Monday, May 31, 2010

A life lost in transition

The Gulf Today, 24 May 2010

MOHAMMED Abdulla's job involved discarding disposable tea cups. In a tragic twist of tale, his own life was crushed when the passenger plane crashed in South India's Mangalore airport on Saturday morning.
Sixty-year-old Abdulla has been working as an outdoor delivery boy at Al Hujoon Cafeteria in Sharjah's Rolla area for about 18 years. He was well known among the locality's residents and business people, whom Abdulla served tea for years.
"He couldn't fulfill his dream of spending the sunset of his life in his own soil or his own hut in Arikkod Kadavu of Kumbala village in Kasaragode of the Southern India," says Fahad Manayath, a colleague of Abdulla.
"What has he done to deserve such punishment?" Fahad wailed in a state of shock.
"Abdulla returned home in penury even after decades of ceaseless labour in the hot desert sun, but half way through fate rerouted his trip to the world where there's no poverty," said Abdul Kader, a salesman in the next shop to Abdulla's cafeteria.
"The ill-fated unskilled worker from a lower middle class background lived in the UAE for 30 years a vacation-less and fun-less life," he added.
"Fervent dreams of a comfortable future for his children sustained him in the scorching desert heat. At last, he departed not waiting for the sympathy and generosity of the world," said Kader.
"I couldn't digest the news of his demise. Even yesterday evening, he served us tea. On the evening of the day of his departure too, he served me tea and snacks at my office," recollected a supermarket manager in the vicinity.
"Being a senior citizen, working still for his poor family back in India, Abdulla was well respected among us," he added.
"Now settled in Uddavaram in Manjeshwaram on the border area of Kerala and Karnataka states after selling off his property for daughter's marriage, Abdulla left for India this time for treatment of diabetes, severe pain on knees and high blood pressure," said Mohammed, owner of the Al Hujun Cafeteria.
He added, "Abdulla wished to return and continue his job. But while leaving he was unsure sure about the return, as he was suffering from the ailments for years. He said, he would come back only if got cured fully from the diseases."
According him, Abdulla came to the UAE about 25 years ago through Mumbai, and worked for eight years at a cafeteria called Al Ajidad, near Quwait mosque in Sharjah.
"He left the workplace as he was unable to survive with the low pay and later joined our restaurant, where he worked on a commission basis getting Dhs20 for a collection of Dhs100. So, he managed to earn more bucks," remarked Mohammed.
He noted, "Abdulla survived with a wife, seven children, including four girls and three boys. He married off two daughters earlier, and was now leaving for India planning the third daughter's marriage."
"His son Musthafa, who also works in a supermarket behind the cafeteria, left for India upon the news about his father's tragic demise in the tragedy.
Unfortunately, he could not attend Abdulla's funeral rites as Air India delayed its scheduled flight and the bereaved family members in India were helpless to wait with the charred body until the time of the son's arrival," he explained.
The poignant story of the unskilled worker spread grievance among the expatriate community from the Kasaragode district of Kerala and residents and business people in the Rolla area of Sharjah.

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