The broken dreams of an Indian expat in the UAE

Published 2020-07-22 09:12

Shanaaz arrived in Dubai in February. The young graphic designer who is originally from Pune in India had decided to look for a job in the United Arab Emirates. She was in search of an international experience and better quality of life. Unfortunately, five months and a global pandemic later, Shanaaz is planning to board one of the repatriation flights back to her home country.

Why did you move to Dubai?

I moved to Dubai five months ago in search of a job. I am 27 and originally from Pune in India and I decided to come to the United Arab Emirates to look for a job because I wanted to break out of my routine in India. I needed to experience life in another country and I also wanted better quality of life.

How was life during the COVID-19 crisis in Dubai?

There was a lockdown and a curfew in Dubai. As from the end of March, measures restricting movement were put in place and life changed completely in Dubai. We were not allowed to leave our houses. At some point, there was a complete lockdown where the only way to go out to do groceries or to even get medical help was with a government permit. However, although there was a need for permits, the authorities were understanding daily requirements- food, groceries, medicine. Social distancing, sanitizers use, masks and gloves were scrupulously enforced.

How was this period for you?

It was very difficult because I was alone here, with no job and surviving on my savings. I was constantly in touch with my family back home but I was essentially alone. And that was very hard.

Have things gone back to normal in Dubai?

Things are going back to normal slowly. Most people have gone back to work and businesses are reopening. However, it is still important to respect social distancing rules etc…

How has the COVID-19 changed things in Dubai?

I think I have not lived here long enough to understand how things were before. However, in my case I can see how businesses are even less open to hiring these days. But more generally, you can sense the fear of travelling through town, people are more scared of public transports and crowds.

Would you say you were stuck abroad because of the crisis?

To some extent, yes. I might have decided to go back home earlier if I had the choice. There does not seem to be any work opportunity right now for me here and it is starting to become very difficult to live here without an income. I am looking at repatriation flights to India right now.

How do you see your future?

I am not abandoning my expatriation project. I see this as a setback. Once things are back to normal and there are more job opportunities, I will happily set out to find a job overseas.

2 weeks ago

Shanaaz, Your dreams may seem broken however your drive to break out of the typical Indian culture is exactly what women need. Only the women of India can understand the repression you have experienced. I encourage you to live in the side of your mind that drives with passion. I also encourage you to push on knowing you are probably surviving the two greatest hurdles in your life. Imagine what your TED Talk will do for all the women who are not as strong as you. john

2 weeks ago

I can just say I have extreme sympathy for this poor girl her dreams shattered by a virus over which she had no control. I hope she keeps up her quest and keep teh readers her updated of her career She has a lot of courage and i am sure she will still make a great success of her life Good luck