Ananya Narayan | Managing director, Hunter Foods

In these times, celebrating life every day is just as important as celebrating the big family moments or events, says Ananya
Supplied

How do you plan to welcome the new year this year?

Just like any other New Year celebrations, this year too we plan to spend it with family and a small, close group of friends. Usually, we feast, play games and/or watching fireworks.

Is there a personal/family ritual for the new year?

We do not have a family ritual, but it is all about the spirit of togetherness. In these times, celebrating life every day is just as important as celebrating the big moments or events.

The one thing you are going to particularly miss during this year’s celebrations?

We do not think we shall miss much of this year. In fact, I believe that we shall enjoy bringing the end of 2020 and the starting 2021 more than almost any year we could think of. We have been waiting to bring a close of this year from July already.

Tell us your most memorable new year celebration?

It was the year of the fireworks on the entire crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. My family and I saw the sky lit up like we have never seen before. We were literally surrounded by the beautiful, bright and colourful lights. It was truly spectacular!

What was the highlight of 2020 for you?

The highlight of 2020 was getting the time to reflect and restructure what is most important in the way we live. It puts into perspective what is important in life and how to live life better. Carpe Diem has now a whole new meaning.

And the low point?

Our business went through a major "a crisis within a crisis" period at the beginning of citywide lockdown this year. But with the support of family, friends and business network, especially our team who has come together like never before, through pure hard work, determination, perseverance, resourcefulness and positive attitude, we have been able to recover and are now getting ready to achieve new heights in 2021.

What has been the major takeaways/lessons from this year for you and how do you plan to incorporate it in your personal and professional life?

The reflection in 2020 has taught us to have the right perspectives in life, about what is truly important, how one should live life and spend time with the ones we love. Live for today and not for tomorrow.

Tell us the best gift you hope to receive in the new year?

Travel – one of the biggest passions we have in life is travel and exploration of new places. We also hope to go to meet family and friends, whom we have really missed seeing this year, around the world, such as Singapore, Chicago, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, etc….

Any resolutions for 2021?

Live life to the fullest and celebrate every single day.

What change do you hope to see in 2021?

We hope that people will remember what happened in 2020 and live better and treat each other better. Be kind to each other, to the things around us, to earth. Let us protect life for our generation and the many generations to come.

Peter Davos | Founder and CEO, Hale Education

Peter’s wish for 2021 is a full return to traditional learning
Supplied

How do you plan to welcome the new year this year?

We plan to spend New Year’s Eve at home, with our two young children, our mothers-in-law, and my sister-in-law.

How do you usually ring in the new year?

Every year is different. Last year, I celebrated at a friend’s house with a group of about 20 other people, barbecuing in his backyard. Since he is from Texas, the barbecued ribs and brisket were out of this world.

A few years ago, I spent New Year’s in Prague, which was amazing, and another time in New York, overlooking Times Square, which everyone has to do at least once in their life!

What is the highlight of your new year celebration?

Midnight toasts and throwing a pomegranate out the door. It is a tradition which symbolises out with the old and in with the new.

Is there a personal/family ritual for the new year?

We always, always order Chinese food on New Years and will be doing the same this year too. Crab rangoon – the deep-fried wonton filled with crab meat and cream cheese – is my personal favourite preparation.

What is the one thing you are going to particularly miss during this year’s celebrations?

The friends, the energy you get from being surrounded by people who are happy and celebrating alongside of you.

Tell us your most memorable new year celebration?

That’s easy. One would be the 2001 NYE in Atlantis and the other was in Bahamas with 15 of my college friends. That was one of the most incredible parties I have ever been to, and I have been to quite a few.

What was the highlight of 2020 for you?

Adapting and surviving, while continuing to pay salaries 100 per cent on time and in full throughout the pandemic. I am very proud of this fact.

And the low point?

The constant uncertainty, in particular as to how learning would be impacted, and having university commencement ceremonies cancelled. I was also supposed to celebrate my 20th university reunion this year, which was also cancelled and quite sad.

What has been the major takeaways/lessons from this year for you and how do you plan to incorporate it in your personal and professional life?

The pandemic has renewed my faith in my personal ability as a leader, as we were able to pivot quickly and effectively.

Tell us the best gift you hope to receive in the new year?

Less volatility and greater peace of mind.

Any resolutions for 2021?

To enjoy the journey more and not be so fixated on a destination.

What change do you hope to see in 2021?

A full return to traditional learning!

Mustansir Saifuddin Golwala | Managing director, Crystal Arc

Every new year, Mustansir says the family makes it a point to look back on the past year and reflect on things they have done well, not so well and what they look forward to for the next year
Supplied

How do you plan to welcome the new year?

My family and I plan to spend some quality time at home and enjoy a nice dinner to memorialise the end of this important year. Watching the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa has been one of my favourite things to do on New Year’s Eve.

How do you usually ring in the new year?

Usually, I like to visit the Downtown area with close friends and family. This gives us a chance to submerge ourselves right in the centre of New Year celebrations in Dubai, which I believe are one of the most spectacular in the world.

What is the highlight of your New Year celebration?

The fireworks. Almost every year, Dubai breaks a world record with their celebrations so its amazing to be a part of and witness these accomplishments.

Is there a personal/family ritual for the new year?

We make it a point in our family to look back on the past year and reflect on things we have done well, not so well and what we are looking forward to for the next year. This gives us an opportunity to pause from the busyness of the past year and learn from our experiences to improve the following year.

The one thing you are going to particularly miss during this year’s celebrations?

This year, we won’t be hosting a gathering for friends and family. I will particularly miss being able to spend the evening with them.

Your most memorable new year celebration?

In 2014, I spent New Year’s Eve with my family in Banff, Canada. It was extremely serene and quiet, and you couldn’t even tell it was New Year’s Eve. We welcomed the new year by relaxing near breathtakingly beautiful sceneries and just enjoying the nature, which is quite different to what we usually experience in Dubai.

What was the highlight of 2020 for you?

The approval of the Covid-19 vaccine in countries around the world is very exciting as it gives us hope and optimism for the following year.

And the low point?

With all the travel restrictions this year, I was not able to travel to India to see my family. This was particularly difficult during family orientated celebrations such as Eid al Fitr, but I am hopeful to be able to see them again soon.

What has been the major takeaways/lessons from this year for you and how do you plan to incorporate it in your personal and professional life?

The importance of persistence, optimism, and teamwork was amplified to me this year. Although this year presented numerous challenges, a positive outlook was integral to pushing through and coming out the other end. These lessons act as an example for me to realise that no challenge is too big when you are determined to follow through.

Tell us the best gift you hope to receive in the new year?

There’s nothing in particular that I would like to receive in the new year but I can say that a step towards normalcy in our lives after this year would be a nice present for everyone to receive.

Any resolutions for 2021?

In 2021, I would like to start writing. It’s always been a passion of mine that I never really had the opportunity to pursue so it would be nice to finally have an opportunity to undertake this.

What change do you hope to see in 2021?

Pre-corona, so many of us spent our days consumed by work, chores and other commitments we have had. This year has really given us an opportunity to appreciate all the special relationships we have in our lives, and I hope that next year we can continue to appreciate and strengthen these meaningful connections.

Alka Malik | Managing director, Ascentria Examinations & Tests Preparation Centre, Dubai

Getting a professional family photo is one of the family’s new year traditions
Supplied

How do you plan to welcome the new year this year, keeping in view the restrictions on gatherings due to the pandemic?

It is going to be quiet and at home. Fortunately, both my kids are home right now – my daughter managed to get 10 days leave from her job in New York and my son has been studying from home since July.

How do you usually ring in the new year?

Normally surrounded by friends and family.

What is the highlight of your new year celebration?

Having both children home.

Is there a personal/family ritual for the new year?

We try and get a professional family photo taken as often as possible. The rest of my family is not so keen on doing this but they do it to humour me. This goes on our wall and is a wonderful reminder of the way the family has evolved over the years.

What is the one thing you are going to particularly miss during this year’s celebrations?

Not much. Making the best of the current situation.

Tell us your most memorable new year celebration?

Pitching our tents in the desert, BBQ, bonfire, singing with some of our closest friends and all our children.

What was the highlight of 2020 for you?

On the professional front – embracing new challenges, switching to the online mode of teaching overnight once the KHDA announced restrictions on in-person teaching, receiving three awards this year for the Centre. On the personal front – having my son home from college in the US for 6 months, bonding with my mother-in-law who was with us, having friends as house guests for nearly five months who were about to migrate back when the restrictions were announced, getting to spend more time with my husband… and all loved ones remaining healthy in body and mind!

And the low point?

People have suffered with pay and job cuts, downbeat economic sentiment.

What has been the major takeaways/lessons from this year for you and how do you plan to incorporate it in your personal and professional life?

Expect the unexpected and make lemonade.

Tell us the best gift you hope to receive in the new year?

Hope for a better year ahead.

Any resolutions for 2021?

None.

What change do you hope to see in 2021?

Stability and growth and an uptick in the business environment; for students continue to work hard, aim for and reach the stars; growth in mental, physical and economic stability for all – people, countries and economies.

Narendra Menon | Managing director, MEA, Nikon

Narendra’s resolution is to “make the best of everything around me”
Supplied

How do you plan to welcome the new year this year?

I consider every moment in life as an opportunity to celebrate! But this new year celebration is going to be special as my wife, son and I plan to go to India to be with my mother and we will be welcoming the new year together.

How do you usually ring in the new year?

I make sure that I am always with my near and dear ones. Quite like the entire world, I would like to eat, dance and wish good things but all the while consciously thanking the Almighty for all the blessings.

The highlight of your new year celebration?

For me every experience is an opportunity to improve. I look at that day as one when almost every one is in a positive and vibrant mood. Energy is high as is the happiness quotient of the world at large. I look forward to getting the best out of that beautiful moment. I think it is the right time as our minds are in the best state to teach us the importance of tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness.

A personal/family ritual when getting ready for the new year?

I don’t have a particular ritual other than wishing near and dear ones the best in life and reassuring people who are far away from you that they really mean a lot to me.

The one thing you are going to particularly miss during this year’s celebrations?

Physical presence of my darling daughter as she is not able to travel with us to India due to her educational commitments. Will miss her a lot at that welcoming moment.

Your most memorable new year celebration?

I think it is welcoming of 2011. After having lived in Sharjah for about seven years, it was on New Year’s Eve that we moved to our new home in Dubai. I will not forget welcoming the new year with family and friends in an empty flat.

What was the highlight of 2020 for you? And the low point?

2020 was the biggest year of learning for all of us. It changed our perception of life; it made us understand and adapt to the new way of life; it helped me to adapt and accept and appreciate all that came across. There is an Indian saying "Atithidevo Bhava" in Sanskrit which means "Guests are equivalent to God", but my definition of it is "whatever comes to our life without invitation should be considered a gift of God". With that knowledge I accept all the happenings without any regret and realise the really blessing of existence.

I believe that there is an opportunity to learn from whatever we experience.

Any resolutions for 2021?

My resolution is actually my lifelong decision "to make the best of everything around me"!

Read more