I live in Muscat, Oman, a place where generally people are not very fond of pets. Hardly does one find a stray dog or cat walking down the streets. Unlike India, where a cow comes and settles down in the middle of the road and people touch and pray to it instead of clearing the animal so that the blaring ambulance can pass, it is very different in Muscat where even finding a camel is scarce. To be frank, the only animals you see are the ones in human form (which can be spotted at workplace).
Mom and I were fond of dogs, whereas Papa was totally against any four legged creatures. My sister still seems to have some kind of an innate aversion to non-humans and thus even lost puppies were treated like terrorists in our house. I don’t know somewhere in the course of time I got this idea that pets are okay but giving them too much importance or spending money over them is too extravagant and dog-shows were conducted for those golf playing old gentlemen and their sophisticated wives for time pass. However I was married to a home where there is a dog for security purposes and it has its place – the animal is well fed, played with outdoors and taken care, but no one ever combed its hair or took it to the vet because it had a ‘cough’. So my idea that a dog should be treated like a dog took a stronger grip.
Recently, a very close friend once said to me, that his friend is moving to Muscat as her husband got a job here. Her resume was sent to me with a request that it be forwarded to my employer on priority. I did that promptly. Next day I got a facebook friend request from this girl whose resume I forwarded. She was working in India, and now that she is moving to Muscat she also wants to continue to work. Finding a job in Muscat is not very easy due to the industry and IT in an early budding stage. There are not too many opportunities to choose from. Sometimes one may want to go out of their areas of expertise to land a well-paying job. The maid at my house who now does the cooking cleaning and babysitting for us, is a qualified nurse in India who couldn't match the standards of expertise required in hospitals at Muscat and is hence doing this job to make ends meet. Her two sons are studying in CBSE School in Kerala. Their fees, medical charges, and house loans - she could not afford to sit idle with the ever increasing liabilities that gaped wide at her. Hence she was ready to forgo her education just to support her husband financially. Not just her, I know many qualified women who have taken to babysitting, tuition for primary and junior school kids, stitching and lots of other activities to support their families and to stand on their own.
I rarely accept friend requests on facebook from strangers. But this lady seemed to be really working on the job front, so I added her just in case she needed any information on that, since she will eventually be settling down here. The next day after I added her, she pinged me. The conversation went something like this:
She: Hi Anita!
Me: Hi. How are you?
She: All well. I wanted to talk to you, since we are moving to Muscat soon.
Me: No problem. I have forwarded your resume already. They will contact you when there is a vacancy. Meanwhile check other options and upload resume in the job portals of Oman as well.
She: Okay actually I wanted to ask you something else.
Me: Yes, please.
She: Do you have any pets at home? Actually my husband’s employer will give accommodation as well, but I am worried whether it will be a dog friendly apartment, you know. Do you know about any dog friendly apartments in your area?
Me: I don’t know even one person who owns a pet here. In fact I recently moved to a bigger apartment after a lot of exhaustive efforts, for my child who now needs more space.
She: So is your home dog friendly?
Me: I guess it is child friendly.
She: Okay. How is the climate there as of now?
Me: The summer has almost died down, now the heat is bearable and evenings are pleasant.
She: Oh so the dog will have no problems…I guess. Do you know the formality of bringing the pet in international flight?
Me: I honestly have no idea about pet rules on airlines.
**By now I am at my wits end ***
She: Oh okay. I hope I find something soon.
Me: Yeah wish you luck on the job front.
She: Yes. I meant for finding the right apartment.
Me: Okay, bye.
What do you say about this woman? I mean, on one side, my educated maid’s woes of working in my kitchen to pay off her loans, and another female who cares only about housing her canines and whose job hunt comes second. I don’t blame the latter, but I really think that at least while relocating to another country one should reset their priorities and also get themselves a reality check once in a while.
P.S: I love dogs. I do not disrespect any dog lovers with this post.