The Magic Subway

The Magic Subway

It feels like it was just yesterday. I was holding baba’s(father) hand walking towards the Jamiya (Co-operative Society Market), in the Town Centre of Al Ain, where he bought me a shawarma. It was a pleasant evening for an enjoyable stroll.

The city had a long overhead bridge at the Sheikh Zayed 1st Street at that time, hanging over a roundabout just in front of the Jamiya. We had to go to the other-side of the roundabout where Al-Fardan Exchange was located. Suddenly, baba stopped and said “ Ali, crossing the roundabout could be dangerous lets go through the subway.” He pointed towards the subway entrance in front of the Jamiya Mosque.

I who was barely six years old had no reason to believe that speeding cars were dangerous, at that age don’t we just run onto roads without looking left or right? Like why should we?? Anyways I nodded my head in acceptance and started walking with him towards the subway while munching on the delicious shawarma. Baba looked at me and started laughing an exclaimed “Ali, you don’t have to eat the paper, it’s not the part of your shawarma”. To my surprise he was right, I was wondering why did my shawarma tasted all papery.

Alas with more than half of the shawrma left wrapped by little amount of paper. I and baba arrived at the entrance of the subway. Living in Al Ain you might have gone through one of many subways and must have noticed that all the subways look the same through there tiles, sandy theme and lighting.

So I slowly started walking down the stairs, duh as if I had any choice I was six, trusting my shawarma to baba, I think he ate a bit, I then started mastering the skills of walking down the stairs. We finally got to the base of the subway and I delightfully took my shawarma back and restarted eating.

As soon as we turned left into the subway what I saw next blew my mind.. it was like the Harry Potter movie! Like I just ran into the Pillar of Platform 9¾ and entered into a completely different world. The moment was so unexpected the feeling was so surreal. This was no normal subway, this was the entrance to the famous Al Ain Underground Market.

A number of shops in an organized cluster with a cafeteria at the side having little chairs with people on them chatting and playing carom. I could also see tea being supplied all around the market. a huge fountain in the middle which was surrounded by a number of mobile balance providers. In a matter of moments I found a town under a city. the market had everything from toys to blankets to clothes. Baba took me to one shop and bought me a toy scooter that scooter holds this memory to my brain. Baba then showed me the market he was encouraged to do so after seeing how enthusiastic I got with discovering my first civilization under the earth. We then left the market and climbed up the same normal stairs of the subway and I found myself standing on the side of Al- Fardan Exchange.

Unfortunately, people who moved to Al Ain after 2009 will not be able to relate to this blog post. The town centre of Al Ain went through a complete make-over 2008 onwards.

The Post is written by

Syed Mohammad Ali Kazmi

Final year student of LLB(Hons.), BPP Law School

London, UK.

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1 thought on “The Magic Subway”

  1. Thank you for this article, even I didn’t know about this underground place even though I was present since 1997. Fardan Exchange still stands in the same building so you can have some memories there and the same Co-op building too. So visit it before they demolish it!

    I visit them from time to time and it feels like I have entered a time machine.

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