Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gimme a day

Hi, have been running around, and the kiddos and relatives have been having a taste of Dubai. Just gimme a day or two..will write about what I saw and what I liked and what I...catch up, buddies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Where are winged visitors?

Dubbed a “walkers’ paradise” by users, the Sharjah Corniche is a dream zone for early morning joggers. I have been there on and off during the past eight years. One of the pleasant surprises every year during December used to be the thousands of seagulls and lovely birds that swarmed the place. On Tuesday morning I managed to shirk my laziness and visit the spot around 7am. Hold your shock: I couldn’t spot a single bird, except some pigeons here and there. What’s up buddies? Where are my winged visitors?
According to an expert, the melting of the polar ice and the shifting of the magnetic field…oh God, I am not getting into all this technical details. The simple fact is that the birds that used to visit the place regularly are not there now.
Global warming is indeed becoming a hot issue. You are right, Mr Al Gore.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Reunion with family

After a gap of seven months, I am going to Dubai airport tonight to receive my wife and daughters who will stay for a week. Family separation is a challenge and so far I have managed alright thanks to my small circle of great friends here and blogger friends – You. A million thanks to you…you.. youuuuuuu……

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Here's a message received from
I feel greatly honoured. Thanks Deepak.

"I received these 2 cool awards from a great photographer ROB (

Rob, Thank you very much. I am delighted to pass them on to 10 other bloggers. Enjoy !

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bonding with Bond

Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger…
Three nights, three 007 movies at home. And I am waking up looking for my gun or the blonde trying to woo and kill me. Excellent actor, this Sean Connery… but why is it that I always like Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan as Bond! God knows.
A joke posted by my friend Sridhar:
“I believe James invests .007 per cent of his money in bonds.”

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Czech to Chennai

I was in my hometown Chennai for a visit during May this year. Me and my brother were traveling to a suburban area and we entered a roadside restaurant.
As I was placing orders, I saw a European tourist with a heavy bagpack entering the eatery. She looked around curiously and before I could say “Hi,” she approached me and asked, “Where is the restroom please?”
I guided her. She asked me to take care of the baggage. Returning after three minutes, she thanked me. “Welcome to Chennai. Where are you from?” I started off.
“Well, it’s a place called Czech Republic,” she replied casually.
“Oh, you are from Prague,” I continued.
She looked surprised. Many people here have not heard of my country, she said. “I better know. Klaus is your president, right (I hope so)?” I asked.
She was a little impressed. I introduced my brother and we parted as good friends. She said she was proceeding to Pondicherry for a meditation session.
Personally, I have high regard for tourists. No one can deny that there are also brutes among us who misbehave with such goodhearted travelers. I feel rage gripping me if I read any news of travelers being illtreated. If there is a proposal to stiffen punishment for crime against tourists, I will be the first to raise my hand.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dusty romance

Little children in my building have an ingenious way of communicating with each other when they leave for school. They scribble messages on the dusty sidewall near the stairs with their tiny fingers for their friends. “5pm near the main gate,” “Blue colour dress,” “Today cricket,” are some of the messages they write.
When I asked a child whether others do not rub it off, knowingly or unknowingly, she replied: “So far, nobody has done so as rubbing it off means they have to clean up the dust, which no one likes.” The only person who could clean up the place is the watchman, but he is too poorly paid and does not mind a dusty spot here and there.
Last week, while passing by, I noticed “5pm blue dress.” Eager to see the children playing in blue dress, I kept a watch that evening. Hold your surprise. A teenage boy and a girl, in trim Navy blue dress, were busy chatting with each other in a romantic setting, oblivious of the fact that two jealous eyes were snooping from the first floor.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A lesson for a scoundrel

A close friend of mine, a rather pretty Arab woman, was sitting in a Dubai-Abu Dhabi bus when she had a “crawling insect” sensation near her right shoulder. She tried to rub it off and got engrossed in her book.
In a couple of minutes, the same feeling recurred and she presumed a cockroach may be the villain. When she tried to rub her shoulder, she realized there was no cockroach, but it was a middle-aged man at the back seat who was the misbehaving scoundrel.
In an impulse, she got up, showered a few blows, spat at him and screamed: “Are you not born with a sister?”
The rogue obviously had not expected such a turn. He got up pleading with her “sorry sister,” before vanishing through the front door. The other passengers did try to hold him, but he made good his escape.
“I am proud of you,” was all I could tell my friend.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank you, Gulf News

The prestigious Gulf News in its Blogosphere: Dec. 9 (By Adam Flinter, Web Editor) column has quoted
“But it seems not everyone is happy to see the rain. Apart from people driving through the puddles, the global Madrasi blog ( complained he could not sleep during the rain. "Through my glass window not protected by curtains, lightning flashed on my eyes around midnight. The rumbling thunder made me uneasy. Winter has returned to Sharjah. But what made me roll around restlessly on the bed was the growling in my stomach. I had been trying out a new restaurant for the past two days, and it proved a costly experiment."
Ah! So it was food and not the rain that kept him awake!
As you were then. Everyone loves the rain (just as long as it isn't in Bush visit proportions).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2 films and lost sleep

Being a journalist has its fringe benefits. Watched two films yesterday screened as part of the Dubai International Film Festival at the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. “The Wrestler,” starring Mickey Rourke, was quite good. The story about a professional wrestler Randy and the struggles and trauma he faces. He suffers a heart attack after a show and is forced to work in a grocery to pay bills. His estranged daughter refuses to accept him. His stripper girl friend plays truant. The doctor warns him against ever thinking to wrestling again. But at the last scene…now you watch the movie lest I take away the suspense. Mickey does his role quite well, and some scenes in the film were not for innocent teens like me (Though I enjoyed it, don’t tell anyone).
So after the movie, we rushed to the food court, gulped a “biryani” and returned to “watched” the next movie called “Appaloosa.”
This film starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen is about two law-enforcers in a western town dominated by rancher Bragg (Jeremy Irons). The rural setting had a cowboy shade. Believe what I say. The stupid audience did not allow me to take a nap as most of them were snoring loudly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Three tricksters at the gate

There were three stout Asians when I opened the door.
“Sir, we are from a charity organization. Any donation is welcome,” they pleaded.
I generally do not entertain such people, but felt I should offer something. “An unexperimented life is not worth it,” Socrates’ words echoed in this journalist’s mind. Let me check out how genuine they are, I told myself. After all, there is nothing worth robbing in my house and Sharjah is known to be a very safe place.
“I give you Dhs10,” I said, ignoring caution signals from my mind.
“Water please,” they entered my home.
“It is for a noble cause. We are helping poor people,” said one.
“Ok. I will give double the promised amount,” I offered.
After sipping water, they said, “Pay Dhs100.”
“One minute,” I replied and went to the nearby room keeping an eye on them. I picked up my mobile, and spoke in my mother tongue loudly and purposely mentioned “three people” in English.
“Sit, sit, what were you saying?” I asked them.
“Thank you, sir,” they barged out in a hurry thinking I had alerted someone.
PS: Never open the gate to a stranger.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The German connection

Famous blogger Fida was surprised when I used a German word. I love Germans. Tried to learn the language in Chennai's Max Mueller Bhavan two decades ago, but failed miserably. Had an opportunity to visit Hamburg as part of an international journalists team allowed to watch the World Cup Soccer match between Ukraine and Italy two years ago.
The entire city wore a festive look and it was a great time, which I
will never forget in my life. The way I made friends, especially with the pretty German girls, made some of my counterparts from Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India turn green with envy (joking dear). "Guten Morgan" was good enough to start a conversation. But once they started speaking in German, I fumbled and confessed I din't know the language. Of course, I always finished off with a smile and a "Vielen Danke." (Dunno whether spelt right!)
This particular fatty German girl at a railway station asked me to
click a photograph with her colleague. Their faces decorated with flag
paintings, the duo looked awesome. Back in Dubai, I did post the
photograph as requested by her to the address she mentioned, but till
today there has been no acknowledgement. Long live that pretty girl.
Four of us (we became great friends – thanks Paul, Anita, Venu - of
Australia, Malaysia, India) planned to take a train ride and decided
to go to the "Chocolate" city of Lubeck. Interestingly, I bumped on a
private museum run by a German gentleman with his Indian wife. She was kind enough to prepare some South Indian dish, (Dosa. Have you heard of it? May be I will ask my wife to post a recipe of this!!)
At the end of the journey, the handsome Australian editor-friend
commented jovially: "You are a funny guy."
"Fun-loving guy," I corrected.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not childlike, but childish

The cute little boy and girl were hiding under the staircase when I
entered my building. With a tense look, they signalled me to move on
and I did so politely. After taking a few steps, I turned back to
see another man entering through the door.
"Baaahhhhh," the children screamed at him.
"Ooofff..," the man acted as if he had been ripped apart by fear. Typical innocence writ large on their face, the children ran with glee and laughter.
My mobile tone interrupted my thoughts. "I will be at your home in 10
minutes," declared my nephew.
"Why not play the joke on him?" I told myself.
Eight minutes must have gone by.
Klinggg…the door bell rang.
The corridor lights were off. I saw through the door peep hole “my nephew” with a bag. Well, my nephew must have brought some gift pocket! Wow.
I clutched the door bar and with a sudden jerk screamed bahhhh…
The man threw the plastic cover in his hands and out went sugar and
rice, spilling all over the corridor.
What's wrong with you? he yelled. The grocery delivery man.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rain and pain

Through my glass window not protected by curtains, lightning flashed on my eyes around midnight. The rumbling thunder made me uneasy. Winter has returned to Sharjah. But what made me roll around restlessly on the bed was the growling in my stomach. I had been trying out a new restaurant for the past two days, and it proved a costly experiment. Turn right, left, upside down – nahi, nein, la (no in Hindi, German and Arabic), nothing worked. At around 1am, I managed to get up and gulp two digene tablets..and like blogger-friend Lori who prays for single parents, I prayed for married bachelors forced to fend for themselves. Dunno when sleep embraced me, but the alarm at 6.30am was promptly put off and I slept until 9am.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Foul etiquette

In this modern age, it is surprising that certain people lack even basic civic sense. A sneezing friend recently came so close to my face that I had to run for my life. On several occasions, people nearby used to run helter skelter when he started coughing.
I remember how I was witnessing a soccer match holding a Pepsi glass in my hand. An acquaintance sitting next to me often grabbed the glass whispering “Just one sip please.” I was so embarrassed I had to give the entire glass to him after some time.
I am very sensitive about the use of my own handkerchief. The other day a relative visited home, took permission and entered the wash room. He was back in a minute after splashing water on his face. And without any hesitation, he grabbed my handkerchief placed on the table and wiped his face, thoroughly. Let your imagination run riot on how he would have done this. After he left, I had to discard the piece.
A female colleague gifted me a nice black cap lying that I looked like Shah Rukh Khan when I wore it. As soon as I entered the office wearing that, a coworker picked it up from my head, wore it and flashed a smile. That he was sweating profusely is another matter. You guessed it right. I just gifted the cap to him and walked off.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Praying for peace

The Mumbai wound is deep this time and hence taking time to heal. But heal it will. And that's for sure.Mumbai is a city of love and affection where visitors are treated as "devas" (godly). It makes me sad that tourists, besides the local people, fell to the bullets of evil-doers. "Can't superpower-aspirant India handle a dirty dozen?" is the question posed by some people to me on the streets. I have no answer for now. Let the stupid politicians finish talking. Time will answer this question. But about one thing I am thoroughly convinced: Never in history has evil won over goodness.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We are with you, Mumbai

My mood? Very, very down. The city I love is under attack. Terror attack. Here is a city of 13 million, where each and every person truly believes that work is worship. The ever-active honey bees are no match to a Mumbaiite, when it comes to hard work.
And Mumbaiites do it with a smile, which makes them different from most others.
It's vibrant, dynamic (check out all the synonyms and add), and a perfect example of Unity in Diversity.
Forget the stupid politicians, I swear, each and every Mumbaiite loves this city, wherever he arrived from. It's a beautiful city that has a soul of gold and is a potpourri of many communities and cultures.
To attack such a city needs a dirty heart.
And at the very next chance, Global-Madrasi will be in Mumbai .. back to hanging out from overcrowded trains, sipping "ganna" (cane) juice on road corners, having vada pavs.
They can make Mumbai bleed, make Mumbai cry, but can never harm its spirit. Never.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lazy fellows

Procrastination. That’s one of the worst diseases one can suffer from, and I am a victim.
I resolved to go on a long early morning walk and set the alarm at 5.30am. Clocks never fail unless ditched by the battery, and so the alarm went off promptly. Creeeee… I got up, altered the time to 6.30am and dozed off. The action was repeated until I was off my bed at 7.30 am. Exercise? Forget it. This fight against laziness is a routine affair where I often lose.
Last month, I decided to pay off the utility bills in time. On the way, I met a friend who invited me for a cup of coffee. My determination fell flat before his persuasion skills. A hot cup of coffee and sour gossip. A deadly combination. Bills? Forget it. Can pay next month.
Result: A warning from the authorities that my electricity connection would be cut off. I had to run to pay the bill on the last day. Which I did, naturally. But there was some consolation. The line was long. I patted myself. “Cheer up; there are several lazy fellows like you.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Value of time

How you doing? asked my friend casually.
"Nothing great," I replied. "Just killing time."
"Well..kill time before time kills you," he said and vanished.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fashion passion

The way some people dress up seems to be getting funnier by the day. I saw a short man merrily walking around a famous Sharjah mall wearing just a blue mini-shorts and a white innerwear on top. It is now normal to see people walking around on the footpaths in their night dress during daytime.
And there was this guy who had a colourful antenna wired across his ears and protruding high above his head while listening to a song, which made him look like a perfect robot.
The messages on the T-shirts some pretty girls wear also make for funny reading. "I am looking right up there," declared one, while
another cautioned "Not for naughty eyes."
Some girls should scrutinize whether high heels are a boon or a
bane. The other day, a girl was trying to run and catch a bus while
wearing one such shoe. At least, three times she fell on the way.
By the time she reached the bus stop, the vehicle had moved on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Thought I should share with my friends this story I wrote some time back in our Panorama magazine...You may like reading it...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gadget obsession

E-gadgets are literally driving some people nuts, or what will you say about the man who went round and round on the footpath of Al Wahda Street yelling on his mobile phone, with his hands shaking up and down and in the process almost slapping a passerby.
This is not just to do with the handsets. The other day, I was walking along with a friend and tried to convince him that he should have a look at my blog at least once.
"What?" he said.
Surmising that he was eager to know more about the blog, I started explaining various subjects that had been touched. Nearly three minutes passed by. "So promise that you will have a look at the site," I concluded.
It was then that he removed his earplugs and replied: "Sorry, I was engrossed in that Bollywood song. What were you saying?"
I looked like a fool.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Old is gold

Watched the 1998 film "Enemy of the State" last night.
What a movie boss... I love to hate Will Smith. That man made my cry while watching "Pursuit of Happyness. (Spelt that way in film if I am right)" And he acts so incredibly well, I will pat him 500 times if I happen to meet him somewhere in Dubai.
And Gene Hackman. What a screen presence!
A child of a broken home, Gene Hackman left home at 16 for a 3-year hitch. And where did he reach. The top. In Hollywood. Great guy. Global-Madrasi salutes you, GH.
Just a few dialogues I found fantastic in the film:

"You're either very smart or incredibly stupid."

"You were right, I was wrong, but this is not the time for the 'I told you so' speech."

"You live another day, I am very impressed."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dubai world records

Here's a report on world records in/by Dubai. Happy reading...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tough going? Get tough

Global-Madrasi is a die-hard optimist. But some of today's headlines in the newspaper put him on an introspection mode about the global economy.
The headlines:
* Global stocks nosedive
* Crude falls to $63
* Henkel cuts profit forecast
* Totota slashes profit
* Singapore Air net income falls
* Cisco sales growth slowest
This, a day after Obama elected as the US president.
Hardly consoling. Is anybody arguing there is no recession?
Think again.
But never give up hope.
What say?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dubai’s underwater wonderland

Having clinched the Guinness record for the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel, Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre has been pulling crowds to the recently- opened Dubai Mall. The aquarium showcases an enormous diversity of ocean-species - above 33,000 aquatic animals in due course, representing more than 85 species including sharks and stingrays. It’s an underwater wonderland, with a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel that allows for some incredible close-encounter experiences to delight mall visitors. Dangerous Pirahna, giant catfish, playful Otters and water rats are just some of the species one will meet.
Here are some excellent photos taken by my friend, Kamal Kassim.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congrats America

It’s all in black and white. Barack Obama has won. America has won. It’s a victory for the American people, democracy. Global-Madrasi is shedding tears, tears of joy. And why? The winds of change are blowing, and blowing in the right direction. Just look at this victory statement of the new world leader:
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”
Obama received an "extraordinarily gracious" call from McCain. He has praised the former Vietnam prisoner of war as a "brave and selfless leader".
Awesome. What a day for democracy.
One minute, one minute.
Sorry, I cannot hear you. What?
Two wars!! Global recession…!!!
Ya, Ya, Obama understands. The road is rough. But great leaders are born to tackle challenges, not stand on roadside and lick lollypops.
Ships are meant to set sail and face the roughness of the sea, not safely hang out in the harbour, just to rust.
Test of fire makes fine steel, Mr Obama. These are words of Lincoln, not Global-Madrasi.
The expectations are sure high.
But you are American president. And it has to be that way.
Again, Congrats America, Global-Madrasi is convinced this is a great victory for American people first and Obama next.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple recipes for lazy ones-2

Here's one more recipe for lazy bachelors and "married bachelors." This one from Feroza Khan:
Butter Paneer/Chicken
Ingredients 1 kg chicken/paneer cubes250 gms butter¾ small onions1 cup cashew (white)¼ cup dry resins5/6 methi danaGinger/garlic pasteDry red chillies (according to taste)Kasuri methi to sprinkle
Get onions in small slice and fry it in butter with methi dana till it turns light pink. Add ginger garlic paste and chicken pieces, stir till it leaves oil. Prepare a paste of cashew, raisins and dry chillies. Add paste to chicken and add salt. After 2,3 mins add water for necessary gravy. As chicken gets tender add kasuri methi and serve hot with chappatis or naan. Enjoy…

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Buy & cry

Customer is the king/queen, they often say. Is it true?
There are quite a few occasions where I felt more like a victim than a king.
Just a few samples: I bought a branded T-shirt at an international airport, wore it for a day and found that the pocket was almost peeling off thanks to poor stitching. I took it to a roadside tailor and suggested he sew it up. Sew it up he did, but he also did something he could have easily avoided. He tried to iron the shirt and in the process burnt it, leaving a big hole. As if the rising prices have not left enough hole in the pocket already…
During a recent visit to the Meena Bazaar area of Dubai, I bought an expensive (no, I am not joking) branded cellphone. Within weeks, the display went off. “It must be a virus. We cannot do anything,” declared the shopkeeper. I approached another shopkeeper who blamed it on “LCD problem.” Needless to say, I shelled out quite a few bucks on getting the LCD replaced.
Recently at a shopping mall, I chided my wife for picking up tomatoes at random. “Go for the packed one. See how inexpensive it is,” I suggested. She protested initially, but fell for the bait. When we went home, her face went red as the tomatoes, as we found that almost half of them were damaged ones.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A joke for a change

Here’s a joke as told by colleague Ansar Salim.
A man purchases a ticket at a cinema counter and moves towards the hall. He rushes back to the counter in a few minutes and asks for another ticket. He repeats the process five times. Amused, the counter guy asked him, why are you buying so many tickets? The hassled man replied: “What to tell you! Some idiot is standing at the entrance of the hall and tears away the ticket every time I try to enter.”

Monday, October 27, 2008

May this Diwali dazzle with laughter and prosperity in your life…

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A prick of conscience

Millions across the globe go to bed without food, lamented a friend.
“You have a good heart. At least you think about them,” I praised him.
“Many people fail to understand what is right charity. A rich man in America reached a place where a group of roofless people had taken shelter. He picked up his purse and started distributing $100 notes and before anybody could ask him who he was, he had gone. Somehow, a tabloid reporter tracked him later and asked him about his background. The man replied: “I was one among them earlier.”
Hmm.., I listened intently.
“About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations,” he reeled out statistics.
“Oh God,” I exclaimed.
“The good news is when it comes to charity many UAE residents score over others,” he continued. “There are several cases where people in distress have received financial help from anonymous donors.”
Suddenly I woke up. “Why are you giving me a lecture on charity?”
“Here’s a Dhs40 bill. Please donate,” he thrust a receipt into my hands.
“You are the kind of volunteer that charity campaigns need,” I patted him before heeding his request.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get back the bicycles

Kudos Seoul. The Seoul city government has initiated a $88 million “road diet” plan under which the number of lanes for passenger vehicles in major roads will be cut to create new bicycle paths. As per the proposal, 17 main cycle paths, totalling 200 kilometres, that criss-cross the sprawling city would be constructed.
Considering that Dubai and Sharjah have no consideration for pedestrians and cyclists (just try crossing any major highway like Sheikh Zayed Road) the news sounds great.
The bicycle is one of the best inventions of mankind ‑ clean, green and healthy mode of transportation. Leaving the cycle behind in city planning is a step backward and Global-Madrasi reserves the choicest rebuke for any city planner taking this path.
By the way, those who believe that the humble bicycle is only meant for workers and low-income groups, think again: I have come across a showroom in Dubai that sells a bicycle for as much as Dhs35,000 ($9,589).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cash from trash

by R. Ramesh

Recyling waste is big business across the globe and the UAE, which has one of the world's highest per capita waste generation rates — an estimated 750 kilogrammes a year — has unveiled grand plans that are likely to change the face of the country.
A key concept of modern waste management, recycling, by definition, is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Recylable materials from both home and industries may include a range of items from paper, glass, aluminium, textiles, plastics to biodegradable waste and even printer ink cartridges.

Recycling also helps cut the demand for new materials. For example, a tonne of recycled paper saves around 17 full-grown trees from being cut. Tackling over 500,000 tonnes per day of solid wastes including commercial, household, industrial and agricultural is no easy task. Experts point out that 40 per cent of t Cash from trash by he UAE municipal solid waste can be recycled as well as reused. The government is in the process of privatising some services or even opting for public/private partnership. In fact, the Abu Dhabi government earlier privatised a section of the municipal solid waste collection and transportation services.

Dubai scenario

Though Dubai has gained the distinction of being one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, it also has to contend with the fact that waste in the emirate has tripled in the last six years to three million tonnes in 2006. Dubai generated one million tonnes of waste in 2000 and it went up to almost three million tonnes in 2006, according to Dubai Municipality's Acting Director General Nasser Lootah. Industrial and construction waste also increased from three million tonnes to 10.5 million tonnes during the same period. Waste is dumped in different landfills located at Al Qusaid, Jebel Ali, Lehbab, and Hatta.

The Al Qusais landfill receives 77 per cent of Dubai's total waste and remains the largest. Dubai Municipality started the Middle East's largest material recovery facility, Tadweer, which went into operation at Warsan in March and could recycle 4,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Tadweer helps minimise waste by recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass objects for reuse as raw material to manufacture other things, such as plastic balls and synthetic boards. The residues from sorting and recycling will be treated further, using better technology to produce enough electrical power to cover the requirements of the project. The corporation has spent AED 500 million (US$27.2 million) in building the facility.

C & D waste

About 30,000, or 24 per cent of the world's 125,000 construction cranes, are said to be currently operating in Dubai and it is not hard to imagine the negative impact of construction waste on the environment. In March this year, Dubai-based Al Rostamani Group, established the Emirates Recycling Facility (ERF) aimed at recycling and recovery of the city's construction and demolition (C&D) waste.

The Emirates Recycling plant, built at a cost of over AED 65 million and located in the Al Lusaily area on the Al Ain-Jebel Ali road, has a capacity to convert the more than eight million tonnes of construction waste material generated in Dubai annually into usable road and construction base aggregate. The Dubai Municipality had to handle 10.5 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste in 2006.

In fact, C&D waste makes up 75 per cent of the total waste generated in Dubai every year, according to municipality officials. The ERF project is being portrayed by the authorities as a perfect example of civic partnership between public and private sectors with the common goal of improving the living standards and wellbeing of the community. The plant is designed to receive, sort, separate, crush, sieve and process the city's concrete, asphalt and cement C&D debris and turn it into aggregate materials of three different sizes for use in road-base construction, as base material for ready-mixed concrete elements and for landfill. C&D recovery is considered global best practice, and is in place in nations around the world from Japan to the entire North American continent.

Recycling Park

As well as the above initiatives, a Dubai Recycling Park, which is expected to be the first fully integrated waste management and recycling park in the Middle East, will be developed on a site measuring 1,500,000 square feet with a 49-year lease agreement with Dubai Industrial City and a capital investment of up to US$150 million. Construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2008 and will be fully completed within the following 18 months.

Capital move

The Abu Dhabi government last September awarded Al Qudra Holding a recycling project for home solid wastes for the emirate valued at AED 1.27 billion. Abu Dhabi generates some 2,300 tonnes of solid waste per day. The project aims at preserving the environment by recycling home solid wastes including plastic and paper, aluminium, metals, glass as well as greenery.

Sharjah plans

The proximity with Dubai and rapid growth has led to solid waste production in Sharjah rising at the rate of 13 per cent per annum while waste dumping sites have already received stuff to their capacity. Sharjah produces a total of 1.1 million tonnes of waste per year. Realising the need for drastic action, the Sharjah Municipality launched a large waste recycling company that is flaunted as "the biggest in the Arab region."

Bee’ah is a limited liability joint stock company of the Sharjah Municipality, the JMS Property Development LLC and the Tactical Connections Canada. At the first stage, the “Bee’ah” will collect, sort out and classify waste within the following categories: Aluminium materials, plastic materials, paper, glass and ceramic, building materials, iron and organic materials. These will be sent to the recycling factory, which will be operational by late 2008.

A waste-recycling factory is being set up in Al Saj'ah area and will depend on the latest international technology in the recycling industry under the supervision of specialists and technicians. The company will also set up branches in all other municipalities of the Emirate of Sharjah.

The authorities see Bee'ah as a practical solution to tackling waste, particularly as 65 per cent of waste is convertible and can be recycled.

Aluminium advantage

With a view to encourage companies and institutions to reduce their waste, the Emirates Environmental Group has been organising several events, including annual recycling competitions in the UAE. The EEG collected 644,000 kilogrammes of recycling materials last year with Dubai and Abu Dhabi as hubs.

The collection of these materials is done by the private sector. Once collected, the paper, glass, aluminium cans and plastic are either sold to local factories or exported. While paper and cartons form the chunk of favourable items for recycling, aluminium is not far behind. The main drivers that favour recycling of aluminium scrap has been low capital requirement, low gestation period and low cost of conversion.

Globalisation and competition have prompted the secondary aluminium industry to assure quality of secondary metal. Besides, an environment friendly process makes the option of aluminium recycling attractive. A wide choice of technology and design is available to process aluminium scrap. Another key to successful aluminium recycling industry is access to segregated and identified alloys, reveals C. Ramasamy, presently working as a technical advisor for a Nigerian-based company.

The numerous opportunities for design and creativity which aluminium offers architects are a prerequisite for putting new and lasting ideas into practice. The fact that there is practically no need for any maintenance is a contributing economic factor. Aluminium protects foodstuffs and medicines against deterioration. Aluminium packaging offers maximum packaging performance with minimum use of material. The high potential energy savings during the life of aluminium products often exceed the actual energy consumed during all the stage from extraction to finished product. Aluminium recycling offers several attractions: It saves around 93% of the energy needed to primary metal.

The energy required to produce 1 metric tonne of aluminium in a modern smelter will be around 15,500 units of electricity, where as the energy required for melting scrap is only around 1,200 units of thermal energy. The benefits are too many: Aluminium scrap can be recycled again and again without any loss in property. Using recycled metal is cheaper. Modern recycling is eco-friendly. By recycling, around 600,000 tonnes of bauxite per annum can be preserved for the future for around 100,000 tonne of aluminium. Recycled aluminium in Europe, USA and Japan is used for making aluminium sheets and coils which, in turn, are used in beverage cans, building, transport and cookware. Similarly, most extruded and cast aluminium products are made from the recycled metal. This leads to the most economical application of primary (therefore purer) aluminium.

Commercial opportunities

Coping with huge mounds of solid and municipal wastes poses a formidable challenge, but the UAE has geared up well for the task. Though millions of dollars have already been pumped into various projects, opportunities remain for more international companies that offer sophisticated technologies in the field to join the waste-tackling battle. With the authorities keeping an open mind on involving the private sector, the opportunity is indeed greener.
(Published in GRC bulletin)

Global team

It's great 2 b among colleagues: from 4 different locations; Chennai, Manila, Thiruvananthapuram and Kampala.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simple recipes for lazy ones

Here's keeping the promise on simple recipes for bachelors and lazy ones like me. Let's begin with a sweet dish..
This one from Naheed Zafar:
Semolina (‘Rava’ in Hindi) Halwa
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
Cashew nuts
Take semolina in a pan. Keep stirring as it warms.
In another pan take ghee, add cashew nuts to it. When cashew nuts start turning golden add semolina to it. Add water and sugar to semolina. Turn the gas to sim and let it cook on low heat. when water starts drying, add raisins.
Serve hot. Can serve the recipe with cream.
Suggested Garnishing:
Add dry fruits and nuts to recipe.
Sprinkle Love!!

tongue, taste, tummy

I am not going to bite my tongue on this; have burnt my fingers, literally. I mean sending off my family to the native country (of course, unavoidable situation) and staying alone is proving to be a big challenge. And topping the list is cooking. A cut in the finger while chopping onions, burning my hand while cooking rice and allowing milk to spill (thanks to the stupid wrong-time phones calls) and crying over spilt milk.. Have had it full. Poor bachelors and married-bachelors. Bury your worry. Global-Madrasi has decided to post recipes – simple and easy ones. (how sad, I am a veggie, folks). Global-Madrasi will also salute those who contribute non-veg recipes..(But do not mention about it to Heather-Mills, she has just donated $1m in Vegan food to children in New York)..Happy cooking..

Saturday, October 18, 2008

‘Shy’ Dubai journalists

I find this weird. Journalists are expected to mirror the pulse of the society. The Fourth Estate has a hugely valuable role. Just a few years ago, most journalists did their role to perfection. I have interacted with millionaires and celebrities as well as beggars on the streets and cleaners. With newspapers becoming “brand products,” a trend set in motion by The Times of India, journalists also have changed. It took one full month for me to get a byline (Name) in The Times of India when I started my career in the 80s. Now, journos sitting in AC rooms and sporting three-piece suits talk on their cellphones and have their bylines flashed in bold letters. I hardly see journalists moving into the field and interacting with the masses. Of course, this should not be generalized as a few colleagues do sweat it hard out there, but their number has become negligible. Also, at a dinner meeting last night in Dubai where several prominent people from the Indian community were present, I saw many journalists shying away from interaction with others. How do shy-types make it to the print industry where the code word is interaction?

Rr/Oct 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spare the rod…

Social attitudes are changing, fine. But I am appalled at the fact that teachers are not getting the respect they deserve. Teachers are the backbone of a society. During my school days, if I made a mistake and the teacher punished me, my father would not only thank the teacher, but also request him/her to be more strict with me. But look at a contradiction. A teacher was taking lessons at a Mumbai coaching institute, when a girl repeatedly disturbed the class. The angry instructor reprimanded the girl, and after repeated warnings failed, asked her to leave. Lo and behold, next day, the teacher was sacked by the institute. “Parents are complaining that you are too strict,” was all that the teacher was told.
What a shame! If I had the powers, I would force all parents to read the letter Abraham Lincoln wrote to a teacher.
Please, please, this
Excerpts from Lincoln's letter to his son's teacher

He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader... Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,
Steer him away from envy,if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter.
Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick... Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books... But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside.
In the school teach him it is far honourable to fail than to cheat... Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong... Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough.
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon...
Teach him to listen to all men... but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him if you can, how to laugh when he is sad... Teach him there is no shame in tears, Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness... Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he's right. Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient... let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.
This is a big order, but see what you can do... He is such a fine fellow, my son!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A joke for a change

"You idiot," screamed a man at his acquaintance and the reaction was instant: "You said idiot and I remembered. How's your dad?"

Plain greed

Shares continue to tumble and the global healing touch has simply proved to be ineffective. What lies behind the crisis? It's plain greed. The present Gen is so money-centric that basic values are taking a backseat, and that, at jet speed. Lemme explain. In the 90s, I used to watch real estate agents in Mumbai, India. Some of thempurchased houses meant for middle-income groups at throwaway prices and jacked up the rates to almost double in a matter of months. Not that the governments didn't know of such a practice. In fact, the governments wanted their own pound of flesh and increased the property tax rates to unbelievable heights as happened in New Bombay (called Navi Mumbai now.) A people's movement had to be launched to bring the tax rates to reasonable levels. How many people have heard of salaries doubling in a matter of months!! It's a vicious circle. Let's wait and watch.
rr/Oct.16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congrats Adiga

Global-Madrasi congratulates novelist Aravind Adiga for winning the Man Booker Prize, not merely because he is a "Madrasi," but a Global Madrasi.
Man Booker is one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. Aravind's "The White Tiger," follows Balram Halwai, the son of a rickshaw puller whose dream of escaping the poverty of his village takes him on a journey to the bright lights of Delhi and Bangalore, where he will do almost anything to get to the top.
Adiga says his aim in writing The White Tiger was to represent the poor. And Global-Madrasi appreciates that. Forward march, Mr Adiga.

Oct 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My colleague Naheed Zafar has sent this motivating piece by Kipling for Global-Madrasi wellwishers.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Monday, October 13, 2008

Under control

Taking a walk on Al Wahda street, I bumped on my old friend who runs a photo studio.
“Why is it every other person we meet on the street is either stressed out or restless these days? Is it because of globalization?” he asked an innocent but tricky question.
“It depends on individuals. You choose between money or happiness,” I started my discourse. “Money cannot buy happiness. You know, a friend of mine quit a job with a five-figure salary. She is happy now with half the pay,”
“You mean we should opt for jobs with lesser pay? he joked and continued: “My business was going great guns a few years ago. But now rent and inflation are making my life miserable.”
“Don’t grumble. Try to find ways to cut costs and earn more,” I was sounding like Socrates.
“How come you are sounding contented? Is your domestic budget under control?” he asked.
“I should say ‘yes’ as of now,” I replied. “The bank has just cleared my loan application.”
rr/Oct.14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Credit crunch antidote - Simple living, high thinking

CREDIT CRUNCHHH..That’s the talk of the town around the globe. “What’s this all about?” asked a Sri Lankan worker whose job it is to water the trees on Sharjah’s famous Al Wahda Street.
I wondered how to explain it in simple words from what I have read in newspapers.
Well, it goes like this: Willi (fictitious name & story) never believed in taking loans. One day, his brother meets with an accident. The doctor said: “Pay off $5,000 or lose him.” Determined to save his brother, Willi approached a bank seeking loan for the first time in his life. The bank wanted a guarantee. Willi owned a house. “Why $5,000, you are eligible for much more, enjoy life,” coaxed a bank agent eyeing his own commission from the deal. Poor Willi was dragged into the materialistic cesspool. His brother recovered, but he fell neck-deep in debt. The loan interest mounted and mounted and mounted, while the home value slumped.
Willi is in a soup and so is the bank. And so is the country and so is the global situation.
Dunno whether I explained it right. Gardener Nijam nodded his head and I felt like a successful professor.
My friend Faiyaz has a simple solution: “Don’t fall prey to lifestyle lure. It has glitter but no heart. Materialism is a dangerous path.”
I agree and disagree. Personally, I have managed to live all these years without a credit card. Believe me. I live in the UAE and on occasions walk around the only seven-star hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab, to attend press conferences. I have traveled to Hamburg and still could move on without a credit card. We all need money, but we sure can balance our budget within our means. I should be stupid to think I will become a Bill Gates overnight. I can dream of becoming one. But I can spend like Bill Gates only after my bank accounts have a similar balance as his. Oh, this philosopher instinct. For all that I say, I am highly materialistic too. So, there’s a bit of hypocricy.
But, live within your means. Sorry, if I am forwarding an unsolicited suggestion. But you will accept it one day as the right path.

RR/ Oct.13, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thinking makes it so

Give any popular book that sells well, my wife told a roadside vendor in Chennai. He promptly held out Foreign Body, by Robin Cook. Dunno why. But I liked the opening quotation: If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound. "Thinking makes it so."
-Ashtavakra Gita - Traslated by John Richards.

Pranks at TOI

I had promised to write about the pranks we journalists played on each other during the 90s at The Times of India, Mumbai, where I was a chief sub-editor during the entire decade. I can call that a golden period for us as reporters and the desk worked as a family.
PD was a wonderful guy at the sports department (“was” because the great friend is unfortunately no more). When the mood became dull at the general news desk, I was usually prompted by two young Parsi beauties (at that time, dunno now) to play some prank and I invariably fell for the bait. And so it was decided to corner PD.
I picked up the phone, covered the receiver with a paper and called out: “Mr P.”
“I am calling from the security. There’s a visitor for you. Please come to the reception.”
“Send him up.”
“No sir. There is a new regulation. You have to come down.”
I could clearly hear a murmer and a four-letter word. This was followed by the banging of the phone.
When P reached the third floor lift, I called out: “P, are you going to the security room?”
No.., I cannot pen the words he showered on me.
This was merely a beginning. The pranks reached unbelievable heights.
More on that…We can wait for the next post.

RR/Oct.11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Public diary of private person

The attack was direct. “You don’t even know the meaning of blogs. You are supposed to maintain anonymity,” yelled a close friend, who is also a senior journalist.
“I feel a blog is the public diary of a private person. There’s no need to hide behind curtains,” I argued.
“Anyway, your blog is silly and lacks focus,” he continued.
I just smiled. “If I get angry, you win, my friend,” I told myself. “And I will just not allow that.” Wow, I am maturing.

rr/Oct.10, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Anger buster

Everyone gets angry at some point of time. But some get angry too often. I entered office after a long vacation and a colleague greeted me with: “You did not even bother to mail. I am angry with you.”
I tried to reason with him. But  no use. I told him a story I had read. A monk was sitting under a tree discussing with his disciples when that country’s army commander, who was passing by, stopped his vehicle and approached him. He asked the monk: “I want to know about hell and heaven.”
The monk replied: “I will tell you. But, by the way, who are you?”
”I am the commander,” replied the man in an arrogant tone.
“Commander! You look like a butcher,” mocked the monk.
Anger writ large on his face, the commander whipped his knife and charged towards the monk. “Well, this is hell,” smiled the monk. Ashamed, the commander put back his knife and sought forgiveness. With a repentant face, he said “I am very sorry.” “This is heaven,” came the reply.
“The story is fine. But don’t you think it is impossible to control anger?” he asked innocently.
“I have read psychologists saying that among the best ways to control anger are; talk to a friend you can trust; count to 10; get or give a hug or just take a walk,” I replied.
“All okay, but you are no better. You get angry at slight provocation,” my friend said.
"I don’t think so.”
“You do,” he insisted.
“No…,” I screamed with fury.
“There you go..,” laughed my colleague.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stupid fanatics

Hey fanatic...Whom are you trying to protect? Oh, "your" God! Should it not be the other way around?
RR/Oct.6, 2008

Two little ‘monsters’

At a time when people are too busy to find time even for their own families, guests are often considered pests. One can imagine the plight of the host when a visitor enters the house along with two mischievous kids.
I had a taste of this experience last week. I was merrily walking near the famous Clock Tower in Deira Dubai when a familiar face greeted me. “Hey. You have forgotten me?” he yelled. This was followed by an accusation: “These days people forget even their own relatives.”
I whacked my mind repeatedly and recollected that he was a distant relative.
“Why don’t you drop in tomorrow?” I asked as a matter of courtesy. And the price I had to pay was heavy.
He landed with his wife and two young “monsters.” The first casualty was the TV remote control which the boys grabbed as soon as they entered the house. In no time it was broken. My wife had laid out a new carpet which we usually take out only when visitors arrive. As the family sat on the carpet, my wife offered coffee. The younger boy, who was engrossed in a heated argument with his sibling, sprang for the beverage and down came the cups of hot coffee, adding a new decoration to the carpet. I thought the parents would thrash the boys, but the mother quickly remarked: “See how naughty my son is.”
Not naughty, but a terror, I told myself.
While parting one of the boys rang the door bell six times and our neighbour came out, flashed a dirty look and disappeared with a “be careful” warning look.
It's six days now and my wife is still not talking to me.

RR/ Oct.6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alive & kicking

Well, well..sorry for the break...will be back tomorrow..if alive...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Eid Mubarak from Global-madrasi

The secret behind secrets

“You do not know how to keep a secret,” chided a close friend.
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead,” I replied quoting Benjamin Franklin.
“Why did you tell William that Khan is visiting Dubai? Khan had specifically told me that his was a secret visit,” she fumed.
“I did not know that, sorry,” I pleaded.
“The other day I had told you not to tell anyone that I had bought a new car. But when I entered the office everyone asked about it. Now I will stop telling you anything meant to be a secret,” she went on.
Her argument went on like this: Secrets at times drag us to prosperity – we can decide, can open our heart to our own, without getting derailed by others’ comments. You never know where you are placed in one’s heart – friend or foe!!!!!
I am of the firm opinion that secrets kill debates. It is better to share views and exchange ideas.
Anyway, I was amazed by her ability to hold on to secrets.
“I wish I could keep secrets like you,” I replied.
She fell silent for a minute.
“I cannot keep secrets either,” she suddenly yelled.
“If I could have, I would not have uttered them to you.”
RR/Sept.30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quote of the day

This is one of the best quotations if you ask me;
If you want to be happy, be.
- Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two decades, sea change (TOI scene)

The Fourth Estate has witnessed a sea change in less than three decades. How? Well, I can speak about my experience with The Times of India (TOI), Mumbai, where I joined as a sub-editor in the early eighties. Noisy teleprinters, dusty files, torn newsprints, fuming chief-subs, ruffled reporters were the order of the day. Editors made VIP appearance. The chief-subs carried pencils, erasers and scales to measure the size of photographs and prepare dummies for page-making. No computers. Four typed lines made an inch as per our calculation.
The ground floor of the six-storey TOI building stood like a museum where passers by peeped through windows to have a glimpse of giant printing machines.
A little past midnight, at the printing press (2nd floor), chief subs hurling four-letter invectives at innocent and scared subs, was a common sight.
At those times, two veteran page-makers, Miranda and Anton, were a great source of consolation for the juniors. “Come on, take it easy, let’s make an “English page,” they would say, smiling. Until today, I haven’t been able to comprehend what they meant by “English page.”
And, I never realized then that those abuses from seniors were actually blessings.
After night duty, when the newspaper had been safely “put to bed,” (The GenNext may not know this term), some subs would be lucky to catch the last train from VT station and head back home. In my case, Mr Murphy, whose law is famous, saw to it that the train invariably puffed out of the station the moment I dashed in… panting.
And so was it that a group of subs will settle for a cup of tea (sold at 50 paise) at the 24-hour VT canteen or a “Pav baaji” from the roadside vendors, and return to office for a short sleep until the first train rolled out. And where did we sleep? Just clear the tables where we worked, put a few old newspapers or newsprints, and bingo, the bed’s ready. The teleprinter and fan noise would try to disrupt sleep, but fail miserably as the subs would have been so exhausted by that time. While chief sub CSPP had a splendid knack of dozing off in seconds, good-spirited chief sub SS could never get sleep before finding a listener for his sermon.
Telegram delivery guys used to wake us up in the wee hours but I mischievously redirected them towards other subs. In the morning, I would pick up my bag to move on, only to see a telegram or two strewn on the face of one colleague or the other.
I have actually seen bandicoots, not rats, crawling above the bundles of newspapers strewn around.
BTW, do I sound like an elderly man? Mind you, I am just in my forties. Does not life begin at 40? Quite a few pretty girls wink at me and I return the gesture (But let’s keep it a secret, buddy).
Pranks? Wow, do not remind me about them. TOI editorial staff in the eighties had a great sense of humour. Will talk about it in the next posting.

R.Ramesh/ Sept 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Better to zip lip

A masters in English literature, my friend never tires of using idioms at the drop of a hat.
After a heated debate last week, he hit back at me saying: “You are bent on creating a storm in a teacup.”
“I am not,” I replied.
“Fine words butter no parsnips,” he replied. I had to check out from Google that it actually meant talking is easy, but talking is not action.
“Why are you angry? In a debate, you have to listen to the other person’s point of view,” I tried to pacify him.
“Don’t judge a book by the cover. Look deeper,” he said.
Fed up of his idiomatic jargon, I bid adieu promising to meet him in a day or two. And meet I did. Only this time, I saw a punch mark on his face.
What happened?
“It’s that stupid Joe,” he replied. “During an argument I told him ‘beggars cannot be choosers,’ and he assaulted me.”
“He thought I was calling him a beggar.”

RR/Sept.24, 2008

Wow, she made it again

Good Britney is bouncing back.. You are indeed "stronger than yesterday." Keep it up, Britney..

Whisper and thunder

There are some who talk too loudly almost bursting the ear drums of the listener, while there others who speak too softly to be audible.
The other day, a close friend of mine wanted to share a secret. She “whispered” in my ears. Some other colleagues sitting nearby laughed as they could hear her.
It is just that when she whispers, it looks like a normal chat, and when she talks, it sounds like she’s shouting. When she actually shouts, often people misunderstand it as thunder. No wonder, colleagues find the silence killing when this sportive person is not around.
More tormenting than those with a loud voice are the ones who keep their volumes too low. I picked up the phone last week to hear someone murmuring a few words.
What’s your name please?
I thought a bee was interrupting the line. After repeated attempts and effective execution of my journalistic skills, I managed to find out that she was a PR executive wanting to send some press release.
But is it not true that variety is what shapes the beauty of the world?

RR/ Sept.22, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I went, I bought, I cried

Customer is the king/queen, they often say. Is it true?
There are quite a few occasions when I felt more like a victim than a king.
Just a few samples: I bought a branded T-shirt at an international airport, wore it for a day and found that the pocket was almost peeling off thanks to poor stitching. I took it to a roadside tailor and suggested he sew it up. Sew it up he did, but he also did something he could have easily avoided. He tried to iron the shirt and in the process burnt it, leaving a big hole. As if the rising prices have not left enough hole in the pocket already…
During a recent visit to the Meena Bazaar area of Dubai, I bought an expensive (no, I am not joking) branded cellphone. Within weeks, the display went off. “It must be a virus. We cannot do anything,” declared the shopkeeper. I approached another shopkeeper who blamed it on “LCD problem.” Needless to say, I shelled out quite a few bucks on getting the LCD replaced.
Recently at a shopping mall, I chided my wife for picking up tomatoes at random. “Go for the packed one. See how inexpensive it is,” I suggested. She protested initially, but fell for the bait. When we went home, her face went red as the tomatoes, as we found that almost half of them were damaged ones.
RR/ Sept20, 2008.

Five minutes please!

“Will you care for a cup of tea?” I invited my Filipana friend.
“Just give me five minutes, I will be back,” she said and disappeared.
When she returned, she was all decked up and looked five years younger.
“How did you manage to look so different in a matter of a few minutes?” I asked amazed at her new look.
“Well, my hand bag is a beauty parlour in itself,” she declared.
“No wonder, the consumption of cosmetics and perfumes in the region is ranked among the highest per capita worldwide. The average purchase per head is around Dhs1,226 annually,” I told her.
“The GenNext is appearance-conscious and you must accept that,” she argued.
“What about men?” I countered.
“Male or female, personality matters now more than ever,” she said.
“Could you give me five minutes?” I disappeared now.
RR/ Sept.20,2008

Memory game

“You were supposed to meet me at the coffee shop and did not make it. I wasted over an hour
waiting for you,” I screamed at the top of my voice.
“I forgot, believe me,” my friend pleaded.
“What forgot? You took the best novel I had last month, but never bothered to return...,” I was in a ferocious mood.
“Listen. I had planned to return it today, but...,”
“But forgot, right?” I shouted.
“Studies have revealed that stress makes you activate an enzyme in the brain called Kinase C. It is a protein which undermines your short term memory, plus some other brain functions in the prefrontal cortex,” I spoke like a doctor.
“No, no. Please do not start all that. I am perfectly normal,” he said.
“I have an idea. An iPod may be of help to people like you. Even if you had forgotten where you parked your car, the electronic marvel would help you. Park your car and tap "Park Me" to take a GPS reading; on the way back, hit "Where Did I Park" for turn-by-turn directions back to the whip. It'll work for iPod touch users via Wi-Fi and cell-tower positioning,” I said recollecting what I had read in a magazine.
“Exactly, I am coming to that. Could you lend me some money. I was just planning to buy one set,” he managed to retain his innocent look.

RR, Sept 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A prick of conscience

Millions across the globe go to bed without food, lamented a friend.
“You have a good heart. At least you think about them,” I praised him.
“Many people fail to understand what is right charity. A rich man in America reached a place where a group of roofless people had taken shelter. He picked up his purse and started distributing $100 notes and before anybody could ask him who he was, he had gone. Somehow, a tabloid reporter tracked him later and asked him about his background. The man replied: “I was one among them earlier.”
Hmm.., I listened intently.
“About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations,” he reeled out statistics.
“Oh God,” I exclaimed.
“The good news is when it comes to charity many UAE residents score over others,” he continued. “There are several cases where people in distress have received financial help from anonymous donors.”
Suddenly I woke up. “Why are you giving me a lecture on charity?”
“Here’s a Dhs40 bill. Please donate,” he thrust a receipt into my hands.
“You are the kind of volunteer that charity campaigns need,” I patted him before heeding his request.

Quote of the day

Quieten your mind and close your eyes. Be still. Feel the sun upon your face. Hear the shrill of bird song. Rejoice in your senses. Rejoice in life.

Pam Brown

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fury of a philosopher

She is a close friend and cares for her looks.
“Personality is important. You should never give up exercise if you want to be happy in life,” she adviced while applying a new facial cream.
“You are young and single. You have a bright future. I am not sure where I am placed,” I embarked on sweet-talking. That she’s in her late forties is another matter.
And do you know the worst enemy for all of us?
“Who?” I asked innocently.
“Anger. That destroys our soul and shatters our peace.”
“I have never seen you angry,” I again cajoled her.
“OK. Come to the point. You said you will get me a treadmill from your friend at half the price. What happened?”
“He has sold it off for a higher price. I am very sorry.”
“Buzz off,” she screamed, her face turning red with fury.

RR/ Sept17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Does money matter?

"Indeed, it does," was the strong argument put forward by Sharjah Toastmasters Club member Singarajan during the 200th meeting of the club at Sharjah recently.
"Can one travel in business class in any airline without money?" he questioned.
Well, if that's asking for luxury, Singarajan's argument is that money is also sought for charitable purposes and hence it cannot be termed "evil."
He humourously cited how his boss asked him to pay off Dhs40 taxi fare as he did not have "small change." The boss then completely forgot about it.
"During a future meeting, the boss gave a speech on rising fuel costs. I raised a question on rising taxi fares, but he did not get the hint. On a later occasion, my boss gave a lecture on the massive debts of African countries. I purposely raised a question on debt, but he either pretended or had completely forgotten about the taxi fare," Singarajan went on. "For the boss Dhs40 may be negligible, but not for an ordinary employee like me."
On an emotional note, Singarajan highlighted how he decided that money was a crucial factor in anyone's life.
"After my dad passed away my mom suggested that I seek the help of my estranged uncle who was my dad's brother. We were in desperate need of financial help and had no choice. I was reluctant in the beginning, but decided to follow my mom's advice. But when I approached my uncle, his words were: 'Let my money solve my problems, your money yours.' That changed my life and view about money."

The Gulf Today

Monday, September 15, 2008

Early morning gossip

Taking a brisk morning walk around the Sharjah Corniche is indeed a pleasure. Adding to the fun is the variety of international, joyful faces that one comes across.
With the summer heat subsiding, one cannot ask for better weather. And so I took off on my morning walk last week. And they were all there; an elderly man jogging, a woman in traditional dress and contemplative mood, a middle-aged man flexing his hands so vigourously that I could have almost got hit.. and the yoga freaks.
Wonderful feeling, I told myself, when the words “She’s an idiot” intruded into my ears.
Turning around I saw two women deeply engrossed in gossip as they walked along.
I looked at them and they looked at me. But the conversation continued.
“She cribs about everything and her husband is worse. She does not even dress up properly,” the first one went on.
We moved a little further, when the second woman almost screamed to the first to “shut up.”
Before I could surmise what happened, a third person joined them.
And then the first one said: “Oh, just now we were praising you. Is it a new dress you are wearing?”


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A cook who cut his finger

I have this nasty habit of looking at the sun and sneezing loudly whenever I leave my building to walk towards my office. Many in the neighbourhood adjust their timings based on this “noise” and I can boast of good marks in punctuality.
A cook at a Pakistani restaurant in our building had an experience last week which he would not forget easily. He was busy cutting onions when I walked past and in a matter of seconds, let go a rather louder-than-usual “acchhooo…”
I opened my eyes to see a black cat running for its life and the cook staring angrily at me. “It’s you. I thought it was some sort of thunder or an earthquake and have cut my fingers.”
I offered to get an ointment but he smilingly turned down the offer.
Now everyday he flashes a smile and alerts me in case I forget my routine. I never knew that a simple habit like sneezing could rope in a good pal.


Blooming Dubai

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pretty woman

It was a small roadside shop at Al Wahda Street and I picked up a brown shoe.
The price tag mentioned “Dhs70” as the rate and I turned to ask my wife her opinion, when I noticed she had moved on to the next shop as usual and was busy bargaining over a sleek handbag.
Black or brown? Is it too expensive? My dilemma began.
And then came along a young lady.
“How much?” she asked me.
“Dhs 70,” I replied.
“Show me,” she grabbed it from my hand.
“Should fit in well for my hubby. But you are quoting too much?”
Stunned, I answered: “I am not quoting too much. It is the shopkeeper.”
Now it was her turn to get shocked. “Oh, I am sorry... Mistook you for the salesperson,” she said, embarrassed and blushing.
“Never mind,” I said.
“I warned you not to wear that yellow T-shirt,” my wife cursed me. I just swallowed the words I wanted to tell her: “The woman was indeed pretty.”

R. Ramesh
Posted Sept.9/2008

Crushed under the wheels

It was a three-minute edgy drama on Al Wahda Street around 10am on Monday.
A chick that had ostensibly fallen from a moving truck got trapped at the middle of the road. With vehicles moving at rapid speed, it stuck to the yellow line for a couple of minutes.
Touched by its plight, Sharjah Municipality worker Mohammed Nijam, who was busy watering the trees, ran along the footpath wondering how to save the little creature.
A crowd had gathered but could do nothing. One person could be seen trying to capture the plight of the bird on his mobile camera.
And in a few seconds, a woman mildly let out a scream, “Oh God.”
“Sad sir, it is such a tiny bird,” lamented Nijam, only to correct himself instantly. “It was.”

By R. Ramesh, The Gulf Today, Jan22, 2008
Posted Sept.9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oh God

Oh God, Save me from your followers
-Bumper message

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Catch him if you can

That unwanted guest – rather pest – was back in my house last week. And this time he was hiding behind the washing machine at the wash room.
The moment I switched on the light, the mouse dashed at lightening speed towards the bed room. The immediate impulse was to pick up the nearest stick and give a chase and that’s precisely what I tried to do. Unfortunately, I did not notice the washing machine wires creeping along the way. And there I was, down with a bang and on all fours.
By the time I composed myself and got ready for the next phase of action, the heartless creature had moved into the kitchen. Not the one to give up that easily, I followed
the four-legged nuisance. We were face-to-face for a split second and then he was gone. Almost two hours of search proved futile. I ignored advices to approach the municipality for a pest control tablet thinking he was gone for good. Lo and behold! I spotted him again the next day. And the same chase drama and the vanishing trick continued.
“You grumble that you are living alone after your family moved back to your home country. Allow the guest to stay for a while. Good company,” joked a colleague.
“Well, he can stay at least until I spot him next time.”

R. Ramesh
Sept.7, 2008

Ask what India has done for you, and...

Sixty years after freedom, India is growing younger by the day. Former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s vision of turning India into a developed country by 2020 cannot be shrugged off as a mere fading dream of a well-wisher; statistics prove that the world’s largest democracy is leaping forward, despite minor scars it has obtained in the form of unrestrained population growth and communalism/casteism.
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.,” John F. Kennedy had asked Americans. When my daughter read this quotation aloud, it switched on my own thought process.
What has my country done for me?
Well, a country and its citizens share a give-and-take relation. A citizen cannot exist without a state and vice-versa. A typical example is a bomb blast that kills several people. While individuals die, the scarred society mirrors the wounds. As everything is in a system, as long as people and the state follow a procedure, things function smoothly.
The first and foremost thing that a country gives to its people is an identity. In a foreign land a person is known by the nationality he holds. The basic needs of a person are fulfilled by the state he/she lives in. Food, shelter and clothing are facilities bestowed to us by the place we belong to.
Our great nation not only provides us with these basic necessities of a human. But it also has given us grand traditions, culture and a glorious heritage. We co-exist in a country which is fifth largest in the world and makes us residents of a truly cosmopolitan and diverse state. We belong to a beautiful mechanism called democracy wherein an individual possesses the right to choose his own representatives. Thus, we are allowed to choose who rules us irrespective of caste, creed or sex.
In a way, India’s progress is my progress. When India shines, I shine. When India marches ahead in various fields, I can see that myself, my children and all citizens have a bright prospect. The progress is clearly mutual and the figures are indeed encouraging. Just consider this:
In 2000, India had about 30 million telephone connections. That is now up to 225 million and rising by over 7 million a month. India is the world’s fastest growing telecom market and has left China behind. The traditional Indian bazaars are giving way to luxurious malls and supermarkets. At the dawn of the century, India attracted pitiful levels of foreign investment with about $2 billion trickling in. That zoomed to a record $17 billion by March 2007. Literacy rate has improved from 16% in 1951 to 63% in 2005. The list can go on.
Have I contributed to India? Well, let me tell you a story. A number of starfish were washed ashore and struggling for life. A man was seen picking up and putting them one by one back into the sea. “You fool, it will take a lifetime for you to put them all back,” commented a friend. “Well, at least I have made a difference for the few I have put back,” replied the great soul.
I feel each citizen contributes in his/her own small way. But what in my estimation we all must do is that we should enshrine the principles stated in the glorious constitution of our country. As per the constitution a citizen has fundamental duties to fulfill. We as Indians should all deliver the responsibilities like respecting the national flag, preserving monuments of historical importance and so on. We must follow the various rules and regulations like timely payment of taxes. We should all be law abiding citizens and go by the book. We can thus serve our motherland in professional and personal capacities as well.
For instance, a teacher can teach the students with honesty and dedication and his/her part of the job is done. As a humble contribution to the society, I also recently decided to offer free coaching to those who want to enter journalism. With 26 years’ experience in the line (The Times of India Mumbai, 17 years in senior editorial positions) and The Gulf Today Sharjah (8 years) I prefer to help those who are economically disadvantaged. It may be like saving a single starfish, but at the end of the day, I can go to bed with a smile.
Are you surprised why a guy who claims to be a global citizen and a fan of Socrates wields an Indian tag? Well, Vasudeva Kudumbakam (All humans are linked like beads on a thread). Charity begins at home. Let's make India the springboard for globalisation of virtue.

R. Ramesh

Where is the cashier?

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” consoled my colleague quoting Robert Schuller when I was a bit down last week.
“Thanks,” I replied.
“You know what? I just laugh away problems. Someone banged against my car and I am forced to travel by taxi for the last couple of days. Did I complain?”
“No,” I replied.
“My caterer has cautioned that from next month the food bill will go up. Did I tell you a word about it?”
“My family has to come on visit visa and I am yet to raise the necessary funds. Did I ask you for money?”
“I do not have to tell you that they have hiked my rent. Did I ever complain about that?”
“Nooo,” I almost screamed, and muttered: “I heard that you won’t be paid overtime as per a new rule.”
“Where is the cashierrr?” he yelled and disappeared.

The Gulf Today-Aug8, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Positively negative

"Think positive. Everyday say to yourself 'today is going to be a great day,'" my friend went on with his unsolicited discourse.
"I will try," I promised.
"No. You look dreary. What's the matter?" he pressed on.
"This month I will almost have to do without my salary. The same old rent problem," I grumbled.
"Come on. That's not a big deal at all. Any other hassle?"
"Well. I have reach Dubai tomorrow morning. Wonder whether I would get a bus quickly from Sharjah's Fish Market area, if I manage to hire a taxi to reach there."
"These are daily tasks. Keep telling yourself it is not good to be down. Cheer up," he continued.
"Thanks, what about William? I have to repay his Dhs1,000 within a week or he will pounce on me."
"What! Did you borrow from William?" my friend almost screamed. "Is that why he took Dhs2,000 from me last month?"

R. Ramesh

Strange dish

"Let's go and have snakes," said my friend.
"Not me," I screamed.
"What is wrong with you? You just said you are hungry!" he protested.
"But why snakes?" I asked, and in a moment's time realised what he meant was "snacks."
Known for using a strange village dialect, this friend had often landed in trouble.
"Let's go," I said.
Have you got 'many'? he asked.
I replied: "It's your treat."
"I don't have 'many,' but I can use my 'kradeet kard,'" he declared.
We reached a restaurant.
"Bring 'mainu curd, (menu card, obviously)'" he ordered the server.
"We do not have such a dish," came the reply.
"You do not even have 'mainu curd.' What stupid restaurant," my angry friend grabbed my hand and walked out in a jiffy.

R. Ramesh

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eye on safety


(17 August 2008- The City Times)

WATER BOTTLES, hats, umbrellas, sun screens, icecreams, melons. With summer, they are all out. And they do offer safe defence when it comes to beating the heat. This safety aspect, however, is highly debatable when it comes to inexpensive sunglasses. Cheaper sunglasses have flooded the market.
They come in different shades and are flimsy but easily repurchasable thanks to the throw-away prices. Besides, they look trendy.
A cursory glance at some outlets in Dubai and Sharjah has revealed that the demand for low-priced sunglasses is shooting up along with the temperature. Some salesmen at counters revealed that the sale of sunglasses has been witnessing a sharp increase.
“Maybe because of inflation, more and more people prefer cheaper sunglasses. I cannot reveal the exact number of pieces that we sell everyday, but can tell you that the demand is indeed high,” said a salesman of a popular outlet selling the sunglasses for Dh5 in Sharjah. “It is the variety in terms of colours that attract children.
As the products are cheap, parents do not mind buying sunglasses for their wards. But I had expected higher sales during this season and hope sales will pick up in the coming weeks,” said a shopkeeper in Rolla.
“The prices of our sunglasses range from Dh200 to Dh900. We also offer discounts during summer. I have not witnessed any major change in the sales pattern as yet,” revealed an executive of a popular outlet in Al Wahda Street of Sharjah.
His is not the only store offering discounts during summer. Several optical centres across the country are offering concessions to boost sales.
No qualms about cheap brands
“Brand products are ruled out for me, simply because I cannot afford them. Anyway, I use a photochromatic power glass.
So there is no need for a separate sunglass. I have bought an umbrella and am convinced that umbrellas and sunglasses have a complementary role,” insists Faiyaz Hardwarevala, who works for a Bahrain-based media company in Dubai.
Grade XII student Radhika Kapoor says that she has no qualms when it comes to using cheaper variety sunglasses. “As long as it makes me feel good and look good, what’s the hassle?” she questioned. But is she not worried about the safety aspect?
“Let me tell you that I have used such glasses since childhood. So far so good,” she argued. Her undergraduate sister, who requested not to print her name, concurred.
“Even I have been using such glasses that come for as cheap as Dh5 for years without any problem. But now my parents have offered me money to buy a slightly expensive one. So I may opt for a product in the range of Dh100 to Dh200,” she said. “The beauty of cheaper varieties is that you can use and throw them as and when you feel so.”
Poor quality is ‘dangerous’
Doctors may not necessarily be pleased with such arguments. “It is dangerous to use poor quality sunglasses.
They do not offer enough protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. They can affect vision, cause headaches and even cataract, besides other related ailments. The best solution is to consult a doctor and go for an eye checkup before selecting a sunglass,” advises Dr Ajayakumar, who works for a Dubai-based polyclinic.
Brand wars
Meanwhile, the brand wars are on. While a leading group has unveiled what it calls “vintage and classic designs in a glamourous array of contemporary sun and optical models,” another claims that its sunglasses are “infused with elements to surprise.”
With various brands attempting to make hay while the sun shines, it’s the customers that are turning out to be kings, thanks to the variety offered. But the war between branded ones and cheaper varieties may continue depending on the dirhams in customers’ pockets.