Dubai — The city where dreams come true

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Published: Thu 1 Sep 2022, 12:02 PM

Dubai, for me, is not just a dreamland, but a city where dreams really do come true. I have experienced this myself over the last 38 years. I first came to this city in 1984, as an aspiring youth and grocery shop intern. Back then, my mind was filled with a childish and rather impulsive dream to get wealthy instantly. Yes, that dream also came true, not immediately, but after working patiently and working hard for three decades. I started my career here in my twenties and now I am a senior citizen. I am content with my life and business. I have everything that a normal person aspires for. The credit goes to the city which, gave me ample opportunities, tested my mettle and honesty and when satisfied, rewarded me with peace, prestige and prosperity.

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

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Dubai, in the 1980s, was very much different from now. It was in the developing stage. When I first landed here, I noticed the immense barren desert around the city. There were no skyscrapers and flyovers, the city was not yet a mega city that it would eventually become, nor was it yet a crowded tourist destination. But, it was a haven for migrant workers, who were receiving satisfactory wages for their labour. Dubai taught me the real value of hard work. In the very first year of my coming here, our business suffered a massive loss and to cover the expenses and to keep breathing space, I had to live frugally for the next three years. My father and I would eat kuboos, dal and steamed rice every day. My father would sometimes bring my favourite fish curry from a nearby hotel, but otherwise, visiting restaurants was a luxury for us. Sometimes, when my father would send me to purchase spices from Deira, I would prefer the cheapest mode of travel i.e. Abra (a ferry boat). I used to visit most of the city on foot.

I still remember the first profit I earned in this city. I had to carry a 40kg bag of red chilli powder over a distance of four kilometres on my back in the heat of summer. That hard work gave me a handsome profit of some Dirhams. I knew for certain then that Dubai surely rewards those people who do real and honest work. I followed the path of business and experienced exactly that. A student, who had failed five times in his matriculation examination, later passed his business management doctorate from Dubai with a distinction. An average shopkeeper was elevated to the rank of a ‘Masala King’. A poor middle class person got the opportunity to be honourably included in the list of billionaires. A tiny grocery shop became an international group, encompassing a chain of 50 spacious super stores and factories. The miracle happened in my life precisely because of this great city. I love you Dubai.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading.

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