Sunday, March 19, 2017

The so called 'Gulf Life'

I've been in the Gulf for major part of my life. My parents, especially my Father in his mid 20s, started working in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, U.A.E and later on in Oman. During the 80s, life in the Middle East was filled with massive opportunities. There was huge scope for business in this region. Plenty of Indians, Asians and Europeans started their careers here. The market was growing rapidly and the Gulf was getting richer which continued even till the 2000s.The Gulf is and has been a 'Booming' market.

I lived in Muscat during the 90s till almost a decade. Only a couple of years old, one wouldn't remember much about that life. Growing up through your preteens, I came across making friends in school, around my home areas and building extended families by celebrating togetherness. Every weekend was an evening of laughter, happiness and fun, exploring new beaches, surfing the sand dunes and the long drives. It may have not been every weekend but it sure felt like that. As a child, I really enjoyed staying in Muscat - Oman's capital city. It's the Caribbean of the Middle East. Muscat and Mumbai share quiet almost the same attributes geographically and environmentally. Beaches on all sides, mountains towards the northern region, humid coastal weather and the Arabian Desert on the other. 

I couldn't see the struggles of the work environment and isn't that obvious? As a child, in that age, I was happy inside this box and it didn't feel small. I didn't understand the dynamics of such an environment and I had no idea how life existed outside this box. My Father gave me a happy beginning to the so called 'Gulf Life' and to that I would always be grateful. Some lessons are best learned through time... Never had my parents shown me the struggles of this so called 'Gulf Life' society. After living in Muscat for almost a decade my life transformed. My teenage life had to be eventually spent in Mumbai. Rebuilding a new life mentally and emotionally was always going to be a struggle. This struggle was inevitable. Making new friends again, meeting new people again, going to a new school, wearing a tie for the first time, the humidity, the monsoons, traveling on public transport, learning a new language, everything changed and it was quite contrasting from the Muscat environment. I really wanted to go back to Muscat and at times, I was so frustrated that I gave my parents really a hard time and complain of my inability to adapt. I didn't quiet understand why the shift happened or what was the point of all this and why at this point in time of my life had to change where everything seemed so good and quickly taken all this away from me. I realized this after few many years later, that I was being selfish, inconsiderate and stubborn in every way. The transition was quick but the adaptability was slow.

Somehow it was better... for my sake.

As an adult, working here in Qatar... I can imagine how my Father survived. Each and every day, staying away from family, exploring the unknown, understanding a new culture, it's mentally stressful, emotionally - a struggle and physically challenging. Once you experience the true nature of the environment you will know how it feels. I had to experience this, I wanted to know what changed, why the transition? Why was everything taken away from me? These unanswered questions that I asked my parents were answered... Over time and with experience. That's the so called Gulf Life. It's a life that makes you think not just once or twice but keeps repeating the question to oneself time and again of what you thought as a child, what kind of fairy tale imagination I was under and as we grow older, we get wiser and become more realistic. What I had in the mind as young child is not the same of what I think as an adult. Even though I started off my career a bit later compared to my Father, somehow our personalities and attitude towards life, love, business, career, education differed. Was it because of change in environments? Was it because of external factors or was I too naive to the change. He's blessed with an aggressive attitude and I've been cursed with a sensitive personality. Our dynamics are profoundly uncanny and if I were to compare it with a simple marketing analysis then it would be like his strengths are my threats and his weaknesses are my opportunities. A generation has passed from the gulf and yet 'The Gulf Life' still remains by enlarge almost the same. People all over the world keep coming to this region, not just for financial reasons but it's also for one's future stability. Back in Mumbai, people still believe this a land of opportunities, a land that will benefit them for their future and create a sense of stability in all aspects. But then again, some people still come to their homeland and allow another set of generation to take this test of life... the so called 'Gulf Life'.

Somehow it's fate?

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