Akif Abdulamir In my usual evening walks, I saw something glittering on top of a heap of rubbish under a flood of lights from a passing car. I guess it was a curiosity more than anything else that made me stop. I bent over to have a closer look competing with a couple of cats who were helping themselves to a meal of leftovers. I would normally not be seen rummaging through a rubbish dump. I guess it was the idea of a mysterious gem lying idle in the middle of the muck that got better of my good sense. I kicked the old cans, greasy plastic bags and all the nasty rejects of the houses in the neighbourhood but the 'gem' was nowhere to be found. I gave up after a couple of minutes and continued with my walk not realising that my trainers were covered with dirt. Looking back, I can't think why on earth would I want to look through a smelly bin in the dark? The action surprised me. It was also uncharacteristic of me. However, looking deeper at my background, as a kid, I used to dream of accidentally kicking the biggest diamond in the world while walking on the beach. It was not the money but the idea of making headlines that inspired the dream. I guess my early reading of books like King Solomon's Mines had something to do with it. Perhaps, subconsciously, I might have been attracted by people who make their living out of searching the bins. Perhaps, the search of unknown from unlikely places might be behind it. It might not be that ridiculous. A stolen world cup, made of solid gold, was after all found buried under a tree in 1966 after it was dumped there in mysterious circumstances. Sometimes, under all the refinement we put on the front, we really have some ridiculous habits that we rather not talk about. While I might have an urge or two to go into rubbish bins, others find the impulse to wake up in the middle of the night to raid the kitchen impossible to tame. People normally don't talk about it and they deny if they are 'caught'. I think we all go through different phases as we travel through the passage of life. We sometimes try to fill the voids in our existence with some excitements. I think searching for simplicity in a complex life makes us unhappy. When the going gets tough we are pushed to look for peace of mind in unlikeliest places. Once the hustle and bustle of life in the city gets the better of us, we become envious of the primitive routine of a villager. Funnily enough, most villagers today want to be part of the city. That's why, I guess, most of the city big shots have a place in the countryside. It is an escape retreat when the pressure becomes unbearable. Even a weekend drive far away from home at a spot no one is around can be therapeutic. But with financial pressure mounting, a weekend away can put a dent in our coffers. Now, as I write this column, I find the answer to my impulse to rummage the bins. Unknown to me then, it was my escape route. It might only have been a pin that sat on top of the rubbish. Like a flash in the pan, it served its purpose when I walked away from the 'two-minute expedition'. Well, since I found some justifications for it, I now feel better and perhaps would stay clear of rubbish heaps in the future. Having said that, you might be inspired to examine your stupid habit and come to terms with it. -Khaleej Times