Monday, 23 June 2008

The Latest Floods

This is important to be talked about. Rather, very important. If I write this with all my literary capacities as an article I would fail, because along with my naiveness it is too complex an issue ladened with miseries, so very difficult to contain when writing. Since only the floods are bad and rains are not, I think a poem will allow the thoughts to bind together better. And I hope I will find a street band to play this as a song one day. Here, I go -

What a shame!
The north of country got flooded again.
Something same happened in the east,
Where waters flowed like beast.

Who is to blame?
The people put it onto rain.
Living outside the country I realize,
How as people we fail, as humans we rise.

Why every year I read again?
Same newspapers, same story, same game.
Same beautiful pictures cleverly,
blended with misery,
doesn’t matters who suffers,
as long as it has the allure,
and some striking colours.

So, how much is the loss, and how much is the claim?
maybe some hundred lives or maximum a gold chain.
Ask me how I counted this figure,
I had met a construction worker.
Who like me was flood struck,
I was turning back but he had to go to work,
I was only some hours away but he was ages,
He told me he looses his few next daily wages.
Yes, but I could not ask or measure,
Life of some kids, who I came to know,
were siphoned through the gutter.

So, who plays this game?
Some officials rolling dices who clearly are so lame.
That rather than building some dams,
or making some good plans,
will buy some boats,
or will pull up registers to count dead goats,
dodging democracy,
even bureaucracy,
so we all can continue this hypocrisy.

So who else shares this responsibility same,
in a country where gods live we proclaim.
Where inevitable is imminent but we shall survive,
even when till the ears the waters rise.
Resilience of people, known the bestest in the world than anyone,
Calmly we wait for the next year to come.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Drive to the Oasis

Shamelessly small to be called a country, UAE infact is made of seven even smaller countries – also called Emirates. One of the least populated of these is Fujairah. Separated from the rest of UAE by the north of a mountain range ‘Al Hajjar’ (Arabic for ‘The Stone’) Fujairah is slightly different from other Emirates. When Dubai is burning 45 degrees (Celsius) hot, it is 40 here. Still it is the same desert that comes to mind offhand, only abundant with rocky outcrops forming its mountains and valleys, and on the east dropping into a beautiful blue ocean called 'Gulf of Oman'. Sandwiched between this awesome blue ocean on the right and the rugged mountain folds on left is a freeway sort of road, which 20 odd miles up north leads to Khor Fakkan - A sleepy town badly well publicised for tourist type water sporting activities. The capital city Fujairah itself, is imitating Dubai’s style of development, so like Dubai it also disappoints. There is a little salvation when you drive up north. Similar things happen – the stretch is suburban with concrete buildings, silently and boldly blocking the view of the ocean. Occasional glances during broad daylight hurt eyes and it seems that under the blazing sun these ugly looking concrete buildings will catch fire any moment. We are heading towards Wadi Wurrayah. I think, thats what it is called.

Just after crossing Khor Fakkan we leave the sort-of-freeway by taking a small turn to left. This leads us inside the rocky mountains. After a few miles, the landscape changes into bigger mountains and valleys. The rocks become wilder and stranger. Soon the paved road ends and a little further comes a point where it is not possible to drive the taxi. We temporarily abandon the taxi and the driver shuts off his meter so the waiting charges will not apply. This waterfall, according to Rafiq, is just after the small rocky cliff which we can see. Rafiq is a short lean underage looking immigrant taxi driver from the cold hills of Afghanistan Pakistan border. He is my voluntary guide and maybe he expects some money later. Driving taxi here doesn’t gets him the kind of money he was expecting to earn before he left his native for working in the middle east. Rafiq corrects me - we aren't going to walk the cliff but rather taking the vertical path down. It is an odd 100 feet high, almost a vertical man made track. We occasionally hold the warm rocks for support, and carefully sliding and slipping reach the bottom in no time.

Here, we find a couple of SUV’s already parked as we walk on the big round rivery gravel stones and head towards the oasis. At a distance, a bunch of some Arab youngsters are billowing fire in their full partying and barbeque mood. Also, at a distance I can see some random groups of people playing and jumping into some small puddle of water. The temperature because of the rocky and stony ambience is so high, that I can feel the heat going right into my head through my ears. My head, already light and numb begins to feel normal as we walk closer to the rumble of this tiny waterfall. The waterfalls waters fall on randomly arranged stone boulders backed by a cliff and ends into the pool at bottom. This is the oasis - for there exists nothing around in summers but this. The water is surprisingly chilly cold and very relieving. The source of water is somewhere underground in between the rocky pores.
This oasis is nothing giant but feeling the circumstances and the situation where it exists and water would flow perennially, many comparisons end. Further up on the waterfall stones, which looks like is naturally made for a man to walk through, the water is still and clear. The best thing to do here is to submerge your legs and then dip your head - everything becomes quiet. I could see a few centimeter sized fishes running for their lives.

Looking around I wonder, this impeccable group of Emirates so good in managing construction waste from their cities, why are equally bad in managing the plastics and bottles which the people just carelessly leave behind. After all it’s a small oasis - who cares!