Dubai: Challenges become opportunities for those who continue to pursue their interests with passion. This holds true for expatriates who are not only successful in their work but are also capable of carving out a niche for themselves in their interests, which are often different from their day jobs.
Managing a busy corporate career while single-handedly raising two kids, Lynette Braganza, a senior IT professional, runs a cookery blog besides being a regular at jamming with a bunch of musicians of a rock band.
Her typical day starts at 4.30am and she seems to be knitting multiple tasks into her schedule with ease. “No it’s not difficult to weave music into my schedule. Music has always been a part of me. I did stop practicing regularly for a while but re-started after my kids were born,” she says, making us wonder how a mum of children nine and six could fit her practice sessions into such a tight work schedule! “My kids come along. They are my inspiration and I feel if you have the will, nothing can stop you.”
Work and family commitments did make Vinesh Venugopal Nair, a senior marketing and communications executive with a finance company, take a 15-year sabbatical from music. But even during those years, Nair would keep writing his songs and admits that frustration crept in whenever he thought he was not pursuing music until the day when, while sifting through a stash of papers that had numerous songs penned by him, he decided it was time to end that phase.
He started Vin Sinners, a hard rock metal band in the UAE, whose album An Element of Surprise has received wide critical acclaim, taking the band’s popularity to an international level. The band’s second album is in the pipeline. Ask him about the challenges and he says: “Tougher than devoting time twice or thrice a week is having a set of people who are ready to do so continuously. Work is the reason people are here and getting people to commit themselves is a huge task. There are times when people around you get frustrated as you are rarely available for things they would want you to, but gradually they understand and respect what you love. It’s important that we make an effort to be true to our loved ones and explain things openly to them — it helps. In fact my daughter, who is 10, has already recorded her own music,” he says, adding, “Everyone can do it if they want to.”
After 16 years of living in Dubai, Anurag Tripathi’s love for music did have him thinking whether he should pursue it as a profession. “Music has always been my passion.” Tripathi, a director of mall promotions and media, pursued his love for music with his friends until ‘Core 304’, a multi genre band, was born last year. The group rocks for fun, supports charity initiatives and, amid the practice routines and shows, Tripathi finds time to go for biking and photography.
“When you want to pursue an interest, you do make an effort. It is more about managing things. Passion, perseverance and persistence — all three have to co-exist within you in order to excel. Doing what you love to do is important; it doesn’t matter how successful others think of you.”
For Sharon, a senior finance and HR professional with a shipping company, dance makes her life go on. “I dance all the time, I practice, teach, perform Latino fusion. I do not think dance takes away any of my extra time. I look forward to spending my time doing what I like to do the most,” she says.
Sharon, who was the Champion of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) Got Talent this year, helps dance lovers train at the Filipino Dancesport and Social Club on weekends. “I was not formally trained. I fell so much in love with dance that I continued exploring its various sides. Now, I experiment and fusion, and dream of having my own studio one day.”
Mabel Cruz, a planning analyst with a leading airline, who sings in a choir, is one of the founding members of the Manila Chamber Singers and is actively associated with the Christian Voices Chorale and Dubai Vocal Ensemble.
Her initial years in Dubai were spent settling down and most of her time was devoted to work. Soon, she became one of the decision makers of the Dubai choir.
She sings, performs, plans and travels abroad for concerts.
“Dance relaxes me, helps me de-stress and is an integral part of my being. Pursuing your interests does not take too much of an effort. You simply pursue them,” she says.