Dubai Diaries: Cloudy with a chance of happiness
Anyone else waiting for rains in the summer?
For the past two months, I have been living vicariously through my family’s enjoyment of the monsoons in India. I am sent snapshots of every heavy shower and the ensuing wonderful greener-than-ever views through our balconies and windows, and I end up ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the refreshing rainy moments I am missing by not being at home right now.
Videos of storms make me want to make a cup of hot tea and enjoy the crashing of thunder and flashes of lightning whilst in the safety and comfort of my favourite armchair.
While summer is in full swing in the UAE, overcast skies the past few days put me in an expectant mood. I aimed to counter my father’s electrifying rain videos with some of my own and waited for a deluge from the skies. In the end all I got was a hint of a drizzle that died out before it had properly begun. Even the cactus plants in the balcony seemed disappointed.
However, I continued to stare up at the sky in undimmed anticipation, letting nostalgia take over; rainy memories from the past filled my head.
One of my earliest recollections of rain in Dubai dates back to the early ‘80s, when heavy showers made the area behind our Karama colony look like a gigantic lake, with the World Trade Centre (then the city’s tallest building), looming on the horizon. It truly was a spectacular sight.
I remember when the school’s playground would fill up with water and we would rack our brains for reasons to be excused from class, just so we could kill time making paper boats and sail them in the ‘swimming pool’. Were we spotted by an eagle-eyed teacher? You bet. Did that stop us from doing the same thing the next time there was a torrential shower? It did not.
The first time I experienced rain in summertime was when I visited England with my family in July-August 1985. Having only associated that time of year with sizzling temperatures and clear blue skies, I was surprised (pleasantly) to note that I had to wear a jacket at times as the air got cooler when clouds loomed during our many outings in London.
I was overjoyed when caught in a drizzle or shower and happily pranced around with an umbrella. One time the rain actually scared me was about two decades ago in Mumbai when I’d got out of the American Consulate and realized the flood-water was almost up to my knees; there wasn’t a cab or bus in sight and I was at a loss as to how to get myself home. Not knowing anyone in the vicinity and that being the pre-mobile phone era, my only option was to wade through the water and hope that I would spot some mode of transport.
Luckily, a cab passed by and I waved wildly, then noted it was already occupied; however, the gentleman-passenger insisted on helping me reach the nearest local train station, and refused to take my portion of the fare once we arrived there. Sometimes one’s faith in both humanity and chivalry, are reinforced by the same incident.
Today, the skies in Dubai are clear but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of rain — who knows when we might get lucky?