I stood up against my employer’s harassment towards my on-site workers and my colleagues in the company. It happened in the middle-eastern country, Oman in the year 2016.
A man was denied his mother’s funeral because the company doubted of his return and didn’t want to pay for his journey. A man died due to the lack of proper care after falling from the height of 10-12 feet. Plus his coffin money was deducted from his insurance money which was due to his family back in India.
I’ve met men who haven’t seen their families for more than 5 years, 8 years and in one case 15 years. Reason? They had loans to pay back that they took to pay for this job from the landlords back home. So, they rather decided to stay back and collect money for a possible retirement because they know they won’t get any work back home. Nothing is worse than the sight of dying hope. Men living in a wishing hole. They didn’t believe in the fact that there was a life outside that hell that was waiting back home. It was sad to see men conditioned in fear, hopelessness, and modern slavery.
Why did I care? I was never like that. Never. I was always a follower. I always seeked validation. I was insecure as fuck. I always wanted to stick it up to someone or prove the people wrong about whom I didn’t even care. I didn’t have any direction in life, whatsoever. I never understood the real meaning of the words like kindness, empathy, and its importance in the world. I was an ungrateful son of a bitch. I never had a vision.
When I first saw the plight of these men, I cried inside. That was the first time I ever cried for someone else’s pain. I knew it was wrong. No human deserves to be treated like that.
When you see men getting hurt, working in horrible conditions, the human inside you screams. “I could either watch it happen or be a part of it. – Elon Musk”
For the first time I didn’t seek validation. I didn’t care about right or wrong, all I cared was for the justice to those men. I finally found a sense of purpose, a direction in my life. I understood what it meant and how it felt to be kind. I became grateful for whatever was on my plate. I got a vision- to help others in need.
That moment, I wanted my company to pay for their deeds. So, I filed a complaint with the Indian embassy and the Ministry of External Affairs India, and some famous media people like Rohit Sardana and Barkha Dutt.
I actually went through the Oman labor law and pointed out the articles under that the laws were broken. For the first time in my life, I felt that I am doing something right.
To my surprise, the embassy replied to me within a week. We had numerous conversations about this unfair treatment towards us. I was fighting for their basic rights. Every time they just assured me that they will help me but the situation never changed. Frustrated, I shot one video of my site, where a of a few newly joined workers gathered the courage to speak up. They protested by not showing up to work. I went to them, asked them what happened and secretly recorded the conversation on a video. Later I shared that video with the embassy, MEA, and everybody else. So what happened, next?
In the whole process, I forgot the fact that I was working there only for the last 10 months and the company was established there for more than 38 years. They had connections rooted deep in the embassy. I was naive to think that I could change what was going on for years. So, when the time came, during one of the visits of my HR manager at the embassy, they ratted out my name. They were supposed to keep it a secret. And then I witnessed hell on the earth.
Company official transferred me to a site where we had no vehicle to move around it and we mostly had to stand on the roadside in direct sun as we were constructing city sewage system. I got heatstroke. So, I requested my Project Manager for my project planning work that I was hired for. He denied my request and instead marked my half-day leave when I visited the doctor for the checkup. I had almost given up. I had no energy left to fight back. I decided that I don’t deserve this. I won’t work here anymore. I decided to flee the country by fake-killing one of my family member. And now, I was waiting for the miracle to happen. The salary day. Usually, it was between the 7th and 10th day of the month. This time it was delayed. To my surprise, the day my salary came, I got a relieving letter from the company stating the new law that required 33% employees as Omani. Hence they had to let some of us go.
I knew why that had happened. Never in that year, I had experienced such bliss except for my birthday. That feeling of going back home. That feeling of meeting the people I loved. That feeling of holding my girl in my arms, again. That feeling of being at peace again.
But I still had this rage of being fooled just like that. I still can’t make peace with that. But, all these ups and downs left me with a burning desire of helping others in need.
I didn’t want to work as a Civil Engineer. I refused more than 4 jobs. One of them was in Qatar whose package was 1.25 lacs INR per month. I didn’t care about money. All I could care about was my purpose. Even when I had nothing in life and I was practically couch-surfing in Mumbai, I told my friend that I want to help others. It was my calling. After a lot of contemplating and struggle, and jobs switching, I finally started working as a content writer in creative education. The money was less than half of what I was getting back there, but for the first time, I felt like I earned something. I actually felt like I had achieved something.
Now, to achieve my purpose, I started microblogging on twitter by the name intellimonk. Where I regularly post my quotes manifested from my experience and my reality. I never felt like I was making any difference until one of my friend thanked me by saying that my words helped him in his rough times. There are people who confided in me to reduce their pain. If there is one person who needs my help, I try my best to help them.
So now I am writing for living and also helping others to get better. I am loving what I am doing. The best part of giving without expectations is that you will never be sad. Just keep doing the right thing. Nothing is better than the feeling of getting messages like you’ve a beautiful heart, or your quotes help me a lot. It’s the testimony and the reason for me to keep moving every single day.