The Experience of Living Alone

Its been a month almost that I have been living alone at home while my parents are in India. This has been happening since the last 6 years where in they have taken trips to India because of family and personal reasons while I have decided to stay back.

In all honesty I don’t like to visit India very often. I used to go every summer vacations of school for a month to India and even after I started Bachelors I continued it. Once a year to visit family is not too much to ask but more than that is a disruption to the normal life here.

The things that come with going to India is the change in body clock of sleep, eating etc. While here I am used to late dinner and lunches and also wake/sleep late, in India I have to sort of conform to my relatives routines. The eat their lunches and dinner early, sleep and wake up earlier and do a whole lot of things differently than what we do here.

The other issue is with the change in climate and also the change in type of food and the water we drink. That itself brings upon a host of issues like weight loss, getting sick, using the washrooms etc. While hotels are all well equipped with the fixtures that I have at home here, my relatives are just upgrading themselves in the last few years to match up for us. Maybe its a sacrifice for them but for someone who has never stayed in India I feel its my minimum that i need to be comfortable.

So while my parents have gone away this time and as I am older than the last few years, this time I have reflected on how this experience and the accumulation of the past ones can be a good stepping stone to learning how I will spend my life after my parents move back home .

Since I first started living alone in patches like these I had made up my mind about one thing and that is log all the money that comes in and goes out of the house while my parents are not here. In that way I knew where I was spending how much and how I could control it so it doesn’t spiral out because of the freedom I had.

Much of the credit for this thinking goes to my dad especially since he handles the finances of the house regularly and he has imparted a few thoughts of his. His one very important advice to me was that we can afford to buy the expensive stuff if you want but before you do think about its use and value for money. So with that always at the back of my mind my focus was spent on value and use rather than just novelty or craze.

Today I have a job, my parents are happy and I have a good close knit friend circle that I rely on heavily and I couldn’t ask for more as I have the people who give me good advice and support when I need it. I remember that when I got my first salary from this full time job, as is a custom I had to dedicate it towards god first as a donation. This is the thanks I give to god for giving me this opportunity to earn money on a regular basis and help my family and reduce some stress on dad.

Following up from that I also remember that a few days later I went out with my close buddy and I saw something in a store that I really liked. I told my friend that i wanted to get this and he replied “bro you are earning now, so go get it and pay for it”. I hesitated and instantly rang up dad to ask if I take it. He laughed on the phone and said get it.

After i reached home and showed my parents the T shirt i bought, my dad smiles and tells me “Son you are old and responsible now, you are earning money monthly so if you like something don’t hesitate and just buy it”. Inspite of that reassurance I still today hesitate.

Living alone has brought some different experiences and I have also learned from my friends who live here alone with families in others countries. While they manage their lives differently and focus on different things, my focus solely lies on how I can manage my money better and how I can keep my house in tip top shape all the while my parents are away.

It brings a different set of responsibilities as well. Like cleaning the house, washing clothes, making sure that the toiletries that have been exhausted are replaced with new stock. Also the fact that since my family owns 2 cars, I have to look after both and make sure both are in proper condition(Fuel, Washing, Salik, Parking etc).

On top of that with this full time job at hand living alone is not anymore a joyride as I have to manage my work routine as well. Uniforms, office reporting times etc are also at the back of my mind.

Its not always a smooth sail though. I have had hiccups while parents have been away. Few minor accidents with the cars, changing car battery and this year my 2 month old Nokia phone going back for screen repairs. These are just to name a few. I have tried to keep this part as low as possible and at one point when the phone thing happened I lost confidence to stay alone a bit. I actually felt that if things like this happen frequently then my life will be in flames in no more than 2 days. But the minor hiccups eventually get themselves sorted with some planning and thinking and things are back to normal again.

So in the end while living alone can be a fun experience for e.g. having friends over for sleepovers, or late night long drives etc, it also comes with the responsibility of handling the house and managing finances. Its basically a lesson in how to live without being dependent on family all the time and also how to get out of that comfort zone and face the music of life head on and deal with hiccups that may come. Its something I feel every child should have and as parents if your house doesn’t end up like the one in the “Project X” movie and your bank account isn’t 0, then you know that your child is ready for independent living. Living alone brings a maturity that not many other experiences can.


2017- Year in Review

Today is the final day of a long but eventful year. I could say this has been one of the best years i have had in recent times. Lots of positivity throughout the year and got rid of most of the toxicity that was hovering around last year round.

The following are the things i distinctly remember from the year:

  • New Car- Renault Symbol

My year started out with a bang as my dad got me a new car. 5 years of driving a Toyota Yaris and a change was much needed. In came the Renault Symbol. Those 5 years in that Yaris was something to cherish. All the memories made with that car is something that might not ever happen again with any other but lets see what the future holds.

The new Symbol is a charm after 1 service and 11 months of running. Taken it on short and long drives while the fuel economy is not as good as Yaris atleast its more spacious and on top of it loaded with features that the Yaris did not have.

  • Jazirat Al Hamra- Long Drive¬†

This year we decided to go to a somewhat deserted village called Jazirat Al Hamra which is in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. So me and my friends went for a long drive to that place in the dead of the night. An overnight drive to see what the town was about as it was rumored to be haunted of sorts. After that we event went to a palace that had stories of ghosts attached to it. We couldn’t go inside but nonetheless its something we will do in 2018.

  • Go Karting- Dubai Autodrome + Al Ain Raceway

This was a year of trying a few new things. The first of them was Go Karting on a full scale level.

The Dubai Autodrome outdoor track and karts was perfect to have the first experience and I personally managed a good amount of laps for both the times in the year that we went.

  1. Day Session 7 laps at a best time of 1:34:616
  2. Night Session 8 laps with a best time of 1:28:306

The 3rd visit of Go Karting was done in Al Ain Raceway. This one was a much better setup with 2 different track layouts. 1.6 km international circuit and a 1.2 km Indy circuit. We took 3 sessions at a stretch which meant 45 mins of Karting. We also got to use both track layouts and also there were 2 different powered karts of 9 HP and 13 HP.

  1. The 1.6 km Intl circuit on the 9 HP I managed 7 laps with a best time of 1:56:449.
  2. The 1.2 km Indy Circuit with 9 HP I managed 9 laps with a best time of 1:29:169

Since the race manager saw that me and my friends were pretty decent he decided to give us a choice of track in the 3rd round and also upgrade us to the 13 HP karts which were much more power packed.

We chose the 1.2 Indy Circuit with the 13 HP karts provided and I clocked in 10 laps with a best of 1:19:995.

  • Archery Tag- Flip Out Dubai

I distinctly remember doing a little bit of archery in Genting Highlands Malaysia on my Far East Trip back in 2009. It was a small attraction of trying to hit targets with a given set of arrows. I learned a new thing back then and after a little bit of research and also mentions on social media about it, me and my friends decided to go for it one night. Flip Out Dubai is the place which had a Trampoline Park as well as the Archery Tag. It was a fun filled experience in trying to shoot arrows across a large field. Its a tough thing to do to get the required power to allow the arrow to fly that far but nonetheless after continuous attempts i managed to get a few to travel. Although i couldn’t tag anyone because i wasn’t fast enough to load up and shoot compared to others who were playing with us. Overall a fun activity with a large group of people.

  • Education and Profession- Heriot Watt + Tasjeel

In these 2 aspects i feel i had a very good year even though my final semester of masters did not go as well as i wanted. So coming to it I have managed to finish off all the semesters of my 2 Year Part Time MSc Strategic Project Management course at Heriot Watt Dubai and just waiting on the results of the final semester so that i can continue onward to my dissertation and attain that MSc degree that i have worked hard for. Its a journey that started in Jan 2016 and hopefully by this time next year i will be a MSc graduate.

On the work front i had a milestone completed of 1 year of full time professional work experience. Tasjeel Al Barsha has been fantastic as a place to work in. I have met some lovely people and also with every day more and more people from the company know who I am and like the work ethic I have which should help me in the coming years. This first year has been full of different experiences at work. I work 6 day week and have 3 shifts to fit into depending on requirement. The morning shift, middle and night shift all have their own ways of adjustment required as the traffic flow is different in each shift. The most taxing is the middle as peak traffic hours means loads of cars come in for testing. Morning and Evening also get tiring but come with a couple hours of slow down 7-9 am and 8-10 pm respectively where we either close our VIP line (Evening shift) or where customers themselves don’t choose our service (Morning shift) since lanes are empty at the early hours.

  • Travel- Georgia

On the travel front I got to visit a new place this year in Europe. It adds to the ever growing list of countries visited which now add up to 21 countries and counting. Dad’s interest in globe trotting since the early years of my life has imprinted on me as well. I always look to travel to new countries and me and dad spend a couple months each year debating on where to go and what to see next. Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia and South Africa are on our radars for the coming year and hopefully one of those we shall end up in. Meanwhile this year I ended up going to Tbilisi, Georgia. It was a short trip for 4 days and my what a wonderful place it was to see. Gudauri was the best to be since it was the snowy mountain Ski resort and with the low temperatures it was an absolute treat to go. Although we missed the snowfall by a couple of weeks nonetheless it was a good trip with the family.

Apart from the above I made some more new friends of which a couple have become regulars over the last couple of months. An addition to my core group (Ritesh and Stan) who i have had since the 1st year in my Bachelors University.

The below is a list of other things that i did which were just some things throughout the year:

  1. Late Night Chai sessions
  2. Late night Uno Sessions
  3. Drinks at bars
  4. PS 4 Gaming at home
  5. Change of Phone from Sony Xperia to Nokia 8
  6. Trying out new eateries (Last Exit, Wingstop, Indian Summer)
  7. Football nights with Ritesh (EPL, UCL)

So this is pretty much my year in review. While most people are busy Instagramming, Snapchatting their reviews I decided to go the old fashioned way of long form writing. Here’s to hoping that 2018 will trump this year in an even bigger way and from here on in there will only be more positivity and less toxicity.

Happy New Years folks and have a good year ahead. CHEERS!!

The One Who Always Remained

Generally i pick everyday topics to opine on. Those topics lay out some background to what every young adult faces at some point in his life. But today is different. Today I speak about the one person who has stuck by me since we first met. Being the 9th of May it is his birthday and no better day than to post something about him and for him.

So here goes, rewinding back to 2009 when I joined the Foundation program of Manipal University Dubai in order to take up engineering little did i know that the person named Ritesh would eventually today be one of my closest friends and we would make a truck load of memories. Its been 8 years since i know him and while many people have come and gone, hes one of the few that stayed behind.

Hes been the kind of friend that people wish to have. When you need him hes always there to help. Whether it be studies or life he has and will always try to be there for me. I have taken a lot of advice on how to deal with various aspects and today I am a better person mostly thanks to him. After my parents he was the company that I have always had and hes the one I could always count on.

Me and him are not so different really. Although we hail from different parts of India that does not bring about any differences in us. We share the same hobbies that is Movies, Football, Cricket, Gaming. We support the same countries in Cricket (India) and Football(Germany) but in English Premier League we support the rival clubs (Chelsea and Man United).

Today i share a dedication post to him because hes been a gem of friend and I couldn’t thank him enough for being there when I most needed someone to give me a direction in life. Our hobbies bring us together and our rival supporting clubs bring out the best in banter and jokes on each other. We always set out to make the most of our lives, friendship and always create some memorable moments everytime we meet.

So here’s my toast to you Ritesh Menon. Friend. Family.

Happy 28th B’day Brother.

“We Ride Together. We Die Together”.

Goodbye 2016 & Hello 2017

Its the month of Feb and its the year 2017. The last time i wrote a post on this blog was, as my site tells me on Mar 11 2016. From then a lot of things have changed personally and around me.

Where to begin from ?. Lets start with the fact that people all over the world were completely overjoyed at the turn of the year. 2016 was being called a horrible year on almost every social media channel and people were optimistically looking for 2017 to bring in a breath of fresh air into their lives.

Last time i wrote a post Barack Obama was still the US President. Now we have Donald Trump who is running one of the most powerful democracies in the world. The election was one of the most followed and initial feeling was Clinton might win. But Trump came out top and now is in charge USA with his erratic and business minded thinking.

Apart from that 2016 took away a lot of famous personalities away from the world and people all over are hoping 2017 does follow suit but that’s anyways not in anyone’s hands.

Coming to me personally. 2016 was a topsy turvy year of emotions, achievements, career wise etc. Started off with the uncertainty that i will return to my “home away from home” that is Dubai, UAE to continue residing and progressing in my life. That uncertainty changed with admission to Herriot Watt University Dubai Campus in the MSc Strategic Project Management course in a 2 year part-time capacity.

As the year went by it was college routine as usual while the job hunt was still going on. As August rolled around, i got a lucky break on the job front and after interviews and meetings by October i was officially a full-time employed student with a semi-government company that deals with car registrations.

By the end of the year i had completed 2 months of work and my 1st year of MSc and the results were positive on both front. For New Years eve i spent a relaxing evening in a park with family and then watched the Burj Khalifa fireworks while being stuck in the middle of a highway.

2017 rolled in and the first thing that changed was that i sold my 2011 Toyota Yaris which was turning 6 this year and then replaced it with a 2017 Renault Symbol which i took delivery of on my birthday. Close friends were sad to see the Yaris go as there were so many memories linked to it since i got it back in 2010. The new car feels great and being Renault its quite a different feel to drive this compared to my Yaris.

Going into February the Work-Study routine has considerably picked up and focusing on both 100% is becoming slightly challenging but its what i signed up for and i intend to give my 100% to both without 1 affecting the other in a negative way.

So 2017 looks good so far and hoping that it becomes better as the months go on. Time as usual is flying and its already February. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2017 everyone. Happy New Year.


Walk down memory lane

So this is my 1st post in over 6 months. I have started a Masters course that will take about 2 years to finish and still looking actively for a job. According to the stat page of my blog this is going to be my 100th post so that’s a milestone as well.

Nothing better to mention in my 100th post than the memories of my young days. I came to Dubai with my parents when i was just 3 years old back in 1995. Today about 21 years later i have spent pretty much my entire life in this city.

Today i stay in an area called Karama which has been my home for the past 17 years (1999-present) and while being out with my best friend last night i happened to show him the 2 most important buildings to me in the city of Dubai which will always bring back the fun memories of my young days.

The place called Satwa will always be stationed deep in my heart and i will forever remember my experiences staying there. Stayed for no longer than 4 years(1995-1999) due to a lot of minor issues with people and their behaviour and the community as a whole while also my growth resulted in the need of a bigger house eventually.

But regardless of those minor issues and regardless of how the people and community was in general, i still love that place till today and i still had fun memories to remember from there. Not too far away from my current house, probably just a quick 10 min drive that area was my 1st experience of this city called Dubai which is considered paradise by many around the world for many reasons. Staying in this city for 21 years i have seen its growth from a quiet and simple city to a metropolis its become today.

Yesterday after watching 13 hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi and later filling our stomachs with a good dinner in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant we passed Satwa on our way back home. Seeing that today was anyways a weekend i decided to show my friend the 2 locations that still hold importance which were: The house that i stayed in and also the small villa where my 1st school used to reside.

Looking at those 2 particular buildings reminded me of how i used to wait for the bus and also reminded me of the hyperactive person that i was back then. Showing it to my friend and telling him more about the area and the 2 buildings in general brought back a lot of joy. My school was and still is called “Apple International School”. Today it has a building campus in another part of Dubai but there is a nursery called The Apple Nursery which takes up the villa where my old school used to be.

I was in that school from KG till 5th grade when i was forced to look for a new school due to that school having limited space enough to only operate classes until 5th Grade. Today the same school has the full 12 or 13 years schooling years quota in its newer bigger campus.

After going back to those 2 buildings last night i cannot put in long form as to how many of my memories are attached to those. There are some that i remember and those that i may have even forgotten over time. The distance between my house and school back there was a mere 5-10 minutes. I met a whole lot of people in that area and in that school and today i can only assume all of those people are doing well with their lives. Some names and faces i remember and some i don’t. Time changes a lot of things but the few things it dint change so far is that both those buildings still exist exactly where they were when i left and the vibe that comes whenever looking at them will always remind me of what things were back then and how things have massively changed in the following 17 years.


Finally a Graduate


That meme is the best possible reaction to the marks that i saw today for the exams i gave in June. 6 years of struggle to get this 1 piece of paper that is the Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Science Degree.

I will take this time to thank my parents and friends for constantly supporting me through this whole phase. Next question is what to do after. Either Job or another 2 years for Masters. I would gladly decline Masters and try for work experience because im quite fed up of studying. 6 years was enough and i definitely can use a working experience as a break before i think of another round of college.

Feels good to finally get done with college for now. So the next few days to relax in peace and then back to acting on my next step in my life.

The neverending Job-Exp conundrum

Its always the fear of a graduate be it bachelors or masters. Getting a job in this 7 billion population planet is getting tougher by the day. Competition for places is increasing and most manual labor is being replaced by machines. We always believe machines are better at productivity than man and that is pretty much true in most cases.

Thus comes the main point which is the title of this post. Its a cycle that never has an end. A sort of an infinite loop in scientific terminology. For getting a job you now need some experience in your kitty but to get that you need a job. It confounds the best of graduates as to how will they get job and experience when both need each other and when you are fresh out of college experience is the at the minimum.

Staying in the Middle East one thing is quite certain, If you are a fresh graduate and you have not had at least 2 years of experience in working for any company, your chances of getting a permanent job are close to nil. One way to get a starting job is try the roulette wheel of Linked in or other recruitment agencies. Other ways include either ‘vaasta’ ( meaning internal contacts to fast-track the hire) or to hope your college has tie-ups to get you started.

I am not even going to talk about the conditions in India because it is at least 100 times more difficult because of stiffer competition and not to mention marks play a major role there. But yes you do have a better chance there to get a job if you academics meet the criterion of the hiring companies there.

The only other way out to get experience is to hope to land a part time/freelance job which may not pay or give visa or any things of that sort but can be added to your CV. But those also are not really a luxury. So i will say to current and future graduates , start searching jobs early, go for as many certifications as possible and always keep yourself ahead of the job hire game. Getting a job is becoming a rare luxury with the advancements in technology so get in before its too late and prove yourself to be the best to secure your future.