Nov 4, 2012


By Ammara Mohsin

Write two contrasting descriptive pieces (300-450 words each) about different shopping trips; one enjoyable, the other not so.

The narrow lanes of Meena Bazaar were jam-packed with people. Moving an inch without bumping into someone was a far out possibility. Also hindering movement was the fact that this place was dimly lit, with cheap, orange energy savers hanging from the ceilings. Except the ocean of heads, nothing was visible ahead. The local crowd, especially women clad in black abayas frantically hustled into and out of the shops, dragging their young ones by the hand. The little shoppers were running like penguins to keep up with their mothers, because of the quantity of shoppers thrust into their hands.

The shops were equally dreary. Tiny, claustrophobic rooms, also dimly lit, with one, poor fan desperately trying to battle the heat and a chart paper acting as a signboard. There were shops selling every commodity possible - from traditional jewellery and flat chappals, to cheap plastic crockery and equally cheap table cloths and mats.

As is this wasn’t enough to repel me, there was a repulsive, sweaty stench hanging around in the air, as if somebody had vomited all over the place.

My constant misery was increasing by the minute; because of all this and the constant, loud voices of the vendors trying to advertise their goods. The buyers were no less. They were roaring at the top of their lungs and bickering in attempts at bargaining.

I was exhausted. My stomach growled. Upon insisting, my mother pointed at a bun kebab vendor some distance away. I looked at him, each brain cell in disbelief. He was drenched in sweat, frying the kebabs on a dirty, greasy pan. Occasionally, he would wipe the sweat with his hands, and then use the very same pair of hands to assemble the bun kebab.

My appetite vanished in a flash, as I wondered how this trip could now not get any worse. Or maybe it could! I thought as the entire Bazaar suddenly drowned in darkness. There was a power breakdown! Great!


Sensing my presence, the automatic doors opened in welcome. I stepped inside, eager to escape Dubai’s scorching heat. A waft of cool air greeted me. The air conditioned interior of Emirates Mall was heaven to my sweaty shirt and damp hair.

I stood there, taking in the atmosphere. The gigantic, spacious Mall stretched as far as my eye could see. It looked like a King’s durbar, lighted by magnificent glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling high above me.

In all directions, I could see expensive, designer wear shops lighted by vivid neon signboards. Not a single brand was missing! From glossy handbags to grand furniture, everything was available in a zillion colors and patterns. It was a shopper’s paradise!

What also caught my attention was the presence of people from all over the globe. People in saris, shorts, jeans, and shalwar kameez; and yet there was an easy intermingling of all nationalities.

I could hear a lively buzz – a kaleidoscope of sounds. People laughing and chatting, soft music playing, from advertisements playing on LCD screens, and the different variety of languages. It kept one hooked – made one feel alive.

Everything about this place was appealing. Even the smell. I could smell a fusion of fragrances; the candy-like smell of perfumes mixed with the rich smell of fried food combined with the smell of brand new things.

What allured me in particular was the smell of food. I made my way to the food court. I could only stand and stare at the entrance. My mouth was salivating at the sight of a hundred restaurants, selling all kinds of cuisines; ones that I knew about, and ones that I didn’t even know existed.

I bought a mouthwatering hamburger meal from Hardees', and sat on a comfortable sofa, folding my legs. I began devouring the food. It tasted delicious! I gobbled it up in five minutes! After all, I needed all the energy to explore the vast city I had just entered!


Post a Comment