Tuesday, 15 December 2015


DESI DAR SWAGGER“Dar” as we the locals call it, is the commercial capital and the largest city in Tanzania and amongst the largest in East Africa. Formerly known at Mzizima (healthy town) Dar is a unique coastal city with beautiful beaches and people. Currently it is house to over 4 million people who are both at the same time are as similar and as different as their Desi counterparts. One can get an easy glimpse of Indian, Arab, African and German influence in its culture and lay out. If you are a Desi and planning on a move to this wonderful city, here are 10 reasons why and how easily you will feel at home.  

Bollywood’s Real Larger than Life
In his cute afro accent, “Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai” My colleague Benjamin stuns the hell out of me. After a good laugh the two of us got discussing our common love for Bollywood. This pretty much unravels the mystery of releasing Bollywood movies in screens across Dar on the same day as India with English subtitles to cater to its huge non Hindi speaking audience. Beyond this, the cable TV network has 60% Desi channels with PTC , star plus topping the list. Wait, I also found a channel playing Bollywood dubbed in Kiswahili.  

Chaos Theory
We Desis are proud of our offensive driving skills and think it would be a cakewalk with no bikes, cows, and people on the roads. Wait until you get to Dar and you would have to redefine traffic, traffic rules and of course learn more Kiswahili swear words. Traffic is real. No matter where you are and wherever you’re going, there will always be some more people with you on the road trying to get to their destination quicker than you. It never feels you left your Delhis/ Karachis/Dhakas far away “Hum Apna Watan dil mein lekar chalte hain”.  

“I’m just five minutes away”
Our beloved phrase “Paanch Minute” comes handy and Dar is a mirror image to that. Plan a meeting at 10 and please do not expect the guest to show up at 10! Like NEVER. Man! This place is slow. We’re talking about a costal city and everything around it is happily laid back. Food delivery takes times, conversations take time, and practically everyone is doing “Kula bata” Swahili expression for “chilling out”. The most commonly used Swahili saying around the city is “haraka haraka haina baraka”. This literally translates to “speed has no blessing” and applies to most activity around the city, formal and informal. Sigh!!  

It was only last week I was watching Indian media go bananas about reporting the recent waterlogging in Mumbai and how life came to standstill with that. Good news buddies, it’s no different here. A couple of hours of rainfall will log your life and presence to a level that nostalgia will take over putting you on a jet machine, quickly transporting you to its desi equal. You will easily see yourself reminiscing your times back home. Darn Dar! “  

Chai BORA (Best CHA I) and Chapathi
Existence of several chai stalls, chaiwalahs and chapathi mamas (older women making chapathi) spread across streets of Dar makes chai and chapathi part of many a conversations amongst the residents in Dar. On my evening run, I often see a bunch of young men and women just hanging out sipping tea, eating cookies, chapathi and having wonderful conversations. Every occasion, every special moment here is incomplete without a cup of Chai. Desis from both India and Pakistan cannot live without this concoction of milk, water and leaves. Our common love for Chai will never make you feel in “Foreign”. Enough said, keep calm and chai on.  

Gari / Gadi, Basi/ Bas,Safi/saaf, salaam/ Salama are amongst those few Kiswahili words which mean exactly the same in Hindi/Urdu. Tanzanians are proud of their language and love it when an alien tries to put that extra effort in becoming Local. Desis find it simpler to learn this beautiful language and making new friends. It feels as if you’ve just moved from one city in Desiland to another one and have the initial hiccup adjustment period. Far from FOR EIGN!  

Traffic cops (like) got trained in Desiland
My third week in Dar, Stop Stop Stop! And I did. I had the faintest of idea as to why I was put at halt. Despite the green signal I managed to spot a lady in uniform suddenly change her hand gesture, which essentially meant the traffic on my side to stop. I stopped but on the edge of the zebra crossing trying to be careful in a dead dread. Well, turns out I had committed an offense and was asked for a 1000USD fine. WHAT ? I managed to get it off in 2000 shillings (1USD ). Thankfully my experience with desi cops came off some use. I drove past smiling to myself thanking the fact that I’m desi and in Dar (read desi). Chuckles! ). Like back home you have to pay that little alimony you owe to our Rin Shakti (Men/ Women in White). Read More...


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