Dubai: He has lost a hand and his job. His legs are fitted with steel rods.
However, nothing could dampen the civic spirit and determination of Indian expat Mohammad Yousuf Javed, who walked all the way from Sharjah to Dubai to take part in Dubai’s Car-Free Day initiative.
The 52-year-old former bank employee in Dubai lost his left hand after falling off a train in Mumbai, India, 22 years ago.
Wearing a prosthetic left arm, he became a crowd-puller at Dubai Municipality’s Car-Free Day celebrations when he reached the venue with a placard in his right hand.
Gulf News spotted Javed walking along with the employees and officials of Dubai Economy who held a procession from their office in Business Village near the Clock Tower to the Union Metro Park where the celebrations were held.
Although originally from Kutch in the state of Gujarat, Javed’s family is settled in Kochin in Kerala.
Driving with his right hand
He said he has been driving with just the right hand since 2003.
However, on Sunday, he ditched his Toyota Yaris car and left his house in Al Qasba area in Sharjah at 6.20am.
“When I reached the Clock Tower around 7.45am, I saw their [Dubai Economy employees’] procession and joined them.”
He said it took him only one-hour-and-15 minutes to reach the Dnata signal in Deira.
By 8am, he reached the Union Metro Park.
“I feel it takes even more time in a car. I used to take more than two hours to reach my office near Burjuman in a car.”
Javed said both his legs still had the steel rods fitted after the accident. However, he did not seem to feel exhausted after the long walk.
“I walked normally. I didn’t even do brisk walking. My intention was only to show my solidarity with this great initiative,” he said, urging others to avoid using cars whenever possible.
He said it was one of his ways of giving back to this “blessed country, which is giving much greater things than what we are doing for it”.
“Our families are fed with the sustenance from this country. I volunteer in other community initiatives also and every year I distribute free iftar meals at Al Qasba mosque during Ramadan.”
Javed said he was a senior relationship officer with the bank where he worked for six years.
He said he has been jobless for five months after he went to take care of his dying mother.
“My priority was to take care of my mother. So I had to resign and go. But when I came back after her death last month, my bank did not take me back.”
Javed, whose wife is a teacher in an Indian school in Dubai, is now in search of a job.
“I’m getting rejected because of my health condition and age. I hope someone will consider my experience and efficiency instead.”
Although he holds a valid US visa and visited there in 2016, he said he would like to continue living in the UAE, which he “loves from the bottom of his heart”.
Senior officials of Dubai Municipality congratulated Javed and appreciated his extraordinary participation in the drive.
On his way back also he walked home.
“I’m comfortable. I take life as a challenge. I want to let the people know about my today’s mission,” he said as he walked away with the Car-Free Day placard and an umbrella gifted to him by the municipality.