Monday, March 23, 2009

Coming to Dubai

First week in March of 2008 when I relocated myself to realize the Dubai dream I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of things in this city. Living in Dubai is completely a different experience than visiting the city for a day or transiting by its airport. I was speechless as I discovered a city so vibrant and so full of life with so much of glitz all around. I was put up in a service apartment on the Sheikh Zayed road and used the public transport to commute to and from my office in Deira. It was almost like a skiing, could not have been smoother. I used to wonder while it only takes 15 minutes travel to and back from my workplace, why is all this fuss that people make about Dubai Jam.
Soon I realized that it was only the beginner's luck that worked in my favor when I had to wait only for a few minutes to get my morning taxi while a phone call to the RTA call center used send me a taxi to get me home safe and sound. The rude awakening came as I found out it is was not only difficult to get through to the to the call center but even if you got through the cab does not show up half the time. Having accepted my new found reality, I started to get settled in those conventional terms.
Getting an apartment was much difficult than one would have imagined. The city veterans rightly advised that if I got to have an apartment here I need to move around with my cheque book. But nothing came my way that satisfied my taste even if I discount the fuss of  the Architect in me and more importantly that fitted the wallet. I kept stretching my budget and drifting away from downtown Dubai. With a bit of divine assistance, I finally managed to get an apartment.
Oh What a feeling!
Honestly I was not as exuded even when we took possession of our own apartment back home.
Now that I have moved to my new home, I have to liberate myself from those long queues for taxis and indefinite wait for the bus. Travelling by bus is fun as long as you have a place to seat and the odor around is not intolerable. The good thing is that one can survive on the public transport system in Dubai particularly when the family is yet to join you. But my life and my job called for a driving license and independence that came with it. After all I it is difficult not to see oneself zooming all around this land of opportunity.
Backed by 3 other valid GCC driving licenses in my pocket I marched to the offices of RTA beaming with confidence. But alas! I have to appear for test and sit not only in front of the computer but also behind the steering wheel. I said to myself... I am driving in the region for 10 years, these tests are going to be a cakewalk. The signal test was while the driving test wasn't. I flunked the first test and had to have an instructor and complete 6 lessons. After seeing me drive and looking at my other licenses the trainer asked me in Hindi "Do they intend to make a pilot out of you?" Umm! well... maybe!!
Finally after almost 3 months of my tryst I got my hand on the most sought after object de art, all shiny and golden with my face nicely framed in one corner. I felt like throwing my hat in the air and leap with joy and freeze that picture forever.
Now that I have the license, I have come to realize that getting the most coveted thing in this dreamland is not the end of this long , exciting and somewhat tiring journey ...... it just the beginning. But that is another story and to be told another day.

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