Small Step, Big Leap

June 25, 2008


“Umma, look at this photo, its the corn field in the farm.” I was browsing through the photos we took from a farm in Khorfukkan, and I called my mom when I reached this photo. The farm belonged to our neighbors when we were in Fujairah. They are also from Kerala, India. “Its their own farm, taken on contract for 5 years. Its around Dirhams ( currency of UAE) 2,00,000 for five years.” I explained.
“How much land is it?” Umma asked.
“Oh! I forgot to ask that!”
I really have forgotten about the area of land. It wasn’t much, not as much as we had around our home. But there was corn, tomatoes, cabbages, cucumber, mint, mangoes, mulberries, datepalms and many other grasses which are given as food for animals. and there was also goats, hens and a cat… pussy cat :).
“Do you know how Jaleel-ka got this farm?” Umma asked me.
Well, I haven’t tried to get into details of the history of Jaleel. Jaleel was our neighbor in Fujairah, now the owner of that farm. Well, the -ka means brother in Malayalam, usually we add it when we address males elder than us, and a -tha when we address females elder than us. The -tha means sister. Jaleel’s wife was Husna, and we called her Husna-tha. Plus four boys, and their family became a big happy family!
Jaleel and Husna have been our neighbors for about 10+ years, and they are still there in Fujairah. Umma and Baba( my dad) settled in our homecountry, India, when Baba got retired from his job. That was around 4 or 5 years ago. I came here after my marriage two years ago,
“He was a poor fellow when he came to Fujairah some 20 years back,” said Umma, “and a very careless fellow. Never went for any job, and if he got some money from anybody, just went to play cards.”
“Then how did he become the owner of the farm?” asked Nawaz, my brother, who was also with us, listening to the story. To own a farm for 5 years he needed Dirhams 2,00,000!
“One night, he was playing cards with his friends, when suddenly, the police appeared,” Umma paused, “there were 29 of them, playing cards.”
“Then?”
“Police saw all of them and caught them, except Jaleel-ka. He acted as he was sleeping. The police kicked him two or three times, left him there when there was no response from him and went to station with the rest of the 28 fellows.”
Playing cards is not an offense in most places, but it is against the laws in middle-east. Especially when cash is included in the game. You can be sure of a few months or years in prison.
Umma continued with the story.
“When he was sure the police have gone, he got up. The next day, he went to the station and inquired how to free his friends. The head of the station demanded Dirhams 28,000, thousand for each of them. Jaleel-ka came out of the station, and started begging. He asked for money from everyone he saw on his way, regardless of their nationality, religion or anything. He got Dirhams 38,000.”
Hmm…. Cool guy, I thought.
“He went to the station, freed his friends and started business with the rest of his money – the 10,000.”
“Well, do you know his qualification?” I asked.
“Not more than 2nd grade. And Husna-tha is a fifth grade pass out.” Umma replied. “But she is a woman with strong will power. She took license and now she does major of the household activities, while Jaleel-ka runs his business.” Umma continued. “He started a vegetable shop and then, with his hard work and determination, it grew into a big vegetable business. Now, to get fresh vegetables into the market, he started this farm also.”
Isn’t that a great work? A small step from the ditch to a big leap into the business world.
Here comes the snaps from his farm:
The mango tree with lots of flowers on it.
and Husna has been calling me to their home ever since. I kept nagging my hubby asking him to take me to Fujairah, until he agreed and we all – me, hubby, hubby’s brother, hubby’s sis, her hubby, their daughter and hubby’s cousin went for the Fujairah trip. Our plan was to go to Khorfukkan beach, but when we reached our neighbors home, we changed the plan and decided to go to their farm so that Neha(one year old hubby’s niece) could see some animals. That was how we got the photos of the farm.The tiny mangoes on a branch.
Hubby’s niece in the cucumber section.
Notice the cucumber on the plant.
Neha near the grass farm.
The cabbage farm.
The water for the farm is pumped from a well into this pond.It is then made to flow into the canal which takes the water to different parts of the farm.

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