West Asia, at first glance, definitely feels new, fresh and exciting. However, one seldom realises that they have previously travelled to this mysterious land via their imagination. Do you have the memories of an old and dirty lamp, a wicked old man, 40 thieves and a magic carpet? Once upon a time, we were eager to solve the mysteries of Ali Baba. The land of Arabia was the land of our childhood memories.
Do you remember shaking your head fervently as Aladdin, our favourite simpleton, happily packed his bags, anticipating work under a mysterious stranger? Can you recall peering into your study lamp, hoping to meet the most infamous genie of all time? Are you reminiscing the clutching of your heart and the look of amazement on your face when the words, “Open, O Simsim” caught your attention in “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”? Did you visualise a red-coloured magic carpet with golden borders at the age of six? With genies, magic carpets, dusty but enigmatic lamps, bahamuts adding colour, vigour and zest to an otherwise mundane life, a flying motorcycle in Harry Potter doesn’t seem entirely original now, does it?
I remember attentively reading “One Thousand and One Nights”, the book swaying delightfully under the arms of my six-year-old self. It was a mood enhancer in a way chocolates could never be. I have lived some of the happiest moments of my life lying under the soft grass of a palm tree, with the book and the occasional rustling of leaves to keep me company. Having prayed to the Almighty to save Scheherazade from the ruthless king who wanted to behead her, I was overwhelmed with joy as I reached the climax, the petrichor of winter rain in Dubai uncaptured by my senses.
Yes, West Asia has given us much more than we could have possibly imagined. It gave us a life full of passion, dreams, hopes and love. These stories that captured our imagination still remain at the back of our minds. Sometimes, they manifest themselves as a whisper nudging us to make the right choices.