32 YEARS AND LITTLE TO SHOW FOR IT
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.