National day

I have one more reason to love the UAE. It is as old as me :).
From loving its national anthem Ishy Bilady (which I first heard from my children in their early days at school here - where the national anthems of India and the UAE are sung at the school Assembly) to its multi-culturalism, the stylish draping of headscarves that accentuate the beauty of Arab women to the flowery sleeveless tops they wore over long-sleeved blouses (which I am tempted to emulate), the UAE has grown in me. As I read in nostalgic reports by resident and ex-scribes, you may leave the country one day but the country will never leave you.

This year's National Day celebrations seemed more lively than last year's  - or maybe my memory is short... Anyway, we witnessed three days of massive discounts in the malls, fireworks and other events to mark the weekend at various public spots. We briefly witnessed the singing and procession at the Sharjah Maritime Museum. The colours of the flag lit up the architectural marvel that the sharjah aquarium is  - shaped like a dhow and housing many marine species inside. The adjacent maritime museum pays tribute to the UAE's history before the oil boom - when fishing and pearl diving sustained its people. The dhows were part of it, and then came the dhows carrying men hoping to strike a fortune in the land of black gold. They built a gleaming city of skyscrapers and world-class roads, one that we come to ogle at or work in. Tax-free salaries, hartal-free workdays, and world-class facilities make life in the emirates a joyful experience. And so near home! Just four hours away by flight, it seem easier than going from Chennai to Chengannur. It gives you the best of the homeland - Indian restaurants, Indian supermarkets, schools, salons etc. - minus its discomforts. It caters to each of its large expatriate community - there are schools following the US, UK, Australian, French, Pakistani syllabuses and there are clubs for each nationality.
And such a relief to be away from the demons that the demonitisation drive has unleashed in India.

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