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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Those memorable days in 2008

28th March was the day circled on my calendar. It was the day to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. What was exciting was that it would be celebrated in a strange land, a place that I had never visited before, exciting also because all of my family from different parts of the world, had also circled this date on their calendar. I belong to a close knit family, but all are scattered around the world and we meet whenever there is an occasion to celebrate, a wedding or a holiday, but this time it was special-‘A 50th birthday in Dubai!’ Who would want to miss it? The preparation started one month in advance. Email found their way to all the inboxes, we exchanged notes on planning the trip, the venue, the staying accommodation, the visas, the shopping….there was so much homework to do and the excitement was building each day. Accommodation was no problem, Nikki and Dina, who live in Dubai, happily agreed to share their house and were willing to accommodate everybody into their house. The birthday girl- Gitu- (from Lagos) first to arrive in the city with her sister Rajni(from Chicago) and her daughter Neha and went for shopping for air-mattresses, blankets, towels, and all the sundry items that would be required for our comfort and then they settled to receive with warmth the family that began arriving. One by one, family arrived, each received with hi-five, hug and laughter. Chandru and Baby (from Hongkong); Suresh (from Texas); Laju (from Lome); Reza (from Bahrain); Raju, Rani and Devkadidi (from Pune) and yours truly (from Mumbai). Sanju and Kareena (who stayed just few block away in Dubai, were of great help) and Asgar (the banker who would foot the bill) arrived just few hours before the actual event. And the fun began. The birthday party was held at the newly opened ‘Zen” a Chinese and Thai restaurant (a family restaurant in Dubai run by our Dubai host-Nikki). One thing good about celebrating in the family restaurant is the freedom to enjoy the food and the song. We went crazy clicking pictures, messing with the birthday cake and over-eating randomly from every table, and sometimes from the kitchen. The party went on till late at night and then continued for next ten days. A mini van (15 seated) was hired for traveling within the city as we did malls and restaurants hopping. Then there were Dessert Safari and Abra rides and long drives through the city. Morning were the best, when we would laze around, munching breakfast and sharing vague stories, jokes or ragging the weak ones. Late nights were for watching a film. Sixteen family members were merrily squeezed into 3BKH apartment and nobody was complaining. Those were the memorable events that refuses to fade away and they brighten my day, each time, when I browse through those pictures. I have captured each moment and framed it into my memory album, forever.

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