Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Digital Rural Indian Episode I - Dubai

I was born in Dubai, in a world where there was just Indians and Arabs. In terms of classes, like Below Poverty Line (BPL), Middle Class and Upper Middle Class, there were none.

We all listened to the same music, ate the same junk food, and played the same video games. In terms of television, there was just Channel 33, which played Hindi movies every Thursday night and censored all the kissing scenes from Bold and The Beautiful, Dallas and Knots Landing.

Friends were Indian, and we kept our distance from the Arabs, most of us atleast :p

I hated the way the Arabs would torment us Indians, like the time when a four year old was riding his tricycle, and an Arab kid was tormenting him with a chain. I took the chain from him and shooed him away.
Then his big brother came, and holding me by the neck, lifted me. Went home fuming, and was told that "This is their country, we can't do anything."

Going to Goa for vacation (July- Sep), were terrible memories of rain everywhere and dimly lit (still using chandeliers) houses where the milk (buffalo milk) and rice (local rice from the paddy fields) tasted different. Mum and Dad would always leave us at home, while they went "Under the Broken Chair".

Our favourite trips in Dubai, were to Hardees or Burger King, or buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Our favourite long trips, were to Al Ain Fun City and Fujairah.

We played football and rode cycles in parking lots, dodging the usual Mercedes and BMWs.

Friends at school were like us, while some super rich, in 1990, actually had mobile phones and roamed with socks with laces. Others liked to show off the remote for their parents car.

Our favourite bus game was Name the Cars outside, where the most popular one was always Mercedes (no more :P )

Every evening, the Bold and the Beautiful would be interrupted for prayers, which I duly memorised and imitated.

Middle of the week, Dad would take us for a walk through the shopping complex, which invariably ended up at the Bhelpuri shop, where dad would have his Ragada Patis, while we would gorge on Dahi Sev Puris.

End of the week, Thursday night, was udipi night, where we'd gorge on Idlis, while Dad had his Mendu Wadas.

Then the Kuwait War hit. We didn't know what it was, just that we got a huge holiday during December and weren't allowed out of the house. Oh, and our regular cartoons were stopped, and replaced by this terrible channel called CNN .

Water and rations were stocked up at home, while we kept watching report after report of something bad called the Scud Missile, being thwarted by something good called the Patriot Missile.

We could hear loud booms and be aware that the war we saw on TV was the war we could hear.
There was wierdness too, like the guy who killed an entire family of five Indians, down the road, and just disappeared, amid rumours of being linked with Dawood Ibrahim.

Slowly, I guess, the love affair with Dubai had faded.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Time Web Analytics