The 280th Floor

Dream worshipers exist, the ones who are only limited by the hourglass of life and the laws of physics in translating their imagination into reality.

It’s too chilly for a November evening, isn’t it? Or perhaps it’s that cold only where I’m standing right now, the apex floor of Burj Samaa which at 1400m is the tallest object man has ever constructed. I come here once every week for meditation, which I do in my very own way. And believe you me, standing in the balcony of the 280th floor isn’t a very comfortable experience. Most people who get here get dizzy and nauseated while some have even vomited. Just that I’m used to it.

I have just arrived from office. I left early today because reminiscences of my earlier life, which I lived with my father, impulsively overtook my mind and made me too glum to focus over work. Well, I’m not upset anymore. I took a cup of this magical antidote, The Starbuck’s Cappuccino, from the mall at the mezzaine of this tower before I left for the One and a half kilometers of meditating ascent to this floor, the 280th floor, something that plays an additional role in sweeping my worries away. But still, as I’ll enjoy watching the whole of Dubai from here for the next hour, I’ll be lending my thoughts to Baba, the greatest person I’ve ever known.

Baba was a fisherman. We were poor. The only fun part I can recall of the first decade of my life was devouring the fish, or shrimps, which Baba brought home once every week, or twice if he had been luckier.  Then, when I was entering my teens, all of a sudden and for reasons I was then too young to grasp, our lives got radically transformed. We relocated from our one-room hut in the slums to a well furnished flat in Downtown Dubai and later to a 6 bedroom bungalow. Its only when I got into high school that I realized my father had become a fisherman who didn’t  fish by himself anymore and instead made some dozen workers do that for him. He had made his own fisheries company in a matter of few years, all from scratch. That was surprising but I was brought up in an atmosphere which had rendered me impervious to surprise as I had subconsciously learned from Baba in my early life that everything was probable, that everything was possible.

Hey look at that. Wait, let it come a little closer. See now? Doesn’t it look like a flying bus from here? Oh of course there’s a reason they call it “Airbus”. By the way, Burj Samaa is only a few miles from the New Dubai International airport. When the foundation stone of Burj Samaa was being laid four years ago, International and Local authorities had done their best to impede the approval of it’s construction at the present site. They said it was too close to the airport. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zaid, the Ameer of UAE had mediated on the ground that Burj Samaa was the pride of our nation and for that reason had declared that he would not allow any hindrance in the project. It is said that there has been some ulterior motive behind building it over here, distant from Dubai Downtown, a motive that the owner has never shared with anyone, except perhaps the Ameer of UAE.

Oh, I was telling you about my early life. Well, by the time I entered adolescence, I had traversed my entire previous life on a roller coaster, thanks to Baba, and was a strange person for the multitude of circumstances and social classes I had lived in. He sent me to the United States to get a degree in Informatics from a very prestigious institution, something that most people only dreamed of. But that wasn’t really what I wanted. I wanted to be a medical scientist. I dreamed of becoming a world acclaimed innovator in medical science. But my belief in Baba’s sagacity was way more than my loyalty to my dreams. That’s why I never challenged his decision. Instead, I spent some six months in rooting out scientific ambitions from my dreams.

When I returned to my homeland, The Emirates, Baba was fighting for his life in terminal stages of lung cancer. He asked me and my elder brother to carry forward his business, a demand that shattered me once again. I had switched to newer dreams in accordance to the career Baba had forced upon me, an endeavor that had been utterly painful and difficult to accomplish. But, for reasons I’ve already told you, I couldn’t refuse. Baba was my idol. From him came all inspirations in my life. I eventually took over Baba’s business a week after Baba’s existence faded into the graveyard’s soil.

When I stepped into the business, I saw for the first time the economic machinery that had been fueling the privileges I had rejoiced all my life. I never got the opportunity of learning business stratagem from Baba as our relationship was anything but frank. But what I learned from him without words was more than what I could have taken from him otherwise. Baba would often swear that he could see dreams in my eyes and that I could never fail the way I tethered those dreams to my soul. Those words gave me all the confidence I needed to push that business forward despite serious initial failures. My ways of trade were unorthodoxy, something that the manager and the dozen workers didn’t like. But I was too confident to ignore my inner voice, which I believed to be Baba’s soul speaking to me from the heavens. Baba had planted the seed of my dreams in a very fertile soil that he had plowed all his life before he left the world.

Can you imagine how childish my dreams were? I dreamed of possessing the highest floor in the world’s tallest skyscraper. Isn’t that Silly? Well, that’s exactly what everyone else I shared my dreams with used to say. And I got married to the only one on earth who didn’t. After Baba, she has been the most important bridge to my dreams. Well, as you might have inferred already, today I do own the 280th floor of Burj Samaa, the highest point on earth that man has ever inhabited.

That’s because I own Burj Samaa.

I got it constructed over the exact place our hut was thirty years ago. And so, after having lived two decades in Dubai Downtown, I’m back where my life started, only higher.



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