What Dubai summers meant to kids


What Dubai summers meant to kids

As children growing up here in the 80s, we would play outside for hours whether it was summer or winter

By Enid Parker

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Published: Sat 22 Jun 2019, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 25 Jun 2019, 8:24 PM

In spite of having lived in the UAE for over three decades, every time summer comes around, it takes me a while to adjust to the idea. My annual journey to a summer-friendly mindset begins with a state of denial. When the first signs of a rise in temperatures make themselves evident, I, audaciously sporting a thick denim jacket, happily ignore the beads of sweat that appear on the very short walk from my home to the metro station.
"It's April," remarks a friend, who is dressed far more sensibly than I am, in a thin cotton outfit. "I know," I say, "but maybe it's one of those times when there's a hot spell and cooler weather will return."
Am I an eternal optimist or a fool? (the latter, my friend thinks). In subsequent days, as the little walk to the metro seemed to stretch out more and more (was it really five minutes?) and the temperatures showed no signs of relenting, I had no choice but to tackle life without my favourite jacket; it was neatly folded and put away for next winter, a glorious spectacle that seemed ages away.
"Don't worry," said my cotton-flaunting well-wisher, relieved to see I had a change of heart, wardrobe-wise. "Summer can be fun too." While my reply was an extremely audible grunt, I couldn't help thinking that there was some truth to this statement. On my return from work one day, as I walked through the empty patch of sand between the two buildings in Karama where I grew up, memories of playing outside as a child came flooding back.
We were quite resilient as kids; the sun never bothered us quite as much as it seems to now. We loved being outdoors, even in summer, with games like hopscotch, seven tiles, hide and seek, and football providing hours of entertainment. For kids who stayed back in the UAE during the summer vacation months - July and August - reportedly the hottest of the year, play time took on a new significance, as it was expanded to fill some of the time we used to spend at school. So we ended up being outside for a longer time during these months, as compared to the rest of the summer. I wonder how we did it, and why we aren't as acclimatised now to the desert summers as we were earlier.  
It's June now, and any jacket-wearing dreams I had are well and truly squashed. I am waiting for that sweet day when a dip in temperatures will allow me to revisit my winter wardrobe. Meanwhile, I'll adjust to the rising temperatures as best I can, reminisce about childhood summers, and count my blessings - there are many people whose nature of work makes it necessary for them to be outside most of the time; I am truly one of the fortunate ones to have a mostly indoor job. Winter, come soon!

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