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Published by kaleeM rajA, 2019-05-29 04:00:52

Dubai Days manuscript


kaleeM rajA

I dedicate this
book to my dear
friend Kaswayne
Murphy Budhan,
who encouraged
and inspired me
to write this
book and
acted as a
generous and
erudite reader,
interpreter and
patron of
literature and my

Copyright © 2019, Kaleem Raja
ISBN: 123-45678-9
Printed in Dubai, UAE
By Anyflip publishers ltd.

Dubai Days


kaleeM rajA


The UAE was the 15 country in which I lived and
worked. Of those beautiful countries I was fortunate
enough to call home and at which I was stationed as
a teacher, headmaster and educational consultant,
(albeit for sojourns at times), the wonderful
experiences of all these exotic climes I gladly
imbibed into my soul, psyche and social learning,
from England to Zanzibar to Italy to Nepal to
Morocco to Kenya to Qatar. But of all of these, it is
the UAE that most captivated me and ignited both
my social and intellectual curiosity.

The burnished, urbane lifestyle of Dubai as a
futuristic, glimmering metropolis, hit my artistic and
cultural sensibilities like a tourbillion and the
thunderbolt of its dazzling variety set my modest
existence on glorious life-nurturing fire. In its
majestic and dizzyingly-rich culture, I spent 3
eudemonic years of my life and loved every blink
and heartbeat of it.

This collection of poems, short stories, pictures,
reviews, cartoons, essays and photographs are a
crystallization of my expressionist feelings and
experiences of the UAE. It is both a personal and
historical record as well as a love letter and homage

to the city I fell in love with. It is also a note of
gratitude for the overwhelming ecstasy and felicity I
felt for being exposed, by this most remarkable of
countries, to so much beautiful art and culture,
history and heritage, natural beauty and awe-striking
architecture, abundance of sunshine and voluptuous
food, experience and existential conflict, a ragbag of
colourful characters and breakneck professional
challenges, simple rites of passage and profound,
life-altering milestones.

Between 2016 and 2019 were the Dubai days in the
narrative of my life.

I am here sharing them with you. Make of them what
you will; take of them what you can…

kaleeM rajA
May 2019

A Day at the Beach, Goodbye Chrysanthemums

25th Nov 18

The slate-grey Brighton sea stared back at me.

I pitched the parasol that wasn’t really needed

And went for an aimless walk.

A nonplussed bobby on the beat

On the promenade

And hen-party girls with blue hair
Sauntered past

Laughing in shrills at nothing in particular

And clutching electric-pink candy floss.

The sun glows indifferently, barricaded behind an
overcast sky, on a gloomy beach with beige

Cawing maniacally,
Gulls hover

Above the fumes of table salt and malt vinegar.

Fishcake broken

And letting off white plumes

Of hot air

Into the grey day.

Back at home,
My brother is trimming the shrubs he takes a
disproportionate obligation in keeping in perfect,
sharp-edged cubes.

The dried-up chrysanthemums

Are finally dumped

In the overfilled bin.

The night sneaks in over the dusky sky.

A Howl

Oct 17

A rusty chainsaw buzzes through cartilage and
grizzled meat

And vermillion splatters splutter

Ricocheting off entrails and bone.
Yellowed nails claw on the inside of a throat and
sweat squeezes through pores.

As the guttural squeals echo

Through abattoirs on shady moors,

Wispy clouds like pubic hair crawl across the face
of the moon.

Cats caterwaul and drunks drool
After vomiting guts and chunks of food

Onto grubby gutters and muddy roads.

The distant bark of restless dogs.

Something unholy breeds

In the sludge of musty bogs.

A bead of sweat

And somewhere something bleeds.

A breed apart.

A squalid heart.
A blade slices open an eye.

A howl.

A Maddened Sea

28th Jan 19

Wars drag,

Peace is fugacious;

A feathery willow that the wind blows away with a

Skin sags,

The soul is tenacious;

A bulwark against the violent dash of a maddened

A New Hope

Oct 17

Show me pictures of departed ones.

Something I have yet to understand.

Joy despite the grief.

We can't stay with any uncertainty.

It's just different now.

The abandoned are offered new beginnings.
Be keen to explain

The struggle to fit in.

Inside the enclosure

We are curious and weary of newcomers.

Relationships are fleeting

In current times and the younger generation

Tolerate the misfits
Better than we ever did.

The world rolls off the back of Atlas

And life is handed a new hope.

A Silent Death Knell

16th Oct 18

The disappointment of pearl-divers who come up
empty handed.
The larceny of bee hivers

And silent death knell where the plague-infested
tics landed.

Abusing the Privilege

23rd Jan 19

Watching expressions. My hand is bleeding. A
character on a page. A mystic. Shaman on the
horizon like a ghost. Push me. Leaving home again.
A student of the craft. Are you a vagrant votary too?
You want me to conform so I don’t and you won’t let
me be. Break me; I don’t think you can. But I want
you to try. My view from this window shows more
greenery; yours sees fire escapes, dumpsters and
brick walls. Murderous Mondays. Your extravagant
days are numbered. Feel the thickness of the rug
beneath your feet. It’s compelling, it’s bombastic,
it’s relevant. The absurdist in me revels in the
stupidity of it all. We all have the right to be stupid;
but some people tend to abuse the privilege…

Accepting a World Order Not of Your Making

Aug 18


No more

And may your tomorrow’s

Stand you in better stead.

No door

Should let in their sorrow

For they render everything dead.


Embrace for

Any other way is hollow
And drags nightmares into your bed.

All Are Bored

10th March 19, Al Warqa, Dubai

On the tips of my toes,
At the gallows,
A noose around my neck.
Something unnerving beckons.
Something perverse reckons.
Every tick reverberates
The ground upon which I stand.
There’s a dead man
And time is stalking him
To his end,
Waiting for the fall.
All stand
And watch.
All aboard
Are bored
By these daily deaths,
And justice is the first to walk.

All the Children Vanish in the End

Apr 18
In the living room
At mid-afternoon,
The cameras came
To the house of calm order.
She's so flighty, lightly pneumatic
With a pinched, sylph's waist
And snakes cascading down her upheld arms.
She flaunts the alabaster limbs
While still in possession of her charms.
Pastel-green silk robe with pink apple-blossoms.
The insouciance of home. Gentle sighs.
Private lives lived in quiet desperation away from
prying eyes,
Betrothed soon,
Under a honey moon,
Lying with a man twice her age.

The kitchen is arage with scolding steam and hot-
footed flurry and cutlery clash and silverware
Looking every bit like the bowels of Dante's
In the hearth, the flames lick the iron cauldron
And skillets simmer on coals smouldering.

In the faded family records,
Births and marriages and deaths
Are laid out in fluid, frilly italics
But there's nothing there
About the intrigues and scandals,
The spurns and spins,
Domestic demigods and mortal velitations,
Allegiances and adversaries and toilet bowl

The cook and nurse and nanny and parlour maid
Are paid
And go.

The elegance of silence.
The sepulchral wakes
Rake over
Another generation gone.

Bodies in the trenches,
Bodies in the concentration camps.
Piles of meat like in the pantry
And bat and rat faeces in the belfry.

The walls of the dingy study where you taught me
Is still lined with musky books.
On the leather-padded desk
Where you were often whiskey-addled, sits

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