As summer was at its peak in the oil zone, life seemed to have slowed down quite a bit. There isn’t necessarily a correlation between the two, but both, the weather as well as other things in general are looking up now.
With that background in place, let me tell you a little about the new things that I have learned recently.
Hashkal! This is a word apparently only known to folks in Abu Dhabi. It’s Arabic, yes, but colloquial enough to not even have reached Dubai. Meaning? The India equivalent of – hold your breath – LS! Yes, the ‘term’ most recently heard in that obnoxious Delhi Girl video. All things down-market have a special word in all languages, isn’t it? I’m still laughing!
The Indian Lane! I was in a room full of Brits and conversations, as usual, were around cultural differences. One of the things that came up was driving etiquette. I obviously didn’t have much to say on this one. But one of the guys did get to explaining how the lane next to the fast lane is referred to as the Indian Lane here. The reason? People in India are taught to keep in the middle lane and even on a five-lane road, they drive at 50 kmph in the second fastest lane. And that same day I spotted two such cars on the road. Pff.
Madrasis! You think only north Indians are ignorant enough to call all south Indians that? FYI – my Pakistani driver folks also call them that. Yes, I am yet to meet a Tam buddy here. Till then, all of Kerala in the Gelf comes from Madras!
Aside: I made conversation with a taxi driver after quite a while today. Actually, he did all the talking. And gave me some really nice biscuits which had been gifted to him by a well-wisher. This is the second time I broke bread with a taxi driver. Last time, it was at Iftar time during Ramadan. The eccentric, talkative guy had refused to eat until I ate some of his super tasty food.
Filipino Delight! These guys are collectively the most pleasant community ever! They may look serious, distressed or even uninterested, but they’ll always be so polite and patient that there is no way on earth you can ignore them or their pleasantries. And now when I go out, I don’t look for Indian faces around. (Abu Dhabi does give more choices than Dubai, for sure!)
Prince Chocolate Biscuits! Yes, these deserve an exclamation mark too. Sure everyone has had good chocolate biscuits at some point in life, but you’ve got to try these (you’ll never have one) to know what I am talking about. Apparently, people who have grown up in this country have been indulging in these for years together. You can never get over them. So I know wherever in the world I go next, instead of importing original Maggi, I shall import these Prince biscuits! 😀