Tuesday, July 6, 2010

abdulla, my driver my everythng

wen i started going 2 nursery both my prnts had work, and were nt going to b able to take me and bring me from skool especiall with timings for nursery kids, i thnk it was from eight to twelve or somethng, so they got me a driver, abdulla!
i used to look forward to riding with abdulla everyday!!!
he used to get me all the candy i wanted, despite the tint miniscule salary he got, he adored me and looking bak now im aware tht he was in no way obliged to stopping by the coldstore and gettng me all the candy i wud greedily select, he did it becoz he ddnt wnt to say no 2 me, aftr growing older, my prnts told me tht he never spoke a word of my hoardings to my prnts, they were shocked to hear it from me wen i wud happily talk about my "rides" with abdulla(excuse the play on words).
abdulla was also great fun because my wicked prnts never used to let me sit in the frnt seat next to them seeing as i was a four year old, but abdulla used to let me, he also used to let me play with all the controllers and buttons on the dashboard, i used to have a ball.
ths amazing driver from heaven also used to listn to all the baby talk i had to discuss with him, apprntly my wantng of a birdie was the utmost priority, i had to discuss it with him vry morning. being the wise man he was he used to play along and pretend to listn, im surprisd he actually used to manage to get me to skool safely, juggling driving and listning to a demanding toddler discussing her non exitent birdie with hm .
one day coming home from nursery abdulla had to stop by hs house for somethng urgent, he obviously cudnt leave me in the car so he had to take me into hs house. it was the frst time i ever visit a house tht wsnt as generic as those of our class. hs house had very tall walls, tht seemed to be made of mud, and they hdnt been painted, and the windows were tiny, they were loads of tiny windows put together to make a large window, there were no tiles or carpet on the floor. it was all very strange to me. it was not a small house, it was quite big, the decor was just diffrnt, later i learnt ths was a typical old arab house.
wat further shocked me on my little trip was that he had ANIMALS in the house, ths is also typical from those of tht class and time, i was infatuated, it was like visitng a farm to me, i had never seen so many animals, i specifically remember being very scared of the huge cow, and wondering how exactly ths was a cow if its skin was all grey, i thot cows were blak and white like the ones they taught us in skool, little did i knw tht the blak and white cows r only "lurpak" or the creme de la creme cows :p
aftr tht he took me upstairs to see an array of hs huge collection of birds, i took interest in a cage full of tiny little pretty neat looking birds, i thnk i liked them more than the rest becoz they were more colourful than the brown or blak ones tht seemed to b in all the other cages.
he told me to show hm which were my favourites, i piked an all balk one, an a blue one a white and a brownish whitish one. he told me i cud have them, i ddnt bother to argue at least for the sake of formality, i started suggestng names for them immedietly. i thnk abdula gave me the birds becoz he was fed up of our conversations in our car rides.
i cannot even start to explain the shock on my grandprnts faces wen i got home bearng them 4 birdies in a cage. i was supposd to b in skool, where on earth did i get them from and y was i soo late, my prnts were still at work at the time. i was too happy to explain, i ust strtd talkn about which ones were female, which wud have babies, and how soon they wud copulate. being considerate and quite old fashioned ppl, my grandprnts were horrified to discover tht i had "made" the driver gv me hs birds, thts hw they interpreted it. how cud i do such a thng, where were my manners, wen did they ever not gv me wat i wnt, hw cud i take somethng from someone so poor and all, and ofcourse hw were they going to repay abdulla for hs gesture.
i wud also like to add tht i got the same reaction years later wen it slipped my tounge tht he used to buy me sweets everyday.

1 comment:

  1. This lovely story reminded me of the driver who used to take my brother and me to school in Bahrain. His name was Aziz and half an eon later I still remember him with particular affection.
    He was a Gulf Air company driver, one of several, but he made sure that he did the school run as often as possible, until no-one disputed that he always got the job.
    Every morning he’d be there ready to put the school bags in the back, put an extra cushion on the seat for my little brother, and zip across the causeway to school in Manama.
    After we moved house to Gudaibiya, the trip was much further for him, but he was still there, as cheerful as ever. Then he decided to set himself up as a taxi driver, but that only changed the car: now every morning this very swish Chevrolet Impala would toot brightly outside the door for us and he always refused payment. He would even cruise the area near the palace when he knew my brother and I might be going fishing, and pick us up to drive us to our favourite fishing spot.
    During a school holiday he asked my parents if he could take my brother and I, and our two ‘girlfriends’ – gee we were 11 & 9 years old! – to the beach for the day. We went first to his house – very poor like you describe Abdulla’s, where we picked up his own children. I’d never known he had these three great kids. They had no English and we had little Arabic, but we all spent around six hours in a great spot I didn’t know existed, at Jurdab. (Back then it was all date plantations down to the beach, opposite Nabih Saleh island (which was completely undeveloped then) It was one of those glorious days I’ve treasured all my life.
    Years later, when I was passing through Bahrain during my twenties, I asked around for Aziz, and a message came back arranging a meeting. He was still a lovely man; one of those rare Good People that age doesn’t diminish at all. The next day, as I was getting ready to leave, there he was with a jacket he’d bought for me. My family would have LOVED to be able to find a way to do something for that wonderful man and his family, but he would never let us. He must be gone by now, and I feel his loss even though I know nothing about it.