What was Sheikh Mohammed's first gift to his mother?
Dubai - "Seeing her smile filled with life was the most beautiful thing in the world."
In this chapter, Sheikh Mohammed recollects more stories about the most important woman in his life: His mother Sheikha Latifa bint Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He talks about the first present he gifted her and the time she told him about a trip to London.
"Poet Nizar Qabbani laments his beloved Balqis in his poem:
She was the most beautiful queen in Babel's history.
The tallest palm in the land of Iraq.
When she walked, peacocks walked with her, and deers would have followed her."
When Sheikh Mohammed met the 'most beautiful, kindest woman in his life'
When Sheikh Mohammed walked in the desert without food or water
When Sheikh Mohammed was stung by scorpions
A valuable lesson Sheikh Mohammed learnt when he was just 11
When Sheikh Saeed fetched water from well for worshippers
"This poem reminds me of my mother, Sheikha Latifa. I remember seeing her walking, followed by gazelles she used to raise."
"I gave my first present to my mother when I was seven years old. I was staying with Hamid bin Ahmi, learning hunting skills in desert. One day, I saw a newborn gazelle, whose mother left him alone in the desert. Gazelles give birth away from their herd, and in some cases, afraid of losing the herd, the mother hurries up, leaving their babies behind."
"Hamid's wife and I saw the mother leaving the little gazelle alone. I went to it and hugged it. We waited for the mother until the sunset, but it never returned."
"I knew who could compensate the baby gazelle, my mother."
"My mother loved gazelles. She gave me a life and would give it to the baby gazelle, too. When I returned home, I gave her the baby gazelle, and it made her so happy. Seeing her smile filled with life was the most beautiful thing in the world."
"I still remember when she told me about my first trip to London. She told me about a strange country and a new adventure."
"I was surprisingly looking at her when she told me that I would sleep inside a very tall building, unlike what we used to do in Dubai, because in summer, we used to sleep on the roof."
"I will never forget the night when she told me about the trip. It was a year after my father took his office in 1959, and I hardly slept."
"Who is like you, my mother?"
In what he is calling his "incomplete biography", His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has broken his latest book, Qissati (My Story), into 50 chapters, narrating 50 stories in his 50 years of serving the nation. Khaleej Times got a signed copy of the book from the Dubai Ruler and everyday, we will be featuring excerpts from each of the 50 chapters.