I always carry a book on me, even while I'm in Karachi. You never know when you'll need to kill the time and I'd rather read than play Candy Crush, thank you very much! I was carrying the novel, Thud! with me but when hubby dear stepped into the book stall in the departure lounge, I couldn't help wandering over too. Maybe it was nostalgia or the resolve to do new things on this trip that made me buy a copy of the 'Suspense Digest' May issue.
Hubby dear raised inquisitive eyebrows when he saw my buy but I shrugged nonchalantly, said this is all part of the plan, sat back on the uncomfortable waiting area seat and started reading the first story. The thing that has always attracted me to Urdu digests is the artwork. As a child I used to make stories based on the ink drawings which were usually on the title page of the story. My grandmother was an avid reader of these digests and at any given point in time there were quite a few digest copies in her room. It's a fun exercise actually and some drawings are really done well. This copy of the digest has not excited me very much as far as the artwork or the stories are concerned (yes I've read a few of them and that too after coming back!).
What was exciting, as I tried to maneuver my hand luggage, enormous handbag and myself through the narrow aisle without brushing against other passengers, was the holiday itself. And more importantly, the quest! We were surrounded on almost all sides by men who seemed to be going to the Middle East for work. What caught my attention was the phone conversation the fellow sitting behind me was having. Although we humans strive to be different, we are all so similar in so many ways. No matter what social strata we belong to, we all ask/say similar things when travelling abroad for work, leisure or study: pray for me, the blessings of mothers are the best, don't cry that I'm leaving, etc. All those workers on the plane with us had left behind their wives, children, parents, friends, the comforts of home. They were going away so that their loved ones could lead a comfortable life while they lived and worked in average and in some cases, below average conditions. And I kept thinking, why are we letting these people go away? Why can't our country provide livelihood for its people? Why don't we value our labour? What is wrong with us?
On a lighter note, it was amusing to see all these people being served by a foreign and 'gora' (for want of a better word) crew!
The flight to Dubai takes approximately two hours which is almost the same as Karachi to Islamabad. However, the world turns 180 degrees once you land in Dubai. From the moment you step into the Dubai airport, it seems as if you've entered 'la-la land'. Everything is spotlessly perfect. The perfection continues as you walk out of the airport, into the car and on the road. Perfect roads with perfect sidewalks and perfect cars in perfect lanes perfectly following all rules and regulations to reach their perfect (or in some cases not so perfect) destinations. And the latter is what I'm meaning to discover in my (perfect?) trip.
Read in Travel and Destinations part III: Why our first taxi ride was almost free, my first buy just hours after landing and how the Dubai Mall aquarium has the answer to all problems that plague mankind.