spent the afternoon wandering aimlessly in festival city waiting for sam to meet me for some ikea shopping. (ikea has to be simultaneously the most exciting and the most dull, drug-inducing place of routine, but more on that some other time)
i did some people watching~
a beautifully serene arab woman with decadent kohl-lined eyes and endless lashes, wheeling herself around in a wheelchair, stopping occasionally to fix her abaya which kept slipping off her head~
a bored gum-chewing, hoodie-wearing filipino girl-at a stall selling chinese masks-perched on a stool, clacking her gum, jerking her foot around so it kept clanging on the foot rest~
a redolent red & obscurely black interior of a french tea shop called hediard. Seeming a sin to sip ordinary tea in an ordinary life, it almost begged romantic assignations & dashing, cigar-smoking lebanese hatching plots & coups.
2 snappy young french women-one in black stockings which made her shapely legs look impossibly long, and one with a blossoming bosom & generoud crimson pout-walking briskly, posture at attention, enunciating perfectly in guttural french . miniscule designer bags talking of wispy lingerie, held carelessly, hair gleaming & swinging, heels clicking, leaving a waft of strong perfume in their wake.
the filipino girl is now swinging her legs freely in the air, jauntily almost. now she stops. takes down her bun and ties it up again.
a pretty man in tight black leather & shiny pointy european shoes, dark black spectacles- tousled hair is his only claim to being blase-hands in his pocket, glancing dismissively at the shops as he walks away – i imagine he walks away to complete his 3,000 words intellectual piece on how freud destroyed human behaviour or some such.
the filipino girl has a customer! oh no, he’s walking away. she takes this opportunity to move around her stall, bends down to peer at some statuettes, straightens up and looks around with a nonchalance which displays her inner distress.
the phone rings~ mine, not the filipino girl’s. sam is on his way. onwards to ikea-a curiously enraging place.
(more on that later)
in our 20s, we crave space constantly. our need for this intangible air governs our actions. we need space from family, from the world and sometimes we need space for ourselves-to disappear into. we think that this one thing will satisfy our search for freedom & individuality. we feel in this space we will become the people we are meant to be; by defying rules, by analysing every thought, by dreaming our castles in the air.
the 20s seem limitless. the possibilities seem endless. we fight. we love. we believe. we cry. we survive. all within our “space”
suddenly its time for the 30s and a new era begins. as much as we wanted empty space to fill with our own ideas, we now start craving space which is full-which is brimming with our fruit of the 20s, our loves, our fulfilled dreams, our connections, our family. we despair emptiness & we despise loneliness.
in the 30s, when we finally own the keys to our very own place, the only desire we have is for people to come fill that space.
as we move into apartment 802, it brings with itself a multitude of possiblities; waking up knowing soon i will make tea for your mom who is in the next room-waiting desperately for my family to stay so i can show them every inch of every room, knowing my sisters will love the coffee shop right below, scanning the supermarket aisles finding things which my dad will buy on his morning walks, yearning to recreate that special circle of friends just so we can entertain them in our space, in our home.
as i have learnt, space is a funny thing. i have it now and i just cant wait to fill it.
It is now day 3 of apartment hunting and one thing is clear. All that glitters is definitely not gold.
Bedazzled by the promise of an uber-chic lifestyle in the dubai marina, we trekked across town to meet our very own slick agent ‘Angelo’. A proud South African complete with an Egyptian granny, a Pakistani roomie, and an attitude smoother than butter, he took us around to the desolate apartment blocks in the marina. The apartments were boxy, the lighting fluorescent, and the smell pickled. As far as the eye could see, there were yellow construction cranes lifting, dropping, lifting, dropping.
We were forced to accept defeat and returned with heavy hearts.
Next stop was downtown. Centrally located, right off sheikh zayed road, around the Burj, I was meeting ‘Tariq’ a son of the soil with his neatly pressed suit and marked forehead. As I entered the building I couldn’t help but wonder how long would I retain my optimism?
I looked up-yellow pendant lights. I looked down-subtle marble with contemporary rugs & polished wood settees. I looked around-aesthetic typography. The building was a dream until I realized there was no supermarket within walking distance and I would need a cab just to grab a bar of soap.
There is one more potential disappointment for today-updates later.
A sense of disconnect. A disbelief. A feeling of liberation.
It’s all so simple. So very presumptious.
You step out and you start walking. Left foot right foot.
The air is not fresh but its air that hits your face and makes your hair move.
You look around and you see familiar faces. Very familiar.
But they are different. They laugh. They stroll casually or walk briskly.
A child skips away from her mother. The mother smiles and leans back.
Behind her the traffic moves just like what you know.
2 friends laden with grocery bags suddenly stop and light up.
There are those who look like they just finished a hard day of labour,
But they look light and carefree. They enjoy their jokes.
You keep walking. Looking around carefully.
Traffic here, congestion there, huge mall here, tree lined avenue there.
You love the sensation that is freedom. It’s around you.
You envy them this. Especially since you see that it’s all so easy.
You wonder. Why don’t we have this?