RDS 191114 Martyrs day 1-1575469920407
A view of Wahat Al Karama, which is located near Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the martyr's monument that consists of a series of large metal panels resting against each other, symbolising the harmony, strength and support between the soldiers, families and citizens in times of tribulation PHOTO Ahmed Kutty Image Credit:

Wahat AL Karama on Martyr’s Day

By Lamiya Siraj

Martyr’s Day in the UAE, was celebrated on November 30. Who are martyrs and how important is martyr’s day? I couldn’t hold myself back to share this with all of you.

Going down memory lane, I was fortunate to visit the place ‘Wahat Al Karama’ on November 30, last year on martyrs’ day. I had heard about the place, but wasn’t familiar with it. I had seen it many a times while crossing the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque along the main road in Abu Dhabi, but I had never visited it.

The place is so serene. When I reached there I completely got engrossed with the surroundings and couldn’t stop myself form expressing my thoughts about this place. As we reached there we got a warm welcome and were told that a parade was going to commence. Two men on horseback lead the band of around 15 people with three soldiers in uniform. My soul was at peace with this place. The trees danced to the rhythm of the evening breeze. After sunset, the place was lit with classic interior lights giving it a completely new look to its viewers.

‘Wahat Al Karama’ is a timeless tribute to commemorate and honour the Emirati heroes who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. The memorial is the centre piece of Wahat Al Karama, an imposing public art structure made of thirty one massive leaning tablets clad in aluminum. The symbolism behind the memorial is clear – each tablet leans against the other, portraying the unity, solidarity and mutual support that bind the leadership of the country, its citizens and residents.

RDS 191114 Martyrs day 1-1575469920407
A view of Wahat Al Karama, which is located near Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the martyr's monument that consists of a series of large metal panels resting against each other, symbolising the harmony, strength and support between the soldiers, families and citizens in times of tribulation PHOTO Ahmed Kutty

The visitor center is an eye-catching display. I appreciate efforts behind the exercise given for children with parents and family.

I got mesmerised when I saw ‘Memorial Plaza’. It contains a spectacular round shallow pool that offer visitors a breathtaking reflection of both the Memorial and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

We have always been taught to respect the soldiers and martyrs of all countries who give their lives for the protection of the residents and citizens of their country. They deserve respect from all of us. They sacrifice everything for their country without giving it a second thought. I feel privileged to have brave soldiers across our country keeping us safe and secure! A big salute to the soldiers and all the martyrs.

- The reader is a writer based in Abu Dhabi.

Rediscovering the city of Dubai

By Chaya Mathew

The road less travelled is not always in the woods. I stepped a few paces into the adjacent lane deviating from my usual walking route, and the aroma of freshly baked khubz (Arabic bread) engulfed the air. I have had endless drives on the community roads but never realised the baking marvel that was just around the corner. I stopped to inquire whether that was a new business venture. The chef smilingly responded that they have been baking for 20 years, and handed me a puffed-up bread. I shovelled the fresh out-of-the-oven, free-loot down my throat and continued with my walking, wondering how much I really knew about my residential district.

I detoured further to the next lane just to discover new outlets. There was a house of accessories, wasn’t sure whether it was new or had been there long before I moved into the community a decade ago. There was also a mouthwatering Arabic desserts mart. Fighting the urge to drool, I moved on making a mental note of the home delivery number.

Yes, Dubai is staggeringly beautiful, and indeed frequented by millions of visitors. As a resident of the city, we get to host and entertain plenty of curious visitors and give instructions on what they can do and how they can utilise every second of their holiday here. While imparting advice on what best to see in Dubai and feeling proud of the information I knew about the place, there is a lot I still didn’t know about my Dubai. My suggestions were mostly in line with online information about Dubai, and places I’ve visited, which rarely recommend a place that wasn’t listed on the must-see itinerary.

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Exploring my backyard on foot nudged some sense into me and made me realise that driving from one point to another, getting off at the malls and visiting touristy places doesn’t mean I know the city. In addition to awe-inspiring touristic attractions, maybe the real fun lies in also finding out more about the everyday life, the daily grind, walking through flea and street markets, stringing out to catching the sunrise over the creek and dunes, or watching the serene idyllic mountain range as calmly as the seagulls lined up next to the floating bridge. Perhaps such endeavours may come a bit closer to knowing the tremendously spirited city and its people. Doing what most people don’t do is an uphill task. It’s easy to follow the trend but setting one takes conscious choice and determination. Explore the not-so-popular parts of the city too.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai.

UAE National Day: A steady platform for growth

By Tejal Shah

Many congratulations to UAE on the occasion of its 48th National Day, which just passed. It’s an honour and privilege to stay in Dubai, UAE. In September 2009, I took my first steps in Dubai. It was my first journey abroad. I can’t forget when I came here, 10 years ago, it still brings tears to my eyes. Leaving my country was the most heart-breaking thing I had to do. I did not cry this much even when I left my parent’s house on my wedding day.

Leaving everything behind family, relatives, friends, and starting a new life in a new city, with new faces, new relations was nerve-wracking. My first year here was tough, and I wasn’t sure how long I would manage to stay in this city.

Today, after completing 10 years, I realise how time flies with so many people around. Today, when I go to India, I miss Dubai more and cannot wait to come back again.

I thank everyone who has supported me all these years. Be it in India or in Dubai, I would like to thank everyone who has been with me in my good and bad times.

I have seen so many developments in the last 10 years in Dubai. The new Water Cana, trams, Dubai Frame, amusement parks and more. There are many destinations which attract tourists every year. Whenever my family members come to the UAE, I always look forward to their visit because there are always new destinations and monuments for them to see.

The UAE has achieved a lot over the years. With the Expo 2020 almost here, the launch of the UAE Space Agency, its reliance on green energy and more, one feels so proud to be a part of the UAE.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai.