Dear family and friends,
It was a pleasure socializing with all my family and friends in Dubai during this time of the year.
It’s that time of the year again ! While CNN and BBC do their bit of news round ups, the traditional write-up of my year in review is shared with friends and family (also attached) Please read/enjoy!
I take this opportunity to wish you a bright peaceful prosperous healthy wealthy and blessed new year 2014!
2013 - a year of learning
When the clock struck 12 on New year’s eve, I was on my balcony watching the tallest building in the world erupt into a grand show of pyrotechnics, illuminating the night sky. The witches of last year’s misfortunes were symbolically burnt at the stake, with a promise of a brand New Year.
The first few months kept me and my brother Joseph busy with the establishment of ‘Diasquare’ (our own architectural consultancy ) I was a bit apprehensive at first but slowly digested the idea, succumbed to the decision and am still nurturing the passion to make it big… Sometimes it is challenging to leave the comfort zone and venture out of the well of protection when you are employed by others. Jeffry Archer was in town at that time and I did find an inkling of comfort in what he said – “it is better to find the time and fail than convince yourself that you might have made it…do not let anything stop you.”
‘Diasquare’ got fairly busy, thanks to the first clients who trusted us and ex-companies such as John R Harris who we supported with our architectural skills.
SRILANKA –the emerald isles
One of the first projects was a design of a safehouse for girls in Colombo, Srilanka. We offered our services and flew into Sri Lanka for a few days. Dilurakhshi, our young philanthropist friend, the proprietor of this vision took good care of us. Dilu is very passionate about her work with street kids, providing them with food clothing education and above all a loving Christian home experience. A long standing desire was fulfilled to visit the mission land of our own Goan Padre Jose Vaz. The Emerald island is blessed with beautiful greenery and above all, friendly and hospitable people. My last visit to a Buddhist temple was in Malacca in 2004 and I remember feeling a bit creepy but this time I had no option but to explore a lot more Buddhist monuments and edifices which were imposing but for some reason, the whole ambience,- the vibration created by the chanting, the coloured buntings and burning of incense and agarbathis put me in some peculiar ‘deja-vu’ kind of a disposition.(maybe I was a Buddhist in my last birth! J )The return to Dubai was marked by the sad demise of a good friend uncle Joe who was a kind soul and a vibrant personality in our friends circle and community.(R.I.P) Another notable person in my life worth a mention who departed the earth is Mr Fred Ellis , coordinator at our Church who I respected and admired as a disciplinarian and a meticulous organizer.(R.I.P)
My cousin Melwyn and Valerie graced us with their presence from the wintry North to soak up the Dubai sun. It was one nostalgic ride after another mostly on the curry express as their taste buds were craving the Eastern specialties they missed for a year. It was a refreshing and enjoyable visit.
”Delicious “mancurado” mangoes and jackfruit tree (below) at maternal villa, Margao.
Saligao Church, Goa decked up for the feastday
Summertime and we welcomed the taste of Goa with mum and Aunt Margarida holidaying in Dubai for a month. As usual it was devoted to family fun and heaps of good food! At this time,the office was in full swing and Joseph and I had to leave the guests and make a quick visit to Goa and Pune for site visits and job prospecting. Although we missed Mum’s presence in Goa, sister in law Ivy and brother Cosme, Luella and Leron took very good care of us. It was a hectic yet enjoyable visit, my first summer in sizzling hot Goa after a very long time, so I got to feast on the local summer fruits. A memory worth revisiting is our trip to the Goa Chitra museum in Benaulim which is very educative and it brings out the best of my beloved land.
The visit to the “Lord’s ranch” in Pune was a wonderful experience; - set high up in the mountains , surrounded by forests, clean air and verdant greens, was a lovely respite from the concrete jungle we live in . It was a pleasure to collect the little sweet berries- karanda (Carissa spinarum, the Conkerberry or Bush Plum) and I could eat them sun ripened straight from the thorny shrubs. This is the first time in years I got to look up and acknowledge the beauty of the sky for never had I seen a darker sky . I could literally recognize and count the stars distinctly.
some views of “the Lords’ Ranch” Pune
As far as creativity is concerned the awareness was always sharp taking in ideas, reading, baking, trying some creative desserts and the diary and pen kept well exercised .Conducted two classes of introducing crafts to children at a school book festival which was again more of a learning how to contain unruly kids then teaching! A renewed sense of appreciation of the teaching profession and I silently blessed my own teachers. My nephews Leander and Leroy made the family proud with their artistic talents; Leander excelling in his music and writing and Leroy ‘the little Picasso’ winning painting prizes. Early next year Leander leaves us to pursue his higher studies in the UK. An occasion to celebrate - Cousin Merle tied the knot but I could not be a part of her big day in Goa on the 23rd of December. Wish her well as we welcome Chris into the fold.
All in all, mixed feelings as we cross another milestone , not a smooth ride but when bad things happened specially on the work front we just calmly laid out all the options (with the help of the ever positive Joseph), and failure was not one of them…. Panicked a bit (that’s my birth right ! ), but we never gave up on finding a solution. So each day was lived inside a classroom which will surely see a successful graduation day,… someday ! J
“The babbling brook would lose its song if the stones were taken away” !!! J On this positive note I move into the new year…..Wish you all a blessed new year 2014!
God bless you,