2nd December 2011
I usually wake up late during the national day celebration. It is mostly off for 3 days. I can't believe I'm up before 5 am having a quick shower and getting Ready to go to Abu Dhabi to the Crown Prince Court. We had received invites for a bigger show only selected people usually go to this show. the royalties and other higher authorities.
as we were on our way my younger sister Noura asked: "Mum Dad haven't you guys wondered since the 'bomb' at the hospital, didi ( a reference to elder sister) has been ending up meeting the royals, you being invited to dine with them after the awards and now this."
"yes it's still very intriguing Ma that we are invited to such an event, but still after this, there won't be any contacts I hope. you don't know what goes on the head of the royals whether they are good or not. they keep their secrets very well guarded." I say in return. "I hope the show isn't boring."
" yes thats very true, but its not like we will be running in their social circles. so have fun." my mum replied.
2.5hours later we were making our way towards the main entrance to the Crown Prince Court. i noticed that the main guests havent arrived...oh obviously they are the chief guests after all. i wonder whether i will get to meet the prince or not. As we saw the surrounding i was awestruck by the surrounding. little cluster of flags surrounded the court, large photos of the seven emirates rulers hung at the length of the entrance. oh i forgot to mention the enormous crowd. we entere the main hall and there stood a ceiling to flooring high painting of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. at this moment i felt tears well up but i had to control it ofcourse. he was the dearest king of ours, so humble, liberal,kind, courageous and intelligent, basically he was the people king. he had a dream for everyone to be together despite the diversity. which is Dubai isnt my second home, it is my home.
2nd December 1971, the UAE was formed. For the past four decades Emiratis and expatriates alike have celebrated National Day with much pride and energy. there is a spirit that ties us all together. A spirit that enables millions of people to coexist and build lives together. It is a spirit that can be shared across a cosmopolitan community, and a spirit that everyone can play a role in sustaining. Each person defines, shapes, and shares this spirit in their own way.
This great nation was created by a few with the prosperity of many. It is now a nation that is made up of faces from different places, bringing with them important skills, culture and personalities from every corner of the globe. Living side by side together, under one spirit, working to help the nation continue to prosper and grow. The success of the nation today and tomorrow has been and will continue to be through the collective strength of the many.
It is a day which sees locals and expats, many who have adopted this country as their home, come together to celebrate the countries achievements and developments. And I have noticed a renewed energy in Dubai in the last few days, running up to the 40thNational Day; people are positive and happy and UAE national flag adorns buildings and highways and beaches. My favorite part of the national day is the events and activities that have been taking place during the past week to celebrate the occasion; there has been parades, the world's longest graffiti piece, concerts, boat shows and fireworks, lighting up the sky. It all sounds so dreamy I know and it pretty much feels like that too. As a relatively old expat in Dubai, there is so much to explain. the sheer progress this country has made and you may understand better the reason for the celebrations. Here is a country without any discrimination and with wisdom, the Emirates is galloping.
As we sat at our designated places we really felt out of place not just by our dressing, didn't let me clear this we are well off enough to afford things but it looks nothing compared to the other guests around. and not even once did the staff or the team of the hosts made us feel that way like we didn't belong there. After a while, the rulers accompanied with the crown princes.
I thought maybe I could catch Hamdan's eye but he was busy shaking hands and soon proceeded to the seat. the function began and got over by 11 am and we were headed to the banquet hall for brunch. the banquet hall was huge and the rectangular hollow table ran across the room. cutleries of all sorts that I hadn't seen were presented neatly.
We were in middle of the dining when one of the royal official managers came to our table and asked us to join for tea which will be held in the next room as the Abu Dhabi Ruler would like to meet me and my family. I was a little dumbfounded. why is it that every time I'm invited to meet the official or meet the king or meet this really VVIPperson. I didn't do anything such as to get this attention. okay okay, i did save the kids from the vultures in the hospital which belonged to the ruler of Dubai, but I thought it would have died down by now.
So after brunch which was quite filling I did my best to control the urge to second helping...good lord it was delicious
We were escorted to a comparatively smaller banquet hall, only exclusive people were invited. I and my family aren't exclusive. this was very very I mean by far the strangest things happening to me. I thought it would be a majlis sitting and having tea etc. but this I guess is more of a formal event so I guess standing and chatting and drinking tea was the formal norm...who knows I'm just guessing here and following the official. I turned to my family just to make sure we didn't look like lost puppies or awestruck by this, although from the inside I knew we were screaming our asses off.
" oh...assalamualaikum Dr. Syed. Mr. and Mrs. Syed. I hope you liked the event so far." Sheikh Mohammed spoke up. and everyone turned to face us...fuck...I felt like my stomach fell into a bottomless pit.
"Walaikumassalam your highness ..." dad went on to address everyone.
My jaw literally was on the floor in my head when I saw Hamdan. how can someone look so gorgeous in a traditional attire like this, so unreal but hey he was standing right in front of me ...calm your tits Aairah.
calm your tits Aairah
I thought he would smile at me but his face showed no signs of approaching into a smile
I thought he would smile at me but his face showed no signs of approaching into a smile. I was slightly disappointed but I didn't let that get to me either. I was surprised to see the POTUS and FLOTUS ( sorry didn't want to type long I'm finding it a little amusing) after introductions were given the Sheikh of Sharjah seemed to take a little more interest in what i do.
He asked us which part of India I was from. I told him we were from the South and when he found out that my mum knew fluent Malayalam because we had a Keralite neighbor and I too knew how to speak so but haltingly. we just spoke in Malayalam for a couple of minutes. I found ou that he had a Keralite nanny so he picked it up from her. He commended me on my achievements. and I blushed profusely from embarrassment but I was proud too. it's just that I had never won anything or haven't been acknowledged for what I was good at. this was straight up surprising. we were all engaged in a conversation and not even once did Hamdan smiled back or spoke to me. are the royals weird...I'm guessing they are, some are just good at hiding it.
I excused myself to go to the washroom and I was escorted halfway through. as i walked the long corridor I felt footsteps behind me. I didn't turn back coz hey i watched enough suspense movies and this was one of the rules and i started walking faster( yes i am paranoid). i reached the restroom and was about to open the door handle when someone's hand landed on mine stopping me from opening the door.