Birthdays can be a time of great celebration. but if you have no friends or family they can also bring about a great sene of depression and isolation. It would have been the case for long time UAE resident Tehemten Homi Dhunjiboy Mehta who turned 98 last week. except that a law firm stepped in to make his special day extra special.
In keeping with the spirit of Ramadan, Dubai-based law firm Al Midfa & Associates Advocates & Legal Consultants came forward to celebrate Mehta’s big day on May 9 with a lavish iftar at Swissotel hotels and resorts in Al Ghurair Centre.
Shortly after Maghreb azaan rang out and everybody ended their fast, the guests sang Happy Birthday to Mehta as he cut a chocolate cake, smiling from ear to ear.
Mehta lives alone in Dubai. He never got married and has no family. All his friends are long dead. The only support he has is from the law firm whom he contacted in 2004 to help draft a will.
“He came as a client but is now a special family member. We couldn’t have let his 98th birthday pass without a celebration,” said Khalid Abdul Wahab, founder Al Midfa & Associates “Ramadan is a month of fasting no doubt, but it is also a month of sharing and caring. What better way to celebrate the spirit of Ramadan than reaching out to a special nonagenarian who has got no one,” said Tina Thappar, office manager at the law firm.
Until recently I would walk up to four hours daily but a leg injury has restricted my movements. Yes, I wish to recover from the injury so that I cab not just walk, but also sprint by the time I turn hundred.
Mehta said he was overwhelmed by the loving gesture. “I was expecting a small function and was pleasantly surprised to see so many people show up with guests. There were many children too and they appeared curious seeing someone nearing a century,” he said.
A Kenyan of Indian descent, Mehta came to Dubai in 1980 and landed an accounting job at a five-star hotel in Deira where he worked until 2002 when a routine background check of employees revealed his age and he was asked to put in his papers.
Since then, the diminutive Zoroastrian has been living alone in Dubai and has had no income for the past 17 years.
“My savings are dwindling but I am not planning to leave. There is no place like Dubai and I absolutely love it. Over my dead body will I leave it,” said Mehta who has bought a one-bedroom apartment in the city to secure a life-long residency.
Last year he renewed his driving licence until 2023. However he’s no hurry to hit the roads as he reckons cars make people lazy. Instead, the 1922-born prefers walking. “Until recently I would walk up to four hours daily but a leg injury has restricted my movements now,” he said.
Does he have any birthday wish?
‘Yes, I wish to recover from the injury so that I could not just walk but also sprint by the time I turn hundred,” he said.