Of trying to fit in.

It’s been a couple of months since I wrote on my blog. A part of me feels guilty, and then immediately the other part says, ‘Have you seen the workload and hectic schedule lately?’ Today, I ran out of excuses, and I wanted to share with you guys some of the happenings in my life – of trying to fit in here.

So the other day, I was staring hard at my screen. I knew I was because I was way too close to the screen, thinking to myself I should check my eyes again, and maybe do some quick neck rotation else I am going to have to wear one of those collars before I hit 30.

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Anyhow, whilst I was staring at the screen, which to any lay person would seem that I was consumed at work, a colleague approached me asking which perfume I had on. I went blank for a moment, perfume, did she say perfume? I had no clue what I had on. Suddenly, I wasn’t even sure I had any on, and I felt naked. She seemed to sniff, and then concluded mine was unbranded. “I can’t recognise the fragrance, is it from India?” She rolled her eyes and walked off. Okay, well, she had big eyes, with bigger eyelashes, so it seemed she rolled her eyes, but she probably just walked off.

And then a couple of days later, I was talking to another colleague. One thing led to another and she told me she was remodelling her bedroom. I asked her where she would be doing most of her shopping from. Knowing she’s a Kuwaiti, Pottery Barn I assumed. And why not, I love their stuff. If only they would knock off one zero from their price tags. Sigh. Anyways, she said she wasn’t sure, and then added she knows for sure where she’s getting her linen from – Jaipur. And I was like ‘Whaaaa’.

It’s a mix of every kind of person here. From different backgrounds and cultures. From Syria to Armenia, from Philippines to Brazil. Any preconceived notions I had about any country is being set straight – I am happy about that J

Working in Kuwait (I think it’s the case with most of the Middle East) has been challenging, fitting in culturally, where you do not know the local language spoken, is not easy. It may be a perfectly great conversation among 3 people, and suddenly 2 of them waltz off in Arabic to which I respond by politely staring at my phone and helplessly smiling once in a while.

You also have to work your way through a few assumptions that people have about Indians. But hey, we ourselves have a tonne of assumptions about every category of people, if there’s a category of people – be it straight, gay, too happy, geeky, uptight, Mallus, Bongs, Gujjus, South Indians, North Indians, fair, dusky – we have our assumptions – and if there isn’t category, we make one – and then we make the assumptions. Ha, see. We’re smart like that. So nothing new there.

There were days back in Delhi/Kochi, where I would literally dash to get a cab/rick and not worry about how I looked when I got to work. Because, back there, you’d be part of the majority of the folks who did not have make up on. Or had 100% good hair days, or always had their heels on and tried not to wear the same dress twice at least in a month. But as you change geographies, you realise you may not always be in that majority. I am a huge fan of believing in yourself and that what you're made of is more important than what you wear, and letting your work speak for itself. However, as a close friend put it, there’s no harm in adding to your amazing work a little dash of makeup. What do you guys think? Did you face a cultural block when you moved to the Middle East, or say UK or Australia? How did you get past it? Leave a comment xx

2 comments

  1. The first one or two years there is a cultural block....

    After some years we felt the cultural block in our homeland during vaccation....

    Based on personal exp...

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    Replies
    1. True, I think the first couple of years (at least a good number of months) can be tough, eventually it gets better..

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