A tale of a desert safari


Today I tasted the desert sand.

Vishwa beckoned me to feel the sand with my fingers. I gave in albeit with a bit of apprehension.
It felt silky smooth; and more.
I put some in my mouth. As the grains caressed my teeth I felt the life in them; the purity of it; the magic and mystique of the Arabian nights swivelled in my mouth tantalising and teasing my imagination.

We were on Dubai’s famous desert safari, being the tourist, doing the tourist thingy. The endless sand dunes were mesmerising as they played host to adventure driving otherwise known as dune bashing. We had a break to watch the sunset before we would proceeded to our camp for the night. That is when I had my secret encounter with the sand.

I have seen and felt sand before, in the salty beaches, in the mounds lying invitingly in front of buildings being constructed. But the sand I met with today was of different nature altogether. It felt like a river, ever flowing, ever changing.
It whispered. It spoke of the lives of nomads and bedouins past, riding on its waves in their camel ships, trying to find a campsite before the night fall, away from the shifting sands that can bury anything on the path of the wind. Lives spent in constant negotiation with the sand, too hot to touch during the day and ice cold in the nights. Lives lived as tribes and close families, living one day at a time. Lives bereft of rainbows and waterfalls.

The sands also told me that those lives were not as dreary as it might seem. They consisted of mysterious sands filled with magic carpets, genie lamps and other miracles to be revealed at the right time.
Breathtaking sunsets and sunrises where, with no landscape to break the pattern, the sun splits into thousand rays of light each in its own colour spread across the entire horizon, filling up every inch of sky you can see.
Almonds and dates and palm trees, lovely ladies with dark kohl eyes, camels looking philosophical, it is no wonder this landscape spun a thousand and one stories.
It almost felt like cheating to drive on those dunes. These sands should be savoured on a camel back, away from city lights, open to the vast midnight sky with a billion stars.
May be, in another time.


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