave me a place underground, a labyrinth,

where I can go, when I wish to turn,

without eyes, without touch,

in the void, to dumb stone,

or the finger of shadow.

Poetry can be our underground bunker, a refuge from the surface of everyday life in which the urgent crowds out the important. Poetry's ability to look at old things with fresh eyes is a key tool towards the examined life. It reconfigures the familiar – like Seamus Heaney's Conway Stewart fountain pen – and helps us look askance at the contours of our over-busy daily existence. In poetry we listen to ourselves, like a secular form of prayer. And the more we return to it the deeper we go, for we, like a good poem, do not deliver up all our secrets at a single reading.

Human Chain teaches us something about facing the advent of old age. It tells stories of friendship and inheritance. There is a beautiful scene of the poet as a ghost from the future at his parents' wedding. There are evocations of the seasons, and of the poet's deepening realisation that his participation in them is limited as he recalls an elderly painter friend who

...could bear no longer to watch

The sun going down

And asking please to be put

With his back to the window.

There is a poem in which Heaney appears to be rifling through the suits which hung "like waterweed disturbed" in his dead father's wardrobe – "stale smoke and oxter-sweat/came at you in a stirred-up brew/when you reached in" – only for the reader to discover that the old man is alive and in need of lifting and sponging. The poems tell stories of separation and loss, like the elegy for a dead friend which begins:

The door was open and the house was dark

Wherefore I called his name, although I knew

The answer this time would be silence

That kept me standing listening while it grew

Backwards and down and out into the street ...

And then there is the opening poem "Had I not been awake" which tells the story of Heaney's stroke as if it were a wild and sudden storm rattling the roof-tiles of the house. And another in which he remembers lying immobilised in the back of an ambulance, his wife holding his hand, as they sped to hospital. They are poems about Seamus Heaney, but they are poems about us too, for the elliptical power of the writing is such that the reader has to go out to meet it half-way. When we read poems we become their part-authors too.

That is what the 33 miners are doing amid the gold and copper seams of the San José mine. For them it will not be Heaney but Neruda, who in the 1940s championed the cause of striking Chilean miners against an oppressive government. They will, no doubt, see themselves in some other lines of their great national poet:

Arise to birth with me, my brother.

Give me your hand out of the depths ...

Bring to the cup of this new life

Your ancient buried sorrows.

And give me silence, give me water, hope.

Brick_ walling

Somewhere along the lines of my dealing with advertisers and convincing my best friendy to start her own blog to deal with her boring non-working syndrome in Bahrain I missed my own blog. I don't know what it is. In between delegating all day long, dealing with family that are visiting in London, managing project after project, and train travel I find I have no where to note my thoughts. Twitter is not a strong enough medium to hold my 1 million uncorresponding thoughts. And there is no way in hell I could even think about condensing them all to 140 characters. so here I am, back from a wonderful break in Leeds, missing my stolen Nikon D-40, missing my friends, and craving Arabic food like a mad woman.

Like clock work its after midnight, I am restless, I have questions, I am packing boxes of clothes and shoes in my head and ready to move house.

Amongst all the wonderful things that are happening in my career I made time for a late movie and ordered room service with my brother on his last night with us in Leeds. Shakespeare in Love was playing. I never really liked the movie, and I will never truly get why/how Gwyneth Paltrow nailed that Oscar. But after not having seen it in so long I not-so-casually burst into tears towards the very end. Not because of the story but because of love. How could I have forgotten their story? How could I have forgotten the most famous love story of all time? It all came brick walling at me.

*For there is no greater love story than that of Romeo and his Juliet*

And yes I am blogging to Clair De Lune's Claude Debussy. What can I say ?I am a sucker for the piano and strange habits.