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Monday, 7 April 2008

My family re-union in Dubai

The ten days trip to Dubai was an eventful episode. It was to celebrate my cousin's 50th birthday. I love to spend time with my family and since all my family is scattered all over the world, I get to meet them whenever they come to India, or when here is some family wedding then we get time to meet. But during weddings, we are too busy attending occasions and we hardly get time to chill, not really…all our time is spend in visiting saloon or dressing or attending some or the other parties. During the wedding, there is loud music that silences our conversations, and the notes are normally exchanged in groups of three or four. We wanted to spend quality time together, to meet some place, out of India, where we could just be together. The opportunity finally arrived. My cousin decided to celebrate her birthday in Dubai. My nephew lives in Dubai, so it was perfect place for a venue away from home. He has three BHK apartments. The family that was to arrive were Rajni from Chicago, Suresh from Texas, Chandru and Meena from Hongkong, Laju from Lome, Reza from Bahrain, Gitu, Asgar and Neha from Lagos, Rani, Raju, Devkadidi from Pune and me from Mumbai. Then there were the family residents of Dubai that included Nikki, Dina, Karina, Sanjoo, Danisha, and Vinesh, thus we formed a group of twenty and the fun had begun. Except for Sanjoo’s family of four, all the rest of us wanted to live under one roof. Gitoo and Rajni, (who were first to arrive,) headed for shopping and purchased the air mattresses that promised a comfortable dreamy nights. As the family arrived, one by one, the rooms filled with laughter and joy. Mornings were spent chatting and joking that were laced with other odd jobs like preparing breakfast, making beds and washing dishes. Nobody told anybody to help, but there was a special pleasure in working together. Although we were so many of us in one house, we didn’t feel crowded. Nikki’s hall is huge and airy with a large open balcony. He has two easy chairs, two rocking chairs and el-shaped couch, then there is a huge square shaped dining table with twelve chairs. Under the glassy top of the dinning table there is a beautifully carved slab of wood that had mosaic of gold colored, square metal chips The centre of the table is laden with a huge globular vase that contained fresh flowers. A fish aquarium, side table and a bar complete the room. Most of our hours were spend in this room. After idle mornings, we would get ready to go for lunch and to visit malls. Dubai has beautiful malls with clean, large alleys. The shops gleam with merchandise. It is possible to visit only one mall a day, there is too much to walk and too much to see. We did go for desert safari, which was fun, roller-coasting through those sand dunes at break neck speed and late evening enjoying the Arabic dinner under the spells of the magic shows and belly dancing. We also enjoyed a boat ride on another evening and watched the sun set from the upper deck of the boat. But most of our days were spent visiting malls and trying the food at fancy restaurants. We enjoyed the long drives through the city. We had rented a 17 seated vehicle, which was perfect for our group; we shared our stories and comments as we drove through the city. My cousins related how the city has grown in last five years. There were constructions everywhere, a new shiny glass buildings were mushrooming on all sides. We saw Burj Dubai, the super-tall structure, the final height of which is being held as a closely held secret that will feature residences, commercial space and retail space and hospitality elements including the world's first Armani Hotel and Armani Residences. With over 160 storey now, the most number of livable floors in any building in the world, Burj Dubai is already pushing the frontiers in architecture, construction and engineering excellence. The ten days passed quickly and the quality time we spend together is the time etched in our memory for many years to come….

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