The doorbell rang. It was 6pm on the fifth day of Ramadan. I opened the door to my neighbour's granddaughter, Iffa, standing outside with a smile and carrying a plate full of delicacies. "Iffa, hello! What's the occasion?" I asked with surprise. "We wanted you to try our Iftar sweets," she responded happily. The gesture wasn't expected, but as neighbours on a small residential lane in Mangalore, India, it's the norm. To give you a fair view of the setup, we are a Christian family living amicably between a Hindu and Muslim household. We share similar gestures during our respective festivals, such as Iffa's family did on this occasion. We even share fruits and vegetables grown in our backyards with each other. The delicacies that Iffa shared with us brought back memories of Ramadan in the UAE – my home for 40 years. I have a deep appreciation for the UAE and its multi-cultural 'embrace-and-adopt-all-that's-good' attitude, and the simplicity and generosity of the rulers. It serves as a testament to the Emirati culture, which always sees the best in other cultures. I applaud the UAE Rulers' efforts to encourage their citizens to adopt this positive attitude and make the UAE a haven for residents and visitors. During this holy month of Ramadan, a time of reflection, reconciliation, and compassion, I feel immense gratitude towards the leaders of the UAE, the country I will always call my second home.
From Mr Neville Joseph Pereira
Finding hope in difficult times
For the past few months or so, we are going through the most challenging time. While few countries have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and bring back normalcy in people's lives to some extent, many others are struggling to maintain it. Human efforts seem to be futile. With the deadly pandemic looming large and the constant fear of getting caught in a death trap, there is nothing but a wave of panic and pessimism surrounding people. What should be done in this dire situation? How to find the way out of this appalling scenario? Physically, reaching out to people in need is not possible for everyone. But virtual assistance to matters a lot. Be a mood-lifter, offer solace, and send cheers to someone struggling to find a light. Hit the spirit button; it will help keep people's hopes afloat.
From Ms Jayashree Kulkarni
Film stars and politics
Why can't film stars glitter on the political stage? (“Kamal Haasan to Suresh Gopi, how movie stars who contested in India Assembly Elections 2021 are faring”, Gulf News, May 02). Every actor who aspires to be a political leader cannot match the legacy of Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran (MGR) or even Jayalalitha, who always worked for the welfare of the people, especially for the poor. All those who glitter are not gold. It is true that from Nadigar Thilagam, Shivaji Ganesan to the legendary actor Kamala Hassan, they started their political parties and dreamed of capturing power in Tamil Nadu by proclaiming the legacy of MGR. Ironically, none of them could win even a single seat and continued to fail miserably. While all these only preached to do good for the commoner, MGR and Jayalalitha practised these rights from their film days and captured voters' minds in the state. The present-day voters are clever in analysing candidates before casting their votes. There are many factors to work for electoral success, and being a star or son of the leader may not be just enough to rule the state. Hope the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) political party chief realise these facts and implement all his promises and also ensure there is no corruption during his tenure to have a productive term.
From Mr N Mahadevan
Strength of a mother
It was a lovely morning. It appeared as though the sun was rising lazily with me. The sun’s orange, red rays slowly lifted the dark black blanket worn by the night sky. The trees were cheerfully swaying, and the birds sang songs of delight at the arrival of a new morning. Everything looked so serene. As I was drowned in the beauty of nature and thanking the Almighty for giving me one more opportunity to see the pleasant sights, I noticed a tiny, cute, pretty, white kitten running around on the road. I wondered what it was doing in the middle of the road. I was afraid that some vehicle might run it over. I was watching it from the window of my first-floor room. I tried to grab its attention, but it probably could not hear me. As I watched it, I thought to myself that childhood is the same for all living beings, irrespective of whether it is a human or animal. They are mischievous, innocent, and playful.
As I watched that kitten, I suddenly saw a fierce dog coming towards it. I felt petrified that it would harm the kitten. I tried to scare the dog away but in vain. I closed my eyes, fearing the worst, as the dog ran towards the kitten. When I opened my eyes, I was amazed. I saw the mother run to the rescue of her baby. She was so ferocious and loud that the dog stopped running and stood at a distance. She looked like an angry tigress. When the dog came closer, she growled at it and jumped in anger towards it. Though the dog barked loudly, she meowed equally loudly. She gave a tough fight like a brave soldier, took her baby, and vanished in a second. That day, I comprehended the strength of a mum. Mums are so powerful when it comes to protecting their babies. They fear none. Usually, females are weaker than males in physical strength, but mums have an invisible, unbelievable power to save and protect their kids where children’s safety is concerned. I went inside and hugged my mum. She was surprised to see me bestowing love upon her without reason. I asked her: “Mum, will you always protect me against every evil?”
She smiled and replied: “Who dare harm my little angel? It has to pass through me to reach you."
Mums are the epitome of love, sacrifice, and strength. We have the entire world in front of us, but the whole world resides in us for them. They are the only ones who stand with us in every dire condition. And what do they expect in return? Not a lot. Just a little love and attention, and for us to sit with them, talk to them. But, we are so oblivious of this and take them for granted that we hardly spend time with them. We are involved in our world. We forget that they are the ones who brought us to the world we are enjoying. If you ever want to know the value of a mum, meet an orphan. Without the love of a mother, they are devastated. Today, when I have lost my mum, I feel the wide world empty and superficial. I feel like I have lost the shelter, which protected me against every adversity. I feel exposed now. Let us value mums and make them glad in every feasible way before it is too late. They can walk on burning coal or freezing ice for their children. They can do anything and go to any extremes for their babies. I salute every mum in this world.
From Ms Noor Tabassum