When #DanSaidJes: unconditional love, and inspiring connections (part 1)

What a magnificent weekend! It is Sunday, 13th March 2022, 11:25 PM, as I’ve begun typing this. I’m in my office, and still riding a wave of euphoria, novelty, love, and surprise.

To say I have been looking forward to this wedding is putting it mildly.

I’ve been counting down to this date for several months, and decided to set a few goals at the outset. As history has taught me, having an upcoming event makes me work harder to achieve my goals.

I am somewhat satisfied with the progress I’ve made towards them, but this inspirational weekend also reinforced how much work remains before I get to where I want to be.

Which is why I’d like to thank you; Jesar and Daniel, for hosting your wedding in Abu Dhabi, sharing your love with us, and having me as part of your celebrations.

As cheesy as it sounds, I love love – it is a pure and incredibly powerful emotion – and one that, off-late, I’ve been giving myself healthy doses of. Love truly does conquer all. I also love functions that bring people together.

And your wedding delivered on both accounts, and how.

From witnessing friends reuniting after several years; to getting emotional at speeches (and making me tear up in the process) to connecting with new creative people (aka my favourite thing ever!) I am grateful to have experienced unconditional love, and uninhibited human connection these past 3 days.

I will elaborate on the events of this weekend in another blog. Stay tuned.

Until then, here are three memories that will not leave me in a hurry:

  1. I will never forget the vivid colours of the sky during magic hour. Just like me, it seemed like the clouds themselves had taken a leave of absence as the sun gradually set.
The gorgeous mandap. Shot 11th March 2022, Saadiyat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Completing this picturesque sight was the calming beach backdrop, the gentle sound of the waves as they lapped the shoreline, and the gorgeous mandap taking pride of place as I watched one of my oldest friends solemnly circle the sacrosanct flame. Priceless.

2. Receiving a trophy for hyping the ‘#DanSaidJes Party Squad’ WhatsApp group. Jesar – if that was an ad-hoc decision, wow, I am touched. If that was planned previously, that’s still excellent. I’m guessing it was the former. Either way, I loved it! I thrive on being the ultimate hype man and to have my efforts recognized like that was super. Big love, thank you.

3. This isn’t a memory as much as it is a bouncy, up-tempo Spanish EDM track, that is stuck in my head. (Appreciate the ID, Athena.) And you know what? I don’t mind it at all. Whilst I have outgrown my big-room house days – I now fiercely love underground house and techno – the role of dance music has always been to unite, and provide people with a cathartic release.

And based on the reactions from the yacht, Sangeet, and Reception, this tune collectively made us lose our marbles. That’s a win, in my book.

Big up, DJ DAD. He certainly knew what he was doing when he closed the wedding with this ravey, Carnaval-esque banger…

The transatlantic curse

To the US and Canada-bound crew, I trust you’re back safe and sound. (Update – just learnt that some guests tested positive for COVID-19. I hope it isn’t the latest variant, which can cause people to gain tremendous amounts of weight. It is quite annoying; it is called the om-nom-nom-ni-cron variant…

Yes, dad jokes are my specialty. Sorry, not sorry.)

Jokes aside, I hope you are able to acclimatize to your current time zone, and fast. Having flown in to the US several times (one trip included another unforgettable wedding in Hawaii) I know all too well how vexing dealing with jet lag is.

By the time you’ve adjusted to your local time zone, it is already time to fly back, and readjust.

I have two tips for you:

1. Get some sun to help reset your body’s circadian rhythm. Which will mean staying up during the day, even if your brain is telling you to sleep as per Gulf Standard Time (GST).

Suck it up peeps, life is difficult. (I’m only half-kidding. The sooner you accept this fact, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.)

2. Exercise. At night. If you’re the kind that feels sleepy after a workout, this works a charm! If you’re the kind that feels rejuvenated after a workout, like me…

…then God help you. May the Sandman pay you a visit ASAP, and cover your eyes with their magic dust.

Sri Lanka’s bountiful beaches beckon

Jesar, I trust you’re having a wonderful honeymoon in Sri Lanka. Although I’m sure Daniel’s got it planned to a T, I’ve visited in 2017 and have recommendations. If you’re looking to hang ten, Arugam Bay on the west coast has solid waves; Mirissa is home to whale-watching; and Hikkaduwa has a lovely beachside vibe.

View outside my Airbnb. 20th August 2017, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka.

“The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will.”

Oh, Andy. From my early days in advertising to the on-going renaissance in my creative life, you continue to inspire from beyond the grave.

That’s about it from me. For now. I must make time to work on the second part of this blog, not to mention the #DanSaidJes wedding vlog. I am also considering to restart my Instagram-based t-shirt blog @teesonthestreets, thus ending my 2.5-year hiatus from social media.

Moving forward will be a tricky balancing act:

  • I’ve already got my hands full with my YouTube channel. Editing is a time-consuming process. More so when you’re learning from scratch, and despise releasing shoddy work.
  • The ideas for my blog are flowing freely. I’ve seemingly hit a purple patch in my writing. Most importantly, I’ve finally figured the secret to beat writer’s block…

Show up. And write. It’s not rocket science.

  • And after watching Susan’s vibrant UAE vlog, my mind ran abuzz with the possibilities of exploring TikTok. Susan, I love your vlog! Track choice was spot on. I’m not sure how much footage you shot and had to edit. Or did you shoot mini clips from TikTok itself? No idea how this works; but it was a fun watch, and succinctly summed up both, the wedding, and your trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I watched a few of your TikToks on my laptop and enjoyed them. If I download TikTok, you’ll be the first person I follow. I’m game to listen to someone talk about art, culture, and design.

So many projects. Not enough time. But that’s not your problem. It’s mine.

And it’s a good problem to have. To learn how to master your time, so you can have more time to do what makes you happy.

Which for me, is working on my creative endeavours.

Thank you all for coming down to Abu Dhabi, and for bringing your unique energy to make this weekend unforgettable. It was an absolute pleasure hanging with some of you. Have a strong week – I’ll catch you in the next blog.