Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It’s just a matter of accepting it!

During my occasional visits to Kuwait the drive from our staff house to the clients is only 10 mins with moderate traffic. But it would take me a good half hour to 45mins due to traffic. And it completely stresses me out - not that I am not used to traffic (anyone who has driven around downtown Dubai will find traffic in Kuwait very minimal). What gets on my nerves is the style of driving here especially the local Kuwaitis. They are just maniacs with their 5.7 liter suburban’s who refuse to acknowledge a 1.2 liter Toyota Yaris which is also trying to inch forward.

They would just ignore you, cut in front of you, tail gate you, yell and honk at you when they pass by you over the name it. Even then this is a lot more civilized than driving back home through a busy street in Cochin – where there are no rules. But somehow driving there doesn’t stress me out. So I did some thinking as to why does the Kuwaiti animals get me all worked up. I think it is due to the fact that I have accepted the fact that driving in India sucks - that the car next to you is going to cut in front of you, and the car behind is going to honk till you go faster and the auto in front will do a right turn without indicating. So I am all set and prepared to expect the unexpected so there is no element of surprise. A country as rich as Kuwait ought to be better – this just goes to prove that money does not bring class. Anyway so here I am trying to accept that things are bad here and the sooner I do that the more relaxed I would be when I start my day at the office.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Palm

Having lived only a 10 minutes drive away from the Palm Jumeirah for the past 5 years – friends and extended family find it hard to believe that my parents have never visited the man made islands.. so I thought of taking them to see what all the hype was about. As usual dad wasn’t interested and mum kinda agreed to come along. So off we went to the palm islands – it was a Saturday evening and since it was weekend, we expected to see a lot of crowd and traffic – but the place looked deserted. There were a lot of apartment buildings that were either not completed or unoccupied. There were loads of “fronds” villas that were being built and for some reason they were all eerily lit up. And at the end of center of the crescent was the mighty Atlantis hotel which is basically a copy of the Atlantis of the Bahamas (without the casinos of course).

Me: Hey amma – this is the Atlantis – pretty neat huh?

Mum: Yeah ? okay. * looks in the opposite direction out in to the sea almost immediately*

Me: Aren’t you in “awe” ?

Mum: Naah !! Atlantis doesn’t appeal to me much – but the sea does :-). I like the sound of it – soothes the mind – may be if I see the original at the Bahamas I might be in awe.

Me: Must be the old age :-P

Coming to think of it if they are spending millions on building a landmark hotel – why can’t it be original? Why are they (Dubai) planning to build an Eiffel tower that is taller than the real one – and pyramids larger than the original? I don’t see a point – get real – get original. But having said that have to agree that the whole concept of the palm islands is pretty innovative.

The atlantis at the palm Jumeirah.

View of Dubai Marina from the Palm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I believe there is a Chris McCandless within every one of us – but not so prominent in some as much as the others. The urge to travel away from civilization and the go off the beaten path, to find peace and live off the land - Into the wild.

Although I admire McCandless’ guts and his determination to do his own thing, I hated that fact that he hurt the ones he loved – by running away from their lives – just like that. I have to say he was selfish in his own ways not caring about the ones who brought him up and gave him education which eventually made him capable of having a mind of his own.

I hated the fact the he wouldn’t accept a graduation gift from his parents. It’s a gift from someone who loves him – he should just accept it. Period. Yet his sister defends him by saying that no one understands him – I say there is nothing to understand. He is just plain simple stubborn.

I hated the fact that he wouldn’t call home for months and let them know that he is safe and sound – or whatever. Regardless of the fact that they would try and convince him to come home – he should have written or called often. He owed them that much (atleast).

I felt no sympathy for him when he died of his own stupidity but I do feel bad for his loved ones who were so anxious to hear about him and who kept hoping that one day he would come home.

I read the book and also watched the movie and have to say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book. Might even watch it again as living in the wild is something I always dreamt of doing – but stuck in this rat race of work-home-work-home I am not sure if it will ever materialize.

To McCandless…. Salut!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Am I socially responsible?

“sir,madaame you waan dvdee??” I hear the familiar voice at the office reception and soon the receptionist alerts the rest of us that the DVDs are here. The vendor is a tiny chinese lady with four bags each almost her size – full of pirated DVDs. Soon half the employees are going through her bags which has a well organised collection of new releases, foreign films, comdey, action and even a porn section.

Does it actually make a big difference to the film industry if we start buying pirated movies ? or does it just eat a wee bit into the millions the film industry makes ? Are we harming the society in any way? Is there a fine line that divides the right and wrong ? Although I have stopped buying pirated movies and music CDs etc I am still to make a decision on illegal mp3 downloads. I mean where do I draw the line?

For now – I recycle waste, minimise plastic usage and have stopped buying pirated CDs. I like to think I am doing my part in being responsible. The part I totally fall behind is burning black gold. I have a decent size engine and I love giving it the berries each time I hit the road.. and fuel being dirt cheap here in Dubai doesn’t make me think twice before filling that tank up with Unleaded 98 Octane. Very Criminal Like ??

Monday, April 6, 2009


“Hi – I am XXX and I am your waiter today. I will do my best to make sure you enjoy your meal at our place”… and they mean what they say in majority of the places. So after we are happy with their service – we tip them. Everyone is happy.

But what if you get crappy service from a grumpy waiter/waitress and the food sucks? You decide that this guy isn’t getting your appreciation of any sort.. So you just want to pay up the bill and leave. Then comes the bill with 15% service charge along with a blank space for the tip. Huh? WTF? Service charge?Tip? Hello..???

Here in the middle east every deli has its own rules – there are no standard rules for the country – some plug in a tax along with a service charge and then expect us to tip the waiter etc.. This is so unfair. As far as I am concerned service charge is a token of appreciation that cannot be demanded. Period. So I have officially stopped tipping if there is a service charge. Also I do not charge the tip to the credit card as it will eventually end up in the owner’s pocket. So I tip the waiter with cash, that way there is a better chance of it ending up with the right people.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Most people I know who travel a lot buy something typical related to the country they visit for taking back home.. Like if you go to Darjeeling you end up buying a packet of Darjeeling Tea.. you got to Yemen and bring back a jambiya ( traditional arabic knife ) and if you go to Scotland you bring back a Scottish kilt or a miniature statue of William Wallace or even collect currencies or T shirts and what not.. but not me.. I bring back fridge magnets :-). That’s a habit I picked up ten year ago after my first overseas trip. And now my fridge has no more space left.. :-( So I am thinking of something else – may be hang up a notice board in my bedroom where I can pin on random thumbnail pictures etc that will remind me of the my stay in a hotel or some random people I meet or may be even the picture of a coffee shop I visit. Hmmm…

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

to laugh often and much,

to laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch... to know even one little life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! - Emerson.

picked it off a fridge magnet I had bought a long time ago...