Dubai: Mahendra Kumar Vasu owes everything to Dubai. The city has been home to him since he came here as a 20-year-old in 1963. Now 68, Vasu is a Senior Manager with Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), which he joined as senior clerk in 1969.
The '60s and '70s were quite trying with hardly any basic facilities for the young migrant.
He says: "We had no air conditioners those days. We lived in Bur Dubai. When the temperature soared, we would often walk up to the Maktoum bridge and dive into the Creek for a swim.
"We would sleep on open terraces or in houses that had wind towers to get respite from the desert heat. For recreation we used to play cricket, hockey and basketball. The Royal Air Force of UK (RAF) had a base in Sharjah and they played cricket with us. My friends and I would often walk down to Sharjah. When I tell people about this, they don't believe it," recalls Vasu, who has two daughters and one son, all of whom are married and live in Dubai.
"I am deeply indebted to Dubai. It has given me so much. I have been here for 48 years but it seems as it was just yesterday I came here. I saw the city grow before my eyes When the Maktoum bridge was built, there was a toll to cross it. Before 1971, each emirate had its own checkpoint. You needed a passport to cross over."
Vasu said most of his friends are from his early years in the UAE. "Those days the people you met and interacted with ended up being an integral part of your life."
Vasu lives in Dubai with his 64-year old wife Nirmala Vasu. His son Puneet Vasu, 32, two daughters, 39-year-old Rachna Karani and 36-year-old Prerna Raigaga, also live in Dubai with their respective families.