An ode to Dubai

Rad­hika Acharya on why she loves this city of dreams

Khaleej Times - City Times - - SOCIAL IMPACT -

DUR­ING MY FOR­MA­TIVE years in Goa, In­dia, a long time ago, Dubai was seen as the “El Do­rado” of Earth – a city or place of fab­u­lous wealth and op­por­tu­nity. The lucky few who landed jobs in Dubai were looked upon with awe and envy, and the typ­i­cal Dubai-re­turned Goan could be recog­nised a mile off – with his colour­ful shirt, a thick gold chain and a ra­dio in his hand! Cut to the present – in spite of liv­ing in Abu Dhabi for close to 20 years now, Dubai still evokes the same feel­ings of awe and plea­sure for me.

I love driv­ing into Dubai from Abu Dhabi on the Sheikh Zayed Road – whether it’s ma­jes­ti­cally by the pub­lic bus or more se­dately by pri­vate ve­hi­cle. I en­joy ev­ery minute of the roughly 1 ½ to 2-hour ride de­pend­ing on the mode of trans­port.

In the past, we would see herds of camels in the dis­tance, but that’s no more so, with the rapid de­vel­op­ment hap­pen­ing along the Dubai-Abu Dhabi stretch. How­ever, as we cruise along, I keep my eyes wide open to catch sight of the odd Lam­borgh­ini, Fer­rari or Porsche go whizzing by. I am never dis­ap­pointed! Un­til some years back, the first in­di­ca­tion that we were near­ing Dubai would be the two crossed gui­tars – the sym­bol of the old Hard Rock Café – and I would nudge my boys to glance out­side the win­dow when we would come level with the build­ing. It’s now just a me­mory, of course.

It’s ex­cit­ing to catch the first glimpse of the Burj Al Arab in the dis­tance. It’s even more so to­day as the ar­chi­tec­tural dream ho­tel plays hide & seek among the many high-rises which have since come up along the road.

My heart misses a beat and I seem to catch my breath each time we pass the Burj Khal­ifa and I bend my head down­wards and side­ways to get a full and last­ing glimpse of the tall and hand­some struc­ture, and I stay in that po­si­tion un­til we move out of the line of its vi­sion. The thrill and ex­cite­ment con­tin­ues as we en­ter the city and stop at the first traf­fic sig­nal be­fore we take the road to where we’re ac­tu­ally headed. I am one of the for­tu­nate few to be liv­ing in this city of dreams!

City Times reader Rad­hika Acharya de­scribes her­self thus: “I’m quite in­tel­li­gent some­times, but some­times is rare!”

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