Back in my homeland we have a small house in a locality where the houses are falling over each other. The houses are so close together that we can hear loud arguments or children crying in the house next door. Standing on the terrace we can look into all the surrounding houses. Any information that you do not manage to obtain in this way about your neighbors can be gotten by the cleaning ladies who frequent all the houses of the neighborhood.
Our next door neighbors have a lot of people living in the house with children of all sizes. We know this because every time a child is born they distribute mithai (traditional sweets) in the neighborhood.
One of the children is called Abdullah (we hear his mother calling him) and he is too naughty to go to school. They have tried putting him in school but after a few days the school sends him back. So Abdullah spends his time on the street waiting for the other children to return from school. Once the other children are back, it’s time for the cricket matches to start. Since the houses do not have backyards the matches are played on the street. The batsman hits the ball and it lands neatly on our terrace. Now the children are very considerate and do not bother to ring the bell and ask for the ball. The little monkeys simply go into their own house, climb the wall over onto our terrace and retrieve the ball. Another consequence of the cricket matches is that almost every week our gate lights are broken and have to be changed.
On top of all the children, the neighbors also kept a chicken and a rooster in their house. The rooster liked to climb into our house and peck on our plants. Fortunately one of the local cats solved this problem and the rooster is no more.
When we moved to Dubai we came into a locality with 3 to 5 bedroom villas with 2 car porches, a maid’s room and a big backyard. I wanted to make friends with the neighbors so I sent them some chocolates with my husband’s visiting card hoping that they would come over to say thank you. That never happened. I continued to make efforts but to no avail. Finally I gave up. Years later I have realized that only people of same nationalities socialize here. It’s really a shame.
And thinking about it, I kind of miss the cricket matches back home.
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A strange sight: Sea gulls on land after a rain shower.
We’ve been having some odd weather here in Dubai. The first time since I’ve been here (nearly 4 years), I witnessed a storm with thunder and lightning. Usually we just have some light rain and that also rarely. And then after the rain the appearance of a number of seagulls was even more strange.
I guess the theme is to walk around your neighborhood and take some pictures. So that’s what I did this morning. The most prominent thing in my neighborhood is the bougainvillea. Every house has it. It flowers most of the year round and requires little water. That’s why it is very popular here in the desert. It comes in beautiful vibrant colors and I think its reflection in the water looks stunning.
I live in a city where
There are flowers but no butterflies
Where a mall can boast snow and ice
And rain induced falls from the skies.
I live in a city where
There are people next door I never see
Where family is far but visitors aplenty
And people in malls just let you be.
I live in a city where
Records are broken with a tip of a hat
Highest, tallest, biggest this, largest that
And wrongdoings are dealt with stat.
I live in a city where
You can live all your life and not belong
You go to a hotel, bring your maid along
And laws are equal for weak and strong.
I live in a city where
Designer shoes and bags are the norm
The humblest person can soon transform
And a little bit of rain is called a storm.
I live in a city where
I’ll move on from in a matter of time
This city will evolve to its most sublime
And someone else will write this rhyme.
*All photographs taken by by the author/poet
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Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.
So going through the website of Gulf News, the third headline I came across under the tab ‘Popular in UAE’ was about the Dubai Shopping Festival which is going on these days and how the main shopping malls will stay open till 1am instead of the usual 10pm.
I have no idea what people would want to do in the mall at such an unearthly hour. Don’t they have to get up in the morning and drop their kids to school and/or go to office? This concept is completely alien to me since I go to bed early and the latest I stay out which is once in a blue moon is till 10pm. To elaborate further let me tell you what I was doing at midnight on 31st Dec 2013? I was sleeping.
Last weekend since my husband had been here the whole week and was going back the next day we decided to go out. We usually don’t do that as my son goes to sleep at 8pm even on the weekend and then we can’t leave him and go. I have a maid who can watch over him but I don’t think it’s fair to keep her up either. And I wouldn’t want my son to wake up and find me missing. He usually transfers to my bed in the middle of the night.
So as I was saying my husband and I decided to go out last weekend. It had been raining that day and living in a desert we consider it good weather when it rains. We ate our food at home to save time and thought we would just have coffee somewhere. So we went to this place which has great views and asked for coffee. Apparently that was not a standard thing to do as the waiter asked us a couple of times if we wanted food. Well grudgingly he brought us our coffee which really tasted bad. We also ordered dessert and I went for the safe bet of ‘baklawa’ while my husband ordered something which looked like an old woman’s white hair on top of ice cream. I got a chance to take some nice photos and we were back home by 10pm. Even then my husband was complaining that it was late and he had to pack for the next day.
So what in the world do people do in malls till 1am?
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