Trivial travails: MAY DAY

Trivial travails: MAY DAY


(First Published in Muscat Daily)

“Mayday, mayday, mayday…. I am sinking; I am sinking.” To pre-empt those who may decide to question “And what are you sinking?” please allow me to clarify that I am not thinking but am actually sinking in the vortex of nostalgia…or so I think! “I sink, therefore I think” is obviously an attempt to be different than Descartes, who was the epitome of profundity with his philosophical proposition, “I think, therefore I am” or as he had exclaimed: “Corgito ergo sum.”

May Day, is actually a celebration of labourers and the working classes and as per Gavin McCrea “Every year, on May Day, a spectre comes to haunt us.

The spectre of Karl Marx. He’s been coming since 1889, when the Second International chose May 1 as the date for International Workers’ Day.

And although we understand that he’s the brains behind the show, we don’t like him hanging around. But it’s time we faced up to the ghost: May Day is Marx Day, whether we like it or not.” Mayday, on the other hand is a distress signal which sounds like the French word m’aider, which means “help me”.

Ergo, May Day is very different than mayday, unless of course mayday happens to happen on May Day – as it did 33 years ago today, when yours faithfully first landed in Muscat and stepped out of the aircraft, to be warmly greeted by the oppressive incandescent blast of hot wind that reminded one of Dante’s Inferno. Thrown back by the velocity of its rage, one clutched the aircraft door for support and feebly cried out “mayday, mayday, mayday!”

This somehow did not amuse the airline staff who probably thought that I had somehow managed to escape from an asylum. Since one had already bid adieu to his ex-employers in India with a trala la la la la and had actually done a little jig in front of the HR guy while handing in the resignation, going back to my old banking job in Calcutta was no longer an option.

So, as one descended the steps of the ramp-stairs to get into the bus, one realised that “facing the heat” takes on a totally different connotation here, and like it or not, one had to survive the onslaught of the cruel summer in this otherwise beautiful Paradise!

One had originally planned to come to Oman for two years in the hope of building a nest egg and then going back and buying a small apartment, but somehow that could never materialise and now some 33 years later, one is still attempting to build that nest to be able to head home someday – but that elusive egg keeps eluding the nest!

Consequently, much to my chagrin, one is coerced to plod on doing what one is doing and trying to make ends meet – and just when it seems that I can make the two ends meet, someone out there sneaks in and moves the damn ends!

So while that process continues at its own snail’s pace, one is still continuing to write (much to the mortification and disgruntlement of a few) what was once referred to as the alternate Wednesday’s TT, but is now TTTT – This Tuesday’s Trivial Travails!

During the 33 years journey here in Oman, one has meandered through four jobs and six homes with one wife and two daughters in tow
– thankfully these numbers did not get switched around, though they could have, and then one would have probably meandered through six jobs and four homes, albeit keeping the number of wives and daughters constant! And having unfortunately lost two German Shepherds earlier during this meandering, we are grateful that we now have Atticus – our third one, who has taken over our lives since he came to us almost seven years ago.

So 33 and counting…one couldn’t possibly have asked for a more idyllic Paradise to have brought up our daughters and spent the better part of our lives. And as one is no longer in a hurry to leave this Shangri-La, may this pleasant dream that we have been dreaming continue endlessly…. And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:

• Do you know that behind every successful man there is a woman? And in front of that woman is the poor successful man who has absolutely no idea why the woman behind him is angry and what he did wrong?

• Do you know that a wise man once said…nothing? He only listened to that woman behind him without uttering a word and that is why people call him a wise man!

• Do you know that a conclusion is the part where one gets tired of thinking and therefore concludes? Hence this concludes TTTT! Till next fortnight….