My Stay at the Palace

I landed on the dusty Cairo International airport in the spring of 10 th of April, excited to be received by my dear father who was standing at the immigrations.The calmness on his face gave me an impression that he actually is the native of this place.

I’ve always loved Egypt, its a place after my own heart.I could distinctly see how worn-out the place was, quite but not strange to me.Showed my passport to the officer who found it difficult to believe that I was not an Egyptian National.

Next, I showed my passport to the officer who found it difficult to believe that I was not an Egyptian National.

Accompanied by my dad, we sat in the Chauffeur driven car and headed to the  Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino in the posh district of  Zamalek.It was a 30 minutes ride.

Egypt has been through a lot of political turmoil recently and it was evident from the all the buildings and monuments we passed.seeing the police stationed gave me the creeps.

As my Mercedes-Benz entered the gate , I was transformed to another era.Amazing architecture and beauty surpassing anything like it in the city of Cairo.And the history is equally spectacular.


I felt home, checked into the best room in the hotel and the rest is history.The ambience the food and above all the hospitality is impeccable.

The ambience the food and above all the hospitality is impeccable and the historical story behind the place itself made me feel that I am indeed blessed to be a part of it.

morning from my balcony Cairo Mariott

A view from my window of the famous Cairo Tower or’BURG QAHIRA’

History of the Palace

Built by Khedive Ismail as a guest palace for the Suez Canal inauguration celebrations in 1869, the historic Palace Al Gezirah in Cairo, Egypt, has housed European monarchs, including Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. It was to be the venue of the first performance of Verdi’s Opera Aida.


I come from an architecturally obsessed family , so cannot help to talk about the hotel’s architecture.

The architecture and construction of the ancient palace reflected Khedive’s passion for neoclassical style, as popularized in Europe. He engaged the services of Austrian Architect Julius Franz , who also designed the Abdin Palace.

German architect Carl von Diebitsch was contracted as the palace’s interior designer. He designed the décor and prefabricated the furniture, draperies, and other internal fittings.And the palace still maintains its glory.

The palace has hosted several historic ceremonies throughout the years, including the wedding of Khedive Ismail’s son, which lasted 40 days.

It was confiscated by the state due to outstanding debts, acquired by the Egyptian Hotels Company.In 1919, the hotel was sold to Habib Lotfallah, a Syrian landlord who had settled in Cairo. In 1961, during the time of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the palace was nationalized and became the Omar Khayyam Hotel.



Interior of Gezirah Palace

In the 1970s, the property was handed over to Marriott International for management. They restored the original palace, furnishing it with amenities befitting a five-star hotel .

Today, the palace is all that remains of the estate. Many of its rooms and furniture have been preserved and restored to their historic splendor, and now serve as reception rooms and lounges. Many of the decorative elements that can be seen in several locations throughout the hotel.IMG_0507

Happy Doctor’s Day

March 30th has been set aside to honour America’s physican.It is the anniversary of the day in 1842 on which Dr. Crawford W. Long removed a tumor from the neck of a man while the patient was anesthetized by ether.

The American Medical Association promotes various activities to mark this day, including walk-a-thons and blood drives.


American Medical Association

515 N. State St.

Chicago, IL 60610


The Enthusiastic KSAALT at UBT, Dhahban- KSA

The recent KSAALT Mini-Conference was next to amazing. As a member of the organising committee and as a presenter, I was extremely overwhelmed. We got a very encouraging response on the event day by our host; The University of Business and Technology, UBT Dahban Campus, Makkah –KSA.

Everyone arrived on schedule although; it was a 35 minute, early morning ride from Jeddah. Smooth registered by the dedicated KSAALT team made it easy to enjoy the workshops presented by able and experienced educators from around the Kingdom.

The Welcome speech was delivered by Dr. Aiman A. Magrabi, General Director of ELA- UBT followed by a plenary by Dr. Hussian Al-Salahi from KAU on English Literacy Refined.

There were 15 workshops and lectures respectively, commencing at 9:20 am and finishing at 2;30 pm. Workshop presenters included Dr. Catherine Roy from King Abdul Aziz University; Ms. Karen Palmer and Ms. Ghada ElKoussy from Dar Al-Hekmah. Ms. Warqa Hamiddin from UBT gave a workshop entitled Don’t be Outdated Be Updated  and many more.

Ms. Asma Hakami also from UBT presented an amazing interactive workshop on Teaching Vocabulary Through Drawings and Storytelling.

A very energetic and enthusiastic workshop entitled, Flashcards as an Engaging Tool in the EFL Classroom was thoroughly applauded. It was presented by Ms. Bushra Latif, ESL instructor from the King Abdul Aziz University- ELI, Head Master Trainer at Master English Training and one of the KSAALT’s enthusiastic organising members.

Presenters and attendees had the facility of tea, coffee and snacks early morning and a sandwich lunch break before closing. UBT volunteers made sure of the smooth commotion of guests, presenters and attendees through the campus.

At 2:30 Presenters were given a tour of the whole campus and its exceptional facilities as a complimentary gesture.

KSAALT TESOL (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Association of Language Teachers), a non-profit professional service organisation for English language teachers, created in 2006 with a handful of dedicated educators who had a desire to serve, educate, and connect English language teachers in Saudi Arabia through professional development.

KSAALT became an affiliate of TESOL International in 2007, an associate of IATEFL in 2010, and an affiliate of TESOL Arabia in 2015.

KSAALT’s upcoming event is entitled:  A Teacher’s Retreat: Professional Development Day at Dar Al Hekmah University – Jeddah. It will be held on Saturday, March 25th at Dar Al-Hekmah Campus, Jeddah from 8:00 to 1:00.

Register online:

Saturday, February 4 World Cancer Day 2017


4 February is World Cancer Day.  When millions of people unite in the fight against cancer.

On this day, everyone who shows their support will raise vital funds for life-saving research.

Cancer is the biggest killer worldwide. With your support, our researchers have helped double survival rates in the last 40 years.

Things That Changed..

Our relationship with our parents are unlike any other.Parents take care of us physically and mentally when we are not able to fend for ourselves and they are an encouragement when nothing seems to be going as planned.Their love is unconditional- beyond bounds…

Nothing can prepare you to lose a parent.It is irreplaceable, I lost my father at a point when our relationship evolved from teacher to friends.My dad was the one person who could see into my soul and could call me out in the most respectful way.He taught me what humanity, empathy and generosity means.He taught me who I am and what I can become. He taught me to forgive.

People say grief runs its course and it comes in stages but doesn’t seem to fully go away.

His death made me physically ill for six months, I literally vomited and ended up in the ER.It has ripped the remainder of our family apart.His friends into shock and sorrow.

The burden was immense, beyond words, but I understand why I was chosen.I was always the stronger one in the family, so for that I am grateful.

It’s like being a widow- in a club? Where you are a member forever…

Everyone says life goes on, but there are times when I still break down like it happened yesterday.Here I sit with all the luxuries that he provided me, excited to reach for the phone to call when he will never pick up the phone.

He lives, within me. His death has forever changed me and how I look at the world. In an odd way it has made me closer to my creator; to be a better daughter, sister and friend.I am always acutely aware of what memories can mean to people around me and how I impact their lives while I am on this earth.It made me realise that now I have given the responsibility to carry on the wishes and moral teachings given by my late father.

Everyone deserves to know how much they are loved and when I am gone, what I teach and instil will be my legacy.


My Hero 








ICEFL 2016 1st International Conference of English as a Foreign Language Education -University of Jeddah

The city of Jeddah has had the esteem privilege and honour of hosting the 1st International Conference of English language teaching as a foreign language in the kingdom at Hilton , Jeddah.

Amazing informative conference with international speakers and equally lovely educational exhibition featuring all the top institutes based in Jeddah including Master English Training.

Saudi and Expatriate teachers attended with vigour even though  the three-day conference was during the working hours.



The 425 years old Majestic Charminar of Hyderabad Deccan from THE CITY OF LOVE


The Charminar is a monument and mosque in Hyderabad, India. The structure was built in 1591 AD. It is the most famous building of Hyderabad and also one of the most famous buildings in India. It was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi (1580- 1611) who was the fifth and most celebrated ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of Golconda to celebrate the end of a deadly plague.

248420293-8827bAccording to historians, On an auspicious day ,’When the Moon was in the constellation of Leo, and Jupiter in its own mansion’, the sultan issued a decree that a new city be built outside the fort.It should be ‘unequalled in the world and a replica of paradise itself.Therefore, the city was planned incorporating many features of the mythical Islamic heaven.Surah 47, 14;56, 28:7,47; and 55 of the Quran gives a complete description of the heavens.

 For centuries this city is often identified with this majestic monument, which stands at the center of the old city in its entire splendor amidst the colorful LAD BAZAR with its glittering traditional bangles.

Hyderabadis take much pride in the tall Charminar and make it a point to take their out-station friends to witness its magnificence.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the poet king of Golconda laid the foundation stone of the city. Muhammad was perhaps wearing black robes as a mark of mourning for Muharram but he recited the famous manajat (prayer) about filling the city with people like fish in an ocean. And so it was.

A city of magnificent palaces, shopping arcades, parks with flowing streams soon developed rapidly around the monument which was completed by 1596 and the people started calling it Baghnagar and Hyderabad.


 The city built for the love of Bhagmati

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah says:

Ay Qutb Shah

Nabi ke sadqe mein Bhagmati se milkar…

Khud ko Qutb Shah ki dasi samajh kar khoob saj sajakar ayi hai.”

(By the grace of Nabi you have met Bhagmati… She who has decked up just for you).

While most Persian histories record the name of the city as Hyderabad, the first among them, Ferishta called it Baghnagar.


585_luther_1Bhagamati was a mystic Hindu queen of Muslim sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah and is considered a myth by some historians. Qutb Shah was the fifth sultan of the erstwhile Qutb Shahi Dynasty who ruled over the Golkonda region of South India in the 16th century.[1] Whether the old names of the city shown variously as Bhagnagar or Bhagyanagarrelate to Bhagmati or not, also remains controversial

Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah married Bhagamati in the year 1589 CE and remained with her until his death in 1611 CE. The sultan bestowed the title of Hyder Mahal on Bhagmati. Quli Qutub Shah and Hyder Mahal had a daughter named Hayat Baksh Begum, who was married to Qutub Shah’s nephew Muhammed Quli. Sultan Muhammed Quli succeeded the throne soon after the death of Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah.

Whatever be the reason, Charminar has withstood the ravages of time and even the wrath of Mughul Emperor Aurangzeb, who in 1687 while destroying buildings of Hyderabad had also placed a cannon in front of Charminar, but someone told him that there was a mosque on the second floor of the monument and that saved the monument.

The Deccan Heritage Trust and several organisations in the city celebrated the 425 years of Hyderabad on Saturday by releasing 24 vintage picture postcards of the VI Nizam Mahboob Ali Pasha and of Charminar. A lithograph dating back to 1830, technically the first image of Charminar, was released for the first time to the public.

Recalling the founders of the city and the legacy they left behind on the occasion of Hyderabad’s 425 years

Sheher baqi hai, mohabbat ka nasha baqi hai

Tu nahin hai teri chashm-e-nigaran baqi hai

~ Makhdoom Mohiuddin


Charminar is often called “The Arc de Triomphe of the East”It is a square edifice with four grand arches each facing a cardinal point that opened once upon a time into four royal streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, more than 55 meters high with a double balcony. A bulbous dome crowns each minaret with dainty petal like designs at the base.

A beautiful mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutb Shahi times.

 About 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the upper floor. Once atop, the solitude and serenity of the beautiful interior is refreshing. The space in the upper floor between the minarets was meant for Friday prayers. There are forty-five prayer spaces.

Built with granite and lime-mortar, the Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. The intertwined arches and domes are typical of the Islamic architecture. The graceful floral motif atop the Charminar is enchanting!




The untold Charminar by Syeda Imam