Dubai: He has lost his vision and his livelihood. He suffered a stroke twice and his injuries from a fall haven’t healed. He is in debt, has a rental case against him and had been in jail for six months.
Though he has been fighting many odds and longing to fly home to Kerala, Indian expat Tomichan Puthuparambil Thomas, 63, sees hope, thanks to Mohammed Asad, 36, a Pakistani crane operator in Dubai.
Asad has been taking care of Thomas for about 18 months with no strings attached.
“He helps me shower and wear my clothes. He takes me to the toilet. He feeds me and puts me to bed like a child,” Thomas told Gulf News in a phone interview on Wednesday.
He said he was indebted to Asad who has been sheltering him and treating him like his father.
“His job is at night. I wait for him to come back from work early in the morning because I want his help to go to the washroom. I have diabetes and I need to use the bed pan frequently. He is the one who cleans it up for me,” said Thomas.
Asad, who has sheltered Thomas in his cramped flat in Karama, shared his feelings for Thomas.
“I call him uncle but he has been a father figure to me. I lost my father in 2016. My father was a helpful man. He had taught us to try and help others whenever possible,” said Asad.
An electrical engineering diploma holder, Thomas said he had come over to Dubai eight years ago after spending almost three decades of expat life in Saudi Arabia. “After working with a private company for about four years, I ran some small businesses. When I turned 54, I went back to Kerala for good and later came to Dubai to continue my expat life here,” said Thomas.
He was first employed as a computer mechanic, but he was paid only for a month, said Thomas.
“Since I got salary for just a month, I filed a case against my employer and the court ordered him to pay me money and air ticket. He then apologised to me and I was offered a partnership in a company.”
He claimed that his business had later gone down following which he failed to pay rent for a shop for two months. “I only owed Dh17,500 each month. But I didn’t get a waiver and they evicted my shop and took over the goods worth around Dh200,000.”
He claimed that he suffered a stroke after that. “Sometime later, I suffered a second stroke and my left side became paraylised,” he said.
However, things went from bad to worse as Thomas woke up with no eyesight on one morning. “I had the habit of watching YouTube videos those days. One fine morning, I couldn’t see anything.”
Though his children periodically send him some money for survival, he said Asad’s thankless service is what has kept him going so far.
“But I don’t want to burden him for long. I just want to settle my issues here and fly back home and be with my wife in Kerala,” said Thomas.
Community volunteers Rayees Poyilunkhal and Saman Abdulkhadar said they have started coordinating with Indian Consulate in Dubai and other community members to help Thomas fly back after settling his legal and financial cases and also ensure he gets proper treatment.