Thursday, January 24, 2008

Migrant workers are temporary in nature....

"They do not have a desire to make the Gulf their permanent residence. The expatriate workers have come to the Gulf looking for jobs to improve their living standards."

OK, they have declared in their wisdom that migrant workers do not have a desire to make the Gulf their permanent home. Many of those spend most of their productive decades here, and would of course wish to remain classified as temporary migrants.

What about those business people who migrated to the Gulf decades ago, in some cases over half a century back, whose descendants were born here and have known no other home but the Gulf?

What is wrong with trying to improve one's standard of living? Why do people migrate? Migration the world over is primarily caused due to economic considerations. People move to a country that would promise them a better standard of living. They do not migrate to remain vagrants all their lives.

First they wanted to send you to live in ghettos. Now they want to discriminate in the marketplace as well. How can human beings be treated as if they were disposable items off some shelf, even if they have spent most of their lives here?

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Early Retirement....

I turned 50 in 2007 and have been thinking about early retirement for some time now. Genetically, I am programmed to expire in my early sixties and this is the right time to start thinking about it. So that I have a few years in hand before geriatric illnesses start making things difficult. There are so many lives that I have yet to live and so many places still to visit!

Actually, I have been semi-retired for the past few years now. In the sense that I do not have to follow any set schedules or time tables. The business does not require my constant attention any more and perhaps I have lost the drive to expand it. Financially, I have the capability to sustain a good enough standard of life if I dispose of the business and convert it to cash. Because although I have lived all my life here, I do not feel at home in this place. I wait for the time when I will be able to pack up and leave, to live in freedom and in pursuit of happiness.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Act of faith or foolishness?

I purchased a plot of land in India yesterday. There was this property exhibition going on for a few days and yesterday was the last day. I went there to just take a look around and ended up buying this plot of land. It was available on installments but when I jump into something, i plunge head first. So I paid the developers the full amount, Instead of going for installments.

Most of my major purchases have been on impulse. There have been times when I have been duped, like that second-hand Nissan Sunny I purchased a few years back from seemingly a nice guy, who assured me that the car was great and had been properly maintained. Later, I found out that it had been a rental car and most of the routine maintenance had never been done on it. :(

But most of the time my faith in fellow human beings has been proved correct. I know, most people would not consider a major purchase like this without doing their own due diligence and I agree with them, but this is the way I am. I guess I am a fatalist in the sense that I believe whatever is bound to happen, will happen sooner or later. If I am to lose money, it might be through this deal or some other reason, but lose it I will.

So there you are, I strongly advise you not to follow my example!

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The apostate

A life unchronicled is a life half-lived..... That is a tongue-in-cheek quote from the apostate. She is one of those people who cram so much more living into their single life-span than quite a few of us ordinary beings can manage collectively.   You have to read her blog to know what she is all about.

Just imagine, a Pakistani girl, growing up in  Saudi Arabia and leaving the shelter of her family home in every sense of the word, while just a teenager, and successfully carving out her own niche in life according to her own rules, in the West.   It is an achievement very few would be able to match and I applaud her for that.   It would be an injustice to her if I did not applaud her writing as well, though!    She writes like an accomplished writer and I wish her all the best in life.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Gali Paranthe Wali

My wife and I were reminiscing about the good times we have had and a realization suddenly hit me. She was remembering the peoples, places and the experiences that we have had during our travels, while my most poignant memories were about the good food that we had at those places!!!

Talk about Agra and the first thing that would come to your mind would be the Taj Mahal, but for me it is Seth Gali and those glorious bhallas, kachoris, dal-moth and pethas. The best samosas we have ever had, were those piping hot ones at the Red Fort and even my wife agrees with that!!!

Delhi, she remembers becaue of that very insistent salesman in Chandni Chowk who kept following us for at least half a mile with his continuous sweet talk, trying to sell us some stuff. Of course, I remember that, but the point is that I remember those parathas even more vividly!!!

For some, it might be religion, for others it might be some other cause, but for me, it seems, my Raison d'ĂȘtre is food. Call me whatever you want to, but I Eat Thereore I am.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008


We had our Wimax set up today. As in the hardware has all been fixed and set up and the telephone is working but the internet is still down. There is a problem from the Zain side. Some kind of maintenance work going on....... So we are still back to using the USB thingy.......

Actually this service is new and there are bound to be some teething problems, but since beggars can't be choosers, we had no other option but to go for it. Batelco threw up their hands and told me that it might take a few months before they can provide a landline to me here at the new place because the infrastructure was not in place, so Wimax was the only alternative left.

I have been with Batelco for the past seven years and at times have not been happy with the service they provide, but still a devil you know is better than one you don't.

Update: The internet is working now and I have the home wireless network working nicely as well. If someone wants to know how to set it up, here is the trick: If your router and the wireless have different IP addresses the better. Most of the time you will be able to change the management IP of the wireless through web based management. Set up your wireless security, turn off DHCP in your wireless, give static ips to your computers and laptops. Now make sure that you are able to connect to the wireless network. Remember that the default gateway is the router, not the wireless. Now just plug in the cable from your router into the wireless's LAN port and you are ready to go!

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Who am I?

When someone asks me what religion I follow, I am usually at a loss to answer. Most of the time, I say I am a Hindu. But am I really Hindu? How do you define a Hindu?

In a judgement, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that "no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms 'Hindu', 'Hindutva' and 'Hinduism'; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage." The Supreme Court also ruled that "Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and is not to be equated with or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism. A Hindu may embrace a non-Hindu religion without ceasing to be a Hindu and since the Hindu is disposed to think synthetically and to regard other forms of worship, strange gods and divergent doctrines as inadequate rather than wrong or objectionable, he tends to believe that the highest divine powers complement each other for the well-being of the world and mankind."

"When we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more." That is the Supreme Court of India trying to define it.

Which leaves me even more confused than ever. Do I even have to believe in the existence of God to be a Hindu? I don't think so. In my case, I use the term Hindu as a tag to define my identity, so that people know where I come from.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

"Khuda ke Liye"......

OK, I will admit that this is the first Pakistani movie I have seen in its entirety. I followed the recommendation of an online friend and took the trouble of downloading the movie via bit torrent and actually enjoyed the movie.

Before the advent of satellite channels, Bahrain 55 was the only channel that we would be able to watch Hindi movies on. We used to patiently wait for Wednesdays when they would be shown and at times we would get Pakistani movies too but very rarely. I would watch those for a few minutes and then get bored. Because in reality, Pakistani movies were of a much inferior standard in all departments back then.

This was a delightful change, Pakistani movie-makers have come of age and are ready to compete with their neighbors! Although, you get the feeling that in the last 15-20 minutes of the movie, the director or the writer or whoever got in a hurry to tie up loose ends and finish the damn thing off. But still a very nicely made movie.

Coming to the subject of the movie, I don't quite agree with what the movie is trying to impart, that religion is open to interpretation and that there can be a sensible Islam as opposed to fundamental Islam. But the human tragedy of the characters is what the makers have been able to transmit to the audience and they deserve a standing ovation for that.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

This island is not home, son.....

I know son, I have been there. You have this feeling because you grew up here. Same thing with me, my childhood was spent here and I always considered this home. But after spending a lifetime here, I realise that this is not home for me or for my kids, or for that matter any of the expatriate kids who grew up here. This is a very stratified society, where you will never be able to achieve your full potential or live with the human dignity which should be your birthright. As if that realisation was not enough, this has been confirmed by a high official of the U.A.E. .

As I said, i have spent all my life here and what do I have to show for it? I mean I have made good money but should that be the only factor to be considered? In retrospect, i think what I have gained here in monetary terms does not compensate for what I have lost in terms of my unrealized potential. I do not want my kids to look back in a few years time and realize the same thing. That is why I strongly advise all of you kids to get out of this part of the world as soon as possible and make your life in a country where you will not face the restraints that you face here and will be able to enjoy the freedoms and the dignity that you deserve.

On the other hand, if you continue to live here and spend your life here, you will find that sooner or later you will face a glass ceiling in your career. As if that were not enough, you will see undeserving locals advancing and being promoted ahead of you, on the basis of their nationality. Socially, you will move in your own circles segregated from other nationalities or the local culture, because there is no assimilating with the local culture as they have an even worse class system than we have in India . As I said earlier, this is a highly stratified society, worse than the caste system in India. You will find that as a Hindi, you will always remain at the lowest rungs of this society.

And in a few decades time, when you have kids of your own, you will find that as soon as they become adults, they will become unwelcome here unless you arrange labour visas for them. One day, as you are on the verge of stepping into old age, you will have to pack up your belongings and move to an unknown land to spend your remaining years, for this paradise is for worker bees only.

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