I was leaving everything behind me. Family, friends, job and off course my city Kolkata. It was 30th January, 2009. My marriage was just 7 days old and I was travelling to Dubai with my husband. I can never forget the first sight of the city from my window panes of the Emirates Flight EK571.
The magnificent sky scrapers and spiraling highways mesmerized me. With anxiety deep inside my heart I landed in the land of Emiratis. The beautifully decorated roads with flowers and date palms, huge structures, gigantic shopping malls, sight of frequent super luxury cars on the streets, travelling on the 14-lane wide Sheikh Zayed Road, witnessing rain in the middle of the desert, and chock-a-block traffic after a sand storm – everything was new to me and gave a new dimension to my life. Dubai gave me a new life. A new apartment, a new address, the taste of having my own household, a new role to play, new contact number and a new job. It made me do things that I would never have done in my life. It made me do things which I hated. But it turned out to be something enjoyable.
My daily routine changed from the very next morning. Actually it broke many pre-conceived notions that I had. I had to do things which I never wanted to do (e.g. getting up at 5.30 in the morning!!). God! How I hated that. But I did it. I always thought that cooking was not my cup of tea. But to my utter surprise, I learnt cooking from the scratch and eventually started liking it! I never had an idea that ‘cooking’ for my husband would give me such pleasure! I thought I will have a really tough time to roam around the city alone (with my exceptionally poor road sense), but I managed to do that as well. I was thoroughly enjoying all of this. Getting up early every day, sleeping till late afternoon on weekends, cooking, after dinner walk by the creek, weekend movies, shopping like crazy at the Dubai Shopping Festival, making new friends, getting a hang of the social networking sites (let me tell you I was dead against them)….it’s a long list. My marriage got a new direction with the city. So my new address was Bur Dubai. We were put up in a serviced hotel apartment. Life fell in to a routine within a month or so. It was hectic. But in between our busy daily schedules, we did find time some quality time to explore Dubai too!
Dubai has always been associated with wealth, glamour, shopping and gold. But to me it was more than that. I felt that the journey of a small Bedouin village (they started off from being nomadic cattle herders) to the most glamorous and prosperous city in the world has to be special. This very thought inspired me to explore Dubai from a different point of view. I was always fascinated by the history of a place. Dubai did not disappoint me either. My husband told me that we are now living in a Kingdom and we have to strictly abide by the law in all aspects. The very thought of being in a Ruler’s Kingdom was captivating! I stayed in Dubai for a year and a half and my next posts will tell you what I managed to explore within the city limits and beyond.