Thursday, June 30, 2011

Once Upon a Time in Bombay

Article by Ty McCormick, an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy. 


Historian J. Gerson da Cunha, writing in 1900, called Bombay "the Alexandria of India." Like the fashionable colonial outpost near the Suez Canal -- the so-called "highway to India" -- Bombay entered the 20th century as a particularly bright jewel in the crown of the British Empire.

Under the stewardship of the British East India Company, the transformation of Bombay (now Mumbai) from an archipelago of island fishing villages to commercial center was swift; roads and railways sprang up to connect the city to the rest of the subcontinent, and a massive engineering project to backfill the area between the city's seven constituent islands was completed in 1845. Almost entirely a British colonial creation, Bombay had become one of the most important seaports on the Arabian Sea by 1900.

Today, Mumbai is again in a period of flux. Besides being one of the world's most heavily populated cities and India's financial hub, the metropolis has seen its skyline transformed mightily in the last half-century. Its elegant Indo-Gothic and Victorian spires (seen above, circa 1930) are now dwarfed by massive colorless high-rises; and new architectural projects like the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link bridge, connecting Mumbai with a northern suburb, have remade the city as a cluttered urban jumble that da Cunha would hardly recognize.

Above, attendees at a Bombay party relax in style in 1910. The period of British rule known as the Raj (1858-1947) was a time of great decadence in Bombay. The iconic Taj Mahal hotel, attacked by Pakistani terrorists in 2008, is perhaps the greatest surviving relic of this era.

But then, as now, inequality was a fact of life in the city. And beyond rapid population growth, not much has changed in the interceding century for the city's urban poor. According to the 2001 census, 6.5 million Mumbai residents live in slums, mostly along the sea, in national parks, and on salt pans. Most still live without running water or functioning toilets; even the tarpaulin and sheet-metal slums bear a striking resemblance to the mud huts of yore.

In 1900, much of Bombay's population was transient, and the city was home to less than 1 million people. As James Douglas, then the sheriff of Bombay, recounted in his 1900 portrait, Glimpses of Old Bombay and Western India: "To the native and the European, but chiefly to the latter, Bombay is a city of temporary habitation."

Today's Mumbai is a final destination. A symbol of opportunity for Indians, its population has exploded in recent years to more than 20 million.

Lacking the classic minarets on display in, say, Cairo or Istanbul, this mosque (captured here in a photo from the 1910s) nonetheless captures Bombay's cultural efflorescence around the turn of the 20th century. A thriving modernist Islamic movement inspired by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (today the Aligarh Muslim University) in Aligarh, allowed for a tremendous outflow of art and ideas during this period. By the time George Curzon, viceroy to India, visited Aligarh (in North India) in 1901, science, philosophy, and Islamic culture were all a part of the English-language curriculum.

Since then, a rising tide of Hindu nationalism has attempted to homogenize the once cosmopolitan city. This has manifested itself most obviously in discrimination -- and often violence -- against India's Muslim population, which at more than 138 million is the world's third-largest Muslim population. Another facet of the nationalist movement has been the systematic redubbing of villages, streets, and buildings in the Marathi language. The official renaming of Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 is one result of this campaign.

Young boys pose in front of Bombay's Victoria Terminus railway station, circa 1910. Designed by Frederick William Stevens in the style of Gothic Revival, the station was completed in 1887. It continues to greet travelers to Mumbai under its new name, "Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus." Today, Mumbai's notoriously rickety trains transport more than 7 million passengers daily.

Above, Henry Staveley Lawrence, acting governor of Bombay from 1926 to 1928, and his wife Phyllis do some swashbuckling with an amateur theater company in a photo taken circa 1910.

Today, Mumbai is home to India's "Bollywood," a vibrant Hindi film industry that brings in billions of dollars every year. In 2008, Bollywood produced roughly 800 feature films, outstripping Hollywood, which turned out only 630.

Cars compete with horse-drawn carriages in a Bombay intersection in 1929. Traffic has since grown rather more hectic in the city: Today, Mumbai tops India's vehicular emissions list for cities, despite having less than half as many cars as New Delhi. It also boasts India's longest average commute time at 47.26 minutes.

A barge bearing the British naval flag carries King George V and Mary of Teck, the queen consort, to the shore in Bombay in 1911. India gained its independence from Britain in 1947. It has been the world's largest democracy ever since.

LWDLIK- How lovely to see these great old pics of Bombay. Often when we travel it is hard to envisage what these grand old buildings were like in their heyday. There is an elegance and serenity in these pics that I think has been lost in the hustle, bustle and grim of Mumbai of today. Except, of course, at the 5* hotels like the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, which is like staying in a museum and transports you to another era.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TSC Opens in Shaab Park

Grand opening tonight at 7pm. Food sampling and music to celebrate the occassion.

Beach Clean-up

ExxonMobil's Migratory Birds Program (under Al Yaal) will clean the beach near Maternity Hospital Shuwaikh, this Friday, 1st July 2011 starting 6.30 am. To participate as a volunteer, please email  mentioning your mobile number.

WTG people!

Bargain Britain, I know it sounds daft!

Yes, a very dubious title but have been finding some great bargains in the UK. One of my favourite things to do is search for holidays (don't need an analyst for that one ;O). And due to a little change in plans for my family in UK, they were supposed to fly out to Florida and spend 2 weeks with us there but the flight prices are just horrible; so we are off to Ilfracombe, Devon, England.

Has cost KD153 to change the tickets, loss of our deposit on villa in Florida, headache of getting from Heathrow to Ilfracombe with 5 suitcases, 3 roll-ons and the extra pain in the neck to get a British visa for my hubby. We never get a multi-entry long term visa because every time we go through the visa application formalities, my husband launches into verbal protestations about the inane, personal questions they ask and the price of the visa. Then he swears he's never going again ;O)

UK Visas - General Visitor
Short term visit [up to six months, single or multiple entry]  KWD 36
Longer term visit - up to 2 years  KWD 127
Longer term visit - up to 5 years KWD 233
Longer term visit - up to 10 years KWD 337

He only complains to me, of course, and we always go again ;O)  
So, hopefully, we'll be off to sunny Devon, New York, Florida, Caribbean soon.. Woohoo can't wait :OD
Ok so back to the title. Have found some fab bargains starting at KWD 16 in Ilfracombe, North Devon.
The Towers, Ilfracombe.
The Capstone, Ilfracombe.

Hamptons Hotel, Ilfracombe.
Norbury House, Ilfracombe.  

The Crescent Hotel, Ilfracombe.


And in July, August. September 2011 they have lots going on..

July 31st - SOUTH WEST BIRDMAN COMPETITION - Full day of fun with live bands including The Wurzels culminating in the famous birdman competition with teams dressed up in various flying machines and jumping from the pier trying to fly - all for charity

August 3rd - NORTH DEVON SHOW - See the animals, craft, food and trade tents at North Devon's premier agriculture show.

August 18th - RESCUE DAY ON THE PIER - Britain’s biggest Emergency Services Charity Display Day with Coastguard, Police Force, Fire Brigade, RAF 22 Squadron Rescue helicopter. RNLI Lifeboat. Lifeguards. Search and Rescue. Ambulance Service. Special online advance ticket offer may be found at

August 25th - ILFRACOMBE CARNIVAL - A procession of walkers and floats through Ilfracombe make this an evening to remember.

August 27th and 28th - POWERBOAT RACING - Exciting Thundercat & Powerboat racing circuit off Ilfracombe Harbour.

August 26th - 29th - SUN WEST BEER FESTIVAL AT THE LANDMARK THEATRE - A weekend of live music, entertainment and selection of real ale

August 29th - MINI CAR RALLY - Minis from all over the country get together for a weekend and raise money for local charities.

September 2nd to 4th - SEA ILFRACOMBE - Sea Ilfracombe is an exciting festival celebrating Ilfracombe's natural and marine history, with exhibitions, entertainment, food trail, gig rowing, yacht racing, rock pool rambles and much more.

A weekend of steam on the railway and from road engines. A must for all steam fans.

Very Happy Holidays to you all :OD

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? That is the Question!

Two Kuwaitis face trial for twittering about Gulf leaders.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Harmony House Meditation Centre

What's On this Week 27th June - 3rd July

Monday 27th June, 7-9pm
Meditation foundation course in English with Arabic translation *session 4

Tuesday, 28th June, 7-9pm
Meditation foundation course in English with Arabic translation *session 5

Wednesday, 29th June, 7-9pm
Advance class in English. This is for those who have completed intermediate course in meditation.

Friday, 1st July, 5-6:30pm
Hindi seminar “Samaane ki Shakti” (Power of Accommodation)

Friday, 1st July, 7-8:30pm
Evening meditation

Saturday, 2nd July, 7-9pm
English seminar by special guest speaker, Sister Anusya Sunku, Director of Bahrain Meditation Centre

Sunday, 3rd July, 7-8:30pm
Evening meditation

* are for those who have already enrolled since session 1.

For more details click here Harmony House Meditation Centre.

Top 5 Exercises That Can Be Done At Home

Easy-to-do exercises which you can do at home. Many people can't take out the time to hit the gym due to their busy schedule. These exercises can help you stay fit. And all without the need for any equipment:

#1.  Push-ups

This is one of the most useful exercises that can be easily done at home. If done correctly it can rev up your stamina and build your pecs and triceps.

Beginners may start doing push-ups leaning into their kitchen counters, then working their way down to a desk or chair, onto the floor with knees bent, and on the floor on their toes. To make it harder, put your feet on a stair, bench, or couch while maintaining good form. Start with 10.

#2. Sit-ups

This is another great exercise to do in the house and can be done almost everywhere. This can help in the strengthening of the hip flexors and abdominal muscles.

How to do it:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms across your chest and raise your body up to try and meet your knees. This can cause strain on the back, so if you have a weak back it may be better to do a crunch instead. Or open your legs, still bent and stretch your arms through as far as you can go. Do 20.

Muscles involved: Abdominal muscles and back muscles.

#3. Jumping on the Spot

This might sound a bit silly but it's a great workout and is used to get the heart pumping and build stamina. This can also build your leg muscles.

How to do it:

Literally just jump up and down raising your whole body off the ground by at least 5-6 inch or more. Do 20.

Muscles involved: Calf muscles and thigh muscles.

#4. Squats

It is another easy but very useful exercise for your thighs and buttocks. It helps to shape your buttocks, strengthen thighs and build stamina.

How to do it:

Stand up straight , bend your knees with your arms stretched outright parallel to the floor. Bend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do 20.

Muscles involved: Thigh muscles and buttocks muscles.

#5. Lunges

Why it's a winner: Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body. Lunges also help improve your balance.

How to do it:

Take a big step forward, keeping your spine straight. Bend your front knee to approximately 90 degrees. Keep weight on your back toes and drop the back knee toward the floor-- but don't let it touch the floor.
 Do 10 on each leg.

You must warm up your body first with a 10 minute walk (on the spot will do, arms doing large circles, holding a 1/2 ltr bottle of water in each hand). Followed by each of the above working up to more as you get fitter and more able. You can stretch when and where you feel you need it.

Nike Store Opens in Bida'a

Hmm.. if this is to make me feel even more guilty about avoiding exercise it's working. Need to get slim, brown and hairless for summer ASAP.

"Inside Job" the Movie About The Screwing of the American People

Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner in the documentary “Inside Job.”

It is a heartbreaking movie that reveals the epitomy of greed and corruption in this ugly world of ours. An award winning documentary by Charles Ferguson on the real reasons and people behind the 2008 to date financial recession in America and the rest of the world.

The big fat liars, the unconsionable, the insatiable desire for more wealth - all laid bare by the masterful interviewer who deftly had these men squirming and speechless at times. Some of the other huge stinky fish involved were smart enough not to agree to be interviewed.

A must see movie!

Read more in The New York Times or to view clips

Thank you Mr Ferguson.

Guerlain International Make-up Artist

Sunday, June 26, 2011

‘Permit Kuwaiti Women to Buy Good-Looking Men’

Arab Times, June 25: A few weeks after creating waves with the suggestion that Kuwaiti men be allowed to keep concubines to satisfy their urges, former national assembly candidate and activist Salwa Al-Mutairi has called for issuing a law that would allow Kuwaiti women to buy good looking men from Muslim countries. The men, however, should have ‘slave qualities’ and should be ready for marriage.

According to Al-Mutairi, the proposal would solve the problem of spinsters in Kuwait and would help face the phenomenon of increasing divorce rates in the country.

Talking about the qualities of a slave man, Al-Mutairi said “the purchased man should be polite, modest and good looking. He should obey the orders of his wife and treat her well, so that she spends her life with him in a beautiful way, away from clashes, fights and disputes.”

Salwa added that such ‘husbands’ should be recruited through offices in Islamic countries, not just from Russia, and said ‘wanted husbands for women’ advertisements should mention that the candidate should either be a Muslim or should be willing to embrace Islam.

A Kuwaiti woman can select her husband by looking at the photos of the applicants, she said, adding the proposal will also help eugenics in Kuwait. Al-Mutairi said she would do the job if she was given legal authorization and would visit European and Asian countries which have large Muslim populations and hire men who have the qualities needed to satisfy Kuwaiti women.

Salwa also claimed that a former minister who spent 14 years in his position proposed to her and that he loves her very much but she refused to marry him because he is 30 years older than her. She said she is ready to get married to a young good looking European, even if he is poor.

Meanwhile, Islamic thinker Mohammad Al-Ansari described the proposal on purchasing slaves as “strange, odd and not in tune with the current times.”

LWDLIK- Looney tunes but this is the best idea so far LOL!

Sales are on..

The retailers have wised up and realised that if they don't sell their summer collection before the mass exodus of people out of here, then they'll be stuck with it; so lots of sales going on. Here are a few..

Banana Republic (Avenues)
Boggi (Avenues)
Calvin Klein (Avenues)
Carolina Herrera (Avenues)
Clarks (360, Avenues, Fanar)
Desigual (360)

Gap (Avenues, 360)

Jashanmals (Opposite Muthana Complex)
Juicy Couture (360)

Karen Millen (Fanar, 360, Avenues)
Mango (Avenues, Marina Mall)
M Missoni (Avenues)
Monsoon (Avenues, Souq Sharq)
Naser Sports (Near Avenues)
Pottery Barn (Avenues)
Pottery Barn Kids (Avenues)
Pull & Bear (Avenues, Marina Mall)
Samsonite (Marina Mall, 360)

Sketchers Shoes (Avenues)
The One (Avenues, Marina Mall)
Women's Secret Underwear (360, Avenues)
Zara (Avenues, Marina Mall, Souk Sharq)

If you come across any good ones please share them with us :OD

Kid's Summer Festival 2011, Kuwait

FB page UETC (Shaab Park, Marah Land, 99 Village)

Starts 23/6 to 15/07, sadly missed the first event as didn't see this advertised in English before, but there are still plenty of events planned each weekend til 15/07.

Al Sha'ab Park, Al Marah Land Park and Village 99 in Al Jahra every
Thursday and Friday from 23/06- 15/07.

Al Sha'ab Entertainmant Park 08/07. Marah Land Park in Al Sabahiya 15/07.

Closing of the festival at all three parks 15/07.
My preferance would be Al Sha'ab Park. There is also a play which will probably be in Arabic and a chap called Osama Fouda, he looks like a DJ. Will try to get timings for you but usually these things start after dusk. There are all free admission! 

'Yoda' Wins World's Ugliest Dog Award

A cross between a Chihuahua and a Chinese crested has had the dubious honour of being crowned the world's ugliest dog 2011 in a competition in northern California.

The winner, Yoda, was found abandoned behind an apartment building, and her owner says at first she thought it was an overgrown rat.

Some of the other contestants, Pabst.

And Hercules.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Calling All Ricerologists/Riceophiles. Isn’t this exciting?

The rice fields of Japan..Looks ordinary enough but watch as the rice grows.

Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan, but this is no alien creation. The designs have been cleverly planted.Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye. Instead, different colour rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields. As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants.
The colours are created by using different varieties of rice plants, whose leaves grow in certain colours.
This photo was taken in Inakadate, Japan.

Napoleon on horseback can be seen from the skies. This was created by precision planting and months of planning by villagers and farmers located in Inkadate, Japan.

Fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose lives are featured on the television series 'Tenchijin' appear in fields in the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture of Japan.

From ground level the designs are invisible and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get a glimpse of the work.

Closer to the image, the careful placement of the thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen. Rice-paddy art was started there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew from meetings of the village committees. The different varieties of rice plants grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces. In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year. But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.

In 2005, agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art. A year later, organizers used computers to precisely plot the planting of four differently colored rice varieties that bring the images to life! 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recycling Program in Kuwait

I just found out that there is a recycling program in Kuwait. Three bins will be delivered to your house; one for paper, one for plastic bottles & containers and one for cans. The company delivers and picks up the bins once a week at no cost. Please participate call: Abu Thamer 97217242.

Do your part and recycle!

LWDLIK- Thanks Meriem x

Facebook Wall For Sale

Received this from from a reader..


Just like to share with you news about a Kuwaiti based entrepreneur selling Facebook wall for living.

Sound crazy ;) but it's true!

LWDLIK- Crazy because Facebook is free! Wonder if anyone will buy it? I would say from the 'entrepreneur's' name that he is Pakistani or an Indian Muslim and not a Kuwaiti. He's certainly going to get a lot of attention.

Thanks David.

Lufthansa Jet Narrowly Avoids Crash with EgyptAir Plane at JFK

A packed Lufthansa jet narrowly avoided a deadly collision with an EgyptAir flight that had taxied into its path at Kennedy Airport, terrifying air traffic control tapes revealed.

"Cancel takeoff! Cancel takeoff plans!" shouted a rattled air traffic controller as the massive Lufthansa Airbus A340 steamrolled toward the EgyptAir Boeing 777 just before 7 p.m. Monday.

"Lufthansa 411 heavy is rejecting takeoff," the pilot acknowledged as the plane screeched to a halt just moments before the potential disaster.

"All traffic is stopped right now," the controller informed all planes, according to recordings posted on

The narrowly averted disaster came as the Cairo-bound Egyptian airliner had apparently mistakenly turned the wrong way onto Runway 22R.

The error occurred just as the Munich-bound Lufthansa flight was approaching full lift-off speed of 180 mph less than a mile away.

Stunned pilots who witnessed the near tragedy as they circled the airport let out sighs of relief that no one was killed.

"Those two were coming together," radioed one unidentified pilot.

"That was quite a show. I thought it was going to be a short career," a Virgin America pilot arriving from Los Angeles radioed in moments later.

If the two planes had collided, it could easily have turned into a catastrophic calamity - the Lufthansa plane was carrying 286 passengers and the EgyptAir flight can carry up to 346.

After screeching to a halt, the Lufthansa flight crew requested maintenance crews come and check their overheated brakes.

"Maybe we have hot brakes right now. Maybe we take a minute," a flight crew member radioed to the tower.

The flight took off safely about 40 minutes later. The EgyptAir took off 90 minutes later.

LWDLIK- Oh blimey!

H&M and Versace

Donatella Versace wears her design for H&M

H&M is taking a tour of Italy – a partnership with the luxury house of Versace.

The trendy chain has announced that Donatella Versace herself has designed the exclusive collection for men, women and home for Autumn 2011.

"The exclusive collection will look back to the vibrant heritage of the brand, full of leather, print, color and exuberance in exclusive materials at fantastic H&M prices," according to a press release.

The collection will start to become available on Nov 17th,  in selected stores and online.

"Versace is one of the most important brands of recent times, and their collection for H&M will be glamorous and flamboyant - everything Versace stands for. Donatella Versace is sharing with us iconic designs from the archives. This is such a celebratory collaboration and it is perfect for the party season, " Margareta van den Bosch, creative advisor at H&M said in a statement.

For Versace, it's a chance to introduce their high-end brand to shoppers who would normally not be able to afford to dress in the storied Italian house's luxury designs.

She reportedly rooted through the house's archives for inspiration.

"I am thrilled to be collaborating with H&M and to have the opportunity of reaching their wide audience," she said. "The collection will be quintessential Versace, perfect for H&M and Versace fans everywhere."

She debuted one of the dresses from the Versace for H&M collection at the Versace men's fashion show in Milan on June 20.

LWDLIK- I remember last year's Lanvin partnership too well!

An Afternoon With Lidia Al Qattan at Her Marvellous House of Mirrors

I had intended to visit Lidia Al Qattan's mirrored house in Qadsiya for a very long time and this week turned out to be the perfect opportunity. AWARE  had pre-arranged an appointment with the lovely, joyful, welcoming, Italian Lidia. They organised buses and guidance, to us without a clue, to where Lidia's unusually decorated home is located. Here are some pics from a previous post that really encouraged me to visit.

Once there we were very kindly offered delicious home-baked goodies, refreshments and a fabulous tour of Lidia's home. She told us the story of how Jalila, her daughter, had broken a mirror many years ago and Lidia kept the pieces and that they eventually inspired her first work. After her husband returned from his business trip he was delighted at Lidia's artistic creation. Khalifa Al Qattan, Lidia's husband, was already a well established Kuwaiti painter. Each time Khalifa travelled he came back to a little more of Lidia's new found artistic expression.

After a huge termite infestation that would have stopped most in their tracks but not Lidia. Her determination and enthusiasm in her new hobby led to them eventually finding a solution for the termites and she carried on her work. She says it was the mirror work that probably saved the house. She found the termites when putting up her mirror work and due to the methods she uses to glue the mirrored pieces to the wall, it may have fortified the house and help put an end to the termites destructive plans.

My favourite mirrored room.

The kitchen.

Even the video entrance phone was not left undecorated.

The home is a myriad of art and creativeness, with Lidia as the most delightful hostess, amazing artist and curator of her and her husband's life-long work.

Thank you very much Lidia, my princess and I adored both you and the visit to your lovely home.