Abdullakkoya is excited about Eid. Reason: The 59-year-old will be spending the holiday with his family, back in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, after 10 long years.
Working as a mess cook for the staff of a supermarket in Dubai for 18 years now, he earns just over Dh1,000, which does not even suffice for a one-way ticket during the Eid rush, when the airfares go up to Dh3,000. However, this year, he is a lucky man. The local Malayalam radio station, Gold FM 101.3, picked him as one of the winners of its ‘Home for Eid’ on-air campaign.
It’s the second consecutive year that the radio station, under Ajman’s Channel 4 Radio Network, is running the Eid for Home campaign. ThE channel picks a few people who haven’t spent Eid with their families for many years because of financial constraints, from among its listeners. Abdullakkoya is one of the 20 deserving individuals selected.
He is thankful for the unexpected blessing. “Because of my financial problems, I never thought this would be possible. My old mother, wife, and two sons are back home. Actually, I brought my son here last year, thinking that he would work, and I could retire. But he got into some bad company here, and created liabilities of more than Rs2 million (Appro Dh108,853). Now, I’m working hard to pay that back, and going home for Eid was thus out of the question.”
Jabbar, another beneficiary, is excited, too. He works as a car washer in Dubai Media City, under a contracting company, and earns Dh1,200 per month. He’s going home for Eid after many years. “The last time I was with my brothers was when our father passed away. One brother is seriously ill. I have to look after his family, besides my old mother, wife and two children. Though I can’t do much with this salary, I try to manage everything. However, I never thought another Eid with my family will be possible anytime soon.”
Jabbar’s name was suggested to the radio station by a person who works at Media City. “The radio people called my family in Thrissur and confirmed my journey to them. Needless to say, my family and I are thrilled. Every Eid, my children want me there and I was unable to fulfill their wish. But this time, I can be with them,” he said.
Bashir, hailing from Palakkad district of Kerala, got engaged two years ago, but has been unable to get married due to financial constraints. He works in a laundry in Abu Dhabi, and provides for his old mother, who lives alone in Kerala. “I’ve been back home only once in my four years here, and that was not for Eid. Considering the airfare and other expenses, I can’t even dream of spending Eid with my mother. She asks me every day when I will be back. So I can’t believe I got this opportunity.”
Bashir said his mother was in tears when she told him about the call she received from the radio station. “Her voice was trembling. She was crying from happiness.”
By Anu Warrier
Copyright © 2019 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.