Thursday, January 19, 2012

Days 61 and 62, Sunday 15th January and Monday 16th January 2012

Thus begins my 3rd month in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Having lived for 51 years and 8 months in a democracy, one is rather unnerved by the term "kingdom". One always associated kingdoms, kings and queens with nursery rhymes (Old King Cole, etc.), fairy tales (Once upon a time ...) and period movies (the typical Dharamveer types in Hindi and Shakespearean movies from Hollywood). One is, of course, aware that there are several monarchies in this world, and Saudi Arabia, if at all, is one of the better ones, since they at least have the welfare of their subjects at heart.

King Abdulla, the grandson of the first monarch King Abdel Aziz, is himself in his nineties. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries to have a surplus budget, and the king has recently announced a SR 2000 dole to any Saudi National  who is between the ages of 18 and 60, is a male, and is unemployed. Various sources have confirmed this bit of news. In fact, this is one of the reasons why the Al Rajhi Bank's Branch No 436 at Al Muweh, located just opposite where I stay, always looks crowded with customers.

In addition, and I have heard this, too, many times: each Saudi family gets money each month for each of his son's education and upkeep. What more can one ask for? The net result is that an average Saudi youth does not have to struggle to earn money or be active. This is unfortunate but true. A circumstance that is beneficial to people from all over the world, as they cannot meet their requirements for talented, learned and scholarly people, and have to harvest non-Saudis from all over the world - both for the high-professional jobs, and for the lowly jobs which they will not do - such as sweeper, cleaner, etc.

Both the days passed off rather boringly. I was waiting for Ali, the liaison officer, to appear and hand me the promised and much desired residence permit (the Iqama).  Dear reader, so sorry to say that this did not happen.  However, and here is the good news: On Monday, I did speak to him on the phone, and he told me that the iqama was ready in the Muderiya. He also informed me (through Dr. Shehab, who was the one actually speaking to me, since he and I don't speak the same language) that he would ask Dr. Ahmed Taib, our ER doctor in charge who was currently in the Muderiya, to pick up my iqama and bring it around the next day to the hospital. 

I then spoke to Dr. Taib and confirmed with him his having picked up the iqama. He said he would bring it with him to the hospital the next day. Read  the next entry to see what happened next.

From the standpoint of where I was on Monday evening, a rosy tomorrow beckoned me. 

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