Dubai: “I lost my friends because of my house,” says 48-year old Asian Sam Daniel (name changed) pointing to a filthy, over-crowded foyer of a five-bedroom villa in Satwa.
Daniel who works as technician lives in one of the five-bedrooms in the villa.
Piles of shoes are stacked in one corner. A decrepit tea-stained wooden rack greets you as you walk through the shanty dwelling. Empty cannisters, cigarette butts and old clothes are strewn all over the floor. The walls are decorated with spit of pan juice (betal nut – popular among South Asians) and a hanging clothesline in the centre of the foyer hides a disgusting ‘squat toilet’ on the other side. “
“I used to have a good social life, but now my friends have stopped coming to my place,” he said.
He said the villa has almost become a mini township with 60 people currently living inside its gates. “Six years ago, when I newly moved in, there were only 25 people. In the last two years, many bachelors have started to live here, and the place now looks a mess.”
Daniel pays a monthly rent of Dh2,500 (Dh30,000 per annum) to live in this squalor.
For that rent Daniel could move into a decent accommodation in other areas of Dubai — a studio apartment in Discovery Gardens, a one-bedroom apartment in International City, a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai Investments Park, a studio in Jumeirah Village Circle or a fully furnished apartment in Dubai Sports City.
But he is not keen on relocating “My wife likes to live here as it is closer to the workplace,” he said.
At the time of going to print, XPRESS couldn’t reach the landlord, but managed to speak to an Asian man who ‘manages’ the villa. “Do you want us to clean up the villa? Why do you want to write something bad about Dubai?” he enquired.
This villa may not be an isolated case as Satwa is proving a magnet to an increasing number of bachelors and there may be many other similar tales behind the gates of villas and apartments.
Despite stringent government guidelines to maintain decent living standards, greedy landlords continue to illegally rent out their villas to hoards of bachelors who turn their homes into a garbage pit.