Let It Snow, Let It Snow
By Kamal Sunavala

There's nothing wrong with being a cynic if you give it a rest just before Christmas and at New Year's. And so I did. I was hanging around The Red Lion, the Czech pub in Dubai, and talking to a couple of people who weren't heading back to the Czech Republic for the holidays. We were listless and bored and moaning about the lack of anything Christmassy here, apart from the shopping which happens year-round anyway.

Most of all, we missed the snow, the silly excitement of joining half the country in the Krkonoše Mountains and of course, the snow. So while we were a bit mollified that temperatures had dropped to 14 degrees, we were still not in a ho ho ho mood. I mean honestly, drinking mulled wine here without the majesty of any náměstí to wander around in, just doesn't do it for me. Nor, does it for Ondřej or Petra who were quietly reminiscing about their holidays in the Krkonoše.

Then the miracle of Christmas happened. While we all tucked in our beds at night, dreaming of Santa, the Christmas market in Prague and the snow falling softly outside our windows, it did. Not outside our windows, I grant you. But high up in the mountains (yes, there are mountains in the UAE!) it snowed softly for the first time in forty years in this country.

The next morning the papers were full of the news. We met up at The Red Lion and danced wildly around the tables whilst singing a daft mash of Czech and English Christmas songs. It was absolutely unbelievable and although the snow was unlikely to fall again and it was less than two kilometres wide, it was snow! Real snow and real cold and nothing could dampen our childish excitement. Petra said she would bake vánočka in its honour and although I didn't see the connection I insisted on continuing to jump in my chair.

The beauty of this was that each and every one of us who has lived in the Czech Republic and in other parts of Europe have a particular affinity to the snow, especially when we are now in a part of the world where all you get is unbearable heat. We joked that it was our constant whingeing and whining that finally made it snow.

As we sat around that evening exchanging stories of how we spent winters in the Czech Republic and longed to get away to warmer lands, there were still some of us who secretly longed to be enveloped in a white blanket.

The newspapers showed broad headlines that day about the miracle of snow and cited the various meteorological and geological reasons for this to have happened.

There were three people in a Czech pub in Dubai who knew the real reason. It was our Christmas present come to us, all the way from the country we loved. Thank you, Mikuláš.

Read Kamal's Tongue-in-Czech stories from Prague.