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Banana drama
November 25, 2017
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Banana drama

Fast food is a fad these days and to make kids eat healthy food is proving to be a Herculean task for the parents.

Children are fond of fast food and are least interested in eating home- cooked food or even fresh fruits.

It is every parent’s wish to see his or her children healthy and all possible means are tried to put kids on a healthy diet. However, very few parents succeed in their “healthy” endeavour.

Children start making faces the moment they are asked to drink a glass of milk or eat fruits.

Recently, one of my cousins narrated a rather funny incident where a mother was literally in tears seeing her six-year-old son eating a banana.

The boy was looking too weak and on asking, the worried mother told my cousin the he hardly drank milk and had never eaten a fruit.

My cousin took it as a challenge and while the child was playing she crushed a full banana and put it in bowl and made him eat full banana bite by bite without him even noticing what he was eating.

His mother was literally in tears when she saw her son finish one full banana and was almost speechless for a few seconds.

She kept thanking my cousin for the “miracle.”

Though the incident was sad in its totality, when my cousin narrated the incident to us we all burst into laughter thinking how cinematic the whole scene would have been where a mother was crying on seeing a 6-year-old child eating a full banana.
Faisal Siddiqui

Saving habit

Children enjoy collecting coins of smaller denominations and keeping them in a box next to their schoolbooks.

They value the difficulties in getting the “little savings” from the elders, especially parents.

Whenever relatives would visit home, they would donate cash to children.  It is a kind of feel that they are also given certain importance and respect like their elders in the family, a kind of motivation to become responsible adults.

As the money preserved is like gems for the children, they keep counting them often and watch how it increases.

The children consider it their “hard-earned” money and spend the savings wisely and carefully whichever way they can.

They also get annoyed when someone tries to snatch their saving, as my daughter’s savings box was taken away when she failed to fulfil a promise.

“I want my money back, when will I get it?” she often asks me and I explain to her the reason for clearing the earnings from her safe-keeping.

But she still feels it is safe.

It tells me that today’s children do realise that there is value for everything they preserve. They have a kind of feel that when they personally own something it has a value in real life.

Perhaps more than anything, what the children would be missing in the new age is true affection.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Gift for mother

One of my relatives is expecting to deliver a baby around the end of this month. Unlike most new people I meet, we hit it off really well. She is a smart young, ex-airhostess and a very enterprising girl. Often liked for her outspoken and chatty nature, she makes her presence felt in the not so small gatherings we have once in a while.

While I was thinking what to get her when we go visit her and the big announcement is made, my friend casually suggested, why not a baby gift hamper, which makes things easier and saves us the effort of making one think for too long on what the perfect gift would be.

While I readily agreed, it just struck a chord inside my head.

Why only for the baby?

I know everyone is looking forward for the newborn and there’s too much excitement on what the name is going to be and all that, but I think its time we also shift focus on the mother who goes into so much hardship.

Of course, this reminds me vividly of about how everyone so lovingly welcomed my little one when he was born, but I distinctly remember just this one lady who actually got me a health drink to the hospital room and whispered in my ear, “This is so you remember, you are very important.”

That moved me so deeply because all the while everyone was busy trying to hold the little feet and running their hands through his faintly scattered hair, no one seemed to notice how exhausted and tired I was.

So I told myself I am going to take a gift for the new mother because little gestures like these give the always taken for granted attitude towards mothers a little jolt and also a subtle reminder for the new mother and others around her about how important the mother’s well being also is.
Niloufar Saleem

In love with food

I was never a foodie. In fact, eating was never my favourite things to do (Yes, such people do exist). Don’t get me wrong, I eat to live and am currently healthy and content.

For a person like me to try out different cuisine is out of the question, but if you are married to a person who enjoys every bit he takes, yes you too have to take your taste buds for an adventurous trip once in a while.

That’s how I decided to try out the popular dishes here in Middle East as we had decided to settle in the UAE. Arabic cuisine is hardly a single entity. Instead, it is made up of many different regional foods spanning the Arab world, from the North African region to west of Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.

What is now served across restaurants might not be the authentic Emirati cuisine, but they have given my taste buds a zest to try out different food.

Shavarma was the first one I gave a try. Instantly my taste buds gave a standing ovation welcoming the scrumptious taste of perfectly grilled and shaved meat with pickles and veggies wrapped in its tasty cocoon.

Wherever you go, your meal will definitely include Khubz (the Arabic flatbread quite like the pita). You can eat it with hummus (another signature item here) and grilled meat.

One of the favourite snacks here is falafel; deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas. They are crispy on the outside, hot and fluffy on the inside. Top them with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces or garlic sauce in a pita bread... Hmm! Okay, I’m making myself hungry!

Arabic coffee is a ritual in itself. It is usually made with the addition of some cardamom, served in small cups and is always with dates. Take a sip and your mouth would have got a revitalising effect instantly.

My attitude towards food has changed now. I can now empathise with foodie, or at least can understand how a tasty food can bring about happiness. I should confess, during our vacations I do miss those succulent shavarmas and sweet juicy dates. I now appreciate the vast mouth-watering Indian cuisine and my taste goblets have started its baby steps towards the quest to conquer the world of luscious food.
Divya Sunil

My role model

During my school days, every Sunday I went for a walk with “Dada Abu.” That was how I addressed my grandfather.

This was the most precious part of my day. It was a ritual for us to go out for a morning walk at the break of dawn and try to keep pace with him.

“Why are you so slow?” he would often call out loud.

Slow?

This was the fastest I could walk. I was sure that if I participated in the walking race at school and could maintain this speed, no one could even come close to me!

“I am literally running! Can’t move faster,” I told him one day, completely short of breath.

“Ok, let’s take a ten-minute break,” he replied smilingly.

As I sat down on the park bench with him, I could not help but admire him, my idol.

He was close to 65, but had the energy that would surprise young lads.

His towering physique, the respect he got from people, his command over the English language (which was a rarity there), his penchant for leading a meaningful life, all this made him stand out in the crowd.

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” he asked.

I could see the twinkle in his eyes. This was a staple question for me each day.

And like all confused kids, I had a different answer for him every day. But he was not aware that today I was ready for this question and had thought of the answer beforehand.

“Follow your footsteps,” I replied with complete conviction. He was taken aback. He was not prepared for this answer. But I could see the pride swell up in his eyes.

“Do you really mean it?” he wanted me to clarify.

“Yes,” I replied shaking my head.

He smiled back at me and hugged me tight across his broad chest. I could see his eyes moisten up even as he got up and spoke out in his deep voice, “Let’s finish our walk for the day.”

I smiled back and began following his footsteps.
Zakir Jawed

Singled by simplicity

Our family doctor, for all his vast knowledge, is a very down-to-earth person. However ill you are, he has this way of making you feel that all is well with you. So what if you have to go through a series of tests and all that, get done with it and enjoy life.

When you go to him for a diagnosis, he might suspect there could be something gravely wrong with you but he’ll never make you feel there’s a complication inside of you.

This attitude of his is reflected in his persona as well. His consultation room is stacked with medical books, not arranged neatly as if to show off, but as if they have been visited frequently. Everything about his room is clean, as a consultation room ought to be, yet the neatness is not pristinely clinical, thus making you feel at home.

And in the middle of all this sits our doctor in a loose pair of trousers and a pale coloured shirt that hangs about his shoulders. No shoes for him; he wears simple chappals that he can take off whenever he feels them inconvenient.

Recently, we attended his daughter’s wedding. It was held at a famous address in the city, not for show of wealth but more because of the large ballroom that could accommodate the multitude of guests expected, not just relatives and friends but also his long-standing “patients” for whom he was like family.

Everyone who had turned up for the wedding had come decked in their best clothes. But guess who stood out in the midst of all that finery? Our doctor, of course.

There he was in his simplicity, as if he had just taken a brief break from his consultation. He was himself.
Vidya Shankar

Pun fun

After an argument, my friend told me, “You are all bark and no bite.”

I instantly pulled his hand, bit him mildly and said, “I do not just bark. I bite too.”

“You fool, don’t you understand idioms? I meant you are aggressive but do not have the guts to fight,” he shouted.

“Oh, really?” I clenched my fist.

He took to his heels yelling, “You will hit me and escape punishment under insanity clause.”

Using idioms with someone who does not know much English can indeed make one look like an idiot.

I often remember how a government servant who refused to help my dad reacted angrily when my dad murmured, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

“Do not dare call me a beggar,” he had reacted.

Journalists also find it hard to convince some readers when using “pun” in headlines that make a joke exploiting different meanings of a word.

My sub-editor colleague gave a good headline, “Maid for each other,” for a report on housemaids and their bosses. Next morning, there was a phone call from a reader, “There is a spelling error.”

Heard this media joke: When a dwarf escapes from prison, what headline will suit?

“Short man at large.”
R. Ramesh

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