Lady in Black
An instance which happened when I was 6 years old. On an October weekend my parents set out with me and my sister to the Gold souk (Arabic market), with our usual circle of family friends. Almost all the expatriate Indians in Dubai those days had a common place to hang out. It was the gold souk; No matter how many countless times they have visited this place for years, they never got bored of it. They kept coming back week after week to check out the new designs in the jewelry stores. For our parents, buying gold was like buying groceries. On one of those window-shopping occasions, my mom as usual was super excited about the dazzling gold hung in the shop display windows.
My friends and I played on the escalators and the fountain outside. Playing on the escalator was one of our fun sports. For us trying to go up on an escalator that was meant to go down was more entertaining. Then we shifted to an upgraded game of playing on the fountain wall. The game was to balance yourself on the thin fountain wall and in walk full circle around it, without falling into the water or on the pavement. I believed it was risky and only the brave could do it.
By the time all the gold discussions were over and when it was time to leave my mom realized that I was missing. They hysterically started searching for me. My sister and best friends wept their tears out over the distressed situation of me being lost. I am still not quite sure why they cried; was it because of their tremendous love for me or simply because they were scared of being blamed for my loss. However, after a lot of howling and crying, they found me walking the souq with an Emirati Lady - clinging to her hand. I still have no clue how I got into her hands. Was she a good lady who wanted to just console a child in distress by helping her find parents? Or was she a mean lady who kidnapped kids? Either ways, the lady told my mom that she found me standing alone glaring at the glittering gold shop. (Guess I too had a secret flair for gold somewhere hidden inside me, like all mallus).
According to my mom’s tearful story, I wasn’t even crying. I am sure she was upset about it but at the same time glad that I wasn’t treated badly or tortured. However over the years my mom managed to add enough colour & spices to her tearful story, which she knew she would narrate it for the rest of her life. Well… my mom really did justice to the story and she still keeps it alive even after 20 years and I see a potential of it running house full for another 20 plus years.
At least now you know why mallus are crazy about gold.... every piece of gold they own has a story to it!!!
Glittering gold blinded her eyes
Glittering gold blinded my eyes
My mother’s sob for her lost lamb
I cried for my lost home
Lady in black
Holds my hand
Walks me home
To my safe haven - My mother.