To begin with, let’s get the cliched out of the way. Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy new year from me and mine! May your year be filled with good books to read, good food to eat, lingering conversations that make you laugh and think and laugh some more, and of course, music that fills every bit of your soul.
We ushered in the new year with quite the boom and fizzle. The last year had been quite happening, what with moving to Dubai and trying to get used to a whole different lifestyle, and the end of the year, true to style, was quite happening as well. We celebrated Christmas by visiting the famous Miracle Garden, and from the moment we stepped inside the gates all of us wished we had four eyes instead of two to take it all in. Petunias in what seemed like every hue the mind can conceive… alleyways that looked like a page from a fairy tale book, with flower cottages on either side… an entire train and a model Burj Khalifa made out of oranges… fragrant marigold strewn all over like an orange carpet… an upturned car from which a fountain flowed gracefully… larger than life floral peacocks whose tails seemed to cascade like waterfall from lofty heights… every turn and every corner presented fresh delights. Despite the day being almost unbearably sunny, Miss Munchkin didn’t once complain about the sun on her face, and stayed put in her stroller all throughout without once uttering her “Walk! Walk!” chant, which to be honest was a miracle in itself. Long after we left the place, those kaleidoscopic snapshots kept flashing on my mind.
Between Christmas and New Year, we ventured into the areas nearby. If one night we went out for an absolutely scrumptious barbecue buffet and stuffed ourselves silly with grilled fish, the next night we went out to The Walk at JBR yet again just to get the feel of the festivities. After ambling aimlessly for a bit, we decided to stop for a snack and discovered the joy of freshly made luqaimats (an addictive Emirati dessert, something like fried dumplings coated with thick sugar syrup) while Miss Munchkin danced her heart out, much to the entertainment of nearby families.
On New Year’s Eve we dared not brave the notorious traffic jams, and decided to stay at home for a humble dinner. So the husband set up the balcony with fairy lights for ambiance, and we spent the evening having a long soulful conversation with my parents about new year resolutions and stuff, which really felt quite apt, what with it being New Year’s Eve. We had dinner while watching the classic Golmaal (circa 1979) and then waited for the live telecast of the scheduled fireworks. As the clock struck midnight though, instead of anything happening on the television screen, our balcony seemed to light up with flashes of fireworks in Atlantis. So we ditched the living room, and hurried out to witness live what I can only describe as an epic show, the like of which I hadn’t witnessed before, all from the comfort of our balcony. I mean, good food, loads of laughter, good company and good conversation and fireworks? Boom and fizzle, am I right?
To keep the festivities lingering, we went for the desert safari on the second day of the new year (although I suppose my getting a year long overdue haircut on the first should count as cause for celebration as well). Although hesitant initially, my family finally managed to convince me to accompany them. It was decided that we would skip the dune bashing (definitely not family friendly) and go straight to the camp. Once we arrived at the site though, the person in charge quite nonchalantly dismissed our request as though it was an inconvenience on their part to manage, and left us no choice but to agree to go dune bashing. And so we did. My sexagenarian parents, my two year old, and us. Handing the little one to the stronger arms of my husband, and letting him and my mother have the front seat, my father and I scrambled into the back seat of the land cruiser, and I sent a prayer to the powers above, and held on to the bars for my life. The first plunge into the sandy depths had me screaming without realizing, and the very next instant the mother in me surfaced and chided me for not keeping calm, and I instead took to repeating “Hold her tight please, hold her tight please” to the husband while he assured me Miss Munchkin was perfectly fine. I grew uncomfortably conscious of the heat inside the car, and how my clammy hands were on the verge of slipping from the bar, but mostly I was worried for my little one as we heaved up and swerved and dropped down amidst the sand dunes. I guess prayers do work though, because five minutes into it, our cruiser got stuck. Yep! Hit a pocket and remained stuck even as it stayed tilted towards the left. So we all scrambled out of the car and awkwardly climbed a sand dune while the driver got help from another cruiser to pull the car up. Once the car was rescued, we all went back in, and this time the driver, perhaps so as not to hit another pocket, decided to stick to a less exciting route. When my feet touched ground, right after I checked on the little one to see if she was okay, I told myself I had had enough excitement to last me a long long time. I even skipped the camel ride, so desperate was I to keep my feet on the ground. After being rattled like that, the experience itself was quite lukewarm for me, and not something I would recommend in a hurry.
My parents leave tomorrow, and while I am sad that we might not be meeting for almost a year, I am truly glad that we have filled our days together here, with as much as possible. While the last year was eventful and happening in its own way, this year I am sure, has its own surprises in store, and I am waiting in eager anticipation. I started off the year with family, a good book (finally got around to reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm) and a resolution to make this year count. So here’s to the new year. To uber cool parents who I learn from every single day. To the husband who is my rock. To the little one who makes me laugh and cry and angry and oh so happy all at the same time. And oh yes! To my Facebook page which is a whole year old! Cheers!