Awakening from a meditative trance, Thilini opens her eyes and looks around the room. Her gaze travels across the familiar trappings in the flat she had come to occupy a couple of months ago. A kind friend had insisted on giving her a roof till she found a job that paid enough for her to have a place of her own again. It had been two long years working as a temp at different places that she had lost count. She gets up and walks to the fridge that requires urgent replenishment. It looks empty not because of her meager income, but because of the lockdown imposed in her area.
This is not how her story in Dubai began. For the past two years, each day she hoped to get one last break that would restore her hey days, so that she could finally hang up her boots and return home valiant. Dubai has a magnetic charm and an infinite flame of hope that kept her going even after successive redundancies. And she holds on to the memories of the good times she had as an Executive Assistant to C-Suite executives of Dubai’s blue-chip companies. Her troubles began when companies started making positions redundant when mergers started to overcome economic crises.
She lights a small candle to thank God for the tender mercies that He still showers on her despite her desolate situation. It was easier to be grateful when the times were good. Following her family tradition of the Buddhist way of life and, though not an ardent practitioner of the faith, she finds time to meditate. God had always been her companion, but when things turned sour and destiny refused to relent, she had felt abandoned. The struggle of finding a job and the uncertainty of a temporary job had kept prolonging her suffering as days turned to weeks and weeks stretched into months.
Each day Thilini’s struggle to find little things to be grateful for was not easy. As with so many of us, her inner suffering was much harder for her to bear than the real-world troubles she was facing.
Then came the lockdown and put Thilini’s predicament in perspective for her. She started looking outside and beyond herself. She found thousands of stranded countrymen who had come with a dream but were broke and broken. They had commitments back home, they had borrowed money and were now literally on the streets. Men who did favors for others were now living on favors. Many were now waiting for the repatriation to begin to fly back home. The option she too is now compelled to contemplate with.
Compared to them she was in a better situation. She had a roof over her head, food to eat, and benevolence of a good friend. She picked on the smallest of blessings and resumed her dialogue with God, thanking Him for His grace. The days unveiling now filled up with meaning again and accepting her situation became so much easier. Thilini started writing a journal in which she reflects upon her life and the events that marked its passage.
On one page in this eventful journal is written the name of Dinah from E-Movers. Thilini has written how Dinah showed her that kindness does not come only from people but also from companies that value customer sentiments.
When things went bad and Thilini had to vacate her apartment, she found E-Movers Storage services was the best option to store her personal belongings. This included her wardrobe, appliances and other things that she had amassed over the years. And although the fees were affordable when she signed up, with her situation turning grim she found it hard to pay even the small monthly fee. She had a loan to repay back home and with the little money coming from temporary work, she had not much left for self-sustenance.
Thilini wrote to the company to give away her things as she had no way to dispose it herself. She couldn’t even afford the fee for classifieds to sell them online. And was pleasantly surprised when E-Movers asked her to mark out items of sentimental value that she could still store with them for some more time. She felt blessed to have selected a company that put people’s sentiments over money.
Thilini had it good over the many years she has been here and hopes for things to turn around again soon.She picked on the smallest of blessings and resumed her dialogue with God, thanking Him for His grace. She felt blessed to have selected a company that put people’s sentiments over money. You cannot put a good woman down for long. A plot of land and the dream of an organic farm awaits, if she does choose to return.
Thilini agreed to meet the author and recount her story as token of gratitude for the kindness the company showed to her. She felt a story that highlights kindness by commercial enterprise needed to be told and is a good example for other companies to follow.
Disclaimer: The stories are a work of fiction based on facts. Identies and details may have been altered to suit the narrative.