14 years in Dubai and 12 years in India. That’s how much time I’ve spent in both the countries. India was threatening to go ahead but Dubai has had the last laugh. I think I shall engage in a flashback. Why should only film stars have the liberty?
Born in Trichur, studied in Dubai (Ghusais, AlShaab,Karama), studied in Coimbatore, studied in Bhubaneshwar, worked in Mumbai, interior Maharashtra, Bangalore and then Chennai.
And now this post comes from Dubai.
The irony of this story is that when we came back from Dubai to Coimbatore, my parents went to ask an astrologer of my fate – would I ever go back to Dubai? He declared ominously that if this boy comes to India, he shall never leave its land again.
When I heard about the Rs. 10 prophesy which my parents hesitantly relayed to me, I was shattered. Of all the diseases that I have had since birth, the sting and the want to travel and see the world and it’s people has been the cancer that I have enjoyed and nourished. Another part of my mind resignedly accepted this as the wont of fate. I thus decided that I should make a living in India itself and used to subdue myself when others described their wondrous adventures in lands far and beyond.
Fate, it seems, is no stranger to sympathy. In it’s own mysterious way, it had chartered a course back to where I had come from. Right to the centre of the world, as if asking me ‘There! Are you happy now?
I landed in Dubai at 6:15 a.m. on 29th October 2007. I had left it on June 4th, 1995. When I landed the first thing that I did was thank God, because I felt that the stupid astrologer might yet have the last laugh and my plane would crash somehow. Since that had not happened, I sang a song ‘Back in Dubai’ for no other reason, than I had promised my mother I would sing it. I didn’t know the lyrics or the tune. So I made up a song that went on for four lines with variations to the words ‘Back in Dubai’. The last thing I did on the flight was to declare a few personalised expletives to an astrologer who had taken hope away from me.
When my feet touched the tarmac, I touched the ground. It was true. I was on Dubai soil. After all these years. A tear popped out to say hello to this faded memory of mine.
People who visit Dubai for the first time will be struck by the huge monstrous towers that are all over the place. People who live in Dubai cannot understand how a tower that was there when they went to sleep has disappeared and in it’s place a bigger one has come. This is a city in the flux of change. The statistics are baffling. Dubai alone has 15% of the world’s tower cranes. The ruler of Dubai felt that people never had much recall for the second largest building in the world. So he has decided to make the world’s largest building in Dubai. So it’s easier to remember.
Do I remember the place? I feel like I’m going through a ghost town. How would you feel if you went back to a place that you had spent your life in and in the place of your house you found a huge shopping mall? Would you describe that as familiar? It’s an eerie feeling.
They say Dubai is a global hub. Make no mistake about it. In the market, on the shelves, on the streets everywhere it’s global. I don’t know about Times Square, but I’m sure if you stood in front of Bur Juman centre long enough, you would see everyone in the world soon (Mallu’s twice ofcourse!)
My work over here will be very interesting. In Chennai, my discussion used to centre around Madipakkam, Mylapore and Mint Street. Here of course, the discussions start with Bahrain, do a round of Turkey, stop by Syria, bring in Egypt, gloss over Dammam and end in Iran. In a normal conversation. Normally, I expect one person to say all this looking very serious to another person and when he’s finished, both of them look serious for a second or two and burst out laughing. They don’t. They start talking about the import situation in Odessa! (Where’s my map?!)
Maybe one day I can talk like this and keep a straight face. International marketing is fun, make no mistake about it. The blows will be harder, the aggression will be in-your-face, and the minds more sharper. To learn to know what drives other people, how they make their moves, how they react under pressure is something that I dreamt of doing.
This part of my life, this part right here.. it’s called “Living my dream!”
I’m back in Dubai!!