The Eighties’ Child – Guest Blog by Melissa Payne

We, the eighties’ children, are a strange bunch. We long for the simplicity of the past and the technology of tomorrow. Born at a time when every house didn’t have a television and landlines were a mark of social status, we have seen cable television, the mobile phone and credit cards sweep the nation.
Born in pre-liberalisation India, foreign goods were scarce, and the thus the arrival of foreign relatives was a much waited for event. We know what it is, not to have, and what it means to own. For most of us born into the middle class at this time, we were taught early that life was hard. Caned and punished at school, we were taught not to fuss, but to overcome. When I look around at the millennials I know, I am struck by the quality of endurance I see. I am amazed at those who have struggled out of poverty and dysfunctional homes, to be stable individuals with careers and families. I am aware too, of the tremendous need that millennials carry for things to ‘be real’. We are unfazed by the spit and polish, by the ‘show’ that enthralled previous generations or the superficiality that stupefies the next. We long for that which is ‘real’. That which fulfills.
The millennial is tired today. Tired of strategy, tired of the constant packaging of hard truth to tickle one’s ears. Tired of empty schemes that don’t fulfill. Disillusioned by authority figures of the previous generation. When we see corruption, we will not have it explained away. We will not put our heads in the sand, we cannot close our eyes to the evil that stares us in the face. We cannot ‘unsee’ what we have seen. We cannot pretend it doesn’t concern us. We, cannot separate the message and the messenger. Instead, we must react, we must have an opinion. We must make change. We will have justice. This generation has ground in its heels and refuses to go quietly into the night. Don’t shut us down or count us out. Call on us that we may build with you. We have seen the promises and the pitfalls of the transitioning era. How good ideas and intentions ran aground, causing more damage than they did good. We have learned the bitter lesson that everything new is not good. We started out naive, but have seen much; much that has turned us away from the decision makers of the previous generation. We are aware that heroes have feet of clay and that the strongest have weak moments. Our champions have fallen off their pedestals and lie in the dust beneath… Yet, in the midst of all this, we hope. We hope that change is possible, that the tide will turn, that sleeping consciences will awaken and be appalled by bad things happening in good places. We hope that justice will be done. We hope for tomorrow.

Guest Post by Sherwin Atkins


The Greatest of All

As I sat in church this morning, I was urged to pen down certain thoughts or rather my take on one of the most quoted scripture verses.


John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”


Known by heart by almost all Christians and others too, it is my understanding that the worth of this verse has been lost. So here is what I interpret this verse to mean.

In order to explain this I shall break it down into four parts entitled as THE GREATEST OF ALL.

  1. “For God so loved the world” – This phrase depicts one thing and one thing only, and that is that there is no greater love in this world and God’s love. It is for this great love that God has maintained a relationship with us, His children. The Old and New Testament shouts out with several stories of God’s great love. Zephaniah 3:17 talks about how God is our savior and that it’s with His great love for us that He has kept his promises. We as Christians sometimes sadden the heart of God more often we realize. But His steadfast love is constant. The psalmist David even sings of the Lord’s great love and mercy in the 86th psalm. This great love is the foundation of the covenant between man and God.
  2. “That He gave his only begotten son” – This is the greatest selfless act that has ever been recorded in history. And it will remain so because it is the Greatest Sacrifice of all. For The Father to give up what was dearest to His heart (i.e. His son Jesus) to salvage the relationship between God and man is maintained as the greatest act of love.  It is in my opinion that Jesus died several times before He was crucified. He died to His own will in order to do the will of the Father. He died as being a lowly peasant and touching the hearts of many. He died as being a servant to others. We see in so many scriptures how God (in the form of His son Jesus) has acted so selfless. My favorite being the passage in Philippians 2:7-8 “but He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
  3. “That whosoever believes in Him will not perish”- This by far is the greatest promise of God. The New Testament screams out so loudly with the promises of God. The greatest one being that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can maintain a relationship with our heavenly Father. It is His deepest will to share such a bond with His children. And everything that He had ever done was to become our sole reason for happiness. He did this by ensuring us that those who believe in Christ can claim this great promise.
  4. “But have everlasting life”- the latter two words depict the greatest reward in history. This is the only fruit that the promise of God bears, i.e. the gift of eternal and everlasting life with God our Father in Heaven. This reward will be bestowed upon us after the second coming of Christ.  The Gospel of Matthew includes several references to eternal life. But it is my understanding that ‘eternal life’ and the ‘kingdom of God’ are synonymous. The reason for this belief is that our final resting place will not be the earth, but in the kingdom of Heaven where we shall reap our reward of everlasting life and reign with our Lord of Lords.

My prime focus on this great scripture verse is that it contains four of the greatest truths.

  • The Greatest Love.
  • The Greatest Sacrifice.
  • The Greatest Promise.
  • The Greatest Reward.

Being part of the motions and just reciting this verse is not enough. It takes understanding first in order to believe what this verse implies. It is probably a verse which is centered in the heart of humanity and the entire world’s events.

However, it is these four great truths that ensure us a healthy and loving relationship with God our Father.

It is these four truths that will help us to please the heart of God.

It is these four great truths that will help us to fulfill our destiny and our very reason for existence.

Guest Post by Neena Nizar Adam

NOTE: In April this year I was fortunate to meet Neena Nizar Adam for the first time. Over the last few months Neena and I have worked closely, chatted at length, organized impromptu parties for our colleagues, grumbled about work pressures, reveled in the joy of teaching and today, I’m happy to count her as a close friend. Innumerable challenges notwithstanding, Neena is one of the liveliest, wittiest and most talented people I know. She is a strong woman whose strength and spirit inspires so many others on an everyday basis.

Neena works closely with the SFS Group (Special Families Support) in Dubai, providing emotional support, resources and organizing activities for children with special needs and helps these families with the support and love they need to cope with their daily highs and lows. You can read more about SFS and the remarkable work they do here:

I am happy that Neena is sharing a tiny part of her own life story here and I can think of no better way to start my new ‘Guest Post’ section. Read on and be inspired.

My Hero by Neena Nizar Adam

I was three when I decided that my father was my hero.

As I stood at the Heathrow airport waving goodbye to him, I didn’t readily comprehend that I wouldn’t see him, or my family, again for another whole year; daddy was leaving me to stay with my Uncle – a surgeon who was scheduled to operate on me that summer.

Neena’s father with her son Arshaan

I’ve never been one of those whiney or fussy kids and my father was never one of those melodramatic fathers you see pictured so quaintly in soap operas; I never sat on his lap while we shared a ‘heart to heart’ or a ‘philosophy of life’. He never read bedtime stories or played piggy-back. Instead, he was my ‘matter-of-fact’ man. He had a job to do and he did it.

He waved goodbye unceremoniously and was off.

Now, 30 years later, as parenthood has fallen upon me like a ton of wet cement, I often wish I could be him.

I cannot recall my father ever crying over me or pitying his plight. I’ve never seen him Google up a symptom or a prescription, but most of all I’ve never seen him lose hope or hang his head low in defeat.

My father was my Ironman and hulk all rolled up into one. He would whisk me off to one end of the globe and back, meeting tirelessly with this doctor and that. If there was some new treatment to be tried, he would be there with me trying it. He was always the last person I saw when they rolled me into the theatre room and the first one I saw when I came out.

I have often wondered how he managed to keep a straight face through all the trials: fixing calipers, making corrective shoes, carrying me up and down the stairs to school, taking me for therapies. I still remember the ease with which he cut my plaster as I sat sprawled out on the kitchen floor while mummy called upon God and everyone else. How did he continue to charge ahead when every step was shrouded in uncertainty? How did he pick up the pieces and start again with equal zest when all his tools were worn out?

Neena and her Ninja’s

I’m certain he felt pain. I’m sure he was confused and lost at several stages. I’ve often seen him turn away from me in hospital rooms or purse his lips tight when the ‘news’ wasn’t too good. I’ve learnt to answer his searching eyes with “no it doesn’t hurt that much, dad” and to quickly nod approval to yet another so-called “new breakthrough.”

For an Engineer from a little town in Kerala, I doubt my father ever imagined himself to be the parent of a child who needed special care, a child who would test his faith and exhaust his resources. But he never stopped trying, and he never gave up on his child and I am here today standing tall only because of him.

Of late I’ve come across many parents who wonder if they are doing all they can for their special child. Despite the love and relentless dedication, the ‘nagging voice’ that taunts and haunts them every now and then never seems to go away.

I don’t know if my father ever heard such a voice in his head or even considered such a thing. He charged ahead with the firm resolve that he did everything he could with the tools he was given. As a parent staring down a similar path, I can only hope that one day I will attain this state of perfection.

It’s not so easy being a parent… and it’s a lot harder being a parent of a child whose needs are far more trying. But Dad you did a great job and I’m so grateful to be your special child!

 Related Article from Gulf News: