More stories about coping with the pandemic


As group chief officer of Jashanmal’s Department Stores, Shuja Jashanmal led an extremely hectic life. If he wasn’t travelling for work, he preferred being outdoors either exercising or taking his Harley out for a ride with his friends. All of that has come to a stop. He talks to Friday about how he is dealing with the change.

Since when have you been working from home? And who else is there at home with you?

I’ve been working from home since 27th March. Since my wife and kids are in Toronto at the moment, it’s just me and my mum. I hope to bring my family back the moment flights start again.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have been faced with while working from home?

The pace of work slows down considerably, I feel. Tasks take longer to complete, webinars are somewhat difficult for everyone to follow and it’s not so easy to have open discussions, when compared to face-to-face meetings. Because the pace of work slows down, and tasks take longer to complete, we find ourselves behind our computers pretty much for 12 hours every day.

How difficult was it to adjust to this new reality?

It was surprisingly easy, as there was no alternative and you had to face reality very quickly. As humans, we are extremely adaptable and can adjust very quickly, I believe.

How are you and your mum spending time? Favourite activities that you enjoy doing together. Exercise routine.

Sadly this seems to be the worst part. Because I find myself working for long hours, I am unable to take time out for my mother. To unwind, I watch a bit of Netflix, just before I hit the sack. As far as exercise is concerned, I used to either walk, run or cycle for an hour every day. That has unfortunately come to a stop and I miss my daily outdoors workouts.

What are you and your family doing to manage the anxiety that is stemming from the pandemic?

There’s far too much assumptive or hyped info ‘out there’. It is important that we read updates from reliable sources only and use common sense. That alone can help in calming anxiety.

The world had been through pandemics ever since man walked on this planet. We are still here and will very much still be here once Covid-19 is behind us. Let’s just be sensible, take the extra precautions as advised by medical experts, and keep smiling.

What are some of the things you miss from your life when Covid-19 had still not affected us?

Being able to spend more time with family and loved ones. Sadly with the pandemic or without, this luxury doesn’t exist in the world we live in.

What will be the first thing you’d like to do once this scare of Covid-19 is over?

I’m an avid motorcycle enthusiast and I ride regularly with the Harley Owners Group Dubai Chapter. First thing we’ll do is go out for a really long ride. Then I need to go and spend some time with my family in Toronto. Hug them real tight and not let go for a while.

What have you learnt about yourself during this trying time?

I’ve realised that I can be extremely calm, clear headed, and supportive of others whom I work with.  I’ve also learnt to respect our world and not take the planet for granted.

What will be your favourite memory from this experience, something you’d perhaps like to share with your grandkids one day?

Before the 24/7 sterilisation programme was implemented in Dubai, I went on a really long solo ride on my bike out into the desert near Al Madam and Nazwa in Sharjah. Two of my relatives followed in the car and unbeknownst to me they filmed me riding ahead of them. We have some really good film with me riding and pretty much no one else on the road.  We stopped just before sunset, climbed atop a large sand dune and watched the sunset. It was a magical time.

The earth is truly gorgeous and being with people you love is a priceless experience.

One lesson you think the world should remember from this experience.

Humble yourself…