We met for the first time tonight and there was instant bonding, like we’ve known each other for so many years. The way we first smiled at each other, asked about family, job, and the weather. We exchanged stories over shawarma and kabab at a Lebanese restaurant. We had a great time! He is Masood’s Pakistani cousin, who lives in Houston, so we didn’t get the chance to meet him in Karachi. He, with his wife and four-year-old son, had a two-day stay in Dubai on their way back to Houston from their Umrah trip. They’re a wonderful family, mashaAllah, and it amazes me on how easily we all got comfortable with each other in such a short time. I ate a lot. I’m like that when I’m super happy.
My precious D40 is still resting comfortably in its soft, velvet case. Ever since we brought it home a few days ago, we have been having dust storms. The UAE was covered in a blanket of very fine dust coming in from Iraq, experts claimed. I would never bring my D40 out at any cost; I didn’t even dare take my point-and-shoot out.
There are different opinions on why we were having these dust storms, which started last Friday and has somewhat cleared out today. One of the reasons is that the military operations in Iraq are changing the surface terrain there. Six years of troop and vehicle movements had ground soil into fine grains, sending powder billowing skywards. Another expert claims that Turkish dams have reduced the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to trickles and efforts to revive the Mesopotamian marshes appear to have been abandoned, causing vast swathes of land to dry up, reducing them to dustbowls.
Then there are these two Emirati men who love a household full of children: Salem Juma’a, in his late 70s, father-of-52 (who also says he will probably stop there) and 60-year-old Daad Abdulrahman has 86 and says he is aiming for 100. “It’s from God,” says Mr Juma’a. “God gave me this. I can’t object to God’s gift. God gave me because I deserved it. If I did not deserve, God would not give.”
Mr Abdulrahman will marry again after Ramadan, to a woman from Sudan 40 years his junior, and hopes for a further four children a year until he reaches his goal of 100. His youngest child is just 10 months old and two babies are due next month. The secret to virility is healthy food, says Mr Abdulrahman. “I have 40 sheep and goats. Every week I slaughter one. I always eat at home.” But will he stop when he reaches 100? “If I have 100 rupees and I walk in the street and I find one rupee, I will take it in spite of being rich.”
Images from Google