Dubai Diaries: When a door opens...
In life, there are so many entrances, so many exits, so many transitions.
A door is such a huge part of our lives. Whether it’s to a childhood home of many years, a beloved school classroom, a college lecture room where you encountered over a hundred students together for the first time; or your first ever room away from loved ones, in a hostel where it was time to begin again amidst unfamiliar surroundings, a hospital room where you battled the odds and won, the special door to your first home with a spouse...there are so many entrances, so many exits, so many transitions!
When you open a door for the first time it’s with a sense of excitement and nervousness perhaps, whereas when you close one for the last time there could be regret, sadness or even excitement, triumph, relief.
The first door I can recall with clarity is the front door to my childhood residence in Karama. How many times had we as a family been in and out of that cherished dwelling over almost three decades? How many memories — loving, sad, funny and more — did we leave behind when we shut that door for the last time?
I remember being locked out once, as a youngster, and that being the pre-Internet and mobile phone era, I had no choice but to loaf aimlessly around the neighborhood till my parents came home. I remember when I was entrusted with the key of the house for the first time as a teenager, and the satisfaction I felt upon opening and shutting the door myself when I returned from school.
Among the many entrances and exits that have passed through my life is a set of double doors that led to an operation theatre. I vividly recall a host of surgical masks, as well as eyes and gloved hands that were busy with the task ahead.
An unforgettable moment was when the head surgeon briefly removed his mask to assure me, with a smile, that I would be taken care of. When I woke up, even through a mild sense of disorientation, I knew that the surgeon had kept his promise, and I had been wheeled out of those double doors to a better place.
Much before this life-altering event, when I was a child whose primary concern was which story-book I should read first or what cartoons were on that evening, the doors that played a huge part in my life belonged to my school, a 60-year-old institution that has seen thousands of footfalls over time.
A funny memory that pops up is a whole set of new faces I encountered when I ran into what I assumed was my classroom one morning, believing myself to be late. The laughter that erupted instantly dissolved my absent-mindedness; it turns out I had hurried through the wrong door!
Which door will you open next, as you carry memories of the many doors that closed on your past? Sometimes I linger, my hand on the knob, not knowing if I can let go. But somewhere out there another phase of life awaits, and this traveller must gather the courage to move on. Isn’t that all there is to life, the next step, the next door, amidst good times and bad?