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Short Take: Rewind moments
February 07, 2015
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Rewind moments

We have all been to at least one reunion event in our lifetime. Some feel positive about re-connecting with old friends, while others have mixed feelings.

I attended my university reunion recently and it was quite an experience.

I saw so many of my old batchmates and how they had changed. One key thing I noticed about each of them was the spark in their eyes. I distinctly remembered that while we were in university they all had this beautiful positive spark within them.

I saw them after two years of graduation and noticed that the flash had sort of immersed within the confines of the harsh realities of the real world.

It had survived but only barely. The real world had shattered it but the spirit within them had kept at least some parts of it.

I am glad that my friends have still managed to keep their appetite for life. I guess that is the whole point behind reunion, reuniting with old friends and contemplating how life has changed over the years.
Vismay Anand

Grand connection

I recently had a very beautiful experience when I visited my friend in Chennai. I was looking for his grandson and inquired whether or not he had returned from school. I was told he took his grandmother for a walk.

After a few minutes he returned home with his grandmother and I asked him why he took his grandmother for a walk instead of going out to play? His reply stunned me, “If I go out to play then my grandma would feel lonely and I love my grandma.” It made me realise how beautiful the love that grandparents share with their grand children.
K. Ragavan

Heavy matters

Who watches real people on YouTube? I used to think that was the dumbest idea ever. Then, when I was looking for something, I can’t even remember now, I accidently found  the heading “women exercising.” My curiosity was piqued, so I clicked it.

If you want to lose weight, YouTube is not the answer. Many people scan the videos for advice on how to shed pounds without realising that you cannot repeat someone’s history.

For example there was a woman who weighed 170kgs. The secret to her slimming down was not to drink 3 litres of soda a day. I barely drink a litre a month, so that would not work for me. Next, another became a pescetarian, which meant they ate only fish, canned and frozen veggies and worked out 6 days a week, yuck.

Finally, the last one said she would do some Jillian Michaels cross training. When I looked it her video up, and Michaels giggled  “You might get nauseous,” Yikes. Et with every like and click these folks are bringing in the bucks.

YouTube these days is looking more like the futuristic get rich scheme of that great circus master P.T. Barum, who said, a sucker is born every minute. As more and more real people case in on telling their stories, in the cyberspace, and cashing in on every click, there is another axiom he gifted the world of social media — there is a silver lining in every crowd.
Maryam Ismail

Fragrance of ‘Jasmine’

Love is cancerous. You can’t fake it. Caring for loved ones comes naturally. Your behaviour changes and you see things from a different perspective. You may become possessive about the person and anything happening to him/her rattles you. But it is common, and generations after generations have experienced this amazing phase in their life.

And that’s what exactly happened recently with one of my friends. We were at a coffee shop discussing some abstract issues. He then suddenly got a call from home that a dentist had come over. This friend of mine is from a very well-to-do family. They are noted residents of the city. Everybody knows them.

They have businesses all around the globe. But they live a simple life.

Anyway, getting back to the topic. The friend got anxious after receiving the call. He stood up, made another call back home while walking on the porch of the cafeteria.

He hung up and said, “I have to go home right now, the dentist has come.” I asked him, “Is everything okay?” He replied, “Yes, it is just my Jasmine, her teeth are giving problems. So the dentist has come over.”  I wasn’t surprised. I only knew when you have a toothache you usually go and see a dentist. The dentist doesn’t come over.

And most importantly, the friend didn’t mention any family member in our previous meet by the name Jasmine. So I was also curious about who this Jasmine was.

I also accompanied him to the house. While driving, he said Jasmine couldn’t eat anything because of the ache. I asked, “How old is she?” He said, “She is 12 years old.” She can’t even participate in any of our home events. She is all the time in the garden. Poor Jasmine! Yesterday, I went to feed her in the garden. She wouldn’t come out of her home.” “Wait, wait,” I interrupted and asked, “She stays in the garden?”

“Yeah, why what’s wrong with that,” replied my friend.

“You allow a 12-year-old girl to live alone in the garden, are you mad?” I yelled at him.

 “What? A girl!” he replied. “Dude, Jasmine is a dog.”

I fell quiet after listening to him. Then we both burst out in laughter.
Syed Shayaan Bakht

Mango tree

In Chennai, my hometown, we live in an apartment that is on the second floor. Whenever I come to the veranda I am greeted by a beautiful mango tree that grows in the compound of our building. The part of the tree that meets the eye at that level is the outgrowth. It obstructs the wide outer world from view, but I don’t regret it because the tree itself is a world unto itself and has so much to offer.

I must admit that initially I just looked upon it as a source of breeze and shade only. And there were the mangoes, of course, though they were seasonal.

But over a period of time, I started noticing such facets of the tree that has left me astounded. The tree may give the impression of being “wooden” but in reality is so full of vitality.

There is always something new about this tree, there is so much change about it as there is stability, and it’s always amazing.

Be it the freshness of its green foliage after a rain or the play of light and shade on a fine sunny day, it entices a photographer’s eye.

And when the wind whispers through it causing the leaves to flutter, the tree becomes a poet’s delight.

In summer it stands heavy with fruit but it’s a year-long process of subtle changes that yields the fruit. From an almost barren look, the tree brings out tiny white flowers that gradually turn yellowish then brown, and before you realise it, the first of the mangoes have appeared, small and green, till suddenly you realise there are clusters of the fruit, now bigger, hanging from every branch.

Not to forget is the resting place it provides for crows, sparrows, squirrels, ants and the like.

I am sure this specimen of life, growth, beauty and love has the same emotions and sentiments that we have.

So, should we not love trees as we would our fellow humans?
Vidya Shankar

In right-handers’ club

On my second day in office in Sharjah my colleague asked me to go to the canteen. We got into an elevator to go downstairs. A couple of other guys were also there. When the elevator hit the ground floor and we were about to disembark, an elderly person on my left ushered me to go first.

Seeing me a little confused, my colleague told me the Arabs preferred to start from the right.

“Oh! I see.”

It seems major religions are favourably disposed to the right hand. The Holy Qur’an says he who will be given his records in his right hand (on the day of Judgement) will enjoy a pleasant life in an excellent Paradise.

Historically, the preponderant majority of humans have been right-handed. A relative of mine would always lecture to my sister who used to write with her left hand.

That we favour the right hand is evident not only in our attitude but is apparent from our language as well. The word “right” is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word which means “straight” or “correct.” Therefore, we pray to God to show us the right path. Do you know the word “righteous” has the same origin?

Interestingly, “dexter” originated from Latin, meaning “on the right.” And thus we have “dexterity” and “dexterous” in the lexicon.

The word “left” originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, meaning “useless” or “weak.” And the word “sinister” is derived from a Latin word which means “left.” Remarkably, “gauche,” which means “socially awkward” or “tactless,” is originally a French word for “left.”

So, it will be gauche of me if I ask you whether you’re right-handed or southpaw or you’re ambidextrous. However, I’ll always shake your hand with my right hand. So long!
Faisal Hashmi

Prize for dedication

I have expressed this particular emotional feeling within me before. It keeps coming back. To be or not to be a socially committed person? To address or not my observations for improvements to the authorities or not?

I keep saying to myself. No, I will not act or react any further when I get to see negative or even threatening responses at times. I tell myself, do not see things as you see, close your eyes and walk away from the realities.

Can I do that? Honestly, No, is the answer.

I was in the middle of a meeting two days ago and my phone rang. It was an unknown number and the lady at the other end, an officer from the Abu Dhabi Police, verified me and said, you are selected for an award. “Please attend and receive it on Thursday at a function to be held at our premises.”

I asked her what was it and what did that made them select me for it. She answered to me saying, “You have contributed with several valuable suggestions and hence you are one of the recipients for it.”

I went to receive it on Thursday and found myself among a group of officers from the Abu Dhabi authorities privileged to receive the prestigious Ministry of Interior Excellence Award.

Interacting with them I found one common thing, we all carried the same zest for quality and social commitments to make sure safety is of utmost importance at all times.

There was also one thing I noticed, we all did our personal or professional contributions, which paved the way for this award, without aiming for any recognition.

However, it turned out to be a winner for each one of us at a time, when we all literally forgot them. For me specially, when a time, when I was thinking of weighing the pros and cons of such initiatives carried out by me.

It proved the old saying, what you sow is what you reap. Make it a practice to give your best efforts to do good things and a time will definitely come with its reward.
Ramesh Menon

Wired lives

The words “social networking” has become common these days.  At work and home, personal contacts through social networking media have been very much influencing the new generation.

During examination time for students, especially for those who study in senior classes, text messaging becomes so disturbing at times.  Some parents keep their children’s mobile away until the exams are over.  And for others, the access is closely monitored and restricted.

It is often felt that the tone of messages arriving in the inbox is annoying.  When guests are at home, while watching television, reading books and newspapers, having meals, playing with children, driving, during an evening walk and at shopping the messaging trend bothers a lot.

During weekends, spending a little time for calling home is a practice.  The talks often go so long and even divert to different topics, despite the continuing messaging tone in the inbox.

When my daughter returns home from school, she picks up the phone immediately to see the messages, pictures, videos that popped up in the inbox in her absence.

The children become so eager to know whether the world remained the same in their absence.

They hold the mobile with them even during an afternoon nap, as the device has been so much attached to the life of the youngsters today. 

The funny thing is they find enjoyment even chatting with neighbours in the next door or a friend staying in the next building.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Teaching experience

Teaching is one of the most challenging, underrated, and yet often deeply rewarding professions one could go into.

Several years ago, after my graduation exams I joined an educational academy as an English teacher to coach students of matriculation. The very first day was the day of a demo lecture, which I was supposed to deliver and was to be monitored closely by the academic team.

Thanks to Almighty, I cleared the initials and got selected for teaching there.

During my two years of service as a tutor, I learned that the best way to “teach” was to facilitate exploration, awaken curiosity and put fun into the learning process.

What I planned to teach the students was not restricted to the contents of the course only, but largely aimed at the assessment of the students by means of different modes of instruction, also.

I engaged the students in material that has personal relevance and is meaningful i.e. real life examples and problems.

To teach English I used dramatisation, skits and plays.

Honestly teaching these students was the best experience of my life. It made me disciplined and gave me courage and strength to learn more and most importantly teach me how to be a better human being.
Zakir Jawed

When I ‘cried’

I rushed from the kitchen when the doorbell rang. It was the laundry boy.

“How much?” I asked collecting the clothes.

But he was staring at me with much sympathy.

“Brother, all OK?” he asked in a compassionate tone.

“I am OK. How much?” I repeated.

“Ten dirhams. But everyone fine at home? Do you need any help?” he asked again.

I was wondering what was wrong with this guy.

Picking the money, he said, “Don’t keep worrying. Everything will be fine.”

After he left, I went to my room and tried to arrange the clothes in the cupboard.

It was then that I glanced at the mirror and realised what was wrong.

My eyes were red, with flowing tears.

I had been peeling onions.

He had assumed I was crying.
R. Ramesh

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