There are horror stories that are heard about the manner in which employees from India are treated by their employers in Saudi Arabia. In the past couple of months several such incidents have been reported. Take the case of this 25 year old woman from Jharkhand who is waiting for the past year for her husband's body who was beaten up by his employer in Saudi Arabia.
In this context one must go through an extremely interesting book written by journalist turned writer, Joy C Raphael. The book titled Sour and Sweet: Expat Stories from Arabia goes into details of a large number of workers in Saudi Arabia go through a torrid time at the hands of their Arab employers.
Sour and Sweet: Expat Stories from Arabia:
The intriguing book published by Turtle Books narrates incidents from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait where people have gone to work and ended up having a nightmarish experience.
Joy who hails from Kerala has seen all this from close quarters when he worked as a journalist in the Riyadh Daily. Many have become their employer's prisoner, he says. Take the case of Jejo Das who went to Riyadh to work as a driver. Hoping to earn some money so that he could support his family, he returned dejected after suffering extreme humiliation by his employer.
However the book also deals with some good experiences. Take the case of Gopal Raghavan who landed in the UAE with dreams and a tattered bag. His dreams came true and today he is a wealthy and contended man. The story of Rani from Cuddappah is heart rendering. She was repeatedly raped by her employer and his son. She was not even paid her salary. She however managed to flee and join a new employer.
The dark side:
Joy points out the dark side of life in the Gulf. Most of the stories leave you shell shocked and the author has brought it out in an extremely engaging manner. Joy says that most of the diasporic Indians suffer the humiliation. What is worse is that their misery only aggravates when they try complaining to the local police
Most of the stories that the author has written about are told to him first hand. There are several other stories which have been narrated to him by friends and associates who too have heard these horror tales.
Sour and Sweet: Expats from Saudi Arabia is the third installation from Joy. His earlier books were Mutawas: Saudi Arabia's Dreaded Religious Police and Slaves of Saudis: Terrorisation of Foreign Workers .