Expo 2020 Baby Bliss

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Determination, faith and gratitude united to bring Ayesha Ali a dream that will forever be etched in her family’s history

By Shilpa Chandran

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Published: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 1:32 PM

On the momentous day that the Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world, baby Ayzal Marwa Ali was born, earning her a historic date – October 1, 2021.

This was not meant to be the plan. Ayzal was to arrive in this world a few weeks later, or prior. Her mother, Ayesha Ali, however, had different plans, and she was determined.

“We were told that I may need to bring her out sooner than planned because of fluctuations in my insulin levels. That would mean by the third week of September, and I was not ready for that. I had decided October 1 and the opening of the Expo as a gift to my child, and a tribute to the country I call home – and I did not want to budge from that.” And, she did not. She held on until the day the world awed at the commencement of the World Expo, and welcomed the family’s newest member, and third daughter, as the rest of the country celebrated. “My doctor had suggested that I undergo a C-section in the last week of September, but I decided to wait until the opening of the Expo 2020 Dubai by following a very strict diet and taking insulin injections every day, under the supervision of my gynaecologist, so that I can give my new-born, a lifelong memory.”

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Ayesha and her husband, Ali, have a very special bond with the UAE. The country offered them a roof and an opportunity to begin a new life when all other doors had been shut. The couple were classmates in their hometown in Hyderabad, India, and come from different religious communities. While Ayesha was a non-Muslim prior to her marriage, her husband was a Muslim. When they approached their families with their intention to get married, both families refused to acknowledge and accept the relationship.

“Initially, we struggled a lot. We hardly had sufficient money in our pockets. Both our families are affluent and well respected in our hometown, but we received no support from either side whatsoever. However, we were determined to start a life together. We did not allow our family’s differences come in the way for us to restart life afresh. So we decided to move to the UAE.”

In 2008, the couple arrived to the UAE on visit visas and individually managed to get jobs soon after. Once their residency visas were stamped, they got married in the Dubai Court on July 17, 2008. Ayesha, who converted to Islam before she got married, soon settled into accepting her new role as a wife, and prepared to face life with a new start by enrolling for an MBA degree to pursue better job opportunities. “I was only 21 when I moved here, and had recently graduated at the time. After we got our first jobs, I saved up to pursue a higher degree to improve my job prospects and succeed professionally. This is my advice to every woman – if you are determined and set your mind on achieving your goals, you most definitely will! I speak from experience.” As their careers began to pick up, the couple donned the role of parenthood when their first child, Sofia, was born in 2011. Soon after their daughter’s birth, both families reconciled and finally accepted the couple and their marriage. In 2017, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Inaaya.

UAE, where the heart is

Ayesha and Ali currently live with their three daughters in Dubai. While she is the Head of E-commerce and Marketplace at Sharjah Coop Society, her husband works as a project manager for a corporate firm.

“Our journey has been long and strenuous, but fruitful. This would not have been possible without the immense support we have received in this country. The UAE has given us so much happiness and peace over the past 13 years. This nation provides equal laws for everyone, no gender bias, and especially no racism. This is made possible due to the commitment and dedication of its rulers who have always been such a great inspiration – not just for us, but every resident of this country.

“Nowhere else would we call home, or rather be than in the UAE where we have decided to settle down permanently and raise our three daughters by securing their futures, making them independent and strong, provide them with quality education and give them the opportunity to live a fulfilling and peaceful life.

“We started our life in the UAE in humble beginning with a basic salary and living in shared accommodation. Alhamdulillah, we are now leading a very happy and content lifestyle, something that would not have been entirely possible in our home country. We are most grateful to this country and its respectable rulers for allowing us the opportunity to restart our lives here, and providing us this secure, and harmonious life with our beautiful family.”

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