32 YEARS AND LIT­TLE TO SHOW FOR IT

India Today - - SOCIETY | KERALA’S GULF RETURNEES -

Key­ath Ayamu has lived more of his life in Jed­dah than in his vil­lage Pukkot­tur, work­ing with different sponsors and doing odd jobs. In his last job, he was draw­ing a salary of 1,500 Saudi Riyals (Rs 29,000) work­ing in a cold stor­age as a sales­man. “My em­ployer was willing to keep me. But I had to spend 9,500 riyals, more than half my an­nual salary, for work per­mits. What’s left af­ter that...” he says. Like most other Gulf NRIs, Ayamu has built a 2,000 sq ft house, but now he is wor­ried about the future of his dif­fer­ently-abled son, 21, and 14-year-old daugh­ter. “I have not saved money for the future. When the de­mands were so high, how could I save?” Ayamu asks. But he has no re­grets. “I never en­joyed my life in Saudi. Like most em­i­grants, I slogged and when I was tired, I slept. Our only pri­or­ity was our fam­ily and their com­fort.” His only ex­trav­a­gance: he vis­ited Mecca and be­came a Haji. “At this age, I don’t dream of a big life,” Ayamu says with a smile.

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