The day started with a leisurely breakfast. Maxwell and I sat outside and enjoyed our meal. We might as well make the most of the warm weather as we will both be back in our cold countries soon. In the meantime Rafia and the organisers were busy getting ready for the morning session.
We knew that Rafia and Hari have been working tirelessly to make this get together a great success. The others who have been working silently behind the scenes were Jaya Kumari, Lilly and her husband, Jose, Rajendran, Padma, Rajan, Sasi and Dinesh. It is the first time that our group has organised a meeting outside India. There have been teething issues but despite all that I think we can all agree that everyone is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
One of our classmates died this year. Hari and Sasi spoke about Watson and his family. Hari was most upset and so were we when we found out that this happened in our Medical College Hospital and nobody knew that he had been admitted for a week when he died. “The ties that we create in this classroom group means that these events should never happen again”, Hari is passionate about this. He also praised some of our classmates who go the extra mile to help others when the need arises. Sunitha was given a special mention.
Hari also spoke about the trust fund that was set up to help another one of our classmates in the past year. We all contributed, but it was Hari and a few others who actually did all the ground work to make sure that the family was supported, money was set aside for treatment purposes and a trust fund was created to make sure that our classmate’s child’s education wouldn’t suffer as a result of the family problems.
We observed a minute’s silence to remember Watson and also remembered the ten other classmates who died over the past 40 years.
Next Rafia was given a special mention. Not only has she been the perfect host but in the midst of all this she showed us all that her grey cells are still in peak form. She has passed the MRCP exam in the second career she chose after giving up paediatrics for personal reasons and couldn’t take the exams till now for the same reasons. A psychiatrist you don’t want to mess with, she now has the credentials to show for it. ‘Bravo Raffi”, we are very proud of you.
Each of us were given a memento which we will treasure for ever along with another personal gift from Rafia (yes, Rafia just couldn’t do enough for us).
After lunch the evening was spent at the Global village. A miniature Eiffel Tower at the entrance to the complex gave us an idea of what it entailed. A trade fair from around the world set up during the winter months in Dubai. It is not in full swing yet and will get even busier as the month progresses.
A miniature version of the Parliament Houses with Big Ben, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Coliseum, Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa and other iconic buildings from around the world greeted us as we entered the village. We meandered through the side streets of Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria, Russia, China, Europe etc etc trying to barter and failing miserably at the numerous street stalls selling the prettiest items each country has to offer. When it was too much we sat and watched life go by as the street vendors tried to entice us into their stores.
As evening fell the Syrian village treated us to a lively folk dance session. The music and jollity filled the air when I felt someone tugging at me. Nisa’s two year old granddaughter, little Shanu wanted me to pick her up. I was more than happy and tried to have a little twirl with her but she got shy and ran to her dad. We have indeed become a big family of friends and it has been a great bonding experience as Hari pointed out this morning.
We used our food vouchers for a meal at the Punjabi Dhaba, sitting outside on old style wooden rope beds. At eight the water fountains on the artificial lake in the centre of the village came to life and treated us to a short music and water fountain dance session. A perfect end to another perfect day.