Friday, October 29, 2010

I told you there'd be sewing....

Thank you lovely readers for your encouraging comments on my last post - oh how I love social networking for its power to cheer you (me) up when you (I) feel low. You cheered me up, and I'm grateful, and I'm glad I made some of you chuckle as well.

So it seems appropriate that today's post is a fabric-y craft one, because I am here in Dubai for the first time in five years, and it's heaven.

First of all, I was waved through at passport control........ which means the niggling little fear I've been harbouring all this time that I might not be allowed back into the country because my old residential visa wasn't cancelled through the proper channels when I left last time, was unfounded. Yay.
And driving along Sheikh Zayed road past all my old haunts brought a tidal wave of nostalgia over me, which I quite enjoyed. Dubai has changed so much, and I have a post about that ready to go, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the fabric shops are still there in Satwa, right where I left them.

My very good friend Ms Read and I used to trawl the fabric markets in Dubai on an all-too-regular basis. It was our pastime to go and pick up new material and take it straight to Mr Prakash, our tailor near Lamcy Plaza.

Mr Prakash is a genius - I am still wearing clothes he made for me seven years ago. In fact, in honour of the occasion, yesterday I wore a plum-coloured straight skirt he made for me, to celebrate my return.

There was one shop Ms Read and I particularly liked - Deepak's, a wonderful place stocked and staffed in the Indian manner. That is, drinks on arrival, an attendant to shepherd you round the shop and pull out lots of lovely stuff for you, anther man to fold it all up once it was cut, and then a final man to tally the bill and take payment.

On the left, cotton polkadots for daytime. On the right, crepe de chine polkadots for nighttime
Last night, I walked into Deepak's and an attendant came straight over. I was hopping up and down with excitement to be there, and I explained that I used to live in Dubai but it's been five years and I have dreamed about returning and I love Deepaks, etc etc ..... and he fixed me with a gaze, an Indian head-wobble, and said "Oh yes, madam, I do remember you".  

I love the Arabic script on the middle selvedge - I'm going to make a feature out of that somehow

I was sceptical. Five years between drinks and he remembers me? I graciously said Oh, that's very nice but I'm sure you don't.

And he looked at me again and he said "You ask my friend over there. When you came in the door I said to him, the madam has cut all her hair."

I gaped.  He continued.

 "You were often coming in here, very regularly you were coming in here, and you were coming with your tall friend, and you were buying many fabrics." And I'm thinking, well, yes, that does SOUND like me.

"You were taking them to Mr Prakash."

You could have knocked me down with a feather.

"I am remembering your name madam, and it is (insert my name here). Are you remembering my name?"

And I confess I wasn't remembering his name at all. My god, the man remembers me and now I feel embarrassed because I a) didn't believe him and b) don't remember his.

"Ah, but you were remembering my name when you were living here madam. I am Sunil. And I am remembering that before you left you came in and bought one great mountain of fabric to take home with you, many embroidered silks especially in the bright colours."

It's true. The man has a memory like an elephant (while I have one like a goldfish.) How happy and touched was I to feel remembered, and valued - no doubt because I used to spend so much money in there, so it's a friendship based firmly on commerce, but really, who cares? The man remembers me as a valuable customer, five years later!

 I spent a lovely hour looking through the shop and finding a wonderful collection of orange and yellow fabrics to take back to Bahrain with me. Um, 26 metres to be precise. And then he threw in four free pieces as well, as a welcome back gift.

My god I love Dubai, and especially Deepak's, and particularly Sunil.


willywagtail said...

Wonderful. Just the best. Some people are just meant for the service industry, they have all the talents to be perfect there. Cherrie

EmilyKate said...

Oh what a lovely story!

Isabella Golightly said...

I feel really cheated now. When we spent 2 days in Dubai with friends, all we did was go to Burj Al Arab for a tour. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ... and I love Sunil. What a guy!

Heather said...

So what wonderful plans do you have for the 26m of fabric? Is this the start of some home decorating or a whole new line for your markets? Perhaps it will be the start of a new designer range of clothes - all bright and sunny? Whatever your plans (or not) congratulations on having a wonderful time in Dubai and catching up with some "old friends".

Jennie said...

I'm amazed at his memory!

The last time my mother-in-law visited from the UK we went to the Sunday market at Southbank. She was looking at a particular stall where she'd bought something the year before. The stall owner was doing his generic patter. My MIL mentioned she'd bought something from him in the past and he very smoothly said, "Yes, I remember you now." She was impressed; I turned away and cackled into my sleeve!

ange_moore said...

How wonderful! I love the fabrics and the story you weave is so beautiful.