The women’s majlis: Using a gift to its full purpose

To many, driving a Mercedes is a status symbol. To me, it is far from that. Every time I hop into my car, it reminds me of my father’s generosity

I love the month of December. It brings back my fondest memory, that momentous day when my beloved father bought me an unexpected gift. On December 16, 2012, my father took me to the Mercedes-Benz showroom. He didn’t guarantee me a new car, he just said: “We’ll check out the deal of the month.”

The thought of driving a luxury car had crossed my mind, but I didn’t pay it much attention. As long as a vehicle took me to my destination, I was lucky, I told myself. But when there was a discussion in the Al Hameli household about getting me a new car, I was euphoric and unable to speak.

On our way to the showroom behind Marina Mall, happy tears were pooling in my eyes for two reasons. First, for having a father who embraces his daughters wholeheartedly. ­Second, for the many unexpected surprises bestowed on me in life.

After 20 minutes, we reached the motor company. The moment I set foot in the lounge and looked to my left, I fell in love. The shape and style of the new E Class made my heart skip a beat. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. “I wish I could have this,” the devil in me whispered.

After half an hour, my father asked which car I wanted. I stood still. “Am I supposed to pick a car right away?” I thought, bewildered.

“You fool, what were you doing the whole time? Pick a car and let’s go home. We are late,” he ordered. Trotting from one corner to another, I was confused. Mercedes is a prestigious car and I didn’t want my father to spend a huge amount. Meanwhile, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. When would my father take me to a luxury-car company again? Not even in my dreams perhaps. So I decided to buy the one I fell for at first sight.

Ten days later, a new inanimate object joined my family – my car. To many, driving a Mercedes is a status symbol. To me, it is far from that. Every time I hop into my car, it reminds me of my father’s generosity. I got my licence a few days before my car arrived, so it was a magical moment.

A few years ago, my father didn’t enjoy going out due to his poor health. After getting my car, I would invite him to spend more time outside. At first he hesitated, then he agreed. Today, whenever I invite him to go out either for a short walk in the pedestrian area at Al Qurm or for dinner to an Emirati restaurant, he usually joins in.

Now when my father goes out with me, he talks more: about the new buildings in Abu Dhabi; the fine roads on Yas Island; and also how bad my driving is.

Perhaps the main reason I have a great affection for my car is that my frequent outings with both my parents have helped me get closer to them and understand them better.

Asmaa Al Hameli is a ­features writer for The ­National.

If you’re an Emirati ­woman who has an interesting ­story to tell or an important issue to debate, contact Shireena Al Nowais on ­salnuwais@thenational.

Published: December 25, 2014 04:00 AM


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