Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Land of wishful thinking

We were never rich but my parents worked very hard to make sure we were never left without. There was one thing I always envied though, friends who talked about uncles living abroad; uncles who sent them shiny gifts & yummy chocolates. Oh, how cool these mythical uncles were. I had no such uncle & therefore decided I would do the living abroad myself.

Moving to Dubai was a decision I took about six months to work on; with the help of my friends, then boyfriend & family. I think my main reason to move was that I really wanted to push myself into something I always wanted to do but didn't quite know how. I felt like I was in a lather, rinse, repeat cycle of neverending ennui (I've always wanted to use that word!!)

So here I was in a city that was caught between trying to please both the modernists & the traditionalists & never really pleasing either. From what I could see then, the only thing lacking in Dubai was the concept of lack itself. Nobody seemed okay with not having things. Everybody wanted everything. In an immediate world like this, wanting to hold on for something real & lasting seemed wrong. I was happy being wrong then & am pretty happy being in the wrong for now.

Now that I've been around here for a while, this city is surreal to say the least; from dolls wearing abayas to brunches where parents get drunk in the afternoon with kids next to them. From guys who stay in little rooms but spend their credit limit on D&G shoes to ladies who find the love of their life in a rich, old guy who has no one else.

Dubai is a personification of every high school movie. There are the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the bullies & the bullied. And oh, let me not forget the cliques. Finding your way through the maze of clich├ęs & questionable ethics & subjective morality changes the person you are.

I am not the same person I was 3 years ago. I am angrier, cynical, jaded & a bit more antisocial. But I have been luckier than many here. I found my sanity in some people who tolerated all my craziness & still didn't let go. They held on through my dark spirals & through my ecstatic highs. It was only because of them that I stuck around & now that I have been given the gift of an actual career, this city is now my home.

A home that is built on a flimsy, sandy foundation of expat friends who have made temporary homes here & can leave at any time. I have said my goodbyes & farewells to a fair share of lovely people. Thankfully, I can easily stay in touch with them. But nothing really prepares you for how intensely you can miss someone when they move away. It is completely different from "breakup feelings" because you never really broke up with that person. You still care about them but had to helplessly let go while they made a better decision for their lives. Is this what the empty nest syndrome feels like?


  1. Nice one! I love the word, ennui. You beat me to it. Working on somehting like this myself. ~Jason.

  2. u moving to dubai has made you grow up... u are more responsible, professional and adult. letting you go to dubai was a difficult decision but i was in favor of it the most, despite the fact that i knew that it would become your home... u are meant for great things Ipshi... becoming one of the mythical Dubai aunties is just ne of them :)

  3. I am glad that your outlook on life allowed you to make wonderful connections along the way. A smile & an open heart invites many friends easily, and it is the smarts that allow you to keep the good ones!

    Interesting take on Dubai. Never lived here, but I think you would make a great travel writer.

  4. Didi, your comments make me cry everytime. Thank u for letting me go; if u had shown doubt even once, i don't think I would have come here at all.

  5. I am really enjoying this Ipshi, thanks for sharing your unique point of view so eloquently and honestly.