Monday, February 24, 2014

Car repaired, and life back to normal

On Thursday evening, i. e. on the 20th of February, I travelled to Ta'if with Mr. Suleman and Mr. Ahmed, the two pharmacists who live in Ta'if and work in our hospital. They were very kind and not only agreed to take me in Ahmed's car, but also bought me snacks and water from a supermarket on the way. They dropped me about 8-10 km from the city center, and I took the opportunity to have an orange juice at a corner outlet before hailing a dabbab to travel to Hotel Ahle Saif, my destination for the next few days. Moannad was the Sudanese receptionist on duty and he helped me get my favourite room (a double bedder on the first floor) for SR 60 per day only. Of course, there is an Indian worker (Munawwarali) too, who helps me in other ways once I check in into this hotel, which has become the only place for me to stay in through the entire last two years.

I settled into my room for the evening, but did go out in between Maghrib and Ishaa to visit my car mechanic at his garage. He wasn't there, but my car was, and when I sought permission from one of his workers to check if the car did start, I was told to definitely try it out. To my pleasant surprise, the engine of the car started smoothly as soon as I turned the key which was already in the keyhole on the dashboard. I left the key in, locked the car, and left for tea and dinner, followed by a walking trip to Ta'if's Heart Mall, where I made some grocery and other purchases from Panda. I called up the car mechanic (Mr. Shabbir Choudhary) to ask him if any work was pending and was told that the car would only be ready on Saturday.                                            

The next morning, he calls up early on at about fifteen minutes past seven to inform me that he could not proceed with repairs as the car was locked from without and the key hanged inside! Oh sh@@! I told him I would go and meet him within the next half an hour, as I had a spare key in my wallet. However, he called me again after a few minutes to tell me that he had managed to open the offending door with a key that he had with him. So, it turns out that he continued to tinker with my car throughout the day,  and promised me that the car would be ready the next day.

I spent the rest of the day sleeping, watching or downloading movies, and visiting the Bab-al-Rhea (the open market with sections for vegetables, fish, mutton, etc. - and which is located very close to my hotel), where I bought some fresh veggies, a coconut, some other stuff too.

On Saturday, I was at the car repair shop for most of the morning and afternoon. I had paid SR 1000 to him earlier when I had sent the car from Al Muwayh on a winch; I paid him another 1000 today, and requested him to await the balance amount as my salary would come in after 3 days of my departure to Al Muwayh with the car. He agreed. By afternoon, he had the mechanical aspects of my car ready. The A/C compressor was leaking, and he tried to repair the leak for the next 1-2 hours, but failed to seal it completely. He then took a break and took me in his car to an Afghanistani restaurant for lunch. This place is close to my hotel, but in one of the side roads. The food (Mutton pulav and the typical salad and so on) was excellent. 

I then returned to my room to pack my bags, then slept a little, then went back to the workshop to discover that Mr. Shabbir had not succeeded in repairing the compressor leak, and had replaced the compressor inside the car. He asked me to return to him the next time to get this fault rectified. I took the car back to the hotel, put my luggage and the various food items and grocery in the car trunk, and drove off to Al Muwayh, reaching my home a little after 8 p.m. 

My 2 1/2 day stint in Ta'if had thus come to an end. I had my car now, and I was ready to face the working day the next day with a smile in my heart. The only reason I was not openly smiling was that my bill for this last repair of the engine would lighten me by about SR 4000, of which I had only paid half the amount.

That's the whole sad story so far ... now my car is 21 years old, and I have spent over 12000 on it, so it is worth more than SR 20000 in costs (I had bought it from Dr. Narendra for SR 8500 and spent about SR 600 on paperwork), but will probably sell for less than SR 7500 when the time comes to dispose of it.

No comments: