While returning home to Canada, from Mumbai, I took a stop and stayed with Poonam’s family in Sharjah for a couple of days. Poonam is a good friend of mine, and her husband Pravin runs a pharmaceutical business based in Sharjah. One day, while being a gracious host to me, Pravin suggested that we go visit Dubai. Scorching heat was baking the whole of Emirates outside in this month of July, but I felt I should go.

 “Sure, whatever you say, I am with you.” 

We all got ready. Poonam and Pravin’s daughter Ila also joined us. The car started rolling towards Dubai. Pravin made one call from car. It appeared as if he was arranging security clearance for us to visit some place.  

We came to a halt at some entrance gate, and got through the security. A beautiful huge structure came into vision. There were three to four shining Rolce Royces, with colorfully uniformed chauffeurs, waiting outside. We were about to enter the gorgeous lobby of a hotel. Two beautiful girls appeared, surrounded us, and sprinkled us with Gulaab-Jul (Rose water). I glanced around, and could not believe the sight! 

A huge curvy staircase, richly carpeted, going up one floor from two sides, huge aquarium with colorful fishes and marine life in the wall on each side of the staircase, and a water fountain in the center making water dance in some rhythm……   

 


Pravin had been contemplating to organize his next medical conference in this hotel, and so he had arranged for this visit.  

In about two minutes, Vijay, sales manager for the Burj Al Arab hotel, appeared to greet us. We all introduced each other, Vijay gave his business cards, and the tour began.  


 A view of the gorgeous lobby of Burj Al Arab Hotel from first floor

With skills of a successful marketing man, Vijay started filling us in on hotel’s high points: how huge it is, how tall it is, architectural intricacies of the Sail shape of the structure, water fountains, Arabian ocean view from everywhere, ocean-size aquarium inside the hotel, …… We went to the floor above, having climbed up the stairway. Impressed by the marketing skills of a young man, I asked:

“Vijay, which business school you got your MBA from?”  

Vijay, with a little smile on his face, said: 

“I am not an MBA, and I did not go to any big name school. I have always remained a student of a practical School!” Smart answer from a smart young man.  

 

 

“So, this huge Sail, touching the sky, must have cost a fortune to bring it into existence? These carpets, marble pillars, crystal chandeliers, gold shining everywhere…. May be, somebody created this monument in somebody’s memory?”  

“Yes, from all the corners of the world, whatever is the best and beautiful is brought here. It took 

about 1.24 billion American dollars to create this structure.  Everything that makes human life more comfortable is present here. This is the creation of Dubai’s Sheik.  

This is his present to the city of Dubai so that Dubai’s name would remain on the world’s map for a long time to come.”  

All right, I thought, it looks like there is no Mumtaz here for whose love TajMahaal was built. Still, may be, it is ok to spend fortune this way. 

“Vijay, it seems that no average person could afford to be your guest here. This hotel looks like a granddaddy of five-star hotels!”  

“Yes, an ordinary person may not be able to come and stay with us here. This hotel was not created with that in mind.”   

“In that case, who are your guests? I look around, and I see more of uniformed hotel staff rather than guests!” 

“Our guests are the people who are financially successful. FilmStars, SportsStars, Rich & famous, Politicians, ….” 

“Politicians? Oh yes, ordinary people pay for their expenses so that they can do good for the ordinary people!” 

Vijay laughed and remarked:

“As such, we do not do this kind of tour. Occasionally, if we do this kind of tour, we charge one hundred dirhaam for each person…”  

 

 


This remark came unexpectedly, and sounded like a big gun firing! I looked at Pravin, here; he is likely to get light by four hundred dirhaams! Pravin said softly to me,  

“I do not know… Nobody suggested that to me so far, may be, the bill would come later….”  

Engaging Vijay further, I said,  “Vijay, I consider you a lucky person. You get to meet so many Rich & Famous….” 

“Yes, that is true, but sometime it creates difficulty as well. These Rich & Famous think that everybody knows them, and expect fan-club response from everybody. I do not know everybody, and so sometime some Rich & famous gets upset about that!”  

Our tour took us to multitude of interesting sights within this unique structure. Ball Room, ConferenceRooms, Health & Spa Rooms, Restaurants, HeliPad, Submarine passage, …..

 


In the end, we came to a Suite to see within. Vijay mentioned: “This is not a Royal Suite, this one is three classes lower.” It did not make any difference to me; it looked Royal all right to me. The miracle of modern times is that you sit in one chair, and without getting up; you perform number of activities with the help of a Remote Control. 

 Fishes swimming in the outside ocean appealed me more than those within the palace….

Vijay demonstrated the most advanced Remote Control, showed us the laptop computer sitting on an elegant table, pressed a button of the Remote Control to open the huge curtain, and we saw the splendor of Arabian Ocean one more time.  

The tour was excellent. We thanked and congratulated Vijay. We came out, took some photos, and I started looking at the Arabian Ocean. The water appeared clean, green in color, and I could see the depth. I saw fishes swimming as well. A thought came to my mind: would I want to stay in this palace of gold? Fishes swimming in the outside ocean appealed me more than those within the palace….

 

 

 

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