By Enid Parker
As winter in the UAE picks up steam (what irony!), I think of paper boats and simpler times.
Last week, as I contemplated a heavily-flooded road from my balcony and wondered how I would make it to the metro station in order to get to work, memories of a similar scene from decades ago popped up — and made me smile.
One of my earliest recollections of a heavy downpour and consequent flooding dates back to the early eighties, when Dubai was hit by a winter deluge that was as delightful to us kids as it may have been exasperating to adults.
It was a time when I didn’t have to worry about work, paying bills or meeting deadlines, when my only major concerns were homework, chatting and playing with friends, and making sure I didn’t miss my favourite cartoons on Dubai’s Channel 33.
It was also a time when I was an expert at making paper boats.
I remember floating a few behind my building in Karama, on a gigantic pool that seemed to stretch out for miles, with the World Trade Centre standing majestically at its edge, like a palace in a modern fairytale. Fishing through an old-photo album of my dad’s, I’m glad that this rather wonderful moment was caught on camera.
Another lasting memory of an old winter is collecting hailstones in a bucket while my brother and I hung around the balcony, wondering what could be more wonderful than ice falling from the sky.
School-time in the rain was always fun. Heavy rains would inevitably flood the football field; getting from one block to another was a happy excursion; we would always find an excuse to leave class and take the scenic route back. Most teachers turned a blind eye to this merriment, luckily for us.
As I drifted back into the present and continued to contemplate the flooded road beneath my balcony, I noticed a man standing in the water and taking selfies. A child attempted to ride a cycle nearby. There was a clearing in the clouds. Light shone through and suddenly I wasn’t in such a hurry to do anything anymore.
I began to look forward to the day, wishing I could still remember how to make a paper boat.
Enid frequents second-hand bookshops, loves chai and wishes she could revisit the eighties