Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thinking back ...

While I have no real issues to discuss in this entry, I decided to be a little introspective. So, here it is. I am now in the Kingdom for over 14 months, minus the time I spent vacationing at home or elsewhere. I am taking stock of where I am w.r.t. my aims that I had outlined at the beginning of my stint here in S.A. 

Certainly, I have met my spiritual goal in near-totality. I have completed three Umrahs for myself, one for my late father, performed Hajj and also visited and performed the pilgrimage of Medina. In addition, I am continuously striving to meet my spiritual goals of praying regularly and being a good human being and a good Muslim. I think I am about 80% there, though there is still work to be done. I am still not totally pious, I still am not able to wake up in the morning for the Fajr prayers, I still sometimes lose my temper, I still sometimes nurse feelings that a good Muslim should not have (these are a bit private, but relate to envy, lust, etc. ... I think you get the drift), and I still feel the pinch when I give of my resources to others.

As far as my goal of achieving academic honours is concerned, I am on track. I cleared the first part of MRCPCH last October, and am planning to give part II in May this year. Towards that end, I am studying, but I am not really satisfied with my pace of studies, my concentration, or my level of knowledge. I guess this will improve as time passes, but I am not yet satisfied. 

Coming to the third goal: money. I am not saving as much as I had thought I would. The reasons are manifold, not the least of them being that I am not nearly as frugal as I should have been. Time and again, I go to Ta'if, stay in a hotel, and spend money that should have ... or rather could have ... been saved. On the one hand, one may argue that it is necessary to sometimes relax and let oneself go; on the other hand, one is reminded that one's main reason for leaving India and working in this kind of place was to save as much money as possible. And one is therefore caught in the middle. I keep making these resolutions to cut back on my expenses, but my lifestyle, my disposition, my car (yes, my car ... the white elephant in anyone's life) keep demanding my return to the ATM of my bank to withdraw money. I have saved money, of course, but I guess it is less than 50% of what I have earned through the year. It is pointless blaming the family, though it is true that they are spending more too, and it is but natural now that they see more money in the bank. I guess this is the price one must pay for not being with the family ... where you might have reined them in and prevented profligacy. 

And lastly, the final goal of making my family independent and free from my overbearing presence as well as my constant "help" in their day-to-day work. I think I have succeeded in making them "free". This is a double-edged sword, though, as privately, I do not wish them to become so free that they don't need me at all, or that they treat my visit back home as a disturbance rather than a welcome sight! I am sure many people who went away from home and their family must have thought in much the same way and are smirking as they read this. Taher, they seem to be telling me, it shouldn't be that they get so used to your absence that they no longer miss you.

Well, what can I say to this except to pray to Allah to not make me see that horrible circumstance. 

On the flip side, what about me? Have I adjusted well to their absence? In the matter of most things like sleeping, getting up to the alarm, keeping my house reasonably clean, cooking my own food, cleaning up after cooking/eating, washing my clothes, etc. I think I have managed pretty well. However, in my heart, I am lonely, and I try to cover this up with gregarious behaviour at the hospital, reading stuff, playing games, watching TV, watching movies or serials on the laptop, sleeping, going out on walks, etc. etc. but the thing that I look forward to are the pre-decided Skype sessions with my family, the calls to Nishrin, Inas, Hannah, my mother, and so on, and the eagerness with which I await messages from my loved ones on Whatsapp or Google Talk. And that, basically, tells me that I HAVE NOT been able to adjust so well, and that I CANNOT stay without my family and my near and dear ones.

And, if you see this against the background that about a decade back, people could NOT communicate so easily with their families from overseas, and still managed to preserve their sanity, it is a real surprise that I am still so restless.

There, you have it. I have just told you the results of my last fourteen months' stay in the Kingdom, and how far I have come since that forlorn day, viz. 16th November, 2011.

That's it for now.

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