A few days back I was running in my neighbourhood. I looked up at the sky and saw patches of grey clouds. I told myself that the rain would come. True enough, it rained a few hours later. But the much anticipated rain turned out to be a short and stingy sprinkle. It drizzled not more than 15 minutes, just enough to leave messy dots of water mark on our cars. We talked about it at length, longer than the actual time of the rain. We were excited as it was our first winter rain in Dubai. Back home when it rains, it usually means natural car wash, free of charge. But here, the rain had made a busy day for the men who wash our cars at the parking lot. They had wiped clean all the dotty water marks, the evidence of our first November rain.
I called home. My wife was in Hong Kong for a week. My kids was counting days for their mother to return home. I asked why they were not counting days for me to return home. My son said 'susah, nanti salah kira', admitting that he would lose count and his numbering skill is still poor. They also complained that it rained everyday. The rain has made them deprived of their outdoor playtime in the evening at the playground nearby.
It was in the news today, the rain claimed 83 lives in Saudi Arabia, our giant and holy neighbour. It was an unusual heavy downpour. Jeddah was showered with 7cm of rain last Wednesday, which was more than it would normally get in an entire year. Rain or no rain, there is nothing going to stop the massive flow of those faithful pilgrims, determined to complete the fifth pillar of their faith.
As I watched AlJazeera Live to witness the sea of pilgrims climbing up the Mountain of Mercy at Arafat and praying for forgiveness, I couldn't help wondering, would I ever get the call to savour the spiritual high point of the pilgrimage before the rain or anything else claim the life of mine?