Sunday, May 3, 2009

Facing fear at the fun fair

Amidst fears of financial ruin and swine flu, there’s still more than enough fun to go around these days. Flight specials and holiday packages are priced better than ever and I can now rent a car for AED10 per day in Dubai.

Yes, I’m back in the desert and ready to face the heat. Temperatures are soaring up to mid-40s already and I have bought myself a yellow Latika shawl (you know, like the one she wears in Slumdog Millionaire’s Bollywood scene). It’s my favourite accessory for summer already and I keep it handy in my Moroccan leather bag for whenever I need to step into the sun.

After sunset, when the heat becomes more bearable, the waterfront area at Fesitival City is one of my favourite areas in Dubai. It’s a lovely place to walk and admire the yachts or the skyline. After a dinner of soup de l’oignon and Chardonnay at Bistro Madeleine along the water, my friend Prasanti spots the fun fair in the distance and promptly decides that it’s time to give the child inside free reign.

I vow to go on the ferris wheel only, since my tolerance level for roller coasters is not very high. The horror evoked by everyday life is enough for me; I don’t need to pay for anxiety. Prasanti has a different plan though and before I know it I am on one of these scary rides. To the kids’ amusement I yell at the top of my lungs and a lifetime of pent up screams seem to come out all at once.

Glad to have my feet on the ground again, I look at Prasanti, giggling.

“Well then, I guess no more rides...” she says.

True enough, but what a perfect reminder that it’s possible to push through fear and come out just fine on the other side. We market fear as fun, with roller coasters, movies and extreme sports. Then we may as well try and use it to our benefit in real life too.

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