Dubai: As he went about his evening shift, Ramesh Gangarajam Gandi collected petals from the pavement. The Telangana-born housekeeping attendant was deep in thought as he raked fallen twigs against a gentle breeze last week. He thought of his mum and his dad, who hasn’t been keeping well; of his brothers, in Oman; and finally, of his wife, whom he hadn’t seen since last year.
Before he knew it, he had arranged the petals into a familiar shape. “I was thinking about my wife when I made the heart. I miss her a lot, but I know she knows I love her and am always thinking of her,” the newly-wed told Gulf News in a written interview.
Gandi married Latha in September of 2019; a month later, he moved to the UAE after getting a job with facilities management firm Emrill.
Latha, he reveals, is surprised at all the attention. “I spoke to Latha, my wife, yesterday and told her that a lot of people had seen a photograph of me [and the heart]. It made her very happy to know that I was thinking of her, but she can’t believe how many people are interested in finding out more about us. I didn’t even know anyone was watching me when I drew the heart, so this has been a big shock.”
(An office worker wrapping up in Downtown Dubai had spotted him and taken a quick shot; the image once posted on Instagram went viral.)
The soft-spoken Gandi explains that while he is heartened the picture of him creating the piece is popular, he wouldn’t want anyone to think they had caught him in a sad moment. “I’m surprised people who have seen the photograph think I am sad and that is why I made the heart. I actually feel very lucky. I have a good job and I enjoy going to work every day. I am in good health. I have a wife and close family. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
He added: “On the day the photograph was taken, I was just thinking about everyone back home. It is hard to be away from my family, especially because of the pandemic. I think a lot of people are just like me – they are away from the people they love and might be worried because of COVID-19. I think that’s normal. We all want to spend time with our families, and because of travel restrictions, that has been impossible.”
For Gandi however, this is about to change. He has taken some time off to spend with his family next month. “I am going to take leave in August to travel home to see my wife and family. My father is getting older and he has not been in the best of health. My brothers work in Oman, so I am going to go back to help at home for a while. I am also very excited that I will be able to spend more time with my wife,” he said.
When asked for a photograph of the couple, Gandi said unfortunately he didn’t have one. But he was planning to return from his break armed with many. In the meantime, perhaps, he’ll draw a few more hearts?