|By Arjun Pinto, Dubai [ Published Date: October 6, 2010 ]|
Recession, Economic Growth, GDP….Nothing had affected me, until I got one BHK flat for the price of a studio flat. So I decided to move to a new place. Moreover, my mom was supposed to join me for a couple of months, which meant that I desperately needed a home to stretch about.
Finally, I moved in to Al Quasis area in Dubai and finished my shifting (got it done with a few friends in return for a Beer at Irish Village). I wanted to screen around the place so one evening just got on the move to see what's close by- Restaurant, Gym, Groceries and so on.
For the first time this is where I came across the LITTLE ANGEL & CHAMPION.
Little Angel was a one and a half year old infant, just learning to walk around and Champion was about four years old.
Both were my next door neighbors. Champion was into full MAN series. Bat Man, Spider Man, (you can name all the ‘man's) for his cycle, school bag, shirt, water bottle all bore those pictures as if he had been endorsed by the Marvel comic company. While Little Angel was nothing but a piece of sweetly pie, her stare, smile, walking around could mesmerize a blind man too. In short she was a Little Angel as I liked to call her.
One day, I was going for a hair-cut and the best part of this haircut was I was going to get a FREE massage along with the package, which I never MISS. I had just entered the elevator while in came Champion and Little Angel along with their parents in the same elevator. We exchanged smiles and the whole journey down from the 14th Floor to the ground floor, I was totally engrossed with the moves of my LITTLE ANGEL, until I realized that the Husband and wife had started speaking in Tulu. What a relief that they were from my Sobith Kodial (Beautiful Mangalore). I never wanted to interrupt them as they were busy talking about their son's school, followed by the price hike on the day to day commodities etc.etc.
...LITTLE ANGEL for the first time came into my arms and I carried her all the way down to the waiting taxi....
Now while looking for a nice decent saloon, I just found one, quite close to the place where I live and without much hesitation just walked into it. A must in all Mangalorean household, a UDAYAVANI was lying in the midst of Manorama, Gulf News, Khaleej Times. I was sure there was a Mangi in somewhere in midst of the barbers, and I thought the easy way to identify the Mangi was to speak to any of my friends on the phone in Tulu. While I had to wait for my turn, I called a friend of mine Suresh and started speaking to him in tulu (Which I always do with Suresh.)
Suddenly I got a look from one of the barbers, whose next question to me directly was "Kudlaed Vulpa?" (Where in Mangalore?). He was a smart young man, in his early twenty's. In different circumstances, I'm sure he could have tried his luck at the Sandal Wood industry and surely would have been a HERO!! Hero was so happy that he had someone from his own hometown in the midst of all those men from God's own country (his colleagues), and we chatted happily for sometime in Tulu.
As days passed, I was getting close to my little friends and used to slip off from my office at sharp 5 pm so that I could catch up with the tiny tots, little Angel & Champion who would be playing outside in the corridor up to 6:30pm. I would make all efforts to reach the 14th floor corridor by this time no matter what! I would spend little time with them and then head towards our Hero to read Udayavani and catch up on a bit of chit chat with him.
Hero had come to Dubai two years back and the main intention was to get his younger sister married. He would talk to a lot of Udupi guys about it (that is where he hails from) and his dream was coming true finally. He was going on leave to attend his sister's wedding and his stint in the desert to fulfill his ambition was almost through. Meanwhile, little Angel had just turned out to be my friend, she would give me one of her million dollar smile occasionally. But Champion was my friend now, for he had no one to listen to his Super Hero's stories than me after his school hours.
I'm sure the family was a pious family, for every morning I would see a small rangoli and flowers on their door step with a portrait of Lord Ganapati; they also had a few flower pots on their door step watered every second day.
One day while I was in my office, a senior Manager of a well known sports gear company, gifted me with a Sports Shoes, Sports Bag, Fifa logo football and a sipper, all to thank me for helping him in moving his consignment in time to SA for a sports event.
It was a weekend and as I entered my flat I gave over the Sipper to my LITTLE ANGEL & the Football to Champion. I wanted him to be a Ronaldo or Zedan than being a Super Hero. They were thrilled with the gifts and for the first time I saw Little Angel walking to me to shake hands.
The next day was a Friday and I was as usual planning to go for a movie. It was at about 10pm I was leaving my flat while I saw the whole family in the elevator again. It was obvious they were all going on holiday as they had a few bags with them. I wanted to tell them that I too belonged to the place where they were flying tonight, but thought I would do it once they are back.
LITTLE ANGEL for the first time came into my arms and I carried her all the way down to the waiting taxi. In the elevator I overheard Madam saying to her hubby to speak to the watchman and pay him something to water the plants every second day.
I now headed towards the Saloon to have a brush up on the latest kobrio of Mangalore. While I was busy engrossed in the sports page of Udayavani, there stood our HERO in blue faded jeans, black T-shirt, sports shoes and a sports bag on his shoulders, somehow he looked like a tennis champion getting into the center court arena. He was in fact all set to fly to Mangalore!!
It's called destiny….they all flew the ill-fated IX812 to Mangalore.
I still water the plants every second day. I have taken over the flower pots and named them Hero, Champion & Little Angel. The corridors are silent and I do miss the oil massage at the saloon…..