Afterward, when the dust had settled around us, we wondered how the man had stayed so calm during his narrative. Any ordinary man would have trembled with trepidation, cried in agony or even screamed in despair. His story was that of destitution, a streak of black splashed across what used to be a colorful picture. He was being drawn into the depths of despair and yet he was calm or as some suggested at that time, mad.
The year was 2008 and the world had plunged into its worst ever economic recession. Dubai had taken a bad hit. The employment rates were in a free fall. The number of people having to leave the country due to its effect was magnanimous. A wave of monotony had spread over the city. My family had been largely safe from its effect, that is till that fateful day when my uncle walked into our apartment to make an important announcement. Little did we expect of what he had to say that day. Little did we believe of what he said that day.
My uncle, Manjil sat across us. His face didn’t give away much. He was usually like this when he had something wonderful to reveal, like the final act of a magic trick that would blow us away. The whispers in the hallway had suggested his wife might have given birth to their first child. We waited with baited breaths. When the entire family had finally assembled, he began.
I have some news, the news will shock and amuse you in equal measure so I would suggest you don’t react immediately. Give it some time to sink, I’ve had to do the same.
This morning I received a call from my boss, Mr Madhwesh telling me that I no longer needed to show up for work. The company has filed for bankruptcy. In addition to this, the salary which is owed to me by the company for the last three months of work will not be paid. The same way I can’t payback any of my debts for the last three months. Anyways, I no longer have money to eat, drink or live here. So I will be leaving on the first flight I get home. Any queries you have about this issue will be answered by my secretary who has also been fired due to the economic crisis.
The family sat in silence. None of us were buying what he had to say. If he was sad he gave no hint of it. After an eerie silence, the room broke into
a chaotic commotion, with every member trying to offer help, commiserations and sympathy all at once. Finally when the commotion had melted into silence, he spoke again.
I appreciate all your offers for help, but I know a thousand other people who could use it more than me. Besides, I always hated that job.
He lied. He loved that job. But it was gone and he made every effort to convince us otherwise. And then he left. With not a penny in his pocket, not a clue of where he was going. All he knew was, it’d all work out in the end.
His optimism bordered on preposterous, but it was reassuring. He was a hard worker but he would need a lot more than that to start again and get his life back on track. Everything looked bleak but he refused to look at everything that way. He was determined he would build his life from the ground to up.
Fast forward five years, and now Manjil Nirala is a successful businessman. He went back home a destitute, with debt up to his knees. He now runs a chain of successful restaurants and helps other in situations such as his. His is a prominent example used in our family circles to show that we can achieve anything through perseverance. He refused to give up even at the worst of times and for this very reason he prevailed over his hardships. His own family doubted him but his faith has carried him over the line. His faith has carried him a long way over the line.