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“The best things in life are not things”
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“The best things in life are not things”

Mridul UpadhyaySome organizations are like families, says Mridul Upadhyay, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from New Delhi, India, who describes his exhilarating internship at a Dubai engineering firm.

One fine October morning an announcement was made in my class that a Dubai-based company was coming to our university for an introductory session on working in the Gulf region. “Who cares?” was my response, as I was not particularly interested in making time to even hear about it, let alone attend a three-to-four-hour session. My passion was for my work with the National Service Scheme.

After a few days I noticed my classmates rushing towards the committee room for a session. On enquiring, I was told that the same Dubai based company, Dahbashi Engineering, was conducting interviews for their one-month summer internship program. I was suddenly curious.

I could not even get the name right when I first heard it, so I asked how it was spelled and gate crashed the interview in t-shirt and jeans. There, I met Mr. Saleem Ahmed, the Hyderabad-born CEO of Dahbashi Engineering who set up the company with a Dubai resident, Mr. Ali Dahbashi more than 25 years ago. Senior director Mr. Pushpak Ray was also at the interview, which was more interactive than technical. I followed up my curiosity with a look at the company’s website after the session.

After a few days, I was shortlisted to face a panel of senior professors regarding the internship. For the next two months, we did not get any news in this regard. The class went wild with guesses during this nerve-wracking period of hopeful patience. Finally I got my internship letter and invitation to Dubai.

DE deals with heavy earth moving equipment, and I was scheduled to pass through all departments: Human Resources, Management Information System, Engineering/Quality/Training, Sales Administration, Warehouse, Service, Material Handling Division and Sales counters. I traveled to branches in Abu-Dhabi and Al-Ain.

With the help of its home developed DE-menu and Source net, the company has made itself an eco-friendly organization. It was amazing to see offices with neither piles of paper nor almirahs to contain any document. Only the sales department had a few copies of invoices and the HR department had documents related to official appointments under temporary storage.

I shared lunch with managers most people can only meet with prior appointments. There were employees from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines and the host nation. Some of the workers who started with DE as drivers/housekeepers twenty-five years ago have become Division Leads.

I learnt quickly, although I was speechless every time I encountered Mr. Mudar Dargahwala, my mentor and strict taskmaster. However, I really felt like family during my rides with the CEO to and from the company. Mr. Saleem Ahmed shared my vegetarian menu on dinner outings. In between such generous gestures, he also shared life and company stories. His jokes lightened my days. Every fourth night, he cooked a special non-veg dish ‘Turkey’ for the whole DE head office staff. Once, he noticed and checked the waiter for serving me ‘eggplant’ which meant that he remembered my preference from an earlier occasion. He taught me how to break the ice quickly and easily with his own senior managers by asking about their children. In his words, “Housekeepers are of much more importance in an office as compared to managers as their absence affects working of the whole staff and even the managers.” His belief that properly executed work will beat a recession is evidenced in the company’s four-year run of 17 per cent profit during the global financial recession.

Some companies are like families. When I think of my time at DE, I remember the taste of Belgium chocolates, cakes, sweets, ice cream and the Lebanese food which Mr. Saleem treated me to a lot. I also remember visits to malls, museums, safaris and the Sheik Zayad Mosque (world’s third largest and best interior lit mosque), all in Mr. Salim’s BMWs and Porsches. I am not certain what attribute secured the internship for me, but I am certain that the offer was an amazing gift from the Dahbashi family. And the memories would linger on.

Photo: Mridul Uphadyay
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About me:
A thinker, a social volunteer, a mechanical designer, a theater artist, a guitar player, a lyrics-writer, an amateur sketch artist, a cook, a traveler, a wannabe civil servant – there are many phrases I enjoy trying on me to describe what I see myself as.
Currently I work for the Oil and Gas Pipeline refineries as a design engineer and am studying for Management in Business Administration. I aspire to enlighten society with the knowledge and experience I gain.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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