Dubai is one of the most appealing destination of Keralites. This emirates has won extensive publicity among the mass with all the plugging and promotion. And so are the Non Residential Indians, popularly known as NRI’s. More than half Kerala’s NRI population belong to GCC (Gulf Corporation Council) and the hype that they have created in the state is exorbitant.
Before landing into the most desired Gulf Country -Dubai, I too had a totally different world in mind. Yes, it looks a lot different. A well planned city, maintained beautifully. There is a lot to be admired about this place. The thought and effort put in to develop a desert into one of the major business centres in the world. Devoid of any natural resources and a non favoring climate, the rulers cleverly aimed at Trade and Tourism and Dubai emerged as the most popular emirates…
But the lifestyle remains pretty much similar to what we had back in Chennai. Weekends would be mostly in malls or beaches or some window shopping. Movies in multiplexes are not as affordable until a really worth movie like Avatar launches, so we rely on torrentz or youtube. The same kind of food. For that matter, all sorts of Continental, Arabic, Mexican, Thai, Chinese – everything available at Chennai these days. Perhaps the quality and variety of raw materials in Super markets may be different. But am sure our country will pick up that in another few years.
What you find different are the two extreme class of Keralites – The Savers and the Spenders.
Savers are the middle class from Kerala who come here to make a living, live as bachelors leaving their family back home, share a single room with 15 other such people, save every penny they earn to buy all that their family demands on their yearly visits home…My uncle one said,” I should not have bought my son here. He was shocked after seeing that I walk half an hr back and forth to my shop, come back home at 10pm, cook and eat myself. He thought I would soon bring the family here for the good, but he felt pathetic about the way we live”. Well I personally think it was good that he brought his son, because the family only know to demand, get and spend what these people earn. Atleast the son got to know that his father was not even hiring a taxi and living the hard way. At Dubai they are poor Indians, and back at Apna Des they are poor NRI’s..
Spenders are the low class from Kerala who come here to enjoy. Me and Sayf were taken aback on the first sight of our maid. She wore a very trendy salwar, properly ornated, straightened hair, classy spectacles, stylish shoes and had she not introduced herself as a maid, I would have mistaken her for some executive sales person. She would not bend to clean the house, needed fairly longer brooms, demanded individual gloves for cleaning and even advised me where to get good salwars from 🙂 She even thought that our home was not as big as hers’. After a while when I couldn’t tolerate this person and asked her to leave, she said people usually give her notice period in advance.. Hmm… I have heard from another friend that even beggars here have mobile phones, watches and ornaments. However this class of people, come here as family. Three such families hire a 3 bedroom house and share the rent. Husbands join as helpers in some super markets or ports and the wives as part time house maids. Maids hire taxis and go places. My maid said that she goes for all the Malayalam movies that release here. It is 30AED per head and 1AED=12Rs/-. So they basically spend everything that they earn and live happily. Problem comes when they have to go back home. My neighbour mentioned that their maid asks for one month salary advance from all her houses to buy gifts for people when they go back. ‘Today’ is their concern, and lets face ‘Tomorrow’ when it comes is the attitude..
Its the people, their attitude, they hype and hoopla they created that made Dubai famous in Kerala. The thought about this post came after Bhavia asked me to write about Dubai as she has never been here before. For the same reason I would also like to add that you are not missing anything even if you are there. I would definitely write more about Dubai, but I still miss my favorite Chennai… 😦