I have always hated stereotypes from the first ones in school (the foreign return, the english punter, the math guru) to the ones in college (the mallu gang, the football player),from the ones at work (the go to guy, the party animal, the player) to the everyday variety (Malabari, Saala Madrasi, etc etc..) While on hindsight some were pretty accurate (was a football guy all thru school and college in a cricket crazy nation, still can do math in my mind) I hated them coz they limited me. Being born to a passionate communist father helped in creating a belief system that everything can be challenged and the divisions are all crappy. Later realising that the same person also had kind of stopped fighting about it was disheartening. Now, residing in the Middle East, the divisions are stark. The country is divided on the basis of skin color, religion and nationality. The locals obviously are the kings of all creation, with hardly any offenses being punished, the English are accepted as a necessary evil, responsible for creating a fake image of a country that is embracing everything western, the Indians most populous of the expats are considered nothing more than cheap labour and rarely appreciated, the nepalis are completely ignored and the srilankans dont stay long enough to create any issues. The filipinos are used mostly to fill up the malls as sales people and all other arab expats use islam and their neighbourly status to pass off as locals.
The magic of it all is that it seems to be working, everybody seems satisfied in his place. add to that the fact that education is being recognized, talented people get better pay and on the whole language barriers are breaking down – Arabs speak Hindi, Nepalis talk English and the English speaking are learning a smattering of Arabic words. Me, I am waiting in the wings, looking for my next opportunity to pack my bags and move to Bangalore.
The madness of it all is the way people react to it. They dont. They silently sit by earning their two pence, sending it home, building an empty house back in India for no one in particular, educating their children, getting them married and then retiring to a country they left 40 years ago to live out their days with more empty houses for neighbors. I cant think of such a life, such a waste. All the promises of a life ended behind a desk in a foreign country, earning and saving more than Indian standards with no opportunity to spend it, making friends with people who you wouldnt give a second thought about in India because you have no choice and then complaining together about how India is going down the drain.
The marriages are the funniest here, everyone looks at a potential bride / groom based on their employable skills, anything more than that is a bonus. The women who work here as nurses are luckier than most, becoming rich overnight and being courted by hundreds of prospects just because it means a bigger package to send back to India. Which works fine for me, coz i just told my parents i am never marrying a nurse 😀 Leaves me with even more of a single life than is acceptable back in India, much lesser pressure from parents and family, and a lot more free time than is healthy.