I’m in Dubai! As ecstatic as I may sound right now, the feeling that I’d probably describe through this post is that of being overwhelmed. Leaving India has possibly been one of the most difficult steps of my life. Yes, I did leave Salalah when I was 17 but then I was just a kid, with stars in her eyes about Bombay – the city of dreams. Bombay turned out to be the best phase of my life – I met my best friends, married the love of my life, lost family, gained family, had pets and also started my career there! But, life has its ways, twists and turns and here I am, back in the Middle East to a place that seems both familiar and strange.
It’s been almost a week since I first arrived here, not yet recovered from having to leave a whole lot of loved ones behind in India, and then I saw it – the desert, the tall buildings, cement, glass, bricks, mortar, and people that I would be calling home for a long time! How many people – foreigners, people of all nationalities – Indians, Pakistanis, Britishers, Aussies, Lebanese, and hardly any Emiratis! It is going to take some time for me to not continuously stare at the gorgeous Arab women in their swaying abayas above stilettos, or gape at the bulky and oddly fascinating Africans. I’m possibly going to take even longer to get used to the various accents and names around me. But, then that’s the charm and beauty of a country like the U.A.E.
One of my epic moments in the past week was the Middle East Food and Travel Blogger Conference that my friend Renita – another Bombay food blogger – informed me about. The conference is part of the ongoing Dubai Food Festival. While the location was quite far off, Fatema – one of my closest friends and who’s house I’m currently at – happily drove me there early in the morning and I was surrounded by the food bloggers from the UAE – Indians, Africans, Pakistanis, and Brits, Aussies, Americans, etc. The blogger conference was quite an eye-opener to the world of blogging in a more seasoned market and its allied careers in the UAE. More on that in my next post (I have actually penned down my takeaways from the conference for you all).