Why People Love Living in the Gulf

In all my travels outside the gulf region, i’ve had atleast one conversation with local people on the lines of the below. This region and specifically the UAE are so much talked about and reported world over that people who’ve never been here have dreamt up a certain kind of over-the-top-larger-than-life image about the place (i’ve been asked if we get sandstorms like one filmed on Tom Cruise in MI4. Don’t even get me started on that!)

The conversation usually goes something like this –

Them: where are you from?

Me: Dubai
(because that’s where i’ve been raised and technically the only thing that stands in way of me calling it my ‘real’ home is lack of citizenship. Anyhow you get the drift, answer to that question is usually Dubai)

Them: DUBAIII?!!! WOW HOW IS IT TO LIVE IN BURJ!

Me: o_O No i don’t live in the Burj, we have other normal buildings. But i can see it from where i live! (Because boasting comes naturally to folks from dubai teehehe)

Them: oooh we’ve heard so much about the place, we want to move there!

Me: Good luck with that!

So, for all you guys who’ve had similar talks with travellers from the gulf, here is something to answer all your root questions. Everything that you read may seem FUNNY but is really TRUE. But you can experience it only if you decide to move here with an open mind.

Have a dekko for a laugh ūüėÄ

Why Living In The Middle East is Awesome

xx

Strange Family Ties

When anyone starts talking about importance of family and stuff like blood being thicker than water, you can be sure that reference to the Indian culture won’t be far behind. It’s like this, generations of our forefathers paid so much attention to keeping up pretenses of loving all those related by blood, that somewhere along the way the facade stuck and the lines between lies and truth got blurred. And what got dumped on the indian kid was holier than thou trash of the need to always behave respectfully towards relatives, no matter how selfish or crooked.

One of the biggest reasons (one that may or may not have any monetary involvement) why you will find Indians depressed/hurt/angry/lost/hopeless is because in any given situation, the so called lovely relatives will be the first ones to flex their claws and dig in. We Indians are such a sorry bunch of people, rarely does one come across a gem who is genuinely happy and supportive of a family member’s achievements and choices.¬†In my opinion,¬†the idea of a joyful extended family is completed over-rated, fueled¬†by the overtly perfect picture painted in¬†Bollywood¬†movies. The truth is that the happy relatives one sees in the movies¬†don’t exist in reality. What remains today is the hope that picture will someday come true.

For kids raised outside India, the value of family is stressed upon even more and expands triple-fold. To the extent that despite the obvious superficiality of the relationships, one is often forced to observe the niceties and bear¬†narcissistic¬†uncles, shrewd aunties and their good-for-nothing offspring. And god-forbid if these people happen to be somehow older, richer and/or socially well-known than your parents. Worshipping them will have to be accepted as the norm.¬†I wonder how people who exist in this so-called ‘modern and educated’ society can be so hypocritical in their attitudes. They somehow have this bizarre idea of superiority and entitlement which they think gives them the right to¬†encroach¬†on other people’s personal life.¬†I often think to myself, what is the point of having such relations? Why must we be so miserable in private yet present a happy image to the society at large? Isn’t it easier to be happy by maintaining a healthy distance and a respectful attitude towards one another? What is this need to establish yourself bigger than the other person, this greed to be worshipped and looked upon to as god at all times?

As we progress into the 21st century, the dynamics and demographics of family living are changing. Gone are the days when the joint family system was the norm and anybody stepping out of it was shunned by society. In today’s world, personal lives have taken on more importance and it is necessary to give everyone the personal space they deserve. It’s remains¬†up-to¬†the new-gen parents to teach their kids to be respectful at all times to everybody and not coerced into bowing down to someone only because of their age, stature in life and their place in the family.

Six Men fashion ‘styles’ in UAE that need to go!

Walk into any mall, cinema, restaurant or a club in the country and you are bound to find atleast a dozen men who could really do with a fashion stylist. I often hear men complaining about how women take ages to shop for the right pair of jeans or top. All I’d like to say to these men is there is a big reason for that and perhaps if you took some time as well to buy the right kind of clothes, women would be hovering all around you like bees atop a flower. Presenting below are my six style disasters that men in UAE need to avoid and run miles away from ASAP!

1) Low waist pants

Guys, if you think showing your ugly boxer shorts or butt crack will bring the ladies to your yard, you really need to have your head examined. The only people getting attracted to your lower-than-the-lowest-your-pants-can-fall attire are the fashion police.

Confused whether picking or dropping them?

Ermmm confused whether picking or dropping them?

2) Really Tight Pants

Owners of lower-than-lowest pants are closely followed by the wearers of fat bulging tight pants (and dont even get me started on tight leather pants). Its sad how so many decent looking chaps fall into the trap and end up buying/wearing pants two sizes (if not more) smaller than actual. Perhaps consider investing in a long mirror at home? If you can afford buying clothes from expensive places, do take some time and check whether they actually fit you!

Umm hello Mr Tight Leather Brands.

Umm hello Mr Tight Leather Brands.

3) Deep Cleavage Barring V-Necks

These only look good on a handful of men who possess a reasonably good body and somewhat less chest hair (a completely waxed chest is obviously more preferable, but that’s another story). V-necks are not meant for everyone and should you want to wear them, try and layer it with a jacket or vest, coz on its own its a bit off-putting to look at. Especially when worn by men with zero-personality. Ill-fitted V-neck make you look less macho and more gayish. Only difference is gay men actually dress up much nicer and won’t ever wear crap things like weirdly tapering v-necks.

Even Ed Westwick isn't allowed this!

Even Ed Westwick isn’t allowed this!

 

4) TIGHTLY FITTED Deep V-Necks

What can be worse than a v-neck? A tightly fitted v-neck. And god help my eyes when they spot one in the neon colors that are all rage this season.

No, don't even try this.

No, don’t even try this.

 

5) Really Really tight shirts

I’ve often been in meetings and at events where my mind got distracted coz of men in the room with shirts so tight that it made me uncomfortable to even look at them. So unless you have a physique like Beckham or Tatum, please please get a tailor to fix you up with something that sits well on your shoulders and doesn’t make you look like an iron pumped dumbbell.

If he can't then you surely don't stand a chance!

If he can’t then you surely don’t stand a chance!

6) Pointy Shoes

Unless you are maharajah of crocodile-land or possess a reasonably good pair, get rid of those extremely pointed leathery shoes ASAP (much faster if they have flowery designs all over them). Especially short/round men, please do yourself a favor and leave them at home. The overall effect is more of a pointy stoat than a round stoat (a round stoat is more preferable).

Ugly Fugly

Ugly Fugly

 

Drop a line if you’d like to see any disasters leave our streets!

x

A Life Less Lived

Over the past few days there has been a line of thought that has been nagging my mind. It all started with news of 25-year old Bollywood actress/model Jiah Khan found hanging in her apartment just before midnight. Alleged to have resorted to ending her life due to problems with her partner, it was news that shocked the hindi film industry (Funnily enough, the cynic in me was surprised not shocked as reports of physical abuse and emotional breakdowns are quite commonplace in an industry where everyone is fighting for any spot they can get under the floodlights). However, what hurt and angered me the most was the fact that this young girl took her own life because of A MAN who didn’t even treat her with respect she deserved. Private letters released post her funeral by her mother (a move I personally don’t agree with, inviting media into her private life is only leading to her life being ripped apart well after she has gone) reveal the extent of this emotionally charged relationship.

Does anybody else see how wrong this whole situation was? The person she was ‘in love’ with is barely even mature to look after himself. He is yet to even embark on his career; for him this girl must’ve been another pretty face to be seen with. While on the other hand, despite her professional setbacks, I am pretty sure for a confident and intelligent girl like Jiah, life was just waiting to happen. So what was it that made her stick by him and take all that shit he kept throwing at her?  Why didn’t anyone around her pay attention to her state of mind? Was she so cut-off from the people around her, blinded by her love for this person?

It is difficult to understand the emotional and mental state of a person who willingly decides to end their life. Many call it an act of cowardliness, but just try and imagine how bleak must things around that person be for them to even think about suicide. By resorting to suicide, one doesn’t just end their own life, they are effectively leaving behind an emotional scar on the near and dear ones. For them the pain is so so much more. They will have to re-live the tragedy each day of their life, trying to find answers to questions coming in from all sides.

Say NO to Abuse.

What irks me more is that there are so many Jiahs’ out there, crying out for love while all they get in return are false promises. I often wonder why and how do women, especially those educated and successful in their careers, allow themselves to be trapped in abusive relationships. Let’s forget for a moment about women who belong to relatively poor backgrounds or those who often have no choice but to survive in such relationship owing to family pressure. How can women who appear so strong on the outside let themselves be treated less than animals by men in their life in private? Is it really so difficult to say NO the very first time it happens?

So what if things in life are not going well a this moment, does that mean we settle for just any man who offers us a moment of comfort. Not at all. I don’t understand why is it so difficult for women to be self-dependent and self-reliant. Why is there a need to always seek approval and understanding from the opposite sex? We are our own strength. Lets not be stupid to give that up for first guy who offers us a love stick. Respect in ANY relationship is an attribute one must never compromise upon. Period. Nobody deserves to be treated miserably under any circumstances and therefore shouldn’t allow others to treat them as such.

All you women out there take a moment to read Samra’s inspirational story on how she not only survived but successfully put her abusive relationship behind her. I wish more women like her came out and spoke about the cycle of an abusive relationship and how to cut it loose. I feel so proud and inspired when i read such stories, it gives me hope that the female race is indeed strong and can stand up to anything.

Life is so beautiful and blessed are those who are born with a human body in this birth; lets not waste ours on narcissistic men. A man who really loves and respects you is the only one worth giving ourselves to, just be strong enough to kick the rest of them far far away.

Stay Strong.

In a time-warp


Last few weeks, I’ve had a chilling realisation that post my turning 23, life has kind of just zoomed by. And i mean, literally wrroom wrooom and zoooomed. Either my mind is being afflicted with early amnesia or I have been too busy enjoying and living completely forgettable moments. Hell. Time just gives you the illusion of moving slow. But just blink and Boom! you’re already into another year. Trust me when i say this, i don’t  remember 2011-2012. A full year that i can’t recall. What the fuck was i upto? Did i just sleepwalk through it? Or maybe it was just so bad that the memories have been locked away safely in my head.


There were so many plans. Four years on, I seem to have seen none of those through. I find myself aching to go back to that age where life was simple. No worries. No friends getting married and having babies. No ex-colleagues and mates moving higher on the career ladder. No family expecting you to pull yourself up and act responsibly.


There is so much to be done, so much to see, so much to live for. But what bout’ the days left behind. I want to go back and re-live each one of those days. It sounds a bit demented. But sometimes when you don’t know what the future holds for you, the easiest way out is to go back to the happy days in your past. Sigh.


PS – YES that was a very silly post. But really, where is a time-machine when you really need one? Those nerdy scientists and developers better be making this thing coz there is really no point of crediting ourselves for living in the most technologically advanced century if we don’t have the one thing we actually need!




Coca-Cola Beyond Borders – An Analysis

The latest campaign from the stables of Coca-Cola is doing rounds on the internet and judging by the number of shares on twitter and facebook, it seems to be a hit with the masses. Built and executed around its tagline of ‘Open Happiness‘, the innovative campaign has managed to bring smiles to residents from India & Pakistan. 




Launched in early march this year, it involved placing two custom-made small vending machines at pre-determined locations in India (at a mall in the capital city of Delhi) & Pakistan (again, in a mall in the city of Lahore). Fixed with webcams, the machines used the innovative active-shutter 3-D technology, whereby the activity is filmed via glass and streamed live onto the same glass in real-time. 

Result: Residents on both sides were able to see their ‘neighbours’ and connect via the machines.

Interactive messaging on the machine like ‘Do A Dance’, ‘Connect The Dots’ & ‘Join Hands’ were used to engage consumers on each side in return for can of free coke. Freebies aside, what really captured user emotions were the similarities in display of emotions they experienced whilst completing the various actions. I guess in more ways than one, this campaign enabled residents on each side of the border to see that barring regional and religious identities, we’re all humans who experience happiness, sadness, elation, triumph, defeat etc in pretty much the same way. A brilliant masterstroke from the brand, especially in recent times where relations between the countries on a political level have been strained. It is campaigns like these that allow people to really get in touch with the real emotions of the population of each country and lessen the communication gap.


Although done on a relatively smaller scale (one machine on each side) for the size of the countries involved, this campaign will go a long way in etching the brand name in minds of all those who came close to seeing it in action. A positive brand association, and especially one that manages to invoke feelings of peace, happiness and longing, in my opinion, goes a long way in building and maintaining customer loyalty than frivolous ads that simply aim at brand reinforcement targeted at different age groups. It’s a clever idea, deeply rooted in emotions, executed well.

Do campaigns like this one work? Yes. Can or should we complain about any of it? Not really. Sometimes it is better to focus on the human aspect and ignore the commercialness of such campaigns.
Iconic brands such as Coca-cola are already etched in our minds; for them it’s no longer about creating campaigns to promote the name. For them it is about creating the right emotion for people to associate with their products.

Would be interesting to see if Coca-Cola can take this idea global. 
Next target – Israel & Palestine? Or America & Iran? Lets wait and watch.


See Beyond Borders in action –




Read a breakdown of ‘Beyond Borders’ campaign Here


Read more about ‘Beyond Borders’ and other marketing and advertising cases from Coca-Cola Here 

The No-Job Scene

I reside in a country and more so in a region that is famous for getting work done through their network of contacts. Meaning work is easier done when you apply the ‘who’ instead of the ‘what’ you know button. Hence, it is not difficult to imagine what a tough task it must be to land a good job, one where you can work with a brand that you actually admire and are passionate about.

Two disastrous jobs later and having been in the job market for the last 8 months, i have had my share of disappointments and things not working out. And believe me, I am this close to giving up altogether. I don’t think i even know what i really want anymore. You try and apply for a specialist position but no that’s not what people really want. Nowadays everybody wants to hire candidates who can do a bit of everything and are still able to excel at everything. To top that off, salary is another point that you might have to negotiate on. People may frown upon street bargaining but it exists everywhere and more so in corporate offices where you have to bargain to get your own worth.

I often wonder where do writers of movies and Tv Shows set in corporate environments get inspiration from. Certainly not from real life. Coz in reality, nobody gives you a job if you just saunter in. Nobody will look at you twice if you possess no company or market knowledge. And for sure companies will will think thousand times before hiring you especially if you’ve been fired from your previous job.

Clearly this isn’t my time in the professional arena, two years and truckload of bullshit later, here i am, a masters degree holder, still desperate for a job which i know i deserve and one where my intelligence is put to better use than being a yes-duck to annoying seniors and useless line managers.