By: Najla Banimalek, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Annasseri Kunhi Moideenkutty, a 72-year-old Indian expat from Kerala, has returned to his home country after 44 years of service to the UAE.
He was an office worker in the Emirates Writers Union in Sharjah who shared a special relationship with local literature and was also the oldest employee in the organization.
During an interview with Gulf News on Saturday, he shared some of his thoughts upon reflection of his time with the company:
“They never treated me like I was someone doing a mundane job. ‘You are our brother’ they would say. “People here have always been very affectionate and respectful,” he said.
Moideenkutty first joined the Union on September 1, 1984, a few months after it was founded. He had previously learned Arabic at Islamic centers during his childhood in Kerala and arrived in the UAE on a ship from Mumbai at Dubai’s Port Rashid on July 24th, 1977.
From his original day at the Union, Moideenkutty made sure to keep all of the books and documents in place, as well as archiving all the newspaper reports about the Union in special files and folders. He also preserved poems and stories written by Union members themselves.
“I have more than 400 folders with a collection of all those reports published from 1984 to 2021. That is my gift to the Union. It will be useful even after I leave,” he said with pride.
Moideenkutty has been a keen reader ever since childhood, and this admiration of literature was what made him a favorite at the Union. He has also been attending all of the UAE’s book fairs over the past 34 years, and greatly enjoys the events.
He said the Union officials never wanted him to leave even after he had passed his retirement age. “They kept asking me to stay on. I’m 72 years old now. It’s time for me to stop going to work, though, in my heart, I want to stay here till I die. I love the UAE and the Union and the people here,” Moideenkutty said.
Well-known poet and writer Sultan Al Ameemi, chairman of the EWU, posted several farewell photos on Facebook and wrote that the Union honored its oldest employee for his long and sincere service.
“It is our token of appreciation for his place in the hearts of all the members of the Union and an expression of mutual affection,” he added.
Artist Habeeb Rahman, who works with Sharjah Institute for Heritage, presented him with a portrait of Moideenkutty and his wife Subaida during the farewell event.
“I was touched by the good words and warmth of the Union officials who spoke. The painting was a precious gift, too. I will remember all those precious moments with gratitude,” said Moideenkutty.
He said he had been writing down his special experiences in the UAE over the last four decades and intends to publish a memoir when he reaches home.