A curious thing happens when people decide to leave Dubai. The moment some individuals relinquish their visas, they are possessed by a desire to disown it. Such people begin bashing the city they once called home at any opportunity, to the point of the irrational and absurd. One recently departed friend compiled a list of 101 things he wouldn’t miss about Dubai, one of which read: ‘The absence of decent sunsets.’ What could he possibly have found so offensive about Dubai’s sunsets? Too orange? Too round? Personally, I am always ecstatic to see a sunset of any description, because it’s so seldom I ever spied the fire in the sky back home, hidden as it was by the omnipresent thick curtain of cloud.
Now, I’m reasonably familiar with the urge to find fault with anything and everything. I too am guilty of whining that the swimming pool in my apartment building is so unacceptably small, when in my previous life a diminutive pond would have significantly upped the luxury of my abode. I’ll complain there is not enough equipment in my building’s gym, even though I used to fork out a small fortune to attend one that was at least a 15-minute bus ride away. I’m sick of all the free food and drink that comes with my job, and go on about it at length every time I am ‘forced’ to imbibe more.
But at least I know these are ridiculous gripes, and I feel pretty daft admitting them. A question to the moaners who reflect so glumly on their dark Dubai days: Was life really so bad? I bet they splashed around in
their pool and spent or hoarded their tax-free earnings with a fervour not dissimilar to this new-found fondness for the ‘bash Dubai’ bandwagon.
You may think these are the incensed ramblings of one who continues to dwell in Dubai, but that’s where you’d be wrong. I’m leaving, too. The visa is being chipped away from my passport as you read; the swimming pool – sob! – will soon be a distant memory (I better save up for that pond). And yes, there are things I will be glad to leave behind. But just because something has faults – and what doesn’t? – does not mean you can’t like any of it. And it certainly does not mean you can pretend you never took part in it and admonish those that still do.
And so, bear witness as I hereby make a promise: though I am leaving, I will defend Dubai. Because I lived there. I loved some of it, I hated some of it. And, most importantly, I will not deny it.