Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meandering a bit ...

Dear Reader, 

Please indulge me for a short time while I meander a little here and a little there. As I was unable to post regularly through the past seven days, I made mental notes to not forget certain things. It is with that intention that I am writing this post.

To begin, let me share a few Arabic words and comment upon them. There are three similar sounding words in frequent use: Tahweel, Tahmeel and Tahleel. Tahweel refers to "transfer"; for example, you can use the word in the context of money transfer, in the context of transfer of a patient from our hospital to a bigger one, and so on. Tahmeel is simply another word for a suppository - a bullet-like soft nosed, long object that can be inserted  into the child's rectum; it is loaded with medication that the child needs to be given. Finally, Tahleel means the act of submitting blood/urine/stools or other biological samples for laboratory testing. 

I have frequently substituted one word for the other in the OPD in front of Saudi parents; the net result is usually amused looks on the face of the already stressed parent(s).

My long walks to the Al Muweh garden have enabled me to see things and events which most employees of the hospital never get to see: I am talking about teenagers playing vigorous football on the special astroturf ground; about the resident birds in the garden - the hordes of warblers, several Siberian stone-chats, the common Hoopoe (which I saw just yesterday, and also today) ... it looks brilliant when in flight; about the spiritual atmosphere that pervades the locality especially as Maghrib time approaches - the teens leave the garden and drive away, several trucks leave the highway just behind the garden and stop outside the small mosque and the men - the drivers and their assistants spill out and walk towards the toilets and the wudhu area (rows of taps with sprinkler attachments set before a row of seats on which the men sit to perform the ablutions), and then proceed to enter the mosque in time to pray the salah; about the small tea and snack shop and its regular stream of customers (I am one such customer who has at least a cup of tea every day, and a kheema roll or a falafel sandwich on almost 70% of the evenings); and of several such things and events that are too many to list here.

I wanted to write about the kind of food that is available in the various food stalls here in Al Muweh. To sum it up in a line: not much is available, except for khubs sandwiches, falafel, dal, puris (stuffed with kheema), egg preparations like omelette  and scrambled egg, kheema, cheese and/or butter and/or cream sandwiches, etc. Most cooks are Bangladeshis and they aren't very particular about food hygiene or standard hygiene levels. However, they are far better than the hawkers you regularly deal with in, say, Mumbai, India! The items are cheap, most costing less than SR 2.00, though we have outlets where they are SR 3.00 or SR 4.00 in price. Soft drinks in cans cost SR 1.50 and other small drinks or milk-shake or curd bottles are generally SR 1.00 for 200 ml. One can fill oneself up in less than SR 10.00 on an average meal.

I am currently awaiting instructions from the Ministry on the date of my appearance for the Saudi council examinations; once I clear those, I will start the process for getting my car driver's license and for the purchase of a car. I am already insured against medical malpractice, thanks to the help extended to me by Dr. Asadullah and the executive at the Al Ahlia Insurance company based in Ta'if.

That's all for now ....

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