By Rabab Khan, Community Interactivity Editor www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: As the Dubai Metro gears up to set out on its first official journey, several Gulf News readers are celebrating another joyous occasion on the much-awaited launch date – their birthdays.
Mohammad Al Shair, a Jordanian expatriate, will be turning 36 on September 9. Having lived in the UAE for 13 years, Al Shair is looking forward to the launch of the Metro.
He said: “I live in Sharjah and would not mind using the Metro on a daily basis. It would be highly convenient for me, as I have to travel a lot for meetings.”
Al Shair hopes that the Metro will ease the traffic situation once fully operational.
Another reader who carries the same views is Mohammad Shams, who will be celebrating his 20th birthday on the same day.
He said: “Like thousands of Dubai residents, I too am excited to travel on the first Metro ride, but the excitement for me is doubled! I am a student in Dubai and drive to university every day, which ends up being quite expensive. The Metro will be a relief.”
Anuradha Gopala-krishnan, an Indian expatriate, is thrilled to celebrate her 31st birthday on the same day as the launch of the Metro.
She said: “We are eagerly waiting for the Metro. I am planning to go along with my family for a ride on its inaugural day.”
Another excited reader, Zainab S. Bahrainwala was surprised to hear the launch date of the Metro as she turns 30 on the same day.
She said: “I have been raised in Dubai and I would like to use the Metro every day. I am willing to give up my car for it, as I am tired of the traffic congestion.”
Rafia Saeed, a Pakistani expatriate, agrees.
She said: “I would love to be among the first passengers on September 9. I would want to visit malls [via] the Metro. I think it would be a big relief and one would not have to suffer the traffic congestion.”
Rafia was born and raised in Dubai. She turns 20 the day the Metro is launched.
Renato B. Arganda, a Filipino expatriate, has been living in Dubai for more than 13 years, and he turns 40 on September 9.
“I will be using the Metro on the weekends for I know it will be faster than driving,” he said.
Several parents wrote in to Gulf News in the hopes of making their child’s September 9 birthday a little more special.
Among these children is Taim Slama, a Tunisian-Egyptian expatriate, who will be celebrating his first birthday this year. His parents are planning to take him for a ride on the Metro at 9am, as according to his father, that is the exact time he was born a year ago.
Another young reader, Simran Mehta, is looking forward to celebrating her Metro-themed birthday party as she turns six.
Her father Sanjay, told Gulf News that they have planned a trip on the Dubai Metro along with 25 of Simran’s friends.
The catch is – everyone is required to wear red attire and carry a red balloon, to celebrate the launch of the Metro’s Red Line. Red also happens to be his daughter’s favourite colour.
The celebrations are also set for Gulf News reader Mohammad Seddiq’s son Mohammad Rafae, who will be turning five on the day of the Metro’s launch.
Seddiq said: “We plan to celebrate his birthday at home as it is Ramadan, but we have plans to go out after dinner for a ride on the Metro. We are proud to be in Dubai as the Metro becomes a part of this modern city.”
One reader who is proud of her special date of birth is Sarah Farooq Qasim. Born in South Carolina, US, on September 9, 1999, Sarah is eagerly anticipating the launch of the Metro.
She said: “I have never been on a [train like this] before, so this would be a new experience.”
Her mother, Salma Farooq Khan, told Gulf News that the family moved to the UAE in 2005 from Islamabad, Pakistan.
She explained: “I have travelled around the world and have used the metro in places like New York. The one in Dubai will be of great assistance to passengers, too.”
When it comes to special dates, Sanuja Sanil is not far behind, as she would be celebrating her ninth birthday on September 9.
Her family intends to travel on the Metro the same day, as it is an extremely special event.
Her father, T.S. Sanil said: “We have been waiting for our daughter’s ninth birthday since the day she was born, but we never ever expected that the Metro would be launched on the same day!”