Tolerance Image Credit: Archives

What you need to know:

  • Readers write about tolerance, marriage and selfies. 

Are we always taking selfies? 

By Chaya Mathew

At two in the morning, my plane, the Airbus A380, landed on the grounds of the Mumbai airport runway, barreling down at a speed that I was suddenly jolted out of my slumber.

I’m not built for midnight strolls or flying. Only bats are meant to glide in the dark. But here I was, struggling to open my eyes, trying to recall my cabin luggage’s shape and colour, ready to get out of the plane.

Suddenly, something caught my attention. Folks lined up closely on the aisle with their smartphones out, some were calling people, others were mindlessly scrolling through their feed. They were busy clicking pictures of themselves. While there was hardly any light and space in the cramped isle to take a picture, I was amazed by how these midnight flyers felt at their best even at the odd hour.

Somehow, I walked past the phone addicts and reached the immigration line. There I could count at least fifty hands raised high as if they have some pressing questions for the immigration officers or have something to contribute to the whole process of migration. But in reality they are just too focused on getting the right profile of themselves. Even at the conveyer belt, every other person was more interested in their different portable devices than an ounce of urgency to step out of the port.

The truth is, today’s generation is obsessed with their phones and uses them as their company and form of entertainment. People often have more than one cellphone they travel with. Moreover, beauty is not a recent obsession - faces have been manipulated and painted since time immemorial. Most selfies taken and uploaded are filtered and tweaked. Who wouldn’t get addicted to this gorgeous self-image?

The latest features on the new smartphones include better functioning, three-lens cameras that can capture good quality pictures, videos, from all angles. The night-mode option and the low-light shooting, not to mention the all-day battery life to capture as many goofy selfies as you wish, cater to the selfie society quite rightly and quite simply. The selfie taking culture mode is always on, it is ingrained in all of us, all the times irrespective of where you are. The self-visual diet is a must. Are you equally affected?

- The reader is a Dubai resident.

Eid, Diwali and Christmas - UAE is the land of tolerance

By Manasa Komaravolu

Festivals are a time of great celebration and fun. They are community events, bringing people closer together in shared merriment and joy. These occasions are even more special for expats to celebrate their culture in a foreign land. This is what makes UAE feel like home for most of us. This year has been marked as the Year of Tolerance, but UAE has accepted and honoured other cultures for several decades now. People from all over the world celebrate their festivals here with as much colour and grandeur, as they do in their home country. Be it Diwali or Christmas, Holi or the Chinese New Year – all festivals and occasions have been embraced.

Tolerance Image Credit: Archives

In fact, I believe that while living abroad, we tend to be fonder of our culture as it links us back to our homeland. Festivals tend to bring on a bout of homesickness and at that time friends become our stand-in family and special occasions spent with them are very close to our hearts. While in India, work commitments, a minor illness or sometimes sheer lethargy are excuses used not to take part in festivities and traditions. However, in my three years in Dubai, I haven’t lost an opportunity to play with colour on Holi or get dressed up and share sweets on Diwali. When my parents visited us last Diwali, they were thrilled to see the celebrations going on among the Indian community in Dubai.

The retail industry caters to the expat communities to make all this possible. Every little thing required for worship rituals, parties and other festivities are imported into the country and made readily available. Shops are filled with Holi colors, Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, Diwali lamps and other paraphernalia. Restaurants do their part by incorporating traditional sweets, savories and cakes to mark big festivals here. The economy gets a small boost, and people get to celebrate, so it is a win-win situation for everyone. The benefits of an inclusive culture is a happy society.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai.

Arranged marriages are not a bad idea

By Lamiya Siraj

Marriage is based on the concept of two individuals coming together, who accept each other’s good and bad qualities. The concept of arranged marriages have existing for a long period of time.

Initially, arranged marriages were considered traditional, and were followed by people of different cultures. People who opted for such marriages were said to be very orthodox and conservative. But gradually, the thinking process among people has changed and societies are getting transformed. Still, I feel like a successful marriage is a gamble of luck. No doubt, marriages require involvement from both the bride and the groom. There is a lot of sacrifice and adjustment involved. Marriages take work.

People widely opt for arrange marriages, as same community is given the preference with culture and traditions to be followed. Incredible changes have come like allowing the two individuals to talk and share their views before getting married. They can express themselves better than before.

190914 india marriage
For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News archives

In many households, arranged marriages were done differently and it gave the man and the woman little freedom. But now that has changed.

I feel blessed to share here, that I had an arranged marriage, and I have completed 17 years with my partner. No doubt it’s has been a roller coaster ride. When I got married to my husband, I knew him for two months and hardly had met him twice before getting married. We took our time to understand each other and know each other. Standing strong with each other is now proven by time. I can say today he is the one I respect the most in my life.

I think arranged marriages are more successful as it gives a wider chance to get the inquiry done for both families including their backgrounds. And, as relatives are involved, the happiness is doubled. Lastly, I can say that effort and understanding is required in every relationship.

- The reader is based in Abu Dhabi