Thursday, April 10, 2008

all i wanna do is have some fun - i got a feeling, im not the only one.

so i get asked this question a lot at work. why? why would i leave the mini paradise of dubai and move to nyc to slog it out in an albeit interesting but crowded, dirty, polluted, super taxed city. when i could be sitting on heaps of cash, with hired help that one can afford, having a nice car (or two) in my driveway, sunny weather, great home cooked food, more friends, family around etc etc. the list is endless.

is it money? i dont think so. i think i could get a higher paying job in dubai - since it is tax free and i think a grad degree may help. and i might save more since i would be living at home. i usually answer this with a "money isnt everything". this remark of mine is always met with a lot of snickering, perhaps they think im too idealistic or just plain lieing. and then to my detriment it kind of builds the image that im just a rich spoilt brat and that everyone in dubai is sitting on a pot of gold. kind of like, something that i learnt recently, on why journalism pays so little despite being one of the biggest businesses everywhere. the reason being, there are a dime a dozen kids of uber rich parents, who are willing to do it for free. for them yes money is not an issue. i for one dont fall in that category, i assure you.

is it the work then? to a certain extent yes. i think the work i do here is far more substantial than i would do in dubai. im learning a lot. i have far more opportunities to learn from my peers and managers. the work here is cutting edge. i have access to experts in my fields. true, i dont utilize them to the best of my ability. but at least i can try somewhat. the markets in dubai are still in their fledgling stage and even if they were as advanced as here, it still wont be the same as here. the fact that 80% of the population in dubai comprises of expats, doesnt mean that it is particulary diverse or even that it something that is extremely proud of - as something that top companies here do advertise as their selling point. all it is in dubai, is just numbers. and not coz it can be anything but that. how else will these scores of scores skyscrapers be made, if it were not for this "diversity". it really doesnt mean anything, its almost like the diversity actually works against you.

i know i criticize. but i truly do love my dubai, and i know its changing and sometimes not every change is good. and coz i consider it my own, i do reserve the right to criticize it.

so is it the freedom? perhaps, but to a very slight extent, i love the fact that i can go get a cup of coffee at 8 or 9, walk down the block, go to a barnes and nobles and hang out without having to tell anyone or explaining or having someone worry about it. i dont see myself doing this in dubai, simply coz its just not hte norm and its just a process to get out the car and drive down in endless traffic.i love the fact that i live at my own will, anybody who has ever lived away from home during their school years, still love their home and family but there is a certain independance that one cherishes and perhaps craves.
a friend of mine, like many of us, plans to go back home in a couple of years. for her home is bombay, but she too kind of wonders that it would be difficult at times to adjust in a joint family kind of setting after having lived the complete nuclear family life. double income no kids life. not saying it wont work out, and at times it may be great. perhaps its just a case of adjusting.

is it the stability? there is definetly a stability in the US in terms of your status, you work here a couple of years, you become part of them. irrespective of wheter you can speak english fluently. in a couple of years you ar econsidered american, despite having been brought up in a different country, not having spoken english in years. you can basically live in your own little bubble and it will be ok. in the gulf, its never like that - even if you do happen to attain the exclusive citizeship - can you really ever be considered part of the crowd. i dont know. i would say another 40 years before something like that can happen. no country is perfect. even those that look it from the outside.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

what goes around..goes around..comes around.. comes around.

so a couple of days ago, i was walking on 3rd ave in midtown, ie one of my infrequent lunch walks, but whenever i get a chance to do these. i normally walk around 10 blocks or so north and then turn around. i love doing this, since it clears my head, gets me out of a rut, and miraculously im able to figure out my dumbest mistakes, plus its good to stretch out a bit. and plus if you are walking in new york, there are a lot of pple on the streets and you can observe a lot and theres never really a dull moment.

so normally im always stopped by pple selling some kind of discount coupons for their restaurants, or selling business suits, or some environmental issue, or some free newspaper. iniitally i would take it, but now ive become immune to it, so i still smile and say no thank you without even seeing what they were selling.

so two days ago, a lady - short, very european looking, clear green eyes stops me and tries to hand me a pamphlet, i politely refuse and walk on. after a point i reach my destination, a deli to pick up lunch. While deciding what i should eat, she approaches me again. at this point, im quite confused, why was she following me, did i drop something? she again hands me a pamphlet, things like maybe shes homeless and needs some money or something, run through my head. and then shes like you are going to have some major career change next month, it will be a good change, but its going to be major. apparently she was some tarot card reader. and had looked into my future, and now wants to tell me too.

as much as i was intrigued, i would rather not know.

so this is my question. how does this business survive. i mean if pple actual knew the future, they could predict thigns for themselves, they would do so - cash in all their riches, and never tell anyone else. i dont get it. for the better good? alrite - share your knowledge, but wouldnt you yourself be zillionaires. how does this business thrive - and believe you me, it does. a friend of a friend had to wait for a year or so to get a reading by this tarot reader. and i wonder dont pple actually think that- its pure logic. but then the world is full of strange things, and perhaps this "flaw" that as humans we have - that at the next corner, our luck will change, or will be much better than what we have. this hope that tommorow will be a better day, this optimism or perhaps just a constant restleness and a looking for newer heights to obtain. perhaps all this encompasses our obsession of the future. that we forget to live in our present.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Yahaan Hai Ek Nadi.....Aur Wahaan Ek Laal Kila....Par Kahaan Hain Iss Shehar Ka Falsafa

so ive had many things to blog about, but just havent had a. the time b. been in the mood to away c. had a functional laptop on which to type away. ive made so many mental notes and now ive forgotten half the things i wanted to write about or rather preserve for posterity. so first thing firsts, this completes my one year anniversary in new york. cant believe how far ive come, from being totally scared to get on a crowded train to being the girl who will push her way into the train just as the doors are closing. so my love for new york continues and i have very few complaints, apart from the disgusting amount of tax one has to pay to live in the city. there is an unrealistic thinking that everyone who lives in the city is uber rich, and so they not only have to pay federal, state but city tax and also fund some schools. and yes we are working for the better good etc etc, so cant really be the bad guy and say why should i fund public schools, when i dont even have kids...yes thats the mean part of me, but the righteous side of me, thinks society in general should contribute to a good thing. even though he may or may not utilize it.

but, heres, my question very simple and super logical, is that if every month or rather every two weeks we get a summary of our salary with the deductions, and i assure you the deductions really add up to quite a bit. so if the govt gets an itemized list of how much we make and exactly how much is coming from us, why dont we get a letter in the mail saying this is exactly what we spent your money on. i dont need the minute details that so much went to fund X's school books. i just need something which says ok we contriubted this much to healthcare, and this much to funding a war that killed innoncent pple who really had nothing to do with terrorism.

pple need to know, it makes it all the more real. most of the americans and non americans i know dont want this war. they have their own problems to worry about. rather than trying to "solve" other countries problems, or creating problems for others. the health care system here is the pits, they charge a bomb and half for simple procedures. and so many pple here arent insured. i have been reading dr. atul gawandes complications and its a really great read. it talks about medical insurance, the insurance a doctor pays to avoid lawsuits, and a whole lot more. im definetly going to blog about this but in a different post.

so anyways in other news, am planning to visit delhi later on this year. as a dear friend of mine gets married. its been a long time since i visited delhi, maybe 10 years ago. and i hear its changed a lot. its also the first time i will be visiting india and not visiting family and doing the round of the relatives, so that should be really fun! im thinking of taking the train to agra, rather than flying there. should be an experience. i visited agra when i was 6 or 7 and i dont remember anything at all. apart from hitting the must sees, taj mahal, forts et al, hope to see a little more of the "real" delhi/agra. and of course having great food.


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