A bleary eyed five year-old walks up to me and says, “Mamma, please can you ask these people to stop shouting? I want to sleep.” I shrug wordlessly in response, powerless to stop the mob that is out on the streets and loving every moment of it.
It looks like something out of a mehndi function back home in Karachi, when the bride is being brought to the venue. Absolute pandemonium. People are beating drums as loudly as you can imagine, and a great number of them are dancing, with huge Indian flags draped around their bodies. A few of them are in their pyjamas, but they don’t seem to care. The idea is to scream “India! India!” till you’re hoarse and dance to the beat. I spot a few startled Filipinos meandering out of their homes rubbing their eyes as though they’ve just been woken up. Because really, in a city like Dubai, what do you expect at 11:00 pm at night? Most of the people are working couples with school-going children and can ill-afford to be woken up from their precious hours of slumber.
Yes, India, you’ve won the World Cup, but please let the rest of Dubai sleep. I may sound like a bit of a sore loser, and you know what, I probably am. I was rooting for Sri Lanka to completely annihilate the Indians, but that wasn’t to be. And ever since MS Dhoni hit that glorious six over long-on, the celebrations in Dubai have started.
Indians make up about 40% of the total population in the UAE, so it wasn’t surprising when the streets started filling out with people desperate to savour a world cup win. At first we smiled – how patriotic. Look at these guys. And then fifteen minutes passed. We looked on, but our smiles were a teeny bit stretched – would it end soon? Nope, no such luck. Another twenty minutes, and the party on the streets below my apartment is as lively as ever. In fact, now even the women have joined in (thank God, they’re not in their night-gowns). By now it’s almost eleven o’clock and we really want the noise to stop. This doesn’t seem like patriotism, it feels like a form of hooliganism, a very popular variety of which is found on New Years’ Eve in Karachi.
What finally made the people return to their homes nearly an hour after Dhoni’s winning blow was – you guessed it, the ‘shurtas’ or the cops. Loud sirens emitted from the police car as they finally quietened the animated mob, and mercifully let us sleep again.
To be sure there’s nothing wrong with partying if your team has just won the world cup. Party away the night – but a request – please do it in your own homes and let my five-year old sleep.
Pic: After the cops came, the crowd dispersed, and here is a shoddy iPhone pic that was taken after most people had already gone back