When I first moved to Dubai 5 years back, I was so scared of how I would survive here. I had never covered my head, what if I will have to wear an Abaya was a constant worry at the back of my mind.
Coming here changed all my preceptions of the religion, culture or social divide which we are forced to believe in due to the constant political and media feedbacks.
Over the years here, I have made friends with South Indians, Gujjus, Malus and so on. Back in India, I know how each community judges others.
Punjus ( Punjab) are loud and spendthrift, Gujjus ( Gujrat ) are miser and so on.
I never felt home even in Delhi, where a Punjabi girl was looked as an outsider. Dubai feels home.
My first neighbor in this city was a Tamilian. She taught me how to make yummy Sambhar rice, and other delicacies. I was preparing for exam then, and she would daily drop in with her delicious food so that I didn’t waste time.
My first acquaintance at my workplace was a Jordanian Muslim. She taught me what strength meant. Your Abaya or the clothes you wear does not make you different. She showed me how she was much more stronger and capable than any female I had known.
Over the years, I have had friends and colleagues from Pakistan ( our worst pinned neighbor as per media ) who have helped me whenever I have needed the most.
Few days back when I was in India, I felt sorry for how we are giving up the greatest strength of secularism just to appease the votebank. ( Citizenship amendment act )
UAE is an Islamic state, yet the culture of tolerance is deeply ingrained.
India is a secular country, yet today I don’t understand what we are turning into.
A few weeks back, my husband jokingly asked ” Why do we need an International Men Day vs International female day? Have we stopped being humans?
The biggest religion is humanity, and may be everyone is forgetting what it means to be human. Do we need the divide on the basis of religion/ region/ caste/ gender.
It’s time we all raised our voice, to restore humanity wherever it is receeding.
I have always remained mum on political issues, but staying silent and letting us be divided doesn’t seem correct anymore.