Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When My Parents Came to Dubai...

Snippets from my parents’ stay in Dubai....

One of the friends of my father had come with my parents on their trip to Dubai. It was late in the night, by the time we reached home after picking them all up from the airport. It was the first time, I was entertaining any relatives to ‘my house’ after my wedding. So I wanted to present a decent picture but all that l I could manage was a little walking space in the living room, so that they can at least walk without stepping on to any toy/newspaper/dried up milk tumblers!

A few minutes after they all entered the house and were done with changing to their night dresses, my uncle boasted, “I would just look at the way a house is and say very easily who maintains it, who’s in charge of things at home!” Feeling a little guilty at the way the house was and dreading if he may say that my hubby only maintains our house, I asked him, “So, uncle? Whom do you think is in charge of things here? Who maintains things here?” Pat came his reply, “Oh! I am sure neither of you does any housekeeping work here! The house is so messy that I am sure both of you don’t do any cleaning work at all!”

I should never have asked him!!!

We had arranged to go on a desert safari. The pick up van arranged by the organising agents was on time to pick us up and also drop us back. When being dropped back home, we realised that the driver had taken us through a longer route while going to the desert and a shorter route while coming back home. We asked the driver the reason for this, Was it not logical that while going we would want to be there earlier than be late? When asked why the longer route during the up journey, the driver replied, “Because I was instructed not to reach the desert before 5 PM and we had left from your place well before time”. We began to wonder what if we had reached before 5 PM, we could have as well waited outside the desert. What was the need to waste so much petrol and roam about 10-15 kms in traffic just because we were before time! Isn’t that what we do back in India? Always take the shorter route, always minimise the travelling distance and time. Then we realised that a litre of petrol is cheaper(1.7 AED) than a bunch of coriander (2 AED) and with such beautiful driving-friendly highways, why would not people here drive longer if they were earlier than wait!!!! Coming from a place where we get free coriander with purchase of vegetables but are forced to take public transport because of petrol prices, we were justified in our doubts but we felt the driver thought it was funny that we were talking about ‘taking shorter route’, ‘saving petrol’, ‘ minimising driving difficulty’, etc!


It was the second day after their arrival here and we were planning to take the metro for the day’s sight seeing. Just when we were entering the station, I noticed the train waiting in the platform. I told my parents to rush. We took the elevator from the concourse to the platform and the minute the doors of the elevators opened, I saw a train was already waiting in the platform. So I just ran into the metro train pushing my son’s stroller. A second later my dad and mom followed. When I asked my father what took him that delay (my parents are usually faster than me in running and catching train/bus, etc :), he replied, “When the doors of the elevators opened, i wondered what these people are doing here - sitting on benches in the middle of the platform and where is the train!? It took a while for me to gather my senses, when I saw you running in, that they were actually sitting inside the train! Such seamless platform-train arrangement took my breath away!”

I thought back on my first experience in getting into a metro. Thankfully, then, I was waiting on the platform and a metro train breezed in. So I got no chance to get confused like this!


One of the days of sight seeing when we had decided to walk the short distance just to get a feel of the place rather than take the metro or taxi. We had to cross a busy road, it was not an intersection of roads, so there were no 4 sets of signal posts; there was just one for the pedestrians near the pedestrian crossing. I went straight to the signal post. there was a small box like display. I pressed on the button and saw the display ‘WAIT’. I showed the display to my parents and told them that we have to wait. Already they were a little perplexed at my actions. They had not seen anything like this in India.In a minute the signal opposite to us turned green and the signal for the moving vehicles turned red. As the whole array of cars and vans waited on both sides of the road, feeling like a magician who is successfully performing his best magic act in front of a bunch of excited school children, I, pushing my son’s stroller took my parents to the other side of the road.
The excitement they felt after crossing the road was contagious, to say the least. They were not ready to continue walking. They wanted to see how it worked again and again! The rest of the day was spent only on discussing this. Not only here, even after going back to India, this had been the hot topic. After all, pedestrians are given scant respect in India and here, as the pedestrians walked, the busy road waited. I made my parents feel like King and Queen!


Tickets to Dubai - Rs. 30K
Sight Seeing and Shopping in Dubai - Rs. 10K
Making my parents feel like school children - Priceless!!