# When you go to every function/event and meet the same people all over again… No one ever wants to leave this place… And you smile sheepishly when said so-called oldies comment on how much the girth has expanded since he/she saw you last… and that was about a week ago. And worse still, comment on your blog in person that embarrasses the hell out of you!
# When you go on annual leave, all the neighborhood restaurant guys miss you! Gosh! Goes to show how much I eat out!
# When a kid you knew eight years ago, has passed out of school, gone to college in India and come back to Muscat and joined a job. You talk to her in a professional capacity and she still calls you AUNT Y in front of all your colleagues!!!! Old habits die hard!!
# It’s winter and all you think about are the beaches, Qantab beach, Qurum Beach, Ghubra Beach, As Sifah… Whenever I say beach, my colleagues promise to drop me at some godforsaken beach in the middle of the night. I don’t mind… so long as I have a tent, my laptop and Internet connection. Muscat does bring out the beach freak in me!
# Your weekly visits to the temple see you before God only for 10 minutes. The rest of the half-hour is spent saying hello to assorted people the husband has known for the past 20 years.
# You cannot do without the Times of Oman. It has so become a part of who you are. Old-timers in Muscat when introduced to you go, ‘Your name is so familiar’. Ah! I tell them knowingly, “There’s a film actress called Rekha, don’t you know?” Ahem! Ahem! Sometimes I do love the attention!
# You cannot do without Al Rawabi milk, Al Marai laban, Al Marai cheese (absolutely no animal rennet!!!) Bombay Sweets and Khimji’s Mart (for the fresh veggies!)
# When you are asked to commit to a responsibility, you involuntarily blurt out ‘Insha Allah!’ And that’s the only proper Arabic word you know apart from ‘Salaam Alaiykum’ and ‘Keif-Filhaal’.
# Gonu and Phet (the tropical cyclones) are the biggest events in your 13 years of life in Muscat and you weren’t even there…
# You crib every summer that it was the hotter than the last! And continue to crib that Pakistani mangoes went out of season while you were away on vacation.
# You rediscover how beautiful your home city and state is on every annual visit. Never mind if you lived there for 23 years. It just gets more beautiful when you are not there 🙂 And yes, Kerala Tourism seriously needs to think of paying me a hefty commission for all those regular ‘gushing’ on how beautiful Kerala is to all Omanis I know.
# When favourite topics of conversation at your Indian-centric office is the Bombay Stock Exchange, the exchange rates and NRE accounts.
# On all your annual visits to India, you need help to cross the busy road in front of your apartment. Consequences of being driven around in Muscat! Once you called the kid brother on your mobile who held your hand and helped you cross the road. Last visit took the cake; you were aided by the traffic police…