Fatima Al Zarooni

COURTESY Mohammed Noor Al Anoohi

My mother, Fatima Al Zarooni, sewed this "kandora" for me when I was a newborn. She learned to sew soon after sewing machines were imported to Abu Dhabi. She enjoyed it so much that she set up a small sewing room in our house. Along with the "kandora," my mother sewed a crib cover to keep away mosquitoes. She told me that when I was a boy, I asked to keep my baby kandora and crib blanket, even though I had outgrown them.

Now that I am a grandfather, I still cherish these items, because they remind me of my youth. I remember the comforting hum of my mother’s sewing machine. I remember watching my father, who was an upholsterer, cover cushions with his traditional hand tools. I recall neighbors coming to our home to buy fabric. I have kept my mother’s sewing machine and my father’s upholstery tools to this day. I show my grandchildren the kandora I wore when I was a baby, so that they can compare the clothing Emirati people wore in the past with what they wear today.

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