PINK DUST

Very often something as simple as a sound or sight can fire up long-forgotten childhood memories, sending me into the past to relive that moment. Take the clack of a trotting horse. As soon as I hear it, my very first memory flashes before my eyes, as vividly as a movie. Everywhere I look, I see white. Snow, I presume. Snow on the roads, snow on the trees, snow on the mountains. Even the sky is white. I am moving forward, with an icy breeze in my face. My attention is devoted to the blur of dark figures that I pass by, but I soon realise that I'm in fact sitting on a horse. A white horse. Eventually I tire out and slowly place my head against the back of his neck, burying my stubby fingers into his mane, tightening my grip. And then my memory too fades out into white. My mother, skeptically, tells me I couldn't possibly remember this since it happened when I was only a year old, on a trip to Murree. Perhaps she's right, with infantile amnesia and all. The sound of crows cawing immediately makes me break out into a sweat. I'm transported back to the balmy month of June, at some undistinguishable age, lying on the floor of my grandmother's home in Karachi. The air is still. I take slow, deep breaths. The marble floor does its best to fight off the heat that's gripping my body as I stare through a netted window at the dust covered leaves of a black plum tree, the crows fooling around beyond the tree, and the black kites soaring like kings even further away in the heavens....

PEIRCE-ING SILENCE

Deciding what to wear can be a daunting task, even more so when you don't actually have an occasion to dress for. You just want to doll up, maybe to feel better after a rough day, or maybe because you're itching to take your latest shopping haul for a spin, or maybe because that's just how you want to portray yourself to the world (I'm looking at you, Lady Gaga). At the end of the day, who really needs a reason to dress up? Right? If it makes sense to you, forget about justifying your sartorial choices to others.* Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate. Something like that. Back to what I was saying. When I think of the word "explore", two people come to mind - Indiana Jones and Dora The Explorer. Don't worry, it's safe to say that I won't be getting any fashion inspiration from the latter any time soon (or ever). While exploring Singapore isn't nearly as treacherous as venturing into the Temple of Doom, it felt somewhat appropriate to channel the former since I was going to be trailing through a micro jungle. Fun fact, Lower Peirce Reservoir is Singapore's second oldest reservoir, commissioned back in 1912. Just seconds after getting on the boardwalk trail, you're transported out of reality. Even the air feels cooler. Vehicular clamour from the roads nearby were drowned out and replaced by a strange sound one doesn't hear very often in this urban jungle - silence. It took me a while to notice that we weren't actually trailing through silence though, we were shrouded in nature's gentle orchestra. The incessant chirping of cicadas and crickets and the occasional birdsong accompanied us throughout. The...

VILLAGE BY THE CREEK

Something feels a little askew as I step outside onto the balcony at 3 am - the wind is blowing fervently, yet I feel like I'm standing right beside an exhaust, enveloped in unadulterated heat. I guess that's just the way Dubai is in June, even in the middle of the night. Along the murky horizon faint lights are aglow, the only suggestion of the skyscrapers that dominate Sheikh Zayed Road. Rhythmic pulses of light much higher than the rest of the hazy skyline emanate from the city's crowning glory, the Burj Khalifa. I've been to many of these buildings on previous trips, and feel a sense of boredom growing in me. Fighting off the jet lag, I sink back into bed, sinking even slower into slumber deep. The following afternoon, deciding rather foolishly to brave the 40°C sun, I followed the path less travelled and opted to visit the city's heritage sites and traditional areas rather than the conventional tourist hotspots... on foot. These historical neighbourhoods are located not too far from where I was staying, a short twenty-minute walk. So, with earphones on and water bottle in hand, I begin my journey. Barely five minutes later, I cave and casually enter a roadside store to cool down. Forty minutes and multiple pit stops are what it really took to get there. Finally, with the mechanic hums of abras growing louder, the Dubai Creek materialises before me. My first thought: can I jump in for a quick cool-off? No? Aw shucks. I walk north along the strangely blue creek, shimmering like topaz between the dull and dusty banks of Bur Dubai and Deira, towards Al Shindagha. In this neighbourhood I find a lost city, several sand-coloured courtyard houses huddled together, unimpeded...
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