All that glitters is not gold

There’s a saying in bangla… “shonar horin” basically it means the “golden deer”. The elusive dreams that people chase. Dubai is all tall towers of glittering glass. 5 star+ hotels with their gleaming receptions, sprawling shopping malls with all the brand names.  Yet the first thing that occurred to my mind was that saying “all that glitters is not gold”. Last time when I was here, I got speaking to the chauffeur who was driving us to our hotel and he mentioned that he’s from India and has been working here for over a decade. He sees his family once a year on vacation. I wondered whether he had a good enough life to justify being away for so long from the people he loved.

This time, same thing again, the chauffeur who drove me to the hotel was again from India, Kerala to be specific and I couldn’t resist asking him how long he’s been here, almost 5 year he said. Same story again, family left back home, visits them once every year. I looked out the window, at the tall gleaming towers, the sea of sand, the carefully created and maintained artificial oasis of green scattered about and I couldn’t resist asking “how do you leave a place as green as Kerala to come work here in the desert?” He didn’t answer my question, he looked at the sand and sighed.

this is how green it is in Kerala

dubai.. gleaming towers and endless sand in between

Dubai.. gleaming towers and endless sand in between

Everywhere I went, I kept seeing non-native people in service and I kept asking them the same questions. These are people from all over the world, from the east, west, north, south. Dubai maybe tax-free income but it’s too expensive for most of the people to keep their families with them. Most live on their own, in dorms or shared housing with their fellow countrymen. I cannot imagine doing that. I love my green and I love the people I have in my life, I cannot imagine leaving all that behind to live in a concrete jungle like this. 

I come from a place that is relatively cooler than the hot sands of Dubai. I come from a place that has fertile deltas with no end to greenery. I come from a place that is teeming with people, throngs of people who speak the same language. A significant portion of our population works all over the world and sends their hard-earned dollars back home for the families. This foreign remittance keeps our banks stocked in dollars. Yet I cannot help but think of the hardship these people go through in this land and elsewhere.

So, when my chauffeur sighed, that phrase got stuck in my head… “all that glitters is not gold”.

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Posted on April 29, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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