All set to go to Sharjah with my 4 year old son to meet my husband, who is a doctor there. It was a 4 week trip and the first time I am travelling abroad without my husband. Little nervous but excited. Finally reached Sharjah.
My son really loves going out and playing in play zones at malls. The moment we reached our house in Sharjah, he started asking me “Amma when are we going to play zone?” I said “we will go dear, we came just now right!”. He said ok and left. After 10 min he came to me and asked the same question again “ Amma when are we going”? I think there is no need for me to explain to the mothers out there, if something comes into the kids’ minds they will literally drill us and they don’t even let us breathe.
I tried to explain to him that we came here on his vacation. “Vacations are for you only and not for Nanna (Dad)”. I explained to him in many ways and said nanna is having holiday on Friday only and we have to wait until Friday because its quite a new place for us. I tried to convince him in many ways. After hearing all my explanations, he kept his face like he could understand everything like bit and pieces and nodded his head like ok and kept quiet.
That moment I felt like YAAAYYY!!!! I finally convinced my little one and I felt like yes I have really used the essence of all the parental articles I read and they worked!!! Ha haaa!!! I am on the top of the world now!!!
Suddenly some one pulled me down and that was my son. “Amma when Friday will come?” I said ‘after few days’. “When the next day will come amma? Why isn’t today a Friday? We shall name today as Friday and go to the Play zone”. Oh My GOD!!! Same old story and nagging.
I explained to him days, nights, weeks, and months but with his questions the whole Earth, planets, solar system, milky way, everything started revolving in my mind, like alphabets and numbers revolve around ‘Ishaan’ in Aamir Khan`s movie ‘ Taare Zameen Par’.
After all my explanations, he again asked the same questions- “Amma are we going to the Play zone?”, I got irritated and reprimanded him strongly that we have to go along with Nanna only and for that you have to wait till Friday.
He also replied in a bold voice- “Why can’t we both go together like we used to go in our city?”
GOD!! Going out alone and that too in this alien place like Sharjah, an Islamic Country??? Even the thought shook me out. Later on I started thinking about my Son`s proposal. But after a great inner struggle, I have decided not to go alone with my 4 year old . Even by any chance, If I decided to go, I was pretty sure that my husband will not allow us without him as I know he is very very protective.
That night when my husband was back from his work and when we were having dinner, he asked us how our day progressed. He said “ I think Srikrishna is getting bored staying at home. Why don’t you take him to a play zone tomorrow?”
I asked him whether he was kidding. He said “no” very casually and asked us to just go and explore the new place and have fun.
Oh My GOD!!! The tables have turned. Now both father and son started convincing me and I had to accept finally. But something was harrowing me.
Third day morning, my son woke up early and was very excited. Before leaving to work, my Husband told me that he will join us for Lunch in the Play Zone. He also briefed me about the taxis and the currency in Sharjah. Currency notes can be understood easily but coins are a bit confusing for me but that was manageable.
Then after an hour or so, we both got ready and alighted a taxi. My son is a talkative guy and started conversing with the taxi driver . “Uncle!! I`m Srikrishna, I`m from India, what about you???”. The Driver responded immediately and said “Hi!! I`m Karim (Name Changed) from Pakistan”. Hearing that, a fear arose in the bottom of my heart and my legs trembled. Really I can’t explain the feeling. He asked ‘Where to go Madam?’. But for me it sounded like something else, soon I realized that he asked me where to go? My Voice was trembling but somehow I managed to tell my destination.
Then again my son started conversing with the driver, even after me reprimanding him not to do so. He briefed about our stay and about his school in India, his dance classes and was looking at me for approval, in the same way a telugu comedian Brahmanandam does in the movie “Chitram Bhalare Vichitram”. I noticed that the driver was listening attentively to my son without any kind of irritation. There was a huge traffic jam and then the driver started talking to my son in a very loving manner. Slowly I too joined their conversation. He started talking about his family in Pakistan. He told me that he got reminded about his 6 year old son when he was talking to my son. I could sense that he was missing his son and daughter very badly. He shared many things with us. He also told me that his wife really takes very good care of his kids and family back home in Pakistan.
The conversation moved me a lot and slowly all my misconceptions regarding certain things started to disappear and my emotions started settling down. In the meanwhile, the traffic got cleared and we finally reached our destination.I gave one Dirham note and some coins as well and I asked the driver to keep the change. He accepted the money with a smile and thanked me. I nodded my head with a smile and started heading towards the mall, then suddenly heard the voice of the driver, “Madam, Madam”, he called . I looked back, he said “Madam, Please do take care of your Loving Son”, and turned to my son and said “khuda tumhe hamesha khush rakhe”. He blessed my son. I felt really very happy and that moment again my voice was trembling but this time with happiness and I replied “Thank You Karim bhai”.
My son played in the mall very well and enjoyed every game. I felt very happy seeing him enjoying to the fullest. Later my husband came to the mall and we all had lunch there. I briefed my husband about the conversation we had with the taxi driver and he too felt very happy for both of us. While he was paying the bill, I asked my husband “ Hey why are you giving this coin?”. He said we have to pay the bill with this appropriate amount coin only. It was then I realized the correct value of the coin and also realized that I gave a penny less to the taxi driver and asked him to keep the change!!!How Funny? And the best part is he accepted it with a smile on his face.
Later, me and my son explored many places in Sharjah. Everytime we go out, we came across drivers of different nationalities like Pakistan, Bangladesh,Turkey etc. With all these experiences, my perspective towards myself and towards the world changed perceptibly.
A big thanks to my little one, my husband, Sharjah and to all the wonderful people I met there.