Warm bed, cool air, the temptation to warm the bed for a little longer was making it impossible for me to open my eyes. I rolled on the bed from right to left and then left to right, without any obstacle, I realized the other two asses were up already. Miss L was busy in the kitchen as usual and Miss N was lost in her novel.
My legs were still paining from the previous day’s participation in The Dubai Mall Marathon.
“Where are we going today?” I asked lazily
“For that, you my queen, should get up.” Miss N spat, face still immersed in her book.
“Let’s spend some quality time indoors, chuck sightseeing. It’s all the same, sand, crowd, cars…………..”
“We have spent enough quality time in Bangalore. People plan every minute of their vacation impeccably when they visit a new place, let alone a new country and look at you, least bothered, lazy bug”. Miss L complained from kitchen.
“I am your guest, it’s your responsibility to do that “I said
“There’s absolutely no difference even after calling you here, Bangalore or UAE, you are just the same.” Looked like Miss L was angry with my laziness and me.
After having the breakfast prepared by size L, size M and size S headed towards the super market to pick up the grocery. It was so hot outside all I wanted to do was run back into the house and sit inside the fridge for a while.
Miss N was picking up the stuff and I was stuck at my favorite counter, glaring at the chocolates, gummy bears with mouth wide open, just like a kid at the candy store.
“OMG SnL you are impossible, nobody can say you are “blabla” years old. Move now we have to pick the groceries” Miss N literally pushed me away from my favorite counter. One of the best things of being in Gulf, you can indulge yourself into a variety of chocolates from the world, starting from the gummy bears to the most exclusive assortment of dark chocolates
While picking up the meat at the nearby butcher shop Miss N aka google queen started “Most of the meat comes from Pakistan. You should try some of their Masala powders and you won’t stop licking your fingers”. While my KT was still on, the butcher carefully chopped the meat with his sharp knife. “Look there, that’s a skill. He is an expert, no doubt”. While my KT still continued in the background, we both stared at the butcher skillfully separating meat from bone.
On the fish counter there sat an Indian fellow smiling, appearing to be a total harmless guy. Miss N continued “Look at that monkey. Today, if you think you are obliged to return his smile because he is your fellow countryman then tomorrow you will find him right at your door step. Men are the same everywhere, it is really independent of the country you are in or the country you are from, as long as they have the live snake inside their pants you just cannot trust them”.
When you are in your own country nobody gives 2 fucks, but when you are on a foreign land, people will always want to meet up, get-together and everything else that follows. Given the time constraints, we decided to honor the wishes of one of them, and so the three of us headed towards the one lucky-winner, out of the many invites received.
One look at the house and I was in love with it. Cozy comfortable black couch in front of a huge wall mounted LCD TV, wooden table with an antique Chinese clay doll, contrast color curtains drawn back revealing the million dirhams view of the setting sun. Sliding doors were inviting us to the balcony, with pink Bougainvillea at the corner and a promising view of the city. Kitchen was so elegantly constructed with a spectacular view of the street from the sink. Man I went crazy seeing the house. It was exquisite! Lucky-winner smiled at our eye balls popping out expression and said “Make yourself at home”. I guess that’s all I needed. I sat with my legs folded neatly on the couch, eating banana chips brought from India, watching the sun finally disappear. As the lucky winner was not around we took the liberty to explore his kitchen cabinets , filled with mom-made pickles, lime juice, Marulla juice and coffee. I began to relax eating the mom made pickle and Indian banana chips. Few things from India and the Loving Indians are just enough to make you relax and feel a little less homesick. Suddenly it hit me why is it that everybody wants to play a host to their “people”, when in a foreign country, probably they know how hard it is to be away from your own country among zillion of strangers and this is their way of making your stay as comfortable as possible, as a kind sweet gesture.
Sipping the lime juice and eating banana chips, there I was, lost in my thoughts of so called Dubai, The Heaven. I looked at Miss N and Miss L and took a deep breath. It’s never easy to stay away from your own home, your family and your country.
After an hour long discussion, of what’s there and not there to see in souk between the Lucky winner M and my Miss N, we finally came to a conclusion on the souk’s tourism value and the four of us headed towards our gold and spice souk exploration.
That’s me in my Alif Laila Costume
With the tons of gold displayed in all forms, my understanding “only Keralites love gold” was killed instantaneously. If Keralites love gold, Arabs eat gold, sleep gold, and poop gold. I wouldn’t be surprised even if these Arab’s wore golden underpants. We walked through the lanes filled with shops showcasing gold in all forms, crown, bikini, rings, jaguar, and god knows what else. Fish market, fruit market, flower market well that’s everyday story but hey this was the first time I was seeing gold souk and I was going bonkers.
Lucky winner M’s yapping, our very own tour guide Miss N’s explanation on world’s biggest ring, Miss L’s photography, who said souk, is boring. Even a pebble looks interesting when you have the right company. Walking through the old lanes of Dubai amidst the old shops still untouched by modern infrastructure, brought back the memories of the oldest metropolitan city of my country; Calcutta. No nice and neat, no cozy,….geeeeez, of course the feeling was short lived, One walk across the street and all those rules about driving, walking, riding and the never ending streams of ‘always drive on the right’, ‘open the door only to your right’ brought me right back to reality just as soon.
In Dubai I travelled by pretty much every and any means of transportation available; metro, bus, taxi, car. While the experience was very distinct from the ones I had back home in some cases, it was just the same in others, our country isn’t totally imperfect after all. Well my next ride was on water, sailing through the Dubai waters. Time of our guide to provide her 2 cents,”see if you go by road it takes more than 20 minutes that’s why people take boat…..” If you are under any impression about the ride being serene and breath-taking with the setting of the starry evening sky, you couldn’t be more wrong. We were just sailing through stinky water to get to our destination in less than 20mins ;), not something we haven’t done back home. Come to think of it Boats were the only ones with no ACs installed, not long before they got them, in these too, I am guessing.
While we inhaled the familiar stinking smell, “The TAJ” shone like a twinkling star in the midst of other building.
“See there, its “Taj”,” I screamed. “I feel so nice, at least there are things ……” . I started with excitement, chest already blown with pride
“Its “The TAJ” they are everywhere. You never visit them while in India, neither will you here, for heaven’s sake stop acting like a goose dying of home sickness” Miss N uttered.
“Whatever man, it’s a nice feeling you see. Something magnificent my fellow countryman owns on a foreign land, I may never visit those fancy hotels but still It’s a thrill to see them even if it’s just from the outside, especially when on a foreign sand” I said with my head held high.
As we sailed through, no traces of scorching Sun, just the mild moon, blooming with pride. There was middle aged Arab dressed in traditional attire walking on the road. I remembered Miss L saying Arab’s don’t wear underpants beneath their traditional wear and giggled. Miss L looked at me and chuckled “I know what you thinking, you pervert SnL”
I just laughed my lungs out
We were waiting to cross the street, with heavy traffic.
“You think if I show my hand they’ll stop, like how we do in Bangalore” I asked innocently with an eye on the speeding cars
“SnL this is not Bangalore, this is Dubai. You have to wait till the walker light turns green or for the rich punks to stop their car out of pity.” Miss L uttered.
We headed home dead tired and sleepy. When my head hit the pillow I realized I don’t really hate Dubai anymore, it’s just another country offering all it has; its heat, sand, oil, job opportunities, sheltering so many nationalities also I am not in love with it either because it’s not all fancy and perfect as it looks from outside or how they show in google images, YouTube. One needs to live a day or two in Dubai to say “Its heavenly”. There are people who adore the never sleeping, crowded, happening Dubai but definitely not me, I prefer serene, serene and serene Abu Dhabi. I closed my eyes, thanked god and drifted to sleep hoping to dream about my home.