I visited Dubai for approximately week to visit few friends and for leisure. I was pretty much relaxed during the trip and was solo most of the time when exploring the major tourist attractions as most of my friends were busy with their business work. It was one of such evening where I wanted to try out a cuisine which I might have not tried in the past. I was right around a busy street but multiple options but I was in kinda of dilemma of the taste I preferred and the restaurants around. I was hungry but I wasn’t prepared to just of for any randoms. 

The first option that I picked was an Asian cuisine but it’s the tag line stated “Asian fusion”, it tempted me at a certain level. I have tried it in the past but well, as it was fusion, it was expecting it to be different. I approached the main counter where I was greeted by as Asian lady. She was somewhat struggling to communicate in English but somehow I comforted her so she could advise me better.  I checked the menu for sometime and the details of each dish was somewhat basic with bit of extra added ingredients. She insisted me to try for of their specials but I know how food works so could easily figure out what the taste would be like. I hesitated to use her hospitality any further as I was sure that I wasn’t going to ahead.

After almost trying to few other restaurant with same curiosity, I was disappointed. Dubai surely had a lot to offer, but it was me being very picky on that odd evening. Perhaps, this as due to my holiday mood and didn’t want to settle for basic. Finally, I saw a Mexican restaurant and my love for that cuisine has always been on my top of priority. I walked in and as I was starving, I could notice the wonderful food other customer’s were eating. It dint take me long to finally conclude what was my dinner that evening. 

I sat on a table, relaxed myself, checked my phone to check if I have missed any update from my friends. I was expecting them to join me but wasn’t sure how long they were going to be. I sat on table which could easily accommodate at least 4 just in case if any of my friends could join. Right after I updated on the our whatsapp group of my whereabouts, two of my friends self invited themselves. Apparently, they were that far from that place so it worked out fine. I couldn’t wait so I ordered a drink with some side of corn chips, guacamole and salsa. I instructed the waitress to hold on for the mains as I was expecting more company. I anticipated how satisfying those chips would be as I was super hungry. 

While I was admiring the ambience of the restaurant, I hold my eyes on a girl across the table who I knew eventually knew as Saddaf. She had the most admiring smile and the veil on her head was so perfectly done, I couldn’t imagine the years of practice she had to wear it so graciously. She was beautiful in everyday but to justify her beauty, she had lovely eyes – the ones that you would drown in. Her elegance when she was paying attention to her friends conversation was just breathtaking. Her respect for her food when picking her next bite and her discipline for eating that bite was again, just admirable. It was as if all the all the etiquette of a pious Muslim girl was just visible through her.

It didn’t take long for me to notice that I was just lost and unconsciously staring that at her. I was smiling and really wanting to just keep staring but I of course couldn’t. I really wanted to go up to her and tell her, how beautiful she was but I know even I was as hot and good looking as Thor, I wouldn’t build up such courage. I acted smart and kept peeking at her while I was just looking at everything else.

At one point, finally she saw me and our eyes met. I surely looked like a creep as I couldn’t stop smiling. She was then conscious of me looking at her but she looked away with her. I thought she smirked but I believe that was just my wishful thought. She was then actively involved in talking to her friend, laughed louder while adjusting herself. I couldn’t notice as she adjusted her veil which didn’t not really required any attention. She didn’t look at me again as I think she knew I was looking at her.

My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by my own desires of those chips I ordered. The waitress smiled and consulted me if I wanted anything else and inquired about when my friends would be there. I gained her trusted and told her that they will be here any minute. My mind forced to ask her about the girl across the table but again I knew I would never do that. I really didn’t want to miss any opportunity to know more about this girl. I couldn’t stop myself to eavesdrop what they were talking about and when they were ordering their final dessert. At that time, I knew my newly crafted wishes were about be shattered as its not long until she will be heading out. 

Finally, My friends arrived within next 15 minutes and we started chatting. My attention was deviated between the conversation with my friends and the lady whose presence has acquired my attention since I got in the restaurant. My friends were just talking about how the day has been for them and what were the plans after dinner. We ordered mains and drinks and I couldn’t help my self notice the bill on the other table waiting to be cleared. Within five minutes, bills was sorted and the group was just about to close the conversation to walk out. My friends did notice that they don’t have my complete attention and rather ignored as the food was more vital then my presence. Within a minute, the ladies started walking out, passing on their appreciation to the waitstaff. I did notice Saddaf jotting down something on what it looked like a feedback book. I was bit sad that I could approach her or get to know her. After she was gone, we finished our meal headed out. As my friends were finalizing the bill, I started browsing the feedback book and noticed what she has put on. It wasn’t hard to find as her hard writing was just like it was printed with some fancy cursive font in a word document. While I was writing my feedback, I overheard the wait staff handing over a work ID over to the counter and it was from saddaf’s table. I tried to get a peek while the other waiter admired my curiosity. He left it on the table facing in away I could see the name and the face. Guess what, it was hers! I acted smart straight way and mugged her number straight away. We walked out to a Sheesha joint and before I could forget her number I texted her straight away.

“hey, this is Masoom, I found your work pass and handed over to counter at the restaurant. Please arrange to collect it.”

“Who is this?”, she replied.

“I just had dinner with my friends at the same restaurant where you were, noticed your forgot so handed it in to the staff?”

“oh thanks, I will get it picked up”

I was expecting a bit more appreciation for the act that I didn’t even perform. I didn’t find the pass but I claimed it to be me. Regardless,  I over heard the waiters coming to the conclusion to she will come back to get it and had no intention to attempt to contact her. Beside they dint have her contact number and I am sure they wouldn’t have checked the feedback book simply because they did not give her as much attention as i did.

“how did you get my number? are you from the staff?” she asked.

“Nope, they didn’t even bother to contact you as they didn’t care but as I was writing the feedback, I noticed your number. Before I could tell them, they got busy and didn’t care about my suggestion”

“Wow, that’s kinda weird but thank you very much” Finally I was appreciated.

“My apologies if I have perturbed you with my sudden text. Rest assured, my intention wasn’t to bother you” –  well, I lied.

“Cheers”

We called it end of the day around at midnight after few good session of Sheesha and we were headed home. I have not be anxious about no more messages for her as at-least I was happy to just help her. We went home and my friends were out in no time, of course work had occupied their energy to be active for late night session as we used to do in college. I had no intention to loose any sleep and I was looking for another good day in the enticed city, Dubai.

The next day, I received messages thanking me with prolonged text and explaining how vital was for her to be on time at work and she couldn’t have afforded any delays. We chatted well that day and the day following and later in the end of my trip, we caught up for a coffee.

Today, we are in touch as a well wisher to each other and are friends who can talk with ease. The era we are in now, it is considered to be creepy if you are staring and smiling at someone, but if you keep your heart open, a clean mind and pure soul, you will find good people everywhere.

….and how can we all forget the proverb by Mother Teresa,

“Peace starts with a smile”

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