As we ascended to lofty heights and houses diminished in size, the vast British coastline was clear from above. At an altitude of 37000 feet, the earth looked picturesque. From my window seat, the beautiful green pastures, adjacent to one another with hedge-defined boundaries, looked like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. It looked just like a picture from Google Earth – just more real. Soon enough clouds resembling huge quantities of froth suspended in mid air gently floated past us. Yet they seemed somewhat still and motionless, except for the few diverted clouds that were, like soft pieces of cotton, driven by the wind far below us. Tired of starring out into the open, I reclined uncomfortably in my chair and tried to sleep. We were above Bucharest by then.
I closed my eyes for what seemed like a few minutes, but by the time I opened them Bucharest was now far behind, as the on-screen map showed, and we were right above Iraq. We have crossed the Black Sea and by then light had given way to dark, and there I sat starring into an endless labyrinth of darkness and my reflection. I could see below, through the clear skies and odd patches of clouds, that the cities below resembled millions of glittery stars adjoined in irregular patterns, trailing off to somewhere in the dark before disappearing from sight. This continued until we reached Dubai.
At the airport, haughty Arabs, with flowing white silk dresses and sandals occupied the seats at the Passport Control, just before the Baggage Claim area. With a disdainful flick of his finger, he beckons the next passenger and reclines back in his chair, staring into space, if not ogling the female passengers around. Once the passenger presents his passport to him, he then works at a snail’s pace, contemptuous in his manner, and callous in response. You could almost feel the sense of pride that consumes him from the way he talks to people apathetically.
About seven or eight queues formed parallel lines in front of the passport control, and two separate queues for GCC nationals, where a few Arabs stood. The other queues were all jam-packed with people of every descent – majority of which were Indians. Whenever an Indian man presented his passport to him, he’d look up at him, without moving his head and slightly lifting his brows up, with scorn. And once when a man went the wrong way, he’d shouted at him, “kya damaakh nai hein” (what, don’t you have a brain?), pointing his open hand to his temples. The poor Indian man simply turned and walked the other way with a smile and shake of the head, whilst the Arab watched with revulsion.
Ignoring us, he then called the few Arabs at the GCC line and started stamping their passports, even though they had separate queues and checking points of their own. Favouritsm here is accepted, for no one said a word.
An oppressing wave of heat accosted me as soon as I stepped outside into the Greeting Area. Immediately, tiny beads of sweat appeared on my face, my hands felt clammy and my jeans damp under the humidity, while I gasped irritably for some air to fill my lungs. In front of me, hundreds of dark faces, with sweat dripping from their foreheads, stood packed like sardines, leaning on the metal barriers and each fighting for some space at the front. Their eyes followed each exiting passenger with an imploring look. None of them was Arab or wearing Arabic clothing. For once I questioned whether British Airways has taken a detour to India and left me stranded, for everyone there was of the Indian Subcontinent.
By the time I found my friend at the exit, I was sodden with sweat. It felt like walking right through a furnace, with extremely hot air scalding your skin. Thankfully, all the cars, houses, shops, restaurants, etc are equipped with air conditioners.
The next day I woke up at about 12 and after a quick shower decided to have a feel for the outside world. Stepping out from the luxury of my cool apartment, I went out. But as soon as I set a foot outside, hot air slapped me across the face and I retreated in defeat.
The best times to go out, as I later learnt, were not during the day, but evenings. At about 7pm, a mild wind blows from the ocean and sweeps across the city. It is not cold, but bearable and that’s when the city comes to life, bustling with activity and Arabs.
Tip: drink a lot of water and always keep a face towel in hand.
Behind their immaculate exteriors and musk –soaked bodies lie putrid souls and stagnated minds. During the sweltering heat of the day, you would be hard-pressed to find an Arab guy with his silk robe walking the streets of Dubai. Lazy as they are, they eat off the strength of the poor Indians who are labouring day and night to pay their costs of living and sending money back to their countries. With an ostentatious display of wealth and lassitude, the Arab man parks his 4X4 in front of the grocery store, give two hoots on the horn and waits for the Indian man to come out, gives him the money and orders his goods.
It is their inert natures and gluttonous eating habits that their obesity is credited to. At night time, majority of the Arabs roam about aimlessly in their tinted 4X4s, to and fro the city, leering at girls wherever they find them. They go to malls, walk around, hunting for their prey, but never getting to devour it. Whenever a female is spotted, loud hoots are emitted from the car and bellows of delight fill the car as it slows down and the tints are rolled down.
Their women too, having reached a point of frustration from idly sitting at home, now do the same thing. It is like watching a pathetic flirting scene – where the man and woman constantly gyrate around each other with smiles, winks, nods of the head, waves of the hands, each keeping a safe distance that which cannot be breached. This is how the night is spent and the same routine is executed night after night, except for Ramadan when care races are taking place throughout the cities.
For people of such lifestyles, their arrogance is unmatched. The word discrimination here is held in a class of its own and given its own abode, festooned with all the decorative charms of injustice. A Pakistani friend of mine, describing his life here, once remarked “they don’t have to respect you.” Another friend who was born here, but also of Pakistani origin, said “you have no rights here even if you were born here. You and the guy who came yesterday are the same – the only difference is you know the city and he doesn’t.”
In Sharjah and Ajman, the police have the authority to do as they please. If they stop you they will take out their ‘Egal’ – the black rope that rests on top of the turban on their head – and lash you across the face with it if they wish. In Dubai things are a bit different for Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid has taken stringent measures to ensure that the law is respected by all.
With their disproportionate bodies and gluttonous bellies coupled with a strange sort of gratuitous arrogance, theirs is a life of pomposity and hedonism. Their survival as a country and as a nation depends on foreign strength and their economy would instantaneously crumble down if all the hard working people of the Indian Subcontinent were to leave UAE for their homes. I doubt they will have the necessary skills since majority of them, getting monthly allowances, homes and cars from the government, haven’t yet taken a dip into the labour pool.
But not all the Arabs are contemptible. The ones that behave like this are called “Mujawazin” – they are people of Iranian, Balochi and Zanzibari descent given citizenship a long time ago. The Bedouins, who are the natives of UAE, are the most genial of people I hear, and its these adopted breeds that are polluting the country.
Places to see
I have been shopping for my trip to Somalia, so I haven’t had the time to enjoy and take pictures, but I will be coming back to Dubai at the end of August and by then I plan to explore more of the city. Await pictures then…
I am flying to Somalia tonight insha-Allah and if I get an internet connection, every now and then, I will drop you a line…
Take care folks!