Monday, April 16, 2007


I have made a big mistake. I shouldn't have done that, but you see, I couldn't resist the urge. I hope you forgive me after going through this. I promise, I never repeat it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dubai - some thoughts.

Dubai is an interesting city. The way it has sprung up from nothing. This is one of it’s kind. The last two or three decades have changed the face of this once barren land. In fact it is a case study for any aspiring nation. A detailed history is available at

Dubai, the emirate, is divided into two by the Dubai Creek. At one side the old city, Deira and it’s suburbs and on the other side Bur Dubai. Deira is a Flat, horizontal city due to the proximity of International airport. Only around the creek area, it has high rises. But Bur Dubai has tall skyscrapers all around. Construction of many of them going on at full speed. The Ruler of Dubai, Sheik Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered to finish all the construction by the year of 2020. The Maktoum dynasty is the first family and has been ruling Dubai since 1833. It’s their vision and foresight that made dubai from a small time port to what it is today. Unlike it’s sister emirates, oil accounts only 6% of it’s GDP. Trade and tourism constitutes most of its revenue.
It is truly a cosmopolitan city. The locals are a minority, Indian, Pakistani & Philippine citizens constitute the expatriate majority. Others like Sri Lankans, Europeans and Americans are also made Dubai their second home. Dubai doesn’t issue citizenship to other nationalities. Only exception is when the new-borns mother is UAE citizen. Otherwise the Expatriates children will also be expatriates.
Dubai is an Islamic State, governed by the Shari’a Law. Sunni Muslims are majority, though Shia sect can maintain their mosques. Government doesn’t give any grants but Sunni mosques are maintained by the Government. Unlike other emirates, Dubai offer religious freedom and has many Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurudwaras as well as Christian Churches. But distributing religious pamphlets are a criminal offence and will result in Jail or deportation.
The climate is most extreme. In winter it is really cool and the temp touches 10 degree Celsius. But in Summer, alas!, it goes upto 45-50! Air Condition is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Most of the people own a car, since petrol is much cheaper. Cheaper than parking lots! The biggest problem is finding a parking space. Dubai has Public transport, Buses and Metro railway construction is progressing very fast. By next year end, the Railway will be commissioned, and unlike in India, their deadlines are meant to keep. No extension will be given! Now I am thinking of the doubling of Virar Borivli line. How long that has been going on? Anybody have an Idea as to when that will be finished? May be another 10 years

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dubai- unveiled

When I landed in Dubai (it’s pronounced as dubaayy) for the first time, I had some prejudices about the place. Having seen the Mumbai life, especially how the poor accommodate themselves in shanties, I had high hopes of the living standard of Dubai. I found out that Mumbai and Dubai are just the same. The rich enjoy it where the poor has to fight it out. There are labour camps, like our Slum shanties, there are Villas which accommodate as many as 40 people in two rooms and one bathroom, sleeping on bunker beds etc. The world know about Dubai as a glittering, shimmering city that has all the world-class facilities, but those who build the city, the workforce is not at all seeing Dubai that way.
Dubai has the best infrastructure I ever saw. Their road network is something to envy. Straight, wide and even road on which vehicles zoom past at 160 KM! Since it was desert, they don’t have any problem in building those straight-line roads. One can see the roads ending in horizon. 4 to 6 lane express ways, interchanges to take to another road, round-abouts at junctions and Radars to scan busy roads for speeding vehicles. The legal speed limit is 120KM, but these drivers know where are the cameras, and they slow down when it is near.
The public transport medium is the Buses. Road Transport Authority (RTA – is the authority and has air conditioned buses on almost all roads. But the problem is one can’t trust these bus service alone. During rush-hour traffic, none of these ply on time. One to 1 ½ hour delays are common. So the advice is start early for your appointments if you plan to go by bus. Taxis are also available, but just like buses, takes lot of time in traffic jam. Walking is the best and fast way if your destination is close-by.
The roads are swept everyday with a machine equipped vehicle, road signs washed by manual labours, every corner there are dust bins, one has to say Dubai is a clean city.
What they lack is Public comfort stations. You can’t find rest rooms even in busy bus stations. Example Bur Dubai, Satwa.
In Dubai, it is easy to find a job if one has little talent, can speak English and / or Hindi. Even the Arabic people speak accented Hindi. It is the accommodation is what the biggest hurdle. As I mentioned in the beginning, people live in very poor conditions, but to get even that you have to pay a kings ransom. Most of the people who works in Dubai take a home in Shrjah, Ajman (the neighbouring emirates), where rents are cheaper. And they travel to Dubai. Due to this, the 20-25 KM distance of Dubai Sharjah is covered by 2 hours!
To summarise, Dubai has all that you see in magazines, films and ads. But it has an underbelly, a very dark one. Where people live in horrible conditions, among prostitution, drugs etc. They just hang on here just for the money Dubai can offer. They all live on one dream. That of one day having enough money and settling down at their own village. That’s the driving force behind them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

After the interruption

Hiya guys / Gals.
Back again! This time I am gonna stay!!!!
So let me explain the recent hiatus in my blogging.
I was employed by a company called Bhatia Group, an Indian management company. Their staff quarters was in a place where, leave alone internet, not even a good hotel visible around! And I worked in their upcoming site office, which was in the middle of nowhere! Yeah, in the middle of a desert! And at both places, the female species was entirely missing!!!!
After a lot of deliberation, I decided to quit the job. Luckily by that time, I got another offer, outplaying this current job my miles. I jumped at the chance and here I am, in an American MNC, in the heart of Dubai.
You can check the company website at

So there is Internet access, there are lot of good looking females around and a nice work culture, more like my old employer in Mumbai. Thank the almighty for this big break.

Now you can expect my take on Dubai regularly. Tune in!