Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dubai Metro Memories 2: Getting lost on a foggy day


When I boarded the bus that day at seven in the morning to go for work, little did I think that it would become an adventure.
The weather was slightly foggy and I attributed it to being early November, the winter having begun in Dubai.
It was my first week at work and the company transportation had not been allotted to me yet. I was on high alert and at every stop I would look at the driver of the bus, who had agreed to alert me when my destination came.
After the initial enthusiasm which lasted almost fifteen minutes, I became negligent and sat listening to the FM on my mobile till the driver shouted at me that it was my turn to get out of his vehicle.
I stepped out and stared around stupefied. All around me was dense fog. I couldn’t see a thing!! It was like I had landed on a cloud. Being the romantic that I was, I enjoyed my first tryst with fog. I was inside a white cloud and any moment an angel would arrive to take me to heaven.
After the initial euphoria, I started to sweat when the reality descended on me. I was in a strange country, in a strange street and I had to reach my office in another fifteen minutes. Which direction my office was, or where I had stepped out, I had no idea. Usually I had the Rashidiya Police Station building which stood tall among the other smaller villas as my landmark. But because of the fog nothing was visible.  
What if a car came and kidnapped me?
What if I got lost and then my phone lost connectivity or got switched off ?
What if???
So many what ifs started making rounds in my brain and then my husband called. I made him equally worried and then he suggested I call Jithu. Jithu was CAD Draftsman in our main office and my friend who knew exactly where the site office was. He usually was armed with location maps.
If you asked directions of a place to him, he gifted you a Location map. I should tell you, armed with a computer and the co-ordinates of almost all places in Dubai, he showed off, literally.
I call him and he start to tell me about the landmarks that would lead me to the office. I tell him none of it is visible as it is dense fog around. Then he reminds me of the LOCATION MAP, he had given me the previous day. I take it out and it seems like Latin and Greek to me.
He asks me to calm down and look for the street signs and follow it. I gather the audacity to ask him where I can find them. He tells me kindly that they are found in junctions where two roads meet. Walking aimlessly, at last I find one.
To follow street signs on a normal day is a torture of the worst kind for me. Just imagine doing it on a foggy day, when you are like me, who has absolutely no direction sense.
(How I ended up being a Civil Engineer is a puzzle to many people around. Even I am puzzled at times!!!…)
The Location Map

After wandering like a nomad for almost half an hour and even asking to a small kid who absolutely had no idea where my office was, I see the entrance gate to my Site Office. I have tears in my eyes and I dramatically wipe them before entering it.
I sit down at my desk, call my husband first and then my savior Jithu to thank him. Then I go about telling all around about the adventure that I had. Fukayama Sir pitied me, Sohail, the Pakistani office boy shared his own ordeal and then we all sat down to begin yet another normal work day.

 


Jithu in front of his Computer and it is Sohail, in the background


Thank You Jithu...This post is dedicated to you......:D

14 comments:

  1. Sad that our cities get Foggy, it's actually Smoggy- Smoke+Fog- the effects of Pollution...
    Very nice post, Preethi! Loved it :)

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    Replies
    1. It is more of a climate thing in Dubai I think...During winter months it occurs usually. I don't really know whether it is smog or just fog.

      Thank you for the comment Anita.

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  2. That was intense fog. Glad you are safe.

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    1. Yes..Indrani...Intense...but it goes off very soon... by the time the sun is up and intense, it just vanishes...

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  3. Thank God! You reached office, finally!

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  4. I am exactly like you, location maps are Greek and Latin to me as well. I am glad you found your office in the end.

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    1. Welcome to the Royal club of Location-Map-Haters...:)

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  5. Dear Preethi, Like you NRI s we NRK s (My own term for Non Resident Keralites) have similar stories to share..Just like you , in my initial years in Delhi , the first summer, the first winter and of course, the first fog was so special in the fact that it was a real testing time for the special senses..for, out of five nearly four of them failed miserably and with what left behind what I could feel was I am engulfed by a thick milky white cloud .. I had just stepped out from Krishnettan's home moments before and it was around 11.30 p.m. I was on my Hero Honda bike and was thrilled with the chill of my first winter and accelerator was in tune with my mood...within seconds I could see that things are fading away and the beam of my bike's headlamp is struggling with something obscure and it became a blunt sphere of light infront of me..Believe me, I was not able to see the road just beneath my feet. The fork of the bike holding the front tyre was seen like dipping into nowhere. I was forced to stop then and there as I was not sure of what lie ahead. I kept all the lights on and indicators flashing . (Red light travels farther, I thought, so that a speeding vehicle from behind will be able to avoid hitting me ) I just had to cover hardly 2 more kms to reach my room, but it is impossible to move even 2meters !! As the experience was totally new I could enjoy the first few minutes, then gradually it gave way to fear ..The only thing which can kill fog is heat of sun which is almost at least 7 hours apart. If I call someone he won't be able to step out and reach me, neither can I reach them...further as my engine is idling it is adding to the invisibility of the fog and smog is building up all around me,the smell of burnt petrol is increasing to choking levels..I was not sure what to do...fortunately, a bit later there came a big truck with powerful fog lights and as it moved ahead , I started to follow it , both of us advancing slowly inch by inch . In 10-15 minutes I could identify some landmarks near my room approaching. This experience once again reminded me of the meagreness of being Human !!

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    1. Yeah..Such situations are usually cathartic... For me it was...

      Thank You for sharing your experience.

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  6. And in almost all similar situations there comes a saviour, in the form of a Jithu or a truck driver !!

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    1. Yes...There will come a savior...For me it was Jithu n the map..

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  7. But nowadays, Winters in Dubai are not this foggy , I guess.....But we've had rains in December and January :)

    That was actually one kind of an experience..... good that the saviour was readily available :)

    ReplyDelete

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