Musebox 31 – Year ending 2014

photo(1)The year is about to end and here’s wishing a grand good bye to 2014. As usual I am a day too late to come up with updates and no I am not here to give excuses because the year has been an excellent one considering that me and my partner in crime; Shruti have had our little devil grow into this beautiful little ball of joy that makes us laugh and cry at the same time. No, I’m not kidding about this. We never knew that a small little thing like her could hold us hostage. Ohh and tears! I am sure she can contract for water if she wanted to cause tears just flow so naturally and easily at her will. All this apart we have been blissfully lucky to have her with us and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t thank god for giving her to us. She’s the prettiest thing we have seen and she is and will be forever – the queen of our heart.

This year has zoomed through at the speed of light. Work has been hectic and as I explained above we have had someone who just sucks every desire in us to look at anything else but her and hell no, I say that with absolutely no remorse. Though there are times when it seems too much for us to take; one smile and it all goes away. More than me its her, Shruti, the mother – the life-giver. Here is where you as a man see how inconsequential you are. All you contribute towards that life seems so minuscule when you observe from so close as to what a mother gives to get you to be where you are. In the end all you end up wishing is not for your offspring to love, respect or be there for you. All you wish for is for that child to know her mothers worth and be there for her – forever because you would never have had the power to move a limb if it weren’t for her. So here’s saluting all the millions of mothers out there. What you do is never truly recognized and it is in one of these very weak moments where us men tend to say – hey, thank you. Thank you for everything.

Work has been killer this entire year and no its not because I’m doing a lot of things. Its this one project which has clung on to me like tar to road. Its so sticky that it just won’t let go and I’m sure that even when it supposedly gets over I’d have stains and I’ll still be stuck in one way or the other to the road and I’ll have tons of people drive all over me. See the reference there? I’ve made way for people to commute and I know that I’ll get stuck on that very way. I tried to be Euphemistic there but no, I just can’t get it sound any less grim. The fuckin’ project is such that the management doesn’t give a fuck, the users don’t give two fucks and it seems like its just the Project team that see how important it is. Meh, important you ask? Fuck that – we are scrubs who work for nothing more than money. There is no respect and I’ve been living like this for far too long but then its Ka-ching you know? However much you earn the lesser it seems. God damn it, stop being such a sucker for pity Anup. Tell them about all the real life awesomeness that you’re missing out on just cause you’d rather sit in front of the thing-that-shows-you-whats-not-real instead of picking up that kid and going to the garden. Smell that fresh air, you know? Ahhh, let me get to that in small simple pointers.

  • I live a dream most people can only dream of – I swear to god!
  • I don’t seem to see all the good that my life has studded all over the place.
  • My wife loves me too god damn much for my own good. I am 97 kgs and counting.
  • Weight loss is a journey that we both embark on every single day and fail at it twice on the same day at the least.
  • …continuing – we are like spiders. We never give up!
  • I live in a country where me and my family can be out on the street at any given point in time and not fear for our safety.
  • I drive a car that I could only have dreamed of; elsewhere.
  • I can jog a couple of miles if I still wanted to. Hope I see the good in this.
  • I got a total of 46 paid days off this year – WTF?

So yes, the above should stand testimony to the fact that I need to live each and every moment of life rather than cribbing about how much it could have been better. Of course it can be made better but no one else except me can work towards it because god knows and I do too that nature has given me everything that I need, I have all the tools to ensure that I grow old well. How I utilize this is left unto me and if I fail at it I have no one but me to blame. For now though, I seem to get crowded by thoughts and heavy words like “responsibilities” which is something every middle aged man goes through and these struggles are something you wade through to ensure that you see that sense of purposed which drives our lives. I am still running circles though with Shruti and Krisha right in the middle. They seem to bear up with my stupid bouts of anger, idiosyncrasies that I myself don’t understand and yes finally – all the luggage that I seem to carry. Ohh God, help me just shed the weight and feel light cause that’s what I want to feel. But then again, here we have another year of achievements and I am sure that I’ll win if I have these guys by my side. That’s it for now I guess.

<3 my lovelies. I know I talk a lot and don’t do much but I will try to get better. Hope you have faith in me and remember – patience is key with me!

-Anup

Bi-yearly catch up!

What is up you guys? This is me, myself and I welcoming you to a brand new year. I know that I’ve been gone for a while now and this place is so dead right now. I come here ever so often hoping to get motivated by words that seemed to come to me so easily but this just doesn’t seem to be working for me and writing/blogging rather seems to be a thing of the past. No one blogs anymore says Shruti. Who even blogs? Type up text you mean? Seriously? Who has the time to read through walls of text? My manager calls me up each time he reads my emails and asks me to give him a two line summary in order to even “consider” my concern. That is how much people hate text. We have been taken by the vlog storm and youtube is the way to go. I have a youtube channel and all the jazzy social media crap but it can never do to me what walls of text does. I know that most of the people who used to come here would probably never come around hoping to see new stuff because 6 months is too long a time and in any case – I literally blog bi-yearly, so its no biggie!

There is a lot to catch up on and I am sure that I can come up with pages and pages of data and still not be done with it. However, the wife has dozed off already and I am so darn sleepy! This is just a post to try and follow what she told me – write a line or two a day and see where it takes you. So here I am; making an effort to write not for anyone else but just to get me closer to what I used to love doing and a certain part of me who still thinks that the thing I am best at is words, text, expressions and walls of text. In my case, love those walls as I always seem to get through them quite easily.

Here’s wishing anyone who graces by a happy and prosperous year 2013 and I hope for the best to come to you and your family. I seem to be doing well where I am. I am getting plumper by the day and I am worried about my health. I should be able to catch up over time but I really need to give it my full sooner than later. Shruti is bored but is doing extremely well and she is the strongest ray of hope in my life. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t fight with her. Sometimes, I just annoy her to see her get mad at me, its funny I tell you but that’s what I love about us we fight without too many egos!

A lot more to tell you’ll but I’ll leave that for future. For now, I hope to just about hit the final period here and go to bed. This won’t get published until I do that cause its almost 3:00 AM here and I had a tough day at work. I’m almost sleeping on my keyboard.

Cheers you guys! I missed you’ll.

-Anup

Dubai – Hyderabad – Dubai

I think I have thrown in a little something about my stay in Hyderabad in one of my previous posts and like I said then, that deserved a write up in itself about how; for loves sake did I reach Hyderabad of all places?! Well, I don’t have a clue to date because leaving Dubai was never meant to be. These are not my words but my sisters curse. Sneha kept telling me that I was going to get back to Dubai sooner than I thought and I always laughed off her childish thoughts about how she and I are meant to be close by or so says the lame ass palmist from Kerala, some shit. I know, I know; thanks a lot for all  your good luck Shruti! You’re the reason I’m here *winks*

So, news from this part of town is about me getting my ass back here. I was away for around 10 months I think and I got called back by the desert that reaps money. I can vouch for that one – the money part that is. Tax-free money is something that every Indian wants to brag about but here is where I really feel the pinch missing, you know? The pinch that pains bad – TAXES! Yikes, I get the shizzles by its mere thought. A little birdie told me that my manager thought that I was worth the trouble and did his best to get me hired on a full time basis. No more contracts babey!! Now that is something to be real proud of; having a full time job in a semi government organization in Dubai. Its w00t.

Can’t stop thinking of the time between the end of 2010 up to around first quarter of 2011 when everything in my life was unstable as hell. I was on a contractual job if I haven’t mentioned before. Not the kind of a contract where you know when you’ll be without a job. This is the kind of contract that keeps you hanging – you never know! I never knew when the contract would end and when I’d be body shopped out of my organization onto the contractors bench and thereby fired duly over a period of time and over months of unrest which would have surely originated from my side. The restless person that I am – I won’t let you live till you give me an answer and once you give me a negative one I’ll haunt you every now and then. Lol, no. Seriously, I’m a stupid fool who’d accept anything with that dumb look on your face, you know? The one that says, “Hey! I deserve this, but its fine if you don’t give it to me” Fucktard.

Finally, somewhere around March 2011 they decided to let us go and in stepped TCS who offered to take me into its ample bosom and feed me with all the laziness it had to offer. I can swear that it is the organization for anyone who wants to lead a live-eat-die life. Its that awesome. You get in and you retire in lets say 30 years sometimes without knowing about what the fuck just happened. You absolutely don’t need to know anything about anything and you don’t need to give a rats ass in order to survive there. I don’t say it just for the heck of it – its heavenly safe once you get in and if you are really someone who has decided to stay there is nothing that will stop you from growing. Highly recommended for the content masses, you know? So, I worked from TCS, Hyderabad for around 10 months for the very same project in pretty much the same role but with a better designation. I really don’t know where those days went and I really don’t want to talk about the filth that I got myself into as far as living in Hyderabad is concerned.

As far as Hyderabad is concerned – it’s a good city so to say in regards with the crowds on the road, the mobs who want to know what’s happening with you and of course the policemen who want to loot you for everything they see but what went wrong with me was the place or the area that I chose to stay. I knew nothing and I made a big big mistake. I took up a house in a place called Miyapur which I learnt later was the scum of the city. It sucked so bad that we literally had to keep the glasses of our car up as we drove by into our apartment. Why? The entire road that lead to our apartment turned into a big open sewage transit passageway within 3 months of us moving in. Now that’s the kind of shit that you need when you’re really talking about shit! Blah, it was disgusting. I was scared of contracting a bad disease over the time but luckily I survived and my ex-current boss decided to call me back! Phew, some escape.

I landed in Dubai on the 26th of Feb 2012 much to the delight of Sneha who is vacationing in India as we speak. Yo, good for you girl! I miss India already. Man, am I going to change or what? You know the thing about me? It’s the thing there I am never quite content. Now sometimes I think of it as a positive attitude; its like a drive in you to keep wanting more just so that you grow in life and keeping demanding more from life. In my case however, I run after what I don’t have and forget to enjoy what I have which I’m sure is a lot better than what I could have ever imagined it to be. I try my best but I always find the grass greener on the other side and I try my best to get to that side only to want to go to another side the moment I reach there. Annoying!

Its been smooth riding thus far in Dubai. I managed to get Shruti over and we have since then gone on to get a cozy little flat and fill it up with stuff. We splurged a ton of dirhams which I did not really have but that’s ok cause I hope it ties me down for a while. I suddenly feel this urge to relocate to Bangalore. Guess I won’t cause I’m sure that somebody gonna get a hurt real bad if somebody moves once again leaving behind all of someone else’s belongings to no one, heh! There’s a lot more to talk about but I guess I’d shut up for today. More in next… now since I am pretty sure that the audience should have gone down considerably!

-Anup

Blank

That’s what and how I feel when I stare at my blog. I swear to god that I’ve been staring at my journal throughout the day today and I came up with uhm, Blank! Its not that I don’t have things happening in my life. That is so not right. In fact, I have had more things happen over the past year or so. It’s not that I did not want to write and it’s certainly not that I really wanted to give up but then I don’t quite know what to do. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a ‘writers block’ because I’ve realized off late that I’m not a ‘writer’ In fact, every now and then I feel that I’m pretty much – nothing. Every time I begin working on something; something else catches my attention and I run after it for a while and after some more time you’d find me doing the funky chicken dance! Wasting time and avoiding work has become passé’ and not a day goes by when I don’t hate myself for the utter lack of interest I show towards my life and hers!

We should be out taking a walk, you know? As promised before leaving work. We should have had a subway sandwich or a salad but instead, I get lazy and we order Chinese. It was so yum!! It’s not like I love Chinese but then there’s Delhi Darbar and there’s Indian Chinese. Tastes like Christmas in your mouth. So, yeah, I couldn’t help myself and there goes another lethargic evening. Most evenings are spent watching movies on YouTube or just about googling aimlessly. Sometimes, I try harder at writing and end up failing miserably. To be frank, I don’t quite remember the days when I could write effortlessly, the days where my fingers were in complete sync with my brains and with what I felt. I’m not sure about how I should feel – happy for not needing the world wide web to talk or disappointed for having given up on something I thought I did alright – write!

More than anything, I think its the changes that have come to my life over the past year. Love has come my way, opportunities have come in plenty and work has been as busy as can be. Garnish it with my lazy ass self and there you have my life as it is now ! Its a truck load of fun mind you. I do miss writing though and there are days where I wish I could write a line. “Just a line would do maybe?” I think to myself. This is the best that I could do. Thought I’d put in a little update to remind all of you’ll that I’m still around and I hope to linger more often!

Signing off with this – for now life is blissful in Dubai. I do have the occasional hiccups every now and then; work and wife included. Its a new thing – marital life that! But more on that later. My stay at Dubai might end abruptly if I get what I want. I need a break, a new opportunity. I need a crack at something more exciting and something which has a better brand value. I need to move. What I need now is stability, learning and better opportunities. Wish me luck.

-Anup

Updates

Writing here and writing anywhere else for that matter has become near to impossible owing to the colossal changes happening in my life. I’m making a structural change too and I’m pretty excited about it. The infrastructure in Mr. Menons life is going to be sharpened with new overdrives, sidewalks and boulevards being made. I’ve been negligent and there have been days when I’ve stared for hours at my word file with no productive content. It’s no writers block, I feel. It’s more to do with the fact that my life is going to change drastically from Sunday the 20th of September and I spend my time these days pondering upon the implications of such a change. Therefore, it was bound to happen! These questions in my mind were bound to reach this virtual journal. There are a few other updates to include as well. Guess it’s been some time since I posted an update. What if people want to know about me and about things happening to me? Or maybe they already know but want to read anyway. Abhi is one of them. The ever knowing guy, he likes to read about things he already knows. So, here goes…

Anup in Dubai:
From my previous write-ups; I’m sure it’s evident that I’m not a big fan of Dubai and about how much I miss my motherland, Pune especially. I miss Pune a lot and I don’t know why. I was happy when I was in Bangalore and never actually wanted to go back to Pune even though it had all my peeps. But then, these days I miss Pune profusely and all my love for the Marathi language keeps ogling out. Probably because I thought Pune had all these memories that I despised and the ghosts of my past that I kept running away from. Point to note though; the answer to all those fears were also in Pune. Most, if not all, of my friends are in Pune. Or let me put it this way – people who really love me are in Pune and I think I’ve wanted to go back ever since I went to Bangalore but then things happened and I’m not too proud about it. Every time Ajay or Chetan mentioned about going back to Pune it’d burn me a bit because uhm, these people were the only people I had in Bangalore and I did not want them to leave. So I secretly thought about reaching Pune before they did because for sure, I know that one fine day, that’s where they’ll be! There is something about Maharashtra and its people that I agree was non-existent in Bangalore. Now this is probably because of my love for the language Marathi, which in its ‘rudra’ form can get real nasty. Why this now? Well, I like Marathi movies courtesy Abhijit A. Shedge. I watched “Aga bai Arechya” again yesterday after listening to a couple of its songs. Namely, “Man Udhaana Vaaryachi” and “Malhaar Vaari” Those songs touch me where Malayalam just can’t! I am a Malayali but then, I’ve been in Maharashtra for over 24 years and therefore I belong to it. Jai Maharashtra!

Dubai has been very rewarding thus far and I feel thankful to god for having given me this opportunity. I have earned a few to-be friends. As in, people I like and people who seem to like me and people I think will be my friends. Maybe, somewhere down the line. I’m not quite sure. I’m crazy like that. Being friends with people isn’t an easy thing for me to do. Friendship isn’t the mere hi-hello’s right? It’s more than that? I’ve had a roomie here for over 3 months now and the very fact that I’m still with him suggests that he’s alright. Even though he seems to talk a lot for his age, you know? He’s a young kid who has gained a lot at a plum age and therefore his adrenaline pumps every time he talks to the elders (us) and he feels proud about where he is now. And he must! I don’t see a problem with that. The problem is with words that seem to bother people. I’m pretty alright because I give it right back but then, he needs to be careful. Apart from him there are a few people at work I talk to and things seem to be flowing alright for now. I do not want a lot of changes for now because what I’d need here on is stability. I can’t afford a lot of mistakes or misfortunes and I’m heavily relying on mom and her prayers! The work culture in Dubai is something which I’m not used to. It worries me sometimes but there is little I can do about it. We have two sections (or more) of people here; two sections that I know of, the full time employees and the contractors or consultants so to say. Nuff said, FTEs have HR and the consultants don’t and of course there is this huge discrepancy in the money they earn for uhm, pretty much the same kinda work being done. It’s very common for people to be exploited here and you have to be careful when you sign up. This is something I have known from word of mouth and from personal experience. I guess it’s alright to talk about it since I’m not taking names. Add to that, sometimes, you really got to cut back on your ego to survive here. Keep your dignity alive but well, yes; lose out on your ego if you want to keep hanging on! Its tax free money for love’s sake! Apart from all this, Dubai is hot and exercising isn’t a possibility right now. This adds to me physically and I’m worried. I promise to do something about it when I return and I will post in with updates on that – WITHOUT FAIL! That’s that about being Anup in Dubai.

Professionally speaking:
I’ve landed on a goldmine! Alright now this bit is for those who know and understand my line of work. I’m sure it’ll be full of technical jargons the others might not care. The thing about me professionally is that I need a drive to work to my full potential and do well. An iota of motivation does wonders for me and I manage to amaze myself always. I was hired as a “Systems Administrator” or a “Microsoft Consultant” as on my offer letter. Now this is a very ambiguous title and it means that people like me who are specialty centric need to start working hard. I’ve been working on the Active Directory part of Microsoft Servers and that’s how it’s been for over 4 years! Now suddenly, I’m expected to know bits of almost all the Microsoft technologies available and this has evidently taken its toll on me. I currently am responsible for technologies like ISA, Citrix, Print services, User provisioning (Hell yeah!) and double it up since we have two such environments to take care of. Microsoft HMC also comes under us and that’s a complex thing right there for you. I also manage to interact a lot with the Incident/Problem/Change Management team and I am deeply involved with the day to day operations of a 3500 strong company. This involves a lot of procedures and paper work since the people here are very signature driven. Approvals are not online and you have to walk up to people, discuss changes, explain why it’s needed and then get them to sign. Its old school but very effective, I guess. I also get to interact a lot with the network operations and firewall management teams here thereby increasing my understanding of the way things work when it comes to systems security and infrastructure management from a security standpoint.

Simply put, there is a humongous amount of data that I’m currently gobbling in and that’s adding on to my pot belly! My head has always been big and it has been crowded since ever.  I have an information leak leading into my stomach; me thinks! More importantly, I work under a very able person who is my TL and I take him as my mentor in this field as of now. The guy is a genius when it comes to systems design, integration and troubleshooting. This was thoroughly unexpected. I’m not impressed so soon with anybody but this guy is different. I work part time as his PA and I don’t feel weird about it at all because of all the data that I get from him otherwise. He has given me a lot of opportunities already and trusts me with our systems. So yes, professionally I’m content and happy. I am expanding my horizons and soon, I’ll learn it all. I’d probably never be a visionary like my TL is but I’d sure pick up a few things from him which will help me grow and evolve into something more than a Systems Engineer. I’d slowly want to move towards the architectural line. I’d try and get into Customization and implementation sometime soon and be parts of projects. Once I have a few successful projects in my kitty I could move towards being what I want to end up as – A technical architect. I’d be frank here; I do not want to be a people manager. It’s not my best forte. I have issues with telling people what to do and what not to do. It’s not about lack of leadership skills. It’s just that I prefer doing my own stuff rather than depending on people for my success. You know how it is? I’d like to be as technically involved with my work as possible. Easier said than done, resting and settling down after reaching a particular post isn’t what we humans are made for. So, I don’t quite know. Things might change as I grow older. At least I hope they do. Cause all of my folks want to be “Managers” one fine day! I guess that’s final destination for all of us, right? In one way or the other, we humans want to be someone else’s boss! That’s how we prove ourselves our own worth. Heh, the gods must have been crazy to make creatures of our kind!

On the personal front:
Now here’s the real turn of events. A few months ago, the only thing I was worried about is if I still have leftovers in my newly bought fridge. I’d then buy some bread and eat it on my arrival from work. This was my biggest worry mind you! And out of nowhere *POOF* magic! She walks in. A comment here and a comment there, a smile here and a giggle there, some chats and many words! She changed it all and whispered all my problems away. It’s difficult to explain what she means to me now because we’re just starting it off and things have just sped by!

So, I asked her if she’d marry me. She hesitated a bit before which she said that she was dying to *winks* Bah, girls and all their dramas! Things have moved smooth and quick thereafter since the both of us put it across to our folks at home and got it all fixed up. I met her last month and yes, I’m getting engaged day after tomorrow – the 20th of September. It all seems like an unreal dream right now and I’m sure that everyone wouldn’t understand how anxious I am but I’m even more sure that she’s the one and yes, she’s going to be the heroine of this story. Here’s thanking chapter 26 of my life for letting her in and here’s thanking the internet and all the other environmental variables for bringing her to me! Well that’s it from my side for now. I have a flight to board in approximately 8 hours. I’m flying to Cochin and back during the Ramadan period. I wouldn’t be using a single day of approved leaves because we have a company declared leave of absence for the next 5 days! Peace out.

-Anup

New to Dubai?

Dubai

I’ve wanted to write about this since the time I’ve set foot here. Now its probably my ignorance or lack of googling skills but I’ve never been able to trace a real write up from a layman’s perspective on his experiences after landing in the middle east; Dubai to be more specific since I’m sure this city hosts countless expats and every one of those expats would have had their first days full of excitement, curiosity, confusion, anxiety and worry! I wonder why none of them ever wrote about their experiences since I’m sure that would have helped me in making this life and career altering decision. Hell, it’s not that I regret having coming here but like I said, it surely would have given me a clearer picture of life in the sands. So the mood right now – It’s an ultra romantic night, its 12:23 AM and its Friendships day here in Dubai too. Smikh, Happy Friendships day to you my dear dearest, Abhi, thanks for being there all through this time. Muiz, happy friendships day fatass, Chetan, miss you like hell bro, Ajay, happy friendships day dude and a happy friendships day to those numerous worshippers of friendship I’ve known, just like me. Please excuse the sudden change in the subject, I had to do that. Music – Zinda by strings and Prahlad’s whisperous snoring. It’s a beautiful night.

I’m not going to waste a lot of time apologizing for my lack of efforts in keeping this blog alive because I’ve done that time and again; apologized that is, promised to be more punctual with my posts but all I’ve done is dig deeper into my hole and stay there pondering upon the implications of the middle eastern life that I’m living right now. Though, I must confess that this is not what I want; a life full of nothings. I know, like I said before, I love the fact that I can come up with these juxtaposition of opposing ideas, perfect antithesis. Anyhoo, point being it’s true that I earn quite a lot of money (in comparison with what I used to earn in India) but there are countless things/people I’ve left behind and India in itself is like my mother calling. I miss the place more than I could have ever imagined. And sometimes, more than I miss my family and friends; I miss the trees, the smell of its air and the fragrance of my fellow Indians. I feel very strongly for my mother land and I wish to return as soon as possible. What I’m unsure is about when this would happen since my brain advices me to hang on. So, yes, hang on I will… till the time I can.
As usual, I’ve strayed away from the crux of today’s discussion – Dubai. So, new to Dubai? Contemplating and calculating the relocation? Have a job offer in hand? Want to try your hand at immigrating over to the land of man-made dreams? I’d like to present my findings thus far about this city, its money, the people, the food and everything else that you’ll may or may not want to know. I’d try to be as loud as I can with the information I have and questions are welcome. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to put this up on a FAQ kinda way. That’d give this write up a better flow and it’d be easier to find and understand. Here goes:

Q1) I have an offer in hand. Is it the right decision?
Answer: You have the offer in your hand. I guess your decision is made. In such kind of situations you already know what you want and the you’ve already thought of coming over, so don’t kill yourself with worry, just pack your bags and come over.

Q2) What about the city? Is it a safe place to live with or without my family?
Answer: No place in this world is safe and I’m sure you know how cruel this world is. So, no, it’s not a safe place for stupid people. Use your brain and I can assure you that no one would even notice your existence unless, of course, you’re the kind of person who likes to be noticed and someone who’d want to be the center of attention. Well, then in that case, yes you might attract trouble and that’s just about how it’d be back in India or anywhere in the world. Success always attracts troubles and danger. But otherwise, if you’re a 9 to 5 kind of a person then this is one of the safest cities you could live in. Mostly because, like I said, no one gives a fuck about who you are! Come over, make your dough and move on.

Q3) How much money do I need in order to lead a peaceful life in Dubai?
Answer: I searched a lot for this question before I came over and I encountered a lot of strange answers. Nothing helped me and that’s the reason I’m putting this in, especially for all those youngsters taking huge steps like moving in from India to Dubai. Here, I’d like to talk about the typical middle class public coming in from India. Assume you were earning 7 lakhs per annum in India. That’s approximately 45,000 Rs after tax. Now that’s a typical middle class person right there for you. You’d pay rent, food, loans and after other general expenditure you might save some money, hoping that you’re not a shopaholic like me. What does a typical middle class person (guy/girl) need to survive in Dubai? Well, approximately around 3,500 dirhams. YES!!! You got that right, that’s all you need in order to live, eat, sleep, internet, electricity, water and travel. The bare minimum will be covered in that amount. And no, I’m not even talking about a stringent set of stone written rules here. Common sense would help you. Before all that 1 Dirham = somewhere between 12.80 (lowest I’ve seen) to 13.80 (Highest I’ve seen) Indian Rupees. I’d like to give a clear idea about the kind of money I spend here. I need 1,500 for my rent. I live with a friend of mine from work and we’ve rented out a mid-sized room with a cupboard and we threw in a couple of beds and all our stuff. That’s just about it, the rooms ready. Got internet fixed up and that’s all we needed. Considering that I have lavish food, I need around 1,200 dhs. Details – One 500ml bottle of Lemonade costs 1.5 dh, 1 Egg Club Sandwich costs 3.5 dh, 1 full thali (3 rotis, 1 dal, 2 sabji, dahi, rice, 1 sweet) costs 10.50 dhs, Egg Biryani costs 16 dhs and yes, chicken Biryani costs around 18. The last two are from pretty good restaurants. So, yes, you can choose to stick to cheaper food that’s up to you. I have nothing but respect for people who live like beggars here because most of us come here to transfer money home! Point being, let’s say you were earning 45,000 in India your pay here should be approximately 10,000 dh (at the least) and if you manage to trash out your month in even 4,000 dhs, you still save around 6000 dhs which is a lot of saving as far as I’m concerned. I can assure you that the cost of living has gone down considerably right now, as on this date. This is mostly because of the real estate problem which is prevelant around here. Prices have been slashed to less than half and we still dont have takers. The money bit, if you get a job here and if they pay you anywhere in the range of 10,000+ dhs, take it. Dont think too much. We’d worry of going back later. Get in touch with me for more on this.

Q4) What about life in “General”
Answer: Uhm, I guess when it comes to life in Dubai then yes, apart from the fact that it speeds by its a place full of worry if you don’t quite have the right job. People get fired here all the time. That’s mostly because of the prevalent and omnipresent contractual agreements that most companies seem to utilize for optimum financial gain. Simply put, there is a heavy possibility of you finding yourself in a consulting firm and thereby being deputed to a client’s location. Once you reach there you’d realize that you’re not governed by your parent company’s HR or the HR of the client you work. Basically, you have no fucking rights! You’re meant to be utilized and thrown one fine day if your NT account expires. Your identity card would be disabled and you’d find your client manager waving from inside the glass door. Hmmm, apart from this life here is hunky dory, full of fun; they say (since I’m not a clubber or party goer) and yes, I repeat; days seem to get over much faster than what they did in India. So, life in general is awesome if you get into a good Dubai based company. Consulting companies will suck the life out of you (worry and tension) and there’d be nothing you can do once you land here.

Q5) How do I make sure that I have the right job?
Answer: This is a very difficult question to answer since this is a very uncertain place where a lot of IT/Software consulting companies keep mushrooming year after year. They fail miserably and take a lot of good people down with them. Those employees then need to go through the phase of not having a job, missing out on their salary for a few months and you know the rest of the troubles that you could associate with a situation like this. The deal here is, make sure you’ve done your bit of research on the company that hires you. Make sure that it has a proper existence here in Dubai because we do have a lot of people being duped. I would recommend companies which are rooted in India and have their operations here in Dubai. That way you could go and visit them and verify if they have space enough to occupy you on your return after being fired. Well, you could sit there and crib till they clear your remaining salary and relieve you, just my opinion. This is very important. Do not jump into conclusions when you make this decision. Make sure that all information about your deputation, contract and client information is shared before you fly. You really don’t want to get into Middle Eastern shit! It’s gross. Ohh and hell yeah, they will show you money – do NOT fall! Take my advice.

Q6) I have a family – give it to me, yes OR no.
Answer: Are you in debt? No. Do you have an ongoing emotional driving force which is making you leave? No. Have you gotten into shit in India and thereby you wish to run away? No. These are just a few of the questions that come to my mind. You know where I’m coming from, right? Just think about what you need and have a clear picture of when you wish to return before coming over. Family, well, unless you have a secure job do not bring them over because if you don’t have a secure job the bare minimum of what you could do is save up on money and fuel your account back in India for whatever time you have the job. If it’s a wife and no kids then yes, by all means, get her over and she could look for a job too. Women getting their men folk; well, from what I’ve heard thus far the ‘Dependency’ visa process for women bringing their husbands is different. Husbands are not supposed to be dependants or so they say. I hate the prejudiced society that I live in! Why freakin’ not? And why is it different? Whatever, I’ve got too many ways in the labyrinth to figure out right now. The war of the sexes is nowhere in my system right now.

Q7) Finally, how about food, living, travelling and other environmental variables?
Answer: Food here is fantastic! I can vouch for the food. Veggies and the carnivores both wouldn’t have problems and I can assure you that you’d only get fatter. Sigh, I hate this. One small bar of chocolate does it for me. Here is where I envy people like my roomie, Prahlad. He can eat without stopping for 2 days and probably die of over-eating but fat is one physical condition which he wouldn’t experience. Housing; I’d recommend localities like Bur Dubai and Karama for new people because of the number of stores, malls and food joints these places have. It’d be easier to get fatter and lazier if you’re around here. It’s like the Koramangala of Bangalore, everyone is here. It’s an expats ruled locality. The chinks mostly and tons and tons of mallu’s with their amazing English! That being said, travelling is an expensive affair in Dubai and yes, be prepared to cough up a healthy amount if you’re those people who like to travel and explore the country they’re in. Initially, I’d recommend you save up! Exploring will come later when you’ve saved enough. Saving is the name of the game for an Indian in this country. I know I sound like a miserly person right now but you’d see what I feel once you’re here. When you know that the 1 dirham coin in your hand is worth 13.50 Indian rupees, ahhh… you feel humbled! SAVE!!! Every penny you can. The internet is relatively cheap. I pay around 250 dhs for an Etiselat broadband connection – 1 MBPS connection. Laundry is an expensive deal too and you’d spend around 150 dhs per month on an average. This might reduce if you decide to wash the clothes you wear at home by yourself. I give them all, too much for me to handle.

There’s tons more I could write about this city and its life but then its that time of the day and I’m tired. Please be warned that there might be tons of spelling booboo’s and gramatical errors in the above write up. I tend to read my posts a few times after its published. I will catch up on all the errors and I will rectify them. Please don’t send in hate mails about what I write, how I write and why I write. Go away if you don’t want to read. It’s a humble request. Also, for all those people who’d want to judge my essaying skills… read GFHL. I do not write to entertain anyone. Advices will be heard, laughed at and mulled over. So, don’t chastise me. I cannot do anything better. This is me at my best. For more serious readers who have reached up to here, thanks for being patient.

-Anup

Dubai

DubaiYou know what’s good about working on a Sunday? Nothing. I’m at work today and it makes me sad when I notice that its Sunday. I’m habituated to a non-working Sunday. Like I’ve mentioned before; I love the Rajni song – “Aaj Sunday hai… aaj Sunday hai… <pause> to din mein daaru peene ka day hai…” I mean, it’s not like I get drunk. Huh, barely even. I’m tired of the high I get out of canned Mango juice which is so sweet that it gives you a sugary high. I’ve added “Joos” by “Insert undecipherable Arabic here” company (which makes the most amazing canned Mango syrup I have ever tasted) into my daily diet. Sorry for complicating that statement but I had to put it across like this for optimum delivery of my current experience.

I apologize for the lack of new words here. I’ll justify my absence on the basis of my new found luck in Dubai. As I mentioned, in my previous post; here I am in Dubai working for one of the two telecom giants in this part of the world. I do not wish to correct my previous post and therefore, I’d like to use this space to thank Muiz for enlightening me to the fact that Dubai is not a country. So here I am in Dubai city and in the UAE. So why haven’t I been posting here? Considering that these are the most jubilant days of my life… allegedly. I’m used to babbling to the many ghosts who visit this blog. They are all just a figment of my imagination. But then, I don’t know how I feel right now. I’m supposed to be happy and elated but all I feel is a mixture of happy-sad moments where I crave to be back in my flat in Bangalore, my home and the comfort of my soft quill and the not so soft bed. I sometimes crave for my car and for the tea that my regular chay-wala made for me. Most annoyingly, I miss my family. I never missed them all this much when I was in Bangalore and I wonder why it is that I miss them all the more now. On that note, gather around. Pep talk – It costs me less than 1000 dhs for flight tickets to India and back. How neat is that? Alright, so I’ll keep the bullshit aside for now and come to the point. Why didn’t I write?

  • No original content.
  • Lethargy.
  • I was genuinely busy upto the 10th of this month.
  • I’m bored of myself and almost everyone else.
  • I suck.
  • Youtube wouldn’t work on my laptop ;(
  • Get lost now! Sup with you jobless people reading this crap?

For now and for this specific post; I’m not going to get into details. I will, however, provide minutes for the events that transpired over the last month. Whatever happened; happened after the 14th of April. A very auspicious day for us mallu’s!  It was Vishu and I was resting after a heavy meal. Point to note that I had attended quick interview rounds from XYZ Company 2 days before but I wasn’t expecting much because I always thought that good things never happened to me.

  • Call from the HR of XYZ Company with the offer letter.
  • Job location mentioned – Dubai, UAE.
  • Compensation – out of this world when compared with what I get now.
  • Joining date – ASAP; approximate date 5th of May.
  • Return to Bangalore.
  • Resignation at HP and ongoing problems with shortfall in notice period.
  • No hope and no use in trying to convince a manager who is bound by “policies” <yes sarcasm>
  • Accepted the offer and promised to join on the 5th.
  • Packed up my stuff and sent it to my new house in Kerala.
  • Said good bye to almost all the important people in Bangalore.
  • Drove down to Kerala, solo. It was one hellova ride.
  • Attended a huge family get together for the Pooja of my new house there.
  • Around 30 people turned up for the Pooja and over 120 people turned up for the lunch thereafter. Notice the discrepancy?
  • Spent some quality time with my family as the heat and humidity teamed up in a combined effort to torture us.
  • Finally went to Aathirapilly waterfalls and it was breathtaking.
  • Throughout this while, it was amazing that I couldn’t quite establish a decent dialogue with dad. I hate myself for that.
  • The ticket and Visa arrived on the 1st after a lot of anxious waiting.
  • Packing up thereafter did not take more than a couple of hours.
  • Bid farewell to my folks and luckily, this time, mom did not cry. She was calm and composed. This worried me because she is someone who cries each time I say good bye. I guess we did not have much time at the airport. Probably that’s why.
  • The airport roughed me up with a bill for 4500 /- Rs after having removed most of my books, shoes and blankets and the bag containing it. Extra luggage. Did you know that the maximum weight allowed in case of International flights is 20 kgs? YES!! That’s exactly what is charged in our national flights. Fly Emirates sucked like that. But then, I enjoyed the fact that they had a tv built in to the back of their seats which facilitated an easy passage of time. Plus, complimentary breakfast of “Kadala curry and Upma” damn that combination!
  • I could smell the barren land as I stepped out of the flight and felt the heat, the real heat for the first time!
  • Suddenly Kerala seemed like Mt. Abu to me.
  • I rushed into the waiting A/C buses and I’ve been indoors ever since.
  • I am currently living at the company guest house which is a 3BHK flat at a plush location in Dubai. Burjman, Bur Dubai to be exact.
  • I cannot afford to like this place cause uhm, well… I cannot afford the kinda rent they demand in this part of town.
  • I’d need to find a place by the end of this month and I’m clueless right now.
  • The transportation system out here is good in spite of all the traffic jams. Its luxurious and seems inexpensive when compared to what’s being given.
  • We have nothing less than Toyota Camry’s running as taxi’s. I’ve always wanted to ride in one of those and well, that’s that.
  • Current debacle and ongoing debate with myself and Mr. Prahlad Singh, my only respite amongst all the new people around me.
  • He’s a new person too, but then; clicks with some people instantly, doesn’t it?
  • We’ve decided to look for a house together and I’m crawling my way towards settling down.
  • I’ve begun exploring Dubai. From within the walls and cool rooms mind you! This is the time when the Middle East lights up its pyre.
  • I managed to be inside the worlds largest mall and I did see the worlds only (self acclaimed) 7 start hotel and yes, the worlds largest building, the Burj Dubai. I went nuts as I witnessed these awesome structures and I’m at awe for the wonders man can build.
  • Over and above all this, work, which is the reason I came here has been good and very enriching thus far.
  • I hope to get my hands dirty with technologies like Clustering/ISA/SMS/MOM/ILM2 and HMC.
  • People who do not understand technology might want to ignore that. But for those who do know – you’ll know thats a handful!

That’s just about it for now. There is more to discuss but I guess I’ll keep that for later. I’m sure that things will go back to where it was. I will write more regularly and yes; I do hope to travel. Finally, it’s too early for this but I do miss my land and its killing me that I’ll miss out on the wet smell of fresh mud. I will miss the yearly rains and I’d sweat it out here in the Middle East where summer has just begun. To all my people – I miss you’ll!