Meeting the Staff: Ehsan-Ul-Haq Khan

Meeting the Staff is a series of articles that aims to bring NYU Abu Dhabi’s staff closer to our readers. Ehsan-Ul-Haq Khan is a driver at NYU Abu ...

Feb 21, 2015

Meeting the Staff is a series of articles that aims to bring NYU Abu Dhabi’s staff closer to our readers.
Ehsan-Ul-Haq Khan is a driver at NYU Abu Dhabi. He was born in Baru, a small village in the Gujarat District of northeast Pakistan, where he worked at a private school in office management and as an assistant teacher of Urdu, geography and other subjects. He moved to the UAE in 2002, where he got his driver’s license, and started working for the American University of Sharjah in 2003. After a two-year break that Ehsan took in 2005 to start a family in Pakistan, he came back to the UAE and started working for NYUAD in 2010.
I met with Ehsan in one of the small rooms behind the Academic Resource Center. His bright blue shirt, along with the friendliness of his gestures, added a nice touch of color to the atmosphere of the barren walls and dim lights. We chatted for a while about his village, his job here, his job back in Pakistan, his family and his goals, and it was only after a while that I remembered to ask him perhaps the most obvious question — what brought you here?
“I did not have a job in Pakistan over that time,” said Ehsan. “A friend told me to get a driving license, and that there would be many opportunities here… I wanted to get some job, have some experience, travel to other countries and also I wanted to save some money to start my business.”
In fact, he already has a few plans for when he returns to Pakistan in the future:
“I have two things in my mind. First, I want to open a private school over there, because I have some experience in the education sector, or I can start a small farm, because I also have experience in agriculture.”
This experience, he explained, comes from the fact that his parents are farmers themselves, and grow wheat and sugarcane. As for his other option, he also counts on the help of his wife, who is currently a teacher.
The lack of good schools in his hometown is what drives his aspiration:
“There is a need for private schools, because most of them are very far from my village in the countryside, so the good schools are in the distance.”
I asked him about his family and how he dealt with living so far from them. He spoke of his nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, whom he sees every year when he goes home.
“I wanted to bring my family here, but because of some visa restrictions, [and the fact that] it’s very expensive to live [I couldn’t],” said Ehsan. "Hopefully, in the future."
Soon the conversation shifted to his life in Abu Dhabi. We spoke about his favorite places here: the Marina and the Corniche, as well as his residence on Yas Island, and what he likes to do in his spare time.
“I like sports, I watch sports like cricket, football [and] tennis," he said. "I also like reading, I read in my Urdu language … In recent past I've read a few books in Urdu like Hamaqatain, Shahabnama, Zarguzashat, Dewan-e-Ghalib and Khushboo, and in fiction, The Old Man and the Sea and few novels of Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie, which were translated.”
Ehsan told me he enjoys going to the city on the weekends to visit a restaurant or perhaps purchase something, as well as wandering around on the beach when he has some free time.
“My favorite time of the day is the evening, when [the] sun is about to set,” said Ehsan. “I really like that scene when the sun goes down to set in the sea or desert here, even in my hometown I used to go out in the evening when the sun is down in [the] green fields.”
We spoke of his favorite moments since he arrived. He talked about a trip he had with another company to Al Ain, where he saw an air show, a zoo and the mountain Jebel Hafeet. He also mentioned a party he had with his colleagues from NYUAD.
“In 2013 we had a New Years party, and in that day they announced the driver of the year,” said Ehsan. “And luckily, I got [the certificate] so I got a couple passes for dinner at a hotel. That was a memorable day for me, I liked that.”
We continued chatting for a while about his experiences as a bus driver, and before leaving, I asked him about his time at NYUAD, as he has worked here from almost its inception. We spoke of NYUAD’s transition to Saadiyat, his hopes that the new campus will soon be as busy as the Downtown Campus and how much he values the Staff Appreciation day.
“I want to stay here as long as I can work in NYU … [and] I want to grow in my job … I appreciate the party that students give us every [year], because it is a great feeling when students appreciate your work, when they acknowledge your work. It is beautiful,” he said.
Mario Zapata is the Copy Chief. Email him at
gazelle logo