The Unseen

The inhabitants of Dubai take for granted the ease of having everything at their fingertips. This is only made possible because of the many hard workers who work non-stop around the clock, behind the scenes. In the city of the Kannur District, Ashraf V.M. plotted away his life.

As a child, Ashraf wanted to be a cricketer. He played and still plays cricket fairly well. It is through this sport that I deduced that he acquired his skill of a team player. Ashraf, though showed a keen interest in sport , as he grew up , became wiser and decided to take on the mantle. He soon enough had a family of his own and mouths to feed. It was then that Ashraf decided that it was time to come to Dubai; That India would no longer suffice. He had to find a way to get food on the table and give his children the education he couldn’t receive himself.

For a grocer who only completed 10+2 , He spoke better English than half the other grocers I know of .He is so knowledgeable about every good and customer of his , that it makes you wonder how great the human memory really is. I myself had only entered his shop twice with my cousin, who was a regular customer; the other day, when I went to interview the man, he remembered my face. And when asked what my cousin bought, he gave me highly specific details up to the brand name, and he didn’t need a computer log to tell him all that.

A grocery is not operated exactly the same way as it used to. Now days, you have about 4 men at the least working under the owner. These men go to the fullest extent to get you what you want. I asked Ashraf how he gets his supply and how does he know what exactly to buy. Ashraf replied, Salesmen come and sell , we buy ; We buy whatever we see is selling the most , we keep a track of it all.

There is no break for men like him. He works from 8:00 am to 12:00 am. As I was interviewing him, he said, and I quote: “Do you have any more questions?, because I do have lots of work to get back to”, I was a bit taken a back at first , but then realized that while we see this job as anything else other than what it’s worth , we fail to see the amount of effort they put in. We fail to see how important they are to us.

I spent a good amount of time in Ashrafs shop to see that he was a man of God, that he would never cheat a customer and vice-a-verse. There was a woman who came in and needed something urgently; he gave it to her and she left. When I asked him why didn’t he take the cash , he said : “I don’t ask for the money when it comes to my usual customers. I trust in them enough to know that they will pay me back once their emergency is over”.

Very few people like Ashraf exist here in Dubai. But it’s nice to know that some people like him are still there. A quite life , doing his job diligently and staying out of others people business so long as they stay out of his , that is who Ashraf V.M. is. India is now his target. It was always his dream to go back to India and settle down, but , because of financial issues , came from Kerala to do business here for 10 good years. ‘Never’ is what he said when I asked him if he would bring  his children down here to work . He said that he doesn’t want his children getting diverted and working the same profession he’s working. He wants them to become as educated as possible and so he slogs day in and out for them.

The owner of ‘Bin Juma Grocery’ might not be the most action packed person you’ve heard about, but his kind is of the dying type. Very few like him exist. He is dedicated to his job and loves it to no end. This man will get you whatever you need whenever you need it, they don’t get the credit due for what they really do. So, here’s to all the great Grocers out there, like this one of a kind, Ashraf V.M.


About Alysa Nair

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