Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Halt!!! Who goes there?????

Scrutinizing the links which show thru the feedjit counter and spamming in other bloggers' comment boxes has become a recent and very important part of my daily routine…..yeah well since I’m not posting all that much I have to channelise all that pent-up energy somewhere, right.

Between today and last Tuesday I got some 400+ hits[553 including me] on my last post but just around 50 beautiful, lovely, wonderful, super bloggers have very kindly commented on it.

Dear persons who read the posts here but don’t comment, don’t you feel bad like as if you’ve accepted candy from a sweet little cherubic child & gone away without saying a word or a smile???? Just think for a moment how bewildered, how shattered, how heart-broken that adorable angelic little girl must have felt.

Yeah yeah I know I’m going overboard taking the sentimental route but the whole idea is to make you feel terrible……..the question here is, how lousy are you feeling about it?????

After reading just 3 or 4 posts on this page one doesn’t need Einstein’s brain to arrive at the conclusion that I have an IQ of an Iguana or maybe even lower than that.
Come on, I don’t talk about nuclear missiles or the Ringamore wastelands** here…..though I did talk about Rocket-science in 1 post……but that was just once……and I was actually displaying my ignorance on the subject, really. I write about everyday things or incidents which I’m sure most of you identify with. And I’m quite sure you would not keep coming back to a page to which you couldn’t relate at all.

How hard is it to pen a harmless one liner letting me know you were here…..u know it would make me feel so good.

Many of u are not aware of it but I blog under great pressure. I have a better-half who thinks I could have lost atleast 15kgs of weight in all this time I've spent blogging, a maid who threatens to quit coz she’s allergic to the sight of me tapping away at the laptop, children who pull me from both sides as soon as they see me login into blogger, parents who have no clue what blogging is all about, a sister who about once in 6 months casually asks me whether I’m still blogging and unsuspecting neighbours from whom I hide my blog since I write about them from time to time.
So you see, my only relief is the comments I get from u……I lap them all up and begin to believe in my own worth. You & I know it’s another world out here…..very few non-bloggers understand the ‘nasha’* of receiving comments from beautiful people across the big wide world.

I do understand the difficulty you face to write that first comment. I know for a fact that commentophobia is a natural tendency among both new & seasoned bloggers…….I too used to hesitate so much in the initial days and sometimes even now.

But you must, atleast just this once, delurk & let me know u've been here:-))

So to make it easy for you I have, after much deliberation, put together 3 simple phrases to help you get over the initial hesitation ….

Sample 1: Thank U Nancy for making it so easy for me to de-lurk.

Sample 2: Me thinks your posts are full of &%$%#@&.

Sample 3: I have better things to do in life than comment here.

Now all you have to do is just copy-paste one of the above into the comment box and click submit. Has anybody else made it easier than this?????

Ofcourse anonymous & troll comments for the 2nd point will be closely monitored. And if you feel all of the above is inadequate you are welcome to write about how wonderful a person blogger you think I am. But I just didn’t want to appear too eager or rush you in these initial stages. So we’ll take it step by step, what say?????

Now after all this, if you are going to pretend that everything I’ve said above went over your head, I’ll make it short and snappy….

Just delurk dammit!!!!!!!!

* Nasha = addiction

**Ringamore wastelands = they dont exist, I made it up

p.s: Pssssttttt I’ll be putting up the awards sooooon [[‘wink, wink’]].

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Driving Force

“You mean to say you’ve been here in Dubai for almost 10 years & don’t have a car????” asks acquaintance incredulously.

“Yep” I reply, very amused at her reaction.

“But why???? How????” She asks & I can see the her eyes darting around the house wondering “Gosh have I put my foot in it, don’t tell me they can’t afford one”

“Simple, we both don’t have a driving license” I grin.

“Sheeeesh, how do you guys manage?????”

We get this reaction from most people we know. Actually when I really think about it I don’t blame them one bit for reacting the way they do. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I can’t believe it either.

I take you back to 1999 when I came to Dubai. I enthusiastically signed up for driving classes & infact remember clearing Parking, Garage, Hill & Signal in one single day[they are actually 4 different tests]. It was only when I started training for the Road test did I feel a bit of diffidence.

After 8 years of misusing the clutch & the brake & ignoring all the traffic rules in India, driving according to rules in Dubai came as a rude shock….to top it after driving on the left side of the road for so many years it took quite sometime to get used to driving on the right. The lane system was something I didn’t at all believe in…I never understood why I had to accerelate when I had to change lanes, why couldn’t I just slow down & then change??? To top it, when I saw a vehicle coming at top speed from the side lanes I just couldn’t believe that the car was not going to bang into mine & so I automatically…you could say unconsciously would swerve in the opposite direction & the instructor would grab the steering wheel, apply the brakes & tear his hair all at once in frustration.
I gave just 2 road tests but knew for a fact that even if I gave 20 of them I was never going to pass. After driving at 30-40km per hour for 8 yrs it was just not possible to let go off inhibitions & do 80 and 100kms/hr.

Then I left to India for almost 6 months & when I came back, just didn’t try again…yeah, yeah I know it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.
And the better-half, to give him his due, had gone for classes & persevered but his job schedule 10 yrs back was hectic & it was required of him to frequently fly out of the country which inturn often clashed with his test dates & he gradually gave it up.

Actually there was no shortage of cars in the house then. My father-in-law had one & my brother-in-law also did. We never had problems going out anywhere. And the better-half had his company vehicle which picked & dropped him back. So we never felt the lack of a vehicle or a need for our own.

It was only when my father-in-law went back to India 2 years back & my BIL left to the States to study further around the same time that the realization set in.

In the beginning it was almost like being stranded. For people who wonder whats the big deal anyway please note that Dubai for all its infrastructure is a desert which radiates an average temperature of 41 degrees & humidity which saps the life out of even the toughest tribe. Within 2 minutes of being outside sweat is pouring down your body and your best shirt is ruined for ever. Everybody…simply everybody has a car….infact 2 or 3 cars in a middle-class family is not unheard of. Purchasing a car is no big deal either, it is attaining the DL which is so prized.

10 years ago it was not very difficult to get a license in UAE but nowadays its practically impossible to pass a test. Except for the odd guy who passes in his first or 2nd attempt the rest of the 95% can fill a book or two with their horror stories with the Traffic Dept.
We all know paperwork & classes are mandatory everywhere but in UAE it’s a bit over the top. And worse, they fail you for the silliest of reasons. I’ve heard horror stories where people have spent upto 8000dhs[atleast 1 lakh in Indian ruppees] & failed 14-15 times before they got their DL in their hand.
My friend told me how her boss who had held a DL from USA, UK, France, Egypt, was failed numerous times by the RTA & it became a matter of frustration & shame to him.

And worse, the municipality have all these weird rules for certain circumstances… or should I say they have no rules for certain criteria of people. Now even if we want to try for a license we can’t since the better-half now holds an independent visa from the Freezone of another emirate…..its too complicated to explain but the long & short of it is that we are not able to take driving tests in Dubai even if we want to. And that leaves us without a medium to commute.

The irony of it is that both of us got our driving license for both 2 wheeler & 4 wheelers in India before we were 20 years old. Infact I got my DL after 8 hours of classes & donated the remaining two hours to my mom who was learning alongside me. I drove my fathers car in & around Bangalore for more than 8 yrs. Sometimes I think its precisely because of my road experiences in India that I found it so hard to adjust to life in the fast lane here.

So we take taxis. We take a bus. Whichever comes first. And then ofcourse we walk. Luckily unlike before, the taxis’ have become more available now & the buses more frequent than before. And now ofcourse the metro is here making all parts of Dubai more accessible.

Both of us have nothing to say in our defence……in hindsight now I feel if only I had persevered I’m sure I would have made it after a few tries. Oh well…..when we had the chance we didn’t bother & now there is no point thinking about the ‘if onlys’.

The better-half sometimes explains the benefits to the children when they complain “Maybe we don’t have a car like the others but just look at how much we are saving; we don’t have any loans against us for buying a car, we don’t have to spend on petrol, we save on registrations and insurance. We don’t spend hours looking for parking space, we don’t have to pay parking fines….and…and all the other innumerable traffic fines…..and .... salik…we don’t have pay salik[road toll].
And nobody[as in guests] wants to stay with us” He adds wickedly.

While I shake my head at him amusedly in the background I realize I’m not exactly railing at my fate……I in a 'reverse psychology' way am glad my kids get a chance to travel in buses like how I used to and also enjoy the illuminating conversations we have with the kids as we walk hand in hand to the nearest supermarkets or restaurants after the sun goes down.

Ofcourse I realize that if we had a car I may not be talking so wisely but human beings that we are, always make the best of any situation we’re in.

Just yesterday we were walking past this vehicle which had a mukhalifa* pinned on its windshield, we automatically looked at each other and exclaimed “Thank Goodness, we don’t have a car” and burst out laughing.

*mukhalifa: traffic fine

Edited to add: Tara says "your post and this subject made me churn out a whole post myself.. ". I am pleased to present to you another perspective on the same topic:-))!!!!!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Give this a miss really...its just a TAG

What does one do when…..

…one doesn’t have any topic in hand to blog about?????
….one’s fingers are typing furiously but its utter gibberish.
… has a dream nightmares that there is never going to be another new post ever again.

Wallowing in self-pity, I visit Blunt edges, read about "His first time" & have a good laugh. Feeling much better, I catch sight of a tag & decide that it was going to be my next post…..ermm I already have atleast 10 tags pending against me but for some reason this whimsical tag called out to me. I demanded to be tagged too & the gentleman that he is, ‘surprised’ me with it the very next day.

And so here goes….

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4?
– Ohmigosh, this is so surreal it says…..
“Dear child, don’t lose hope, you are going to win the next Dubai Duty Free Draw for 5 million dollars”
Ok ok just kidding, it is…
“He didn’t want to sleep in the mud at the bottom of the pond” Mr. Meddle’s Bicycle, Enid Blyton.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & touch air?
- I touched the childrens book rack. Its right next to where I’m sitting.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
– A movie called "Rat Race" is running in the background on Sony Pix…so I guess thts the most recent thing I’m watching on Tv. Ooops just realised that the tag wants me to tell about the last thing….ummmm lemme think….it was the inaugural ceremony of the 1984 Asiad which I watched on our black & white Beltek. Oh but that was the first thing I watched on Tv….heck now I even get confused by tag questions;-/

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
–Around 11.30 am I guess

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
– Wow the clock shows exactly 11.30 am but you know what, its just 11.20…all the clocks in my house are 10 minutes fast.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
– I can hear the tv, the air-conditioner and the pigeons fighting it out on the balcony and …..hark, I even hear a plane flying overhead[infact if we dont hear a plane roaring past every 3 minutes we get worried;-D].

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
– I rushed to drop the kids off at the bus stop this morning. Another 10 secs and the bus would have gone....guess thats what happens if we try to take photocopies, cut them decoratively and stick 'em pictures in the Arabic notebook...all 1/2 an half before leaving for school.

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
–I looked at the time ;-D

9. What are you wearing?
–Military green trousers, white T-shirt and a smug grin.

10. When did you last laugh?
- There were showing this comedy scene on tv yesterday……A rich man was trying to get his daughter married & at the same time sell his elephant. In a comedy of errors the people who came to see the girl were shown the elephant and vice-versa. Stooopid I know but we laughed so much.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
– A painting of the ‘Last supper’, a clock, a money plant, some photos and Naina's scribblings.

12. Seen anything weird lately?
– Yep, wondering why our landlord painted the building without the usual prompting from us.

13. What do you think of this quiz?
- A Hindi idiom comes to mind regarding this tag…….Doobthe ko thinke ki sahara* or something like that. Somebody please tell me the correct version.

14. What is the last film you saw?
– Rock on. I saw it last week for the first time…..nice movie but after some time I started getting irritated with Farhaan Akthar for sighing so loudly everytime he was going to say his dialogues;-/

15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
– A driving license…..I don’t have one & I know I’ll never get one by giving a test, not the way I drive, not in this country anyway……its a looong story. Hmmmm a germ of an idea for my next post.

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno!
- I bet you didnt know I had a dimple on my face but fat lot of use I’d say......its visible only when I frown;-/

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
– Since everybody else who have done the tag would have mentioned all the basic neccesities & comforts for the betterment of mankind, I will proceed directly to luxuries and ensure that every single person on this planet would get to taste luscious red Strawberries dipped in dark & white chocolate…….mmmmm, it's just sublime . I had some, for the 1st time last weekend. [Info for people in Dubai, its available in Festival City, near the food court :-).]

18. Do you like to Dance?
– I’ve got 2 left feet & the best I can manage is that wild thud-thud variety which the kids & I indulge in when we are really bored.

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
– I didn’t have to stress my brain too much here….I have been calling my first-born Nikita for the past 8 yrs:-)).

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
– I dutifully close my eyes tight & try to imagine but Nikita’s grinning face keeps popping up….I guess my imagination doesn’t stretch that far anymore;-/

21. Would you ever consider living abroad?
– As a child I used to imagine living in America, Japan, Switzerland and even in Alaska[ I so badly wanted to live in an igloo at one time]. Dubai never featured anywhere but here I am....I've realised LIFE takes us many places which were never in our scheme of things.

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
– Imagine the scenario....
God catches sight of me waiting to be let in thru pearly gates.....
"Nancy my dear child, why are you standing in this looong queue?????
Come, come on in, you know I used to really enjoy reading your posts!!!!!!"
As a token of my appreciation, do feel free to order strawberries dipped in dark & white chocolate anytime u feel like it....."

Feeling a lot better now, I tag…


Elegant Chic

Hitch writer







Catawampus me!!

*A drowning man clutching at straws

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The reasons are many.....

*The kids are at home……and making my life barely worth living. School opened a week back but we haven’t started sending them to school coz of the swine flu factor. I was all for sending them but my better-half is a regular party-pooper....oh well he may just have a point.

*My brother-in-law is back home[he was in the US studying] after 2 years….I'm sure u can imagine how it is when you have to make all the 3 meals ……and that too on time.

*Its Ramadaan now & the better-half comes home a whole 4 hrs early. For the sake of domestic harmony I stay off blogger.

*It was our 10th anniversary last week of august & I wasted 2 whole days trying to drum up a sweet-sweet post. Seems like I exhausted my quota with this
one. We sure had a good day though.

*As I sat poised to write, I remembered I had to reply to all your mails & comments, so quickly go about it…… atleast none of you can complain I haven’t replied.

*It was Onam last week & this year somehow I was not too enthused about doing anything….I was still in that ‘I miss my mama’ mode. But
Bins, Deeps & Solilo made me feel like a lazybum & I created a Onam lunch which had 21 dishes if you count the salt & ghee[don’t you dare laugh, if you had organised that many dishes for a single lunch you’d count them too]. I haven’t recovered from the shock yet.

*As I was idly watching a program on tv about Teacher's Day I wondered if Indyeah posted anything on it. I quickly go there but you know how Indyeah’s page is …… takes ages to load[with all those video’s & paraphernalia]. By the time I read the whole post[nope she hadnt but there were other posts which I hadn't read], saw all the video’s, read all the comments, posted my own comment & clicked submit, Internet Explorer shuts down in protest which I took as a divine sign & got up to attend to household matters.

*It was Nikita’s birthday yesterday & am still digesting the fact that she’s eight years old now. It seems like yesterday she was chasing bupafies and wanting to be as tall as a jidaffe. Now she is attempting the Spelling Bee competition and while I’m teaching her the words I’m having mini attacks at the thought of her standing in front of everybody & trying to say it right.

*Enough is enough!!!! I make up my mind firmly & sit down with the intention of writing a post but my mouse has a will of its own & automatically clicks on Spider solitaire first. I keep playing & playing, convinced that the next game I’ll surely win. But all I do is waste time.

If I think harder I can think of more perfectly pedestrian reasons as to why I have not been posting. But the real truth is that I can’t think of a single subject to post about. The blog is always at the back of my mind but there is no particular subject appealing to my sense of wackiness.

Speaking of wackiness….. I thought Rakesh’s recent post was a brilliant take on a blogger's mindset………I guess every blogger at some point almost wishes something interesting would happen in his life just so that he can blog about it;-D.

So many of you called, emailed & commented asking if I’m okay, why I haven’t posted or haven’t been to your page. I’m really very sorry about that, it’s just that time is sort of flying. I’ve already started making amends. And with this post I hope to have broken the spell.

And Thank YOU for asking… really matters!!!!!!!!