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The International Writers Magazine: Karama Odyssey

Angel in "Abahaya"
Lalita kakanadan

If you drop me in a junction and ask me to find out the way on my own, I would naturally take the wrong direction!! It's on my destiny.So, last evening, I was not much surprised when I started walking to the road leading to karama centre from sindh panjab restaurant, where actually the place I was searching for was near karama fish market which was just 5 minutes walk.

After a nice round of nearly one hour thru the heart of Karama, passing the garden, car park, the famous restaurant galli, municipality building and a building which is a branch of Dubai university (I never knew that Dubai has a university!!), I came back to the place I started off – opposite sindh panjab restaurant. I was in search of a furniture shop and karama is famous for its furniture marts.

As I crossed the road and passed the small "bombay chatt wala" and  again  took a short-cut over the garden which is inside the decent housing complex, I found a couple of furniture shops. And all the furniture shop fellows turned out to be the most sweetest one on earth…I did not have to bargain at all…I made deal for a cupboard and a medicated mattress.
Now, I am gonna face the real hassle -  finding a cab back to home!!
By now, I very well know the situation in Dubai….
Moreover, I consider myself as a "born-unlucky one" so I knew, not a single cab will even stop near me!

I was mentally prepared to walk from Karama to OPC - to my home, though the very thought of walking all the way after the hectic schedule at work and one hour driving class was bothering me deep inside!! But then...viola – there's a cab!!And it's empty. I at once jumped on the road from the shop and stood in the middle of the road waving out with both my hands…the cabbie slowed down and asked with his stern look "where do you wanna go"
I was opening the back door while answering him "burdubai"
He said something vague and drove off speeding the vehicle away at full speed …. I was a bit horrified as I almost escaped from a fal! These cabbies…they are a bit harsh at times!!
Well….I dropped the plan of waiting for another mad incident and started walking swiftly holding my bag close to my body…

As I proceeded a few steps ahead I heard a voice.... "Excuse me madam."
When I turned my head tracing the root of that melodious voice, I noticed the dark glass window of the huge vehicle - porch Cayenne - slightly opening…and a young slender girl in her abhaya* is smiling at me. She was sitting in front, on the passenger seat.
In my first glance itself, I noticed the grace in her face and love in her eyes.
I was still staring at her and wondering whether she called me or someone else…
She continued…"Where do you wanna go?"
I returned her smile and said.."Home-burdubai."
She said "would you mind if I drop you home?"
This time, I literally got a shock. Besides, a slight thought of doubt too flashed on my mind…why would anyone wanna help someone on the road? Am I missing something here? Is someone hiding on the back seat and are they trying to trap me for some unknown reasons?

Looking at my silence, she said…"Don't worry, madam…I will drop you…it's very difficult to hail a cab here.."
She quickly got off from the passenger seat and jumped and sat on the driving seat and started the vehicle. I thoroughly looked inside the car and made sure that she is alone in it and sat next to her.
She started calling up her hubby who was away placing an order in the nearby "karachi darbar restaurant".
She said…"It will take time to get the food ready…so, meanwhile I can take you to your place".
It's the first time in my life I have ever experienced something like this...

Three weeks back, I had to walk all the way from the airport to Burdubai.... I was literally cursing the inefficiency of Dubai transport system. Dubai taxi department claims to have 3500 (according to the call centre staff the number has increased and it's beyond 5000 now) cabs but you gotta be really lucky to find out a cab when you are in need for it. Buses can no longer be an option here as they go round and round and never allow the ladies to enter if the seats are occupied!
So, here, if you do not have your own vehicle, you at least need to have a friend who drives. Else, life will be too miserable.

I was still surprised and was wondering whether she's an angel in her abhaya! I could listen to her husband's grumble on the other side of the phone...but her voice was very clear and stern "I will take her home and be back soon".
I did not ask her name, occupation, whereabouts etc... That's all immaterial to me. For me, she's an angel. Angel in abahaya*. She has touched my heart and taught me a lesson. Yes, I too will help people when I'm in the road on wheel!!
"Abahaya" is the black long dress worn by Muslim Women

© lalita kakanadan March 2008

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