I’m so glad that I decided to join the Dubai Writers’ meetup group. It was my first time to join any online meetup group. I’ve had some friends suggest that I join the meetup web site to make new friends in town. But I’m not someone who goes looking for new friends. I like things to happen naturally. If I meet someone who is interesting and friendly enough in any setting and at any time, then I will welcome the friendship with open arms. But the idea of registering on a web site that helps bring people together for different activities, interests, and purposes, did not appeal to me that much.
Then, one day while I was on a quest to find a mall magazine to contact, only to find out that it has long been discontinued, I came across a piece in a lifestyle magazine that mentioned the Dubai Writers’ group on meetup. I felt that this was my sign for the day and that I had an obligation to follow it and take the step to join the group! I had an intuition that this was my clue and it was a replacement for the discontinued magazine I was trying to contact. It was the new window that opened up to me at that very specific moment.
My first meetup with the group was thrilling as I got the opportunity to meet new people who share the same interests as I do. It was exciting to connect with other individuals who clearly have a lot in common with you. We had common personality traits, ways of thinking, ways of talking and behaving. It was as if you could see a reflection of yourself in other people from multiple cultures and backgrounds. The positive energy was so immense that I went on to start my first blog the next day! I guess all I needed was to meet other like-minded individuals in a cafe to give me the motivation I needed to kick-start my own blog and practice my writing.
Our second meeting was held at the cafe in the huge Japanese bookstore in Dubai Mall; a book-lover’s paradise. That cafe has always been a favorite hidden gem for me. It made for a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai life and the Dubai Mall where it’s located. I didn’t need to be reading any book to go there. I simply found peace in sitting in a quiet spot away from the endless crowds and tremendous speed of life.
Although the music coming from the ever-popular Dubai Mall fountain proved to be distracting at times, the view of the dancing fountain accompanied by the water movement and changing lights made for a great backdrop to our little meeting. It gave me a sense of pure joy and serenity. It was a celebration of life, with its ever-changing nature. A reminder that everything is transient, and that we should always try our best to move with the flow of life and its constantly changing dynamics.
Another moment of high spirits overpowered me while I was walking through the packed book shelves in the store. It feels great to know that you have access to so many books on almost any topic in the world! ranging from self-help books to manga to fashion and arts titles. With today’s busy, fast-paced lifestyle, I’m sure most of us don’t have the time to read as much as we would want to. But the simple privilege of being surrounded by a huge amount of new-releases and best-sellers, in a peacefully-quiet(weekend evenings excluded) Japanese cafe with a panoramic view of a dancing-fountain, brought joy and bliss to my heart. I was grateful for having the opportunity to be in a city where I can practice my own personal interests in a friendly and safe environment with positive, like-minded people.
The city known for its high speed of life does offer a time for peace and reflection after all.
As I and a meetup buddy were making our way past the book shelves towards the exit, he asked: “Did you read any books at the store before the session started?” Having arrived thirty minutes late for the meeting, of course I hadn’t…but I smoothly answered with: “I was here two days ago with a friend, and they didn’t allow us to take unpaid books into the cafe.” He said that we would have to read them outside the cafe then.
So hopefully the day will come, when some of us don’t need to rush into life like we do nowadays….and we might just have some free time to spare sitting at a book store bench, or even a step, reading our pick for that day, just like the old-days, when people had less thoughts and responsibilities on their minds, and more free time on their hands.