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Shaadaab S Bakht: Allows you your world
November 30, 2012
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ON THE UAE:

Footsteps don’t wake us up especially if they are ordinary or their soles are made of rubber. Therefore, he had to knock. Again knock. On opening the door I could see a liveried postman. “I think this letter is for you and it is from abroad,” he had said. “Hold on, ” I had replied. It was an offer letter from my employer in Sharjah, UAE. Excited, I had gifted him money to buy sweets. It wasn’t fashionable then to offer dark chocolates.

It was in Guwahati, India. I was a healthy bachelor with all the aspirations that get woven into us at that age. Some are above them. I wasn’t. I wasn’t “focused” as it is fashionable to say. I wasn’t on the high-ambition track. I was like a twirling twig on a windy day. I have never been a believer of strategies. The best comes unannounced.  

I was also not far from building castles in the air, not far from many who believe that life is a patchwork of unfinished tales, not far from treating lure as divine design, not far from wearing new stuff at dates.

The general populace in the UAE is  non-interfering, a very big relief for a Bengali. In Bengal, India, your life can’t be only yours.
Hence, I had thought the letter would open up otherwise unconquerable avenues. I had been felled by the need to consider personal economy before all else. However, before even I could begin serious celebrations the Gulf war broke. Some days later a postman, not the same one, brought a letter saying that my appointment had been indefinitely postponed.

That had pushed me into some kind of depression. Only some kind. Because I was already familiar with grief. Except that what makes it dreadful is that every time it hits you, you feel that it’s never been so bad. That’s something do with the character of the emotion. However, it’s grief that keeps the world ticking. Because we all have one aim: happiness. And that is born of our disgust with grief.

Well, years later I was asked to come and join The Gulf Today. And then started my long association with the palm fronds, the sands, the sea and loneliness. Lonely, because I had left behind a world, small, but big enough to make me feel big.

I had left behind some people dear, some apparently so and some were, but not anymore (relationships are like autumn colours or desert sands, always there but never in one place).       

I was sure of the welcome in the Gulf, but never happiness. But I was going by hearsay because my experience on arrival, later on and now is different. I have been here long enough to earn the right to comment on the UAE.

Well, civic amenities are top of the line. The general populace in the UAE is non-interfering, a very big relief for a Bengali. In Bengal, India, your life can’t be only yours. You have to share it, otherwise you are in for big trouble.

The epithets to describe you will range from unsocial to show-pot to snob to arrogant to rustic.

In the UAE I stay in a building that has not more than four Indian families. Yet, I feel I am at home. Once I fell ill and there were at least 10 families trying to reach me through the watchman. Food, beverages and attention were pouring in.

I tell you, you are what you do and not who you are. That’s conventional wisdom. Needs to be checked.     

Worlds don’t make us, we make our worlds — one lesson learnt by living in a vibrant melting pot. And that’s the UAE.

Moreover, that couldn’t have happened if the ethos wasn’t rooted in commitment and harmony, nursed to its enviable health, by the nation’s leadership.  
 
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