To India, from Indians……
(posted on 13 February, 2003)
It was 29th of February, 2003. We landed at the scheduled time, 10.20 p.m., at the airport in UAE. After checking out, we were in the porch of airport. Our driver, Aziz, was waiting for us. We shaked hands with him, exchanged pleasantries and proceeded to the car. The airport was lavishly green. Aziz put our bags on driver seat and we were feeling amused as to what Aziz is doing and how he will drive the car now. But then we were reminded that we are away from home and we have to see many ulta-pulta things here. Like UK and USA, UAE also has right hand side driving. In India, if you keep to the left, you are right and if you are to the right, you are wrong. Our car was running smoothly on the road. We were feeling the car to be a bit fast. A casual look at the speedometer showed the gauge to be 165. There are no cars in UAE without air-conditioner. Daimler-Benz made Mercedes are common here. Aziz told that there is absolutely no problem with roads except of "gadhas". He told in Pakistani accent, if "gadha" comes, "gadha" bhee geya, hum bhee gaye or gaadi bhee gayi. We thought gadha to be a pathhole (toa). But there were not even a single path-hole on the road. On insistence, he clarified that gadha is a donkey or ass. The way from airport to our residence was glistening and gleaming tremulously with lights. More than the shimmering, we were amazed as to how perspicacious the UAE people are. Vakai (really), Jungle mein mangle kar rakha hai…
In the way, he took keys of our house, new blankets, bed sheets and pillows from RAK office. Soon, we reached our accommodation, which is a tastefully decorated and well-furnished place. It was 1.00 a.m. (intervening night of 29th and 30th Feb.). Pillows were waiting our heads. We got up early in the morning at 11.30 when a person from RAK knocked the door. He was having bread, jam, cow milk etc with him for us. Mr Bharat Bhushan Goyal (popular nickname: Manga) has done all this. He is a wonderful and marvelous person. He is in UAE for the last 2 years and has been working as Chief Accountant in RAK. Words will not be suffice to describe his personality. People call him Bharat or Mister (Mr) Bharat.
In UAE, Thursdays are weekends and Fridays are weekly holidays instead of Saturdays and Sundays. It was Thursday, the half day. Manga and Balraj Jindal (Balraj for office, Balli for Indians) reached us with an aura of glowing smiles on their faces. We talked a lot, then went to Balli's house, had meals there, then to see Manga's villa. Vicka was pronouncing it as 'Billa' (hubby of cat).
On Saturday, we reached office in company's vehicle. It is a very old vehicle (may be 1998 model) and it generally runs at 90 kmph only. Within half an hour, we were in front of the office. Its outlook is very good, as it is from inner side. When the office building was constructed, earlier it was conceived to be a glass house. Later on, it was built with ceramics tiles since RAK is a ceramics company which exports to around 128 countries. Its production capacity is more than the combined total production capacity of all companies in India including Kajaria, Johnson, MaRC etc. We were unable to find any dust there. Everything well-cleaned. RAK is the brain-child of Dr Khater Massaad, known as "Doctor" in company circles. One can (rather cannot) imagine the personality of Doctor by visiting company office and work culture. RAK has around 4000 employees out of which about 250 are in Administrative Office and the rest are blue-collared. White-collared has to work for 9 hours a day. It would really be an amazing experience to work here. Office boys here are not for bringing cups of tea's. One can have tea as many times as he or she likes. But one needs to go to Pantry himself to prepare his own tea. Hot water dispensing machine is placed there to work round the clock. Mix sugar, tea / coffee, milk powder to it and your tea is ready. People are not expected to be busy in gup-shup while taking tea, however one can talk freely and lightly when doing work. Sorry for writing so, most of the Indians are unfit to work in this culture. We have attendance systems in all offices in India, still people are at 'Furlow' in offices, asking office boys and other subordinates for personal works, but there is no such concept here. People are generally very punctual. There is no attendance system in office. Respective Manager is responsible to inform the Personnel Dept about the leave of employees. There is no c-leave, no e-leave etc here. Every employee gets one month's paid vacations along with return ticket to his native place. Here every person is called by his name, even if he or she is twice in age. Here a driver's output and efficiency is more than managerial persons in India. Official work outside office is done through driver, e.g., completion of various formalities of new employees like medical check up on joining, police verification, dealing with banks, government offices, documentary formalities at airport etc. On joining, every employee has to go to police department for giving his finger prints. One cannot roam scot-free here. NRIs have to keep xerox of their passport and visa with them all the time. Sach ek baat to likhna bhool he gaye, when we were to enter in the office, we saw a Singh sahib near the factory gate (Factory gate is at walking distance from the Administrative Office), may be he is a security officer. In Punjab, we have these brethren in plenty, here also we felt joyous to see him. These are really everywhere. Later, where ever we went, these are everywhere. Milany, a phillipano in the office has to make frequent calls to factory gate in connection with office work. She knows only English and phillipines language. Every time she make a call, she address the Sardarji at gate as 'Baba ji…' in her melodious voice. When enquired from her about the meaning of babaji, she told that these are Singhs from Punjab. People from all over the world know Sardars. Even when we tell somebody that we are from Punjab, people assume us to be Sardars. For them, Sardar and Punjab are synonyms.
Dubai Shopping Festival: Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is the World's biggest shopping festival. On 11th Feb. 2003, a troop of 12 persons proceeded to Dubai Shopping Festival. It included Manga, Sunil (Vicka), Balli, Amit and his wife and mother, Varun, Naresh, Parag, Pankaj, Shivani, Madhu and BB. City's main streets have been converted into an oasis of fun, colourful excitement and movement. The festival has been divided into 15 zones geographically. Global Village, one of the zones, is situated off the Garhoud Bridge. It was started from last year's DSF. Al Futtaim Investments is the developer company of Global Village. It has invested Dh 20 million (Indian Rs 26 crore) last year and Indian Rs 19.5 crore this year. The site stretches four kilometres. Around 1,50,000 people visit Global Village daily during DSF and it is expected that a total of 25 lac (here 25 lac is written as 25 h undred thousad) visitors will visit Global Village during this DSF. The village uses one-third of its space for Mela and rest two-third for car-parking (around 50,000 sqm, 1 kilometre long). It has 60 restaurants. The fun fair there is indeed a blaze of color and exuberance, covering 24,830 metres with 52 rides and 45 skill games. Some of the rides are Project One, Alpine Blitz, Rainbow, Move It, Crazy Shake, Tower and Pony Express, Tooth Smash, Striker Extremer. In one game, two riders go in sky, they fly like a spring, its initial speed is 45 metres in just 1.2 seconds. Even Milkha ji would find it amazing. Comedy juggling was also very interesting.
Al Seef Street sees the biggest sensation of them all - a giant Ferris Wheel called the Hollywood Stars Wheel. It gained such a curious monicker because famous personalities like Madonna and Michael Jackson have also experienced the thrill and joy of this wheel. Roller coasters, carousels, trampolines and twisters and other fun games are imported here from Italy, Holland, Germany and the United Kingdom etc., and sorry, none from India. Cargo handling sector is one of the sectors that experience a direct benefit from Dubai Shopping Festival. It saw a 23.9 per cent increase in container demand in the starting month of DSF i.e. December, with total load increasing to 55,000 tonnes in a month.
(posted on Saturday, 22 February, 2003)
Corrigendum: Mister Bharat has told that 25 lac is written as 2 million five hundred thousand. One Y2K like bug has re-surfaced silently in our last posting. January has repeatedly been mentioned as February. We admit that February is not of 30 days ever (we will discuss about Feb. of 30 days l8r).
Telephone System : Both landline and GSM phones are available in UAE and are run by ETISLAT. As you know, UAE has 7 emirates and all the Emirates have identical multi-storey beautiful buildings. Landline phones are not so common. Mobile phone charging system is just like India. Both prepaid and postpaid phones are available. It costs around 3 dhs (INR: 40) per minutes to call to India in off-peak hours. Incoming calls are totally free. Full form of GSM is Global System for Mobile Communication. SIM card is Subscriber's Identity Module. Internet Cafés are rare. They charge around Rs 130 per hour. There is not even a single PCO in the entire UAE, I think. Booths are everywhere at walking distances. In India, generally public booths, be it at Railways Station or Bus Stand or any other public place, are generally faulty, but here it is not so. Landline to landline in same Emirates is free.
Transportation System : There are no trains in UAE. People generally have either their own cars or taxi service is frequently used. Two wheelers are very rare. Roaring noise of motorcycle running outside can be heard at third floor while sitting in drawing room. In UAE, motor cycles are just like our politicians, the only difference being that these motorcycles work also.
Rate of petrol is DHS 1 (Rs 13) per litre. You can also get mineral water bottle of one litre at the rate of DHS 1.5 (Rs 20). However, mineral water can of 18 litres is cheaper i.e. at the rate of Rs 65. Only water is used for drinking purposes. Wines are not easily available (nor I am interested!). Water, other than drinking water, is termed as Waster Water here which is used for washing utensils, clothes, bathing etc. It costs around 20 paise per litre. So, typically a bathe costs around Rs 8. Maggie is available at the rate of DHS 1 (Rs 13). Sewerage system is also different here. The wastage etc is sucked by the municipality people. The electricity was off only once (for at least 5 minutes) since we are here. Mister Bharat has told that he has encountered power failures just twice or thrice for the last 2 years. BK (Bal Krishan) is also enthusiastic about constancy of power. This will seem less interesting point here, if we are told that UAE generate all the power through generator system. Hydal or thermal plants cannot be erected here because of absence of falling water. One more interesting point, UAE has no income tax department here. There is no income tax, no sales tax, no excise duty, no service tax, nothing of that sort. There are no water disputes in UAE like Cauvery or SYL.
Here people do not fix poles in the mid-way, nor is the fashion of distributing pamphlets is prevalent here. We have never heard blaring sounds (Muniadi) at many decibels by shopkeepers announcing the 'Sale' or discount up to 75%. People do not deface the walls by affixing bills there. We have not seen any marriage ceremony here.
Parag has given a strong cup of tea to us while we are writing these lines. Jahan chah, wahan rah. Well done Parag, keep it up.
Everything is quite better than India if we talk materialistically. But the thing is that not a moment goes when we don't remember homeland. One naturally feels secluded. Parantu, sona tup ker hee kundan ban ta hai, we have been reminded.
(posted on Friday, 28 March 2003)
George Bush has lately discovered a concern for democracy in Iraq. Would he also voice his desire for democracy in other parts of the world? You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can't simply fool all of the people all of the time.
Latest SMS taking punch at Bush's intellectual capacity: Bush visits a doctor to have his head examined. The doctor tells Bush : Your brain is divided into two parts. The left side has nothing right in it; the right side has noting left in it.
Deer is called Mirg in Punjabi and Hirn in Hindi. Its eyes are considered to be best of all species. 'Mirg Trishna' is a frequently used phrase in Punjabi. When Deer is in deserts, he saws water at a very short distance because of optical illusion. He continues to keep on running, but to no avail. One more examplery phrase in Punjabi is 'Kastoori Mirg'. Kastoori is a thing of fragrance which is in the body of deer. Deer smells it and thinks that it is something from outside. So he starts running to get it. Again he is unable to find it from outside since it is not a thing of outside. This may be linked to humans also. Deer is an animal, deer has got no intelligence, wisdom or brain. But the humans who are considered to be the supreme of all species because of brain, are no different from deer. God is said to be residing in every body, still man continues to hunt for it in temples, mosques and churches.
Punjabi : Ik bhai gadhe (donkey) te samaan dhon da kamm karda hunda aa. Keraan oho jungle ch jaa reha hunda aa. Othe ohnu ik chamkdi jee cheeze nazar aundi hai. Oh us chamkdi cheeze nu chakk lenda hai. Ohnu oh chamkdi cheeze sohni lagdi hai. Oh sochda hai iss cheeze da kee kariye. Kyonki us nu apna donkey pyara hunda, so oho us cheeze nu dhaage ch pro lenda hai te gadhe de gal ch paa dinda hai. oho aje thodi door hee geya hunda aa, ke us nu ik banda milda hai, jehda ke jauhri hunda aa. gadhe de gal ch heera peya dekh ke uss dian akhan ch chamak aa jaandi aa. oho gadhe aale bhai nu oh chamkdi cheeze say, 20 rupiye vich vechan nu kehnda hai, per oh bhai kehnda 50 ton ghatt nee deni. jauhri nahin mannda. dome apna apna chale jaande ne. kuch time baad pher kathe hunde ne, jauhri kehnda chal 30 le la, per oh nee mannda. bhai oho pher vag jaande ne. jauhri pher os bhai nu labhda. per hun gadhe de gal chon heera gaib hunda. jauhri kehnda chal 50 lai la yar. per gadhe wala bhai dassda ke koi us nu pehlan hee 50 ch le geya. jauhri mathe te hath maarda te kehnda, 'o tu ta nira kamla ee reha, oye oh taan heera see heera, jehda tu kaudian de bha de ditta'. per gadhe wala bhai hass ke kehnda, 'o veer mere, mere naalo wadda kamla taa tu aa, chal bhala mainu taan pata nee see us dee keemat kee hai taan 50 ch ditta, tainu taan pata see tu pher bee 50 ch nee lai sakiya."
Hindi: Kankad pather jod ke masjid lai chinai taapar mulla vaang de, behra hua khudai
Ralla is name of a village in Punjab, so is Lehra. Try saying "Ralla, Lehra, Rall, Lehra" in quick succession and see what happens.
Every mobile set has IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) number. This is 15 digit number by which a phone identifies itself to the network. To see your mobile set's IMEI number, dial " * # 6 # " without quotes and spaces. Naturally this number is unique throughout the world irrespective of name of manufacturer or geographical location. Some countries such as UAE / UK sell the mobile phone with insurance. If someone reports loss or theft, the mobile phone is disabled on all mobile networks and the mobile set cannot be used.
VSAT : Very Small Aperture Terminals
I have to visit these site www.web-police.org, www.nowonder.com, www.aftercampus.com, www.mumbaijankari.com. I have to read the book : A Bureaucrat's Yearns - by Sayen Chaterjee (Har Anand Publications, New Delhi, Rs 150, book by an IAS officer about the tricks IAS officers play)
When a man opens the car door for his wife, you can be sure of one thing. Either the car or the wife is new.
A lady purchases a talking parrot from supermarket. Every morning:
An atheist's logic to theist : Can your god make such a heavy stone which he himself cannot lift?
One more instance of logic. One ruler's option to a prisoner : Give one statement. If your statement is true, then you will be given electric shock, if your statement is false then you will be hanged.
UAE : Hair cutting charges generally Rs 65. Crores of rupees are spent on Sheikh's Palace. Construction continues forever. Education opportunities are less here. Sheikhs are only royal families' members. First Rani's First Son is next Sheikh. No address is generally used for receiving mails, just Post Box number is given. Citizens of UAE are called 'nationals'. Nationals use Arabic language. English is widely used.
India Today 31.03.2003 issue:
Indians in the Gulf:
Kuwait : 3,70,000
Bahrain : 1,30,000
UAE : 9,00,000
Saudi Arabia : 15,00,000
Oman : 3,40,000
Qatar : 1,25,000
Their annual remittance is $ 6 billion which is close to half the amount plied in by NRIs from all over the world. India's annual trade is $ 4 billion in this region.
Men, on special occasions, wear long white dress, which is called Bisht. Its price may exceed Dh 15,000 depending on the amount of gold and silver used in it. Men in UAE traditionally wear an ankle-length, cool, loose fitting and supremely comfortable garment called the Dishdasha or Kandura. On their heads, the UAE men wear what is known as a Gahfiyya or a small flat turban which holds the Ghutra in place. The Ghutra is a square piece of cloth shaped as a triangle and worn on the head. To secure the two pieces in place, the Agal, which is a black thick circular band made from twisted wool, is used around the crown and at the back two or three long tassles of the same material hang down. The Agal is sometimes without the extra tassles. Sometimes it comes in white (usually worn by religious scholars). Although Ghutra is usually white, some men use a red and white patterned one.
Dubai Immigration website is www.dnrd.gov.ae
Traffic Yearbook – published by Traffic & Licensing Dept, RAK
(a site on dubai)
(dubai university college)
UAE university, higher colleges of technology, dubai high school.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & PM, UAE (Also: Ruler
Dhabi Economy’ magazine by Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce
UAE Global Reunion Committee (Mr Hassan Al Ameer, Officer)
Telephone numbers of Airlines in India
Indian Airlines, New Delhi : 011-23310517, 25696535
Indian Airlines, Chandigarh 0172-704034 (Dont prefix 2)
Air India, New Delhi Booking Office : 24620566
Air India, Connaught Circus, New Delhi 011-23731225
Air India, SCO 93-94, 17-D, Chandigarh 0172-703510, 704834
Indian Airlines, New Delhi 011-2462220 Extn 455 (Perhaps this is the best number for confirming booking/ticket) or try at 011-24655012 Extn 462
Ticket booked from UAE in Indian Airlines can be collected from: Indian Airlines Office, Safdarjung Airport, Malhotra Building,
Indian Airlines, 124, Jeevan Bharti Building, Connaught Place. Tel. 011-2462220
Air India, Chandigarh phone number 0172-704834
Difference between Dubai and Delhi is 2790 kilometres.
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