Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finding Happiness

This December, I am officially in Dubai for a decade:). Yes a decade in Dubai. You think its long right? But when you hear people say they were in Dubai for the last three decades, you stop and asked yourself again, is 10 years really long enough?

I was sitting in a soft white couch in the lobby of DIFC patiently waiting for the free bus service to arrive. I am almost in the verge of hailing a taxi since it’s been like eternity to wait. The bus came though and pulled over in the parking, I stand and walk away from where I was seated and head out the door. As I help myself climb into the vehicle, the driver immediately offered me the news paper that was in the back seat. I wasn’t surprised by this because every time I am sitting in his van, I read the paper until I get to the intended drop off point. While I was busy flipping the pages, he ask me a question. “How old is your child?”

Sometimes when my husband is off from work, the kids would tag along with him to pick me up after work and they would wait in front of our building where others parked their car. He must have seen one of them. “I have two kids, a girl and a boy, which one of them you want to know?” I asked him. It’s the boy he wants so I told him he’s two and a half, almost three. Our conversation continued

Driver: He is so adorable!
Me: Thank you!
Driver: What is his name?
Me: Prince
Driver: You are Christian no?
Me: Yes we are, you?
Driver: I am also Christian. Malayalam mass in St. Mary’s church is at 2:00 pm. What time is the Tagalog mass?
Me: at 12:30pm
Driver: I once attended a Filipino mass and it feels so good to be there and see Filipinos, so many of them all are laughing during homily.
Me: Yes, Father Tom, he is using practical jokes in his sermon most of the time
Driver: It is very nice to see when people are happy.
Me: Sure is.
Driver: I have a grandson, his name is Joshua and it is mentioned many times in the bible.
Me: It is a nice name (me smiling)
Driver: My name is Josh Mathew and my wife is Sheryl so my daughter combined our names for her son.
Me: Is your daughter here?
Josh Mathew: No they are in Australia
Me: Where is your wife?

Josh Mathew: She is in India just came back from Australia. She came to visit my daughter and helped her for a few months with our grandchild. I have another daughter who’s in college that’s why she has to go back to India

Me: How old is your grandson? Why don’t you go to Australia with your daughter?
Josh Mathew: He is three months now. They are asking me to move there but I still have a year in my visa. After that I will see. In my holiday, I am able to see him, first grandchild. I have a computer at home, we are using Skype.

Me: That’s really nice, even they are far and you can still see and talk to them.

Josh Mathew: Yes, yes. My children are raised here; I used to work for Standard Chartered Bank before as a Driver Manager. I came here in 1979; maybe you are not born yet :)

Me: I was born in the 80’s only and I came to Dubai in 2002.

Josh Mathew: I have seen old Dubai. Sheikh Zayed Road is still Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway back then and there’s only the Trade Center and all you can see after that is the desert.

Me: Yes, I have seen photos like that. It is very interesting.

It must be boring to be an expat in Dubai at that time. It must be home after work and work after home, no play or fun at all but I did not brought that up to him.

Josh Mathew: But Dubai is so far from where it was before, it’s is beautiful now and it is rich, all this happened after the oil discovery. The only problem here for us is we are never going to get citizenship. It is alright if you have a job all the time because you have the visa otherwise there is no chance. I have spent thirty years of my life here already; it is very safe here not like in our countries. Also now everything is expensive, even there is no tax almost all income will go to basic necessities. Nothing is free.

Me: Yes, you’re right nothing is free. Oh wait there is one thing that’s free, this bus service is.

And we are both laughing. :)

I thank him for the ride but I wasn’t able to tell him how I enjoyed our short conversation and that I felt I was happy after that. It brings joy to my heart that people though you don’t know them willingly share their lives to you. His happiness radiates to me; his happiness of becoming grandpa he extended to me, to a nobody for him just a passenger, an acquaintance.

And I thank you for that and I thank God for bringing happiness to my life when I least expect it.

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