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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Halla Walla emoji keyboard celebrates Khaleeji culture

This is just one of the emojis in the new Halla Walla downloadable keyboard app created by Yasmine Rasool and Eriko Varkey. Courtesy Halla Walla
This is just one of the emojis in the new Halla Walla downloadable keyboard app created by Yasmine Rasool and Eriko Varkey. Courtesy Halla Walla

If you want to express your desire for a packet of Omani chips or explain the traditional Khaleeji hair dance ‘raqs sha’ar’, the new Halla Walla keyboard app could be right on time.

The app, which is available for download on IOS and Android, is the brainchild of Dubai residents Yasmine Rasool and Eriko Varkey and has more than 60 emoji and GIFs celebrating the Khaleeji culture, and as an extension, the Arab world.

Halla Walla is Khaleeji street talk that means ‘what’s up?’

The keyboard costs Dh6 to download and has several quirky characters and stickers dressed in traditional Arabic garb representing a range of emotions from surprise to tears.

“We wanted to create something that we know well and give the Khaleeji culture a boost through our creativity,” says Rasool, a 31-year old fine arts major.

“When it came to representing the modern Middle Eastern voice, we felt there was a real gap in social-messaging platforms. From our loud families, endless cousin gatherings and shared meals, to signature phrases, fashion statements, football, shisha and late night shawarma runs — our lives are brimming with inside jokes and over the top emotions that needed a platform to be expressed.”

Halla Walla will launch officially on Wednesday, February 22. For details, visit www.hallawalla.com

aahmed@thenational.ae