A happy traveller and his meaningful journey

Top Stories

A happy traveller and his meaningful journey
You made all the difference, and you live on in our hearts. - KT staff

Longtime KT staffer and office boy was a diligent worker, and a silent role model

By Staff reporter

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 22 Jun 2016, 9:27 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Jun 2016, 9:06 AM

Abdulla Abdul Jamal. 59. Worked with Khaleej Times for 20 years. Good husband. Good father. Dedicated worker. Much loved by friends. RIP.
These are plain facts and statistic. Jamal, who passed away on Tuesday at Thiruvarur, in South India, was cut from a different cloth. Like most expats from the sub-continent, he came to Dubai, hoping to mak?e? his family back home happy. As an office assistant, he toiled enthusiastically for two decades doing just that. And when he went on a small holiday to see his newly-born grandson last week, he knew of no better joy.
It was the happiest moment in his life's journey. Thiruvarur district, where Jamal comes from, is as resolute, rugged and peaceful. The capital of Chola king Manu Needhi Cholan, the town breathes a legend. It is said that the king killed his own son to give justice to a cow. Very few people know Jamal came from ancient Thiruvarur, now a thriving paddy town. Fewer still are aware of the town's fairness credentials or the influence of history on one of its sons.
But if one were to describe him thoughtfully, Jamal was devout, disciplined and morally upright. He elevated his role as office assistant with these qualities, becoming everyone's friend. His friendship was defined by discreteness, taciturnity and a patent silent smile. His work ethic was a guide to journalists who need a constant reminder to cope with a 24/7 regimen. Jamal used to be in office at 6am and continue beyond 10pm. His friends say he was always obsessed with the nitty-gritty of office. Is File X in the right place? Have I cleared the day's work?
He may not have liked the appellation of role model, but unknown to him, Jamal had evolved into one. During his stay at Khaleej Times, he was exposed to its diverse inflection points: The rise of the young readership, the 2008 downturn, the digital revolution, the happy newspaper. It's impossible to figure out what he thought of each change; nobody asked him.
Maybe, in his steadfast demeanour, there are lessons for us all. Finally, substance counts. Revolutions come, revolutions go. But the basic idea remains the same. For Jamal, it was to serve. For journalism, it is to inform. These are the values from which great ideas spring.
It is these simple values which he inculcated in tiny tots when he taught them science and math, after finishing his day's work as a village post-man. That was much before he came in search of a job in the Middle East but it was enough to create a meaningful journey and a happy traveller.
That journey was the road he did not take. And "that has made all the difference."

More news from