Madness on the streets in Dubai after India win World Cup

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


8 thoughts on “Madness on the streets in Dubai after India win World Cup

  1. How long have u stayed in dubai? were u there when they UAE won the gulf cup??

    I am sure u were, but then who has got the balls to say something to the UAE nationals when you are on a visa with your 5 year old on their land?

    and FYI..I was there and was stuck in traffic for more than 3 hours..dont believe me??? try youtube..

    But cheers to them they did it and they deserved it, I am sorry your country didnt make it this time , but its a game, the better team will always win..

    • LOL.. i got stuck in the Gulf Cup parade as well! Cheers, well played India – but even if Pakistan had overdone the noise part and required the cops to intervene, I would have written a similar blog.

  2. Life in Dubai is very artificial and temporary there is nothing permanent there. Dubai city itself is like a huge transit lounge at an international airport, where people come and go. One might argue that our life in this world is also temporary but, that doesn’t mean one should live like a Saint, Bhagt or a Sufi. Even our religion emphasizes on creating a balance between the material and spiritual world, it does not say that one must become a parasite.

    And, why did I say life in Dubai is very artificial? Because, I grew up there, spent the best years of my youth. I have been there a few times even after I have migrated to Canada and I can see the difference in the quality of life over there and here. And, I keep asking myself the same question time and again why did I live there? It is a long story but, there was no choice. I can write a book about how Dubai was and how the life used to be in those days?

    Before I address to the issue of your 5 year old daughter’s sleep I would like to mention here that, in the real world people do rejoice and celebrate the way they (Indians in Dubai) did when their country wins a major sports event. We have witnessed similar scenes here many times during the soccer world cup, hockey games and winter Olympics. It is very normal and natural for people to express their emotions and feelings by coming out on the streets, shouting, cheering, honking, it is a part of life, others should learn to accept that rather than criticize them for being noisy.

    I wonder why the quality of construction in Dubai is still so sub-standard that you can hear the street noise in your apartment buildings? During the early days when there was construction boom the quality was not so good, the aim was to expand and build as many buildings as possible to cope up with the demand. It was so fast that a decade later the same not so old buildings were demolished and new ones were made and yet they are not sound proof? May be it is if you are staying on the 70th floor and above.

    Over here, in every building we have double glazing and windows et doors are almost sound proof, you hardly hear anything from the streets, if we don’t have thermal glass and double glazing in doors and windows then we will probably freeze to death or end up paying a huge heating bill.

    I am sure if Pakistan haf won the world cup instead of India, your feelings may not have been same as they are now, perhaps you would have told the 5 year old: “You know what? Pakistan has won the cricket world cup, yes they are world champions now.” Btw, I am also a Pakistani origin Canadian and I am not very happy that Pakistan has lost the semifinal to India and that too because of their own mistakes. In the end, it is always the better team that wins.

    Anyways, my intention here is not to criticize you but, I am trying to translate the feelings of others. We must see ourselves as others see us! I wish the UAE nationals also practice this in their day to day life. They do when they are here but, not when they are in their own country. Here they call me, “brother, brother but, in their country, “Hindi Miskeen; Pakistani Jinjaal” (trouble makers).

  3. Pingback: Madness on the streets in Dubai after India win World Cup | Tea Break

  4. Thanks for the comment. I think the construction is mostly okay – the noise was really really loud.

    Interesting you should mention religion – because the deen teaches one to be mindful of one’s neighbours and not to cause them discomfort.

    Maybe partying on the street for a while is okay – but to go well beyond an hour on a working night was a bit too much.

    I repeat – I have nothing against Indians and India. Some of my best friends in Dubai are Indians, Hindus in fact. Even if Pakistan had won the world cup, I would have liked them to remain within limits while celebrating and be concerned about people’s sleeping hours. That is all.

    When the police intervened, it was, how do you put it – just a little degrading for the mob. I would have preferred them to get back home before any such unpleasant thing happened.

    Thanks though, for pointing out how others feel.

  5. Thanks for understanding my point of view on seeing ourselves as others see us.

    As regards religion and co-existence – this is a sport event which is a common denominator and not like religion where the belief system is involved and huge differences arise. But, people if they have to co-exist peacefully, they have to put up with each other despite huge differences.

    For example, in Dubai a few of my young Hindu neighbours never witnessed the slaughtering of animals on the streets in India, especially a cow which is so sacred to them and when they saw that for the first time in Dubai, they were devastated and frightened.

    I have mentioned “young” because, this generation has not witnessed the slaughtering of animals on the streets but, their fathers and grandfathers must have seen this during their time i .e., before the partition of India and Pakistan.

    The last time when I went to Pakistan a few years ago it was after a long gap and I was there during the Eid ul Azha time and I had almost forgotten the scene a night before the Eid when the animals are all tied up at the gates and how they are crying (to me it sounded like crying) then the next day I saw the slaughtering and I was emotionally moved by that scene and did not wait to see the Qurbani ka manzar.

    Trust me being a Pathan and from a family of traditional hunters, I used to do a lot of hunting even here in Canada but, after that scene which I witnessed after so many years, changed my perception.

    It is not that I have become a vegetarian or any such thing, but I delved deeper into the subject of Qurbani and its ‘afadiyat’ and the reason why Muslims do it? Even on hunting it has been said: do not kill the animals for pleasure sake, unless it is a real need or a necessity.

    I am sorry I have drifted a lot but, the focal point is about tolerance, acceptance, commingling and coexisting with people who are from different cultures, background, religion and race.

    • Hats off to you man!!!

      You sound like a pretty decent and unbiased human being.

      We are all humans first and then, Hindus, Muslims or Indians, Pakistanis..

      We need more people like you on this earth to make it a better place to live…

      Good luck!!

  6. Mehmoudah

    I promised to write on your blog and I am fulfilling my promise but, you are reciprocating miserly and not writing on our blog as much as I thought. 😀 You are certainly not one of those aunties who cannot type or, use only two index fingers to type. You write a lot and you write well but, you are a “can juice.” 😀

    I have already responded to this thread with two long comments and do not wish to be all over the blog. I wanted to respond to a few other points on this thread of yours but, then my comments would have ended up like that woman who wrote a book on her long flight using a toilet roll.

    You’ve mentioned: “Filipinos meandering out of their homes rubbing their eyes as though they’ve just been woken up.”

    What happened to today’s Dubai? When we were in Dubai, we never used to sleep before midnight during working days. And on week-end nights no one used to sleep till 3:00 a.m. And, not to mention about the whole month of Ramadan where nights are turned into days! And, we are among the pioneers who introduced Sehri Parties.

    It is extremely hard for me to comprehend that Dubai is becoming Islamabad of the 80’s. Back then everyone in Islamabad used to sleep around 9:00 p.m. whereas in Karachi life begins after 10:00 p.m. Reportedly, even the Islamabad crowd is up and about till midnight these days. I think the diplomats and bureaucrats are becoming more civilized now. 😀

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