x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Indian life: Ins and outs of severe weather

Summer in Abu Dhabi can be a lot like winter in Toronto - the desire to stay indoors is often overwhelming.

Things are drying up in the capital. Summer is almost here, which means soon we'll all have to huddle indoors and race between our cars and flats while the humidity conspires to make us sweat profusely. We will be forced to do more than just avoid the heat. We will be forced to take to indoor activities. It's not unlike the winters in North America. The first few snowflakes were always a welcome sign. You could feel your breath crisp up. Houses would be strung up in lights in anticipation of Christmas. Children would waddle down the streets bundled in the warmest snow trousers and winter jackets their parents could find them. Teenagers, on the other hand, would resist zipping up their jackets for as long as they possibly could, preferring, it seemed, to freeze with their teeth chattering while they waited at bus stops.

Once a few fresh layers of snow had settled on the ground, my friends and I would bring out our "winter stuff" - snowboarding gloves, shoes, waterproof trousers, helmets and goggles - and keep a constant ear on the Weather Channel, wishing for more snow. Not freezing rain, snowstorms or wind chill. Just snow, please. Some people brought out ice skates. Others proudly put their skis on top of their cars, ready to take off as soon as they heard about the perfect snow-covered mountain.

The rest simply dived indoors and found activities that kept them warm and fit. Summer in the UAE offers a similar insight. Noses, hands and feet may not be numb from the cold, but we are forced to think of ways to make life more interesting than reading and watching DVDs for the next few months. So summer workshops for kids open up. There's Bollywood dancing to be learnt along with the making of short films, all inside social centres that offer children a way out of boredom. For the diehard sports fans, there are a few arenas that allow for indoor basketball, but cricket players are forced to move their games later into the evenings, often playing in parking lots well into the night on most weekends.

I foolishly thought that the ski hill in Dubai would do for me in the summer what the mountains of Canada did for me in the winter. So I brought my snowboarding boots with me, paying to take them, along with a ski jacket and other accessories, in overweight baggage. Two years have passed and as much as I have huddled indoors, I am yet to find myself on the ski slope. I am still looking for something to motivate me. Dedication to keep going is, after all, everything.