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.