My Gratitude Walk

I have been living in the Middle East for the last 12 years (or shall I say in a suitcase like a gypsy). I have come a long way from that tomboy girl from the province who grew up climbing mango trees to a sophisticated, independent, globe-trotting woman who have been to pretty much all the continents in the world except Antartica (soon!).

Not only have I seen a lot of places and mingled with people from all walks of life, I have also dined at some of the most prominent and happening restaurants in the 4 corners of the globe, from La Grande Cascade in Paris (where the rich and famous Parisians dine with their canines on their sides) to the chic and ultra-contemporary Felix restaurant in Hong Kong ( where you can enjoy the beautiful crowd and the stunning view of the harbour during the night); Cha cha char restaurant in brisbane (with their cook to perfection steaks that literally melt in your mouth) to Marie Antoinette in Seychelles ( where you can get mouth-watering Authentic Creole Seychellois food); China Tang in London for their famous Peking duck to Glass restaurant in Sydney created by Australia’s celebrated Chef Luc Mangan; Al Muntaha Restaurant at the Burj Al Arab (where you can enjoy the spectacular view of Dubai during the night while dining 200 meters above sea level) to Juma restaurant at the La View Manoir Au Lac in Murten, Switzerland (where you can enjoy 3-Michelin star chefs prepared food with so much attention to details) and so on and so forth. The list is endless!

Burj Khalifa

Despite of all the brushing elbows with the rich and famous and enjoying good food in all corners of the world and seeing places, I, as well, am a MORTAL, who have problems too like most of you, if not… all. Life is not always a bliss! Thats why every now and again, whether I have reached the bottom or I am in good spirits, I would walk onto the busy streets of Bur Dubai in Dubai (UAE, where the tallest standing structure in the world is, called, Burj khalifa, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, NOT!).

This 30 minute to an hour leisurely walk takes me from Bank Street to the banks of the creek dividing Bur dubai and Deira. Passing by clothing, shoes and tailoring shops run by mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Iranians; endless South Indian restaurants serving vegetarian breakfasts (because it is affordable to most of the people around this area, mostly Indians); construction work going on 24/7 on the Dubai’s Green Line Metro and other establishments; male Indians in their sari bottoms (skirt) spitting their orange-coloured quat salivas on pavements or garbage cans while going on their day’s work; being hit intentionally here and there by some labourers, who have not gotten laid for months or even years, just to feel a woman; ‘working girls’ of different colours coming back from ‘work’ or some who have not been lucky the previous night are out on business early (in the UAE these women are 24/7, as well as scattered all over the country, mostly discreetly dressed than their ‘non-working’ counterparts); food/laundry delivery guys on foot or on their bicycles burgeoning here and there; and on top of all these, the back ground sound is overwhelming, motorists honking nonstop, so as the beeping coming from the number of bicycles on the side streets; Pakistanis, Arabs and Indians nattering in mix Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam and Arabic trying to negotiate to get the best deal of the day mostly in Mina Bazaar. The scene is similar to that of busy Manhattan with Hindi and Urdu going on in the background as oppose to the whiny New Yorker accent; and the overpowering Indian spices filling the air as oppose to the milk and honey scent of New York. And all these happening in almost unbearable warm weather temperature in most times ranging between 35 to 48 degrees celcius.

These!… and all these is all my glory for the day! This is the very highlight of my morning. These are all apple to my eyes and music to my ears which bring warmth all over my being more than any fancy place in the world or while mingling with those humans referred to by society as ‘beautiful people’! Why??? Because this very experience and being in this setting validates that I am indeed a mortal! This in truth is the ‘real thing’! This is where the real action is happening! No pretension, no artification, no airbrushing! Yes, it makes me realise that I am truly fortunate than most! Both wealthy and not.

Witnessing all these makes me become more aware of the fact that whatever I am going through in life, no matter what predicament I have, I, indeed, am a very lucky soul! Not that I am delighted seeing less-privileged people, it is the realisation that I am truly blessed to experience both enjoying the finer things in life and being in touch with more meaningful and substantial existence such as this one. What struck me the most is the genuine smile that you see on the faces of these people and the happy vibes that you get from talking to them. No matter how unfavourable their condition may seem, they always portray that happiness and contentment that you seldom see in big cities amongst well-developed countries, far away from the pretentious crowd of the wannabe rich and famous in Jumeirah and The Palm Island with their Hermes bags and designer clothes parading along The Walk in Jumeirah!

These people seem to know better and they are more accepting than most of the wealthy people in the world. They seem to have that wisdom that no matter what it is, they know for a fact that everything is perfectly orchestrated for all of us to get the best in life regardless of where you are and what your situation may be! This very walk does not only keep me grounded but also fills me up with alot of positive energy! Every step makes me count my endless blessings and thanking the Almighty for the beautiful life He has bestowed upon me not only for that day but also through my life’s journey in general hence I call it ‘My Gratitude Walk!

by: Princess L

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