Or, 'Uncle Bhola' as he is fondly referred to in my family, has worked hard all his life. From growing up as a Christian child labourer in Pakistan before coming to Dubai, to working as a mason, electrician, plumber, now watchman for a company and god knows what else, he's done it all.
For the 20 or more years that we've known the man, we have witnessed him recover from serious work related injuries, survive two marriages (has two beautiful daughters - one from each wife), he suffered a heart attack two years ago, brought on by his hyperthyroid, which he tried to cure using medicine obtained from a roadside medicine man in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Post heart surgery, he's seriously considering looking for another, better qualified roadside medicine man.
Despite the calamities he's faced - the death of his mother was the one that hit him the hardest, then his older brother passed away recently - Emanuel has somehow always managed to bounce right back. Always smiling, always singing... his favourite Bollywood tunes - in a strangely gruff, but high pitched, nasal voice. He thinks he can hit better notes this way.
Honest and caring to the bone, he not only has to provide for his family, but his own brothers and sisters back home in Faisalabad have continued to exploit him in such a way that he's been providing for them and their children for years!
"What can I do? They're family." he shrugs.
Stubborn as a... goat (he'll crush my spine with one hand if I called him a mule), Emanuel already had his bicycle confiscated thrice before because of his outright refusal to wear a helmet. The Dubai police have since given up and now they don't even bother to stop him anymore. They just sound the siren at him to say hello whenever he rides by and he waves back at them.
I've never seen him sit still for more than three minutes. In the first picture, he is seen looking at the wall clock and is about to get up and leave.
It was 105 °F / 41 °C outside at the time and he'd only been sitting on the chair for, yup, three minutes.
He considers my Mom as his elder sister and over time he has become an important part of our extended family.
Here's my humble tribute to a great but stubborn old man.
Our Uncle Bhola.