Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grandma’s Little Tin Can

It ain’t a super car, it was not even a proper car, but it was everything that I wanted, it was small, it was sweet and it was the closest to my heart. There are things in life which you don’t realize the value off and then, there are some which become so close to your heart the moment you know who it’s from. This car became so special to me; it was my grandmothers.

Back in the days, I was quiet, a loner. I was one of those children where, if you put me in a room and gave me some crayons and a pencils, you wouldn't hear from me for nine straight hours. And I was always drawing racing cars and rockets and spaceships and planes, things that were very fast that would take me away. I loved cars and aircrafts and I always drew and drew till I satisfied myself that this was the best I could draw. I was a lonely kid but I loved everything what I did.

My grandmother was a legend in her own ways; she lived in ways I couldn’t even imagine. With a lovely bungalow in the centre of the city, which spread across acres of land, she lived like a queen. Even though much of my life, I wasn’t so connected to my grandmother, the last few years I became very emotionally attached to her. I don’t know how I got there, but it was very special and that is all I know. A grandparent’s love is something very unique and I don’t think no one can explain it better than little children on their grandparent’s lap listening to old stories and receiving all the love and affection from them.

“It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace. When a man's mother holds his child in her gladden arms he is aware of the roundness of life's cycle; of the mystic harmony of life's ways. “ My grandmother was one great cook and nothing can beat the ways she does the duck and the pork curries. And till now no can beat the tastes and the aroma, which comes, out of her kitchen. She lived a good life and in her final years she wanted to see the world, travel far and see the lands beyond her means.  She got herself a car, a sweet little ride; the Maruthi Suzuki 800.

In 2008 after many months of pleading that flying was safe, she finally agreed to come over to meet us in the U.A.E. And once she was here, we had the time of our lives. For once we knew how fun it was to have a grandparent travel on a flight for the first time, make her sit on a SUV and drive across town at 120mph. Take her up on a giant wheel and bring her down on a desert safari. It was so much fun. She loved each and everything and it was so sweet to see her amidst the love and warmth of the family.

Four years on, grandma got sick with illness and slowly her health deteriorated day by day and finally after a prolonged illness she passed away in June 2012. I still remember the day my dad called me up to tell me grandma was no more. I sat there by the window and cried, being far away from home working in a different country, I couldn’t even go to her funeral.  For someone who was a loner like me, I know what it is like to be brought up with unconditional love from someone who was so fond of you. In my life happiness came in different ways, but some of the best were from my grandmother.  She gave me the littlest of things, but the joy they summed  up to was much more greater than the glory of all good things I've received from everyone else.  She loved me so much and she left back something very special for me, it was her car, her sweet little tin can of joy.

I was never fond of the Maruthi 800, it’s a very small, cranky little car with no space nor power. It was a thorough tin can inside out and came with inferior plastic all over it. Any young teenager would never want to drive a car like that. In Chennai it was the time of the Audi’s and the BMW’s, with every street turn, there was a German or an American car streaking the city streets and all I had was this sweet little white tin can parked in front of the house.

I was planning to come home for a week's vacation and I was thinking of visiting friends, meet relatives and spend some quality time with family. When I landed home, I asked dad whether I could take the big SUV, but he denied and said, you can only take grandma’s car and nothing else. I was dejected; I scorned that car. I thought what would people think if I drive this car. Being abroad for so many years, I had enough money to buy splashy cars and here I have to juggle up with this tin can; I so hated the look of it.

But still, I took that old key and pushed it inside the old starter lock opening the door to a dusty little object they called a car. I really don’t know what happened after I sat inside the car. I looked around and it gave a ghostly look with clean leather seats, primitive dashboard and no music player, but just a small AC outlet and a clean round wheel to it and no power steering. I slowly started driving and found that it was no easy job to drive this car around town.

I drove for an hour and I cannot explain how the whole idea of how much I despised this car all changed within a matter of an hour. I was zooming in and out traffic, speeding like a rocket out on the roads. The car was like a mini rocket, that 800 cc squeezed out enough power to ram out of the traffic light even before the next Audi could even shift his gear. Whoa, I was so excited to be in the car that I now had a whole degree of excitement that I was driving what looked like a Maruthi, but deep within it had a the flair of a Ferrari. I looked at the fuel tank needle and even after all that driving up and down the city, it stuck to where I saw it in the morning. I was truly impressed looking at this car, I was singing, laughing, making faces at people passing by, I didn’t really realize what was happening to me and it slowly sunk in that I was driving my grandmothers car. I could slowly feel her love and happiness while I sat there in it. It was as if she was holding me tight and saying how much she loves to make me happy, and the least she could do was to give me something she so treasured; her little sweet car.
I now drive the car with so much happiness and pride. Not even a BMW or an Audi can make my head turn an inch. Sometimes its not about what you have, its really about what it means to you. I know a lot of us love to own things, which we have always dreamt about; but a lot of it goes to love and hearts of people who make it happen for us. My Grandmother never really enjoyed long drives with me, nor did she ever go with me on the driving seat; as much as I loved to take her out, God had other plans. But today as I sit in this little car of hers I could feel her love, I could feel her happiness and most of all I see her with me by my side.

May be she is one with God, but I know somewhere out there, she watches me crisscrossing the city streets in this little tin can of hers and that her loving warm hands are wrapping me with all the love I need.  In her life, she in her own subtle ways as shown me life can be simple and yet happy. You don’t need the mighty riches of the world to make you happy; all you need is a simple little things which can make you beatific and content within your heart. And with that simple joy at heart, I drive her car with pride and belonging knowing that this might not be the best of cars, not the fastest, stylish or splashiest of its kind; but it was still; hers and hers alone and it'll always be mine at heart.

It ain’t a super car, it was not even a proper car, but it was everything that I wanted, it was small, it was sweet and it was the closest to my heart. There are things in life which you don’t realize the value off and then, there are some which become so close to your heart the moment you know who it’s from. This car became so special to me; it was my grandmothers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In The Heart of Nepal

“We found peace in travel; love in walking around mountains. There while reaching the mountaintop and to look down and see the earth below, I saw the secret of contentment. True happiness is only ever possible if you have been unhappy. And there, at that moment, I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt so peaceful. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to take in any more happiness."

I was mere 5 years old when my parents told me that they were going to take me on the flight for the first time and when I asked them where I remember they said a weird name; the name was Kathmandu. They said it was a very beautiful country and that it has a lot of temples and also has the tallest mountain in the whole wide world. I was pretty excited to know I’m going to be on a flight for the first time.

It’s been 26 years since that first flight and here I am waiting with Nithya to show her what I saw back then as a little child out of the big window of that little A319 Indian Airlines in 1988. Nepal still excited me so much just as it did back then. May be because its special since it was my first. And to have landed in that little city holding my mothers hands and to have taken a picture in front of the plane with the magnificent Himalayas at the backdrop, it was indeed very special for me.

We landed in Kathmandu on a cloudy monsoon morning and I true excitement was rushing in my veins with nostalgia filled with every breath. The airport hasn’t changed at all and the I tried to recall as much as I remembered from back then. After picking up our luggage we spotted our hotel driver and headed to our lovely hotel that was pliantly tucked in the Thamel area within the heart of Kathmandu’s shopping districts. After finishing a great breakfast of toast, omelets and fruits we had a deep nap trying to charge ourselves from the long journey and were up again in a few hours to get ready to rule the evening on the streets of Kathmandu.

That evening we wandered around the famous Darbar square astonished by the old architecture and sat there watching the locals do their daily chores. That evening we tasted our first authentic momos, which turned out to be splendid on the streets. Well talking about street food, there’s just one thing I like to tell you all “If you’ve not been there and If you’ve not tasted it, you just don’t have it”. And for real the moment we had those momos their tastes brought even the trendiest of food shops to its knees. The taste, the flavor and the place just adds to the glory of what street food is all about. So when your there, be there and go for it.

We finished our little shopping and the next day we were off to Bhaktapur where we fell to the glory of the red brick district where everything is red and make with red bricks including the roads. We ate the famous Jhu-Jhu which is a yogurt cuddled with honey and very special to this place and got nowhere else. After having a spending evening wandering around Bhakhtapur and its beautiful backdrops, we rushed back to Kathmandu to take our next day bus to Chitwan National Park.

The ride to Chitwan wasn’t easy for a human, with a back breaking 7 hours rolling and winding over the hills we reached Chitwan in a little tin can bus which can only hold 10, but around 15 were cramped into it until it could hold no more. The poor tin broke its wheels and while it was being fixed, we took a stroll enjoying the few moments of freedom our backs could garner. Finally when we did reach Chitwan it looked no less than a sleepy laid back green town with a few white tourist hopelessly searching for drinking water bottles in the street shops.

We checked in to our not so cozy hotel where they just had a fan and two beds facing to an never ending view of green valleys dotted with a million trees overlooking the mountain in the valley end. The monsoon clouds were looming from the corner ready to drench the town to its knees and we made sure everything was ready for us to tackle the upcoming rains. The evening slowly drained down and we soon found ourselves in a pitch-black hotel with no power for the rest of the 3 hours. Folks from the village were roaming the towns with hand held torchlights for their needs. We took a positive look at the situation and went around for a stroll with torchlights of our own. With a the pitch-black backdrop and a forest right at our doorstep we took petite walks into the silent streets and when we reached the end of the road, I switched off the torches and looked up to see what I would call the most beautiful sky I have ever seen in this whole wide world.

To have stood there watching the dark sky with a zillion stars looking down upon you is a sight I have no words to explain. To live amongst the smallest of happiness, to seek elegance rather than luxury and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not expect richness and grandeur, to learn to listen to the birds and the stars. Top open your heart to the unknown, grow up through the common and to live life with the rhythm of the symphony is where all of our living earns its goodness. We both stood there holding hands and gazing the million stars with wonder and amaze. I saw seven shooting stars but never wished even for one. I just didn’t know what to wish for, I guess may be I was overcome with nature’s marvel such that I didn’t know that wishing was part of a shooting star gaze. I left it to be. I just stood there and loved the moment, may be that’s all what I wished for.

The next day, we ventured deeper into the forest on the elephants back and it was truly magical to be there amidst that beautiful forest of Chitwan. The forest was filled with sounds and smell of almost nature’s entire offering. After a 2 hours trek inside the wildlife park we finally made our way out into the village crossing our way through the river back into the village. That noon we packed our bags for the final trip to Pokhara the most beautiful city of Nepal. I was pretty excited to be there, because that’s where I was to meet Harka, my beloved friend; my heart was beating with so much excitement, I could hardly hold myself still.

At around 6pm we reached the heart of Pokhara city and finally on the other side of the road I saw my friend Harka standing waiting to welcome Nithya and myself into his beautiful city. We both hugged and warmly got together to talk about how much I looked forward to being here with him. In a while he took us to his house. A few years ago Harka worked in my office as an office clerk helping us with the post and the general clerical work. In 2012 he lost his job and he told me that he was going back to his hometown. I told him things will be well and that he’d be much better off being there with his family. I remember I held his hand and promised him that I will one day come to see his family with mine wherever in Nepal he was. I guess this was that time. In the next few minutes, we met Harka’s wife, daughter Sushma, brother Rajendar and his wife and son.

Harka requested me to stay the first day in his house because he felt it was great honor for him to have us as part of his family. But he always kept mentioning that his house was very small and that we shouldn’t feel bad that we were subjected t staying in such a small and congested space. In fact he lived in a very small house adjacent to a church. It was a one bedroom measuring 6x7 and a small wooden bed with few household were tucked neatly into that small room. At first he was hesitant to show me the room, asking me gently if I was okay to stay here, or if I needed something big. Sometimes the best of love comes from the poor, and in their hearts that I saw the depth of happiness and genuine love, which I haven’t seen in the richest of men. After a lot of thought, I told him that Nithya and me will sleep on the side of the church. Smiling along, he and his wife in a matter of half hour converted the church hall into a beautiful cozy bedroom filled barriers outlining the bed. For a few moments I refused to believe if this was the same church hall we saw a few minutes ago.

We settled down for the night sleeping cozy on a bed, which was right in the middle of church and giving thanks to God Almighty we cuddled to sleep in the safety of our guardian angels.

The next morning we woke up to the sweet smell of brewing coffee and bread toast, after a fun filled chat, we picked up ourselves to check in to a hotel which was a stone throw from the famous Phewa Tal lake which is one of the most prized spot in the whole of Pokhara. From the hotel we could spot the majestic Annapurna peaks covered in cloudy haze. That evening we strolled the lovely lakeside streets shopping and sinking in the beauty of the city and even went around having authentic Newari Thali the staple Nepali food that Nithya kept bragging about.  Early the next morning Harka brought a spare bike with which we zoomed across to a place called Sarangkot, it took an hour to get to the top, but once we reached the top, the view was worth it. It was like the heavens were opening to our views. We stood there gazing all of nature’s glory while the clouds and winds streamed across us like a mist of harmony.

That afternoon, Harka had arranged for a small lunch gathering at his house, and once we reached we found the ladies of the house were busy preparing food for all of us. With my favorite chicken curry, rice, potato fries and vegetable masala we had quite a filling lunch to be happy about. We gave our final goodbyes to the ladies that day since we were to fly the next morning. Harka held my hand and promised to be there at the airport the next day.

Early morning I woke up to the most amazing view the whole of Nepal could offer; a clear blue sky with the stunning views of the Annapurna peaks glazing through the windowsills. The last day seemed to be the best I’d say. We took a cab and hurried off to the airport and we met Harka and his brother at the airport. We hugged each other and I told him to soon start off with his tourism business where I wanted him to become a full fledged agent who can deal with tourists, their itineraries, travel and all kind of bookings. So that he can learn to pick himself up and earn a living.
There is so much potential for him to do better in Nepal and I asked him to work around ways to get himself successful in becoming an tourist agent soon.

Harka, 3rd from the right
Harka, right now is out of job and the only breadwinner for his family is his wife with a mere NPR5000, out of which 1000 goes as rent and the rest goes for his daughters education. Since English education costs more than NPR8000 (USD 80) per month, the hapless girl has been going to government school so far with no good education.  The family has been going through a lot of turmoil and getting a decent job has been really hard for Harka who really wants to support his family. I promised him that I would do something about it and make sure his situation changes. We hugged each other and bid farewell for all the love and happiness he shared with us for the last 3 days. He and brother both bid us with the Nepali shawl wrapped around our neck, which symbolizes a safe trip back home. We waved and bid our byes. Our plane awaited us.

Sushma, Harka's daughter
Harka is a true Nepali gentleman. I have seen his potential and I've sensed his willingness to help. May be if you going to Nepal for the first time, you can take his help. He will help you with everything you may need. His English is a little haywire but he can certainly understand and get things done for you. If you want to help his daughter with her schooling you can contact me and I can help you do something about it. Together as you read, we can change someone’s life for the better. Let's make Harka build his life better, spread the word, and for all your Nepal travel tips, you can get in touch with Harka at harkasnepal[at]gmail[dot]com or you can get in touch via his mobile : +977 981-9189792 He can speak little English,  good Hindi, Mizo Tawng and Nepali.

In Nepal, We found peace in travel; love in walking around mountains. There while reaching the mountaintop and to look down and see the earth below, I saw the secret of contentment. True happiness is only ever possible if you have been unhappy. And there, at that moment, I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt so peaceful. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to take in any more happiness.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Life as it should Bee!

The first time I saw her; one whack and I wanted to kill her right there, but something kept on telling me that I shouldn’t. I didn’t feel sorry for her, but somewhere I just felt that I was wrong. It’s just an insect damn it, said my mind. But still, I just let go of her, and off she flew with a little leaf bud tucked under her bright yellow belly. I bet she’s coming back!

It was a fine weekend morning; I was just woke up with the sun shining bright on my face and jiggled out of my cozy comforter to stand a while out on the gazing sun. The warmth was as if, it has just tossed a spoonful of butter on an oven-baked bread, it was melting and sinking in slowly. I turned to have a look at the flowers in my garden and slowly gazed down on my bright white jasmine flowers and was stunned to see many of the leaves missing.

I was stupefied to see that many leaves from my jasmine plant were either missing or cut in little circles; exact to the shape of a semi-circle. They looked really in bad shape and I was furious to know what really happened and who was behind it. I yelled to my wife and called her out and asked her if she knew anything about this. And she was as clueless as I was. I pulled out a chair and wanted to take a closer look at the state of my leaves. I was saddened by what I saw. My whole plant looked terribly deformed.

I pulled in a chair to have a close look at the leaves and why they had cuts of semi-circle on them and while I was seriously looking at it, I heard this little buzz and a small bee like insect just barged in between my two hands and sat on the most good looking leaf. And then before I could shoo it off, she slowly started to cut the leaf in a perfect semi circle; folded the leaf into her belly and before a wink of the eye; flew away.  I was truly thunderstruck when I saw this and my heart was beating furiously thinking, the next time I see this damn insect I am going to burn it alive or squash it with a fly swatter.

And then I saw around, to all the leaves in my plants, and many of them were torn or either deformed because of this stupid insect. The sun was getting bright, and I took my fly swatter and waited outside, expecting her to come back for another try and probably her last. I waited and waited, but she never came. I thought may be sometime later I will get a hold of her.

That evening while I was having coffee, I again heard that little buzz and there again I saw that little devil trying to steal a part of my beautiful garden. I took the fly swatter and patiently waited so that I could be in range of hitting her dead. The time did come, and while I was aiming for her, something just stopped me. I looked closer again on what was she doing, the way she folded that leaf and cuddled it into her belly was astonishing. Why would a bee cut the leaves like this and take them away? Where is she taking it and what is she doing with it? Perplexity took over me. I don’t even know what’s the name of this bee, how am I going to find it?

I took to my laptop and started typing the common symptom on what happened to my plant and bang, in the 3rd try I got the answer. She was none other than a leaf cutter bee, her biological name Megachile Rotundata. She belongs to a solitary bee species that are found almost in all of the continents. Weird enough, she doesn’t build or is part of any colony or neither does she store any honey. But apparently she is a very effective pollinator. I went on to read further and it said, females that are reproducing create nest in small holes that are composed of a string of individual cells. Each cell is made from circular disks cut from plant leaves using her mouth, hence the name ‘leaf-cutter’. While the bees actually do not store honey or pollen, they do store a few into each cell for the larva to feed on.

Now I was in a dilemma whether I really needed a leaf cutter bee around my garden or do I need nice looking plants with good-looking leaves on them. I feel we all get into a point of our lives when the good doesn’t come in a form we like it in. We either churn our teeth and accept or whole-heartedly remove them. And then there are those times, we neither want them, nor want to kill them. In the following weeks, I stood there many of the evening with the fly swatter trying to whack out the little one, but every time she was in aim, I would take my hand down thinking she’s doing what she has to do for her young. She’s so busy doing what nature has programmed her to do. She didn’t care where she was or what I was about to do to her, but every day, dawn till dusk, she hurriedly came in search of my garden, sat on each leaf, checked for the best one, sat on it; cut it to a perfect semi circle, tucked it into her little yellow belly and left to her nest where she will cuddle the little one into it filled with a drop of pollen and nectar.

“The search for nature’s truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur.” – Aristotle
And that was true; for I never knew there was an insect like this and I never knew she could cut leaves with so much precision and I would have never known that my plants needed her as much as I needed them. Leaf cutter bees are some of the best pollinators and they do no harm to the plants by cutting their leaves. May be the aesthetic beauty goes down a little, but in the end you have a beautiful flowering garden which becomes a pride for you and you alone.

I looked back at my stupid actions, but I feel nice to know that it wasn’t late after all. May be with life, the same things happen to us, we do not foresee, we do not look closer, or may be we don’t bother to know more on many issues which on the outside just look as mere rotten problems which don’t need any attention at all. But deep within lies a purpose, an enigma of details, which will make the difference in our lives. The problems may be big or miniscule but when we look closer; that’s we get that profound vision to know more on the unknown.  The next time you see anything, and if you feel it’s a problem, look closer, understand it better, for; things aren’t always what they seem.
As for her; she flew away, had kids and my garden looks a little clumsy with cut on leaves but it blooming and beautiful to look at. There are many bees, each doing precisely what they’re supposed to do. I sit beside them watching them zoom over, knowing that nature can never be questioned, but just understood; the same way our lives can never be understood, they can just be lived well.

“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.” We all know our lives will eventually end one day, but still we fight, struggle and survive and that journey is what makes it all worthwhile."

The first time I saw her; one whack and I wanted to kill her right there, but something kept on telling me that I shouldn’t. I didn’t feel sorry for her, but somewhere I just felt that I was wrong. It’s just an insect damn it, said my mind. But still, I just let go of her, and off she flew with a little leaf bud tucked under her bright yellow belly. I bet she’s coming back!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Out and about in Umm Al Quwain

Sitting down by the balcony with a coffee in hand, it seemed all so unusual to me to sit amidst towering concrete and bustling traffic and uncannily think that just an hour from here, there is a tiny city out there where life is just the way its supposed to be. With calm beaches and untouched mangroves, the beauty of flamingoes gracing in the distance, the thought of UAQ will always be bliss to ponder about even for the die-hard travel bug.

This graceful emirate just an hour away from Dubai was such a splendid adventure the moment we stepped into it. We drove via Shk Mohd Bin Zyed Road formerly called the Emirates road (E311) and after some 80 or so kilometers we reached this serene silent city of Umm Al Quwain. My first impression was that I never expected this city to be this quiet. The traffic, people and the infrastructure of the city was so different than what I would expect in Dubai or any other emirate, but I guess that is what UAQ is all about. It’s different and untouched; away from all the hustle and bustle of a regular city. If you’re here, the city takes care of you. You can let yourself free and wander around in the lovely beaches or take a drive around the old city. The city is all for yourself to engage and enjoy.

With little islands dotted all around its space, UAQ makes a great place for water-sport activities like snorkelling, diving, crab hunting, bird watching and much more. But in the recent days I found out that my most favorite sport of jet skiing was missing and that people who own a jet ski are the ones who usually make use of the clear blue waters for the sport. UAQ Marine club who usually rent out Jet Ski’s are no longer renting the skis anymore. But they do give out boats, canoes and other diving expeditions. The local people are very friendly and can help you with anything from routes to car fixing to boat rides. But just be cautious on who you approach into. Not everyone seems to be the same as the ones we saw.

A stay at the Flamingo Beach Resort would work out to be a great weekend getaway for couples and families, since their rates are good and they have a well packaged itinerary of stay, breakfast, dinner and crab hunting all set into a great deal which would be a great one for anybody who wants to get out the busy city life for a couple of days. Yes, here are the tips when you get out for the crab hunting. They are not going to give you individual lights and since all the lights are fixed to the boats, it will be really uncomfortable for you to run behind the crab and the boat at once, so if you do have a spotlight on your own, do take it along. And the resort gives out rented shoes for AED5/- please wear them, don’t use your own shoes as the mangrove mud is quite a nuisance to get away from, and once you miss your shoes, there is no guarantee you will find it in the rather muddy waters and it’s a 100% that you will regret your choice while the rest of the team is busy hunting crabs on the other side. So go ahead and rent that shoe or its even fine if you don’t wear one at all (Just pray no crab should bite ya!

I bought and wore my Crocs for the first and last time for the crab hunting and it was gone in that same day. What a loss!
And in a futile effort am trying to get back my Crocs slipper somehow and yes, if you ever happen to find one blue crocs slipper out there in the mangroves, do pick it up for me and let me know about it :D

Assuming you have a car, do take it for a spin around the city, King Faisal road runs all across the center of the city, right from E11 all the way to old town, so driving on it, you will pretty much cover the entire city in one go.  Here’s one interesting tip, if you living in UAE and heading back home, do visit the Emirates Discount Center for some really good discounted groceries, am sure their prices will stun you for sure. Also get around the city for some shisha and coffee, spend your evening wandering and just let yourself loose and get lost for a while, its all worth it.

While you’re at the old town, you will surely come across an old fort, which is the one, and only surviving fort in the center of the old city. The fort is an interesting place and a must see when your in UAQ. Just park your car inside the fort wall and for AED4/- you will have the pleasure of getting back in time by seeing all the artifacts showcased in there and also a very interesting way of knowing the Arab culture and how people lived in UAQ back then. There are also well-preserved living quarters and work places of the ruler of UAQ and this fort was established back in 1770’s and was pretty much the government building till the 1960’s. And while exiting, don’t forget to write a few words on the red guest book, just so you leave a few of your words of legacy behind.

There are also some interesting spots in UAQ, which are also worth visiting. The IMAR spa for women is a great place to head out if the ladies want to take a break of their own, while the boys spend time in boats and canoes. Both the Palma Beach Resort and the Pearl Beach Resort are some of the other famous resorts within the area, which offer a wonderful place to stay and can make your weekend stay a pleasurable one in UAQ.

Once you feel like you’ve had enough of the old city, pack your bags and head out back to E11 towards Ras Al Khaimah and in 30 minutes you will hitting Dreamland Aqua Park, which is one the most sought after water parks in UAQ. You can pretty much spend a whole evening out there, the rides are pretty decent and family can have a great deal of fun if everyone is around the pool. Well, if you’re not that water park kind of person, then just take a reverse and head out to the famous Barracuda Beach Resort for some research on intoxication. Here’s where the whole of UAE heads for duty free liquor. And the moment I stepped into the booze shop, I was astonished by the ambience of the shop. I wouldn’t in a 1000 dreams thought of a place like this in the middle of UAQ desert serving more than 100 brands of liquor from all corners of the world.

You really need to be there to believe it. And the best part is, its got no cap on how much per person can buy; you got the cash, have your bash, that’s all am saying! And here’s the tip: Occasionally you might find yourself heading straight into a cop car on the way, incase you guys are travelling as a family, they usually don’t mind checking the car, but if your driving as bachelors; cross your fingers; you’re screwed.

Speeding back on the E311 towards Dubai, we were home within the next hour and sitting down by the balcony with a coffee in hand, it seemed all so unusual to me to sit amidst towering concrete and bustling traffic and uncannily think that just an hour from here, there is a tiny city out there where life is just the way its supposed to be. With calm beaches and untouched mangroves, the beauty of flamingoes gracing in the distance, the thought of UAQ will always be bliss to ponder about even for the die-hard travel bug.

Photo Credits : Google and many more people's amazing work. I don't own the rights for the images appearing on this post.