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Short Take: Saving habits
July 12, 2014
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Saving habits

“Are you saving enough for the future?”

My wife is concerned about the future, as she often reminds me the ways and means to save and safeguard the future.

These days the word “saving” has no clear definition. For some, regular saving has become a habit irrespective of their income.  My observation is that people who earn less save more. For some, their financial status determines their ability to save.

Recently, a television debate emphasising on saving tendencies of the new generation caught my attention. The anchor had a clear perception about saving, though he often failed to convince the participants representing the younger generation.

Some people are prompt in saving irrespective of their income, and they also have well-structured planning related to spending.

A recent saving index pointed to the fact that lower income people save more regardless of their income and ability to save. 

My daughter never talked to me about saving, as her way of thinking is entirely different and focuses only on meeting her daily needs, for which she depends on her parents.

Such thinking often jeopardises overall life perceptions if they are not managed well. Basically, it is a never-ending process and sometimes ends up misleading the thought process.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Safety first

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed a few days back when I noticed a friend had posted a photo of a horrific accident. One car had  overturned as a result of rash driving, and the other had been banged terribly from the back.

My friend had put an appropriate caption to the photo, “Drive safe guys, the food can wait. Traffic jam after Global Village towards Sharjah.”

I was appalled by the scenario. I understand the need to reach home in time for Iftar during Ramadan, but we must acknowledge the speed limit and traffic rules that have been created for our safety.

It is not only in the month of Ramadan that the number of accidents is high; it seems that they are soaring all year around.

Risking your and fellow commuters lives to be on time is not worth it.

In order to be on time, various precautions could be taken, like getting an hour’s head start, etc.

We have been granted this life by the Almighty then why not take better care of it for ourselves as well as for our loved ones? After all if roads are safe then lives are saved.
Vismay Anand

Amazing NY

I have noticed something contradictory about short trips. They tend to be hectic but also memorable, especially if they are visits to famous destinations. My week- long trip to New York was not an exception to this rule.

New York is a fascinating city, with its famous landscape comprising iconic structures such as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge.

The trip will be incomplete if one doesn’t visit Times Square, take pictures with the Statue of Liberty and gaze upon nature’s marvel, Niagara Falls.

So with just a week in hand and a packed itinerary I was still able to thoroughly enjoy myself and tick a few items off my bucket list.
K. Ragavan, Denve

Silly mistakes

Recently, after completing a Mathematics exam, and battling a cold simultaneously, I came out of class feeling quite happy and pleased with myself. However, this feeling was short-lived.

During the few minutes between handing in my paper and walking out of class, I wondered whether the paper was easy or that an all-nighter had been effective for once. Once outside I met some friends and started comparing answers.

When I asked them about a particular question that had baffled me for some time, and was about to suggest that the question was perhaps wrong, one of them hinted at a possible formula error on my part.

I was about to dismiss it when I suddenly realised, that while I had written the right formula I had forgotten to apply it correctly. I had spent at least 15 minutes staring at my answer unable to spot the very silly and obvious mistake.

Such silly mistakes are not limited to exams. Pondering a bit more, this incident reminded me that life seems to be full of moments where we stare too hard at a problem and miss out on the obvious solution. Or for that matter stare too long at a problem and fail to recognise it.
Sonali Oshin Chopra

Scenery change

Summer for me is all about daydreaming. While I appreciate the UAE, I can barely stand the heat that settles in and saps my energy. For the better part of summer, I tend to stay indoors in the air-conditioned comfort of my home, but this means that I lose the opportunity to see new things and new places.

I envy all those people who escape the summers for more soothing climes. In my head, I too am on a golden beach with azure waves…except I’m really sitting on my couch, watching Channel V or Dubai One.

Books are a great way for me to travel mentally, but nothing beats the thrill, excitement, and benefits of a new horizon. A fresh new location can do wonders for one’s mental (and often physical) health – and let’s face it, the experiences that go along with travelling are priceless.

In the past, I have been privileged enough to visit a myriad of countries, and this year (as it is with me every year), the itch to travel returns. Ideally my preferred job would involve travelling, and I don’t mean just tropical locales. There is much to be learned from every corner of the world, and I am enthusiastic about visiting them.

For now, I will embrace the artificially-cooled chambers of my house, but the second I know I can travel, I will be on that plane faster than Scrooge McDuck to his vault of gold.
Shruti Sardesai

Moustache matters

Everyone recognises my husband by his moustache. I am used to people asking me, “That’s your husband, right? The one with the moustache?”

If you ask, “Is he the only one with a moustache?” it’s because you haven’t seen him.  But once you lay your eyes upon him, even as in a picture of him, you’ll know that he is the one with ‘the’ moustache.

My husband has sported a moustache almost ever since I’ve known him — almost because, when I first saw him, he didn’t have one. He would, later on, tell me that that was the most embarrassing moment of his life — that his first impression upon the girl whom he intended to marry had to be when he was moustache-less.

In the early years of our marriage, he would try various styles, sometimes allowing his moustache to grow thick and bushy, sometimes giving it a thin and short look, till finally he groomed it to this eye-catching growth that has become his identity ever since.

There is something about my husband’s moustache that makes it a prominent feature of his countenance and has an ever growing list of admirers, sometimes even total strangers.

Interestingly, his moustache has also been an invariable topic of discussion whenever we catch up with friends. Our male friends, I have noticed, are divided in their opinion.

There is the group of youngsters who gloat over this distinctive piece of mastery and is inspired to sport one like that.

And there is the other group, which, I realised quite recently, consisted of married folk, that tries to convince him to “come out clean.” Some even blame me, in a friendly way of course, for allowing him to wear a moustache.

I had always wondered in what way was I connected to my husband’s moustache till we ran into one person recently. This guy, whom we had always known to be moustache-less, was strutting about flashing a brand new, full-grown moustache with a touch of a beard for better effect. He said that he and his wife had a falling out and she had left him.

He was just making use of this wife-less situation to do things he had always wanted to do without having to make any compromises, and his moustache was the first step in that direction.
Vidya Shankar

Changing life

Today, I am in an uneasy frame of mind. While parting is difficult, departing is more difficult.

The first is about my home in Abu Dhabi. It was my home away from home and I had been living in that flat for about 14 years now. My house and the neighbourhood were dear to me.

The building was old with limited facilities and age took its toll. It was declared uninhabitable by the municipality. All the tenants had to look for accommodation elsewhere.

They say, a change is an opportunity. I parted with many old items that I had earlier thought I couldn’t live without. It was a difficult choice to select and pack what I wanted and what I didn’t.

Finally, I moved in to a new place. I am confident I will soon blend in here.

The second one is about a college mate. During our college days we were actively involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.

I regularly contributed to community issues through reports in local dailies. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same columns.

Recognising the identity of the person, I gathered his address and contacted him.

It was none other than my college mate whom I thought I would never meet again.

We travelled almost the same path with regards to community  issues. Many of our suggestions helped the administrative authorities rectify issues identified without delays.

A few years ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer.

A man of strong will, he did not discuss much about it. He kept himself cheerful and participated in activities of the India Social and Cultural Center and other associations.

Last week, I came to know that he was in the ICU struggling for his life. It was difficult to meet him at the ward in his partially conscious state.

It has been almost a week now and he remains in the same critical condition. We keep hoping that he will recover and return to his normal self.

Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with subsidised treatment for cancer patients.
Ramesh Menon

Bright side

It was another difficult day for me as I was pondering over a topic for my weekly Short Take. When I couldn’t think of anything worth writing, I wished to skip one this week. Thus I forgot about it and went on with my other work.

Soon, I started the filing of old articles which I had forgotten to do for the last few weeks. While doing so I came across many of the articles that were most appreciated by readers.

I smiled seeing them. I realised that I should continue writing to reach the heights of success and should try not to skip one just because I can’t get a topic.

After all, even Sachin Tendulkar had a bad patch in his illustrious career.

The most successful captain of Indian cricket,  Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also lost a few important matches.

And most recently, one of the most triumphant soccer teams, Brazil, also got out of the World Cup with a humiliating defeat.

After finishing the filing of my latest articles, I brought the file of my old articles out of the cupboard.

Soon there was a visitor. Without realising what I was going through, he commented, “You shouldn’t rest on your laurels.”

I wanted to reply that he was wrong. I was going through my old work, which had won me much praise and helped me get inspired and motivated to produce much better work than those.

It is rightly said, “The glass is never half empty but always half full.” Why do we need to see the negative side and not the positive side?
Saamia Mujeeb
(Student, Indian High School, Dubai)

Secrets of a ‘master chef’

“It’s very simple,” started my teacher-wife before leaving for school. “Heat oil with mustard and curry leaves. Fry chopped onion and tomatoes with salt. Add rice. That is it.”

I did not know cooking was so easy.

When she returned in the evening, the tomato rice was hailed as “yummy” and I was crowned “Master Chef.”

I did not realise then that I had ignored a repeated warning by my boss: “You do once at home, you do it forever.”

That one-day adventure encouraged my wife to leave the cooking department with me on most days.

The latest “easiest” recipe she suggested was for “Lemon rice.”

“Heat oil with red chilli, mustard, curry leaves and peanuts. Include salt and turmeric powder. Add cooked rice and squeeze lemon. Khalaas. So simple!”

Late in the evening, she was all praise for the “delicious lemon rice.”

It better be delicious as the “readymade mix” that I had bought without her knowledge was expensive. Now, do not let her know this or I will have to visit your home for dinner.
R. Ramesh

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