Friday, August 07, 2009

How Dubai ensures I Don’t Miss My Mumbai

I haven’t blogged much about my expat life in Dubai. I never wanted to live abroad; I still don’t, but here I’m spending my 4th year in Dubai. I don’t know how long MDH and I plan to be here. I don’t want to decide, things never work out when I decide, so I’ve learnt my lesson and now I take everything in my stride.

This place has slowly and steadily grown on me. I still have my cribs and complaints, but it’s a nice place to live in. Here are some of the ways in which this place ensures I don’t miss my Mumbai as much. (I cannot stop missing Mumbai. How can you? When you have spent a quarter of your life in Mumbai!)

Family and Friends

This place has helped me meet a vast array of people with completely different personalities but who gel with each other exceptionally well. MDH and I have been fortunate to have had such lovely people around us right from the time we stepped in. They say it’s tough to make friends at work, but my best friends in Dubai come from my workplace and so do MDH’s. I’ve known them for only 3 years but it feels like they’ve known me for a lifetime.

MDH’s cousin lives a building away from our old place and has been with us since my first day in Dubai. Her two little adorable brats (About the elder one read here) ensure that we have our hands full. Add to this extended family, are my bhauji’s (brother-in-laws) close friends who are now our own family.

And the best of all are my neighbours P & A from my old place. In Dubai people rarely get to know who lives on their floor, I was fortunate to have met them on the second day I moved in and we hit it off. Their little angel has kept MDH and me busy in the evenings for the last 3 years!

On all occasions to be spent with my family I always have these wonderful set of people to turn to. I do miss my family back home but they all help me miss them less.

Food

MDH is from Goa and therefore is an absolute seafood freak, loves non-veg and in general food. I’ve developed my food fetish from him! His profession has helped us experiment at the best places that Dubai has to offer. I’ve been to most 5 star restaurants and tasted out all cuisines – Arabian, Iranian, Lebanese, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese. From a meal costing AED 30 for 2 to a meal costing AED 300 for 2, we have tried out all! Each one with its own speciality, own taste and wanting us to go back again and again. I will put up a food post on this blog – our friends and colleagues always consult us if they need to try out a new place. I’m often called “Time-Out Dubai” at my workplace cause I keep introducing new restaurants to them. They tell me, when it comes to food MDH and you know the best! Yeah we do;-)

The Roads

Dubai has excellent roads. The internal city roads are wide and well divided with atleast 3 lanes on either side. The highways have atleast 5 lanes on either side. The directions are excellent. You will rarely get lost. I’ve driven alone, got lost and found my way back by just following the direction boards on the road. In parts of the city there is chaotic traffic , but that is minimal if I compare it to the entire structure. In short I absolutely love driving around this place

Our Car

In Dubai, cars are a must if you need to get yourself around .It does not have a robust public transport system. They are also the most affordable and hence the spate of luxury cars in this part of the world. I’ve seen every damn luxury car on the streets here. I drive a SUV – A Nissan Murano. It is not a car I would’ve driven in Mumbai even if I could afford it sometime in life. It’s a fuel guzzler and one cannot enjoy a ride in SUV on Mumbai’s teeny weeny roads! Fuel comes cheap, really cheap at AED 6.25 per gallon; so one more reason to own a car here.

Grocery Shops & Supermarkets

Grocery shops function here from morning 6.00 a.m to 12.00 in the night. Some are even open till 2.00 a.m. in the morning and some supermarkets are open 24X7. I know the perils but from a pure consumer perspective it is a bliss. I’m never worried if I run out of the bare necessities at home at odd hours.

The Distance to Mumbai

Total travel time 2hrs 45 mins, including the time difference around 4 hrs. If I want, I can visit Mumbai on a weekend.

Household Help

I’ve a cleaner and a cook who come in daily to do the chores. Not many of my friends boast of that luxury once they leave India. I don’t pay a heavy price for these services unlike other places outside India.

Cleanliness & Greenery

Most of this city is cleaned daily – the roads, the buildings, the parks. The plants are watered daily, and the gardens maintained beautifully.

There not many parks but the few they have, are huge and well maintained. This place is a desert but the city officials have managed to maintain green pockets as much as they can. We even have our own ‘Haridwar’ here! It’s not London or Europe but I admire the fact that such greenery is maintained in this barren desert land

Services

Any service related to the government here, be it getting your visa done, id card done, e-gate card, telephone, electricity, internet, television is relatively easy. If they tell you it will take 2 hrs, it more often than not takes exactly 2 hrs, if they tell you they will do it in 3 days, they will definitely do it in 3 days and if they tell you they do not know how long, well they really do not know how long! They are honest about it.

Dubai RTA

They manage the roads and transport of this place and they do a swell job. The systems are in place and you cannot evade the law. If your car registration has expired you will not get a parking card, if you have not paid your fines, you cannot have your car registered. In short, Dubai does not believe in the law chasing individuals but the individuals having to chase the law. If there is an accident, the process is simple, both cars come to a side, wait for the police to arrive. The police a.k.a the ‘Shorta’ here will inspect. The one who is at fault will get a pink slip, the other a green. The one with the green slip submits it to his insurance company who recover the money from the insurance company of the one with pink slip. No fights, no abuses, no traffic halts – all the chaos that we see in Mumbai if there is an accident. The fines are clearly defined and there is no escape without paying if you get one.

If major constructions are happening around, the diversions and the direction boards are up the very moment so that no inconvenience is caused.

We as humans will still complain but if I look at the bigger picture, the RTA does a super job. They are constantly striving to upgrade the place

Shopping

Dubai has always been known for its shopping and it is indeed a bliss to shop here! Things are affordable and not that expensive. The Sales in summer and during the shopping festival are a huge hit and you get some awesome bargains. Apart from my traditional wear (clothes and footwear both) I’ve stopped shopping back home cause you get better stuff at the same price here

Dubai Metro

Finally the one reason that will bring this place more closer to my hometown Mumbai . The one thing this place was missing which I so dearly love about Mumbai and my next favourite London city. Yes the trains.

Dubai is getting its own Metro service which will commence this 9Sep. On 09/09/09 at 9 a.m. the Metro will have a grand opening. I saw a test run bang in front of my house and was dead excited. I’ll finally get to travel by train to work and back. I only live 2 stations away and both stations are bang in front of my home and office! It will be a fully automated driverless service and hopefully people here in Dubai will appreciate the importance of public transport.

The Brat Pack

2 Adorable nephews, 2 lovable dolls and 1 little angel. These 5 have ensured that I’m fully trained and equipped to handle one of my own! I was never a children’s person, that is MDH, he is fantastic with the kids and these 5 dote on him and so does he on them. They have helped me to handle kids and have fun with them by being like them.

I was always the youngest in my family and hence my nieces/nephews are not that younger to me – so I’ve been more of a sis than aunt. These 5 have taught me what being an aunt is all about! What it is to be a grown-up but yet be a kid when you are with the kids!

God bless them!

I’m not comparing Mumbai and Dubai; where ever I live, Mumbai will always be home, the place where my heart belongs to. I’m slowly beginning to accept Dubai as my second home. It has given me pain but it has also brought me much joy.

More posts on this lovely place will follow.

13 comments:

pagpri said...

Awesome blog Minu....

Ooh, I wish I stayed so close to Mumbai.

LUCKY U !!!

Praveen Golikeri said...

Good one bro...v rarely do we realise and appreciate the good things we have here ...v well written...

Minal said...

@priya: thnks priya - there will be reasons why u will feel lucky living in USA - just give it a thght:-)

@praveen: it's me - minal:-)
thnks - you said it well , we rarely realise and appreciate the good thngs we have here!

sagar said...

Ammchi Mumbaim

Wherever we stay, whatever we earn.
Mumbai will be the best city in the world.

And once i m a politican i will make it more beautiful

Minal said...

@sagar: it's not abt which is the best ciy in the world it's just about adjusting to a place when we can't be in Mumbai and appreciating the new place as well;-)
I'll wait for you to be a politician will definitely come down and vote then:-)

Sands said...

few awards and a tag waiting at my blog. Check it out!!

Sands said...

Sounds lovely. I have always wanted to visit your part of the world. Esp since my mama lived there when I was a child. Hope to get there one day!!

Minal said...

Sands,
Thank you so much, the tag is on its way! And do let me know if u plan a visit here will be most delighted to take you around!

Sands said...

well I promise to email you when I plan a trip to your neck of the woods :)

Pins N Ashes said...

it is only when we drift away from people, places and things, the realisation strikes......

and loved the one about the TRPs.....

Ash

Minal said...

@Ash,
You are bang on! Thanks for the comment on the TRPs.
I just glimpsed through your blog - very colorful liked that!

indianhomemaker said...

Enjoyed reading this interestingly written point by point comparison Minal!

Home is missed lesser if one is comfortable where ever one is :) Mumbai is my favorite city too, but I still love many other cities :)

Minal said...

@IHM: True. I took time adjusting to Dubai as my permanent home. Ive been on short term in Mlore and Blore but I knew would be back in Mumbai soon. Here I don't know - so I've got myself to appreciate and like this city!
Btw i absolutely love mlore, pune and blore!;-)