Dear readers, you must know that our friend Pavan wants to be part of the camel races in Dubai. Well, we just received a letter from a racing dromedary from the United Arab Emirates. We wanted to share it with you, it is an interesting read!
I write this letter to that dreamer of a camel, perhaps, to plant his itching feet firmly on the sands or even the roads of India. Why am I such a gloomy dasher-of-dreams, you ask? Well, read on… and hope that the camel does too.
Many of you may have read my rather poignant letter to Aristotle, which was published in The Hindu. In it I recall my days as a racing camel in Dubai, a glittering jewel on the sands of the U.A.E. My life wasn’t easy; nor was it easy for the little children, illegally smuggled out of countries of South Asia, who were trained to be camel jockeys. I often wonder what makes a man inhuman – greed, lust or not having quality time with himself while chewing cud? But putting aside this emotional issue, I shall focus on my main agenda – to make that darn camel understand what a prized racing camel’s life is like.
Camel racing has been around ever since people domesticated the wild ancestors of ours when they settled into a nomadic life in the deserts of South Asia, Arabia and northern Africa. Sometimes spontaneous and sometimes organized, these races were a huge, passion-filled entertainment. However, along with a healthy ardour for this came in high stakes – large cash prizes, family or tribe honour and enormous egos. With more money pumped in, the carefree and relaxing sport turned into high-pressure, mega events.
Motabhais of the world are nothing when compared to the camel trainers. From birth, or sometimes even before that, the Chosen One’s life is not his. Hours of running on treadmills or in the deserts, swimming in special pools, exercise and a carefully monitored diet will not go down well with that rather hot-blooded, whimsical Pavan, or so I think. Racing is no longer a simple sport of “Ready, All Set, Go!”
Camel races have become a huge tourist attraction in Dubai. Between October and April, tourists come in hordes to see our races. Though there is great enthusiasm to see such an exotic event, I am not sure how many enjoy the chaos, dust and din that any race can and generally do generate. Nevertheless, the racing camel has yet another ‘driving force’ behind him.
To conclude my letter, I would say, “Hey, Pavan, dates on your palm trees are sweeter than those on mine! Ponder on this before you say Bye-bye, Motabhai!”