It’s been almost three years and I don’t think I can call myself an NRI anymore.
But I have always wondered, if I had a book, or a guide or some sort of thing that resembled the characteristics of a crystal ball, that could’ve told me how life was going to be like over here, would I have packed my bags anyway?
I still can’t answer that question and I don’t know if I see myself in Mumbai forever, so I think this is the best time to start this blog.
In all sincerity, this blog was only meant to be a guide. A guide, for those who want to know how exactly life is going to be like in Mumbai. You know, kind of like a blue print of expectations and instances.
However, you can’t really talk about things to expect and circumstances, if there isn’t someone who has been through it.
This blog is about me, someone who left Dubai, home for that matter, to live here in Mumbai. There wasn’t anyone, just people I knew and I still live on my own. It’s been three “mind-blasting” years, as Russel Peters would put it.
But someone’s got to know…
The first two blog posts are obviously going to be about the place where I have come from, so not many NRI’s from the States or UK are going to understand, but it’s a treat anyway, at least for Mumbaikar’s. They’ll probably go back to their Dubai friends and ask them about some things I have written.
So without further adieu, I bring to you, my first blog post.
In my opinion, and I know a lot of people who would agree to this- 90’s was the BEST time in Dubai.
And being from Dubai, I think it is my duty to state some facts but it’s obviously your decision to decide whether it’s fact or fiction.
Not really, I’m just being modest.
1. Indians in Dubai = Indians in India - Nothing Changes.
There is no difference in the Indians in Dubai. Want to know why?
Cause there are ONLY Indians everywhere.
You step outside the airport and you’re going to find so many Indians. It just doesn’t feel like its “abroad”, cause you have so many brown people.
If there is a difference, it is the Bargaining. We cannot bargain in Dubai. We don’t have places like flea markets, we only have malls everywhere. But since we are cheap, we wait for the bloody sale. And that’s how I conclude the hypothesis: Indians in Dubai = Indians in India - Nothing Changes.
2. IHS and OOEHS had the maximum number of Indian Kids. (And they always fought with each other)
In all honesty, I’m using initials because our school names were lame, but since this is a blog- O.O.E.H.S (Our Own English High School), and T.I.H.S (The Indian High School).
Fun Fact: See how I smartly added the “T” before the “I”, so that you could spell “SHIT” backwards.
My school being OOEHS was the snobby, we-have-to-beat-everyone-else-in-everything school and IHS was the let’s-just-do-whatever-they-are-doing-and-beat-them.
Even if another school, like say, Dubai Modern High beat our asses, we still had to beat IHS. It’s like an India Pakistan match- no better comparison than that.
OOEHS was probably one of the first schools to be erected in Dubai. That’s how my parents used to pick the schools- The one that came first would be where your children would go.
Also, be prepared of people making fun of your school name, even if there’s is : Bharati Vidya Mandir Paatshaala Hurray or something.
Our Own English High School, still sounds shitty to them.
3. If you didn’t watch Channel 33, you had a sad childhood.
It was a ritual performed by every kid in Dubai- sharp 2p.m, watch Channel 33 and then probably at 5 p.m watch Disney Hour :/
Channel 33, was like GOD to us. We had the best, mind you, THE BEST, cartoons. There was Arthur, who was a beaver of some kind and he had a small sis called D.W and his rabbit friend. There was Godzilla and transformers, Noddy goes to Toy land, Tintin, Pokemon.
I personally hated this cartoon, cause the Pokemon Cards were treated like gold, and everytime you exchanged them it was like smuggling drugs. Also, that annoying ginny pig Pikachu was not cute. Remember, Team Rocket’s song? The song with the annoying cat? That song was actually a strategy to fill in the gaps in the script.
Apart from that, kids probably learnt their ABC’s because of Sesame Street. I mean, you really can’t see a childhood without knowing who Elmo, Cookie Monster, Count Dracula, Big Bird or Looney Tunes were, for that matter.
I’m really not deviating but if you have any Dubai friends ask them about Channel 33. They will FLIP!
4. Faisal the Little Arab Boy, The Arabic Text book and Mahatma Gandhi.
Fair enough, you have got to learn about the culture of a country you reside in. I remember we had a subject called: Islamic Studies in which they would tell you about customs and cultures of the Arabs by using classic story telling method.
This is when I met Faisal, The Little Arab Boy or F.T.L.A.B. His life was covered in three or four textbooks. I mean, Faisal is the only guy who is probably not jealous of the Kinder chocolate boy, cause he got his whole life covered in four textbooks.
That’s an autobiography at ten! It’s like all your childhood you know this boy called Faisal, but you don’t see him or play with him. You just read about him. Literally everything - Faisal likes to play football, faisal loves dates, faisal takes a shower at 2p.m (JESUS TAP DANCING CHRIST!), how many brothers and sisters he had (and how they were), how they prepared for Ramadan and Eid. EVERYTHING!
So, this blog is also, a shout out to Faisal- The Little Arab Boy. If you get to know about this blog. Please send me a message/inbox/or reply right here, if you can!
I need closure.
The Arabic textbook was no less. It always had four characters- Noora, Reem, Mohammed and guess whose back - Faisal.
Arabic was important but they knew that Indian kids can never pull this language off so they just taught us the basic stuff like, Visit to the Zoo, Visit to The Beach, Visit to the Loo, Visit to Reem’s House. All four characters would roam around together every where. This was till 4th grade by the way.
And guess who else dropped in to save the day? Mahatma Gandhi- for FIVE FREAKIN YEARS!!
We had to study his acts like the Dandi March, his struggle for Independence, his struggle in south-africa, his non-violent methods, etc over and over again!!
You know what’s sad? Is that I’m actually wiki-ing his acts right now, in spite of reading his life for five years in history class.
5. Meena Bazaar, Lulu Park Area.
I’m going to be really shrude here, all Sindhi’s lived in Meena Bazaar and all South Indians lived in Lulu Park Area. Okay?
Don’t deny it if you are a Sindhi or a South Indian and you don’t live there. Once upon a time you did…
6. Sheesha is probably the best way to pass your time.
Summer camp has a new name- Sheesha. If you walk on a street, be it any, you would find at least 4-5 sheesha places right next to each other.
It’s not that they are not afraid of their competitors, but they know that if you are in Dubai, you will have to thrive on Double Apple, or Mint.
So, if you like a Dubai Chick or just want to fit in because most of the people in your group in Mumbai, are from Dubai. Then always say “Yes” to sheesha.
Don’t say you don’t like it.
You’ll just get this: Are You Mad?
Or else, they’re just saying that in their head.
7. We followed a different clock.
I was up on a Sunday Morning making Breakfast (which was mostly chocos- no fancy shit) and getting all ready to leave for the station and this is what I got.
Haha! It’s a Sunday! It’s a Holiday! HAHA! HA-HA!
*a lot of unwanted stress in the last two laughs*
Now, for the reveal. Saturday and Sunday was NEVER a holiday for us. Comprende?
When I was a kid, I had just one holiday- Friday. That’s it. So you had a really good feeling in your tummy on Thursday evening and a shitty one on Friday evening. So that’s that.
Then something happened and they finally realized that the kids always wore this weird “dead face” to school on Saturday Mornings. So, Friday and Thursday became our official weekend holidays.
Still no Saturday and Sunday.
Then, something else happened and it got shifted to Friday and Saturday as the official weekend holidays. So you see, still no Sunday.
Our summer holidays were always in July and August while everyone in the whole wide world has April and May.
We’d be all pumped to come back to India for a vacation but everyone was bloody busy and as usual your folks back home would always curse you.
It took me two years to accept the fact that you can laze around on a Saturday and Sunday. No Jokes.
Well, I can’t really prolong this thing. It’s not going to be the end for sure but I gotta have a Part 2 for this or maybe more.
We gotta give something to the Mumbaikars yea..
If you’re a Dubai Kid and you think I should cover something in addition to this, then reply back. If you’re just pissed then move to Part 2.