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Sunday, July 29, 2007

do it in dubai

Do it in Dubai ( I meant shopping )

If it is Tuesday it must be Belgium is a movie I enjoyed in my schooldays ,it was a comedy on a conducted travel group going around Europe in a week ,I remember I went for this film with a friend of mine in the Safire theatre in Chennai ,as the school closed because it rained heavily in the morning and conveniently for us it stopped when we decided to go for a movie .
Why all this now you might ask ?
well , all I wanted to tell was that in Tawam hospital where I work now if it is Friday it could be Dubai ,because on every weekend they have comfortable buses running to Dubai and to Abhu Dhabi for the staff to shop till they drop .
So on Friday afternoon I got into one for the one hour and a half drive through gleaming roads in the desert sands .
As we approached Dubai signs of construction activity increased and in the distant horizon I could see the skyscrapers towering into the sky ,on many buildings being completed one could see huge cranes perched like eagles ,the dusty hue of Burj Dubai the worlds tallest building was not to be missed
We then entered into downtown Dubai and sped through early evening traffic blocks ,even with well planned ,multi laned roads ,excellent traffic lights ,huge bridges ( the latest is the floating bridge which is parted after 10pm for ships to pass under ) and the Salik or toll for entering the city to discourage vehicle entry ,the vehicle intensity chokes the roads .
The metro which is coming up fastly is expected to be the answer to the perplexing problem the city faces .
City buses are neat and huge and do connect Dubai with Sharajah and other places ,Boats and dhows connect Deira to Burdhubai from Abra .Posh taxis are present in plenty .No avenue of transportation is left out here to ease the strain ,one tends to compare it with Cochins narrow choked roads and ignored backwaters .
I made my way into the yawning gate of the city centre a shopping complex huge and rich in variety ,one could easily spend hours in this one place and remember the city is filled with shopping malls ,discounts ,prices ,gifts ,and multitude of products to attract and make our wallets lighter,window shopping is great fun specially in expensive branded shops .The food court of this one mall has more than thirty foodshops where every known food in the world is available and people are on a gastronomic non stop adventure .
After being there for more than three hours I sped to Ajumon with my friend who came to pick me up .
The next day saw me in Sharjah with another close friend and visiting our own Alukkas shopping complex with you name it they have it things .
From Sharjah Rolla I went by bus to Deira and upto the last stop called Baniyas from where I walked in the cruel sun to Abra or the dockyard a few paces ahead and from there my friendly Tawam bus took me back to AlAin in airconditoned comfort .
So I did it in Dubai I meant shopping !


Thursday, July 26, 2007

media here

For a person who loves to read his morning paper with a cuppa hot tea I miss my indian express dearly ,it is one among the dailies I love in india ,the hindu of course has tradition behind it but also the rigidity of conservatism attached to it which takes its sheen off to a large extent (purely my view and i agree the hindu fans too are corrct in thier views ).
The sunday hindu is something I love specially the literary reviews none can beat them when it comes to thier erudite articles and reviews ,a delight to read indeed ,but a newspaper is not a vehicle of literary excellence though it could be one to be more enjoyable ,it should deliver the news with a punch and break good news never slipping down the perilious pitfall of jingoism or sensationalism ,and the indian express my favourite takes the prize .
So when i came here scanning the newspaers was an important chore for me in the morning before I sped to the hospital .

The hotel where I stay for the time being delivers in a bag just outside my door a ton of papers neatly folded ,it is gulf news and khaleej times ,each one wieghs approximately 1 kg

( literary exageration is the liberty for an author ),and as i carry this heavy load I know that readable matireal would be a few pages only .

some news of international and local intrest would cover a small part of the main paper with India by itself having the proud privelege of a page or two whenever Bolllywood shines ,

the supplements like buisness is all about the construction revolution in Dubai with photographs and also about rich trading internationally ,then we have property page with luxury condomniums in all the palm s developing in Dubai like jebel ali ,deira and so and on and so forth ,reeking of dirhams in millions ,
sports page to me ( strangely being a guy ) has never attracted me much , some intrinsic mutation i think ,cant change so late in life ,and then reams of classifieds ,
all this paper would be good for kapallandi packing of course
and so the papers would disappear into a filled dustbin after reading for half an hour .
so much for the papers here
weekends would see glossies delivered all with the same element of superficiality unlike our dear week or frontline
so bye till my next post


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


sukran in arabic is thanks .
in a land of ettiquete this word is often heard.
everytime you enter into a taxi the driver would gleam if you said salam male khum ( dont laugh if i have spelt it wrong ) and sukran when u get out ,he takes the dirhams with a flush and a grin .
Taxis are plentiful in Al Ain ,all Toyotas ,flashy and big ,and mostly huge Afghan drivers ,one just has to stand on the side of a road and wave feebly before one slides in front of you ,it costs for small distances 3 to 5 dirhams that is 40 to 60 rupees ( iam still in the conversion phase )

One dare not walk in the daytime as i tried once in a dare devil fashion on a friday afternoon ,with all cars moving to the nearest mosques taxis were unavailable and so i thought i could walk ,having lived in another furnace called chennai i took it cooly and did walk a km or so ,pavements are meant for walking so neat and paved ,i did reach the place i was walking to but i was exhausted and was almost seeing mirages ,the bright sun sapped my energy and the heat was like from a million suns ( exagerating of course ,a writer has the right so dont complain )

so after this i never made the mistake and told million sukrans to million drivers .
evenings were different of course very pleasant though not cool ,the roads have green lawns flowerbeds and people flock in thier cars to the sides of roads and had picnic dinners late to the night ,the whole city is well lit and safe .

malls is another great passtime ,one could get anything from pins to pistols ( oops no no pistols i just added that word for rhythm ),
there are more than 6 or 7 huge malls all centrally ac and which would take two or more hours of our time for a round about .

mallus like malls are plentiful and friendly so are the others from almost all parts of the world

jordanians,syrians ,iranians ,iraquis ,pakistanis ,europeans ,egyptians ,ethipians ,philipinos ,chinese ,malays ,u name them we have them !!
malls have cineplexes and ice rinks too for fun

but once you get tired of all this and if you dont have your family around ,the computer will be the only solace and a poor one at that

sukran .....


Saturday, July 14, 2007

first impressions

Coming out of Abhu dhabi international airport the heat hit me like a sledgehammer ,it was just 7.30 in the morning and this was a omnious sign indeed ,the summers here are just mind boggling but one is always inside cloistered comfort of an AC and walks out only after say 8pm when it cools .
As i sped along the wide highway towards Al ain i couldnt but respect the rulers here who could create so much against all odds ,our country has everything one could ask for ,nature at its best ,productive people ,but poor leaders with no vision have made a mess of it .The future definitely shows signs of difference .
In an hour and a half we covered the 160km and entered AlAin the garden city of U.A.E
neat tarmacs ,flowers , green lawns and bountiful fountains defied the shimmering heat .We drove into hotel hilton my stay for a month or more .

The sterile comforts of a luxury hotel made me homesick and long for my family .

Tawam hospital where i had joined was a big one with huge buildings and friendly people ,i returned quickly after a lunch in cafeteria with my old colleague .
evening saw me loiter in Al ain mall and later city centre and lullu shopping complex all laden with goods and variety .as it was a friday they were crowded and colourful

soon tired of all the walking and window shopping i ate dinner in a malayalee hotel typical
kerala fare in good ambience

Back to my room i slept thinking of my beloved kochi

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

if only i could by sruthi menon


If only I could mend my broken heart, it wouldn’t bleed so much. If only I hadn’t loved her so much my heart would not be broken. If only I had not met her in the first place , I would not have loved her at all . If only I ………. But reality often never follows one’s dreams & wishes , does it ? And the day I met her, I didn’t know she would break my heart.
She burst into my life one day as a little pup , a forlorn looking thing , eyes drooping , a picture of misery. My newborn baby brother was gurgling and cooing to get the attention of all his numerous aunts who were intent , I felt , on doing just that . I , a nine year old girl then , feeling rejected , disappointed, and craving for attention took to kicking a stone along the small lane outside my house until one fateful kick sent the rolling stone into the gutter. I was left stoneless and loveless . It was at that sad moment when I heard her whine for the first time and turned my head away from the gutter to see her for the first time. She did not look quite impressive, but her eyes , pleading and love – thirsty, left me with a feeling of pity. Ignoring her dirty ,flea bitten fur, I bent down and hugged her. Picking her up in my arms and taking her home, I decided to keep her as my pet but I never knew then that she would turn out to be my best friend.
I can’t explain how I managed to coax my parents to let Ruby ( that’s what I named “her” ) stay as my pet. I was overjoyed . Happy days followed . Everyone in my colony loved Ruby and looked upon her as a sweet , healthy , cheerful and friendly dog. Even though Ruby was sweet and friendly , any enemy would melt under her glare. The colony nicknamed “ Robber Zone” , used to be a popular hangout for robbers but just a month after Ruby arrived , robbers existed only in bedtime stories. In 4 years Ruby was a grown up dog , strong and sensible.
It happened one fine evening . The weather was bright and sunny, not a suitable day at all for such a thing to happen , and I was playing “ball” with Ruby when suddenly the ball bounced out of the lane and into the main road. Ruby , in her hurry to get the ball, ran into the road ,not noticing the speeding red monster of a bus coming down it . The world came to a standstill for me. I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. I wanted to shout out “NO” but not a single sound could escape my lips. And then , it happened . The bus hit Ruby and sent her flying to the edge of the road and sped away , not aware that it had just crushed two hearts . I felt faint and my mind was drained of all thoughts . Gathering together the little bit of energy left in me , I ran to where Ruby lay, bent down , gingerly touched her blood covered fur and whispered, “Ruby…Wake up.”. But she just lay there , her eyes closed. I started shouting hysterically and in no time , my father and neighbours were crowding around Ruby and me. I looked up at my father, a doctor , and asked him, “ Papa … Ruby… what happened?”. He knelt down beside me, touched her chest and shook his head . Ruby had left us forever.
The first time I had picked Ruby up in my arms and brought her home, she was a shy little pup seeking my love and care and now , as I took her home for the last time, my face aghast with shock and the grief too much for tears to flow , she was a limp body, eyes shut , lifeless . The grief tortured my whole being and it tore my heart . I thought time would heal the wounds . But a year has passed since Ruby’s death and I have to say, my heart is still bleeding .

A short story by SRUTHI MENON ( IX C )
The Choice School, Tripunithara

home sweet home by sruthi menon


Of all the things I miss
I miss my home most
The lashing waves ,swaying trees ,
And my mothers chicken roast .

The busy metropolitian cities of Florida
Are so unlike my home
Where the air is fresh and the sun is bright
And the green fields are here to roam

I used to wake up early at home
To the loud cry of the cock
But here in bustling Houston town
there is only a battery fed alarm clock .

The long slender boat lazing on the lagoon
This memory still gnaws at my heart
Away from the soothing breeze
Why did I ever part?

As I stood on the beach during the sunset
I used to feel I was in a painters canvas
The sky at that time , a mixture of colours
Made me think the sky was god’s very own canvas.

When I think of you now , my dear home
I feel god was unkind
To snatch me away from your warm embrace
Your arms , won’t I ever find ?

Sruthi Menon

rainy day by sruthi menon

As I rushed home on a rainy day
The rain drops splattered on my face
And I quickened my pace
The thunder roared into my ears
And the sky shed its tears
As I rushed home on a rainy day.

The silver lightning streaked the grey sky
And I fearfully cried out, “Oh ,my !”
The world was transforming into a huge watery mess
and I too was in one that was no less
as I rushed home on a rainy day .

I shivered feverishly in the cold
No longer could I see the sun that shone gold
Splash ! I had landed on a dirty puddle
I was in such a great muddle
as I rushed home on a rainy day.

My vision was veiled by a curtain of misty rain
as I walked up a rickety lane
My wet hair was plastered on to my forehead
And I wished deeply for my warm & cosy bed
as I rushed home on a rainy day.

And then , suddenly the grey clouds slunk away scowling
And the sun came out , broadly smiling
Its scorching heat made me wince in pain
And I wished it would rain again
As I rushed home on a rainy day.

Sruthi Menon
IX Std
Choice School

A Helping Hand by Sruthi Menon ( my daughter )

The marketplace was a sea of humanity ,men, women, small children clinging on to their mothers, protesting hawkers.
I myself was one of those children , girl of six wide eyed with wonder .The brilliant colours ,tingling smells fighting people all inspired me and I was held spell bound .
My mother complaining about my slow pace stopped at a vegetable shop and started arguing about the price of tomatoes .I suddenly saw a women with two baskets of ripe yellow mangoes at a distance .I used to love mangoes and I started walking towards the women away from my mother .Just then a crowd of people went past me and I lost sight of the mango seller and also my mother. Panic gripped me and I shouted out for my mother .No one noticed ,no one cared .Tears poured down my face and the market lost its beauty .I started moving with the crowd , my mind petrified . Suddenly I caught sight of a woman wearing a blue saree identical to my mother’s. I ran towards her , caught her hand and shouted “ Mama , where were you ?” The lady turned to me , with a surprised look on her face . Horrified to find that she was not my mother . I burst out crying . The lady bent down touched my cheeks and said , “It’s OK , dear . Can’t you find your mother ? Don’t worry, she’ll be here soon .” She gently caught hold of my arm and led me to the announcement room in the market . My name and my mother’s name was asked and an announcement was made in the mike.All along the lady sat next to me patting me and speaking words of comfort .I noticed that she was middle aged ,had almond shaped eyes and a fair complexion.
Over all she was not beautiful but there was something in her smile that made her look pleasing .By this time my mother arrived looking flustered ,twisting her hands in anxiety .she hugged me tightly and thanked the lady in the blue sari over and over again .My mother asked me to thank her too “ Thank you “I said and remembering something I had read added “ you have a helping hand .“
The woman smiled broadly ,pinched my cheek affectionately and said goodbye and walked away .
A few days passed ,one day I went with my father ,a doctor to the hospital in which he works .My father was busy and I was left to do what I pleased .I started raoming around the hospital greeting all the nurses .I was walking along a corridor when I saw a door left wide open .Glancing inside I found the lady in the marketplace lying on the bed staring vacantly into space and I said “ Hi “ and the lady turned around and saw me smiling ,she asked me to come inside ,I walked to her and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed and asked her what she was dong in the hospital.. She said that she had an accident and I noticed that her face was marked with numerous cuts and bruises “.Iam so sorry “ I replied “ Are you all right now ? “ She nodded looking down .I followed her gaze and my eyes grew wide in shock ! I found that her right hand had been amputated from below the elbow and cried “ Aunty your hand .”.” i lost it in the accident “ She replied sadly I looked at her face horrified .
She thought for a moment and said “ I don’t have a helping hand anymore do I ? “ and then she hugged me tightly and cried her heart out .



Open air weddings in Taj Malabar Hotel at Cochin were grand affairs but in summer it was warm and humid and when a customer asked for the venue to be cooled the management was stumped .
they were wondering how they could do it without incurring a lot of money for air coolers which was also not very suited for Cochins humid climate.
It was then that chief engineer Avarachan hit upon a novel idea of installing giant fans behind thermocol boxes filled with ice , this innovation gave the cool ambience required at a cost effective price and everyone was happy.
To Avarachan ideas were endless , his innate common sense and practicality coupled with technical skills made him a winner ,so much so that Avarachan was better known as idea Avy!!
Bathrooms of older style in the hotel had huge flush tanks wasting water in gallons, changing them would mean new flush tanks when they were still in working condition idea Avy the wonder man got to work and taking cue from Aesops fable of a crow filling a jug with pebbles he did the same the result being the capacity of flush became less and the new tanks weren’t needed too .
Avarachan was against wasting in any form , there are numerous instances where his ideas avoided waste ,like the time he deducted that public taps used by the staff with push knobs wasted much less water than conventional pipes
He would give calculated figure in details about the quantity of water or electricity saved and consequent savings for the hotel to the delight the of its owners t

Idea ivy never stopped with the mundane for his legendary ideas were for anything big or small,
open air parties at taj malabar were boisterous affairs with guests enjoying themselves to the hilt but any sharp objects like thumb pins in the grass could cause piercing injuries to the esteemed guests and sweeping the grass was not an easy affair Avarachan promptly designed a magnet on a stitck which could be rolled on the lawn picking up the metal pins in no time, something like a minesweeper
idea ivy at his best indeed
Kerala is a wet place with the monsoons and even a hotel like Malabar was not spared of leaks from windows , damaging expensive carpets , idea ivy was called and in a jiffy he stopped the problem using a chemical leak repellant called high clear
With such a background it wasn’t surprising idea ivy continued to brim with his empowering ideas in his new job as chief engineer lakeshore hospital and research center Kochi .
For him this was a mission for a noble cause ,the moment he came he studied the AC plant power consumption and reduced it by 100 TR power load for start up ..
He invented and designed a huge boiler over 100 co for drying purposes
He used his tested idea of filling huge flush tanks with pebbles so that their volume came down saving water .he also had great ideas for mixing hot and cold water for benefit of patients and hospital
with a record number of inventions in his kitty this man can truly be called idea ivy
He continues his crusade of good work with his ideas powering his innovations .

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