'Not just a job': Meet the UAE expat working for the same company for the last 50 years

Ummer arrived in the UAE in 1973, and secured a job at Abdulla Hussain & Sons in Abu Dhabi


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 12 Aug 2023, 7:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Aug 2023, 3:10 PM

Talk about loyalty and work longevity and Ummer Farooq Musba, 74, has a lot to share about. The Indian expatriate has been working for the same company in Abu Dhabi for the past 50 years since the day he arrived in the UAE on June 23, 1973.

The country was barely two years old when he arrived on his 24th birthday — he was born on June 23, 1949 — and has witnessed how the UAE, his home for five decades, has grown tremendously.

He raised a big family — five of his seven sons live in the UAE; the other two are in India, and his daughters are married and also residents of the UAE.

Musba recently spoke with Khaleej Times and vividly shared how his journey began.

He said back in the day, air travel was very limited. He arrived in the UAE by ship from Mumbai. “It was raining that day. I embarked on Dwarka ship on a voyage that took me through Karachi, Oman, and finally to the growing city of Dubai.”

“It was a long journey — four days in all, from India to the UAE,” noted the septuagenarian, adding he paid Rs3,000 for the boat fare.

A native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, Musba said that the UAE has been a go-to place for a better future for the people from his town. “For those who were looking for a better future, it was a trend to go to UAE after education. I followed by brother's footsteps and they led me to Dubai, where I began my journey of growth and discovery,” he added.

New home

The same year he arrived in the UAE, in 1973, he managed to secure a job at Abdulla Hussain & Sons in Abu Dhabi, which introduced him to his new home.

It was really like home for Musba as he and his fellow workers would walk from the workplace to the owner's house for a filling lunch every working day. Then, they would take rest to recharge for the second shift. “The 10-minute walk to the workplace was a daily affair. Days were devoted to work,” said Musba, recollecting that the community gathered in the evenings to forge ties.

He continued, “Weekends provided the luxury of taxi journeys down a single, never-ending road to Dubai, full of cherished reunions with friends and family. The road back then was just a single-lane road and part of the journey was crossed on a sandy track.”

“Dubai was the city where most of our community members lived. And it was necessary for us to visit them to discuss building our Bhatkal community,” said Musba, who has been into social work since his college days.

Trust and affection

Musba has proven his utmost loyalty to the company and has grown professionally across various sectors of the company. He was given the task of accounts, clearing and forwarding, contracts and tendering, and administration and currently, holds the role of purchasing manager.

“It's not just a job. It's a bond,” Musba said emphatically with a smile — his 50 years of service are proof of his solid bond with the company's founders. “The company has evolved drastically, and I was a big part of its evolution. The best thing about all these 50 years is the owner still treats me as a brother with so much trust and affection.”

Living in the country for five decades, Musba is also a living witness how the UAE has accelerated as an innovation leader. “I am still astounded when I remember the early days of the Union. The nation's quick development is a result of its visionary leadership. No other country has had such quick development. I’ve seen how the UAE has progressed for the past 50 years,” said Musba.

Forever home

Musba has proudly raised his children in the UAE. “Emirati traditions and culture found a place in their hearts, blending with their Indian heritage,” said Musba, adding that his heart beats with an Emirati rhythm.

“Abu Dhabi will always be our home, there would be no better place than the UAE to raise my children and grandchildren. Family life here is well-balanced," he said, expressing the feelings of many expats who have found a better life in the UAE.


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