Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wedding bells everywhere

Some arranged, some love, some arranged-love, some fought it out, but we are ALL getting married! Neeta, Pavan, Geetha, Paaji, Swarnkar, Vippo, Pratho… just everyone is getting married!

I am dealing with a fair amount of change already, and as if that isn't enough, even I am getting wedded! Leaving Abu Dhabi in exactly 9 days, the next two months will only mean preparations for my wedding! And then, in order - the big day, the short vacation, the one-month stay with in-laws, the half-month stay with my parents, and then back to Abu Dhabi!
Between now and then, the tranformation will be nothing short of IMMENSE.

I am numb right now. A thick-skinned buffalo. I don’t feel any of what a would-be-bride must feel. I am not nervous, I am not tense, and I am not planning much! The only feeling is that of contentment.

Oh my god! Am I getting wise n all?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

An evening walk at the Corniche

Skyscrapers standing tall and proud, with the background of the clear coastline - making this the most striking site in Abu Dhabi.

As we walk along lost in the crystal blue waters, a mischievous (they all are!) Arab kid almost skates into us. We totally get the point. Actually they are so superior, they “cannot see no one else”. ;)

The hot air blows in my face, and suddenly, the tension of going darker emerges and I tie up a scarf covering my face. Friends giggle and chuckle over me, calling me “Begam Gagan” as we move along.
Today is a relatively cool day to walk around and breath in some fresh non-AC air.
The boards ahead of us read “Take good care of your children”. Tell me about it! Someone tell these guys to take care of their children. Kids are eternally looking for their moms out here. And you know better than to find their mom for them.

Looking right at all the office buildings including my own, I wonder in disbelief – all these buildings are standing tall on reclaimed land! Artificial beaches, Artificial Islands, architectural wonders – They’ve done it all.

While they are 30 years ahead in the construction arena, they seem atleast a 100 behind in social equality. With due respect to the vibrancy of their culture, it’s a man’s world out here. There are huge constraints on ladies traveling alone to Abu Dhabi, and guess what – My manager tells me, he gets an sms every time his wife leaves the country! Blimey!

Talking, giggling, playing the famous guessing game - “Is she a p****”, juggling discussions about our office, UAE and life in general, we reach the corniche intersection, hire cycles to take another look of this truly beautiful coast line.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Ok, so I exactly haven’t left Abu Dhabi, but left to return in about two to three weeks. Before leaving, I had an important last minute gift to buy for my uncle, so I left office a little early to catch a taxi to the mall.

The sun was shining in my eyes and I could barely see. The scorching heat was leaving me exhausted and dehydrated. No sign of a taxi made me want to cry. Really, as it is taxis are not many, and to add to our woes, during summers, the taxi drivers prefer driving only at night! After having waited a good while, I got a taxi and also found my gift after a little extra mall hopping (in the sun again!).

I returned to my apartment with a pounding headache. I was absolutely uncomfortable, and felt very pukish. Just then my colleague-friends came in to give me some stuff to take back. They found me in this terrible state, Cute-Geetha rushed to make me tea, got me a painkiller quickly, while freaky-preethi (these are names we have given them out of atmost sarcasm) sat with me all the time and massaged my head. Slowmo (trust me, he is snail slow…) finished all my last minute packing. I was just lying down all the while. They ordered food; they laid out everything perfectly for me. All I had to do was to get ready and fly out! I was up and running in no time. I was so touched...

As I sat in the taxi and saw them off, I was almost fighting back tears. I was overwhelmed with how much these guys did for me in such little time. I felt lucky to be amongst my own people. It’s bliss to have someone by your side especially when you are away from home.

My friend once told me that I forget to make my friends feel important. So thank you to all of you for just being on your toes that night so that I could go safely. All that concern is priceless. And it simply means a lot to me. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just another day in Abu Dhabi

So, I have been in Abu Dhabi for over two months now and haven’t written at all!
I enjoyed my weekends for the first one-month here, after which we (project team) got awfully busy with work. It was all about work work and work! Anyways, things have looked up now, and when I finish work in the evening, it’s still bright and sunny outside! So, I have decided to take time out to blog about this place and all my bizarre experiences in a country where every person has a tale to tell. Great!

Turns out we had budget for a project team dinner today, and Abu Dhabi has a variety of cuisines to choose from. Eating out is an experience here (I have put on enough to render most of my clothes useless). We being we chose Asha’s, the chain of Asha Bhosle restaurants. Simply exotic… Some gossip, discussions on flat feet, childhood nostalgia, a little bit of shopping for essentials, a few Patel pictures and it was already 1 a.m by the time we got back.

Signing off now, but shall try and keep up with this.

This post was only for you Anil. I am sure you read every silly thing I write: P

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pigeon Scare

Dad loves pigeons. They make nests in our balcony frequently to incubate their eggs. We have strict instructions not to touch the eggs lest the mother should abandon them. When we open the door to our balcony, the creaking door gives the pigeons a warning, and they all fly away immediately.

Right now their nest is under a sink in our balcony, in the dish-washing area, and you can hardly see the pigeons there. So it is a sort of a cube shaped home, open from the front, covered above and on the sides by marble.

I completely forgot about them, and walked up to fetch a bucket from near the sink. My sister watched from a distance. There was one pigeon inside, sitting on the eggs, I still didn’t realize this. I got so close to the pigeon; it was just about an inch away from me. They are scared of me, and I am scared of everything. The pigeon desperately wanting to fly out started flapping its wings vigorously in that small area. I was caught unawares, and I turned around to run and somehow it got somewhere between my knees in all this confusion. (I know, YUCK!) I was running with the pigeon between my knees and I screamed so loud that all the passers by on the street stopped and stared. I kept screaming, my sister fled from the scene, and somehow after a few seconds, the bird made its way out. Phew! My poor grandmother (now not in very good health) was terrified inside with all the screaming until she saw my sis and I roll on the floor laughing!!!

Being too scared never helps I guess. I should have just moved aside and let it fly away. Just checked the sink, and the bird has returned to its nest. Its sitting on one egg, while the other has fallen out – courtesy my stupidity!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indeed ... a Sad New Year :(

So, I got back from Abu Dhabi right on the New Year, and I haven’t been too happy ever since. Oh no… I am not those – Oh-what-shit-is-this-India sorts. I am glad to be back, but just the turn of events has been rather upsetting. Turns out, I was hooked to a depressing book for the first couple of days, and then a weird book for another few days, and then of course, when I got over all that crying and stepped out in my car, I had a terrifying experience. Yeah, it’s the Auto Driver again. This one was scary AS HELL.

In full public view an auto driver managed to threaten, bang the car windows, twist the rear view mirror – All this because I took down his auto number. Mind you, this was on a main road jam packed with traffic. He rode his auto ahead of my car and parked it right there. So I HAD to stop. He got off and ran towards my car. And before he came close, I managed to go ahead. He did the same thing again. Rode Ahead. Stopped. Got off. This time, before I could move towards the left n overtake, he reached us, banged the windows, twisted the rear view mirror, and was yelling – He simply wanted to break something so my friend and I get off the car and he could lay his letcherous eyes on us (and maybe even hands). I was really scared and helpless. No one stopped. Nor did I. I didn’t want to be the Rang-De-Basanti style to get off and fight with this dirty man. In that minute of panic, many thoughts crossed my mind

1. He can’t do much. Get off, say something. Don’t take this lying down.
2. Run, he has rapist written all over his face

I felt ashamed to run, but I did. I don’t remember anything I did in those few seconds. I just remember my friend screaming in fear. And I have no clue if I judged the traffic before I steered left, and over took the parked auto as he continued to bang on the windows. I just remember that I drove real fast. And then before he could run back, sit in his auto and follow us, we had gone far ahead.

We were terrified! As small as this incident sounds, I was torn apart. All kinds of thoughts struck that night. I wept to sleep. I never expected such harrassment in full public view. I was wondering what I would do if I were alone. I wondered if I am safe in my own city. I kept calculating- what did I do wrong, what did I do right, was it sensible to not get off, should I have gotten off and fought for my so-called rights??? I think I never expected a situation where I would chicken out to this extent. AND how I am making this confession on my blog is beyond my understanding!

I have this gut feeling, something worse waits…

Friday, November 21, 2008

ctd...Memories of Thailand

Our tour guide Nisha rightly said in a strong thai accent – “Phuket, very safe place for lady, but very Dangerous for man”. I didn’t know what the main attraction of Phuket is, until we took a walk on Bangla Street. Its not tin or rubber, its simply sex tourism! You’ll spot old men with sixteen year olds, and that really isn’t pleasing!

Anything you want to buy at Phuket - bargain and go on until you’ve settled for one-third the price. The whole process will anyway suck the shopping spirit out of you. If you have all the money in the world, spend it at the flattering gem factory! I loved an emrald ring, but I don’t think I can afford it in this lifetime to say the least. :P

Walking along the patong beach was simply my favorite thing. Pics -

Phuket has an awesome nightlife, needless to say! It’s a city that’s alive all night; we even spotted kids out at mid night! I don’t think I saw a cop all through my stay at Phuket! Everything is legal until you get caught, and there is hardly any chance you will!

The tuk-tuk is the most preferred public transport system. You can even get a ride on the Bike-Taxi’s (You get a drop on a bike!).

As we walked across the shopping markets, the store-owners sitting outside kept asking us “Heyyyyy, you from Paaakeesthhhhaaaan “ (With a tune, dragging the last bit). We were so tired of responding to “Ohhhhh Namasteyyyyyyyy!!”, that we simply decided to ignore their comments. So we walked along and suddenly - “Heyyyy you from Indeeeyaaaaaaa”… again…“Heyyyy you from Indeeeyaaaaaaa” …”Indeeeyaaaaa”… “ you not talkeeeeng”… “only walkeeeeeeng”… and we burst into laughter !!

I obviously missed my niece despite the short duration! :P The best –EST part of the trip was Canoeing at James Bond Island. It has startling needle-shaped limestone formations. This was the most memorable of all the (few) things I have done.
Noticed a perfect lady carved out on the limestone rock, seemed like a wonder of nature to me!

Phuket is a place run by ladies and lady boys (below: P).

All in all - an awesome place to chill out, the best place for a vacation. I am just crazy about clear blue waters, and beaches at Phuket were crystal clear. Loved it!