I know I promised to put up a fabulous photo diary of the launch of Ensemble Dubai but the last one hour has changed my course of thoughts and I have to pen it down before things starting slipping from my memory.
So, after a day of mall-trawling at the MoE and ending up watching the louse of a film called Stolen (starring Nick Cage going through a mid-life crisis), we left the mall at midnight and hailed a cab to get us back to the hotel. By we I mean Nomi (Ansari), his sister Faiza, Kiran (Haroon) and myself.
Whizzing through traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road, we were already uncomfortable with the cabbie’s driving, when a small sedan abruptly changed lanes and skimmed past us. Our cabbie (yes, Pakistani) was already driving like a maniac and this pushed him over the edge. He went into a Fast and the Furious mode and started zipping his way through the traffic, chasing the car and signaling to the driver to pull over.
She finally did and as soon as she stepped out of the car, we knew the blondie was sloshed. She stumbled out. Then she stumbled back in and tried to whiz away. Our driver sped after her, with the four of us hanging on for our lives.
“Bhaag rahi hai! I been hit,” he reported. “Woman drunk but I chase her.”
Anyone who’s been to Dubai knows how fast the traffic goes on this road and how deadly an accident can be. We were petrified. Finally, when Nomi lost his temper and threatened to report him did the cabbie stop. And he dumped us in the middle of nowhere.
We started dragging ourselves and a day’s shopping to the bus stand when *ting*, miraculously another cabbie appeared like an angel of fortune.
Another Pakistani. Cricket fan. Nationalist. Harbinger of faith and Islam.
He heard our story after which we cooled down and for a diversion to the shock, I asked him what happened of the match.
“We won,” he said with such relish that we had to smile. “But it was such a tense end.” And then he explained the last ten minutes (for which he was too tense to drive so had had to pull over and finish a bottle of water to calm the nerves) down to the most minute detail.
Then he steered the conversation to the Haqqani network being declared a terrorist outfit today.
“People are after Pakistan. They have been ever since we made the bomb. We are the only protectors of Islam after Saudi Arabia.”
“I once had three foreign goras in my cab. They were drunk. They started bad mouthing me and Pakistan. I told them, curse me but not my country. They said that gaali that they love to use all the time. I saw red and started driving like a mad-man. I told them if I had a suicide jacket I would have blown them up. I wanted to run into a trailer but the woman stopped me. If she hadn’t apologized, my next plan was to say the kalma and drive off the Makhdoom bridge. At least I would be shaheed for taking three goras down with me.”
Not knowing whether we should be amused or petrified (we were a little bit of both) we thanked our lucky stars when we got to the hotel alive and safe.
“Can I give you some brotherly advice before you leave,” he preached, “cover your heads.”