A sail that’s been worth cherishing

DUBAI — Since 1973 he has been walking along with the history of UAE. While sailing from Mumbai to Dubai, Balachandhran Thekkenmar never believed that he would spend rest of his life in the coast of Arabian Gulf.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 18 Aug 2007, 9:03 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:56 AM

BalachandranEmbracing UAE as his second home Balachandhran became an active member of Indian community’s socio-cultural activities and an eminent Malayalam writer.

“I came to Dubai accidentally but time has proved that the decision to come here was right. I wanted to join the Indian Army but I failed the final test. So my brother who had been running an air-conditioning workshop in Dubai advised me to come here,” said Balachandhran.

“I sailed to Dubai from Mumbai in a ship called Dumra along with few other job-seekers. The ship anchored at Rashid Port and my brother came to pick me up. Dubai was a very small city that time. Only few highrises were there. Most of the people were put up at small villas,” he said.

“Shaikh Zayed Road was a narrow road those days. There were a few small villas in Karama. The local people were very warm and welcoming to the expatriates. They all were expecting a boom because of oil discovery. But I am sure that the rapid growth this country has witnessed was beyond their expectations,” Balachandhran observed.

“Dubai was a primitive city and all the income was drawing from the trading. The expatriate community was mostly from the sub-continent. When I visited Sharjah first time the road between Dubai and Sharjah was sandy. There were a few buildings and a hotel in Sharjah. I joined in Sharjah Ruler’s Executive Council as a secretary. Since then I have been living in Sharjah and the growth this country has witnessed is amazing,” he said.

“In olden days, the locals and expatriates used to mingle more but now I think the interaction is comparatively less. I think it’s because of the increase in number of people and the change in lifestyle,” Balachandhran observed.

“The rulers of this country especially the late Shaikh Zayed had a vision on how to shape this country to be a modern and vibrant nation. They knew what the people wanted and how to meet their needs. They planned it properly and implemented the plans,” he said.

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