Peace and music

My prolonged absence from this space is unforgivable and I apologize for being negligent. Thank you Shruti, Abhi, Smikh, Sneha, Mom and all of you’ll who kept reminding me about writing and how I must not give up on one of the only activities I am good at; or so you’ll said. I’m not quite sure though. Cause overall, I’ve noticed an alarming drop in my quality of work over the past few months. I’m really not sure about what’s wrong with me or maybe what’s right with me… hmm, mostly right! The obvious change here being Shruti. Fact is, I am happy. Very very happy. I’d like to express my happiness but don’t all of us have that phase in our lives where we are happier than we have ever been and are too lost in it to be able to express it? I’m not quite sure if anyone gets what I feel but that’s pretty much how it is for me right now and I’m loving it!

Shruti feels that I write only when I’m sad. I’m not sure about how true this would be but what she said is not without some truth. I thought about what she said and it seems to be true. Abhi, haven’t we discussed about this once? Somehow, all my stories, all that I’ve written and my poems is the juxtaposition of contrasting feelings which seem to have the same flavor – sadness. Point being, I’m not keeping sad anymore and that’s probably the reason I haven’t been able to type in much. My life has gone through some major changes over the past few months and I’m still trying to soak in the feelings and the people which time has given me. I keep reminding myself time and again that she who is the reason for my happiness has come from this very place and that I must be thankful to my blog for having given her to me. Again, I feel that this blog has served its purpose and life is all about your Karma’s. anup.org’s Karma was to find Shruti and bring her to me and trust me, there is a long and interesting story behind how she came here. Its crazy!!

So that’s where I stand now. I have been contemplating a complete systems shut down for this blog and yes, I am still thinking. My big ass dream of trying to complete what I began (my novel) seems to have gone for a toss and my want to write onto that word file may not be back for a while. Thinking about my past is something I avoid aggressively these days because I just don’t like being sad and my past inevitably makes me sad and nostalgic. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and I get lost in my past most often than not. Its not like it was a nightmare but it reminds me of people and their actions which forces me back into being sad and I don’t like being sad. No Shruti, I don’t. I love the food you cook; the dal you cooked today was outstanding, I love it that you wake up early for me, I love your haircut too! Seriously. Overall, I am one happy kid and therefore I am not sure about the fate of this place. What do you guys think? Should I leave it in peace and concentrate on life and music instead? Seems like a plan.

-Anup

Bangalore revisited

Its been less than 7 months since I left Bangalore behind but its all that I can think of now and my craving to return is growing stronger by the minute. Now, I’m fairly certain that this post might be prematurely ended due to my short attention span and my addiction to movie re-runs; which I must say is despicable because I’ve been repeating movies that I’ve watched a zillion times! Sometimes, I even remember the dialogues that is to follow but then, I’m addicted to re-runs and that’s all that I’m doing these days. I’m supposed to be working, reading, following up with dad on my marriage arrangements and other grave matters that need my attention but all I do whenever I find time is port into my hard drive full of movies that I’ve downloaded over the past 3 years and browse through. I then find a movie I’d like and there you have a re-run! Its suddenly hit me that around 10 days of leaves have sped by with me doing nothing but movie re-runs, a couple of books and some other things in general; which I must say I absolutely HAD to do. Like take a small stroll, stare at the gym from outside and contemplate an entry, stare at the Dubai skyline from my terrace and think about things, daily chores in the bathroom and a couple of stray discussions with the store manager at Madina super market, Bur Dubai.

I’d also like to bring to my notice the evident and seemingly alarming distance from human contact. So I have this room and I am in it. Its got everything you need. Split AC, a fridge, a bathroom, a bed, the internet and windows which you need not open! Its the perfect place to bury yourself and never be seen again. Hell yeah! That’s what I’ve been going through for the past 5 odd days and its silenced me from the inside. Sometimes, I even feel like I don’t have a shadow! What the fuck? Its so pissed at my lethargy that it went on a stroll by itself. I catch up to it overtime though. I’m scared of being alone in this cold desert. Don’t leave me alone, ehh? Things haven’t moved since the time I got in and I don’t intend on moving them into the cupboard because this room would then creep me out more. I haven’t turned the lights off in over 5 days – again cause it scares me every now and then. The new apartment is gorgeous no doubt but every once in a while it seems like Room 1408 in that movie. The one where they had a dead ghost living somewhere amongst its tiles. Damn! I’m going to have another sleepless night today. I’m hoping for work and hard labor to fix this problem. Work will commence tomorrow after an excruciating gap of 10 days and Boy! am I happy.

I’ll set aside the ramble for now and keep it for another date. As the topic suggests the aforementioned wasn’t my prime topic of discussion for today. It was Bangalore. If there was anyone who was following this blog and reading every now and then if not always, you’d note my obvious love for Bangalore. There aren’t any grave reasons for this. I just like the city for no reason. It seems like my place to be and the city where I’d finally settle down. I’ve lived a dreamy life there and come to think of it now, I’ve never been as alone as I am today. Again, loneliness is a state of mind and it can be easily overcome… yada yada yada!! Blargh, up yours with all that mumbo jumbo. I had friends there. However little they be, they were there. I didn’t meet them as often as I’d want to but then its ok, you know? It was enough that they were around. This post is dedicated to those glorious 18 months that I spent in Bangalore AFTER wrapping up a masquerading bitch of a period in Pune. A few clicks full of memories…

A lot of pictures have been left behind and I guess I’d track back to them a few months down the line. I’m sure my homesickness would just keep growing until the day I decide to return once and for all. From the looks of it, that day isn’t too far. I’ve always known that I wasn’t meant to be out of India and these days that I spend outside of my motherland yell an affirmative to my precognized notion. Point being, I’ve had people like Kuttapi, Ammu and Radha aunty who were MORE than my own family (trust me; in a lot of different ways), I had friends like Chetan and Ajay. These are probably the coolest people I’ve ever known. Anymore cooler than this and that’d make them backstabbing bastards. A karaoke pub that would let me sing and people who really did not care how you sang as long as you had the balls to do it! An opportunity to listen to Ajay sing "Smells like Teen spirit" and "Angels" AND rocking on both accounts. Chetan and me walking on the street and bursting out with streams of teared laughter at the aunty who let one go! Abhi and his very regular visits. The writers club and those emails that were exchanged. I can go on and on and on. Reasons aplenty for why I loved that city and how much I long to go back.

Now, the most obvious question is – Then why the fuck are you still stuck there? Well, you got to know this – a typical middle class mans life is full of a series of different kinds of shit – obligatory shit, responsibility shit, you-live-in-a-society-shit amongst others. I’m not different. As stuck as can be in a mud puddle which is grippy and ruthless. Questions like, "Ahhh, you’re back so soon?" with the "What a loser! tssk tssk" kinda face. "But son, you shouldn’t have wasted an opportunity like this!" You need more? I have more – "What?? You’re getting married – you need the cash! Don’t be a whiney loser like XYZABC, hang on!" Finally, the peach, "Damn! you got laid off, didn’t you?" I’m too scared of these questions and I don’t wish to fall down in order to answer them. Guess we all get fucked by the society one way or another. I’ll just deal with it for a while and fly back when I feel its time and when I’m no more part of a society that knows me.

Well, apart from these teeny weeny problems life pretty bright. Dubai is under 80 billion worth debt they say. I have no freaking clue of what’s going on and when I’d be thrown out of my job. What’s the point in thinking? I’d play the wait and watch game for now cause uhm, that’s all that you can do. I’m not going to crib, fret and frown over my job because there is no dearth for opportunities! In other news, Sneha is getting married too and I’m super excited. My long vacation starts on the 28th of January and I cant wait for the days to fly by. I cant bear the void anymore and I cant wait for Mrs. Menon to come over. Well, that’s it for now and I hope to god that this finally shows up as a post. I don’t trust myself with blogging these days. I have no clue about what’s gotten into me. Publishing a post seems to be a herculean task and I most usually find a reason to discard the draft by the end of it. This is lovingly dedicated to all those people back in Bangalore/Pune and Kerala *winks* This is to tell you’ll that I miss you’ll truck loads. Peace out.

-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

Suspended animation – a state of bliss.

That playful ray of sunlight which escaped the window forced his eyes open as he lay there curled up behind her. He Rosedid not want to wake up but then the enchanting fragrance of fresh morning dew against the newly watered soil from yesterdays rain, her deep black hair that smelt like freshly bloomed lavender and her barenaked back which beckoned him to finger paint on it; seemed to lure him out of his bed and onto his feet.

He woke up, ever so gently; lest she be disturbed. It was a Sunday and he wanted her beautiful eyes to rest some more. He bent over and gazed at her lovingly. He felt like he had lived a life time in her closed eyelids, the tiny little curl of hair against her sufficiently large ears which he often made fun of and she breathing heavily against the pillow. He wanted so madly to hold on to those few seconds and just be there unto everness. He reached for her eyes and gave her a peck. She shifted a bit and he saw her smile. He stood at the window for a while breathing in all the fragrance he could soak up. He felt happy. It was a very long time since he felt the way he did then. Almost… content.

He flew her a kiss as he walked across the room and into the hall, switched on the music player and turned it on to some music. Ahhh! Coldplay, perfect. Music always made him happy. Tea was the next item on his small list and he decided to cook up that magical recipe. Three fourths boiled water, two tea bags, two table spoons of sugar and three table spoons of milk. All mixed in that order and a hint of all the love he had within him at that moment. She wasn’t a tea kinda person but then lately, she had taken to drinking tea. Mostly cause he made it that perfect and she could nearly taste him in it as she sipped slowly, carefully blowing into it.

She woke up in his shirt and to Lovers in Japan and silently walked into the kitchen drawn into him and ready to attach herself to this new found magnet of a guy! She hugged him from behind and whispered a love you as she laid a peck on his back. He poured the tea cups full with bubbled up tea. He needed the bubbles. Its like garnished food, you know? Tea is never complete without those bubbles he thought as he dragged her with him into the living room where she snuggled into him and continued with the trance like state she was in. He ran his hand in her hair lovingly and thought about his state of life. Suspended animation. He wrote down a few lines that came to his mind right then:

Love me; like you’ve never loved before.
Look into my eyes and set me free…
Be as mad as you can ever be,
In love with me from the sun to the sea.
Hold my hands and let me feel,
Your heart beat with me beneath.

Promise me that gorgeous smile,
With every passing mile,
Give me that healing touch,
And your reassuring voice just as much.
Let me lose myself in your voice,
Or give me a passionate hair smudge.

These lines are for you,
And whatever is in my heart,
Yes! That too.
All I have to offer is me and words,
Come be with me praandi;
We’ll worry about everything else afterwards!

Curtains fall!

-Anup

P.S: Dedicated to she who has walked in with a voice I just cant get enough of and a heart made just for me.

Happy feet!

Ok, now stop wondering about how and why I’ve posted in so quickly. I know thats its within a very short time span and thats not how I’ve been off late. I usually post in light years and I come up with stuff no one wants to read. Come to think of it now, I think I’ve lost my reader base (pfft, if I had any that is!) but then, what the hell, I was genuinely into other stuff, alright? Give the poor guy some air, will you? Anyway, so why all of a sudden and why am I happy? Well, I’m going to India baby! I’m going to MY country and I cannot put into words how jubilant I am. I know that its not more than 3 months since I left the place but its summer here in Dubai and its raining there in India. So… you see why I’m elated, no?

Here’s the thing – I’m going on a short visit and its because something very important has come my way. I will explore the reasons with everyone later but for now, its time for me to leave. Ohh, and yes, this blog is bound to contain bits and pieces of me time and again. I’m sorry Accha. This place is special and I feel like talking. Sometimes you feel like talking to the crowd and you want for all of them to listen to you intently and give you the time you deserve. What better means than a blog? So, I am going to continue writing and I’m sorry but there is little I can do to stop myself from writing here. I’ve been trying hard over the past few months and you dont quite know how suffocated I feel at times. This is my place, you know? I dont quite care if people read and chuckle at my expense. I’m happy if they’re happy. I’m a compassionate human being. Anything for smiles. I’ll be gone from 5th to 9th. To my loved ones – Pray for me.

Finally, my dearest Praandi,

Thanks for the magic! I’m coming…

-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

Special friends

This post is dedicated to all those guys who are “special friends” with one girl or more. Here is me, Anup, sympathetically empathizing with your piteous state of mind and thereby offering you’ll my sincerest condolences. I know how you feel and I wish to speak for our kind today. Our kind, the male race that is. Stupid that we are! What I’ve noticed over due course of observation and scientific research conducted on myself again through careful observation and timely misjudgments is that I cannot find that muse which blessed me with the so said luck of being a man. its difficult being a girl/women, they’d tell you. I’d want to know why. I really do! Agreed that you’re the mother but please! spare yourself that embarrassment. We already know that. I’d want to discuss on the following (considering that most part of my readers would be either Indians or random stray spam but even that, I’d expect for them to be from India)

– Don’t you’ll have the option to say no? To each and everything that comes your way these days?
– Don’t you get reduced IT bills?
– Don’t you have reservations everywhere you’ll go? The freakin’ bus even!
– More recently, reservations for you’ll in the government. What in the name of god?

Most importantly, and todays prime point – Don’t you decide the fate of friendship? Yes, thats right; with a guy. I don’t quite care about your girl friends but the guys, how is it that you always have the glorious power and unarguable ability to move from acquaintance to friend to something more and then suddenly to “special friend” out of nowhere? Alright, now, I’d want to explain of what I’ve drawn thus far from the title of a “special friend” To begin with, I’d like to define it like Wren and Martin would. Special friend – being verb; a guy, point to note, special friends are useable in any form or kind until they deteriorate into nothing but a moulded form of flubber which can thereby be thrown around to please one’s heart or cause an effect on the walls; uhm, just for fun.

I’d want to try and understand something and thats precisely why I’m going to put this up for public ridicule and contempt. This is something I’ve learnt over a period of careful observation and I might be wrong or in fact, I am wrong but then, here is what I’ve noticed. Its practically impossible for that guy and this girl to be “just friends” or “special friends” this is just two hypocrites trying to hide the obvious. Deal with it! Like they said in one of those old hindi movies… yeah, that same old line. Please! For the love of god, there is no special friendship. You’re either friends with me, where the both of us are under the mercy of natural selection to be mates or else, just go our own ways, kapiche? Its seriously silly to do the we-are-close-friends-and-nothing-more thing. Sup with that? Question to you girls – help me understand; when you know that this guy ain’t for you; Why would you? a) Fall all over him and give him the jiggle? b) Not miss an opportunity to show him that you care? c) Add those killing sweet words here there in your messages – the love you’s and the miss you’s and ohh on some occasions *kisses and sweets* hell yeah! I’ve seen even that. d) Let him reach the point where he finally gives in and says the final line that makes him the worst kinda person you ever met, “I think I am falling…”

Uhh? What? (thats the expression) “How could you even think of this? Don’t you know we’re special friends?” or maybe “I never thought of you that way…” this is golden and ohh the, “You’re a nice guy, but… family!?” Seriously! Help me understand, as if you did not know that all this was coming? Isn’t this all just a silly game? A thrill? A power ride? I don’t quite understand the sadistic pleasure you get out of doing this to a guy. Now, I totally understand that there are guys out there with the charm and grace required to catch you off guard and put you through misery but I’m not one of those and I’m not talking in reference to those guys. I’m talking in reference with us commoners. The one’s who might have a little paunch, the nerdy-geeky ones, the stupid ones and the ones you know will easily fall for all your antiques! Common, you know those paavams* hanging around hoping for you to look at them. Spare them the pain, will you?

Alright, I think I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve got a couple of special friends who’d probably kick my ass for this! Peace out suckers and yes, remember, there is no such thing; its all a mirage. They are not for real. Look clear and keep your ears open. I don’t ask for anyone to be cynical assholes but I guess, we should learn from our mistakes thus far. Draw a line somewhere; be it in friendship or anything else. Value yourself. Its alright to give in if she’s the worth the pain else, RUN! Don’t stand there and stare at her like a zombie. Dont let that scary meduse turn you into stone. Use your brain and read all the signs. Use your brains and all those hidden senses. Finally, if you fail, don’t worry – you’d find yourself writing a post like this somewhere down the years. I understand, we have an incorrigible heart and mind. I hate it when they win; always, time and again. Hail womaniacs!

-Anup

P.S: I know the part where I spoke about less IT and reservation in the government is out of place, but uhm, I just wanted to put it in there. Its sad! I dont understand WHY! And yes, I’ll be around more often!

Happy birthday Abhi!

Abhi

I’ve been in a rut for over a month now and I guess I’m experiencing my first ‘Writers Block’ It’s a rut of remaining tucked in. Cuddled up within my warm fuzzy comforter. Ohh yeah, you heard that right. A comforter in Dubai? When it’s burning down on the sands? The carrier AC in my room is broke and it functions at 16 degree celcius. So, yes, its freezing. But thats alright as far as I’m concerned because I can withstand the cold but never the heat. The early morning heat ruins my want for more sleep, the afternoon heat eats up on my apetite (I dig the pun here) and the evening heat kills my want to wander out and ogle at the triple calved escorts roaming the streets of Bur Dubai. I tell you, French women are something else! JHC, what thighs! Tiny trouser kinda thingies, heels that’d make them taller than Prahlad who is six feet two and diamond cut stockings which could make me wanna throw up. Now I’m sure that’s a sight you’d never want to miss cause precisely; at that very second, when you ponder at reasons for them appearing the way they do… you’d find this amazing BMW 7200 slowly pull up to one of them and they’d slid right in. wOOt ehh? Point being, I’m a home-office-bathroom-commode-office-repeat kinda guy right now and I’m blissfully happy.

Coming to why I actually decided to blog; considering my enormous bout of lethargy and its visible side effects, its Mr. Shedge’s birthday! Ohh yes, Abhijit Shedge has turned uhm, XX years old. He’s lived another glorious year still reigning the world and still the creator of the Matrix. The Matrix that we live in. Yes, you got that right. He is that man who knows everything. He knows why you smile, he knows whats going on in your head and he even knows what you’d do tomorrow at 11:00 AM and if he doesn’t, all he needs to do is to look up his chat logs. Abhi’s chat logs are magical, you know? These logs seem to know things he knows plus more. Simply put, he’s amazing. And I’m not even kidding or being sarcastic, if thats what you’ll think this is. This is a clear word picture of one of the most valuable people in my life.

I’m too far away to give him a hug, a gift and loads to laugh about but I thought I’d take up this opportunity to do something I can do – Give him a few days of fame on this blog (yeah, you got that right!) and secondly thank him. Somehow, when it comes to Abhi, however much I say, thank you’s just dont seem to suffice. He’s the kind of guy who’d stick by when you’ve been nothing but an asshole. The kinda guy you’d find at your doorstep… BEFORE YOU CALL FOR HIM! Most importantly, he’s the kind of guy who’d never miss a phone call. That’s life saving, you know? To have people like him in your life is nothing short of a miraculous gift from god. Most people go all their lives without friends like him and I’m happy that he’s been around, from the times when we were nothings. But we were together at it. I’m proud of having outgrown my self-proclaimed poverty of money, sense and maturity along with him. He’s still immature though and his PJ’s are out of this world. Those are jokes that can be digested only by the tall man – Chetan Parik. What strikes me the most is his sense and understanding which suddenly seems to pop out of nowhere when it comes to things outside his circle of comfort. He’ll quickly turn into this calm, well spoken, knowledgeable guy who can connect with everyone around him without an effort! Where we may take months and years to make friends, he takes days. And I can go on about Abhi but then I guess I’d end this cause I just don’t want any spoil sights looking at him.

Abhi, if not 100, may you live a million years more in complete harmony with all your loved ones around and I’m dying to return into that protective circle. I cannot explain how insecure I feel when I’m not around my people; especially you, Muiz and Smikh. This is the best I can do for now – a treat to your eyes. Here’s about you and only you on my blog. Wish you many happy returns of the day. Happy budday to you, hatthi padla pu pu! Thanks for being there brother… from another mother. I’ve always wanted to use that idiom. Neat ehhh?

-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!