In keeping with company policy for freshening things up, Mohamed Bhatti has changed his role four times at Nokia. Courtesy Mohamed Bhatti
In keeping with company policy for freshening things up, Mohamed Bhatti has changed his role four times at Nokia. Courtesy Mohamed Bhatti

Off hours: Nokia regional chief wonders what it would be like to be a labourer in Dubai

Mohamed Bhatti is Nokia's country director for the UAE, and also their head of contract management for the Middle East and Africa. Mr Bhatti is also a popular social media personality, with 53,000 followers on his anonymous Twitter account. He was born in Kenya, raised in Manchester from the age of 6, and moved to Dubai 15 years ago.

How did you become country director?

When I first moved to Dubai, I was involved in the consulting for designing a new business hotel chain. I helped to come up with the concept and then the business plan to launch it. That work was very different to Nokia, who I joined as a senior consultant in 2005. At Nokia, you rarely stay in the same position for more than a few years as they like to move people around. I’ve actually changed my role four times with Nokia – on average, every two and a half years. Three years ago I was appointed into my current two roles. My head of contract management role is the bigger role, with much wider implications, because from Dubai, we look after so many other countries.

What was the lowest point in your career?

When I was about 25, I was working in sound and lighting design. I’d been headhunted by a major league company that manufactured AV equipment. I’d gone through the interview process, I was offered the job, and the last step was to shake the hand of the CEO. I had to drive halfway across the UK for this, but the CEO took one look at me and said “there’s been a dreadful mistake, please leave the building”. The headhunter afterwards apologised and threatened that company with legal action. It was blatant racism. This experience led to me becoming the person I am today. It resulted in me saying “nobody’s going to stop me achieving what I want to achieve”.

How do you spend your weekend?

I’m an enormous Manchester City fan. My weekends during football season are scheduled around the football timetable.

What’s your go-to gadget?

Apart from my cell phone, it’s actually my watch, which is made by a French company called Withings which Nokia bought in April.

What’s your most indulgent habit?

I have a 26 year-old daughter and a 22 year-old son who are both in the UK studying, which means that I don’t have any indulgences left because I can’t afford any. My daughter just got engaged, so we’re looking at a wedding next year. My biggest indulgence is actually my social media, because it takes up so much of my time.

What advice would you offer to others starting out in your business?

Anyone wanting to start a career in the telecoms industry should be very focused. Be aware of the technology and emerging technologies. Don’t just look at telecommunications as being about making phone calls, it’s about total connectivity on every possible platform, and being aware of how technology affects daily life.

What do you have on your desk at work?

My laptop, my phone charger, a stress ball and a doughnut. That’s one of my social media trademarks.

What can’t you live without?

I know it’s a boring answer but my family. My children are more like my best friends than my children. My son is my footballing partner. When it comes to my online persona, they see me as the embarrassing dad, especially when I write a very negative review. But their friends don’t know who I am on social media.

What car do you drive?

A black Nissan Patrol. It bullies people off the road – otherwise you can’t live in Dubai.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

With great difficulty. Our weekends don’t match European weekends, our time zones are different, so if you’re in an international role like I am, it’s incredibly difficult to have a work-life balance. I never switch off my phone, but I’ve learnt to prioritise which calls I take out of hours and which emails I read. There’s a fine line with me as to what’s important and what’s not.

If you could swap jobs with anyone, who would it be and why?

A labourer. I’d like to see the other side of life in Dubai. I’d like to see how the people who have built our country, our malls, our villas and apartments live. They always seem to be a little bit happy. We don’t see them argue about getting the latest model car or the latest smart phone, or being seen at the latest fancy buffet restaurant. They have different priorities in life. I would actually like to experience a full day of hard labour.

What is your favourite book?

I very rarely read books because I read the news instead. But my favourite book of all time would be To Kill a Mockingbird.

The years Ramadan fell in May





Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

Match statistics

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 36 Bahrain 32


Tries: Penalty 2, Stevenson, Teasdale, Semple

Cons: Stevenson 2

Pens: Stevenson


Tries: Wallace 2, Heath, Evans, Behan

Cons: Radley 2

Pen: Radley

Man of the match: Craig Nutt (Harlequins)

Rooney's club record

At Everton Appearances: 77; Goals: 17

At Manchester United Appearances: 559; Goals: 253


Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Director: Nitesh Tiwari

Stars: Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor

Rating: 1/5

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo (BMW B58)
Power: 340hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm from 1,600-4,500rpm
Transmission: ZF 8-speed auto
0-100kph: 4.2sec
Top speed: 267kph

On sale: Now
Price: From Dh462,189
Warranty: 30-month/48,000k

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors

Bhuvan Bam
Instagram followers: 16.1 million
Bhuvan Bam is a 29-year-old comedian and actor from Delhi, who started out with YouTube channel, “BB Ki Vines” in 2015, which propelled the social media star into the limelight and made him sought-after among brands.
Kusha Kapila
Instagram followers: 3.1 million
Kusha Kapila is a fashion editor and actress, who has collaborated with brands including Google. She focuses on sharing light-hearted content and insights into her life as a rising celebrity.
Diipa Khosla
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Diipa Khosla started out as a social media manager before branching out to become one of India's biggest fashion influencers, with collaborations including MAC Cosmetics.
Komal Pandey
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Komal Pandey is a fashion influencer who has partnered with more than 100 brands, including Olay and smartphone brand Vivo India.
Nikhil Sharma
Instagram followers: 1.4 million
Nikhil Sharma from Mumbai began his online career through vlogs about his motorcycle trips. He has become a lifestyle influencer and has created his own clothing line.
Source: Hireinfluence, various


Men’s squad: Faisal Al Ketbi, Omar Al Fadhli, Zayed Al Kathiri, Thiab Al Nuaimi, Khaled Al Shehhi, Mohamed Ali Al Suwaidi, Farraj Khaled Al Awlaqi, Muhammad Al Ameri, Mahdi Al Awlaqi, Saeed Al Qubaisi, Abdullah Al Qubaisi and Hazaa Farhan

Women's squad: Hamda Al Shekheili, Shouq Al Dhanhani, Balqis Abdullah, Sharifa Al Namani, Asma Al Hosani, Maitha Sultan, Bashayer Al Matrooshi, Maha Al Hanaei, Shamma Al Kalbani, Haya Al Jahuri, Mahra Mahfouz, Marwa Al Hosani, Tasneem Al Jahoori and Maryam Al Amri

One-off T20 International: UAE v Australia

When: Monday, October 22, 2pm start

Where: Abu Dhabi Cricket, Oval 1

Tickets: Admission is free

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Darcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Peter Siddle


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.
Day 4, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Not much was expected – on Sunday or ever – of Hasan Ali as a batsman. And yet he lit up the late overs of the Pakistan innings with a happy cameo of 29 from 25 balls. The highlight was when he launched a six right on top of the netting above the Pakistan players’ viewing area. He was out next ball.

Stat of the day – 1,358 There were 1,358 days between Haris Sohail’s previous first-class match and his Test debut for Pakistan. The lack of practice in the multi-day format did not show, though, as the left-hander made an assured half-century to guide his side through a potentially damaging collapse.

The verdict As is the fashion of Test matches in this country, the draw feels like a dead-cert, before a clatter of wickets on the fourth afternoon puts either side on red alert. With Yasir Shah finding prodigious turn now, Pakistan will be confident of bowling Sri Lanka out. Whether they have enough time to do so and chase the runs required remains to be seen.

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE



Abu Dhabi Harlequins 17

Jebel Ali Dragons 20

Harlequins Tries: Kinivilliame, Stevenson; Cons: Stevenson 2; Pen: Stevenson

Dragons Tries: Naisau, Fourie; Cons: Love 2; Pens: Love 2