A ‘washout’ due to rising costs

ABU DHABI - For Amjad Ali, like countless other expatriates, rising costs are making life really difficult. A father of five, the 60-year-old who runs a laundry, is the only breadwinner of his family. And that’s a tough task in these times of inflation.

By (A Day in the Life of)

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Published: Sat 16 Aug 2008, 9:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:05 PM

He reminiscences the comfortable ways of the past. He first arrived in Abu Dhabi in the year 1973 to take the chauffeur’s job with the Indian embassy.

He worked as the chauffeur of the then Indian ambassador, Ihsan Ahmed Rizwi. The embassy, then, was located near the Abu Dhabi corniche in the main city, he recalls.

“In those days, we had a shared two-bedroom flat at Dh1,200 per month, with 12 people sharing the space. Now, for a single room shared by six-seven people, one has to pay over Dh3,000 per month,” he says.

Elaborating his woes further, he says, “We are paying around Dh18,000 per annum as rent for the shop. It was merely Dh7,000 in 1987.”

He says he feels like a “victim of the galloping rents”, which is making things very uncomfortable for him. Ali, who hails from Allahabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, says he is also reeling under the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, which eat up the savings.

However, Ali agrees this is only one side of the story. He is all praise of the modern amenities and facilities provided by the government as well as for providing all support to carry out business.

“The way this emirate, and the entire country has developed in such a short span of time, is unbelievable,” he says.

“Abu Dhabi is fast moving on to becoming a signature city of the world. The city looks so beautiful,” he gushes. Walking down the memory lane, he recalls the days when there was dust everywhere, roads and corniches were undeveloped, and water tankers would go around the city distributing water.

“However, in those days we used to gather on all cultural occasions of the nationals and they would reciprocate by taking part in our functions too. Of late, these elements of cultural life have withered away, probably because people are too busy in their daily lives,” he rues.

Ali has a special word of praise for the generosity of the late Shaikh Zayed, whom he met several times in Abu Dhabi. “He was an apostle for humanity,” he says.


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