Time to celebrate
Eid is another extended day for people who live a lonely life in the UAE away from their families. But the friends' circle makes all the difference.
Eid, the day of festivity, is all about sharing happiness and doing away with grievances for the sake of a better tomorrow. This is why people embrace each other on this auspicious day, and exchange greetings. The concept of happiness on the day of Eid is bolstered when family members are around, but there are people who wait for this opportunity as they live and work abroad as bachelors.
For such people Eid is all about being nostalgic, and using various mediums of communication to get connected with their near and dear ones. This aspect is so emotional that it could only be experienced while sharing the day of Eid with the lonely folks in the UAE.
The term 'bachelor', however, doesn't only refer to people who are unmarried, but is also commonly used in the emirates to define people who live and work alone, as their spouses and children are back in their home countries.
As I joined Khaleej Times, almost a decade ago, I have had the experience of enjoying the 'bachelor' life in Dubai, and it was a world of its own with friends and acquaintances, who mean a lot to you, far from your home. Apart from sharing bed space and two square meals, very often there was an unending connect with the room-mates and associates as one gets an opportunity to learn and unlearn their experiences of work, life, trials and tribulations. Last but not the least, getting to know the personal bit of their lives, as friends usually share their heart is commendable, and worth listening.
This sense of belongingness brings with it renewed admiration for your friends and accomplices, and makes life more beautiful as each one of them join hands to take care of each other through thick and thin.
After many years, I made a conscious attempt to reconnect with some of my friends of yesteryears, and many more, whom I incidentally came to know, and tried to know how they feel on the day of Eid, and what their priorities and engagements are, per se.
Mahmood Raza comes from Chennai and is considered as a go-getter among his friends. He works at a lifestyle outlet in the Mall of Emirates. He has been in the UAE for more than a decade, and is fluent in Arabic. Hanging out with friends is his hobby, and he loves to shop and emulates himself as 'Salman Khan'. For him Eid is another opportunity to intermingle with family friends, and hang out with them for a special dinner and go out for a movie in the night. He loves to go on a long drive, and is a great BBQ doer.
Arif Ali is a driver by profession, but has his hands on several office works. He has been in the UAE for the last 15 years, and says he can't think of abandoning the UAE. Recently, he says, he had built a cozy home for himself on his ancestral land in India by acquiring a loan, and is looking forward to see it himself. His humour and commitment to work keep him jolly busy. For Eid, he says, it is life as usual by going for prayers, having a great meal and relaxing.
Jalaluddin is from Bangladesh and works at a private organisation in Sharjah. He is also known for lending a helping hand to his friends, by virtue of knowing the right people for the right job. Ask him for any domestic support, he can recommend the best technicians, painter, carpenters and other workers, as he knows them personally. He plans to get married next year in Dhaka, and he says he is preparing for the big day by saving money. On Eid day, he loves to go out with his friends and says he plans to cook a great meal at home. Fish and rice with curry are his specialities.
Abrar Hussain works for a private supply company in Dubai, and lives in Sharjah. He hails from Abbottabad, and earlier he had worked at Dubai Airports. He says he is now accustomed with the loneliness of life in the emirates. He says that he loves to get connected with his dear ones, once he is off from work, and this Eid he plans to send some money and gifts back to his family.
Mohamed Shiyam from Sri Lanka works for an IT company as CFO. He says Eid is a day to show love and affection to friends and relatives, and makes it a point to meet and greet them. He says this festive occasion should be used to share happiness and get together for a better tomorrow.
Amer Hussain from Hyderabad, India, works as an office support person for a private trading company. Being his first job overseas, he was quick to learn about the bachelors' lifestyle and now feels the UAE is his second home. Within a span of two years, he says he had the experience of being posted in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and it was a rich experience to make new friends. He says he usually loves to go out on weekend to his cousin's place as he feels homely. He says he helps his roommates cook meals at night, and is a great company for chatters who stay up late. On Eid he plans to call family and friends back home, and go out with his relatives in Sharjah.
Hasnain Haider is a sales person at a branded ice cream parlour in Dubai, and is a Karachiite. This is his first job overseas, and he says he misses his family and friends. But he says he has enough on his hands for the day of Eid, and is planning a long drive and dinner with his new-found friends and room-mates. "We plan for our Eid holidays in advance, as off days are on routine basis. Luckily, this year I am off from work for two days on Eid," a joyous Hasnain said. He loves to hang-out with his friends and try new recipes at food outlets. "I am in constant touch with my family via Internet, but miss them in a great way." He says he wants to find his love in Dubai!