On Cultural Night and Such

One of my favorite things about Dubai is the cultural diversity. Never mind that 70% of the population is of Indian-origins, but still Indians themselves are pretty diverse apparently.

They still look the same to me.

So in true Jordanian/ Arab/ Middle-Eastern fashion I invited my coworkers out to a lunch at a prominent Lebanese restaurant; Al-Hallab.

The food was good, the atmosphere, blech, since Celine Dion was hollering about her love going on and on as long as my headache, when I was expecting something along the lines, of, well I don’t know, I don’t want to sound demanding, some red-haired Lebanese chick, you know? It being a Lebanese restaurant and all.

I have a way with people, you can tell.

Sureeth (newly introduced Indian): Hi
Me: Hello. How are you?
Sureeth: Fine, thank you
Me(after a brief pause): How much is your dowry?
The Indian stares in surprise.
(To unknowing readers, apparently, in Indian culture it is the bride and her family who pay the dowry to the groom according to his status, weird I know!)
My coworker blabbers in Hindi explaining to his friend what I think literally translates to “This fucking Jordanian asks every Indian he meets about their dowry.”

Sureeth laughs and gives me the typical answer all Indians give;
I don’t know

Me: How much do you think my dowry would be worth?
More laughter
Them: You’re not Indian.
Me: We can work on that.. We are brothers in World Wonders now.
Sureeth blinks his surprise
Me: You know, Taj Mahal is a New World Wonder, so is Petra. That makes us Brothers in World Wonders.
Amazingly they all know about Petra.
Me: How do you know Petra?
Sureeth: I worked with Jordanians. I haven’t received my last 2 month salary.


Me: How much do you think Shipha Shetty would pay me dowry to marry her? (Shilpa is a famous, educated and of course, beautiful Indian actress, whom I have recently fallen in love with, after being forcefully exposed to the whole Bollywood, high-pitch-singing, mustached-hunky actors, confetti-falling everywhere culture. Oh and back off Richard Gere!)

: Shilpaaaaaaa, hehehehe (in a how-does-he-know-Shilpa-tone) (Imagine an Indian coming up to me and proclaiming his love to Abeer Issa, no? Not the same thing. Ah well!)
In the restaurant, the Indians went on to suspiciously pick their foods with the edge of the fork, like paranoid Israeli Inspectors examining a stranded bag of tomatoes, while I devoured the tabbouleh, hummous, shankleesh, kebbeh, like Oliver Twist.

Me: Eat Kibbeh, it’s good
Coworker: We don’t eat beef maaan
Me: Oh ok, (Yis3ed Allah, in my mind) I throw the 4 Kibbehs in my mouth simultaneously.

Me: So what’s the name of your friend coming to Dubai today?
Indian Coworker: Ali
Me: Ok when he comes we’ll receive him with
Me: Ali, Eleiwaa…eiwa
Darab il-zumeira…eiwaaa
Darabha 3ammy…eiwaaa
Khashat fee galby…eiwaaa
Till the end..
Silence. A long one this time.

Indian Coworker: What shit maaan?
This is a song we sing when we go on picnics in Jordan. I’ll tell you what, I’ll sing and after the end of every verse you just say EWA….E…W…A…, it’s not that hard, ok?
Indian Coworker: What maaaan?
Me: 3ali 3eleiwaaa..I point at my Indian friend to finish off…he mutely says EWA
Darab il-zumeiraaa…point…
Darabha 3ammy..EWA (without pointing)
Khashat fee galby..galby rasas, m7ammad raggas, borgos bil-baas.

After receiving Ali at the airport.
Me: Welcome to Jordan.. Errrr. Dubai

Old habits die hard I guess.
Oo 3ali 3eleiwa…
Can I hear an “Ewa”?

I don’t know why but after receiving Ali, the image of me holding the hands of the Indians and dancing dabkeh with sky-blue bandannas on our foreheads bombarded me.

Us: Heyyyyy! Hey Faisaly. Il-kull yghanni Faisaly!

I love cultural diversity, and I love Dubai. Only in Dubai can I get away with this shit.


Globalorama said...

and you are still alive to tell the story. amazing how patient Indians are.

p.s. on youtube, search for "crazy Indian video" and watch the one with the highest view count. you're gonna love it.

Who's-sane! said...

LOL! mish tabee3i! Good stuff man :D

Amer said...

You are weird man, this is worrying me :S

mazz said...

eh ehe he ehehe
that was good
you should educate the citizens of dubai on the uses of the word "makhouth" and "shusmo"

7aki Fadi said...


my favourite part was :"Darabha 3ammy..EWA (without pointing)
Khashat fee galby..galby rasas, m7ammad raggas, borgos bil-baas."

3anjad mish tabee3ey. LOL, you never seize to entertain me!

rosh said...

hahaha! this is too funny! Am part Indian, and "completely" understand your post!

But seriously, I wish there is more cultural integration in the UAE. I've lived in the UAE all my life. A close friend (a second generation UAE Indian) is engaged to an Emi, of Palestinian origin. However most Indians we've come across (mostly the ones fresh from India) can't seem to accept this sort of integration - all they do is stare, stare and stare and then stare some more.

I wish there is more integration in the UAE, it'd be so nice :)

KJ said...

One of them just cursed me in the office. I think it translates into dickless :P

i*maginate said...

I was grinning all the way. Man you have an interesting sense of humour!

These days such humour, if not understood properly, is translated into racism. It's difficult to be PC all the time!

Expated in Dubai said...

@globalorama, trust me I survived worse shit than a pissed Indian or two.

@who's-sane! Thanks again :)

@amer, nice to see you here man, no worries at all :) Please visit again

@mazz, maybe you should educate me first on the uses of the words "makhouth" and "shusmo"

@7aki-fadi, Thanks, I guess I am here to entertain. Or am I?

@rosh, I wish there was more cultural integration too. Even though it still is better than our countries of origin. Stare, stare, stare? I think we're forgetting something here..

Oh yes, the ubiquitious head wiggle

@kj, can you give me the word please, I already overused the other popular words like "asshole" and "motherfucker"

@i*maginate , whoever said I'm not racist? But still I love socializing with all people from all walks of life,
Except the arabs they can be a headache
The pakis too
Indians as well
Europeans? No
Americans..Mmmm too arrogant and mindless for me
The Eskimo seem like friendly people.Fish anyone?

Anonymous said...

haha...you have a pretty good sense of humour...thankfully, so do we indians :P

Expated in Dubai said...

Ya anon you guys sure do, you made my stay here a whole lot more enjoyable :)