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.


Ashraf's Pen 11:35 PM  

I have another hypothesis.

Maybe there is a rebellious streak in you and the whole moving away from home thing is because of it.

Unconciously maybe ur rebelling against the whole idea of following the track that was laid for you.

A beautiful line I read said "Parents try and plan their kids future and kids throughout their lives fight against that path"

It could be valid or invalid.

Beyond that I agree the whole thing of citizenship in Gulf sucks. I would never work there. At least in the US and other European countries one can challenge and protest.

heena,  4:32 PM  

hmm..thats some dont think im rebelling from anything. my [parents did have their views on what i should do etc but ultimately we were allowed to make our own decisions. and they fully support it. and im so grateful that i have parents who want all of us girls ( i have three sisters) to be so independant and make our own decisions.

In fact my dad really wanted us to go abroad, coz Dubai was going through a whole different change. In the 70s and 80s having a MBBS was a great big of a deal. And it totally cahnged in the 90s where its all about specialization and super specialization.

Ashraf's Pen 12:33 PM  


So my theory falls flat on its face.


Maybe u dont have this urge to rebel. You may just be independent enough to take the risk. It takes courage to get away from it all.

My grandfather was like ur dad. In the late seventies and early eighties he ensured all his daughters ge educated enough to be able to get a job if they desire(PG min) before marriage.

So my moms a lecturer in english, another is a Prof in English in a univ and the youngest is also a asst prof in another univ.

The funny thing is he ensured his daughters got educated at great odds with my grandmother who wanted her daughters to be married early and was dead set against girls working saying that if a gal works she has to do hard work but if she is a housewife she sits at home and is the queen of her kingdom with servants at her beg and call.

Sounds funny doesn't it.

It all seems so antiquated.

Ashraf's Pen 12:36 PM  

Anyway heena if u do not mind me calling u so, I am curious.

Why a name like life of pi

Are u a maths buff and is pi for the mathematical constant.

Sorry kya karoon ab curiosity control nahin hoti.


life of pi 4:51 AM  

i think thats really great to know about your grandad's forward thinking - especially since its a muslim family and its sad to say that women in muslim families arent as educated and arent as encouraged to do so.i totally admire your granddad now. sometimes pple dont want the girl as educated, coz then she develops "western ideas". this all again is very different from the teachings of islam. but religion has become so cultural - its sad. plus its by default one has to hate the west.

and im not too shocked by your grandma's statement coz despite women being hardworking good at studies/successful at work etc- you are immediately branded a failure if you cant cook a decent meal etc. you are supposed to be super woman. so in that sense yes it is twice as hard. Hmm not sure I understand though the hired help statement, coz you probably can afford more hired help if you are double incomers.

no real reason for the name. wish i had a more interesting story. i do like math. i love the song precious illusions by alanis morisette( therefore the initials pi) and then i liked yann martels book - life of pi.

Ashraf's Pen 2:55 AM  

Sadly my granddad expired more than a decade back.

But the legend as they say lives on. He was by all measures an extraordinary man, rising from relative poverty and a rural background through sheer hard work. But thats another story.

But he did have very clear idea's. Like there was no burqa in the house coz he found it unmaintanable in the long run.

While yes, many people dont want girls educated because of western ideas, the reason he wanted his daughters educated was so that they are not totally dependent on their husbands. As he used to say in case God forbid something did not work out they could always support themselves. When someone asked him if he would be giving a car as dowry, he replied he was giving an educated daughter.

I agree religion is too cultural. But hate the west is sheer ignorance. Vice and virtue is too much of a judgment. Much of it is cultural. And every generation values change. We cant hope for the medicine, the technological advances and leave out what we dont like from the west.

'Hate the west' is only for idiots who cant understand how the cards will play out.

U forget the timeline of my grandma's statement. Its 25 years ago when women seldom worked. Esp in small towns. More than the emphasis on super-woman, the emphasis is on the traditional role of the woman as a housewife. The husband will provide for all the expenses so it is not really the lady of the house concern how the hired help is being paid. It does not matter if she works and could then afford help.My grandma house had dozens of servants.

I was hoping for an interesting story but no probs, I got three answers. :P

'Midnights Children' signing off ;)

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