Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eye Opener to the kindness of strangers

We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life , particularly here in Dubai . We rush around, trying to sort out our own problems and its generally a "me, me , me " existence. Well yesterday, one of the guys who works in our admin came to me and told me I had a puncture just as I was preparing to leave and start my weekend .

The next 5 ( count 'em , 5 ) hours were a nice lesson in patience and empathy for me ! It seems that the spare wheel on my car is more than just a little complicated to access. Changing the tyre on the car is the kind of thing I don't practise - and I will put my hands up and admit it - I simply don't want to / cant do it !After one hour where my boss and several of or security staff and cleaners had their heads stuck under the rear of my car , I finally called 24 hour assistance - and they headed home - genuinely deflated ( pardon the pun ) that they couldn't fix my problem !

And so I sat , in my school's car park - for about 2 hours , watching the comings and goings of the neighbourhood. In that time , I was brought countless cups of coffee by our stellar security guard with whom I have never had much more than a passing "hello" relationship. Turns out that this guy , who hails from Madras in India , has a B.A. in English Literature, a penchant for country and western music , and gets up in the morning at 3.30 ( yes, you read that correctly ) to prepare for his 12 hour working day.His is such a wasted mind in this country , and it has everything to do with his passport! He was telling me that of his 1000 dh pay cheque , 700 dh wings its way home to support his parents, wife and to pay for his sisters M.A. This is the same guy I whinge to when I arrive after my battle with traffic each morning . I get up at 5 and am at work by 6.15. He gets up at 3.30 and is at work by 6.15 thanks to a bus that wanders everywhere. This intelligent and grateful man lives in a room with 8 other men and has taken to sending all his valuable possessions back to India after he got tired of them being pilfered in his own accommodation . Incidentally, I have never once heard him complain - on the contrary , his disposition is positively cheery !

At long last , to the back drop of the iftar call to prayer , my knights in shining armour came and speedily sorted out my spare wheel . I happily set off , thinking my "hardship" was over. I drove for long enough to get onto the main highway , when I smelled burning rubber - yes, my spare tyre has burst . Discovering I had no call credit and very little battery on my phone- I decided to stay put and hope for another knight in shining armour. I didn't have to wait long - two young local guys skidded to a halt and reversed back up the highway ( I couldn't bare to watch ). They immediately set about jacking up my car again and tried to remove the spare wheel - making their dish dasha's filthy - before I finally got it across to them that I needed to get to a tyre shop. I made the necessary calls and they went on their merry way .

Next helpful passer by was a South African man , who was gung ho and ready to work - pulling up his sleeves as he hopped out of the jeep - I again explained the situation and he too went on his way.

By the time the recovery vehicle arrive ( take 2 ) I was jetted off to a repair shop in Rashidya , where I opted to have a new tyre. The tyre shop was small, grotty and had no AC , the Pakistani repair guys were so helpful and efficient.The recovery guy kindly drove around the area trying to find a bank machine that didn't reject at least one of my cards ( a big thank you to citibank for not telling me they had cancelled my account due to the security breach ! ) Finally , 5 hours later , I was on my way home , got lost twice , was harassed in the lifts by an over zealous Egyptian and fell in the door where I found a clean apartment and a cooked dinner waiting for me .

I really need to stop whinging ... life could be a lot worse and when I put my head down on the pillow last night , I felt more than just a little embarrassed about my excessive whining about petty things that bug me here.


Anonymous said...

Great story, hope you can change a tyre now if you need to

Anonymous said...

Yes, nice story. I think I'd have shut my eyes too on the reversing back down the road...But always nice to see that Dubai has a heart.