June 6, 2010
Driving Miss Daisy
Till this day, she doesn't have a driver's license. In the eighties, she needed a driver to take her kids to activities (ranging from piano to ballet to ice hockey to riding to karate). She also needed a driver to run her errands. Her errands never consisted in supermarket shopping or dry cleaning (she would send him alone to do those), but she needed a driver to take her to run other errands.
She used to go to Deira in search of Chinese artifacts at Mrs. Wong's, or buy the whole sale inventory of ALLIEDS (now Tanagra), or window shop at the brilliant gold market across from Shindiga.
She hired Karim in 1979 and he remained in and as a part of our family for thirty years, till his unfortunate passing last year, while visiting his family in Kerala. Karim is missed today and we often remember his kindness and calmness, especially when we drive the streets of Dubai.
Our good memories are of his uncanny resemblance to the driver of Miss Daisy. Now my mother is clearly better humored and much younger than Miss Daisy, but when she sat in the back seat and requested her destination, we would tease her about the resemblance.
After he died, my mother never looked for a replacement for Karim. She simply decided to curtail her outings. She often catches a ride with my dad in his BMW Z8, when they go together to DIFC or Dubai Mall (new destinations for Dubai). She also gets dropped off at Karama where she will look for a good bargain.
Today I invited her to a French mother's day celebration at my children's school. She wondered a "could we go to Wafi before?". I picked her up in a fully air conditioned sedan, and remembered the "driving Miss Daisy" days. Indeed, I dropped her off at Tanagra while I food shopped at CarrefourExpress (something Karim would have done while waiting for her). On the way there, driving on Sheikh Zayed Road, she would urge me to slow down with those same remarks she gave Karim on the beach road.
After the school show, three kids in tow on the school parking, and me carrying the school bags (like Karim used to way back then), sweating in the 45 Celcius sun, we collapsed into the car again. The kids bantered and screamed their usual frustrated long day away. Miss Daisy complied but then asked them: "Do you treat my daughter this way, everyday? Are you dropping me off first?"
Tomorrow is my mother's birthday and I thought this appropriate to WISH HER THE HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY EVER.