The day started off by me receiving my first salary at my new job, moving into our new apartment at Jumeirah and Joe receiving a call on the enquiry of the date of joining from his new company.
We drove to the Palm Jumeirah on the New Year’s Eve to witness the Guinness Book of World Record fireworks. Since Joe has not yet attained a UAE driver’s license, I ended up being his chauffeur like always. I managed to drive through the traffic by squeezing through the wrong ways and park near the foot path near a palace. We walked in the cold for about 20 minutes to reach the main beach.The temperature was about 15 degrees Celsius and dropping followed by strong ice cold winds. There were people of different nationalities camped in and around the area and they lit the dry shrubs on the way in order to keep themselves warm from the frosty cold. Luckily we could reach all the way near the waters.
There was a Filipino lady, probably a news reporter on our left with a professional Nikon camera and a camera stand, and a few old bachelors to our right. As time passed by the waves came closer and closer and hence we had to move further back in order to not to get ourselves wet.
Initially the fireworks began on the left side of the Jumeirah beach and later on the right next to the Burj Al Arab. I didn’t feel that there was anything special about them as they look quite normal to my eyes. Both concluded at about 12:15 am and I was quite disappointed and told Joe about the same. Hearing that, one of the bachelors on our right told us that they work for the Palms and the government has arranged ships in line to shoot up the crackers though out the horizon. They also told that the delay may be due to some technical issues.Hearing that I waited impatiently till about 12:30 am and still there were no signs of any fireworks at the main palms. I compelled Joe and started walking back. We almost reached to the mid-way and suddenly we could hear people start to roar and applaud loudly. We turned back and saw that the entire horizon was lit up with fireworks. We ran back to witness this epic moment in history.
As soon as the fireworks got over me and Joe started to run through the cold sand as fast as we could in order to get into our car. We also stopped by one of the bonfires on the way to warm up a bit. As I was driving, we could see young Arabs, probably teenagers run towards every car in order to wish them a New Year. Later we reached back home at about 1:30, had a glass of wine and went to sleep.
Two most memorable characters in my life are “Kuttan Annan aka Kuttayannan” and His son who runs a tea stall nearby my ancestral home. At a very young age of about 3 – 4 years old, I used to climb on top of a tall gate to check on whether my mother had returned from college. She brought Banana Chips from East Fort twice a week without fail and sometimes she would surprise me Pompsy (A brand of Cheese balls) which I would eat without sharing. After retirement from the job in Singapore as the Estate Manager, Gampa (My Grandfather) returned back to Trivandrum, India and started a Private Banking Business and hence people in my old neighborhood called me “Banker De Cherumakal – Puchakanni” which means “Granddaughter of the Banker who has green eyes”. We lived in a traditional mansion where the gates remained closed at all times and the compound walls were built very high in order to maintain privacy. The only option for junior me to see the outside world was to climb on top of these particular tall gate.
(Gamapa and Me)
I was familiar with most of my old neighbors and yet was never allowed to go to anyone’s houses other than my Cousin Sharon’s unless accompanied by my care takers (Selvi, Rani or Jehovah) who worked in shifts. After I somehow manage to get on top of the gate, I would put my legs on both the sides, lean on a mango tree and wave my hands at the familiar face that I see passing by. By the time mom would have returned, I would have gathered a mob submerged in their talks forgetting the fact that I would be still sitting on top of the gate outside. As a gesture of courtesy my mother would be forced to either invite them home or someone would have slid me over the gate to the “Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall”. Everyday someone would get me Cup of Coffee and Vazakka Appam (banana dipped in dough and fried) from Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall and my mother would have to send a maid to the tea stall to carry me home.
(Mom & Me)
Later Gampa (my grandfather) forbade me from going to the tea stall as he found it a shame that his grandchild eats for free from a totally unhygienic place. We had 5 servants at home and no matter what they made, I would act fussy and eat well from Kuttan Annan’s Tea Stall. Though my mother insisted Kuttan Annan to take money for what I ate and drank, he would neit
My grandfather, mother and father instructed the servants to make everything I like at home and yet I wouldn’t give up on eating from Kuttan Annan’s Tea stall. Finally they cooked up a story that Kuttan Annan has a disease where the skin on his hands would peel off from time to time which was a symptom of leprosy. He does mix the dough for all the items in the menu with such hands and thus ended my tea stall fun.
(Jehovah’s mother Mary Akka a month back, when i went to give her my 1st Salary all happy to hear that I was gonna write about her)
I was also put under the supervision of a full time babysitter (Jehovah) who would take me to my Cousin Sharon’s house to watch cartoons at the time when I would climb the gate.