The truth about being an expat
by Nirja G
There really is none; life as an expatriate is pretty much the same as being at university. Only less fun, offers fewer hangovers, and a constant sense of being very important hangs above your head like a grainy halo. There is also the living in rubble, and having people scream Shah Rukh Khan at you randomly in malls.
The fun thing about being a single expat woman in the middle east (West Asia), is well, different. You never have to pay for anything. And if you oppose the concept, then you always have to pay for everything. Making a choice is always crucial, and it tends to stick. For instance, I have never been offered anything but sticky rice and katsu at the restaurant at work because I happened to have mentioned, to the restaurant staff, that my father comes from West Bengal, which apparently, shares a border with mid town Tokyo.
Being an expatriate also means you make a lot of money. But being an expat in the middle east also means that you save it all because unless you drive a Maserati and love hookah, you aren’t going anywhere either way.
I exaggerate; it isn’t that bad.
One very crucial part of being an expatriate is of course, the fact that, all sorts of fun things start to happen back home once you move. Salman Rushdie decides to visit India before realising he may want to live. And yes, Rahul Gandhi is a proud owner of a random shoe now, amongst various other nonsensical shenanigans that my country loves to indulge in.
And the Chetan Bhagat bashing also gets more intense. I miss that almost as much as my mum’s cooking.
Even though I really enjoyed Five Point Someone. Just saying.
And despite all of this, truly being the “Vegas of the Middle East”, people still look at me strangely when I wear a pencil skirt in 12 degrees with heavy winds and shake their heads like they would in Bombay. Some things are constants, like people’s hate for sartorial nuances. Being an expatriate really is like moving to Diagon Alley irrespective of where you go, or maybe it’s just my general, unbiased disregard for the weather, and culture.
So I became an expat, learnt to eat onions and honey for three days in a row, and learnt to smell a new scent off of the fresh (read - dank) roses from the orchard of life every single day.
I may congratulate you in a cool, YSL circa 1960′s way if you happen to guess the name of this country I talk of.