Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Road to Masafi

Masafi is a quaint picturesque town in the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates. One would usually pass by it while traveling from Dubai to the emirate of Fujairah. Last winter, I spent my holidays in Fujairah, thanks to Appa and Amma who have relocated there. Not surprisingly, we passed by Masafi quite a number of times, due to our frequent trips to Dubai. However, two trips caught my attention.

It was New Year's eve and we were returning from Dubai after picking Appa from the airport. It was around 3 in the morning and the road to Masafi was dark. A profound silence echoed from the depths of the Hajjar Mountains. As we approached Masafi, we saw the silhouette of a lone figure, outlined by the dim moonlight. We realized that it was a man trying to stop speeding cars, with the hope of selling his newspapers. Crazy guy, I thought. It's three in the morning, almost in the middle of nowhere and he pushes his luck by trying to sell newspapers on a deserted road?

And that would have been the end of this post, if I hadn't returned to Singapore at the end of my break. But I did come back- A week later, we were traveling on the same road, this time to Dubai, so that I could catch my early morning flight on time. And sure enough, as we approached Masafi at around five in the morning, we saw the Newspaper Man. This time, Appa stopped and got a newspaper. As we paid the Newspaper Man, I couldn't help but imagine what kind of a life his would be. Definitely someone hailing from the Subcontinent, he would have traveled to this distant shore, hoping to realize the 'Gulf Dream', which he shared with thousands of other people. Approaching the few cars that passed by the road at this lonely hour, shivering in the desert cold is definitely not anyone's idea of a dream job. Yet, I could sense the kind of satisfaction he derived from his sale, even if it would be his only sale for that day.

A few years ago, when we were in Bahrain, Appa and Amma had gifted me a book for the New Year. Appa as usual had written something inside it for me, a Spanish proverb: 'Traveler, there are no roads; roads are made by walking'. The Newspaper Man epitomizes that traveler, building the path to his destination, laying each stone with perseverance and hope. The Newspaper Man on the Road to Masafi. A true inspiration for all of us!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Road to Masafi

Masafi is a quaint picturesque town in the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates. One would usually pass by it while traveling from Dubai to the emirate of Fujairah. Last winter, I spent my holidays in Fujairah, thanks to Appa and Amma who have relocated there. Not surprisingly, we passed by Masafi quite a number of times, due to our frequent trips to Dubai. However, two trips caught my attention.

It was New Year's eve and we were returning from Dubai after picking Appa from the airport. It was around 3 in the morning and the road to Masafi was dark. A profound silence echoed from the depths of the Hajjar Mountains. As we approached Masafi, we saw the silhouette of a lone figure, outlined by the dim moonlight. We realized that it was a man trying to stop speeding cars, with the hope of selling his newspapers. Crazy guy, I thought. It's three in the morning, almost in the middle of nowhere and he pushes his luck by trying to sell newspapers on a deserted road?

And that would have been the end of this post, if I hadn't returned to Singapore at the end of my break. But I did come back- A week later, we were traveling on the same road, this time to Dubai, so that I could catch my early morning flight on time. And sure enough, as we approached Masafi at around five in the morning, we saw the Newspaper Man. This time, Appa stopped and got a newspaper. As we paid the Newspaper Man, I couldn't help but imagine what kind of a life his would be. Definitely someone hailing from the Subcontinent, he would have traveled to this distant shore, hoping to realize the 'Gulf Dream', which he shared with thousands of other people. Approaching the few cars that passed by the road at this lonely hour, shivering in the desert cold is definitely not anyone's idea of a dream job. Yet, I could sense the kind of satisfaction he derived from his sale, even if it would be his only sale for that day.

A few years ago, when we were in Bahrain, Appa and Amma had gifted me a book for the New Year. Appa as usual had written something inside it for me, a Spanish proverb: 'Traveler, there are no roads; roads are made by walking'. The Newspaper Man epitomizes that traveler, building the path to his destination, laying each stone with perseverance and hope. The Newspaper Man on the Road to Masafi. A true inspiration for all of us!

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