Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. It may be the high sierra, dusty plains, lush rainforest, or a suburbia of tiny, identical houses – but wherever you live, here’s your chance to bring it to life through the charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun.
I’ve written a Haibun earlier on places I’ve visited because prose alone just did not seem sufficient to catch the magic of the place and poetry alone seemed incomplete in explaining what I’d seen. But these were about places that I had traveled to and stayed in for not more than a week. Writing a haibun on a place that I’ve lived in for almost all my life seems difficult because at some point the familiarity of a place makes it lose its magic. However, writing it feels timely and is a tribute to this country that I love.
Bright lights, shiny mosaic tiles, smiling faces, grandeur, a maze of roads, flyovers and certain kind of discipline is what you encounter, when you land in the Pearl of the Gulf, the City of dreams, Dubai. For those who’ve never been to a Middle-Eastern country and for whom this region either brings back fairy-tale images from the Arabian Nights tales of beautiful princesses held in fortresses, ruthless Sheikhs, flying carpets and magical urns or dreadful images of war and blood-shed, visiting the U.A.E is a pleasant eye-opener to the Arab hospitality and inclusive society. A sense of comfort exists that seems almost unreal, a sense of being safe that makes it unique and a sense of being accepted no matter where you come from. More than 200 nationalities live in harmony on this blessed land.
Faces, languages, cultures
The world in one place
Tall towers that touch the sky, luxurious shopping malls that make you splurge, restaurants that serve global cuisines and sprawling sea-side resorts stand tall alongside souks selling spices, wooden dhows that ferry people across the creek as sea-gulls fly overhead and Mosques whose minarets light up the starless night sky.
Golden rays, blue seas,
Swaying palms, orange sunsets
Silken sands, clear skies
In this city where cranes dot the skyline and where wild shrubs grow on desert sand, is a street that leads to where I live. An oasis in the desert, it’s where spider lilies and fox-tails line the pavement and pink, purple and white petunias flutter in the warm spring breeze. Its where wood-peckers and mynas fly in during the winters and stay on until spring. Its when the children come out with their cycles, serious walkers take to the street along with the marathon runners and dog-walkers walk their dogs. There’s a man-made lake too in the vicinity where ducks entertain. Its during these 8 months that the oasis and the city comes alive and is abuzz with activity.
Then summer comes and the sun looks down with rage; and for the next four months we remain blissfully in our cage. The birds fly away, the land is parched, the few shrubs wither and the sand shines likes blazing coal. In a city that hibernates in the summer, the date palms remain giving solace to the weary traveler and are a reminder to those who stay behind, that we will survive and the city shall once again thrive.
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