Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Big Bang Theory actor discusses his life.

Though I don't ordinarily publish interviews that I've not done myself, I've made an exception for this handsome bloke.
The Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar sat down to discuss how he left home at 18 to persue his acting dreams in the US. Shot exclusively for British Airways, I couldn't deny my readers the chance to hear what he has to say.
After all, it all started with a Big Bang!

35-year- old Nayyar is famed for making people laugh but the video reveals a more vulnerable side of the actor who shares how he and his family were in tears on the phone after he landed the life-changing role of Raj or Rajesh Koothrappali in the hit US sit-com.

"My parents really inspired me to leave home. I think they found it was very good for me to grow as a human being. And I wasn't scared as much as I was excited, to be honest. I was 18 and I was going to a new country."

With The Big Bang Theory, "It took six weeks for me to find out I had got that role. So they were present throughout those six weeks every day when I was calling them freaking out. I woke them up at 3:30 in the morning. Of course, the first thing your parents do when you call them in a different country is like, "Are you ok? Are you safe - why are you calling us at this time?"
"I was like, 'Ya, ya - I'm great;' and I am just weeping, just crying, because this meant so much to me to be this kid from New Delhi, India, who made it onto the big screen."

Kunal now regularly flies for work and believes air travel has changed the world for the better, giving people a chance to pursue their dreams and grow their businesses. Being a frequent traveller now, he explains, "All the time I meet people while I'm travelling and flying that inspire characters. I once met an elderly Indian gentleman on a plane who spoke in half-sentences.That was something I later used for Raj."

Watch the full interview by copying this link in a new window:

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A season of giving

It is the season of Iftars. A time when people get together and partake of a meal in friendliness. Of course many venues go to great lengths to create a spread that no one can possibly complete in one sitting.
The desert spread at Kings Grill at the Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman.

The Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman set up a lovely Iftar at King’s Grill. It was attended by media persons from across the UAE. A selection of grilled specialties, appetizers and desserts were all on offer. What was particularly appealing was the view of the serene beach across the road. I particularly liked the juicy mutton kebabs. The salads too were fresh and kept simple.

The amazing grill prepared fresh. 

A sea of healthy salads.

One of the main attractions for me at Iftar is the Arabic sweets. Umm Ali is prepared warm or at room temperature. I prefer the former. A warm dough that is enveloped in pistachios and nuts and soaked in sugary milk. Its no wonder that this dish is seen at most hotels. There is also a selection of dates and other dried fruit along with baklava.
As the Ramadan season slowly draws to a close, the promise of a blessed Eid is upon us. May this season bring peace and comradery to all.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Rather delightful

The intriguing entrance to Barbecue Delights at Downtown Dubai.

With the holy month of Ramadan almost upon us, eateries around the city are pulling out all the stops to invite people to partake in their select banquets.

My first pre-Ramadan meal was at Barbecue Delights. A popular eatery in this city, they also have branches in the Lamcy area, JBR and Downtown Dubai. This was my first visit but I had heard from a lot of friends that the food here is quite good. They weren't wrong.

The restaurant serves a variety of Pakistani, North Indian and Afghani cuisine. There's a mix of Reshmi kebab, Prawn fry and mutton ribs to name a few. Paired with a number of chutneys (accompaniments), the starters alone can leave you feeling full. Freshly fried vegetable pakoras and samosas are also part of the Ramadan buffet.
Guests can then choose from traditional breads, Chicken biryani or Kabuli pulao or plain rice. Most of the food is not madly spicy. Perhaps that is in keeping with the Downtown Dubai crowd.
The Chicken haleem was a good twist to the otherwise mutton variety of the dish. The mixed vegetable and paneer dishes provide options for the vegetarians.

My favourite part of the meal is of course the desserts. With Gulab jamun and jalebi that is distinctly different from the Indian preparation, it was not easy to figure out what sets these deserts apart. They look and almost taste the same. Yet there is something different in each of them.

Grilled prawns

Shahi Tukray and Jalebi

The Shahi Tukray deserves a special mention for its royal name. Loaves of bread are dipped in a heavy concoction of sweetened cardomom milk that's sprinkled with pistachio. Every bite is heavenly (if you ignore the amount of calories involved).

The relaxed ambience of Barbecue Delights is perhaps its biggest draw. No doubt the days to come will see people headed here in droves. The branch in Downtown Dubai certainly left me a satisfied customer.

Barbecue Delights is located in Clarens building, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai.
Tel: 0443 43 4443 


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Morgan Taylor launches in the UAE

The Beautyworld Middle East conference is larger than you can ever imagine. With a host of countries participating and a mammoth spread over six large halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre, it remained buzzing from 15 to 17 May.

The owners of the Morgan Taylor brand, Morgan Haile and Taylor Daniel.

Meeting the American girls who own and run the Morgan Taylor brand was the highlight of my day. Not only were the girls excited to share details about the brand, they carry off the latest shades of their company, as only true brand ambassadors can.
Developed by Danny Haile and David Daniel, the brand made its debut at Beautyworld Middle East 2016. It has been successful in USA and has in the past tied up with the Kung Fu Panda 3 Film Franchise, along with a few other companies.

The company boasts of exquisite nail art designs with the rich formula, colour palette, consistency and shine and the impressive long-wearing Gelish, the leader in Soak-off Gel. The Soak-Off Gel Polish which applies like polish and cures in a LED lamp in 30 seconds, stays on nails for up to 3 weeks with no chipping.
Morgan said, "We are delighted to be in Dubai. Everyone here is so fashion conscious." The girls made it a point to take in the sights a day earlier. They also completed a dune bashing expedition. Of course they spent a lot of time trying to understand their consumers from the region. "We've noticed that there is a lot of demand for the pinks and of course the shiny colours."
When asked about their age demographic Taylor said, "We want to cater to everyone from teenagers to adults, so there's no real age barrier."

With their partnership with Sawaya International, the exclusive distributor in the Middle East, they will also be offering Morgan Taylor’s Harmony Gelish newest innovation, Two of a Kind. A young and vibrant theme is reflected in its 2016 collections of 250 colors such as the Nautical/Spring 2016
Collection and Street Beat/Summer 2016 Collection.
With over 120 shades to choose from, customers have many options to choose from.

Call it fate, but with all the many activities that were on at the conference, I consider myself fortunate to have met Vu Nguyen who is an exceptionally talented nair artist. He has completed 16 years with nail art and also works as a tatoo artist.
Vu isn't going to simply paint your nails, he patiently draws a woman's face on her nail, capturing minute details. The crowd watches amazed and eager for Vu to share his art with them as well. He tells me he has painted the fingers and toes of popular singer, Gwen Stefani. I wait patiently for him to work his magic and transform my finger in to a picture of a skull and stars. What leaves me pleasantly surprised is that Vu is extremely proud of his work. He jokes and laughs with his team and the owners of Morgan Taylor as he works on my nail. He explains that he lives in California and is originally from Vietnam. He has been asked to judge the nail art competition at Beautyworld Middle East for the past six years.

With the talented Vu Nguyen.

Nail art in progress

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Ab:original makes its TV debut

So yes, I've given away the punchline in the heading of this post. Have to admit I have mixed feelings about seeing myself on camera. Not too sure I match up to the celebrities who were at the event that I was attending.

Food Addict is a new show by Zen Productions. It will focus on Malaysian cuisine with a strong emphasis on healthy foods. The show is expected to air in September 2016 and was introduced to the UAE media recently.

The event was highly anticipated as the launch brought four famous Indian personalities to the venue. These included comedian and actor Javed Jaffrey, actor R. Madhavan, actor and model Rahul Dev (who will be hosting the food show) and singer Sukhbir.

After addressing questions from the media about their favourite foods, R. Madhavan threw light on his experiences with Malaysian cuisine. Incidently the actor and Sukhbir are both  vegetarian. Actor Javed Jaffrey had us in splits with his characteristic puns. The attendees were then offered an array of Malaysian fusion food. This translated to us being offered Malaysian sweets along with gulab jamun and rasmalai. Everyone seemed to go with the flow. I was asked to offer my views on Zee Connect and here is the short clip. It was a fun event and I can't wait to see the show. Look forward to your feedback as always.

TV clip from Youtube

Image from the event:

Monday, 18 April 2016

The launch of the all new Honda Civic 2016

Over the past few years I've become particularly fond of the Honda brand of cars. It is probably due to their reliability and simplicity. Maybe its also because a Honda Accord took my family and me to a lot of places over the past four years or so.

Which is why I expected no less from the new Honda Civic which was launched in Dubai recently. It has been called the 'Stunning Civic' for its sporty look and added features.

On first glance the 2016 Civic sets an all-new standard in compact car style and performance. With sleek, sporty lines and an improved power-to-weight ratio, it is charismatic, spacious and stylish but also the most efficient in its class. In addition to a brand new engine in the LXi and EXi grades, it also boasts  of a new grade equipped with a new turbo charged 1.5 litre DOHC Direct Injected Inline-4 cyclinder Engine and will be called RS.

Convenience features include a Remote Engine Starter which starts the engine from a distance, ensuring that the car is cooled before you enter. There's also a Smart Entry and Push Button Start. The Electric Parking Brake replaces the hand lever with a compact, easy to operate switch, the Automatic Brake Hold function eliminates the need to keep the foot on the break when at a hill or an

A special mention must go towards the safety of the vehicle. A number of safety technologies benchmarked the 2016 Civic to receive a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in United States of America, making it one of the safest cars amongst its segment.

What particularly took my fancy was the super cool blue version of the vehicle. There are a host of colours to choose from. What is your preference?

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Thailand in Dubai

Most newly opened spas are prettty much the same. They smell minty fresh and have that air of sophistication that makes you feel like all your troubles will be whisked away within an hour of a holistic treatment.
Of course most people, myself included, like to indulge in that feeling of total bliss.
After a very hectic month of far too many things on my to-do list, I booked a signature massage at the newly opened Orchid Palace Wellness Spa.

The spa is located on the 8th floor of Yassat Gloria hotels and apartments. The convenience of the location just makes it ideal. If traveling by the metro, just get off the Dubai Internet City stop and cross the small road from Dubai Tecom. The building is on Sheikh Zayed Road.
In no time the smell of lavender and mandarin transforms your world and a sea of smiling faces greet you in Thai.

Excuse the bragging rights, but having reviewed quite a few spas from the one at the Burj Al Arab to Six Senses Spa, one always wonders how long new spas will last in a bustling city like Dubai. Something tells me The Orchid will go a long way for its sheer commitment to using authentic Thai products. Everything is sourced from natural ingredients. The mandarin infused shampoo and conditioner and natural oils indicate a care for finer details. 

The Orchid Aroma Bliss signature treatment, which I took, combines the best in Eastern aromatic oils and western body massage techniques. Carefully applied pressure works to stimulate your nervous system. A 60-minute massage costs Dhs 240.
The spa is open for both men and women.
Call + 9714 381 887.