In the 17 years that have rolled by since Abdul Rahman Khan relocated to the UAE from Pakistan, there have been only three instances when he has spent Ramadan in his home country.

“Ramadan is a busy month for our industry in this part of the world, so I am here mostly,” says the practising Muslim.

Khan is an assistant bell captain at Novotel World Trade Centre Hotel in Dubai and his job entails ensuring the satisfaction and comfort of guests, overseeing the transport of luggage to rooms, and providing parking assistance.

During Ramadan, his responsibilities increase manifold, with hundreds of people visiting the hotel to enjoy an Iftar and Suhoor experience.

“We also host corporate Iftar parties for which guests often go up to around 100 people. Of course, all of this requires us to be on our toes all the time so that our guests have a memorable experience,” he says.

While his guests are enjoying the Iftar buffet, Khan breaks his own fast with his fasting co-workers from Egypt, Indonesia and India at the hotel’s staff cafeteria.

“Ramadan is a time to deepen spiritual awareness, but it can also be a time to strengthen family bonds. My family is not here. For me, my colleagues are my family in the UAE,” says the father-of-two grown-ups in Pakistan.

Khan says he enjoys his Iftar meal with his workmates.

“Our management has made a nice arrangement for us. There are about five of us and we break our fast together with a variety of snacks, fruits, juice and lots of cheerful bonhomie.”

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