The Confessions of an Indian Expat

Whenever I get irritated at life in Dubai / Sharjah – I tell myself that crazy traffic jams and being surrounded by hordes of people all the time, is a small price to pay for living in a city that feels like the centre of the modern world.

Sometimes, it can take me a good hour to travel from my home in Sharjah to work each morning. The grocery store often resembles a theme park with bumper cars, long queues to weigh veggies and throngs at the teller lines, only because the Filipino cashier decided to take a break to chat up a fellow Tagalog speaker. I am even convinced, that all the construction work I see taking place around the Emirates will never be completed. Add to that, the fact that you can never get a taxi on a Friday and you can bet that you have enough cause to suffer a nervous breakdown.

It’s amazing how quickly you can fall into the same old routines in a completely new place. After three years of living in Dubai, I’ve largely succumbed to the familiar cycle of work, dinner and the occasional outing with friends – but for quite a long time I spent all my evenings exploring the city – usually alone, for nobody wants to venture out in a city like Dubai with its soaring temperatures and annoying cab drivers unless absolutely necessary or for a – not to be missed SALE.

However, over the last three years, I have found that Dubai has steadily grown on me. Sometimes, in the evenings when I’m moseying around besides the still water of the Corniche, sipping on my tall Starbucks latte, I look around me and cannot help but smile. I find that I am surrounded by what seems like a thousand people every evening. My ears are accosted with a myriad of languages. French, Arabic, Urdu, Pashtun, English, Filipino, Russian, Hindi, Malayalam, the works! I smile at the mash-ups (A word made famous by the TV series Glee) and sayings that have emerged. I consider my own speech, with its spattering of Arabic words that has become second nature to me and realize that slowly but surely all these things have come to be common and whether I believe it or not , the city has made me one of its own.

I’m constantly amazed by the sense of style people in Dubai have. From the pyjama clad Pakistani’s, the smartly attired Indians, the trendy Russians and the Arabs themselves – the ladies with their painted faces, astounding jewels and their Jimmy Choo’s and Louis Vuitton’s – and the men with their sparkling white Tandoura’s that never seem to have a blemish or a wrinkle. Every single person steps out in style and oozes truckloads of confidence which is something I am yet to see in any other city.

 I’ve grown to love this place. I love the malls, the parks, the clean roads, and the fact that you can have anything and everything from appliances to groceries delivered to your door and I love the fact that given the slightest opportunity, people come together for an impromptu party or decide to take a road trip to a neighboring Emirate without a second thought.

 Dubai does have a plethora of things that could be improved and I do realize that to the outside world it might seem like a concrete jungle, materialistic and unreal but if you live here for a while you will start to see that the positives always out balance the negatives of this supercity that I have made my second home.