2014. Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Coming to an end of 2013, Gulf News asked its readers to look back and share their most memorable moments from the year. Most of the letters expressed memorable family moments, success stories and lessons learned. Some readers congratulated Dubai on winning the Expo 2020 bid this year. We present a selection of those letters.

Valuable family time

The one moment which I will not forget about 2013 is that it was the first time I had the opportunity to celebrate Eid Al Fitr with my relatives in India. Being born and brought up in the UAE, I always visited India only during my summer vacations. Being a teacher by profession that is the only time I can take holidays. However, this was the first time that Eid Al Fitr was during my summer break and the experience of celebrating this occasion with my relatives was like none other.

From Ms Shaniya Siddiqui


Positive thoughts

Overall, it was a wonderful year for me. Everything was positive. I am living a happy family life with my wife and children, and it was great to see my children getting recognised for their achievements and talent at school this year. Also, I was extremely happy to see my photography featured in Gulf News this year and I won a certificate of appreciation for my talent. At work, I am financially stable and ending the year with a positive note. However, the bad side is that I could not go for vacations this year. I hope to go for a short winter break soon with my family. I am proud to live in a city like Dubai, which has been a home to me for many years. I am happy with the recent developments and hope to see more in the future.”

From Mr Hanif M. Kalmata


Moving back and forth

Year 2013 has been a mix of good and bad. In March, I went for a holiday with my children and my sister to Toronto, New York and Oregon (Pacific coast). While I was there, I got the news that my boss became the UAE Minister State. It was a thrilling moment for me, but I was equally sad because I wasn’t in the country to share this joy with him. Later, I took a move in my job from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. By being a part of the core department in the organisation, I learnt a lot. I then realised that Abu Dhabi was a very different place and not suited for me, so I moved back to Dubai in December. As I count down days to the start of 2014, I look forward to a brilliant and brighter career.

From Ms Priti Mackinnon


Stand strong

The year has been incredible and unforgettable for me with countless memories to treasure for life. I was accepted to be a part of the training program to become a climate leader by the Former Vice- President of US and the Chairman of Climate Reality Project- Al Gore in Chicago during my summer holidays. The next thing I knew I was in my dream city, New York, at the United Nations Headquarters, where I stood on a global platform and conducted an hour-long workshop on the Millennium Development Goals. One of the biggest surprises for me in this whole year was being on a billboard in Times Square, New York, for 100 hours! The most rewarding experience for me was living through my organisation, SynergY, growing day-by-day. Though I and my team faced many challenges, we continued to have the passion and commitment towards our society and a sustainable future. I couldn’t have had a better year and I am grateful for all the good things this year had to offer. Throughout this journey, I learnt that there are many things and people who can bring you down, but it’s up to you if you want to sit down after that or get up and start over again. It’s always the hardships and the obstacles that inspire me to think bigger every time. It’s always the achievements that motivate me to try harder every time.

From Ms Simran Vedvyas


Proud mother

We all have our ups and downs throughout the year. I had such moments, too, but my happiness surpassed every bad day because of two reasons. I moved to a new house and I became a proud mother to a beautiful baby. I am eagerly looking forward to the coming year, which I hope is even more wonderful.

From Ms Amira Ahmad



Sometimes, events and situations become a bit too much to bear and we tend to lose hope and even worse, faith in our fellow human beings. This year, my family and I went through a lot of emotionally tough times. These turned out to be the highlights of my year because they showed me that people are there for you – your family, friends, and colleagues, and even those you thought you weren’t that close to! We have come through everything with thankful hearts because of the support, encouragement and love we received from various unexpected quarters. My faith in humanity is more than restored and I look forward to paying it forward through 2014.

From Ms Bina Mathews


Success after challenges

The year has been a mixed bag of sorts. During the first quarter, I was fraught with challenges at the work front with a key emphasis on committed financials. During the second quarter, I welcomed a routine Dubai summer, and the holy season of Ramadan, a time for reflection, sacrifice and personal change. During the third quarter, I upped the pressure to achieve personal milestones on an academic level for, which, I attended classroom sessions at the age of 45 that brought back memories of schooling in India. During the fourth quarter, it was a time to celebrate as I currently obtained a new designation of Associate Safety and Health Manager (ASHM), which is a key credential in the industry. As we near year’s end, it’s also a time to reminisce and plan for the new year with a new set of targets to accomplish.

From Mr Gregory Gomes


Going with the flow

Personally, it was strikingly different in 2013, as I was on the mode of self discovery all over again after 15 years of ‘motherhood sabbatical’! I used to do glass paintings, and in 2013, I ventured into a new medium – oil on canvas and realised the beauty of it. I also started penning my thoughts, looking at life in a lighter vain, which someday, I hope to get published. I realised how important it has become to keep abreast in technology for life to progress with new generation of smart phones. Reconnecting with long lost friends and over various continents through various social media, has been very fruitful. After all, friends are those who reconnect from where they have left off. The highlight of this year was the UAE winning Expo 2020 and being part of this wonderful country for 18 years. It left me smiling ear to ear after hearing that the UAE had been declared the host nation! I hope to be around till 2020 in the UAE and be a part of it. With elation, came heart-wrenching moments, natural and manmade disasters worldwide, passing away of ‘Father of Rainbow nation’ – Madiba, and much more, highlighted that time stands still for no one and change is inevitable. I thank Almighty, for personally a wonderful 2013. I pray the world becomes a more peaceful place. No 2013 resolutions made, so nothing broken there. Goodbye 2013 … Here I come 2014!

From Ms Aazmin Kantawala


Patient and determined

This was a year of patience for me. I graduated a year and a half ago and started working for a short period of time. This year, I moved to a company that deals with electromechanical work and learnt that work life has its own benefits. My biggest achievement this year was when I brought my own car. I look forward to 2014 with more patience and determination, especially with the advent of the Expo 2020, which is beneficial for everyone.

From Mr Riyad Mahmoud Abul Bashar



After I lost my 14-year old job overnight during 2012, I got an entry in a well-known company and had to begin all over again in 2013. I worked hard since the beginning of this year, and I can now proudly say that I have established myself as a career-oriented woman. I overcame all her fears, doubts and confusions. I accepted the challenges of trying to prove myself, and I won. This has been a remarkable year that has evolved me as a more confident and successful person.

From Ms Anjali Ramchandani


Thankful and hopeful

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends. They are a gift from God to me. This year was overwhelming with success and excitements. 2013 has opened the gates to tremendous achievements and recognitions. For instance, I have been rewarded by the Abu Dhabi University in the annual appreciation event for my exceptional service on the college and university levels. This made me more willing to grant my efforts in serving it. Furthermore, I have presented a paper in the Film and Media Annual Conference in the University of London last June. Additionally, my children have never made me more proud. They were also rewarded with multitudinous certificates. My daughter and son continued their outstanding performance at their high school. However, I feel sad when I think of the events that have been taking place in many of the Arab countries and I hope it will come to an end in 2014. I wish that Egypt will win its war against terrorism in Sinai soon and start rebuilding its economy and prosper its tourism. Finally, I cannot express my gratitude and thanks enough for this country. This country has thrived because of its rulers. God bless this country. It makes me really proud of being an Arab. I would also like to congratulate this wondrous country for winning the bid of expo 2020 and wish it all the luck and success.

From Dr. Azza AbdulAzim M. Ahmad

Al Ain

Charity work

This year my resolution was to volunteer as much as possible for charity, social and voluntary activities and I am glad that I accomplished my resolution. I was very active on the social front in 2013. This year has been great for me and my family. However, this year, I had to compromise on my exercise schedule. For more than 10 years, I had been disciplined on my exercise, which got disturbed in 2013. I hope and would try my best to accomplish my resolutions for the coming year.

From Ms Madhu Madan


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