In my books recommendations section, I have listed books that I love. As I have mentioned in my post on finding flow , books are my close friends , I consider them my light house, my guiding lights. Furthermore, about why I am sharing these books here . I felt since these books have helped me in various ways, I hope readers will also get the benefits from them. The books are from variety of categories from spirituality to leadership in business .
This book changed my perspective when I was struggling with pain after first discovery of Autism in my son. Osho dissects the ideas like pain and pleasure , dualities of life, root of pain. I recommend this if you want a new perspective of life overall.
I may also expand on the ideas shared in these books either in a separate post or in the core idea column, basically how they impacted my life in a positive way, how they changed my perspective of life. Most of the books became link to the other books, when authors quoted about certain points from other books. So I kept moving from one book to another. This lead to a huge library. However, major portion of this library is digital now, primarily in audible. Over the period of time , I felt it was easy to listen a book then read it, in busy schedule of life. Please consider this as a live page as I will keep updating this list . To start with here are few of them in following table.
Please help me with my books recommendation page by sharing books you love in comments section.
During initial days, my perspective of Dubai was similar to that of any US city. But when we visited Dubai mall ,I had chance to witness the beauty of Burj khalifa , my outlook about the city changed a little, as it is more then just a building, it appears like a huge piece of art , made with love of beauty.
On our second day , we went to Dubai mall which was not too far from our residence. I booked a taxi to reach the mall, it was around 25 minutes drive. Driver was from Pakistan , we had brief chat on the way , he recommended not to buy things from mall as everything was expensive . I have met people from Pakistan before , most of the time its a sweet experience , Urdu is a sweet language, there is always a warmth, Its hard to believe that our countries are always at war .
The shopping experience
In my perspective of Dubai, particularly Dubai mall ,everything is extravagant and obviously expensive. Omnipresent pleasant fragrance of variety of local and international perfumes is remarkable. Overall ambience is very excitingly pleasing. I bought blue tooth enabled selfie stick there and few dresses for Roy. Afterwards, to complete shopping experience, obviously we had food at its food court, which has huge variety of cuisines.
Later, we went to its famous aquarium, Aryaman loves it, he had great time there.
later by evening, we knew there will be fountain show, so we went to exit where fountain show happens. This show starts around 6pm and goes on till 9pm . I captured one of them in my camera. Its definitely a delight to watch. It just built on my perspective of Dubai, I loved the overall experience there and decided to visit it more then once again as we had to leave as Deepak and Bharti had come to pick us .
A typical day plan
I was there for two weeks, so I had ample amount of time to explore it. As much as I love to explore , I try not to rush and maximize the opportunity, ensuring quality experience , otherwise it ruins the vacation due to unnecessary stress. Usually, I would wake up early in the day , go for long walk near our residence, which was in Bur Dubai . I would pick a direction , use maps on my phone for easy navigation. It served two purposes . One, I would get my fitness numbers on my fitbit watch . Second, find more places of interest , where we can visit later. Typically , we would spend afternoons either in a mall or at our hosts home. In evenings, we would roam around nearby Jumeirah beach road, or other planned places of interest. Dubai mall fountain area became our favorite hang out point, due to variety of eateries around it and overall beautiful ambience.
During my morning walks, I discovered multiple shopping malls near by like Burjuman, grocery stores like spinneys ,smaller shops and coffee houses. Like any other big city one can find people rushing to their work place in the morning, which was kind of expected. I saw something similar in Singapore. Interestingly, crowd that I observed was primarily expats from various countries.
Furthermore, in such a hot weather, I observed non-AC shabby buses full of people from south eastern countries including India. reaching to under construction sites. I thought, in India, people are so fascinated by Idea of working in middle east that they put everything on stake to work here . Finally this is what they end up doing . Unfortunately, when these people visit their countries, they hide facts about their work, misleading others about their successful lives here. I really wondered why laborers were neglected when everything else appears so perfect. However , it left mark in my perspective of Dubai
I also remember an evening, when we were going for a dinner in Dubai marina, at car parking a young boy in early 20s came to me . He was from Pakistan. He lost his work , he had no money for food and wanted help. I told him I was there just for visit and gave him some money for food. He gave his blessings. I felt and hoped things will get better for him but thought is it really worth it , leaving your home for a imperfect dream.
I will end this post by sharing my own contrasting life where I and Jyoti try to have best time together while dealing with autism of our son. This was our biggest pain when Roy was in his early infancy. Reason I was in Dubai was to drop Jyoti to her sisters , as it was becoming very difficult for us to handle autistic kid along with an infant. Thats how life is , like roses are found with thorns.
I am very close to books since my childhood, I started with fiction, moved to self discovery books, a lot of them can be categorized in self help genre , although I am not very aligned with name given to this genre. Furthermore, I like to apply my learnings from the books I read. I have a huge collection now, both paperback and digital editions. Most of the books are references from authors of other books and friends. Finding flow is also related to a book.
I came to know about a book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Core idea of the book is about being in a state of fulfilling happiness. Its different from pleasure which ends after the activity is over. This is about a state which is achieved by performing an activity where you forget about yourself become one with activity performed, forget the sense of time. Once its over, you have feeling of fulfillment and collateral happiness.
Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
I have been experimenting with this concept. Few years back, I achieved this state again and again by painting. Without getting into the history and later developments of painting, I can easily say I used to feel that flow. I achieved same state at work, again without getting into details of the nature of my work. Similarly there are related activities to my work which allow me to get into that state , but even that needs a break otherwise it becomes one dimensional.
Recent developments this year, caused a major void due to lack of freedom of getting away to beautiful escapes and travels in and outside the country. At home , your options are limited to Netflix, prime , many other Indian online platforms, to watch movies or series . They can help for few months but eventually it gets tiring. Consequently , I again listened to flow on audible, started my experiments again. Thats when rebirth of this blog happened. While writing , I could relive my travel experiences, share with friends, achieve the state of flow, its much more rewarding then watching a series on TV , I am spending my time better, that gives another positive feeling.
Final outcome is overall bliss, meditation like experience. I am sure, while current world order stays as it is , I will continue my experiments and share my experiences with my friends, while I keep finding flow.
Deepak and Bharti our hosts in Dubai had made all the arrangements for our comfortable stay, for background context please read first post on this series. As they had to leave for work, Jyoti and I had all the time with kids to relax. But a little voice in me was telling me to explore the place , instead of just sitting at home. Following its lead , I took out my laptop ,searched the web to find best options for a desert safari that I heard about a lot , from many friends. After searching for a while, I found few options, read their online reviews, I called couple of them, finally got a good deal, our hosts were unavailable for the evening, so we asked Jyoti’s elder sister who also lives in Dubai to join us, she agreed. I started to anticipate a great evening in desert.
Drive to the desert
At 4 pm that day, driver from the event hosting company reached our residence. We were accompanied by few other guests, they were a couple from Zimbabwe. On our way to the desert, I had conversations about various subjects ranging from politics, education, languages and business both from their country and India’s perspective, obviously we discussed cricket which was strongest common factor between us. I came to know lot of new things about their country which we usually do not hear on news or in movies, the usual life of a common man.
We had a tea break on the way, where I found a souvenir shop, I found keffiyeh and asked the person who was selling it, to help me in putting it on my head. I loved it.
We arrived at the location where the event was organized , it was pleasantly different from what I imagined. In above picture, you can see there is sitting space with roof cover for sun protection, then there is sitting place in the middle , for people to sit and enjoy the dance and other shows in the evening. I was with kids who could not bear direct sun, so I picked a seat with roof cover, with extra charges.
The attendant at the entrance was in the traditional Arabic attire, he served Arabic coffee which looked similar to kahwa. It tasted different , attendant after seeing my first reaction suggested to have it with dates. It took a while but I started to like it after few attempts. Later at our seats, we were served with drinks, coffee and snacks.
Twilight in sand dunes ,views , SUVs adventures
After enjoying hookah , drinks and few family pictures by a local cameraman, I walked towards sand dunes, hoping to get picturesque sunset in the desert.
At distance, I saw a group of guys was driving their 4×4 SUVs in sand dunes, apparently it was adventure drive. In fact our event organizer asked me about it but I did not opt for it as I was with kids.
On other side , I found another group of young sheikhs having good time with friends ,attempting to capture the beautiful evening in their cameras.
Finally, after I could not get good sunset view, due to dust in the air, I retuned to Jyoti . She and her sister were engaged in some other activities arranged by event organizers. Aryaman my elder son loves sand, he also had fun playing in it.
Mesmerizing evening in desert
In the evening, we enjoyed dinner with great performances by belly dancers, fire dancers and middle eastern dancers. I had seen belly dancers on TV before but not live, it was great experience. There was sizeable crowd of guests present who enjoyed these performances.
Evening was pleasant, overall experience of drive from city to the desert was memorable , we spent some time talking about it, while local cameramen finished our photographs and delivered in albums. Jyoti bought few souvenirs as well , that is her typical way to make an outing unforgettable .
We were driven back by same driver back to our residence, we were accompanied by same guest couple. They enjoyed adventure drives in the sand. They seem to have a very delightful experience as well. Although all of us were tired after long drive but we finished the day with coffee and telling day’s stories to our hosts about an evening in desert that I still keep reliving.
This was in the year 2018, Jyoti was living with her parents in Pathankot for almost an year . This was to ensure our infant was getting enough care and attention at her parental home. She has many people to attend kids their. I have also talked about this issue in my series on Dubai . Since, it was our marriage anniversary , I wanted to utilize this opportunity to visit few unseen places like Bir Himachal, which is around 141 KMs from Pathankot. I had already reserved the hotel and taxi . We started the journey early morning, the day before our anniversary . By afternoon , we arrived at hotel RS Sarovar portico, which is in Palampur. I loved the view from hotel’s restaurant.
We spent some time in the restaurant in the evening when surroundings became even more pleasant, with a cup of tea.
Later, we enjoyed dinner and family time together. Although, we were tired due to mountain journey with kids. We had great evening, partially because I was meeting them after few months. After marriage and kids, its not easy to stay alone without them. Evening felt really special as we all were together at nice hotel, in gorgeous mountains. We had long conversations about how I spent time alone, work, kids. Discussions about Aryaman , his continued behavior issues due to Autism was a continuous challenge for Jyoti to manage, even at her parents home. Aryaman although had found his new school administrated by Army but Jyoti’s life was still not easy
For our anniversary day , we planned to spend our special day in Bir Himachal and have anniversary dinner back in Hotel, in its revolving restaurant with views of gorgeous mountains.
In this post about few days in Dubai, I am starting a series about my stay in the city . I will share my experiences of this trip. It was year 2018, my family and I were in emirates flight from Hyderabad to Dubai . My original plan was to drop my wife and kids to her sisters place for three months and then return to India. Without getting into details about the reasoning, however , I can mention ,it was more to do with my elder sons autism then vacation time. My visa was for a month, with two weeks leave .The buffer leave time was to observe adaptation of my son into new place . In case he does not adapt well then I planned to bring whole family back.
Flight take offs due to its sound, can be painful for my son due to his condition , so I chose emirate , hoping for better service. Obviously tickets were expensive compared to other options. I was happy that family enjoyed the flight, especially my son did not feel uncomfortable with sound of take off . He had pleasant experience overall.
Although, I had been to Dubai airport many times before during my office visits to Redmond, Seattle . But transit areas of the airport that lead to terminal for Seattle are not that exciting . On the contrary, I found exiting areas of airport better. Unforgettable experience of sweet sound of adhan, in the airport is beyond words. I have special admiration for Arabic and middle eastern cultures, their clothes, lifestyle , perfumes and obviously cuisine.
My sister-in-law Bharti was waiting for us at airport. She picked us up . My wife and her began to catchup on the lost time . Meanwhile , I got into my observation and admiration mode for the city I wanted to visit for such a long time. I could not help but notice this tallest building shared below, on the way to Bharti’s home. My first impression of the city was similar to looking at a sports car, mesmerizingly beautiful.
I am going to write small pieces going forward , including the rest of story on Dubai trip ,as many of my friends shared their feedback that due to longer posts they were not able to read them.