December 26, 2010

Remebering 26/12/2004

I feel Indra’s smile is among the best I have come across. Its very genuine and lights up his dark, boyish face with total sincerity. I was introduced to this boy from Jaffna when I joined the branch office in 2003. He must have been in his early twenties and was employed by a cleaning company for a very low salary. He used to spend his lunch break cleaning our office and a few cars to supplement his income. He was the main bread winner of a large family and must have led a hand to mouth existence to ensure that he could send the monthly draft to his family back home to meet their expenses.

His sense of duty and punctuality was surprising. He did his humble job of vacuuming, mopping and dusting with total involvement. Even a tiny speck of dust would not miss his earnest duster. He would walk over the place and supervise his own work. On those rare days where he noticed something was not to his complete satisfaction, he would not think twice about getting the vacuum / duster out once again. Such was his commitment and his sense of responsibility. He never forgot to wish and exchange pleasantries with each and everyone in the office albeit shyly.

Towards the middle of 2004, he informed us that he is going back to his home country as he had got another job that would earn him a few more hundreds of dirhams. As per the laws of the country, he would have to exit and would have a ban of 6 months imposed. He intended to return after the ban period. He introduced us to a friend of his and requested us to let him take over his job at our office. We agreed though we missed Indra’s smile and his dedication. Eventually, he was pushed to the depths of our memory.

Until one day after Dec 26th, we were informed by his friend that Indra’s home which was along the coast was dragged away and swallowed by the tsunami. He had no further information about Indra or his family. We do not know whether he was in Jaffna then or whether he had returned to UAE after the ban. We do not know whether he still has the large family for whom he had to work tirelessly. We do not know if he has gone on with life and is still able to flash that innocent, bright smile of his!

On this day, let’s take a moment out of our busy life to remember and pray for the thousands of innocent people who were victimized by the furious giant waves of the Indian Ocean in 2004!

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